Pimp The PoP’s Garage – Part 4 – Get Rich By Enduring Chaos

20130728-145116.jpgPart 4 in our ongoing DIY Garage renovation process. For new readers, feel free to start along at the beginning of the garage process with:

Mr PoP and I occasionally live amongst chaos for extended periods of time. When we were renovating our house, this meant that we moved in as soon as there were kitchen appliances and a sink and shower without any plumbing issues.  It was months before we had a couch, and years before we bought a coffee table.

While our current level of chaos isn’t nearly the same as when we first moved in, progress on the garage has slowed and provides a great example of just what we are willing to live with for weeks (sometimes months!) on end in the name of balancing our desire to DIY around the house (saving boatloads of money) with working full time, living life, and being okay not devoting EVERY SPARE SECOND to making progress on a DIY project.

Current Chaos In the Laundry Area

Where we last left off in our garage update, our $1,000 in shelving was up and we had spent a good weekend organizing most of our stuff. The next mini-task was the laundry area.

The laundry area began this project as a messy closet without doors containing one large set of ineffective and awkwardly-sized plastic shelves (soon to go on Craigslist for $20!) and our top/bottom laundry set. Underneath both of those was some sheet vinyl flooring that gave me flashbacks to the old floors in my parents’ kitchen. Estimated install date, 1985.


Scraping vinyl flooring…

What Progress Has Looked Like

Thanksgiving Weekend (Mr PoP out of town). I cleaned out the closet and scraped away the vinyl flooring. I also patched all the holes in the walls from shelving brackets that were so old we’ve never seen the shelves they went with.  I was able to get half of the closet painted, and the entirety of the floor scraped before reaching my limits in terms of moving the washer/dryer around by myself.

20131215-132355.jpgFollowing Weekend – We head off to Art Basel. Art Basel Miami Beach only comes around once/year, and living life is important! On Sunday, Mr PoP removed some drywall to take a look at what plumbing he had to work with since we’re adding a wall-mounted utility sink next to the washer in the closet and will need to add on to the existing water sources and drains. Research ended up taking a while – apparently plumbing “to code” for this type of sink varies quite a bit from place to place. So we had a wall with drywall missing and insulation pulled out for a week.

This Past Weekend – Some good progress. This weekend we’ve had more time, and Mr PoP was able to mock up the plumbing set up and is currently hard at work plumbing the sink in. As we wrap up the weekend, the plumbing is built out, but we’ve left the wall open just to make sure that the washer runs without any water leaking slowly over time.

Still To Do…

  • close up wall
  • finish sink mount and installation
  • patch drywall
  • move washer and dryer temporarily
  • finish painting walls
  • finalize prep on floor
  • paint floor
  • put washer and dryer back in closet
  • mount shelving
  • install timer switch for light

The list doesn’t look all that long, but yes… it might take us the better part of 3 weeks (or more?) to finish. Why? Because this is an incredibly busy time of year for us. Work is hectic for both of us (Mr PoP especially) with end of fiscal year business, and the holiday season just adds another layer of complexity on top of it.


To Some of Our Friends, This Looks Insane

We have friends that, as much as they admire the fact that we do this kind of work ourselves, would go batty if this were going on in their own homes. The idea of having a wall open with insulation sitting on the garage floor for a week or more is just “too much chaos” – they’d have a heart attack living through the second week of it, especially if it were around the holidays!  They’d need to pick up the phone and call a professional if their DIY attempts did not show immediate results on a project like this. (They would have been especially nuts the weeks when we went without siding on parts of the house because we ran out of time on weekends.)


A couple sides of our house were like this for days…

It isn’t as though we like living in construction zones. We just seem to be a lot more tolerant of them than some of our friends. If we didn’t have to work 40+ hours per week (and the “+” really kicks in this time of year), we wouldn’t have to be so tolerant of delays. But that’s life. We’ll get the project done eventually, but until then, we put up with the mess.

And we know that our bank accounts look a lot nicer because of what we’re able to put up with in our home.


