The mess & update in the niche

I try to be zen. Decluttered. Minimal. And then, I have dirty little secrets, that I’m ashamed of.  And that’s my storage niche.

See the niche, at the back there?

See the niche, at the back there?

First, I don’t like any of this being ‘out in the open’ – ie visible from other parts of my bedroom. I did buy some shutters (from the op shop, so second hand) to refashion to hide this area. They are living with a friend, who may never get around to cutting them to size. Which really should encourage me to keep this area tidy and minimal!  Here’s what’s in there:

Two suitcases, the water polo bag (with gear in it), additional throw, mosquito net, blow heater

Two suitcases, the water polo bag (with gear in it), additional throw, mosquito net, blow heater

More mess - carpet offcuts and the summer rug

More mess – carpet offcuts and the summer rug. Oh and dumpster scavenged Christmas wrapping paper!

This mattress used to be under my bed, but it went back here.  I don't love it, it's a bit messy, but easier than trying to get it under my low rider bed

This mattress used to be under my bed, but it went back here. I don’t love it, it’s a bit messy, but easier than trying to get it under my low rider bed

Before: with old carpet but empty

Before: with old carpet but empty

From what’s in here, this is my ‘plan’

  • use carpet off-cuts to re-carpet the niche (it’s the old beige carpet, and the rest of the upstairs is grey)
  • use or lose the blow heater (deadly things that they are)
  • consider storing mozzie net and throw in linen closet (or install shelves in niche…)
  • do I need an empty box for my Le Creuset? No! Let’s get that reccyled/repurposed now the box for all gluten free flours!

Well since I’ve drafted this, I got a bee in my bonnet, and got that carpet changed! Here’s the afters!

New carpet in the niche!!

New carpet in the niche!!

Sometimes, my house is a mess! (All the stuff from the niche)

Sometimes, my house is a mess! (All the stuff from the niche)

Another view of the empty, newly carpeted niche

Another view of the empty, newly carpeted niche

Wow there was something seriously up with my camera there! Sorry for blurry/blotchy!

Now for it filled up again:

And the mattress, keeping it all 'hidden'

And the mattress, keeping it all ‘hidden’

Suitcases now on a different wall, with the throw, heater and a winter jacket to the left

Suitcases now on a different wall, with the throw, heater and a winter jacket to the left

Summer rug, wrapping paper, and some of the mattress

Summer rug, wrapping paper, and some of the mattress

Sigh.  My dirty little secret.  Once it’s hidden, bare bones minimal and proper organised, I’ll be content.

For now, you’ll know, not every where is show room ready…  Any wizz-bang tidy up ideas? Ways to store what I more nicely?

Book inventory

I love blogging! I drafted this post, and then I thought, ‘it’s a little disjointed’, ‘why this book isn’t with that book?’.  So after completely reorganising my books, hopefully now they are stored in a way that makes sense to you – it certainly makes more sense to me!  Oh and I decluttered two books that I wasn’t entirely proud to have listed :p

Firstly, books are largely hidden in my home, after spending a time in a room with a wall lined in books. I just find the visual too cluttery. So here’s what’s on show in my home:

Beside the radio

Radio - with CD players and a retro tape deck!

Radio – with CD players and a retro tape deck!

In the same shelves, above the radio

Ring binders

All my paper filing is in these two binders

And on the bed ledge

These are the ‘plan to read’ books.

These books have been there for at least 1 year.  Maybe they'll never get read?

These books have been there for at least 1 year. Maybe they’ll never get read?

  1. Israel is Real, Rich Cohen
  2. Each peach pear plum
  3. An intelligent life
  4. Holocaust sites of Europe

And here’s what’s hidden behind closed doors

Wardrobe

Some French novels, and some texts.  Even a 'how to get a job in 12 steps'

Some French novels, and some texts. Even a ‘how to get a job in 12 steps’

French Books (in French or about France)

  1. 12 steps to find a job
  2. The game master (Le maitre du jeu)
  3. Objectif Paris
  4. If it is a man (Si C’est un homme)
  5. Bonjour Tristess
  6. Bonjour tristesse
  7. Improve your French
Books that don't fit the other categories!

Books that don’t fit the other categories!

Gifts

  1. Poland <- a gift from a Polish friend when I studied in France
  2. The Bronze Horseman <- from an Aussie friend who visited Russia.  I read Paulina Simons ‘The Bronze Horseman’ and so I asked for the original poetry.  But I can’t read cryllic!

