LANAI-PLAYROOM: Costs for Blinds and Deciding on Curtains (Plus More Purging) 

We measured our lanai doors today and ran to Showcase Carpet to get a quote on roller blinds.  I measured the doorways for inside mount, with 2 panels per doorway.  For inside mount, both doorways measure 98″ width, 8.25″ length.  Each panel is thus 49″ width.  I was confident about an inside mount because my walls are 3.5″ thick. 

Grace from Showcase gave me quotations for 2 kinds of shades: 

  1. Block out: Php 6,700.00 for 2 panels, or 1 doorway. 
  2. Dim out: Php 5,500.00 for 2 panels, or 1 doorway. 

Since there are 2 doorways in the lanai, I need to get 4 blinds, for a total of 11k or 13,400.

I would have preferred just sunscreens out instead of block out shades, since it’s going to be for the lanai, not a bedroom – it’s basically a sun porch, hello.  But they weren’t offering white “dim out” (Showcase’s term) blinds, just this beige-y cream color that looked too office-y for me. I wanted them white so they’d blend with the walls.

I was this close to paying the downpayment for the block out shades.  Showcase seems to work fast, too; if I pay a downpayment before Saturday, they can install the blinds next Thursday. 

But I rushed over to Wilcon as well to check prices. I was hoping I could get something ready made. But the ready made selections are vastly limited in terns of size. For our measurements, we really had to go custom.  I got a quotation for three (3) different brands available in Wilcon.  The cheapest is Php 4,700 per panel. 

Clearly, Showcase is the better option, since for 5k ++ or 6k ++ I’ll be getting 2 sets of roller blinds, instead of 1.  But Showcase closes at 5pm, so I headed home.  I liked Showcase’s pricing and customer service so far, but I wasn’t feeling great about a complete black out in there and I wasn’t excited about the beige shades too.

I went home and finished cleaning and sorting the kids’ toys in the lanai.  I had taken advantage of their being at their grandparents’ house visiting (labor strike, no school again).  Otherwise, Alo will just end up unpacking all the toys I put in our donation boxes (like he did here). 

Well, I was so happy with how clean the lanai turned out that I felt inspired.  The hand-me-down curtains from my mother were dirty and didn’t suit the room at all.  So, on a whim, I measured and noticed that the lanai ceiling was lower than the adjacent dining area.  (The lanai was an add on).  So maybe I didn’t need to get the 96″ curtains I used for the dining room – this has been the reason why I first decided on blinds over curtains.  The cost! Getting curtains (proper long ones!) and the curtain rods combined would leave me spending at least 7k per doorway.

But since the lanai was apparentlty not as high ceiling as the dining room, I realized I may be able to get away with shorter, or regular length, curtains. I pulled out my too-short-for-the-dining room curtains and tried them out in the lanai:

Now try to imagine this room with matching white curtains all across the doorways, no bookcase in the corner, and a darker (reupholstered) loveseat, and an area rug, hehe

I LOVED it.  I was shocked.  Haha.  I need 4 panels per doorway (testing out how it looks with just 2 panels in that photo).  If I can get those same curtains for those doors, then it will come out cheaper than blinds.  Those curtains are from this brand, Pauline’s, available in Uratex, and they sell them per pair for around 300 or 400 something.  As opposed to my Arq Living curtains – sold per panel, ack, for more than double, even triple the price, depending on the design.

I am now so on board with doing curtains.  BUT! (There’s always a but).  I still intend to replace the chunky curtain rods with the same slim black rod I used in the dining room, and I want the new rods in the lanai to be placed higher too.   This means longer curtains – the ones in this photo are only around 87″ length.  Elbe and I measure above the current rods, and I figured I’ll survive with 91-93″ length for curtains.  And I somehow recall being at Uratex and having one of the sales clerks tell me their other set of those Pauline’s curtains measure 95″ length.

Except I’m not entirely sure if that was in Uratex because I’ve been canvassing a lot recently.  Argh.  Well, I am going to skedaddle there tomorrow.  If they have the length I need, then done and DONE.  Curtains it is.  (The H prefers curtains actually, and wasn’t really sold on blinds for the playroom).   

Good things come to those who clean

P.S.  That’s the fan I had repaired.   The 2nd repair person put the blades on backwards like the 1st repair person from West.  Inis!  Back to the shop.  I am so not getting Asahi anything anymore.  Anyhoo, it was supposed to go in the living room, but it works better for the lanai, because the kids like to play on the floor, so the bottom barrel is really useful.  It’s still a big improvement from this electric fan, isn’t it? #lifeinthetropics hay.  (I wonder if the white folk have to worry this much about electric fans in their homes?)


Keeping it Simple – and Problem Areas

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Valiantly trying to KonMari at home

I may not have been working on the house (in terms of decor, repairs, renovations) but I have been cleaning and purging relentless the past months.   Caritas has picked up balikbayan boxes of our donations 3 times this year already, and I already have a 4th batch of donations for Caritas too (I haven’t called them yet for a pick-up schedule because I’m still adding to the bunch).

