Friday, October 9, 2015

Day 9: Declutter Your Choice. My Choice? My Living Room

Read the previous entry in this series:  Day 8: Any Kitchen Cabinet or start at the beginning with the Introduction: 5 Ways Clutter Costs.

Yay! Another "Your Choice" Day. I chose my living room for obvious reasons.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner for us--and I'm hosting this year (my choice.) Obviously, I can't entertain in a space like this.

As I tidied and cleaned up, I realised that I really should have chosen a different topic for this series.

One big dog bed. That's all my couch is! But doesn't he look cosy there in his little nest.

It's true, that compared to some, I don't have a lot of clutter.

Sorry for the blur.

But clutter is completely personal. That's because the level of clutter that each of us is able to tolerate is different. And it can be different for us at different times of our lives, too. The house truly is outside my clutter comfort zone.

But truthfully, my thoughts are totally focused on cleaning.

Slipcover in the wash. Olive green in no longer my colour. I need to scooch the rug over.

I kind of wish I'd done a "Fall Cleaning" series for this 31 day writing challenge. But I didn't for two reasons. 1) I've done it before and 2) I just don't have time.

I've been looking and looking for a suitable tray and I just haven't found one.

 Those orange pillow covers which were over these blue ones read far too pink for my liking. I took them off to exchange for some mustard coloured ones. The cushion has a spring sticking out of it, so I put it up to remember to show my husband and ask him to snip it for me.

This carpet is really getting me down. When I called to have it cleaned, the price was twice what I paid for it in the first place. I choked. Told myself, I'd clean it myself.

Now I wish I'd just shelled out and sent it out.

It'd be back by now and clean.

I hate "wasting"my free choice on what should be a daily habit--I should be doing a ten to fifteen minute pick up and put away every day. Today, I had hoped I would get to one of my many unfinished projects. Those count as clutter too.

But no.

Tomorrow and day after we're focused on clothes. Day 10: The Clothes Closet and Day 11: Dresser Drawers. I did both of these as part of the Closet Cure with Apartment Therapy. If you did too, you get a by--or more free days! As for me and the blog, I'll be totally cheating and posting links to those posts.

And I'll be cleaning, cooking, and maybe, just maybe getting to one or two of those projects.

Read the next entry in this series Day 10: Clothes Closet

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to catch them all. Sign up to have each post delivered to your e-mail.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 8: Any Kitchen Cabinet

Read the previous entry in this series:  Day 7: Any kitchen drawer,  or start at the beginning with the Introduction: 5 Ways Clutter Costs.

Oh my, you guys, this was a tough one. I could have picked any cabinet--every cabinet--they are such a mess. But this one was bothering me in particular. I wasn't sure what was in here (never a good thing when it comes to food) and I found myself putting away the hot chocolate mix three times a day!

So here is the before:

Well, no this is the "true" before: everything is on the floor where I can see it and deal with it. (yeah, the counter and the table were, ahem, kind of cluttered.)

So, I moved some unopened packages to the basement pantry, consolidated the rice, repackaged (popcorn kernals into a jar and then into the freezer), spooned the hot chocolate in to a glass jar to be left on the counter (why fight it?) and tossed some questionable cereal and a stale sleeve of soda crackers. This Bisquick? Expired in 2013. No, wait, the package didn't say that, it said:

So, not a terribly impressive toss pile, but that's OK. Actually, it's better than OK--but it makes for a boring picture!

Bad blogger: forgot to take a picture before I emptied out the cereal. Oh well.

And here we are, everything back in the cabinet:

That was a fun little project. Tell me, are you having fun?

Read the next entry in this series Day 9: Your Choice

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to catch them all. Sign up to have each post delivered to your e-mail.


ORC Week 1: Creating a Dressing Room from Chaos

I think I am being too ambitious for my own good.

Out of three past attempts, I've only made it by the deadline once.

But I guess that's why it's called a challenge!

Yes, once again, I am participating as a guest in the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda at Calling It Home.  It's five weeks from the Before to the Reveal (even though most people say it is six weeks, it is not). Over the course of six posts, I'll take you through the process of converting an awkward space over at my mother's into a glam --but very budget friendly-- dressing room.

For the last couple of years, I have been helping my mother recover from hoarding tendencies which developed over a long period of depression. When we demolished her bedroom closet during her bedroom make-over (ORC Spring 2014), I promised her we would "do something" with the little area she wasusing as a dressing room--an odd shaped space behind the bathroom.

That promise is over-due.

The area really is weird. Here is a floor plan.

Our plan is to take out those walls in green and make it one big area. (The back wall is thirteen feet long and the main area is just short of five feet wide.) The "wall" by the letter B is no wall at all--just railings for the stairs.

