Thursday, October 21, 2010

Better Late Than Never, Right?

A mere seven months after I last posted, I finally have updated cottage photos for you!  Where was I during those seven months, you ask?  Busy.  Leave me alone.

So!  Our cottage!

This cozy dwelling boasts a custom made pull out sofa, a private bathroom with shower stall (and live blackberry bushes), a full kitchen and a lovely sitting porch to enjoy the morning sun.

The living area/pull out sofa

The mirrored door leads to the spa-like bathroom
Witness, in your retreat, the tools of a movie maker and creative genius.  Take in the two, count 'em TWO video monitors, random video tapes, and posters from projects past!

Todd's work area, and the front door that leads to the porch
Off of the living area is a full kitchen (minus one working stove burner) complete with dishes, a toaster, a hot water pot and a vast array of teas for your comfort.

The retro kitchen, complete with hot water pot and toaster
This antique china cabinet adds to the old world charm and feeling of yesteryear.

A beautiful china cabinet that houses your dishes
This spa-like bathroom, complete with pink toilet, will envelope you in naughty pine and live foliage from the outdoors!

The spa-like bathroom with naughty pine (hee)
So when your vacation takes you to West Seattle, considering staying at Chez Downing*.

*Rates from $20 to $200 a night (depending on your relationship with the Downings).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Wish I'd Thought of This

Do you have one of these toilet seats?

Maybe you don't need to remove the toilet seat when you clean the toilet.  I never did either.  I just took a toothbrush to those little latches.

But now! Just turn the thingies and the whole seat just pops right off!  Fantastic.

Stuff like this just fuels my neurosis.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Chicago Hoarders Found Buried Alive Under Trash

I cannot fathom this kind of mess. How does a home get this bad? I can’t go to bed until any clothes that are on the bed or floor are put away; there’s no way I could ignore trash.

I’m feeling the need to go home and clean.
Right now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Grismore Project, Part I

On Saturday, Todd's brother-in-law and his wife cashed in their Organizing Gift Card.  I have a hard time buying them presents, so last Christmas I gave them a four hour organizing gift.  They have a lot of projects in their house, but their primary focus was their office.  It's where the spend a big bulk of their time, and they needed it less chaotic and more functional.

There was the closet:

The desk:

And the cords, my gawd the cords:

It took a mere five hours to whip that office into shape.

The cords were widdled down so that they all fit into that one blue bin.  Success!

The coupon was for only four hours, but there's more I want to do there!  They still have boxes in their garage from when Ann moved in, and the bedroom closet needs some structure, and they still have wedding gifts from last year they need to incorporate into their kitchen!

How can I just ignore that?!
I told them I would be back.  Soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grocery Shopping

The grocery list is coming in very handy. If we actually grocery shop each Saturday, which is difficult. But we went today, and I took our magnetic pen with us. I used it to tack the list to the shopping cart.

Not too bad. I still need something hard to put the list on when I scratch off each item. I'm using shelves and strawberry boxes and anything else I can find. It wastes time!

I shall ponder......

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sponges or Dishcloth?

I’m having sponge issues.

I like using a sponge when I wash dishes. I know, I know….that’s the most bacteria ridden part of the house. I know. Which is why I switch the sponges out about once a week.

And it’s finally dawned on me that this practice is very expensive.

Mom has always used a dishcloth, and always gripes about my sponges, but I can’t wash dishes with a dishcloth. It’s too big, it flops around and gets me wet, it’s too thin. I like the thickness of sponge.

So I need a “washable” sponge.

I’ve found these by Twist but nowhere on their site does it say that these are cleanable (you’d think making a sponge washable would be worth mentioning). I found that information here, at The Greenest Dollar.

Here’s a post from Mom Go Green about Trader Joe’s sponges. They’re compostable, so at least I won’t be adding to my garbage pile.

Williams Sonoma also carries a cellulose (i.e. compostable) pop up sponge like Trader Joe’s that you can throw in the dishwasher to clean.

You get 12 sponges for $15, which works out to $1.25 per sponge. The Scotch Brite sponges are, according to Amazon, $18.95 for 18 sponges, so they’re just about $1.05 each.

So, I’d still be spending money on sponges when I could just use a dishcloth over and over. But with the pop up sponges, I wouldn’t be switching them out each week (one woman commented that one sponges will last up to six months with regular cleanings), so those 12 sponges could last a year, whereas the 18 Scotch Brite sponges last a mere 18 weeks.

Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

What do you use to wash dishes?
Aside from a dishwasher, husband, or child?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Product Review: Carpet Sweeper

The product: A Scotch Brite Carpet Sweeper
The place: My office
The result: Eh.

My co-worker, Matabulor, buys the office supplies for our department, and was gracious enough to buy this carpet sweeper for me. It arrived on Wednesday (happy birthday to me!!) so I immediately put it together and tried it out.

I think I picked up a walnut. That was it.

I’m a bit disappointed.

It doesn’t pick up much of anything. The “bristles” on the roller are long rubber strips, so they don’t grab very well. Individual bristles would be better. I’ve read that you have to push down kind of hard to really grab stuff, but that didn’t seem to work either. I did get a walnut, however.

So, I decided to “borrow” the sweeper for the weekend and try it out on the carpet at home. It’s more plush than the stuff at work, so maybe that’s the key?

The place: My house
The result: Much better.

The sweeper actually picks up the litter in the hallway, and the pine needles by the front door. It doesn't do much on the hardwoods in the kitchen or the bathroom, but that's okay. I have a broom and I don't mind using it.

