last month of cleaning: kitchen


If you've read my last two cleaning posts, thank you so much, and please, keep reading! I've saved the best for last and you'll find many awesome tips in today's post. 

My house is almost done, and while it's not always tidy, it can be easily tidied. My husband, watching me from the sidelines (but helping sometimes too) has said more than once, "the house doesn't look any different". I'll give him that, it doesn't look that much different, but the way it functions is really different. And only I know how many grimy rags I've washed, how many buckets of dirty water I've tossed and how many filled boxes I've donated. I feel a great sense of satisfaction and pride knowing that my spaces function so much better because everything has been winnowed down to what we use and love. I'm a million miles away from being a minimalist, but that's never been my goal. I just want to be the boss of my house.

My kitchen was remodeled 30 plus years old ago and could use another facelift but it won't get one for many reasons. I'll save that for another post. I'm showing pictures of it because several readers were interested in seeing my home.  A few things have changed since these photos-- a new refrigerator, yippee!, also the wreath is gone and the cookie jar is full. 

So friends, this is the last of these posts and today we're in the kitchen so let's hit the pantry first.

I worked really hard on it.

Are you ready for the big reveal?

Tada! This is it! Gorgeous, right?

All right, so you know this is not my pantry. I slurped this image from a magazine, and while it's gorgeous, it doesn't look all that practical. Let's just for once and all set aside the idea that we need to decant our food into gorgeous containers and curate a rainbow pantry a la Instagram. Instead, let's take an afternoon and clean out our hard working pantry and turn it into a practical pantry that is easily tidied, easily maintained, and ultimately, beautifully functional. Let's do it! 

a pantry in real life ;)

Take everything out.
Vacuum up the bits and scrub every surface; over, under, sideways, down.
Replace shelf liners if used.
Throw out expired food and set aside food you won't use and deliver to your local food bank.

Now you need to put it all back and this is where you will need some containers. I love the idea of using matching baskets, but if that is not in your budget, or if you're like me and would rather find something that can be had for free, go to the shoe store and ask them for their unused shoe and boot boxes. You'll need many sizes and lots of them, so take more than you think you'll need. Put your pantry items into the boxes, like for like; pasta in one box, snacks in another, etc. Make it make sense to your family's needs.

I'm not a fan of decanting as I think it adds an unnecessary, expensive and time consuming step. The original package usually has info I'll need and keeps the food fresh. I will decant if the package doesn't keep the product fresh and then I use a mason jar, as again, I try to use what I have on hand. Our goal is to create a neat pantry that is easy to tidy up, maintain, and shop for, and contains food that we can find and will consume. A quick glance will help me make my shopping list and avoid overbuying, thus throwing away expired food which makes me sad. My pantry won't win any beauty pageants but it's clean and functional, and what's more beautiful than that?

Pantry done. Phew! Pat yourself on the back and vow to:

-use what you have.
-resist sales and advertisements that lure you into buying what you don't need/won't consume.
-check your pantry before shopping so as not to purchase duplicates.
-move older items to the front and place newly purchased items behind it; i.e., rotate your food.
-never buy in bulk again unless you absolutely know you will consume before the expiration date and you  have a sensible place to store it.
-understand that you'll never be done cleaning and organizing because...

...pantry maintenance is ongoing, but now it's easier!

Every once in a while I vow that for one week I will cook from my pantry and my freezer. I'll only shop for fresh vegetables and dairy. If nothing else, it makes for some interesting dinners. ;)

Now, on to the rest of the kitchen. While cleaning the kitchen this time around, I had a pretty big aha moment. Last year I ridded myself of duplicates and gizmos I never used but still held onto my commercial sized pots, pans and storage ware I used when I  hosted large parties and cooked for my church. I no longer cook for 100 people and don't see a time when I will again (but if you do hear of me making spaghetti bolognese for 100 people, please pack me off to the asylum). My aha was when I realized I should only keep items in my home for the lifestyle we live right now, not for the lifestyle we used to live or hope to live one day in the future, just the here and now. After that breakthrough it was easy to donate these large items. I was then left with some large empty spaces in my lower cupboards but I didn't fill them, instead I spread things out and enjoyed the roomy space. Are you holding onto things that no longer suit your lifestyle? It's time to give those things the heave-ho.

