The Pantry Project – Part 2

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This is a follow-up post about my reorganising of the pantry.  You can read the initial post here.

Once again, there are no before photos which may be just as well because it was not a pretty sight.  My pantry has been been well-organised on previous occasions, however, a few things had conspired and it had spiralled out of control.

This version is a complete departure from my previous methods.  I have decided to group the jars by the type of contents rather than by size.  This means that all of the dried fruit is together, then several types of sugar, various flours and so on.  I will be interested to see how this works out.

Here are a selection of views of the shelves.  Not everything has been placed as yet and I still need to update the labels on some containers.

The top shelf has roasting pans, the dehydrator and pizza maker.

The next 2 shelves are primarily devoted to all of the ingredients which I buy without packaging and store in a selection of containers.

The lower shelf is the grocery items that I buy plus any home-made jam, chutney and sauce.  The breadmaker and food processor are also stored here.  Note:  The food processor was in use when the photos were taken.

The stockpot and tub containing the attachments for the food processor stand on the floor.  The paper bag on the far left is where I keep unrefrigerated vegetables such as sweet potatoes and garlic.

You may have noticed the 2 wire baskets under the shelves.  These are screwed to the underside of the shelves and roll out.  They are some of my favourite features of the pantry and I use them to store small containers.

The upper drawer is for spices and a substantial part of this organising was devoted to the spice drawer.  I have gradually been collecting an assortment of glass Vegemite jars  for storing the spices which I buy from a bulk store.  The jars are about 4 different sizes so I have chosen to utilise them according to the amount of each spice that I generally keep on hand.  They are now labelled on both the jar and the lid for easy identification.  There are still a few more to add.

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The other drawer has yet to be sorted out.

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One of the results of this job has been to locate various items that needed to be used up and identifying a few things that I will never buy again.  I try to avoid recipes/meals that incorporate huge numbers of ingredients that are outside of my regular selection and stick to basic ingredients that can be used in many different ways.

 

 

 

A Spot of Re-Arranging

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While I am pretty happy with the level of organisation in our home, there are always little things that can be done to improve to make things work a little better.

We have a dehumidifier which is almost an essential in our climate.  In fact, as I write this the clouds are floating past the window.  The dehumidifier is generally stored in the wardrobe in the guest bedroom when not in use.  This is not a major problem although I do need to remember to get it out if we have guests coming to stay.  Moving it would also provide a bit better access to the hanging space in the guest room.

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I feel that the ideal spot to store the dehumidifier would be in the laundry, however, that is a small room with limited storage space.

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The project to re-arrange things has evolved over a few months and the first step was to tidy and adjust the shelving in the linen cupboard.  This was relatively easy as I knew the space was not being utilised in the best way.

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The ultimate goal was to allow enough space to store the vacuum cleaner at the bottom of the cupboard.

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Then it was a simple matter of relocating the dehumidifier to the laundry cupboard.

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When the electrician was doing some work earlier in the week I asked him to change the single power point in the cupboard to a double one.  Now, the stick vacuum charger can remain plugged in while I am running the dehumidifier.

The dehumidifier is portable so does get moved from room to room but it is great for drying off damp towels or freshly ironed clothes in the laundry.  Since it is a small room, the drying effect is magnified and quite efficient.

I am currently researching the next stage of the project which is to purchase a ceiling mounted airing rack for the laundry and then I will be able to eliminate the mobile hanging rack which I move back and forth between my sewing room and the laundry at present.  This is the sort of thing I am looking at.  I also need to check with GMan about the practical implications of installing it.

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Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t think of this long ago but on the other hand it can be better to allow ideas and processes to develop over time because you will generally get a better outcome in the end.

A Peek Inside

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On the weekend I did a bit of organising in the cupboard opposite the office/library.  The catalyst was a Christmas gift – a set of decorated peg magnets.  The are 7 which are labelled for each day of the week as well as some extras.

I decided not to clutter up the door of the refrigerator with them.  Additionally, I felt that they would not be strong enough to withstand the breeze which can be quite strong.

Instead, I opted to mount them inside one of the doors of this cupboard.  First, I had to create a surface suitable for the magnets.

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We called in to Bunnings and bought a flat metal bar which GMan cut in half and I mounted them on the door.  The pegs were placed at intervals and it looked great.

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Perfect!!  Or so I thought until I shut the door.  I did not realise but if you take a closer look at the first photograph you will see that the vertical divider in this cupboard is not centred.  The door should sit flush against it but the metal bar prevented that.

So, it was back to the drawing board.  I removed my handiwork, trimmed a small amount off each bar, re-drilled the holes at one end and tried again.  This time I placed them almost flush with the hinged side of the door rather than centering the bar.  The final job was to fill the holes from the original screws.  These are yet to be sanded and touched up with paint.  That may be a job for the coming weekend.

Here is the second version of my handiwork.

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I am not a great fan of diaries but I do love a list so I have started fairly simply with some small notes for the coming days.  My goal is to write down all of the little things I need to do or remember and each day I can refer to them.

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The rest of the cupboard needs some work as it is the mostly the repository for the many photos accumulated over the years which have yet to be sorted, culled and scanned.  That is a a future project.  However, tonight I did tidy one file of the filing cabinet.  It was several old work diaries which I have discarded.  I ripped all of the pages out and bagged them up to take to work tomorrow and they will go in the shredding bin.  It is a small step, but definitely one in the right direction when it comes to removing unwanted stuff from your home.