How do you deal with chaos, particularly of the DIY variety?  

38 comments to Pimp The PoP’s Garage – Part 4 – Get Rich By Enduring Chaos

  • Looking good! I’ve scraped some vinyl floors like that before, that’s no fun at all. Good luck with the rest of that list.

    I’ve been painting kitchen cabinets for the last couple of weekends, as well as Thanksgiving week, and I’m ready for those to be over with!
    FI Pilgrim recently posted..Would You Become Self Employed For Less Money?My Profile

    • This floor wasn’t the worst we’ve scraped – that honor belonged to the 3 layers of sheet vinyl in the duplex kitchen!

      Can’t wait to see your before/after on the kitchen cabinets. =)

  • I love seeing the progress! Living with a little chaos is a good reminder that it takes a lot to lead the normal, chaos free lives most of is lead.
    Cash Rebel recently posted..November 2013 Goals UpdateMy Profile

  • We don’t do DIY Chaos anymore since we had kids. It isn’t safe for them and is not really feasible. That’s why we’re remodeling our new house (paint/carpet/partial kitchen) before we move in.
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Credit Card Rewards: My 2013-2014 PlansMy Profile

  • I’m one of those people – it makes my chest go tight just thinking about it. I think that just speaks to the fact that I am not very handy. My Dad does these sorts of things all the time, and it’s no big deal – I just am not very confident in my DIY abilities.
    Alicia @ Financial Diffraction recently posted..Christmas on a Budget.My Profile

  • Mama PoP

    I think that a key ingredient to enduring chaos is keeping your eye on the ball and continuing to make progress. As a couple, you have proven that you will work together to bring these kinds of construction projects to completion and that is so important! Neither of you has to worry that the other one will just get bored with the project and let it languish for an extended period of time.

    Mr. PoP grew up in what I fondly consider to be a construction zone. Since Papa PoP and the boys built our house themselves from the ground up, something was always torn up. The house was barely finished when we decided to add on a large area to create living space for Mr. PoP’s grandmother if she needed it. There was always a car, truck, or engine in various stages of creation or repair in or near the garage and I don’t even want to recall the projects that happened in the barn!

    Chaos is also more tolerable when you have some areas of your house and life that are well organized and comfortable. I found that I could mostly ignore debris and chaos as long as I could carve out some oasis of calm and sanity for the family.

  • You’re SO right about your being able to put up with chaos making your bank account bigger. I love what Mama PoP said about Chaos being more tolerable when you have some areas of your house that are well-organized. That’s where we’re at right now, and although the chaos is a pain, when we go to our neat and organized main living area, life is peaceful again. :-)
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..How to Get out of Debt: Beware of the Self-Justified Pity PartyMy Profile

    • The inside of the house isn’t perfect… I’d love to keep it cleaner, but the messes just seem to multiply when we’re at work during the day! =)

  • Another great reminder that sometimes we have to sacrifice in the short-term in order to really get what we want in the long-term. I can deal with chaos as long as I see where it will eventually lead. Without a clear vision it can be overwhelming.
    Matt Becker recently posted..How to Know When You Need Life InsuranceMy Profile

    • Ahh, but sometimes we even dive in without a clear idea of what it’s going to be like in the end! Foolhardy, and it can make it take longer, too =)

  • I’m impressed with all the work you’re doing yourself. It’s going to look great! I don’t DIY anything. I’m the least handy person I know.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..BATB TV: 12 Days of BudgetsMy Profile

  • I’m okay with a certain amount of chaos in the house, but I do find I have a threshold. My tactic is to keep a certain area (like the bedroom) separate from any chaos, so it has to be clean, orderly, etc. If I feel stress coming on, back to the sanctuary.
    Done by Forty recently posted..One Case of HomelessnessMy Profile

  • CincyCat

    We have engaged in DIY projects quite a bit – even after the kiddos were born. We found out fairly early in the process that you can actually make quite a bit of progress between the hours of 9pm and midnight (after they are in bed). When we tore up our kitchen, we put up a baby gate across the door so they wouldn’t wander into the “work in progress” zone, and we just put all the stray tools, etc. in plastic tubs during the day so we could use the space. I’m not saying it was an “easy” project with an 18 month old & 4-year old in the house, but we saved thousands in labor by doing the project ourselves.