If you have to buy things to organize your things then you have too many things. That says a lot about today's consumerism, but for drawers, no way do I agree. Drawers need help! Some of my drawers still have box lids and tuna cans for organizing, but over the years I've upgraded most of my drawers with these expandable metal mesh organizers. They are meant for kitchen utensils, but I use them in my bathrooms and the office too. They are the bomb. They are easy to clean and they configure to fit any drawer size. I have since found this set of clear plastic organizers and they work beautifully too. Whatever you choose to use, either homemade or store bought, use something; drawer organizers keep things from shifting around and making your drawers a constant jumble.

For drawers that need just a little bit of help, these adjustable spring loaded bamboo dividers are fantastic. I have several sets and find them so handy. They come in several sizes so measure your drawers to find what will work best for you.

I'm showing my spice drawer to show you my failed attempts at decanting because for some reason I felt my spices should match. Now I'm not saying that I wouldn't love all my spice bottles to match and line up beautifully, but realistically, I don't see it happening. My spices sit in a drawer that only I open and the unmatched original containers are just fine with me. Santa always brings me some interesting spices in my Christmas stocking every year, (one year I got a bacon bbq salt, not kidding) and they definitely never match anything, but still I find room for them. Sigh. Who knew a spice drawer could give us anxiety? Not keeping up with the Joneses here. 

One place where I do want my spice bottles to match is on the counter next to the stove where I have my most often used spices, decanted, yep, into cute bottles. I do buy olive oil in bulk--a huge bottle from Costco and I definitely don't want it on my counter. I use this olive oil decanter and also love this handy little olive oil spray bottle when I want just a spritz of olive oil. Both wash up easily and are easy to refill.

I'm all for putting things away when not in use, but the sink, that's a different story. I keep out what we use several times a day and I try to make it look nice on a little tray.

Foaming hand soap and foaming Dawn dish soap. Seriously, is there anything better than Dawn? Why, yes--it's FOAMING Dawn. Save money and make your own foam solution: one part Dawn to 3 parts warm water (warm to make it easier to mix). Swirl gently. That's it! This recipe is the same for foamy hand soap. Make sure you buy a foamy soap dispenser like this one  because regular soap pumps won't foam it. Foam soap is just nicer to use and it makes the soap last longer saving you money. Yay you.

Keep your sponges dry and out of the sink. A regular sponge and a Mr. Clean sponge sit in this unobtrusive sponge holder that has a drain, comes apart easily and goes in the dishwasher a few times a week. Help. I'm looking for a biodegradable sponge. I've tried a few that were too stiff. Any recommendations? 

Cutemol, always Cutemol, to protect hands like nothing else can.

A wood handled natural bristle brush for scrubbing. These are so popular now because they are great. I use my sponge less and less. They say you shouldn't put it in the dishwasher but mine goes in several times a week and it's fine. After several months you'll need to replace it; smash your old brush with a hammer and put it in your garden composter.

Also, below my sink is a gift for my footsies; an anti-fatigue foam mat I've had for years that is showing no sign of aging. You can see it in one of the pictures at the top of this post. I bought it at the time when you could buy it in any color, as long as the color was black. Now they have it in dozens of colors. If you stand at your kitchen sink for even short periods of time, do yourself a favor and invest in this. It's very easy to keep clean too. 

Here are some other great purchases I've made over the years to make my life easier. Above and below, and in many other cupboards throughout the house,  I use shelf risers to make storage more practical.

I use these wooden dish racks not just in my kitchen, but all over the house. In the kitchen they separate the tupperware lids, pot lids, and above, those odd dishes that I grab often but didn't have a real home until now.

