Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Once in awhile a corner can become a catch-all.  A few days ago I helped Twyla revamp her basement corner.  Now I'm not gonna lecture you all today on Purge-Sort-Practice.  I know you've got it all down pat.  What I am gonna tell you is that sometimes you can cut yourself a little slack. There will be times when you have items you just can't purge...but they don't belong out on the shelf either. In Twyla's case she had some inherited treasures that she had not completely decided on yet.  So, she packed them in a box and put them in her storage room.  It's okay to have some items in storage.  All I ask is that you don't forget them there for the next 12 years.  Twyla, for example, will need to decide...purge?  Sell?  Pass on?  But no rush.  The rest of her things we either purged or put away in her cupboard and gave her a sewing area and work space that she can use.

Sewing Area

Work space

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pantry Efficiency

Colleen and her family were blessed recently with a gorgeous new home.  When you move it always takes some time to settle in and decide how you want everything.  So after a few months of living, I came by to help her rev up the efficiency of her pantry. 

We started with some homework.  Colleen emailed me her before pictures.  I asked her to buy some containers for storage, to get something to use for hanging stuff on the wall, and to consider keeping her flour and sugar on the counter top.

To make your pantry work well for you, it's important to sort the contents into practical groups. These will vary depending on your family but some will be stored right on the pantry shelves, and other groups will go into a box.  

We started with baking items in Colleen's case.  She had some in her pantry and some in a cupboard.  I chose to move everything to the cupboard because it is closer to the workspace that she uses when she bakes.

We moved the flour and sugar into canisters on the counter.

Then we organized the other items into containers that Colleen already had.  We also created 2 baking bins - what I call "fast grab" boxes.  One has baking ingredients like chocolate chips, marshmallows, coconut, etc..  The other has the baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and such.  By keeping these items in a bin, you can easily grab the whole container and keep it on the counter while you bake...rather than running back and forth for each item you need while you complete your recipe.


Next we moved on to the upper shelf of the pantry.  

We stored things at the back of the shelf that Colleen did not plan to use often.  We also put the treats up out of reach from the kids, and then added the cereal boxes.

On the rest of the shelves we sorted items into groups. 


For example,  the soups are all together.  Lunch treats together.  We used the containers that Colleen had purchased to make some more fast grab boxes as we did in the baking cupboard.
Toast Fast Grab Box
Potatoes went in a box on the floor.  Finally we hung up her broom, mop and dust pan as well as her kids' lunch bags.


With a little training the whole family can be in on maintaining order in the pantry.  

We had found some tupperware hiding at the back of the pantry shelves so I did a quick tupperware sort in order to be able to fit all of it in her main tupperware cupboard.

All in one spot
If tackling the whole pantry is daunting, start with one category.  How about a coffee fast grab box?  Throw in your beans, filters, tea bags, scoops, grinder and instant mixes.  Try it for a week. 

What kind of fast grab box does your family find efficient?  Share your ideas in the comments!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Are you a purgy-cat?  Scared to purge your piles of stuff?  I get it.  I know.  What if I need it tomorrow?  But it still works.  I paid for it!  There's lots of ways to talk yourself into keeping stuff.

What can you do?

1.  Get help.  Having a firm friend along to talk through the purge with you will help you make rational decisions.

2.  Ask yourself, "What if my house burned down?".  Would that item be missed?

3.  Think back to the last time you used it.  If it was more than 6 months ago then maybe you can live without it.

4.  For those items that you just cannot decide on, start a holding box.  Label it "HOLDING BOX" and put the date on it.  Make a note on your calendar to check the box in 6 months.  If you haven't missed the stuff in there during the holding period, it's probably safe to give it away.

If that doesn't convince you, then how about this?  Maybe someone else out there would LOVE your stuff.  Your stuff that you only sorta like and you are considering giving away.

Check out this cutie chair.  Darla didn't want it anymore so she gave it to me.  And I think it's adorable!  

How about this super coffee table?  Kristin found her dream table and so was done with fit right into my family room and saved me a bundle!

This little table?  Another Kristin cast off.  A quick coat of paint and I popped it in my daughter's room. But I loved it so much that it had to come join the living room.  The vase in the picture was my mom's.  I had always thought it was pretty so she took it out of her cupboard and gave it to me.  There is never a time it is not in use at my house.

But I've saved the best for last.  My mom always has mugs out on her counter in a pretty tray.  She chooses decorative ones for each season.  Years ago she had this one.  It was her favourite.  But it was my favourite too.  Every time I visited she let me use it...and then one day, she GAVE it to me.  I can't even put into words how much I love this mug.  I use it all the time.  No one else would understand but something about the pattern, the colour...I really do consider it when I ask myself the fire question.  

So maybe something at your house that you aren't even using but can't quite part with would make someone else extraordinarily happy and would get used every day.  

If that's not a great reason, what is?