Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Embarking On My New Year's Project for 2015

Orange "Store Anywhere" Boxes, at The Container Store


  • Is your Facebook feed as cluttered as mine? Let's clean ours up a bit today. Take a quick peek at your "Pages I Like", removing any pages you aren't actually interested in hearing from. Add pages you really do want to hear from to your Interests list or choose to Get Notifications from them so you don't miss anything cool or important.
  • Need to do any tossing of leftovers, or make a plan to eat up leftovers tonight? Let's get our fridges emptier going into the weekend so we can grocery shop and fill them with fresh tasty foods.
  • Any mid-week laundry that needs to be done? Towels, clothing you want to wear on the weekend, pet bedding, socks and undies?
  • Are you on track for your exercising this week so far? I didn't do anything yesterday so must redouble my efforts today.
  • What are you serving or having for breakfast tomorrow? I'm planning to build in time to make myself a nice breakfast of oatmeal, hash browns, a half grapefruit and an egg. I might have to go to bed a bit earlier or get up fifteen minutes earlier. Otherwise I'll be eating the same old cold, quick cereal.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Garage Sorting

My "resolution" for the new year was to clean up my garage. (Note that I said "clean up" not "clean out.") I have a weird irrational fear of parking in the garage, so even if my garage was 100% empty and swept clean, I wouldn't use it for my car. Since I don't have an attic or basement (basements in rainy Seattle are not a good idea, so builders don't usually put them in) the garage is where I store things. I'm a packrat, not a hoarder, I swear! I can get rid of things, recycle and throw things away. I do have a bit of a shopaholism problem but I've been working on it, and I do throw quite a lot of parties, so I justify keeping party supplies around. Half of my garage is full of boxes of things important to me - books, family photographs, paper letters, some important documents, seasonal decorations (especially Christmas) and the off-season things I store when not in use. (I swap out my bedding, curtains, tablecloths and other linens to match the seasons).

One of my new rules for myself is "No books in the garage." I'm patting myself on the back for getting rid of five boxes of books from the garage. Many went to Half Price Books, a few went into the recycle bin, a few moved onto merchandise shelves to sell in my eBay store, and several found new homes on empty shelves on the bookcases I keep in every bedroom of the house.

I've been sorting 1-2 boxes per night of stuff from the garage, getting rid of the items completely or consolidating 2 or 3 boxes into one. Soon I hope to have all the family photos stored in just two big boxes instead of six or eight medium sized ones. I've been doing a much better job of getting rid of things - realising that I don't have any children to leave things to, and nieces/nephews and cousins who don't seem to care about family history, has made it easier to get rid of or find new homes for handmade dolls, jewelry I don't care to wear, dishes that aren't sentimental to me and not pretty enough to keep, etc. I have been making daily trips to the Goodwill truck in my neighborhood every time I pass by on some other errand.

This is 50 percent of the "merchandise" half of my garage. As you can see if you peer into the photo, things were once nicely organized on the shelves, but have migrated onto the floor and become messy. I can still find a particular item of merchandise within 1 minute of looking for it, but this still isn't ideal. I've got to reorganize, take inventory, and run some massive sales to encourage customers to buy. Now that I'm shutting down my eBay store (as soon as I sell everything) I am no longer buying new merchandise. My dream is to have the use of these shelves within the next 12 months, for things more important to me: my baking supplies and kitchen appliances that aren't used often enough to warrant space in my small kitchen.

So my project tonight is sorting yet another box or two or three. It's something I can easily do in my warm living room in front of the television, a donation box and trash bag and recycle bin handy nearby.

What might you need to sort or reevaluate keeping in your home and in your life tonight?

LOVELY BLOGS: Cook the Books Club

Here's a fun book club - you read the chosen book for each two-month period, then create a recipe based on the book or its theme, photograph your creation, and write up a blog post about it. It's fun to look through the back archive of things that have been created in tribute to the books!

LOVELY BOOKS: Candy Aisle Crafts

Here's a really cute, creative book from Jodi Levine who runs the Super Make It blog. "Create fun projects with supermarket sweets." I love that it includes step-by-step photos. The book covers things you can make with gummies, marshmallows, cookies and cereal, and hard candy.

Candy Aisle Crafts, on Amazon

LOVELY CRAFTS: Paper Japanese Store Models

My current obsession with house-shaped things is making me extra excited about these paper models you can put together. I am not very talented in the crafts department, so might have to recruit some help to complete them nicely. I can't decide which is my favorite, the ramen stand or the sweet shop. They're expensive, so I can only dream of attempting one of the two.

Sweet Store Model, at Japan Trend Shop

Ramen Stand Model, at Japan Trend Shop

LOVELY HOME: Wonderwash Mini Washing Machine

Sometimes I just want to wash a couple pairs of panties and a couple pairs of socks. Or a couple washcloths. I don't want to waste a ton of water and energy using my regular washing machine to do so. I'm so tempted by this WonderWash. It's affordable, but I'd have to find somewhere to store it. I guess I will forego it since I'm not a camper or RV person - situations in which it would be very handy to have one of these hand cranked units.

Wonderwash, on Amazon

LOVELY KITCHEN: Bake a Cake Apron

Isn't this apron cute? I don't really like to wear aprons myself - somehow the ties make me itchy and uncomfy, and I feel like I'm falling out of the sides of the top part. But I might gift this apron to someone I know who bakes a lot - perhaps as a Valentine's Day gift or a hostess gift next time she invites me over. The print is so darling!

Bake a Cake Apron, on Amazon


Almond Orange Mexican Wedding Cookies (The Artful Desperado)

Applewood Bacon Shortbread Cookies (Sprinkle Bakes)

Baked Pecan Crusted Chicken Fingers (Sally's Baking Addiction)

Blood Orange Ricotta Cheesecake with Red wine Glazed Figs (The Artful Desperado)

Blood Orange Curd (A Cozy Kitchen)

Buttermilk Cake with Blood Orange Frosting (The Vanilla Bean Blog)

Buttermilk and Chive Biscuits (Williams-Sonoma Taste)

Buttermilk Pasta Sauce (Created by Diane)

Buttermilk Rosemary Donuts (Adventures in Cooking)

Cheesy Buttermilk Herb Bread (Mrs. Happy Homemaker)

Chocolate Stout Peanut Butter Cups (The Beeroness)

Dips and Spreads for Superbowl Sunday (One Perfect Bite)

Egg Sandwich with Spinach and Gouda (Annie's Eats)

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha Honey Glaze (Creative Culinary)

The Logic of Long Lines (The Atlantic)

Rhubarb, Millet and Almond Crumble (London Bakes)

Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse (Love and Olive Oil)

Tuna and Avocado Tartine (The Chronicles of Home)

--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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