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Have you heard? There is a clutter challenge afoot… for everyone… for the next 6 months… just 10 min a day to change your life. Details can be found at Oprah’s Clean Up Your Messy Home! page.

I never really have given any thought to the clutter in our house.  It’s not ‘carve a walkway through the livingroom’ but if I lived in the south again I would change my living room habits :-).

Ever since the show aired earlier this week The Carpenter and I have been walking though the house in the evening and deciding on the next space to start on.  We are big fans of FlyLady  and tackle one room each week for deep cleaning BUT we have never taken the time to explore a vision for each room.

Like many people the kitchen is the center of our home.  So we gave some tough conversation to what is working and what is not about our counters and our drawers… we agreed that the drawers all work… everything is in it’s place, we know where everything goes, and it is used in the general area it is stored.

Here on some thoughts on how I brought a great deal of balance and joy to my life in 3 of the drawers:

No 1 Drawer

When at the stove a love to dig into my top drawers, one is for spices and potholders, but the real magic lives with the tongs!  My life was transformed when I spent $10 on 3 different tongs and found one that fits how I work.  It’s just the right length, the scallops grip in just the right way, and the closure jiggles with a flick of the wrist.  I now have 8 of them.  I never run out. I can have 4 pots on the stove and 2 dishes in the oven and still have a pair for each!

I am also a whisk fanatic.  They must be silicon coated, and no 2 are alike. Like the tongs, I never run out, and none cost me more than $5.  Need to take a knife of a picnic?  I have knife safes for each blade from the days when I didn’t have the counter space for the perfect block.  There are still some specialty knives (and a fish bone puller) but everything is used either on the stove or the cutting board that rests on the counter above.

Wine closures, equal and gum… what a combination… but I always seem to run out of equal and gum in my purse and somehow this has become the storage for the refills.  I didn’t even realize they were in the same drawer until I looked at the picture :-)!  

Pizza, Pasta, and Dip Drawer

Next down the stack is a drawer that mixes stove with cutting board / prep needs.  Plenty of spoon rests and even the hand held vacuum sealer… but dip mixes and ‘finishing’ toys all have a place here. A bit more crowded and a bit less used… BUT everything you would need to scrape or cut, or dice that is not covered in a knife block or drawer No 1. 

Joyous Junk Drawer

Yes, this is my real junk drawer.  It is my only one.  It lives between the dishwasher and the door to the pantry / garage.  There are some handy items (picture hanging hardware, emergency wind up light, label maker) and some last thought items (lint brush, cough drops, picnic napkins).  

The real joy comes from the box of grease pencils ( that way I never run out), the spare remote control (yes, the Westie used to eat that many of them), and the stash of chocolate.

What small items always go missing?  What aggrevates you the most when you can’t find it or have to go AGAIN to the corner store to replace *it*.  That is what I stock in my junk drawer.

What do you stock in yours? 

What will you tackle during the clutter challenge?  What visionary things are you learning this week?

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Our House Becoming Our Home

Hover over pictures to learn more about the steps and the progress

No matter where I have lived I have upgraded cabinets, installed new tile and made even a rental house my home. The transformations played out above run the range of an hour to a year, but they all have a powerful thing in common – Freecycle, clearance items, and Second Use.

I hope that the pictures and descriptions will inspire you to enjoy your current house by making it you very personal home!

Projects Completed in a Day  

Yard Transformation

We have 3 perky puppies and a wonderfully well planted yard.  Postings on several local www.freecycle.org lists, and a colleague with an unwanted kennel helped created the barriers that keep the dogs happy and the plants living.

Garage Transformation (Part 1)

The door from the garage to the kitchen was moved to the laundry room / hot water heater niche before we even moved in.  It was the first step in creating an entry DMV for groceries and coats so the perky dogs stay inside while The Carpenter can have the garage door open all day long if he chooses.

Dinner Room

Not everything has required tools.  We transformed a quilting / piano room to a cozy dining room thanks to my grandmother’s furniture (both sides) and ‘lending’ our bedroom side table lights until we hang a ceiling light.

Projects completed in a Weekend

Mobile Laundry

Project 2 prior to moving in.  The laundry hook ups traveled up the wall to the master bedroom closet.  Plumbing folks at Loewe’s and Home Depot helped us navigate the world of plastic plumbing… we have always had copper before.  This Old House had great suggestions for washer hookups that only let water flow through when the appliance is turned on.

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