Friday, December 9, 2011

The Makeup "Nook" retires II

Is it true?  Could it really be true?  Can we come out of chaos and find calm, peace, happy kitties, and . . . oh yes, order?

As someone who has always sought order and peace, and who seems to be pursued by chaos on all sides, achieving this goal is an ongoing struggle.

To demonstrate my ongoing struggle
with chaos, this is how my "office"
 looked when I was still teaching
 college English and attempting
 to maintain a workspace
AND a guestroom in the same room.
 I've since completely re-done this room.
Check back for details!
As the little Tween in a young adult book I've been writing wailed, "I tried to be on time, but circumstances conspired against me!"
My "nook" before its retirement.
Somehow it's the circumstances, not me -- it couldn't be!  For instance, that original makeup "nook" area.  I KNOW that when it was at its worst that it was also shocking.  But that was because there just weren't enough places to put my things away in an orderly fashion.  Circumstances, right?  Not ME!

I have to admit, mediating this collection, and moving in an orderly fashion to the mahogany desk/vanity took me nearly a week.  In the meantime, the rest of the room AND THE BATHROOM looked much like this nook looks here.

But to give the reader hope (and to give myself a much-desired pat on the back), let's look at how the nook looks now. 

My "nook" enjoying the sweet life.
It's actually even more tidy than this, because that keyboard tray is normally closed.  The only thing you find there now is my curling iron and a few scrunchies in that bamboo divider.  My hairbrushes and pins, clips, etc. fit nicely into the top drawer (with plenty of room because this area is JUST for hair).  There is no chair in this area now, because I always stand and use the mirror.  Hubby is very happy (as am I) that the hair-fixing apparatus is no longer lying about (circumstances, remember?) on the bathroom counter.

 And because there is a "place for everything," amazingly, it's so easy to keep neat.  Let's see how the drawers look now . . .

The second drawer is actually still free of content, but I'll be very careful what I add to it.  Let's look into the mirror storage briefly (which I can now get to easily).

There are dozens of hooks on the inside of the middle door in the mirror.  These were originally used to hang necklaces, but I use them now to hang headbands, scrunchies, and barrettes.  All of these things I used to try and keep in a small container on the keyboard tray, and as you can imagine, it was impossible to ever find what I needed.  It's now easy to see what I need.

Remember what I said about peace?  Calm?  Happy kitties?  Well, I'm currently calm, and Emmy Dickins currently seems very happy. 

In part III we'll look at how everything went into the mahogany vanity.  Here's a sneak peek at the effort midway through the process!
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's talk spaces -- the Makeup "Nook" retires I

I know that you all are completely intrigued by my container addiction, but let me put that aside for a bit and talk about spaces.

Oh reader . . . are you like me?

Do you dream of spaces?

Do you awake one morning and realize that you have dreamt all night about a walk-in closet miraculously discovered in a home where you have lived for years? In your dreams did you find a doorway, or ROOM -- perhaps hidden by a simple curtain you have never noticed before?

I have such dreams in much the same way that a chocolate addict dreams of truffles, or a coffee addict dreams of chewing roasted beans. (Well, OK, I have that dream too, but let's not get off track.)

(Well, just one more sidetrack). My daughter continues to dream about helping me move out of our 4-bedroom house and into a small condo. After we have the condo completely full (and have made numerous donation trips to the Salvation Army), we go back to the old house and find it still full.

This is, of course, a nightmare.

But when I dream of rooms, closets, and more rooms, I'm dreaming of coveted spaces, and these are not nightmares. No doubt these SPACES are meant to CONTAIN all of that stuff still left in that old house.

Just kidding. I'm aware of how necessary it is to weed out the unnecessaries and streamline our lives.

But this doesn't explain why I hang onto so much makeup.

Which leads us to the current topic -- the makeup "nook"  (see photo #1).
Photo #1:  The makeup "nook."
I know. Kind of scary, isn't it?

Let me explain.  This is/was a desk area in the corner of our master bedroom.  Since I'd already confiscated an entire bedroom in another part of the house (another post) as office space, and because the bathroom counter had NO ROOM (another post) for my stuff, I decided to make this area a make-up "nook."

