Intro to Dresser Re-Dressed Series

After cramming my apartment’s and studio’s stuff into an already occupied one bedroom (large one bedroom) apartment the decor is bland, messy, crowded, and bland. We have okay stuff, just too much and not nice furniture. I hodge podge of old-roommates’-off-the-curb-hand-me-down-thrift-shop-standard-just-graduated-college-and-have-no-money furniture. It’s so true. Our small stuff is great, it’s the big stuff that’s the let down. We are missing key pieces too, like a dresser for our bedroom for one thing. Our socks and underwear are in a perpetual state of laundry basket shifting (clean to dirty to clean) which just adds to the overall feeling of clutter.

I’ve taken on the mission of getting this place into shape. I’m creative. I’m good with color. I have some design sense. What’s stopping me? And for the first time, I have time too. Not a ton mind you, but more than none, which is what I had before.

How to clean, declutter, and redecorate your space into a home you can enjoy?

The first step was cleaning. I’m still in that step, and it’s an ongoing thing. But yesterday I did The Big clean. Deep cleaning. Like take everything out of one room and clean the whole room, get rid of half the stuff, and put it back in an organized way cleaning. Today is day two of the Big Clean. Then starting tomorrow it’s more maintenance and back to work as usual.

(I should have had a before picture, but this is the after. There was cat litter all over the floor and there were just boxes of stuff piled up. I took everything out of the room, cleaned it out, then added this little rack and put the pet stuff on two shelves and my shipping stuff on the top in a rubbermaid. It’s soooo much better now. Not perfect no, but much improved.)

The second step is purging. It kind of goes with cleaning, but it’s a catagory unto itself. I’m happy to say I have 3 boxes of misc and 2 bags of clothes on their way to the salvation army. I also have a huge rubbermaid of fabric that will be finding itself on ebay soon. More purging will be happening today.

Now that I have a somewhat cleared out space I started planning my new space out. Step 3. This is important. Utility is important to me as well as design, so I made a list of what I wanted in a home, what was missing from ours now, both in psychological space and furnishings.

1. Eating space – right now it’s the couch all the time, every meal, I hate that. We have an extended counter top with stools that are too tall and it’s always cluttered, that’s my target area for a new eating space. New (to me) stools, keeping it clutter free.

2. Relaxing space – we have a couch and a tv, but it feels cramped and uncomfortable. Some color changes, well placed pillows, rearranging furniture a bit will help it open up and settle down all at the same time.

3. Work space – I have work space, but Jason doesn’t. Sure I work out of the home and “need” a studio space, but he needs a space to work on the things he loves too. I’m carving a space out for him where he will have a work table, cabinet, and chair.

4. Craft Cave – as my studio has been called, is a clutter magnet. It needs an overhaul in a way that it will look neat and tidy after I clean it, not just “okay”.

5. Bedroom – new mattress, dresser, maybe a reading chair. It feels like a storage unit where a laundry mat exploded, no good.

And that brings me to today’s post’s point. The dresser. Where to get furniture, which is expensive, for cheap or free? I decided that the first piece we should get was a dresser. It would get the clothing off the floor and help with the bedroom. I’m starting easy and working to the hard stuff (my studio/garage/kitchen). I also wanted to get one before summer was over so I could refinish it while it’s nice out. With my budget for furniture (which is about $20 a piece) I just figured I would need to redo whatever I bought.

I started by looking on Craig’s List. A great resource for all sorts of things for really cheap. Just look up your town, then furniture, then whatever it is you want. I also search in the free section. I found two I liked and emailed both, no reply. Oh well.

Then I went to Freecycle. I love this site. I joined the Story County group and the Des Moines group. I didn’t find anything. Yesterday morning I looked again. Nothing still. I decide to post “WANTED: Upright Dresser” then I put a description of what I was looking for (4-5 drawers, solid wood, can do minor repairs/refinishing no problem”. Within a couple of hours, I would say by noon, a woman had replied. It was just what I was looking for and Jason and I picked it up after he got off work.


It’s a fixer-upper to say the least. I added all the pictures to flickr with descriptions of what needed to be done within each shot, what I liked about. Go check that out to see right now. Thursday I’m going to post about the first phase of redoing a wooden piece of furniture (which is pretty much outlined in the flickr descriptions which is why I said to see right now). Then it will just be like one post a week about it, or maybe, gasp!, I might just start posting 5 days a week and this will be my tuesday/thursday posts for awhile. That sounds good.


So here is the plan. I’m guessing this project is going to take me awhile. Sanding, repairs, repainting, rebuilding, putting together. I’ve decided I’m going to post about the process in a series. And in fact it will be part of a larger series, the apartment redo. I’ll include the different phases of the redo with before and after pictures and all the steps along the way. Maybe even some projects for curtains, pillows, and other home furnishings. That sounds good to me. Plus it will keep me working on it and accountable to you for getting this place whipped into shape.

I have a post planned out for tomorrow, but I’ll be back on Thursday too to post an update on the dresser.

Have a good day! Keep it creative and crafty!

3 thoughts on “Intro to Dresser Re-Dressed Series

  1. Way to go Kristen! I’m glad your really pushing your space to be better. You’ll be so happy!

  2. The correct term for the syle of your furniture is Early American Attic. Most of mine has finally made it to other shores and just yeasterday I was finally able to pass on a piece to my own son. Enjoy refinishing your dresser!

  3. well i’m definitely going to follow what you do on this little adventure because i’m kind of doing the same thing right now. we did a serious purge this weekend. maybe i’ll get some good ideas from ya! i think it’s funny that we’re kind of doing this backwards. no spring cleaning here….it’s almost-fall cleaning! yay!

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