So, I think I'll pick one of these up the next time I see one for under $30. I can put a holder in the linen closet and just keep it in there.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Behold! The Barmoire!

I was over at Stephanie's a while back, looking through one of her house decorating magazines. In it, there was this nifty article about refurbishing an old piece of furniture into something new. One idea they had was to take an old armoire and turn it into a bar.

I loved it. Todd loved it.

I was thinking we could go to Goodwill, or surf craigslist and find a cheap armoire and convert it. But then my fantabulous husband remembered that we had an armoire in storage. It used to be in our movie room, and housed all of the electronic stuff.

So when we cleaned out the storage units a couple of weeks ago, we brought the armoire inside. And yesterday, we used up some newly found gift cards to buy a couple of wine racks and stemware holders.

And behold!

The Barmoire.

By putting all of our stemware, alcohol, and paraphernalia in here, we opened up two kitchen cabinet shelves and a huge space in the pantry.

Slowly, but surely, we are getting some elbow room in this house. I love it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cottage Project, Phase 1

On Saturday, we began our (cosmetic) renovation of the cottage. Todd calls it The Shack, but I prefer cottage. Makes me think of Martha's Vineyard.

The cottage had mint green walls in the main room.

The kitchen is, thankfully, white, but has a sink, stove and hot water heater from the 60's and cabinetry from the 70's.

However, this is this beautiful hutch that, with a little sanding and repainting, could be a diamond in the rough.

What gets me is, at one time, people painted the light switches, the switch plates, the electrical outlets, the little brackets to hold the curtain rods. It's just ridiculous. So we bought all new outlet and light switch plates, and I sat down with Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol and scrubbed all of the paint off these things. That alone made a world of difference.

It really doesn't take much to quickly beautify a place.

Speaking of which, we are almost finished beautifying. We've got two coats of paint on the walls, curtains over the windows, magnets on the fridge and Todd is currently in the process of getting all of his office boxes unpacked.

We have until Thursday evening to get this wrapped up. That's when our friends will be arriving from Portland to be our first guests. How exciting!

There will be after pictures soon. Promise.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reason #8 Why I Love Todd

He has clever ideas.
Like pouring pancake batter from a pitcher.

I'm not sure what he was using when he started this morning, but as I was making coffee, I heard him say, "This isn't working...." When I went over to him, I saw he had poured the pancake batter into our little pitcher and was pouring the batter out.

I gave him a hug. I appreciate that kind of cleverness.

Then he put on my OveGlove, and took the hot plate of pancakes out of the oven. Then he made a little Michael Jackson squeal and grabbed his crotch.

I laughed until I choked.

I begged him to do it again so I could get a picture, but he refused.


Thursday, April 8, 2010


We got a Container Store mini-catalog in the mail yesterday. And they’re having a sale! I may need to make a trip over there this weekend.

Because I must have a boot box.

Actually, I must have five boot boxes. Now, five isn’t so bad. I used to have 12 pairs of boots. Look at me, widdle down!

Don’t need the shoe boxes. I have plenty of those.

I’ll also need to get a garment bag for my wedding dress.

At least until I get $300 to get it cleaned and packaged up. Right now it's in the plastic bag that the seamstress had it in. And there are some holes. Not good.

And I’ve been saying I want a little carpet sweeper, to keep in the linen closet. And lookie! They’re on sale! Meant to be....

That way, I don’t have to drag out the canister vacuum cleaner to sweep up the pine needles by the front door, or litter in front of the bathroom. I’ve tried using our dust buster, but it just doesn’t suck enough.


I could also use one of these at work.

They never vacuum here. It’s icky.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Grocery List

The hubby and I have devised a new system.

Before we do our big weekly grocery shopping, we sit down and list out the dinners we're going to have each night, for however many nights.

Remember, Friday night is pizza & movie night. And thank gawd. Cause it's too freakin' hard to come up with just four dinners each week, let alone, seven. I love having Friday night off.

Anyway, we list out the night and what we're having for dinner. And then we jot down the ingredients we need for each of those dinners in the appropriate column.

I like the columns because they're grouped according to sections of the grocery store, so you're not scanning the entire list to find what you should be looking for. You just look in the corresponding area.

I'm all about saving time.

Click to make it larger.

Now I need to figure out a way to clip it to the shopping cart. Preferably with a clipboard type device, but there are already patents pending for that. There is the list clipper thing, found here at Amazon, but that doesn't allow you to write on it. And where do you keep the pen? I hate shuffling the pen and list from hand to cart while you're picking out broccoli. I joked to Todd about getting one of those belts that hold sheet music, like the marching bands wear.

He said he wouldn't grocery shop with me. Poo.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Mighty Tidy Debut


The first post of a new blog is always hard.
What to write? Where to start?

Let's start with the assumption that you already know me. You've been reading
My New Life Out Here for a while, so you know I am an organizing junkie and lover of shoes. You know I sometimes get manic and will clean for hours on end, and that I sometimes have nifty organizing/storage/cleaning ideas that I love to share with you.

And you know that my brand spankin' new husband Todd and I have recently bought a house (that we have big BIG plans for) and even more recently, gained the use of our backyard cottage (which is falling apart and will require renovations over the next, oh, ten years).

So, what better time to start a blog that's focused on my love of cleaning and organizing (with an occasional shoe thrown in there)? It is here, I will share ideas, stories, photos and brainstorm all things organizy. And I'm even trying to get this mobile blogging thing down so when I'm out and about somewhere and see something that I must share with you IMMEDIATELY, I can. Somehow. Soon, I promise.


Let's get Mighty Tidy.