A place for everything. And everything in its place.

Dear friends,

I was a busy bee yesterday. I took a day off following three consecutive 60-70 hour weeks. And while I was tempted to laze around, I had a project or two on my mind that urged me out of bed at 6:00 am and kept me working all day.

Remember my mud room makeover? Well, when I tackled that project I left a corner undone that has been bothering me ever since. You see, my mud space is an alcove that faces another alcove — which I didn’t show you in my last post. Basically, when you sit on my mudroom bench, you face an alcove that is lined with shelves. They’re nothing fancy, so as soon as I moved in, I hung curtains to hide the space — partly because it was more attractive, partly because I didn’t take time to organize the shelves.

So I spent a portion of Friday cleaning out and sorting all my cleaning and crafting supplies. Here’s a peek at the newly organized space:

backpantry

I keep the curtains closed for a sleeker look, but it’s nice to know that everything behind them is tidy now.

I also went to work on a corner of our laundry room, which adjoins this space. One of the many things that sold me on this house is the enormous laundry room. It’s about 17′ X 17′ with three walls of built-in cabinets. Although it’s a bit plain — with white walls and white cabinetry — it’s certainly bright and has plenty of room for Mr. Mom’s projects, and lots more.

Here’s a view from the mudroom:

laundryentry

That drafting table is mine, but Mr. Mom co-opted it long ago as his preferred laundry folding table. It’s a much better height for my 6’6″ laundry man.

Here’s another view of the built-in desk:

laundrydesk

This is Mr. Mom’s domain. It’s where he reads email, pays bills, talks on the phone and, of course, does laundry. It has been command central during our mountain saga and you can see he has a topographical map of  Colorado pinned above the computer and all his files (in the filing cabinet) nearby.

I don’t spend much time in the laundry room, except to retrieve my laundry, and I think Mr. Mom likes it that way. I’ve been thinking of hanging some sunny yellow wallpaper to break up the vast expanse of white walls, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. And I think Mr. Mom likes that, too.

On the opposite side of Mr. Mom’s desk is another bank of cabinets, with a sink and space for the washer and dryer. And until yesterday, there was an unused corner just waiting for me to make better use of it.

Voila! I created a sewing corner:

sewcorner

In the short time I’ve been sewing, I’ve grown weary of pulling my machine out of the closet and setting it up on my dining room table. So I sub-let Mr. Mom’s empty corner, set up a folding table, and created a space to store my supplies.

Here’s a close up:

sewcu

I sewed a slipcover for the table so that it would look prettier and so I could hide things underneath. The dust cover for my sewing machine is merely the box it came in (top removed and turned upside down) with matching fabric glued on. And my supply caddy is nothing more than a $9 vinyl shoe organizer picked up at Lowe’s.

Underneath the table, I’ve stored my fabric and a stool to sit on.

undertable

All in all, not a bad day’s work I’d say.

With gratitude {for my man, who gave up a corner of his decidedly atypical man cave and even helped me organize it},

Joan, who is itchin’ to make more progress on her quilt now that she’s in tip-top organizational shape

This will change your life.

Dear friends,

I know that’s a bold claim. Anything life-changing sounds too good to be true. Especially something as simple as a container. This container:

photo copy

But when you love to cook as much as I do and you spend any time at all in the kitchen, trust me when I tell you this little tin will change your life.

It’s called a Masala Dabba box and I learned about it from my friend Rama who recently gave me an Indian cooking lesson. Each large tin holds seven small tins and comes with a clear inner lid and a stainless outer lid. I noticed that Rama moved effortlessly around her kitchen because she had a couple of Masala Dabba boxes filled with spices on her prep counter.

Rama’s demonstration was in stark contrast to the way I cook. I rarely organize a mise en place, nor do I bother to pull all the spices out of my cabinet before I begin a recipe. Invariably, I’m foraging through my spice cabinet, yelling at Mr. Mom “Where’s the cumin?” or “Are we out of cinnamon?” It’s a rather herky-jerky approach to cooking that I’ve never seemed to overcome.

So as soon as I spied Rama’s Masala Dabba box, I realized my life would never be the same after I organized my spices. I ordered two last week, thinking I’d create an “Indian Spices” box and an “Italian Spices” box. But after labeling them and filling them yesterday, I realized I need a “Baking Spices” box, a “Chili/Mexican Spices” box, and maybe even a “Basics” box.

These tins easily stack in a cabinet or store in a drawer. So when you’re ready to cook, simply pull out one or more tin, remove the lid, and you’re ready to go.

Are you ready to change your life?

With gratitude {for friends with ingenious solutions to life’s challenges},

Joan, who graciously accepts your gratitude in advance for this life-changing tip because that’s what friends are for