  • Pre-baby, my husband and I are did a lot of DIY around the house. Now that we have two little ones, we’ve done very limited DIY projects. The biggest is insulating and semi-finishing the garage in our investment house. When the kids get a little bigger, I suspect he’s going to put them to work. LOL.
    H @ Minding My Cents recently posted..Homeschooling Through a Charter SchoolMy Profile

  • Ha, chaos! We are apparently on the exact same wavelength today. I always try to think about it in terms of the bottom line.

    Example: I will soon remodel a bathroom which will probably throw my life into a bit of chaos for about 2 weeks. Because I’m doing every inch of the remodel myself, it will cost me about $1,000 in materials instead of the $5,000 I’d have to pay in labor to get a good tile-setter, plumber, drywall guy and electrician.

    So, I have 2 options:
    1) Live in chaos and be very busy for 2 weeks and spend $1,000.
    2) Have my time freed up and live in a little less chaos for at least $5,000.

    I’ll always choose the $4,000+ in savings in return for a little chaos.

    Also, the work is a gratifying. Nothing like stepping back and looking at a well done job you’ve just completed.
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..Ask the Readers: Are you a do-it-yourselfer?My Profile

    • Not to mention that sometimes a bathroom reno can take that long or longer even if you’re hiring it out if the subcontractors aren’t coordinated well. 2 weeks is actually pretty short for a bathroom! Good luck! =)

      • Yes, you hit on a good point. Ever try to find decent people? It’s freakin’ impossible! The hassle of that alone pushes me to do most projects myself.

        I’m actually going to try to do it in one week. This will be a complete gut job. I’m going to tear out down to the studs and replace all fixtures except for the toilet, which we already replaced (although we will have to remove it since I’m replacing tile as well). You are giving me ideas. I think that week, I’ll post every day on the project so people can follow my progress.
        Mr. 1500 recently posted..Me Versus the Trees (and one reason why I appreciate my wife)My Profile

        • Angie’s list has been our best bet for finding decent people… How’s the Angie’s List in your neck of the woods?

          You should totally do a day-by-day recap on your progress so we can all follow along – I would totally read that!

  • Congratulations on taking on such a big project. Someday the grump family may have a rental and need to know how to do all that stuff!!! However, since we’re new to all this we started small with our water heater. The sense of accomplishment has made us DIY-ers for life I think.
    Mr.Grump recently posted..DIY Project: Water HeaterMy Profile

  • At least you get projects done eventually. My uncle does DIY because his pocket book has no room for anything else, but he also doesn’t have the time. My poor cousins have lived in a lot of chaos.
    Leah recently posted..Christmas treeMy Profile

  • We moved into our house with two big areas unfinished. We fixed them up over time and probably saved thousands. I don’t enjoy chaos, but the end result is usually worth it.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..One Year After Paying Off Credit Card DebtMy Profile

  • I talk a good game about DIY, but in truth there aren’t many projects I’ve done that are as comprehensive as what you’ve pictured. My proudest DIY moment, though, was when I stripped and refinished the hardwood floors in our house. Halfway through the project I was sure that a) I was going to die; and b) I’d completely screwed up my floors. When the sealant began to dry, however, the floors just popped and all the imperfections looked like I’d totally planned them.

  • Love seeing your progress! I agree, when you can be calm in the midst of chaos, you’ll be able to benefit.. including financially benefit! I like that Matt pointed out that this is just another reminder of how a short-term sacrifice can lead to a long-term gain.
    Laura @ RichmondSavers.com recently posted..Travel Rewards: Two Free Boston to Dublin Round-Trip Flights with One Credit Card SignupMy Profile