Like I shared here, I haven’t been actively working on the house the past few months.  As a result, little piles of clutter have started cropping up everywhere.   Oh, I still made an effort to put things away, but the clutter piled up in what I eventually realized are still my problem areas in the house – like that spot under the stairs!

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Sigh.  What a mess.

I’ve actually briefed everyone (and relentlessly kept reminding them) that everything and anything unloaded from the cars go under the stairs.  As you can see, they have taken this to heart.  All the files are neatly corralled in that metal basket – at least!.  But then there’s the laptop bag, and the car seat, and Bo’s walking wings, and sundry other items – like empty pots!  Ugh.

I already have a very efficient drop zone and system for tackling all the mail and bills we get.  But now I realized I still need a better system for the STUFF we get and unload.  This spot under the stairs is that drop zone.   I don’t know what to do about bags right now, and that old car seat of Bo’s.  Somewhere behind the pile is our box of emergency goods, too, for prepper moments; I need to figure out what to do with them as well.  Plus, a spot for shoes by the door since right now they’re sitting on my bamboo stool.

Then there’s the issue of just having too much furniture:

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My little native bench, as you can see, has turned into a shoe rack.  The boxes beside the school station are for the kitchenware I’ve been sorting and purging.

This Muji lounger used to sit in the lanai-playroom.  Then I tried it in the shared boys’ room.  Too crowded.  Pulled it out and stuffed it in the living room.  Too tight.  And now it’s just sitting there by the stairs.  Very awkward.  I should be getting rid of it – and it’s not very comfortable, mind! – but this was the first semi-expensive piece of furniture we’ve ever bought so I’m a little attached to it.  I know I should probably sell or donate it, but I just can’t do it yet.

Then there’s the issue with my living room.  This “progress” shot is long gone.  The help have quit trying to cover up our ugly couch with a sheet, so most days it looks like this:

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Living room from hell

Horrible right?!  Notice the coffee table?  Stupid me got Mang Ariel to put this sort of vinyl-y cover to protect the surface.  It obviously peeled away and chipped.  (Nath of Dekko is going to be horrified).  I’ve since removed my lovely shaggy West Elm rug, because our former yaya kept encouraging the boys to eat and even SLEEP on the rug.  I also finally admitted to myself that it was too darn big for this teeny tiny space.  And my lovely  bench?  As you can see, it has become a glorified patungan ng electric fan.  OH GOSH.  That was the help’s doing and I really can’t blame them, because our old fan is broken and the kids actually like to sit there and we need a fan in that area.

As you can see, I still don’t have curtains, too, and that couch?  Oh that couch.  The awful red-striped ill-fitting fabric is not the upholstery; it’s what’s keeping the stuffings together.  And the foam has become awfully flat and lumpy at the same time.  I could have gotten new upholstery made, but noooo I waited years and years.  It’s actually a great couch – good hard narra wood, with a simple, classic frame.  But the foam has to go, and there’s a missing slat somewhere under the seat.

Basically, I’m back to square one on the living room.  Waaaaaah.

And DON’T get me started on the lanai-playroom.   We removed the single bed from upstairs since no one uses it and now it’s in the lanai too.  We had to get rid of the puzzle mat because the crib is right smack in the middle of the room because I still haven’t set up a more comfy sleeping/napping area for the littlest boys in the shared bedroom!  (Alo often takes his naps on our grubby couch, while Bo sleeps in the lanai).

Shoulda coulda woulda.

You can get a glimpse of the sorry state of the lanai from this photo:

The sliding doors, I know, are really too dark.  I have to do something about them – but that’s out of my budget right now.  I’ve inquired at a shop nearby, and it’s going to cost me around Php 25,000.00 to replace them.  I’m also on the fence about putting curtains or blinds over the sliding doors from the dining area side.

And there you have it.   I’ve done away with my overly detailed checklists for now and decided to keep it simple.  Tackle the most glaring issues.  Otherwise, I’ll never finish anything in this house.

This is my new to-do list (I’m also sharing it here, for quick reference), as of 13 October 2017:

Living Room

  1. new foam for the couch – 10.14.17 ordered
  2. customized sofa covers – 10.14.17 ordered
  3. repair coffee table – 10.17.17 dropped off
  4. replace curtain rods (2)
  5. new, longer curtains (6)
  6. new fan

Dining Room

  1. re-organize white shelves – 10.13.17
  2. clear out mess under the stairs
  3. new stand fan


  1. order black cabinet pulls
  2. remove or donate bed – 10.13.17
  3. paint cabinets
  4. install cabinet pulls
  5. tear out built-in shelves
  6. curtains or blinds? – 10.18.17 curtains (6)!
  7. replace curtain rods (2)
  8. sort and donate kids’ toys (again!) – 10.17.17

Command Center

  1. re-organize cables
  2. re-label file folders – 10.09.17
  3. replenish supplies

School Station

  1. sort and file last school year’s papers – 10.09.17
  2. re-organize supplies bin and drawers
  3. re-label file folders – 10.09.17
  4. replenish supplies
  5. empty out junk from Alo’s side

*Eventually: replace light switches and outlets, ceiling fan for the living room, get plants and pots, hang photos and prints

PROJECT CLEAN HOUSE – Part 1 Updates (Downstairs)

My first Project Clean House update – yay! I gave myself a deadline of until today, April 21, to tackle Part 1 of Project Clean House 2017 – that’s the command center, kitchen, school station, and dining area/under the stairs/living room/entry.  I started Part 1 on April 2, but I gave myself two weeks because I had to factor in our Holy Week holiday. As you can see, I haven’t finished even half of Part 1!