The Befores

The first picture is taken standing at "A" with the camera pointed in the direction shown.

I wish we had the budget for a new fan light, but sadly we don't.

I plan to mount drapes from the ceiling where the railings are--and across this bit here (about the middle of the screen) for a "door." A new wall out of drywall and a real door aren't in thetimeline--or the budget!

Beside the shelves we have a window. It faces west and gets lovely light.

This next picture was taken from point "B" looking at the closet at the end of the "hall."

The carpet is coming out.

Those shelves above the desk used to continue all the way down the wall where the desk is now.

It's a really tight squeeze through those bifold doors into that closet. Stuff gets put in there and forgotten.

So it's coming out. Who needs a closet in a closet?


A previous one room challenge!

I think our drapes need to be a bit more opaque than these, but this is exquisite.

Only thing is, we have more shoes.

Mom really likes this idea for bracelets and necklaces. I've never seen double pronged hooks like that. Anyone know what they are and where I can find them?
source (the original seems to have vanished)

Punch List:
Empty out every last little thing
Take down remaining shelving
Tear down closet
Repair dry wall and rebuild closet bit
Prep and paint walls
Tear out carpet
Lay down new flooring
Install new light fixture (in the old closet)
Find a bench/make one
Assemble Pax Wardrobes
Install closet rod(s)
Install shoe shelves
Figure out Jewellery storage/display
Move clothes back in.

But honestly, no matter what we do, we will not get it all back in. 

Yep, that's the room we created during the ORC, Spring 2014.

Here are my previous ORC's:

Spring 2014: Mom's bedroom (over deadline by a week)
Fall 2014: My Living Room (done on time!)
Spring 2015: My Dining Room (Technically still not finished. Just need to finish one last thing.)

Join us all for the fun! I've gotten to know some interesting people from past One Room Challenges. Check them out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 7: Any kitchen drawer

Read the previous entry in this series:  Day 6: The Storage Containers: Don't Declutter Just to Declutter  or start at the beginning with the Introduction: 5 Ways Clutter Costs.

Some of you have mentioned that you are falling behind. Let me say this now, as clearly as I can: there is no behind. There is only forward. We all work at our own pace and as long as you're making progress--even if it is at the pace of the tortoise, you are moving forward. Remember, it all counts. (I mentioned to my mom the other day that I could just do Day 1 and clear the kitchen counters every day of the month--it would just be boring to read!)

Today's declutter mission was really quick. I got it done while dinner cooked!

This drawer holds our different wraps and plastic bags. It's also the place where my husband stashes extra bread bags and cutlery packets and wet-wipes from a local take-out place.

The bread bags are useful. We throw blocks of cheese in them. I put a roast in one today to freeze it. You know, there will never be a shortage of bread bags. So, in order to keep ourselves from being over run, I set a limit on the number we keep (3) --the rest we toss. What that means is, usually I find five or six waded up in the drawer and I go through periodically (usually when I have trouble shutting the drawer!) and get rid of all but three.

But the cutlery and the wet-wipes?
Never use them. Ever. Yes, I've mentioned it. They show up anyway.

So here is the toss pile:

Boom da da boom:

Looking the picture, it looks dirty along the edges there, doesn't it. It isn't. I cleaned the drawer while I had it empty: remember, it is 67 years old. 

Do you ever keep too much of a good thing? Would setting a limit help? Decide how much is enough.

 Read the next entry in this series Day 8: Any kitchen cabinet

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to catch them all. Sign up to have each post delivered to your e-mail.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day 6: The Storage Containers. Don't declutter just to declutter.

Read the previous entry in this series:  Day 5: Decluttering the Recipe Binder and a Few Words about Menu Planning. or start at the beginning with the Introduction: 5 Ways Clutter Costs.

I needed a quick and easy one tonight, folks.
I thought this would be easy: match the tops with the bottoms and see what's left.
It was easy. There was one lid left.

But then, I got to thinking about all my mason jars and the foil "takeout" type containers I've purchased to store home-made make-ahead freezer meals. Those are downstairs in my basement pantry.

And I looked at them and I thought: why toss them?

Sure, I haven't made too many make-ahead meals (and when I do I just use my 8x8 pyrex) and my days of making broths and boiling beans are pretty much at an end for now...and they aren't that expensive to replace...but

and here it is....the reason to keep them....

I have the room.

Someday I will make broth from roasted bones again, someday I will make up some jam, someday, I just might break out that canner and get to risking botulism.

Normally, "someday" is a good reason to let things go. But this is not a wish or a dream or an aspiration. I've done it before, I'll do it again. I have a track record with these things. There are seasons of life we all go through. This is a busy one. It will slow down. Someday. Until then, these can stay here.

