Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Front Porch, Which Will Someday Be My Oasis

When we bought our house about 20 years ago, one of the selling points for me was that it had an enclosed front porch. My childhood home did not have a porch, so I thought this was wonderful. It was all windows though and not very functional for most of the year. The windows were old and it wasn't heated, so it ended up being a storage area for a long time. 

About 12 years ago, we had it redone. It has three fewer windows (we put a wall on the shared side) and added a coat closet. While it still isn't heated, it is more insulated so it's much more usable during the year. In fact, in the winter, a small space heater is enough to warm it completely.

When my kids were younger, it held toys, toys and more toys. As they got older, I was able to convince my husband to get some shelving and I got a cheap two-seater couch from my previous job when we moved offices. A friend gave me a very nice cedar chest, which used to house sports equipment but now holds miscellaneous items that probably need to be sorted.  

I went through the whole porch this time last year, getting rid of what I could, before I moved on to my living room and before I started this blog. But here I am a year later, and it's a disaster again. My goal is to REALLY declutter it over the next few weeks so that I can make it into a nice peaceful space. I have the good fortune to be able to work from home sometimes, and I plan to make it into a work space as well. 

Here are some before pictures.

One side that faces our driveway. The front door is on the left, and to the right is the door that enters our living room. The little golden thing at the bottom of the picture is the dog that I'm currently watching.
That is a shelving unit from Ikea along with the matching baskets. In the baskets are such things as dog leashes/bags/collars, my hats/gloves/scarves, my shoes that I wear in the winter (boots, heavy sneakers), and my sons' hats. One of the basket-less shelves holds old binders for school (we try to reuse them each year if possible) and a black basket with loose leaf paper, pens, etc. 

On the left of the unit is something that really belongs in my car, shopping bags, and rock salt. On the right is one of those plastic rolling carts that holds yet more paper, pens, markers, crayons, etc. Finally, there is a giant fake ficus tree. I used to have twinkle lights on it and kept it in my living room but the lights broke and when I redid the LR, I moved this monstrosity to the porch for lack of a better place to put it. I will discuss the fate of the ficus later.

This is facing the inside of the house. The door and ficus tree are to the left of the green end table. On the other side of the windows is my living room. 
There's my cheap little office couch that works just fine. In fact, when the room was less cluttered, I often liked to curl up and take a nap out there on weekends. 

I love the table (although there's a lot of junk in there) and the box on top of it is some college stuff for my son that will be removed soon. You can see the cedar chest in the foreground. In the back right is another Ikea shelving unit that holds games and books, which also need to be sorted. Many of them are my husband's books from COLLEGE. It's hard to convince him that the laws of business have changed and his Finance 101 textbook is no longer relevant.

This faces the street. The front door is to the right. The is obviously the same type of shelving unit from Ikea with baskets. They hold an old video recorder, tapes that need to be made into CDs, candles and candle holders, some toys, and other miscellaneous stuff. The shoe rack to the left is falling apart, and I should really invest in a better quality one when I get the chance. Those shoes belong to my sons, and their feet are HUGE. Although why my older son needs five pairs of boots and four pair of sneakers is beyond me. He takes after my husband, who is a shoe whore.  

Atop the shelf you can see my penchant for candle lanterns. I love them, but I never quite know where to put them. I don't have any plans to get rid of them though. The globe is an old family heirloom so that will stay, but the radio/CD player can be donated. 

This is just a different view of the street facing windows. The view out my windows is of the street, and the windows are high enough to offer plenty of privacy while letting in a lot of light and nice views of the trees and landscaping of the giant house across the street. 

This is an overall view that is opposite from the wall with the other shelves and the ficus tree.

Much of the work here is to declutter...again. Someday I would love to replace one of the storage units and the couch with wicker furniture and make it more of a conversation area. Right now, when I do sit out here, there is only enough seating for two people. The windows make it hard to do much else other than keep the shelving on its side. Otherwise, I'd stand it up and put a nice chair out there. 

I think the ultimate goal would be to declutter enough that I don't even need the second shelf. Then I could make a case for a couple of nice chairs or something. 

Anyway, this is my next project. I had planned to do my basement by the end of 2014, but that is just too overwhelming right now. Plus, I really want to be able to use this room more when I work from home. It will be warm/cool enough to last me until late October or November before I have to turn on the little space heater. 

I will keep you posted with my progress. 

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