Thursday, August 30, 2012

Easy Peasy You Can Too!

OK Girlfriends
Yesterday and this morning I received numerous comments and emails concerning my tidy way of living.
Several gals believed that 
A - they could never do it
B- never maintain it
C- afford to do it
and then a few want to do it,
but are lost as to where to begin.
Well I'm gonna knock those thoughts up with 
the Mars Rover
no pretty pics, just info

The first thing I do for myself and any client is to see if shelving can be added to any closet, because it's cheap, it's easy to do.
In this laundry area I added one additional long shelf across the back and you'll soon see multiple shelves off to the right of the dryer under an eave, to hold appliances 
that are infrequently used.
I also added a small shelf right above the dryer originally planning to keep soaps there but they dripped sometimes and looked messy so I changed to a basket I could easily remove from top of dryer. 
I also keep a pretty woven laundry basket there but this a.m. it was upstairs waiting to be emptied.

Lock and Lock  boxes and ricers/ Martha's Storage I have had for decades

Once I have additional shelving, I start my basket or bin or jar systems. Now I have been collecting jars and bins and baskets for 30 some years and always on sale, with coupons etc...
so don't expect you have to do it all at once. 
Try a shelf at a time, spread it out over months. OR Use plastic shoe bins to start. They're 1.00 ea. The smaller drawer bins are sold in multiples for a few dollars also. You can use inexpensive canning jars, recycled plastic bottoms of containers.
Get as creative as your budget allows.


Drip dry Hangers accessible for hanging on door rack/ Lock and Locks/ my seldom used ricer

Why the basket or bins?
Using this system assures continuity.
In other words you would have to TRY to make it messy again.
When there is a basket for JUST drip dry hangers, or 
tupperware etc, you merely toss it and everything goes where it should...and you'll find it just as quickly next time.
No shoving aside, things falling over, or shoved "just anywhere".

Another major problem for almost every client.
as in tupperware or saved empty butter containers.
No one EVER has that many leftovers.
Invest in a stacking set of no more than 
3ea of large, medium, small.
Then three lock and locks or similar storage for cookies,
or major party leftovers. THAT IS ALL YOU NEED.
Most of you will free up an entire shelf or two.
I see it in every house.
Also never used gadgets. Purge those babies,
or give to a gourmet who might use (once).
No one needs 15 spatulas, four garlic presses,
12 mixing bowls.
no client...

Muffin tins, cake pans, small cookie sheets/cooling racks tucked between baskets/ silpats cheesecloth

 I also use these inexpensive plastic shelving risers to separate heavy items. If you have 10 platters stacked you have to move all ten to get out one, whereas my way each one slips right out. On top of platters are my wicker trays, serving baskets.

To the left are aprons, paper lunch sacks, laundry delicate bags,
a dustpan tucked in and a lint basket easy to remove and empty.
Some wire baskets are hung from a nail up top.

This is the side shelving, holding crockpot, mixers, cookie sheets, blender, grinder, ice buckets, panini press etc.
At the middle left are the pants hangers I use for drip dry.
I attached industrial pipe straight out from wall.
If you have the room, this is great for drip dry also .
For drip dry I use a fold down flip up rack 
attached to garage door just beyond laundry.
Originally there were ugly bifold doors in laundry closet. I removed and added full length floor to ceiling ivory corduroy curtains from Ikea. Small peek at basket on floor where I throw non clothing items to be washed....rugs, rags, dog toys etc

Drip dry in use. 
You can also see stick on lights I have on shelves 
in dark corner.

In other baskets and on shelves I have bakeware, 
pizza stones, plastic wraps etc.
The more you keep the baskets solely for one type of item, the 
less likely you are to just dump anywhere.
If you are really tight on space, try to keep like items together
as much as possible.
If you need reminding, add stick on labels or tie on tags.

Added shelving to door for small easily lost items.
Wine rack on bottom actually holds long pkgs of pasta and 
ramen packages. ( I see I need to add to grocery list)
Seldom used liquors fill up each side on floor.
Yes, my cans are on risers. Available almost everywhere.
The one I have contracts and expands as needed.

Baskets hold similar products.
Baking, tomato sauce products, pasta.
pull out the basket, select item, push back.
I take instant oatmeal, granola bars etc out of original packaging 
and each gets it's own basket. easy to grab and go.
Easy to see quantity for shopping, nothing gets shoved to the back and expires out of sight.
Instruction booklets for appliances at the ready,
easy to locate.

These jars are two deep, holding far more product in the same space. Air tight, no critters. All dried products go in jars.

These are also two deep.
Clear jars make it easy to identify product, no labels required.

See the two shallow shelves I tucked way up top? Half the depth of regular shelves. Every inch used.

Top and bottom shelves have small lazy susan's.
Center shelf holds most used products at eye level.
Corn starch, honey, vinegar, vanilla, baking soda.

