Dining Room, Steady but Very, Very Slow

Dining Room Before via cottagemagpie.com

Dining Room Before via cottagemagpie.com

I have been on a whirlind of cleaning and purging and organizing around here. I’ve been so driven just to get all the junk outta here that I haven’t really stopped to take pictures, either. Well, plus, they’re kind of embarrassing. I mean, the “before” pictures are, “Yowza!” and the after pictures are “Meh,” so I haven’t been feeling inspired to share them.

But then, on the other hand, that is what’s really going on here, and I do want to share. I wish I could bring you all over and point out all the good stuff, so you could see the progress, instead of posting pictures where it’s kind of hard to tell that it’s SO much better than it was before. It doesn’t seem like it shows that well in pictures. In real life it’s a huge difference.

Anyway. I did manage to get one before/after-some-progress shots of the buffet in the dining room, so I thought I’d at least show that. The dining room is central to the house, and the buffet is a serious, grade 3 crud collector. (Just in the sake of full disclosure, I call it the cr*p collector here at home.) Add to that a really complicated summer, a bunch of stuff without homes and unfinished paint jobs, and this is what you get:

Dining Room Before via cottagemagpie.com

Yep, that’s pretty much what that area looked like all summer.

It’s kind of amazing to look back at those pictures now and realize how oppressive it is to live with all that junk piled up like that. Ugh.

A few weeks ago, a lovely friend came over and spent all afternoon just helping me sort and organize everything on the top half of the buffet since we were starting the school year and I hadn’t had a chance to even breathe let alone organize things. About a week after that another dear friend came and helped me do the bottom half. I then got a wild hair and started working on the paint job for it.

There’s still a LOT to do, mostly painting at this point, and then I want to tackle the table and chairs, but for now, this is how it’s looking:

Dining Room in Progress via cottagemagpie.com

I know it’s not a spectacular after, and there’s lots to do, but can you see how much better it is than it was before?

All the doors need to be painted so they can go back on, and I’d love to get some cute glass knobs or something. I may have to make do with something scrounged for now. I would love to cover or replace that laminate countertop, and do something fun inside the cabinet. Plus I want to refinish the table and chairs…. at the pace I’m going, I could be working on this room for a decade!

Here’s the funny part. Baby Girl was given a lamp with attached stuffed racoon, and I didn’t realize she’d snuck in and put it on the table until I was looking at the pictures later. See?

Dining Room in Progress via cottagemagpie.com

She’s so funny.

What about you? Do you have a room that you’re working on? Slowly? Or fast?

~Angela :-)

If you enjoyed this post, I would LOVE a comment. I read every one! If you want to keep in touch, consider subscribing to the RSS feed to receive updates in your reader.


  1. My dining-room is about like yours! I’d like to paint the table, the chairs and one of the china cabinet… BUt it’s been in project mode for months and nothing gets done!

    • Magali, I hear you! This room has been in process for years. I guess it’s just the way it goes! 🙂 ~Angela~

  2. You’ve made good progress! The thorn in my side is my crapht room! I get it organized, then do a project (or 3) and then have to start all over! Right now, you can barely walk in the door. But my life is slowing down now and I’m beginning to see a pin-point of light at the end of the tunnel!!!! Keep up the good work and keep us posted! Dona

    • Thank you, Dona!!! Someday I hope I can show a real “reveal” picture. But having a life with breathing room is ultimately more important to me than getting things done real fast, so I’m happy to at least be making forward progress. I totally have the same problem in my crapht (haha!) room. I have to clean the whole thing about twice a week or it gets to where I can’t do anything at all. ~Angela~

  3. I love what you’ve accomplished. I need to do the same in many rooms of my house. I start. And stop. Life comes. And it goes. Mostly, it just keeps coming! I can’t wait to see more. Keep up the good work. You inspire me, my friend.

    • Thank you so much, Adrienne! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who pokes along. I know that most people do one whole room before they move on, but I just can’t do it that way. I do little projects here and there and overall the whole thing gets done. Slooooowly. Thanks for stopping by!!! <3, ~Angela~

  4. The shelves look SO much better! That’s a lot of work.

  5. Barbara H. says:

    I’m right there with you, Angela, but I think you might be farther along. I have 3 (well, really 4 if I count the kitchen counters) areas that always seem to be in disarray. I’ve made headway but you’re right – it hardly looks like it even to my eyes. My goal is to get into a steady, regular routine of picking up and cleaning. Why is that so tough? (Hmmm, too much stuff around maybe….ya’ think?). You’re doing great! Keep it up and post when you can. I’m always happy to see your posts.

    • Barbara, I’d tried for so many years to get on top of that cluttered countertop problem, and nothing, and I mean *nothing* had worked. I’d tried every system, every book. Then this fall I started getting rid of everything. I should probably write a blog post about this, but a friend is the one who finally explained in a way that made the light go on. She said, “if you have 52 canning jars, then you could easily have 52 canning jars on your counter top, despite your best effort or intention. But guess what? If you only have 4 canning jars? You can NEVER have more than 4 canning jars on your counter.” Kaboom!!!! I get it now. Substitute any object you wish. The less you have, the less mess is physically possible. It’s been working for me so well that I am now really motivated to get rid of even more. ~Angela~

  6. I actually think it is a pretty dramatic improvement! Keep chipping away girl. You are doing great things!

    I feel like I’m all over the place in the house. I couple of months ago I decided to focus on one room at a time but apparently that’s not my style? Today alone I’m painting the back of my dining room cabinets, making pillows for the family room and shortening the curtains for the mudroom. Not to mention laundry, ironing, paying bills and cooking dinner. Then with my extra time I have some knitting I want to work on. What the h was I thinking when I made that to do list?

    • Jen! I’m so glad to hear that. I know that the blog norm is to finish one room at a time, but no matter how many times I commit to doing it that way, I just can’t. I guess I don’t work that way! Having one room be beautiful and “perfect” (always in quotes, that), while the rest of the house is sad and ugly just seems… weird to me. Contrived, maybe? So yeah. I don’t get the great “reveal” process, but my whole house gradually gets better and that’s better for me.

      I am trying very hard not to have long to-do lists anymore. Actually, I don’t make them at all, generally, and to heck with the consequences. I think ultimately I will be happier for it, though. 🙂


  7. I think your room is coming along great! I love that you are painting the buffet. You are motivated for sure! The room I am working on at the moment (ever so slowly) is my sewing room. Which will also be where new baby will be until he/she gets old enough to move in with brother or sisters. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you, Leah! It’s been years in the making, so, I am not sure how motivated that is. I probably won’t work on it again for a long while. 🙂 Fits and starts around here. Thanks for the encouragement, though! And keep it up yourself! Even very small changes add up to lots over time. 🙂 ~Angela~

  8. I love the shelves in the dining area—ohhhh, I would love these.

    • Thank you, Kim! Would you believe I got these for free from a friend’s house? She didn’t want them so I brought them home and had Mr. Magpie install them. They’re all in one piece and they were SO heavy and wouldn’t fit in ANYthing we had, but my friend only lived around the corner, so we put them on furniture dollies and I believe at least one skateboard and wheeled them over! ~Angela~

Speak Your Mind