I love that I can finally see all my baking supplies with this expandable tiered spice rack organizer
Such a simple and ingenious design. We also use a small one for my husband's vitamins. 

We're not fans of single-use disposable items around here. Here's how we avoid a few of them:

--I make my own cleaning wipes and didn't know the disposable ones were so popular until people started having fits when they were impossible to find during the beginning of the pandemic. I make reusable wipes from washcloths and keep them in a jar. My cleaning mix is one part alcohol, one part Mr. Clean, 1/2 teaspoon Dawn, and 4 parts warm water (warm enough to make the initial mixing easier), although you could make your own fabulous brew with your favorite cleaning agents. I pour the mix over a few dozen cheap washcloths that I stuff into a glass cookie jar and let it sit overnight for osmosis to turn them into light, evenly moist towelettes. They are great for a quick clean up on the counter or to quickly clean a bathroom. I love them and use them everyday. No special washing--I just toss them in the machine and they get washed with the next load.

--In place of paper towels we use cotton muslin towels. Again, no special care; after use they are tossed into the washing machine and get washed with the next load.

--In place of tissues we both keep cotton hankies in our pocket/purse; much nicer for the nose too and we even have Carter using cotton hankies. Again, no special care; after use they are tossed into the washing machine and get washed with the next load.

--I don't buy paper plates or cups. Just hate them.

--In place of paper napkins we use cloth napkins. They seem to last forever but have changed a few times over the 49 years we've been married. Usually they have been purloined from some other place or even another use. I cut apart worn table cloths to make new everyday napkins, and ten years ago I asked the upholsterer to save the fabric from our sofas and with it I made 20 napkins for the kitchen. But that was ten years ago and I just banished them to the garage for use as rags and now our everyday napkins consist of a few sets that I retired from the dining room. Same care as above; and never any ironing.

Here's those spring loaded dividers again.

--We inherited my mother's Keurig, and while we loved it I was horrified at the huge amount of pods I was tossing in the trash. I knew a Keurig was not going to be for me until I found these reusable plastic K-Cups. Not only does it eliminate the trash, but it saves money too--they pay for themselves in no time. Fill them with your preferred ground coffee and when done, compost the used coffee, rinse the K-cup and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher. We've had ours for years so I can attest that they last. I always have a few regular pods on hand for guests who prefer caffeine in their coffee as our pods are filled with decaf. I understand they now make reusable pods for Nespresso too.

Our Keurig sits on top of this pod storage drawer. It's been the easiest and most unobtrusive way to store pods and keep them handy.

So friend, are you ready to go on that declutter journey but don't know where to start? It doesn't matter. You can start anywhere. Just start. Make a plan or schedule. Or don't. I didn't. I hopped, skipped and jumped around the house but found that setting a timer every day, even if only for 5 minutes, gave me a daily sense of accomplishment that kept me going. A few minutes a day is better than nothing, and by doing something every day you'll get a rhythm going and may even like it!

Going forward we have put into practice a few new moves:

My mother-in-law kept a spotless home and besides her daily cleaning, she tackled one big job a week. She had a rotation of sorts and it seemed to work for her. I'm going to give it a try.

My husband and I have shifted our thinking to becoming more like curators instead of constant consumers. As I've said before, we follow the one-in, one-out rule to keep clutter from reappearing. 

We have found a home for every item we own and have vowed to put each and every thing away where it belongs. No more guessing where this is or that is. Except the garage. Honey, if you're reading this, it's a bit of a mess again.

Lastly I'd like to leave you with my thoughts on our toy situation. Our grandson is a frequent visitor and we've carved out some spots in our family room where he can play and create. There is a sunny spot for his tiny table and a drawer for his art supplies. He goes through paper like he's a paper mill czar so he now uses our recycled paper that only has printing on one side. And since I just cleaned out our files, he is set for life. We also bought him a white board.