What are your goals for decluttering?
Ever had a situation like mine where you decided to leave well enough alone?

 Read the next entry in this series Day 7: Any Kitchen Drawer

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to catch them all. Sign up to have each post delivered to your e-mail.


A Retrospective 5.The Dining Room, 2007 to (early) 2015

To celebrate my blog's eighth anniversary, we're taking a tour through time and looking at the changes I've made to our house over the years. This is the fifth in the series. The last areas to be featured were the Bedrooms, 2007-2014. If you'd like to start at the beginning, go here: The Front and Back Yards, 2007-2014. You can also catch all the retrospective posts under the Prairie Home Tour tab.

This room has been known by many names. The Office. The Scraproom (or, as it is labeled here on the blog, my "creative space.") Recently, I took to calling it "the study." But that just felt pretentious--especially as I decluttered 80 per cent of the books out of here earlier this year!

So. Let's call it the dining room--which it is about three times a year.

The rest of the year it is my sanctuary, my haven.

It wasn't always that way! In fact, it started out quite the opposite.

These posts are quite long, so click through to read through, thanks!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 5: Decluttering the Recipe Binder and a Few Words about Menu Planning

Read the previous entry in this series:  Day 4: The Freezer or start at the beginning with the introduction: 5 Ways Clutter Costs.

This recipe binder represents fourteen years of learning to cook. Seriously.
I did not learn to cook until my daughter was born.

This is at capacity. Any more recipes would be annoying.

I mean, I cooked. I knew how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch. I knew how to make muffins and how to make lentil soup. I could make anything--as long as I followed a recipe. The trick was making dinner--night after night after night.

When I had my daughter 15 years ago, I realised I had no idea how to cook and clean for four people, two of whom could not control their bowels. Somehow, I found fly lady--and through her, Leanne Ely.

Leanne Ely has written a series of cookbooks called Saving Dinner. (There is now a website of the same name, I see.) In each cookbook, she divided the year into seasons and then further subdivided the seasons into weeks. Every week had six recipes--and an accompanying grocery list. (This was fifteen years ago, remember. Revolutionary.)

In time, I learned to make a menu plan for myself. I would plan seven dinners and then make up a shopping list. Sometimes we'd have Monday's dinner on Wednesday--it really didn't matter. I knew I had all the ingredients. For a long time, I even planned a month's worth of meals at a time.

Over time, I collected recipes. Some of them arefrom Leanne Ely's books: I used them somuch the pages fell out--so I just popped them into a page protector and into a binder and away I went.
I consult the binder first when I'm planning the week.

What I do now--and I don't do it the "best" way--not at all--is I look at Safeway's on-line flyer and see what's on sale. I plan whatever meat we're going to eat from what's on sale.

Then, I go down to the freezer and see what meat we have on hand. I make a quick list. (I tell ya, a voice-activated inventory app on the freezer would be so handy.) It could go something like this:

Me: "Suri, I'm taking out the chicken legs."
Suri: "With back attached or without?"

Me: "Suri, I'm putting in some ground beef."
Suri: "Expiry date?"

Me, upstairs at the computer: "Suri, show me all the fish I have in the freezer and rank by expiry date, soonest to latest."

Wouldn't that be great?

As I went through the book, I asked myself:
"Will we ever eat this again?"
"If I've never made it, would I want to try it?"

There were even some duplicates!

Now, I can menu plan more easily. (Bonus: I found the recipes for the dishes I cook at Thanksgiving. I'd thought they were somewhere else! Good thing--Thanksgiving is next weekend!)

For meal planning, I use a form based on one I got in a Simplify 101 course. (They also have an e-book on menu planning.) My menu planning form has room only for dinners. It's what I need.

On the left, there's room to record the expected temperature--and my work hours. That helps me plan whether we want something BBQ'd or cooked in the crock pot, for example.

At the bottom of the form is the place to record my groceries.

I find it so handy to have my menu plan with me when I'm shopping for groceries.

Here is a downloadable printable of it, if you wish to have it. My menu planning form.

(Now, I know there are apps which do all this for you--but I don't have a phone.)

When I have done the shopping, I take my menu planning form and the recipes for the week--and clip them all together on the fridge. That way, I can ask one of those two children, both teenagers now, and learning other life skills, to make dinner--and the information about what to make and the recipe are right there. No excuses! That, to me, is the biggest benefit of menu planning--I can hand off making dinner.

Do you menu plan? Have you got a recipe binder (or something similar)?

 Read the next entry in this series Day 6: Food Storage Containers, or Don't Declutter Just to Declutter

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to catch them all. Sign up to have each post delivered to your e-mail.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...