And it worked reasonably well, for a while.  The three-way mirror you see there came out of my mother's house and I hated to not use it.  As a person devoted to knowing what the back of my head looks like at all times, I've always loved three-way mirrors.  (Oh, happy were the days I listened to the Monkees and sang "Cheer up Sleepy Jeannie" into my hairbrush/microphone in front of that mirror!)

But I digress.

So, I took the salvaged mirror and crammed it into the nook.  I "forced" the "keyboard tray" to become a drawer of sorts.  I tried to store my makeup and hair-styling implements in the three drawers to the right, but that was largely inefficient and the spaces were just WRONG for what I had to store.  Plus, even though I thought I could store everything in the bazillion shelves residing inside that mirror, I was wrr.  I was wrrr.

OK, I was WRONG.

The corner was so dim that I needed extra lights, and when I stood the lamps up in front of the mirror, I couldn't really get to the inside shelves.  This meant that everything was either stashed out on top of the desk, or was in a mess down below.  I kept thinking that I could find the right type of containers, boxes, trays, tools to organize all of this, but it never really worked right.

Frustration ensued, and I was seldom pleased or inspired by this space.

Then one golden day I saw *it,* the answer to all of my problems.

A darling little mahogany desk with 8 lovely drawers of just the right size.  (I felt like Goldilocks!)

Clearly the little desk would not fit in the nook (which was already occupied by this 3-way mirror and this built-in but-essentially-useless "desk").  It took some figuring,   Then I realized there was a place where I could put it where it would work very well.

Then I found online (quite by accident while researching "little mahogany desks that can also double as a vanity") a DARLING antique mahogany 3-way mirror.  Ever wonder why Goldilocks said "this one is 'just right'"?

So the story is that out of chaos comes calm, peace, and happy kitties.

The happy kitty is just a sidebar, but as you will discover in this blog, every sidebar has purpose.

And if you would like to know more, please come back to see the process!

And so (until next time), as "Mapp and Lucia" used to say, "au reservoir!"

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Too much air for comfort.

Why decant into bottles?

Just think if you had 16 ounces of milk left in a 32 ounce container.  The carton is taking up space in the fridge.  A half-gallon milk carton gobbles about 25 square inches of space in your refrigerator door, while a tall, slim bottle may take up only 9 square inches (approximately).  Let's not even talk about cubic inches although they do relate to "airspace."

Here are some bottles which I have collected over the years for decanting (photo #1).  Each of these bottles is good for the container-addicted because they wash easily in the dishwasher and the cap sizes are very standard.  The tall, slim one on the right once held V-8 juice.  This goes back to when most products were still sold in glass containers (you can't find this bottle anywhere these days, and I "hoard" my three very jealously)!  These are perfect for milk containers, and I pour into these when my milk carton is down about a pint.  One V-8 bottle plus one pint bottle holds the remaining milk and makes storage in the fridge much easier.  My son actually loved this routine because he could grab one of the pint bottles and drink right out of it without getting into trouble (he usually just finished it and put it into the dishwasher, not back into the fridge).
Photo #1. 
Photo #2
Next over is a one-pint health drink bottle.  I think it's quite Smooth and Elegant!  It takes a regular screw-top lid which has a little gasket to make it liquid-tight.(Note the "Synergy" drink bottle in Photo #2.  This was my source for the Smooth Elegant bottle.  Once one of us downs that we'll have another pint bottle I will hang onto and use!)  This bottle is currently holding one delicious pint of cream.  The remaining 6-8 ounces from the quart cream carton went into the little juice bottle, far left in photo #1.  As you can see, I've almost used all of that, and we have an air-space problem again.  Put this back into the fridge this way and the half & half dries inside the bottle, making it harder to wash, even in the dishwasher.

Reader shrinks in horror . . . she can't be planning, she wouldn't possibly . . .  (If my mother were here she would be saying -- "Don't bother doing that!  That's fine the way it is!  Just DRINK that cream!" My mother was known to put a 5 quart casserole back into the fridge containing 1/2 cup of tuna surprise.  We never did see things eye-to-eye.)  Yes, I would possibly . . . .  see photo #3.
Photo #3

I've poured that dab of cream into one of those tiny catsup bottles you get from room service at nice hotels.  Yes, I have a collection of these!  It's just the right size for cream for one or two cups of coffee for me.  I've taken cream in my ice-chest for camping before in these little bottles, and have also packed single-serve maple syrup if I'm going to do a camp breakfast up hearty.  These little bottles are quite charming, and I note that visitors are enchanted if I serve them coffee and their own little cream bottle.  Maybe we all have a deep-seated desire to play house?