Other books

  1. Honeymoon with my brother – Franz Wiesner
  2. The Christmas Mystery – Jostein Garder
  3. Plan B – L.R. Brown <- all about alternative ways in life.  Like no flush toliets, and Chinese meat consumption and global warming

The Back Row

To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health

To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health

The book end to the back row - all holocaust themed

The book end to the back row – all holocaust themed

Holocaust Books

  1. The holocaust odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando
  2. Night, E. Wiesel
  3. Eyewitness Aushwitz, F. Muller
  4. Among the righteous, R. Satloff
  5. Ester and Ruzya – Masha Gessen, Masha Gessen
  6. The Seamstress – a memoir of survival, S. T. Bernstein, L.L. Thornton & M. Berstein Samuels
To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health

To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health

Holocaust Books

  1. Parrallel Lines
  2. Hiding Edith
  3. Mosaic
  4. The Messanger
  5. Auschwitz, Auschwitz, How can I forget you
  6. Human Smoke
  7. Safe Passage – Ida Cook
  8. American Heroine in the French Resistance

Spirituality/Mental health

  1. Mister God, this is Anna
  2. Affluenza
  3. Growing to Maturity
  4. Finding happiness
  5. The mindful way through depression
  6. The invitation

Linen/pantry closet

The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books.  There's 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes

The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books. There’s 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes

  1. Striped book – Inspirations book from 2006
  2. Spiral bound black book – more inspirations
  3. Photo album from high school
  4. Blue display book (empty)
  5. First travel journal from 2006
  6. Second travel journal from 2006
  7. Third travel journal from 2007 onwards
  8. Plastic case of brochures for future employers etc
  9. Binder of bank statements from France – 2006 onwards
  10. Empty binder
  11. Stamp collection (Australian)
  12. Stamp collection (foreign)
  13. Binder of floristry assignments and remaining notes
These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too

These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too

  1. Tax envelope for this year’s receipts
  2. Receipts of clothing spending, electrical items, scooter related costs
  3. Writing paper and envelopes
  4. Lists book
  5. Atlas
  6. The Sweet Poison Quit plan
  7. Humourous check list
  8. Journal from 2011-12 (with lists to move house etc)
  9. Emergency

There you go, I think that’s about all of the permanent resident books in my house. There’s a constant cycle of library books, of course.  I pretty much won’t buy a published book now days – between the library, my mother’s house (which feels like a library) and my uncle owning a book store, I have an endless source, it would seem!  I will only buy 2nd hand books when I am heading overseas, and leave them there.  How do you think I did?  Minimal?

Handbag Inventory

I recently shared what was inside my handbag, and Pauline from Reach Financial Independence wanted to know more about what bags I carried things in.  Yesterday I showed you them stashed in my buffet, recently repainted, at the front door. Here’s what’s in there:

The current ‘everyday’

It carries work files easily, and was a Christmas gift from my parents, after they saw how much I was wearing my simialr blue bag to death!

This was a limited edition in Winter 2012/13

This was a limited edition in Winter 2012/13

The collection of Longchamp bags

The blue was a long serving ‘everyday’ – perhaps for 2 years?  The black bag is better for smaller amount of stuff, so on weekends or evenings, where I’m not too fancy :p

The pale blue bag is the same size as the green bag

The pale blue bag is the same size as the green bag

“Walking around” bag

Great for markets or a longish walk where I need things, like when I walk to my hairdressers or into the city

This bag was found on holidays in Adelaide.  It's great when I know I'll be walking around all day

This bag was found on holidays in Adelaide. It’s great when I know I’ll be walking around all day

Sadly, showing signs of it's poor materials :(

Sadly, showing signs of it’s poor materials 😦

Luxury/evening bags

The teal bag is the first time I’ve ever thought to call something ‘buttery’.  The lining is the softest silk in a creamy colour.  Sadly there’s some pen marks, but it still feels divine!  Outside is a beautiful teal suede.  I feel in lust/love with this bag at first site in Jan 2006 in the streets of Paris.  As a lowly student, I’m not sure how I thought I could justify a 80 Euro bag, but I’m glad I did. (I think I attributed it to my ‘grandma birthday money’).  And I’ve never looked back and thought ‘why’d I spend so much on that bag’.  Every time I use it, I just adore it.

This was my first *big* purchase in Paris in 2006 (the year I lived in France) at 80E.  I've never once regretted the cost, it's delicious.

This was my first *big* purchase in Paris in 2006 (the year I lived in France) at 80E. I’ve never once regretted the cost, it’s delicious.

This little cutie was a whim buy at $10 in JFK as I was heading back to Australia. Nothing is that cheap in Australia, so I took a risk that it would match my dark grey evening gown, and huzzah, whilst it’s a different fabric, it tones pretty darn well!

