Tag Archives | organizing

really useful

As near to the bone as i am living lately, i somehow still find reasons to buy things that most people can justifiably say are non-essential. While pecking away in my less than warm and cozy office i got sick of trying to find SAFE storage for some of my collected research material. Open shelving isn’t cutting it. I don’t like file cabinets even if i had room for one. I have learned in the past they are very trecherous…you put stuff inside and it never comes out..in fact, it just consumes and consumes and you end up buying more file cabinets. Been there, done that. So I need to settle on a plan for protecting my investments which will be ‘once and for all’ but doesn’t lead to madness of the packrat sort.

Over the last few years i have bought a couple of these Really Useful Boxes..back when they were considered trendy and hard to find…now they are easier to find..even Staples is stocking them now. Indeed they are a bit more expensive than your average made in China plastic containers…but they have two redeeming qualities..they are made in the US…(and other countries where they are sold) and their design,  which oddly I do find much more efficient than other plastic containers. I loathe the ones that flare or don’t stack, or don’t close properly etc.. I am really really trying not to invent rationalizations here…really i AM trying.

I have been buying about 1 or 2 a year. for a grand total of FOUR – one holds my lunch containers, one holds my large sewing notions, one holds computer accessories and one was pinch hitting……but now that Staples has a ready to be pilaged cache not more than 3 miles from my house, I have to really decide what is the minimum number I need to make my life complete. I bought TWO of the 9 liter size…and THAT took me 20 minutes to decision and internal rationalization. Yes I have a screw loose.

I dedicated the three of them to storing research, when they get cramped, i will have another internal argument over buying another two  and so forth…and if i ever have to move, they are already packed and ready to go with me….in fact they have a 17L box that holds hanging file folders which I have my eye on.

stuff n’nonsense

Last year i felt i had too much stuff…i have felt that off and on for a while now…i take long lingering gazes at tiny houses containing minimalist belongings…insert < sigh > here. but last december i had had enough. My yearly cycle doesn’t start at jan 1st…my yearly ‘whack on the side of the head you idiot you haven’t done enough’ occurs somewhere around my birthday. My goal for 2012…well the only goal i managed to keep in front of me like a horizon..was to get rid of half of what i own. I had and have no idea what half of what i own looks like..unless i decide to drag everything i own out of the house and onto the lawn like the families in Peter Menzel’s Material World book. and don’t think i haven’t thought about it.

Regardless I THINK i have made a dent in my goal..indeed i still have a storage cupboard I have bungeed closed  but i DID make a huge dent in other stuff. Because i had started divesting my own stuff right after my mother passed leaving me hip deep in stuff i didn’t want. I have been pitching, selling and giving away as much as possible. My clothes are minimal compared to the people on those clean house programs..how can you HAVE a mountain of clothes for one person? I like cooking so my kitchen items aren’t minimal but i no longer have things I don’t use….and so forth. I keep taking passes at my tools and devices and such.. because income waxes and wanes, I took the opportunity to sell a large portion of my dvds, and an even larger portion of my cameras. Some of the valueless cameras were donated and i think i have a few more going that direction. I don’t feel entire free of STUFF weighing me down but i am getting there.

I have exchanged some clutter for other clutter…I emptied a closet with clutter and filled it with a shelf of long term storage food and supplies. …… I still have a few extra bicycles i want to clean up for rental for next year…and i have an extra boat i haven’t used yet..and i have my eye on a canoe to add to the pile. But I don’t consider that kind of crap clutter..it has a moderate value, would be easy to part with and I WANT and Do use them. Well at least that is my rationalization, and i am sticking to it.

To really complete my goal,  I should take a pass through all my books…but unless i am ready to get rid of half or more, it is a wasted effort. if i take a shelf apart to dust, i will usually take out 1 book in 10, that’s helpful but insignificant – because i am probably adding books at the same rate…i figure if i am staying even..i’m okay.

My biggest and most satisfying divestiture was when i found a home for my wedding china…to be honest i had it before i was married…the married part was not pertinent…i just collected it for myself. anyway…16 dinner plates, full on full multipiece service for 8 with all sorts of serving vessel oddments…it was 4 large well packed boxes from the basement…the newspapers inside were 20 years old…that’s how long it had been down there. I gifted it to a friend who had in the last 12 years been flooded out twice and had resolved to have mismatched dishes for the rest of time. AHA I SAID!…I HAVE A SOLUTION…and deposited the boxes on her the next day. I hope i didn’t add my clutter to hers..but she was happy, i was happy…and i am sure the dishes are happy.

Just because the clock on the wall says 2013 doesn’t mean i will stop the ‘get rid of half’ mindset…i fact i think i have finally made it a lifestyle choice..hmm..is that what one needs to change a habit?…a year of concentration? hopefully…otherwise the backslide will be hell.