Photo #4
Back to my liquid decanter section.  The jar on the left in photo #4 is a salsa jar, but I've discovered they are great for pint use also, as well as for storing little dry goods like nuts or M&M's.  I tend to use these pints for milk, and the other Smooth Elegant and small juice jars for the cream.  No particular reason, I just like to do this.

The tall V-8 jar is also excellent for juice.  Our favorite juice is the unsweetened Cran-Raspberry from Costco which comes in a huge plastic jug.  I decant it ASAP into several different jars and stash them around the fridge.  This is also more convenient because my hands and wrists sometimes ache, and lifting a huge jug is painful.  I also decant liquids for my 91 year-old mother in her little retirement apartment.  She has osteo-arthritis and osteoporosis.  EVERYTHING is heavy for her these days, and she no longer complains about me decanting -- she appreciates it!
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

No wasted space

The mantra of no wasted space, means just that.  Moreover, it means no wasted air.  If there's air there, the space is wasted.

I'm just sayin'.

Air's great for breathing, especially when it's fresh.

But inside my bottle or jar, it's a bad thing.  It means space is wasted, and when you're a containerholic like me, you also don't waste space (which also makes me a spaceaholic, but I only have time for one blog so bear with me).

For instance, consider the milk carton.
It's a wonder of space-saving technology . . . until you open it and drink that first glass.  At that point everything changes.

  • The carton is open (this compromises the freshness of the milk).
  • Some milk is gone, and it has been replaced by air (this compromises the freshness of the milk).
  • The more milk you pour out of the carton, the more air enters, and the less likely the milk is to stay fresh.
You see how this is an ever-increasing problem, unless you are inclined to drink all of this milk at one sitting (which however tempting that thought may be, is not a sensible solution in the long term)?

THEN consider the dilemma if you are one of those, who for reasons of economy, purchase the gallon size jug!  (I admit, I am one of these.  Not the all-the-milk-at-one-sitting one, but the gallon-for-the-reason-of-economy one).

But think of the challenges!  How DO you deal with all of this milk, and all of this potential AIR in the container, all of the potential germs, and all of the potential wasted space?

Aha.  Now we get to the meat of it.  (The vegan of it?)  How about the heart of the matter?

Herein lies the genesis.  It does us no good to lament.  We only benefit from identifying the problem and finding a solution.  Problem?  Air.  Solution?  No air.  How?  Container with less air.

Now I know just how Archimedes felt when that tub overflowed its water and gave him his answer to the weighty gold/silver question.

If you want less air, you need less container.

This, my friend, was the beginning of my addiction.

I could tell you exactly what I did to solve this problem, but there is soooo much more to share with you first.

so much . . .

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I can't hide it any more

Confession at Containerholics Anonymous:
For years I've been ashamed.  

I've tried to hide it.
I didn't want my family to know.

Some of them suspected; some of them whispered behind my back.

Some of them tried to "help" me by hiding, or throwing away those things to which I was irrevocably drawn -- irrevocably addicted.

Others even mentioned that word no addict wishes to hear . . . (shhhh) . . . "hoarder"!

Sometimes in order to be well, in order to heal, we must let our true identity out.

We must proclaim to ourselves, our families and friends, and the world at large who we truly are.

It is time that I do so.

It is time that I admit and say it out loud . . .

My name is Pamela.
And I am a containerholic.

I am addicted to containers.  
Containers and spaces.  
Containers and spaces, and finding more containers and more spaces
and squeezing more into more containers
and squeezing more containers into more spaces."

This is who I am.

Is there anything really wrong with that?

If you are a containerholic like me -- if you are addicted to containers and spaces, you are safe here.  No one will tell on you.  It is our little secret.
That is, ours, and those like us.
It may be just you and me
but I suspect
our name is legion . . . !

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