Everyday dishes use stacking shelves also.

Mini dividers in drawers.
Keep like items together as much as possible.

Are you still with me or did your eyes glaze over 
awhile back?
I don't have to "Work" at this,
once you set it up, it takes care of itself. Honestly.
Next time a boring tv show is on, or you are waiting for a call or on a long chat, work on just one shelf or drawer.
Use those Michaels, Jo Anns and Kohls coupons for 
storage containers. When they're already half off and you get an additional 25-30% SCORE!

This doesn't have to be daunting at all.
Buy lots of sizes of containers. Return what you don't use. Don't spend hours measuring for sizes etc. 
Just know your width and depth.
You can spend a fortune and make it all pretty,
or use what you have. For me? tidy and pretty enough for behind closed doors.

Do I get teased about this?
you bet
Do I care?

You see I can find my brulee torch
 nutcracker, bottle opener, garlic press,
egg slicer and wine stopper before you can snap your fingers.
I don't buy the same groceries over and over because I think I don't have it, or cannot find it.
Being organized keeps your life simple,
not difficult.

I have very little storage, so I am forced to 
be creative and organized, yeah - yeah I would be anyway.
Sometimes I think these mega kitchens
 and closets make things worse for some.
Nature abhors a vacuum.

I hope you have found an idea or two 
or at least are inspired to tackle your storage issues
in your own way.
If you have thought recently,
"I'll just stick/shove/toss it here for now, 
and deal with it later..." probably have issues.

More to come,
stay with me.
You're getting oldgreymare for free.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nothing is Safe

Nothing is safe around here.
From the purge/tidy monster.

Not pantry, utensil drawer,
fridge or laundry room.

Not obsessively clean, but frequently tidy,
that's me.

A little known fact about this gal.
I came within a whisper of joining the military.
Yep, me! Took the tests and everything.
I was floundering post college days
and the regimen appealed to me.
Gosh, ya think?

I still like everything lined up in neat rows,
bedding tucked snug,
mirrors polished.

I hear my Dad's voice
"A place for everything and everything in its place."
Pop was a fan of Ben Franklin,
(but there is no definitive proof he was the first to say this,
I checked)

I guess this Mackintosh did not fall far from the tree.

It makes me happy.
It makes my life
easy and simple.

I step back and inspect, 
"ahh, now that's better"

oh crap..thunder...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wet Bird & Dog Poop

So I don't write for weeks and when I do?
I title it wet bird and dog poop.
What can I say?
It's just the way this noggin functions.

It rained.
and lots and lots
Parts of the city are flooded
All the streets are flooded.
Never fear - way typical for lala land.
Looked out the studio window and saw this poor fella
perched and enduring the rain.
Normally I would not have been able to see but 
the center of all the ash trees in lala land are sick,
so poor tree, poor dove, but lucky shot :D

No phone, no cable, no internet all morning.
Kinda nice. Played music full blast.
My Sharona, Hooked on a Feeling, Lady Willpower
Channeling my youth...
bringing up memories.
It is visceral to me.
If I'm not careful, the wrong song slips in,
and I spiral to another place.
Not wise on a gloomy day.

The rain on the tin roof on the porch is 
 a glorious sound.
Called DD in NYC and held the phone up
so she could hear "home".
She said she wished the sleep sofa was still out there.
We used to race to open it and pile on
 when the rains began ...way back in the day.
Grateful for the memories.

oh and the poop?
well some of you may recall that Howie 
marches to the beat of a different drummer.
a very backward marching, off tune, out of step 

When Howie becomes frightened, 
by oh, lets say

He has the shit scared out of him.


Shoots out the back like a cannon
and you had better be up range.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pooches and Posterior Sweat

                                Justice                                        Howie

Pant Pant, Sweat Sweat
stinky dog-sweat smell
105 w/ 25% humidity

They were outside just long enough
to wee a little and back inside they came.
I am trying to put away piles of tote fabric 
back into some semblance of organization and 
I also swapped out two cupboards, one into the studio.
Did the old large piece of furniture on a drop cloth pull trick...
Up AND down two flights of stairs.
(Yep, she IS crazy)

Growing my hairs out, 
(plucking the chin ones),
and I had forgotten how with longer hair, 
the sweat accumulates at the nape of your neck 
and then like droplets on a car window,
joins with other droplets into a raging stream,
rolls down past the shoulders, channels itself into
 the back groove, and then slides wickedly beneath 
the pant waistband, down into....
the posterior area.
Or is it just me? sigh

My Oregonian friends Kathy and Kathleen,
here's a proposition...
since you two always want the warmth
 and I always want the rain,
what say we swap homes each summer
from now on.....
Don't even need to call first,
you know the key is hidden,
or try the keypad with St Anthony's assistance. :D

Hope your weekend weather is wonderful,
or at least you have a change of underwear if need be.