 

Before and After

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It is now almost a week since we arrived back home from overseas.  In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago.  We went back to work on Monday and after 4 very busy days it feels as though I have never been away.

I managed to do some washing last weekend and prepare meals for us but that was about it until today which was my day off.  We have 3 Air BnB guests arriving tomorrow and that will necessitate the use of both of the spare rooms.  The second bedroom is always set up as a guest room but third bedroom also doubles as my sewing room and ironing space.

So my focus today was the third bedroom.  It had been used for packing and preparation for the trip so there were a few random things left from that.  I stripped the bed and washed the bedding during the week.  There was ironing piled on the ironing board.  Then there was the small matter of the sewing projects that had got out of control and been abandoned in the lead-up to the holiday.

This was what I had to tackle.

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I started by moving the bed and vacuuming that side of the room as well as removing the inevitable cobwebs and cleaning the skirting boards and picture frames.

The bed was made and put back in position.  I had also cleaned the window by the time I took this photo.

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From there it was simply a matter of working my way around the room – and doing the ironing.

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I managed to fit the small cabinet of mini drawers into the bookshelves rather than having it standing on the table.  I am happy with the change.

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This bookshelf hand been swapped over with the one that we now have in the office.  However, I had not organised my sewing things properly so it was a good opportunity to do some rearranging.

Having a major clean up of my sewing things has meant that I have rediscovered some UFO’s (unfinished projects) which I have earmarked to do.

I even tidied the contents of the wardrobe.

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I have never been completely successful in getting this room organised but I am hopeful that my effort today will be the basis of keeping it under control.

The thing that I am looking forward to most is getting back to doing some more sewing.  I am reminded of the comment that Francine Jay makes in her book, Miss Minimalist, that having clear surfaces simply affords opportunity.  Whether it is a table to eat your meal, a bed to sleep in or a craft table to work at, you need a clear surface.  It really makes a lot of sense.

 

A Versatile Piece

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As I have minimised and streamlined my wardrobe over time, it has become increasingly important that individual items are able to be worn in a multitude of ways.

Everything is multipurpose to some degree but I think this piece is a clear winner.

We live in a relatively temperate climate where the maximum temperatures range between about 15C and 35C and the minimums between about 5C and 20C.  Consequently, we can wear variations of the same outfit for much of the year.

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The skirt shown above is a lightweight seersucker cotton fabric which is lined with an equally lightweight lining.  On the hottest days I can pair it with a sleeveless white cotton shirt and a pair of strappy black sandals.  Conversely, I have also worn it with a grey cowl-neck pullover, red trenchcoat, scarf, tights and knee-high black boots.

There are plenty of options that fall somewhere between these two extremes as I have a fitted black tshirt as well as a short sleeved black cashmere pullover.  A couple of different white shirts and a black cardigan complete the mix of tops.  A pair of black heels provides another option between the sandals and boots.

These are just a few of the possibilities which work with this skirt.

A relatively small selection of clothes means that each piece needs to really earn its keep.

Decluttering, Again and Again

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Have you ever met anyone, either in real life or online, who has told you that they decluttered their entire home in a weekend?  I have read these kind of stories a few times but I have a really difficult time getting my head around the concept.  Unfortunately, they usually involve a huge garbage skip and wholesale dumping of perfectly useable items.  I find this strategy a disgusting waste and totally unnecessary.

My approach is the complete antithesis – a little bit at time and I often go back to the same area multiple times.  Also, I never dump anything.  I try to find new homes for them using a variety of strategies.

The bookshelves in the study/office is the perfect example of my method.

Once upon a time this is how it looked.

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As the culling continued over several years we whittled it down to one bookcase and sold the other.

The small freezer was moved down to the workshop.

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We upgraded from our folding table.

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To this desk.

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We added a blind to the bare window.  I wanted to create a comfortable reading area/library so we sourced 2 armchairs.

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Fast forward a bit more and we have culled the books even further.  There were some non-fiction ones which have been relocated to the shelving in the living room.

This shelving unit was originally horizontal in the living room but was moved to the spare bedroom/sewing room to store some of my sewing materials and equipment.  We decided to swap it with the light-coloured bookcase which will work better for the sewing stuff and is aesthetically better in the other room.

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Here are 2 views of what I think is the final state of the office/reading room.

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It has been thoughtfully curated over a period of time as our needs and ideals changed.  I certainly could not have achieved this in a single weekend for one room, let alone a whole house.

There has been no waste as all of the items have been reused in our own home or found new homes.

New to Me

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Sometimes things are just meant to be.  A couple of weeks ago my mother told me that had some casual clothes – mostly tshirts which were now surplus to her requirements.

In the spirit of my relatively streamlined wardrobe and a lack of need, I refused most of them.  However, this one caught my eye.

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I had no intention of rushing out to buy a pink and white striped rugby top but when I saw this in the pile I simply fell in love with it.  This top is very lightweight and perfect for our generally mild weather for about 6 months of the year.

After wearing  it for a couple of days when I first received the top, I washed and ironed it.  While ironing it, I noticed that there was only one button on the placket.  The button was white and I searched my collection of numerous white buttons but could not find any suitable ones but discovered that I had 2 pink buttons that were the right size.

When I was planning what to pack on our upcoming trip to the UK I decided to include this top.  Even though it is quite light, it is loose enough to wear a thermal top underneath it and with the addition of a warm jacket I would be quite snug when out and about.

Even though this was an unplanned addition to my wardrobe, I am confident that it will  be perfect for my needs and get plenty of wear.