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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cheapskate good karma/ Computer room redecoration

I have been smiled upon by the cheapskate gods, who look after the newly unemployed and their relatives. I wanted to convert my computer room/junk room to a real workspace.  I didn't want to spend very much money.  This project began last summer, when I moved my desk in there, but got derailed by my troubles/breakup with T and then by the windows remodel, and then by the house painting and then by the work troubles. You get the picture.  Anyway, now that all that is done I'm back on track, and needed a useable workspace now that I no longer have my work office.
The first order of business was storage.  I got rid of a lot of books to accommodate my chemistry books but stil needed space for my files. I got a massive wooden file cabinet, in good condition, for $25 at Salvation Army, along with a end table for my printer for $10. They even match my desk pretty well.
Having acquired most of what I needed for my home office, I took my old furniture (weird-ass junk cabinet salvaged from the side of the road* and mini end cabinet) out to the garage.  While I was doing that I saw  my neighbors moving a tall cabinet to the side of the road.  It had a 'FREE' sign on it*.  If it had been a bookshelf my life would've been complete, but the cabinet would've been a bit much for the room.  As I was walking back to my house, my mom showed up.  She wanted to go take a look at it, and decided she wanted it. So I got the dolly and we wheeled it over to my garage.  I don't think it was out for more than 5 minutes.

Having tackled the file cabinet issue and my mom's ongoing book storage issue, I decided to go get some cellular shades for the windows.  I like my living room ones so much that I wanted to do the same thing in the computer room.  I stopped off at Home Depot.  They didn't have the cellular shades, but they did have some sliding panel shades on sale.  I've been wanting to get some for the sliding glass door, but it was pretty low priority and they are normally pricy.  The rail was 60% off, and the panels were marked about 30% off.  When I paid, the panels rang up at $0.01/each instead of $18/ each.  The clerk called the manager over, and the manager said to let me have them at that price.  Score!  So instead of paying $165 (full price), or $100 (sale price), I paid $22. Then I went to Lowe's and bought the cellular shades.  Because these windows are a non-standard size, I had to get the Levelor trimmable kind.  There were more expensive and not as soft than the ones I used in the living room, but other than that they are pretty similar.
The cellular shades were easier to install than the living room ones.  Levelor gets an A+ for simplicity of installation.  The only hard part was the awkward angle at which I was working.
The sliding panel shades were entirely another matter, however.  They were the biggest pain in the ass of any mini-blinds or curtains that I've ever installed, and I've installed a lot.  They were hugely fussy.  Lots of screws, moving parts, chiral centers, and things to trim.  Not good. I'm starting to understand why they were marked down so much. I won't even tell you how long it took.  I give them a F for ease of installation. I'm really glad I didn't pay full price.

Anyway, it's done and it looks nice. Now I have a nice area to work and can finally have some privacy at the back door.

* My parents and I are apparently in not the only cheapskates in Sunnyvale. I don't think people here need to bother with Freecycle.   The laziest way to get rid of something is to put it out in your front yard with a 'free' sign on it.  It usually disappears within a few hours.  I have used this to get rid of stuff and have also acquired stuff this way.  Sometimes I've gotten something this way, used it for a few years, and then gotten rid of it the same way.

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