Around the House in 80 Hours: Progress Week One – Bathroom

Bathroom 19

This week we have concentrated on the bathroom, which has needed such a lot of work done to it.  We only have one bathroom between the seven of us (we have a second loo upstairs but only one bath/shower), which means this bathroom has to work hard and, as a corner room off the kitchen it fights an on going battle with damp and mold.  My goal this week was to get rid of anything which was harbouring damp (bathroom rug) and create ways to improve the flow of air and absorption of damp air.  However, we had zero budget.  Yup, zero.  So how did we do?

  • Between us we clocked up 30 hours of work
  • We went through every nook and cranny, organising, decluttering and streamlining to the best of our ability
  • Thomas moved the huge wooden cabinet from the bathroom to the teen den and replaced it with a smaller one from the living room which is small enough to allow the air to flow around it and for it to see far enough away from the bath so it doesn’t begin to rot.
  • The girls organised the shoe area (always a disaster, even with the shelves Thomas put up), cleaned the washing machine and tumble dryer area and went through our cleaning cupboard.
  • Thomas scrubbed the bath, tiles and window sill clean
  • The little ones cleaned and scrubbed the walls and skirting in readiness for paint.
  • I painted the walls, shelves, skirting and enclosures
  • Gary changed a broken tile, measured up for the wood needed to complete the bath area, put up a curtain rail and measured the diameter for another rail fitting for the front of the laundry area

See, lots of work!  I painted with a gloss paint which we’d had for I don’t know how many years and I am certain was ‘off’, but it was all we had and beggars can’t be choosers 🙂  It went on fine and was white despite its brown appearance in the pot!

I had wanted to bring in some plants and greenery, but we were not in a position to buy any, so I went looking in the garden.  We have a huge bay tree in our front garden which Thomas trims regularly so it doesn’t get out of hand.  I thought I’d pop some branches in a vase a see how long they lasted.

Our bathroom is so damp that we have trouble keeping any plant alive in there, so even if these leaves look and smell great for a week, our tree is big enough that replacing the branches weekly is a possibility.  Apologies for the number of photos, I may have gone a bit mad (I was so chuffed by the results 🙂   )

The loo corner:

Bathroom 7

Next to the basin:

bathroom 1

Opposite the loo and next to the bath:

Bathroom 2

Bathroom 3

My laundry basket, which I LOVE!  Gary bought it from a charity shop as one of my Christmas Presents last year.  I just love how cheerful it is 🙂

Bathroom 4

Bathroom 6

bathroom 5

A close up of the beautiful herby hearts which Nik’s mum made me for my fortieth birthday.  I thought these would be perfect for the bathroom and I will add essential oils to help keep the bathroom smelling fresh:

Bathroom 15

And around to the left, the bath/shower and window.  I sewed these curtains by hand two decades ago, and they are still going strong.  Gary put up a flimsy rail on two hooks so we are able to take the curtains down for the few hours each night when everyone showers or baths.  I will then hang them back up again after my bath (I am the last to bath).  I am hoping the curtains will go some way to absorbing some of the damp.  We have used them for this purpose before and they have really helped in the past:

Bathroom 10

Bathroom 11

And a couple of photos looking through the door from the kitchen to the bathroom:

Bathroom 16

Bathroom 18

Charlotte did a marvelous job killing all the mold in and around our bathroom cupboards.  I guess it is maybe one of the disadvantages of living in such an old house, but we fight an ongoing battle with mold growing all over the bathroom.  So long as we clean down the walls frequently we can keep on top of it, but I am not so diligent with the cupboards.  These are two cottagey cupboards, the cream of which we bought at a charity shop in Northern Ireland for £10.  A bargain and just right for our cottage bathroom:

Bathroom 7

We also cleaned our shower head using only vinegar.  I was a definite skeptic as far as the whole vinegar and baking soda natural products went.  Add the skepticism to the lack of a supplier of cheap vinegar and you have someone who relies on non-natural cleaning products.  However, this summer I had decided we would use up what we had and then bite the bullet and give it a try.  A few weeks ago I sprayed vinegar on the shower, taps and window and left it.  I kinda forgot about it (very typical of me!) and when I remembered I showered all the vinegar away…..and all the hard water deposits had gone!  The windows were sparkling (our shower pelts down on the window each time it is used), the shower head was dropping the most revolting looking black deposits and the taps looked fairly good too.  I was blown away!  Charlotte less so 🙂

shower head

I’ve since done a bit of research and will have a vinegar Spar-klean Science coming up shortly.

I also have created myself a household management folder.  Yes, I know, I should have had one of these at the beginning of my marriage, but alas I did not.  But I do now 🙂

Gary and I have decided to do a sheet for each room in the house and we and the children can add things on.  Our house has so much foot traffic in it all day long, that things get old very quickly.  The list is sure to grow.  Each week, we will choose one room to work on something on the list and get it crossed off.  Here is the list I made, with Gary’s input, for the bathroom:

CaptureThis coming week we will be focusing our efforts and work hours on the Kitchen, and upstairs loo (both rooms are too small to have all the family working in at the same time, so we shall divide and conquer)

Again, apologies for the photos.  You have probably all seen way more pictures than you could possibly ever want to of my bathroom.  But it is a very beautiful bathroom, no?  And it cost absolutely nil pennies 🙂


  1. Love your ideas for organizing and cleaning the bathroom. Yes, the vinegar baking soda concoction really works doesn’t it! I keep eyeing that towel rack you’ve got there, and some of the other shelving ideas. I need to get moving on more organization in our bathroom. And hey, guess what? We’ve exactly the same colour scheme for towels, right down to the shades. We must be in the know! Happy room cleaning!

  2. Your bathroom looks great and it isn’t too many photos. You NEVER post too many photos, Claire. I happen to love the paint color. You all did a fantastic job of fixing a space with no money spent. The bay leaves look beautiful in their vase and being able to replace them on a whim is a great bonus. Once again, no money spent. You can’t beat a deal like that. We don’t have a bath window that opens and we do have an exhaust fan, but still have a little trouble with mold. Keeping on it is key. Baking soda and vinegar does work and it is cheap over here. Looking forward to your next project. Have a great day, Claire and family. Hugs to you.

  3. The bathroom looks lovely! I think your changes will help the air flow in the room a great deal!

    I grew up in a family of six kids (five were girls) and only one shower/bathroom. Damp is certainly a problem I can relate to. =) I remember an incident (funny now, but not then) when my poor father got rather upset about the number of damp towels hung on the curtain rod to “dry” all at the same time. One of his solutions was a small fan he had junk-picked which was strategically placed to blow damp air out of the bathroom when the room wasn’t in use. When spending money isn’t an option, it is quite amazing what a little ingenuity will accomplish!

  4. You all did great! What a lovely space. We struggle with dampness too. The “girls” bathroom that Anne and I share is extremely small (you can barely turn around in it). Luckily we have a window to open and let the room air out.
    Blessings, Dawn

  5. Your bathroom looks lovely, and y’all did a great job. I’ll have to try the vinegar idea for my shower, we have horrible problems with hard water and calcium deposits (and it is completely foreign to me to think of vinegar as expensive).

  6. I also have only had a household management folder very recently in our marriage! It definitely helps me be more consistent. Your bathroom looks lovely, and it is so nice that the whole family worked on it together 🙂

  7. Just catching up on your lovely blog. No need to apologise for the photos. It’s like looking at an estate agent’s glossy brochure. I can’t believe I get so caught up in your enthusiasm I find myself reading even your to do lists! No wonder you manage to get everyone on board so magnificently. 😊

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