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

I know some of my readers have no handbags, what about you? Could you do with more (!) or less? I think this is just enough for me!

Brighten a buffet

Here’s my last long weekend project.

Simple instructions
1. Sand (with fine sandpaper and EVERYwhere, unlike me :P)
2. tape off the area to be primed and painted
3. Prime and let dry
4. Prime again and let dry
5. Paint and let dry
6. Paint again
7. Remove tape
8. Cry that’s it’s not pinworthy, but remember this is INSIDE your cupboards, the best place to fail!

Before (without the shelf)

Before (without the shelf)

Presanding the buffet interior, ready for priming

Presanding the buffet interior, ready for priming

Priming, coat 1 (and wised up to taping it so I'd get a nice clean finish

Priming, coat 1 (and wised up to taping it so I’d get a nice clean finish

Buffet painted!

Buffet painted! But tape remaining

Now, this is not the blog where you will think I’m super woman! Here’s proof!

Leaving tap too long results in imperfections :(

Leaving tap too long results in imperfections 😦

With the shelf back

With the shelf back

Ready for restocking

Ready for restocking

And inside?

The handbags tucked back in... these are all I own!

The handbags tucked back in… these are all I own!

What’s in your (bathroom) drawers?

Do people have the British sense of humour in my title.  Oh well, if not, I’ll just amuse myself with my dad jokes at the ripe age of 28 (and being a female!)

Here’s another look into what I have.  I’m not sure why I am so fixated on tracking and documenting everything, but I just can’t help myself – I hope you enjoy the sticky beak as much as I love preparing these posts, and then having them all there, on display!

In my bathroom, I have that lovely cabinet you’ve seen before, when I re-papered the back of it.

Over sink bathroom cabinet

Over sink bathroom cabinet

Well, in addition to that, I have a four shelf and four drawer skinny little cabinet (which came from Howard’s Storage if you’re an Aussie and you’re wondering).  I think it was a kind partial gift from a friend one year – meaning it cost me half as much!

The shelves of my bathroom storage - mainly for jewellery!

The shelves of my bathroom storage – mainly for jewellery!

Shall we dive in and see what I have where?

Top drawer

This is the drawer for hair accessories.  Back in the day, I had long hair that I always wore up.  Needless to say, since I shaved it, this drawer sees very little action.  But that’s ok, the hair is growing and one day Rapunzel will be jealous!

Before: Top Drawer

Before: Top Drawer

Second drawer

Not every day do I need ‘one night only’ fake tan.  Or the palette of eye shadows etc that Grandma gave me (I’m not sure I’d ever have bought a palette, but it sure is useful every once in a while!).  There’s even a stray nail polish in there – the others live in the sewing box near the sofa – which is where I’m most likely to paint my nails.  Which is… well close to never prior to the bf!

Lesser used make up

Lesser used make up

Third Drawer

If you’re ill, this is where you should start (if you don’t find it in my handbag!).  I regularly check this drawer and dispose of anything out of date.

The drug stash

The drug stash

Fourth Drawer

I like to keep mini bottles here, as well as a packing list (which is a pre-printed pad.  A little bit of an impulse buy but a helpful reminder).  The wrist watch hangs here too, as I only ever use it on long haul flights when my phone should be off.  Extra eye masks used to live here, til I freecycled the surplus.  I am hardly going to need 5 or 6, now am I?

Travel stuff: little bags and bottles and my wrist watch (seeing I only use it travelling)

Travel stuff: little bags and bottles and my wrist watch (seeing I only use it travelling)

What do you think?  Room to thin out my supplies more?  A few sneaky plastics in there, which you all know I’m not the biggest fan of in my quest for zero waste!

One buffet, so many uses!

At the front door, I have a buffet with three drawers, and a cupboard with two shelves on either side.  It is the key to organisation in my house!  Shall we have a look what’s inside?

Top drawer

This drawer holds: church collection envelopes, my name tag, a small folding fan.  In winter it also holds gloves and delicate scarves.  It holds my ‘keep cup‘ (best business model ever – I don’t know anyone who works for a big company who hasn’t been ‘gifted’ one!).  A few pens.  My journal/notebook, some little post it notes.  I stash out of circulation keys too (like work car keys on weekends, or my shared car’s keys when it’s at it’s other home).

Before: Top Drawer

Before: Top Drawer

Top Drawer After

After: Top Drawer

Middle drawer
This is where I keep all my socks and hosiery – right opposite the shoes. It just seemed sensible and I haven’t yet thought of a reason why I wouldn’t want my socks here!