He has two cupboards full of gently used hand-me-down toys from friends, his daddy and auntie. Together we emptied the cupboards, wiped them down, then sorted the toys and books. It was great fun for one of us. We were able to pass on very little. He is very attached to everything, even baby toys. I didn't want to push him; his lip started to tremble and the look on his face was heartbreaking. This project is tabled. Not a hill I want to die on. Not with a four year old.

If you are wanting to donate to a cause to help Ukraine with humanitarian efforts, we did a little bit of research and decided that the International Red Cross was our best bet. That and our prayers. God help them.  xo Kristen

This post has affiliate links. If you purchase something from an affiliate link, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting the blog. If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here 



I'm finished with Piace. It's going to be a fun one to wear but I'll miss knitting it. The wobbly stripes are created with German short rows and are just plain fun to make.  I purchased the pattern and yarn as a kit directly from Rosy Green Wool in Germany. When it arrived I handed it over to my husband to give it to me on Christmas morning. The yarn, Cheeky Merino Joy, is so lovely. They believe "that better wool is possible - without animal suffering, with better working conditions and with less environmental impact - all without sacrificing the wool’s softness and beautiful colours." They do a beautiful job making their wool. I also feel that their shipping prices to the US is good and I was happy to support their efforts to provide sustainable hand knitting yarn and give them my business. Joy is infinitely soft and a joy to knit.

Cheeky Merino Joy yarn You can find Joy in the US; try Lift Bridge and The Yarn Addict
Piace Kit I purchased the suggested colors, taupe and Cornish slate
Piace pattern by Felicia de Bono on Ravelry

I've had a cold for a week and set aside my home projects and have instead planted myself on the sofa to knit my sniffles away. We started watching Ted Lasso and we are both loving it so much. We finished watching the new Reacher series, so so good, and like you I'm sure, watching The Gilded Age, which honestly, I wish was a little better. I started two new projects, a test knit for Kiddiwinks and a preview knit for Brooklyn Tweed, both for Carter and both so dang cute. I'm also on the home stretch of a delicately cabled pullover in white for me and have started a new pattern by Joji in black, also for me. I may put them aside and cast on for a white lace summer sweater as soon as my yarn arrives. Did I say summer? It's like summer here NOW; bright sunny skies, but very cold, and no rain. Bah. If I thought a rain dance would work, I'd do one. Last thing, is everyone playing Wordle? I love that they only allow one word per day so you can't waste hours on it. My husband told me that the New York Times just bought it so I hope they don't change that about it. I don't need anything to compete with my addiction to knitting!

The garden today is so sunny and bright that it was actually difficult to take photos. Too bright in February! California, please just get some rain already. But as I said above, it's cold and the flowers on the tulip magnolia actually froze last night and half the blossoms turned brown. 

The camellias are out in their full ballerina beautifulness. I've been picking branches and bringing them in the house even though they are the most impractical flower for picking. Their heavy flowers take no time in dropping, but for a day or two you feel like you're in a still life.

I love this blotchy camellia.

If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here 

What I did on Super Bowl Sunday

I watched the game, made chicken stock, picked lemons and limes, searched for a lemon curd recipe, washed some sweaters AND WENT TO A SUPER BOWL YARN SWAP! Sorry to shout, but I'm so excited. My local yarn store, Uncommon Threads, hosts a four hour yarn swap every Super Bowl Sunday. This year it was held at our newly built community center. The idea is to bring a bag of yarn you don't want anymore, full skeins please, and leave with a bag of new yarn, win-win. I have no problem bringing a bag of yarn to give, and usually walk out with a few new-to-me skeins to experiment with. This year I scored with a big haul of beautiful yarn. The room had four very long tables covered with baskets filled with yarn. Thousands of skeins, no kidding. Knitters were going crazy! Oh, and then there was also a table of knitting books and notions. 

I walked away with (clockwise from top right) an unopened bag, 20 skeins, of the original Rowan Denim in Ecru. I think this yarn could be as old as 40 years? Does anyone know? The label is an old one. I am going to wind up a few skeins and check over the yarn, but I think cotton should be fine. I'll keep you posted.