Command Center

  1. File this year’s billing statements, and take out last year’s calendar from our household binder 02 April 2017
  2. Print this year’s calendars and grocery lists, and have them photocopied 05 and 06 April 2017
  3. File away new calendars and grocery lists in their respective binders (punch holes and washi tape included). – 07 and 08 April 2017
  4. Get boxes for the china I’ll be returning to my mother. 06 April 2017
  5. Organize that overhead china cabinet (check supplies there, return the birthday dishes).08 April 2017
  6. Note down supplies needed for command center. 08 April 2017
  7. Switch back the black frames for the white ones (for the print).
  8. Print new copies of cleaning schedule, then laminate 1 copy and put 1 copy in a clipboard for the help. 11 April 2017 
  9. Discuss laundry schedule with help, and revise if needed. 11 April 2017 
  10. Orient the new help on the household binder, grocery lists, laundry and cleaning schedules.
  11. Check and re-organize keys.
  12. Find a spot for Papa’s mail.

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It’s been quiet here lately.  We’ve been away for one – Holy Week break in the Philippines! – and I’ve spent the rest of my free time tackling my Project Clean House tasks.  It hasn’t been easy!!!  I tweaked the calendar and grocery templates I did last year, and cutting everything, gluing the pages together, even punching lines of holes, has been quite tedious.  It has always been tedious – I still can’t figure out how to make the work easier, or quicker.

I also attempted not to buy anything new while I clean.  I’d take note of the items we needed, and promised myself to buy everything after I finish cleaning and organizing everything, but that didn’t work out too well.  For instance, I didn’t have any other letter holder for the mail my dad still gets.  And I didn’t have any extra clipboards lying around either, so I had to get a couple, too.  I needed large white art paper for backing the print in our Command Center (Item #7 for that area – switch back the white frame).  Then I decided I wanted a black and white print for the Command Center, instead of the wood print I got from Co/op.

I still love that Co/op print, by the way, but I left the Walloh Design print that I got for the kids on that spot for a few days aaaaaand I ended up really liking how all that black and white goes with the rest of the items on that little desk.

As you can see, the print is too wide 

So I ended up asking Walloh Design to make me a similar print – with a “home” quote and portrait orientation instead of landscape.

Then I kept getting distracted about other things like wanting to clear up the Command Center even more (it sometimes feels too busy and cluttered for me), and wanting to tackle the kids’ toy cabinet and that TV wall in the lanai-playroom…. FOCUUUUUUUS.  I need to focus.

The above distractions aside, I have been making headway on Phase 1 of Project Clean House. Almost done with the Command Center (except for where to put my dad’s mail), and this afternoon I move on to the kitchen – eeeeek.



If you’re in National Bookstore every week (like meeeeeee) then you’ve no doubt seen those fabric boxes they have, for Large Things, Medium Things, Small Things.  As it turns out, the Medium Things fabric box was perfect for storing and organizing all our warranties and instruction manuals.  I debated getting another Muji file box like the ones I’ve been using all over the house but I figured it might not have enough room.  At one point, I was storing extra antenna for our old TV set with our warranties!  I also used an expanding envelope before and it was bursting in the seams.  I knew I needed something with more space.

I once spotted Sterilite plastic file boxes in True Home in Magnolia (with lid and top handle and all), and to this day, I keep kicking myself for not buying several because True Home still hasn’t restocked.  I also considered getting a basket, so it’d be a bit prettier, but I knew I wanted something with a lid. This NBS fabric box fits A4 hanging holders, is roomy, light, and easy to transport.  I’ll only upgrade if I find something as functional and pretty!


My H and I came up with the categories and he helped me prepare the labels.  I used Eagle hanging file folders (size A4) from Office Warehouse – it came with the tabs.  I made the labels with my Brothers label maker (now a firm favorite).  Oh, notice the blank tab beside Alo’s name? That’s for Baby Boy No. 3.  My little boys each have their own folder because I hold on to some toy assembly instructions, and Laz has a lot of those 1-week warranties/replacement receipts for cables that we seem to buy non-stop for his iPad Mini.


I use resealable zipper storage bags (I had to Google that, because I know Ziploc is a brand and I didn’t want to spend on actual Ziplocs just for my warranties and manuals) by SM Bonus, available in any SM grocery, to coral the receipts, instruction manuals, etc.  I also slipped in a small colored index card for each bag, for easy identification of what appliance or gadget the documents pertain too, and to scribble down notes.  I plan to write down important information there, like maintenance or repair schedules, because I haven’t finished my home binder and I’m not sure I want to write down all the maintenance and repair schedules for all our stuff at home in that binder.

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