Monday, August 12, 2013

Miscellaneous Monday and Pantry Planning.

What is 37°C?  It's time to plan a day indoors.

Actually, it's 98.6°F.  Still time to plan a day indoors, especially with humidity levels causing a heat index in excess of 100°F.  When looking at today's forecast last night I knew any outdoor activity would lead to dripping sweat regret, so I stacked up household chores and got a good night's sleep.

A couple weeks ago I accidentally deleted my favorite playlist and subsequently spent a couple hours putting an updated version back together.  Today, while working around the house I rocked out to that 75 track mix for the first time and when each song started I thought, “Oh, I love this song!”  Job well done, Marlene.

The most tedious and time consuming chore in this house is sweeping the floors.  We have 1242 sq. ft. of white, vinyl composition tile.  Until moving in here I had no idea how much hair the human body sheds in a week.  Be thankful I don't have a macro lens and my tripod otherwise you, too, would know.

Each Monday I place my awesome iPod dock at the bottom of the stairs and crank it up.  This position, aided by the tile floors, allows the music to carry throughout the entire house.  (I always check the neighbor's parking spot before rocking out).  I keep the small, thin remote in one back pocket and my phone in the other.

iPod dock in my former office.

With a regular broom I sweep the dirt/lint/hair into one corner in each zone: upstairs rooms and hallway, bathroom, stairs and living room, and dining room.  Then I use my vacuum cleaner hose extension to suck it up; no dust pan in existence works well enough to get everything.  I have three known organic pest control traps (spiders) and am very, very careful not to disturb them.

Not to bore you with my tedious chores, including dishes, laundry and making more organizers out of food boxes, I'll just touch on two projects.

The first was a simple 15 minute, cost-free solution to a common problem.  We have temporary dining chairs creating marks on my lovely, white, tile floor.  Instead of buying felt pads or knit footies for them (yes, they are common here) I took a couple yellow flannel cloths from our stack, cut them into sixteen squares, and taped them around the chairs' feet.  Pretty, no.  Practical, you betcha.  Since the tape doesn't touch the wood they will easily remove when the furniture is picked up.  The dining chairs we own already have good felt pads on them but I will definitely check their condition when they arrive and replace if necessary.

Notice the school-tile floor.

The second project is larger – pantry organization.  I have no grand idea for an amazingly beautiful, artfully and sparsely stocked pantry.  I just want to find the best use of space in order to cram everything in but still be able to find things.  Also, the humidity here requires dry good be kept in real airtight containers, not just ziplock bags.

After sifting through many useless websites simply there to sell expensive organizers, I found one that actually laid out an easy to follow, basic plan for pantry organization.  Her ideas are practical and seemingly achievable, and her container suggestions are pretty much visual aids to help you figure out what is best for your needs and your space.

My pantry budget is not up to me so frugality is my plan.  ¥100 stores carry a surprising variety of wire shelving and storage solutions, it won't take many additions to increase the storage of the four-shelf closet.  It's the air-tight containers that require a little more investment, and by “a little more” I mean IKEA not Crate & Barrel.

Using my handy Listomni app, I took stock of all the dry goods I have and the ones I keep on hand, including the common package sizes.  I will perform a little online research for container sizes and prices to give me a better idea and what I'm looking for and how much it may cost.  With our many weight-restricted relocations I must rule out glass and stick to plastic, and I prefer right angles rather than cylinders, both preferences will make the search easier.

This is my at-the-very-beginning "before" shot.  First, and foremost, there is no light inside the pantry.  This will change soon, very soon, maybe even tomorrow soon.  Second, squeezed immediately to the right of the pantry is our efficiency-sized, stackable washer/dryer unit (another post entirely) with virtually no storage space of its own, leaving detergents to live with the food.  We also have no indoor space designated for recyclables; Since I am an avid recycler, this will change too.


I did a quick empty, organize, and refill resulting in the following "after-before" shot.  Biggest differences: recyclables went into a white crate, paper recycling was taken out, and plastic shopping bags were organized into re-purposed milk boxes labelled small, medium and large (on the top shelf).  This made it easier to take inventory of dry goods, and to take thorough and accurate measurements.

After "before."

I am hoping to finish in two weeks.  Since my mobility is pedestrian- and public transit-limited, and weather-permitting, I need time.  Only after exhausting all local options will I pester for suggest an IKEA trip to my husband.  And I better have a good list.

(These photos, except the first one, were taken with an iPhone and are by no means intended to be "real" photos, just snapshots of where I was and what I saw.)

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