Ten skeins of Rowan Cotton Lustre in gold that I'm hoping will turn into a summer v-neck for me.

Four Skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima that will be a sweater for Carter.

One skein of Quince & Co Lark. I've always wanted to try it.

The last two are from Sincere Sheep, a local Napa Valley company that uses American grown wool. Both are sport weigh. The terracotta color is Coastal, a wool, silk, and linen blend. The gold is Cormo Sport.  I was not going for a color scheme, but somehow I did.

Can you even believe this haul? I'm super excited.

I also picked up a sweet little baggie full of Brooklyn Tweed Peerie leftovers. I've always wanted to try this yarn and I'm so happy with this little find. I weighed it and I figure I have a little over 600 yards. I will probably purchase one more skein and make a stripey cardigan for Carter. The original owner also left all the original ball bands with a snippet of color attached to each one. Thank you lovely knitter! And thank you to all the other lovely knitters. Your yarn is in good hands. I hope nice knitters are enjoying my Kidsilk Haze, Summer Tweed and Shibui, all beautiful but wrong colors for me. Best yarn swap ever. 

Oops, almost forgot, Happy Valentine's Day!

If you'd like to make a comment, please click here or scroll down. I reply to each comment and that response will appear directly below your comment. If you would like a personal reply, please know that I use the Blogger platform and they do not give me your contact information when you comment. If you would like a personal reply you can contact me using the contact form on the right side at the very end of my websiteIf you would like to receive Knitionary posts by email, please subscribe here 

month of cleaning: hallway and sentimental items

Just in case you think this blog has been hijacked by a cleaning fanatic, Knitionary's first love will always be knitting, but Ms. Knitionary, that's me, has been bit by the deep cleaning bug and I'd like to share my progress with you. I hope I've got some great cleaning, organizing and motivational tips that will inspire you. This is my second post of this type, then I have one last post planned that includes the kitchen, then this blog will return to its normal gardening, entertaining and knitting posts that we all love.

If anything epitomizes out-of-sight, out-of-mind, it's these window seats in the hallway that leads to our bedroom. Window seats are pretty and fun to have, but the storage offered is not easy to use and therefore unpractical for things you need to access except rarely. Twenty years ago I filled them up with kid stuff and have rarely thought of them since.  When I decluttered last year I ignored them altogether, then last December I had an idea that I wanted to store my holiday decorations in one place and those window seats would be ideal. One quiet day before Christmas I opened them up and went down memory lane. I had stored old decorative pillows, Holly Hobby figurines, wall hangings, and precious baby clothes from kid's rooms. When I'm decluttering sentimental items I feel as though I’m two people with competing interests. On one hand I want to clear it all out because I know I'll love the end results, but on the other hand I want to hold on tightly to the memories each item brings. But as wise men say, if everything matters, then nothing matters. I know from past decluttering experience that by allowing myself to keep a few things, I can more easily let go of the majority. When I finished this job I heaved a huge congratulatory sigh of relief and gave myself an attagirl. Don't ever underestimate the value of self praise; these little triumphs need to be celebrated!

I don't want to minimize the fact that it's difficult to sort through sentimental items, especially if you are a sentimental person. If this is a stumbling block for you I hope you’ll google what professional organizers have to say on this subject.  It’s very possible to get yourself to a place where decluttering sentimental items is doable. It might take several rounds of decluttering, perhaps over several years. It's a journey, don't fret, trust and respect your end goal and you'll get there. 

