I haven’t been reading much of the news from the bombing; it was making me far too sad. My heart is aching for everyone in Boston, and for our country. I mean, yeah. It’s just heartbreaking. But sometimes the best way to combat the evil and to show our enemies that our spirit will not be crushed is to go on with the mundanities of life. We can infuse the routine of our life with purpose and holiness, and that is a victory.
This is a post I started last week. I’ve been so busy (In Harmony concert in May! May 26th! Cleveland!) that I haven’t had a minute to finish it. But I’m making a minute tonight. Because this is my little act of defiance in the face of terrorism. I won’t let it make me so sad that I can’t do anything. May we all have the strength and willpower to make our lives beautiful and full, despite attempts to make the world unbearable. And may everyone touched by yesterday’s tragedy be comforted.
Clutter. It’s a sneaky thing. No matter how small my living space or how vigilantly I try to keep on top of it, it creeps it and settles down until every available surface is covered with stuff. And really, it’s just “stuff” that’s covering my nice, clean surfaces. Stuff that needs to be put in its proper place. Stuff that needs to be thrown out but for whatever reason (I might use it later!), has be spared the trash bin for one day more. Stuff that doesn’t have a place. Stuff that has a place but said place has been covered by other stuff.
When my apartment gets too cluttered I really don’t function as well. Things take too long to be found, or cannot be found at all. As the clutter builds, I feel progessively more overwhelmed and despair of ever getting things in order. This leads to more procrastination, which makes me cranky. And that’s no good for anyone.
I read an article in the March 6th issue of Mishpacha Magazine’s Family First which blew my mind, for a couple of reasons. Reason number one was that the article was written about someone I know in real life. Simi Friedman is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and I was so happy to read about her!
The article was about her very creative approach to maximizing the space in her home. I was very inspired by her ideas, like using the linen closet for a bookshelf, for instance. And keeping her kids’ clothes in the basement near the laundry station which streamlined laundry. Her kitchen was also a breath of fresh air. No junk drawer in there!
I was so inspired that as soon as I could (meaning, after Shabbos), I started reorganizing. With three little kids and about a million side projects, I don’t have much free time, and the free time I have I don’t really use for home organization. But that’s on me, becuase I LOVE home organization. And kudos to Simi for rekindling this drive.
New Series! Clear Surfaces, Clear Mind.
Because of this inspiration, I decided to start a new series on the blog, about reclaiming the clear space in my house, and creating a clearer space in my mind as a result. Each post, about one a month, will feature a different area of my apartment that has been overrun with clutter. And I’ll tackle it, and tell you about it.
I’m starting in the kitchen. My kitchen is bigger than my last one, but that’s not saying much. And I do not really use the space very judiciously. So, my “old” kitchen setup featured a pantry where I never knew what was in the back. Following Simi’s example, I took out the food and put in my dishes. It actually freed up a lot of space, and looks a lot cleaner, too.
I also laid some contact paper down in my cabinets. These cabinets looks like they are pre-cold war. They are metal and rusty and gross. I had wanted to lay contact paper down for a long time, but just never got around to it (know that feeling?). Well, I finally got around to it.
But the best part is that I did something with the cabinets above the fridge. In every home I’ve lived in, there are small cabinet doors above the fridge and I never use them for anything useful. Things always pile up on top of the fridge, and then I can’t get into the cabinets, and then I forget what’s in there. I always viewed them as useless, really.
But after reading this article, I had a flash of inspiration. What if I removed the doors from the cabinets? Then I could use the space on top of the fridge AND the space in the cabinets. And I wouldn’t forget what was in there because I could see inside!!!
So I don’t forget where I put the now-removed door, I used a piece of painter’s tape and a sharpie to make a note on the remaining door. See it up there in the top left corner? Next, I took some of my pretty contact paper that I kept around from last Pesach (not the most recent one, but the one before that). This was an instance where me keeping something because I “might use it” actually worked out. Ha!
I’ve found that applying the contact paper in small sections is a more effective way of laying it down. After I “discovered” this method, I realized that there are instructions on the back of the contact paper that, had I read them earlier, would have informed me of that trick.
Then I took some time to think about what I would actually want to store up that high. It would be things I used somewhat frequently, but not too frequently. I didn’t want to be in a rush to fill it up, so I was okay with leaving some empty space. I also added a little artwork, courtesy of Little Man, to liven up that cabinet door.
I’m so happy about those cabinets I get a little pep in my step every time I look at them. Thank you, Simi!
What area in your home is the biggest clutter magnet? Is there an area you tackled during spring cleaning that you’re especially happy with?