Monthly Archives: May 2014

Kitchen Touch-Up

Since before I married I have wanted a double oven. I’m originally from the southern part of the U.S., and we sure do love our baked casseroles with fresh-baked cornbread or biscuits to go with them. Those things cook at two different temperatures, so, culturally speaking, you might even say I need a double oven. 🙂

Ever so gently, the old oven has been retiring over these last few months. Yesterday was the day. D and I drove up to the scratch and dent center and found a double oven with my name on it within our price range. (Ha! Price ‘range’ – aren’t I punny?)

Double Oven

You may be pleased to note the vast reduction in spices on the shelf.

Naturally, this means losing the storage space under the old oven. The area was not crammed-full, but this was an opportunity to re-evaluate what was being stored in the kitchen. I pulled out the pots and skillets and realized just how much clutter was on the second shelf of the northeast cabinet. Sigh. It is always something. North cabinet

Tarnished silver

An untreasured treasure was found lurking behind the pots and skillets.

The westerly cabinet was doing better. Still, there was not a lot of room for the cookie sheets and muffin pan coming in. I committed a blog sin and forgot to take a ‘before picture’. Truly, it was not bad. Forgive me?

A quick evaluation of the items sitting out helped me to identify the excess. The easiest way to do this is by grouping like-items together. Ask yourself how many of each item you use at a time and reduce accordingly.

Technically speaking, all of the kitchen things will fit in my spacious cabinets. I may have a small house, but you gotta admit, those cabinets are huge. What I prefer, however, is to not waste time digging through stacks of crockery to find what I need. My goal is to be able to see everything inside the cabinet upon opening the doors.

I had gone through my kitchen last summer, so there was not much left that I would consider to be excessive of my “needs”. As you can see, most of the purge pile came from the recipe collection.

Kitchen Touch-Up purge pile

Erm, yeah. That would be a box of dog toys. It was behind the stack of cooking magazines…for a long time.

 

And now, for the big reveal!

Northeast Cabinet

Easy access to all cookware and mixing bowls. Oh, and Maile’s food.

West Cabinet After

The recipe books moved to the west cabinet. I like that everything is visible – no digging required!

Not pictured: I polished the teaset and put it on the bookcase in the living room. There was room for it, as Rie’s plastic teaset had recently moved. I know, I know – I wasn’t missing it, so it should be sold or donated, right? Well, I’m not ready yet. So, for now, I’m going to enjoy looking at my pretty silver teaset.

While we are at it, here is a comparison study with Rie’s kitchen. She inherited this collapsable number from a friend this past weekend (pre-colored!). Rie outshines her mother’s efforts in keeping the amount of stuff in her kitchen to a reasonable amount.

Rie's Kitchen

Show off.

Thanks for reading – and have a great weekend!

The Urge to Splurge: Contingency Plan

This post explores motivators to shop (in no particular order). The goal is to identify the root cause of the urge to splurge and then find an alternative method meet the need presented. As for me, I have made a lot of progress in the last year or so to re-train myself to respond to the situations listed below. There is still progress to be made. In other words, this takes time, but it can be done.

When you find yourself shopping or browsing the Internet for deals, ask yourself what need you are truly trying to meet. You probably already have the proper resources available to you without having to make a purchase.

 

1. Boredom

There are seven rooms at home that could use a cleaning, but I’m feeling antsy and need to get out of the house or office. The thing I have come to realize is that when shopping out of boredom I am usually looking for a personal connection. The best thing to do is to make a phone call or visit a friend and connect with someone who actually cares.

It is not necessarily an easy change to make. I am still trying to re-train myself to not look at shopping as a way to feel connected with the community or to feel special. On the bright side, my mom and I have been talking a lot more lately than we used to do.

 

2. A need to escape

When I shop to escape the daily grind, I am daydreaming and want to believe marketers’ promises that their products will make me happy or give my life meaning. When you see this ‘logic’ written out, the problem seems fairly straightforward. Obviously the problem is compounded by the fact that when you shop to escape, you are already not thinking clearly.