I saved a few things from those window seats.  One was a set of tiny glass animals than once upon a time I, then my daughter, son and granddaughter played with. I'm looking forward to the day I can share the little box with my grandson. I also saved my baby doll and her handmade clothes, all tucked inside her battered metal travel trunk because I'm not yet ready to say goodbye to little Susie. I also found an old record player and story records. There is Woody Woodpecker and Pooh and dozens more, all very sweet and old fashioned with story records representing the 40s for Papa, the 70s for Auntie, and the 80s for Daddy. We gave it to Carter for Christmas and we're so happy that he loves it too. But back to the subject, in the days after Christmas I neatly fit in all the Christmas decorations, plus the few Halloween, Thanksgiving and Easter decorations that we still own. It all fit because my decorations had been drastically pruned.

The wreaths and trees are in the attic in these newly purchased tree bagsThe bags are pure genius and I no longer wrestle putting the dismantled tree back into the too small box. Now everything is easily accessible by me, and that is the big takeaway. I really want this house to be manageable by the two of us as much as possible.

The gallery wall is where we display our family photos. All pictures were taken down and the walls were dusted. The pictures were wiped and polished front and back and rehung. You'll be surprised how much dust you'll find on the BACK of pictures.

"Teens at the Beach". I especially love this photo circa 1945. My mother, front row, third from the right, grew up in a small farming community just east of Ventura Beach in Southern California. I showed her this picture just weeks before she died, and she looked at it wistfully and said, "Oh, we had so much fun in those days." My mother maintained these friendships throughout her life. I grew up knowing most of these women from visiting her hometown several times a month. I'd like to share one story I shared at my mother's memorial service. Mother lived on a small ranch just outside of town. When she was 13 she naturally knew how to drive because knowing how to drive a tractor and pickup truck was essential on a ranch. By this time her six older brothers had left home to either attend college or enter the armed forces. When my grandfather was busy on the ranch, there was no one to take my grandmother and great aunt into town for shopping, tea parties, etc. and they felt very isolated. My grandfather asked the sheriff in town if little Ruthie couldn't drive the women into town once a week, saying, "I know you need to have a driver's license nowadays, but can you make an exception? Now with the boys gone, my women are stuck at home and have no way to get into town." The sheriff said yes, as long as little Ruthie would not abuse the privilege and only drive her mother and aunt into town and no other capers. The deal was made and Ruthie promised. The very next day, my 13 year old mother took the pickup, piled a dozen plus kids into the truck bed, one was a friend's little sister and only 6, and headed to the beach. A farmer was driving into town and saw Ruthie on the road. When he reached town he looked for the sheriff and said, "I saw Ruthie Johnson driving her daddy's truck towards the beach with a pile of kids in the back. I didn't know she was old enough to drive." Busted. The sheriff called the sheriff in the next little town, the town she would pass through before reaching the beach, and asked him to look out for a young blonde girl driving a pile of kids in a blue Ford pickup, flag her down and send her home. 

Growing up I spent many Sundays at grandad's house; by now he was widowed and had moved into town. When mother's car was in front, people would stop by and the house would fill with old friends talking about their crazy small-town childhood capers and this story was told most often. Everyone loved telling it and I never tired of hearing it. 

Thank you for allowing me that little trip down memory lane, but now it's time to get back to the main reason for this post. The drawers at the end of the hall nearest our bedroom above, store my shawls, purses, hats, totes and gloves. Shoe boxes are my organizers here and every item gets their own box. Several times over the years I have asked my shoe store for empty boxes. They lead me to the back room where there is a wall of beautiful boxes and they allow me to take anything I want! You'll see I use them throughout the house. Not too much to do here, but it still took one full morning to empty, vacuum, wipe down, then do a bit of pruning by donating unworn shawls.

Just sayin', I know it's no great feat to store things neatly when your home has a lot of storage space like this old house, but I hope my organizing and motivational tips help even if your storage space is scarce.