After: Middle drawer

After: Middle drawer

Bottom drawer

In an apartment, sometimes there is no ‘back shed’ or ‘basement’.  And I like to have things on hand for a quick fix etc.  So I store close to all my hardware needs in this one drawer.  Only some grouting and caulking tools live in my car space tool box.

Before: Bottom drawer

Before: Bottom drawer

After: Bottom Drawer (the Toblerone is 'hiding' (from me) during Lent

After: Bottom Drawer (the Toblerone is ‘hiding’ (from me) during Lent

How to work kitchen drawers in small spaces

No waste Wednesday this week, but back next week I promise.  This is also my 92nd post! I hope to do a ’20 questions+’ for my 100th post, so please feel free to email questions to me at livetolist@gmail.com  It’s ok, I won’t reveal who asked what, and I’m a pretty open book, so feel free to ask whatever you’d like.  If I don’t get any takers, I’ll just share some random facts!

Who’d have thought kitchen drawers would have so many uses?  See, when you live in a smaller place, you need to think beyond the confirms of the room and it’s function.  You need to make what storage you have work for you, even if it’s not ‘conventional’.  You’ll see what I mean…

Just in case you didn't know where my drawers were, they are shaded here!

Just in case you didn’t know where my drawers were, they are shaded here!

The drawers are all 600mm wide, with each drawer being roughly the same height.

Top Drawer

Sure, I have my cutlery (flatware) in the top drawer, but I also have my recipe binder and my measuring tape.  Cause that’s a mighty handy drawer and I ALWAYS seems to be measuring something!  See, there’s even a plastic ruler on the left hand side (cause I can’t recall the dimensions of my cake tins)

Top drawer: Cutlery (or 'flatware'), recipe display books, tape measure. Excess matches (cause I bought the paper wrapped bulk amount over plastic wrapped for less)

Top drawer: Cutlery (or ‘flatware’), recipe display books, tape measure. Excess matches (cause I bought the paper wrapped bulk amount over plastic wrapped for less)

Second Drawer

You’re starting to wonder if I’m really that strange – ok, maybe I oversold you on that.  This is just regular old utensils.  Save for the three hanging on my rail, this is all I got.  Oh and my two knives live on my one shelves – where I can safely see them and not slice my hand off rummaging for other things

Second drawer - utensils.  When there's a colour choice, I go blue :p

Second drawer – utensils. When there’s a colour choice, I go blue :p

Third Drawer

Manuals go here. And those pesky single use items, like alfoil and parchment paper.  Neither compare to the sins of cling film/wrap or saran film but I’m still not happy that I have these 😦

Manuals, manual and more manuals mixed wtih very seldom used paper towel, baking paper and alfoil, with some zip lock bags (reused from other purchases) and abeego wraps.

Manuals, manual and more manuals mixed wtih very seldom used paper towel, baking paper and alfoil, with some zip lock bags (reused from other purchases) and abeego wraps.

Fourth Drawer

You what?  You store electrical items in your kitchen drawer? Well why not? I don’t have a study or a proper entertainment unit.  And I like to charge my phones on the power point directly above the set of drawers.  It just makes sense to toss spare batteries in there too.

Fourth drawer - from the top left and circling round: adapters (international and USB to SD), AA battery chargers x 2, excess batteries for torch and excess cooking utensils (there's a red spatula hiding, wouldn't match my colour scheme in drawer 2!), mobile phone packaging, trash bags for church flowers, hand mixer

Fourth drawer – from the top left and circling round: adapters (international and USB to SD), AA battery chargers x 2, excess batteries for torch and excess cooking utensils (there’s a red spatula hiding, wouldn’t match my colour scheme in drawer 2!), mobile phone packaging, trash bags for church flowers, hand mixer

Bottom Drawer

Somehow I’ve broken with my mother’s (counter) convention, and my bottom drawer does have tea towels in it (I think they may be quaintly called kitchen towels on the mainland US of A).  I also store my microfibre cloths – which are a god send!  There’s a magic eraser, good, but not God sent.

Fifth drawer - tea towels, serviettes (mainly fabric, but the remnants of paper ones), microfibre clothes, a magic eraser and shoe cleaning stuff

Fifth drawer – tea towels, serviettes (mainly fabric, but the remnants of paper ones), microfibre clothes, a magic eraser and shoe cleaning stuff

If you’ve missed it, I’ve also shown you inside my pantry, and my cupboards here and here.

There you go – that’s my kitchen drawers. Anything you wonder – where does she store ‘x’? How do you organise your drawers?  Anything strange lurking where you someone might not expect?