Alternatives to shopping when these emotions swell up include praying, counting blessings, going for a bike ride, or concentrating on a project. I love to sew and watch birds. D enjoys his garden. What could you do with the hour or two saved from not going on an unplanned shopping spree?

 

3. A need to celebrate

I also have a tendency to shop while (already) happy. It seems shopping really can creep into any part of your life! Rie was on the way, so I shopped and my excitement was shown in how many products I purchased. My sister engaged to marry, and my happiness for her was displayed in the gifts I gave to her and her fiancĂ©. Sometimes it is merely a beautiful day – what better way to spend it than at an outdoor shopping strip and cafĂ©?

Of all the reasons to shop listed so far, this one is the easiest to turn around. The possibilities are endless. When there is something to celebrate, you can have a party, take pictures, or make plans as needed. If it is a beautiful day you are celebrating, then take your dog for a walk, ride your bike, or enjoy a cool drink on the porch.

 

4. It’s a good deal

Sales are made to create a feeling of urgency. Marketers want you to understand the deal has an expiration date. They are ultimately taking away the time you need to consider a purchase. Do not let them do that to you. You know what you need. If you find a deal on something you are already seeking, great, go for it. When you find a great deal that does not line up with what you already know you need – let it go. Think of it as leaving the item for someone else who does, in fact, seek it. And do not fret over a lost opportunity – there will always be another sale.

 

As always, your suggestions in the comment section are welcomed, as I am nowhere close to having all the answers.

Thanks for reading!

Shoes

Any fashion magazine will tell you there are some basic items a gal needs. A good pair of jeans, a black dress, and black shoes are some of the staples. (By the way, what makes black the go-to color?) As someone who lives with a small wardrobe, I totally understand the desire to keep the separate pieces classic and versatile. Accessories, including shoes, can be easily swapped out to create a more up-to-date look, if that is what you desire.

There are fewer than 40 items of clothing hanging in my closet for spring and summer. Everything except PJs, workout clothes, and unmentionables are hung up. The rest of that stuff takes up two drawers in my dresser. So what the heck was I doing with 17 pairs of shoes? Statistically speaking, as someone who only has 40 pieces of clothing, it would be impossible to say they were all necessary.

OK, boots are actually needed for camping and trekking through snowstorms. Something more lightweight is preferred for the office, and running shoes are perfect for, well, running. I suppose a pair of sandals is great for summer. That would be four pairs.

But then you realize it is not just practicality that rules your shoe collection. Nude pumps are so feminine and pretty with a floral print dress. Navy heels look sharp with that grey skirt…and so on.

On a more evolved level, I suppose I could wear the same comfortable brown Clarks flats with every outfit. They are closed-toe, great for walking, and dressy enough for the office. They may not lessen the severity of a snake bite the way my boots would, but otherwise they would get the job done.

By now you have surely guessed I am not that evolved.

However, I am now down to…drum role please…twelve pairs of shoes. Total. For all seasons. They fit beautifully in the allotted space, and I have enough variety to accommodate all the different hats I wear. Literally and figuratively.

Shoes

Part of this change has been prompted by becoming a mom. For one, I have much less patience with uncomfortable shoes (or anything uncomfortable, for that matter) now than before having Rie. For two, Rie likes to pull my shoes out of the closet and rehome them throughout the house. With fewer pairs of shoes, this is less clutter to herd.

Another part of this change is owed to having fewer pieces of clothing. As pieces wear out, I look for replacements that would go with shoes I already own. Also, when downsizing my wardrobe, I found a pair of shoes that only paired well with one skirt, for example. They both found their way to the door. Things are much more interchangeable now.

So, a small step for the shoes…a big leap for my evolution? Well, that’s a stretch, but I’m working on it.

Thanks for reading!