Entry ways (or foyers) are tricky aren't they? It's the first place guests enter so you want to keep it neat, but it's the first place the family enters too, things get dumped, and it never stays neat. We are just two people here now, but I still had a devil of a time keeping this area tidy. The top drawer of this entry way chest below has always been the catch-all for keys and sunglasses and paraphernalia and was always in a jumble. I finally purchased a set of 21 little plastic organizing bins. Now each item has its own place, and the best thing is, my husband loves them and will use them. If an item doesn't have its own cubby, it doesn't belong. That means it has a home elsewhere and should be put there now!  This set of little plastic boxes is a total game changer in this room. BTW, I was dreading like you cannot believe taking apart this dresser because of, you know, spiders and all, but surprise, not too terribly bad! I was pretty happy only to find a few little dead critters. But you'll never get me to understand how dust settles on the undersides of things. I tore this baby apart and washed the dickens out of it.

Something new in 2020 is the giant mask organizer on the right. I cannot wait until those things are history.

Keys, glasses, sunscreen, everything has a home.
This set has 21 bins and I've found uses for them all over the house.

Also in the entry is a little closet, below, that was guilty of holding items that didn't belong. I was able to relocate them and do a bit of pruning too; after a half dozen coats went to a shelter it was easy to empty and wash down. To make this closet more functional, I hung a hanging closet organizer for hats, umbrellas, etc.--anything we might need when we walk out the door. 

We especially love the cubby that holds a very special zip lock baggie, below, packed with quiet activities Carter can play with at the table when we take him to a restaurant. No more scrambling around at the last minute, it's right in the closet by the door. I try to update it every so often and Carter looks forward to sitting down in the restaurant and opening his crafty bag.

I might as well throw in the dining room while I'm at it. These eighty year old drawers above are heavy and difficult to open. After the big declutter of 2020, I left them mostly empty. Then recently I had the brilliant idea that I could store my linens here. I have a huge collection of linens that might be considered a problem if you didn't know me, but you do know me and therefore know how much I love to entertain. I NEED these linens for goodness sake, but I'm not going to even tell you how many drawers I filled. But first I had to see what I could do about making the drawers easier to open. I used this drawer lubricant on each drawer and while it has definitely helped make them glide easier, they are still heavy. We also used the lubricant on our more modern drawers that have metal tracks with plastic rollers and it is great for that too. For storage, all my napkins are ironed and folded and placed into boxes but my tablecloths are not ironed as I prefer to iron them right before use; they are folded and rolled. It's easy to see my collection and make my choice.

Let's talk about the great paper purge from the previous post. There was a lot of interest in this subject because like me, many of you are also drowning in paper. I'm happy to report that I'm done. DONE! And when I handled that last piece of paper, I swear I could hear harps playing and the faint rustle of angel's wings. Peace washed over me like a river and I'm not exaggerating. A job that had been weighing on my mind for a decade was finally finished. Every piece of paper that was once stored in two tall cabinets has been assigned a new home. Ninety percent is gone forever and the rest is filed into two half-filled drawers in our shared desk. If you would like to tackle your paper but feel overwhelmed or intimidated, try not to set an unrealistic goal that will worry you; instead, place an expectation on yourself that you'll work on it regularly. Set a timer for 30 minutes several times a week, or schedule one day a month to go through it, whatever will work for you.  Bit by bit, you WILL get through it. It took years to accumulate and will take some time to get it sorted.

Going forward I have a system in play to keep our paper more manageable. FYI, I implemented these paper saving tips long before I got rid of the file cabinet mess.

--Most of, and soon all of our monthly bills arrive digitally, which I pay online, and most of those are automatically scheduled. 

--When I bring paper into the house, mostly mail, I walk by the recycling bin and toss what we don't need  before it even has a chance to enter the house.

--I read all my favorite magazines for free on the free library app, Libby.

I've just started implementing the following:

--I LOVE my Police ID roller. It's been so easy to bring into my weekly habit. I love using it and I'll never shred again. 

--I'm scanning or taking pictures of our birth certificates, vaccination records, etc. and saving them to my preferred digital storage to have as a backup or in some cases such as warranties, get rid of the originals altogether.

Thank you for staying with me on this and for your encouragement! I always love to hear what you're up to and really appreciate your comments. Kristen

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