Right this very minute I am working on ripping the last of my CDS ..which have been living in a rubbermade tub since i took their bookcase away and gave it to the books…ripping them to my hard drive..which on its face sounds like a grand idea..but i need to increase my cloud storage to cover that little 2 terrabyte hard drive for it to be worthwhile. There is always the chance of an accident. So the goal is to rip the cds…sell the cds and pay for the Carbonite coverage for the CD digital contents. right? right!


Ball mystery

I guess i figured out why Ball plastic canning jars disappeared last year. The 16oz showed up in a 4 pk for about 3.50. Then couldnt be found again. The new 16oz comes in a 2pk for under $4. But the design is completely different, the lid now has a sort of one piece gasket construction. I guess they got complaints about the other design with i admit was untrustworthy. But now they are twice the price. Good thing i only need a few. When i make a stew or soup i put one or two of these in the freezer. Eventually i will have an assortment in there to choose from. But i am actually eating from this larder.

on the grid

I am STILL trying to execute what can only laughably be called my New Year’s Resolution..though i think i started before Jan 1st…to cut what i own in half. I keep getting stalled..i have been in this apartment for what 12 years now? i can’t remember. so much of what i own is neatly packed away on shelves and cabinets etc.. so outasight outamind right? i have been fussing for the last few days about how to keep myself motivated..intermittent panic attacks that manifest as cleaning frenzies cannot be depended on to accomplish the goal at hand in the time allotted. So i am debating between targeted vectors or categories or working from a TO KEEP list. …i think i have come up with a compromise.

This is a weird representation of my apartment…for the moment lets leave the basement, garage, and barn out of the equation..it’s enough i have included the porch. Basically i have given every area the contains a comparable amount of crap or volume. so every shelf, is ONE AREA, every cabinet is ONE AREA, and inside that cabinet or bookcase each shelf can be ONE AREA depending on how much crap is stored on it. And just for kicks, the Fridge is one area, the bulletin board on the wall is one area, the linen closet, the medicine chest, the desk, etc.

SO I made the 1st map, then i made a graphic representation…THEN I SCANNED IT, BLANK. So that now once I write in all the numbers representing shelves and such, i can always print it again when it gets too scribbled on. This is a mistake i have made in the past. There is nothing worse than scanning a map and then trying to erase notations so you can start over.

Mind you i am SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING ON PAYING WORK, so this is my reward…or my time out between work sessions. I still have about 5 pages of indexing to do on the 1918 dorgan, and i am going to finish that in the next 3 days, period. that’s my goal, but i’m going to do a little of this and a little of that..now that is my goal. Lets see what the universe does to fuck it up.


Here’s an example of one of the many things you can do with peg board, as i am discovering.  If you get it cut to fit at the store, pegboard solves a number of problems, and i am especially pleased with this one. For $15 bucks total,  I bought three white medium density fiberboard cabinets at a yard sale a few months ago.  of course they didn’t have backs or even a counter tops for that matter.. …so i immediately took all the measurements and stopped at Home Depot or Lowe’s on the way home. (i always carry a tape measure don’t you?) Where I had the tops and backs cut; white laminated MDF shelving for the top and white painted pegboard for the backs.   I secured the tops with liquid nail and  3m poster putty and the backs I screwed on…..pegboard needs no pilot holes.

One cabinet contains some tools and fasteners and I ran the charge cord for the cordless drill through the back of the cabinet by enlarging the pegboard hole. And voila.. the drill is always charged and stored with the screws and drill bits.   Another one is my liquor cabinet and the third larger one is a food pantry..kinda empty now.

I always seem to have strips of pegboard leftover from the cutting process…so I installed some on the back of the kitchen door.  Items that come from the hardware store in packaging get hung on the back of the door the same as it was in the store.  Other items get a little assistance from binder clips and shower curtain hooks.

One of the projects on my to do list today besides pack orders, do laundry, clean litter boxes ….is to put more pegboard inside the closet to hang heavier items.

My next goal is to add some pegboard to the closet wall at the animal clinic.


I went a little overboard at walmart today. Yes i have drunk the coolaid and been corrupted by the force. Basically we live in a walmart nation…if there WERE non big box department stores i would patronize them, but all i have is a walmart and a target and i find Target mostly useless. usually i have been using walmart for pet food, i simply need to save the money. today I knocked the cleaning supplies off the grocery list while i was there. i also have been watching too many organizing tv shows. I cleaned out the Salem store of all of these 1.97 canisters. they aren’t high grade or snazzy as a matter of face I replaced some more expensive containers with these. Their appeal lies (if not in their price) in the fact that they are basically SQUARE, and i just can’t afford to waste the room on ROUNDS. I used up 13 2-qrts, and 3 gallon canisters. I am annoyed, i was hoping to have some left for the OFFICE shit too….but i haven’t even started on that room, so i think I may have to make another run to a different Walmart and clean them out too. I think loading them with office supplies will get them out of drawers and up on shelves where i can see what i have. Yeah between the pet food, cleaning supplies, cat litter and getting the dog groomed i have blown through more than half my paycheck. I think I can indulge myself in another dozen of these puppies.

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