Category Archives: Storage

Using What You Have & What Works

We have a large lot with a lot of trees. The trees dump a lot of pine cones, acorns and oak leaves on the property. Clean up requires much work, and a large volume of space to gather the leaves, cones, acorns, and compost same or haul them to the town’s leaf  or brush pile.

Because I am on a “clean up” jag, I’ve been working on the yard. I have no panic attack issues (that I know of) with the garden.

We only have 2 plastic trash barrels. They’re too big to go into my car. I have a few smaller metal trash cans, but they too would likely have to be put on their sides, and would probably leak leaves, etc. into my car. The better idea seems to be to bag up the leaves and take them to the dump that way. The leaf paper bags work, but are expensive and wasteful.

Because I’m not all that tall, hauling trash barrels and/or full leaf bags gets to be comic for everyone other than me, as the bags are nearly my size. They’re difficult to deal with, full.

Accordingly, we went looking for easier ways to haul the assorted leaves, twigs, etc.  DH brought home one of these:large concrete tub

It’s a concrete mixing tub. After using it a while, it cracked on the corner, so he bought another. It also cracked on the corner, but both are still usable, so we use them, cracks and all!

Last fall, we bit the bullet and bought a package of reusuable plastic bags. These are also made for construction. They’re called “Demo Bags” and we bought them with the idea that we’d use them over & over, for yard waste. So far that works!

The bags fit over the ends of the tubs. It’s not a loose fit, but it’s do-able.

I can push the contents of the tub right into the bag. This was completely unexpected, and welcome — it makes the job much easier!

The bags are big enough for me, especially with my “iffy” elbow that I don’t fill them, but put 1-3 tubs of leaves in them, about 1/2 the bag’s worth. I can then lift them without a problem.

I have a place to put away the tubs, but don’t have one for the previously used bags, yet. That’s the only glitch about this “system”. I’m using what we already had (the tubs), getting the yard cleaned up fairly efficiently, and I’ve cut down the amount of money spent on single-use supplies.

Definitely a win!

(The used bags are being stored right next to where the tubs are stored when they’re empty. Hurrah!)

 

Advertisements

Update

The closet space has been taped, mudded, primed and painted. The vanity cabinet has been installed where it will go. The limestone top for it has been selected, paid for and is awaiting pick up. The now-obviously necessary drawer and cabinet hardware is under discussion. After that? We have to figure out finishing the sides and the shelves which are going above. We have to find something to fill the flooring gap, temporarily anyway. (The guy who built this house took every short cut he could. One of those was that most of the floor coverings end at the closet doors.

We’ve decided what we’ll probably do with the old closet door (and its frame). More on that later. At the moment, they’re in the living room kitchen,(2/14) NOT where it will stay.

The limestone top is in place. 2/10/18.

The cabinet hardware is on order 3/2018.

Zero Waste Idea

On my long-term goal list is the idea of buying shelf-stable foods in bulk. I want to do this for several reason: to reduce trips to the market, reduce the waste we create (and thereby trips to the dump) and stress reduction too. I think I have a great resource for figuring out what to use other than plastic or the consumer packaging to store things in my home: my old housekeeping books.

One of the best for this is a book published in 1921. She has what she calls “marketing charts” which are mostly useless as they tell you to do things like buy “washed raisins,” but there’s a column of how to store foods too. Here’s the information I pulled (my comments are in italic).

Buckets or Cans: Whole Wheat Flour, Rye Flour

Cool, Dry Place: Buckwheat, Canned Goods, Chocolate, Salts (table, cooking & ice cream)Tea, Vinegar

Cool, not Too Dry Place: Nuts

Dry Place: Bar Soaps, Sugar

Tight Container: Cooking Fats (in cool place), Cornstarch (in dry place), Macaroni (pasta)Olive Oil (in dark, cool place), Soap Powder, Spices, Syrup

Jar: Shelled Almonds, Dried Cereal, Cream of Tartar, Currants & Raisins

Glass Jar, Covered or Stoppered: Bay Leaves, Citron, Cocoa, Coconut, Molasses

Rack 2″ from Floor: Flour, white & pastry (One assumes in a barrel or at least a cloth bag? Certainly NOT the paper bags flour comes in today!)

Tight Container: Dried Beans, Crackers, Extracts (in dark place)

Tin*: Baking Powder, Coffee, Cornmeal (covered), Matches

*Any foods stored in a tin I’ll put inside a food safe plastic bag or container which I will reuse.

 

barrel

Image from fixturescloseup.com via google images.

My other observation is that this isn’t likely to be very useful unless I start buying  shelf-stable foods in bulk. Many ideas here are reflected in supermarket packaging: extracts in brown glass and olive oil in green glass bottles, for example. But if you buy them in bulk? Extracts come in white plastic bottles (or at least the commercial packages I’ve seen) but you can purchase olive oil in any bottle you wish.

Now that I’ve created this list, I’m not sure how much I’ll use it? But the idea of it made me stop and think about what I’d need to store household consumables, purchased in bulk. I consider that valuable, even if I don’t actually use the chart!

Feeling Virtuous, but. . .

I probably shouldn’t.

I got 2 crates into the pantry on the pull out shelf today. The crates I’d used previously were too big to use with the pull out hardware. Without the hardware, however, the crates with sanitized sand and carrots were too heavy for me to move easily, so…

We had these other crates. Putting them in the pantry dislodged what had been there since we took out the other crates: an Elfa basket with gallon bottles and a few other things.

I have to go to the hardware store and buy 2 bags of sanitized sand (sold for sand boxes) and find one of the rolls of hardware cloth, to make “lids.” Finally, I have label holders I’ll add to one side of each crate, so I can remember when I put the veggies in.

I removed a small, round plastic bucket which had salted herbs in it. Used one of the available rectangular plastic bins. The bucket will go to the dump, tomorrow. I also removed the 2 dog biscuit canisters I’d been using for canning jar lids. The canisters will go away. The lids have a new home, in a Euro canning jar I also already owned.

(Seeing a pattern here?)

The result is that the hole where the shelf goes was cleaned, the shelf was cleaned, two cleaned crates are on the shelf, empty, with the step stool, and 3 rectangular bins, one has salted herbs in it, the others empty.

The water filters (which had also been on this shelf) are set aside to be put into the attic. I have no idea what to do with the Elfa basket, or the gallon jars, but I’ll figure it out.

So, 3 pieces out, 3 pieces to attic, 3 pieces pulled, nowhere to go, 2 containers used, and a lot less chaos in the pantry. All good!

Wednesday’s Five and Backlog:

I will say that it was nice to NOT carry over most of the previous day’s five (just one from yesterday) and also eliminate others off the backlog. Progress — finally!

Wednesday’s Five:

  1. Put the watering cans away for winter. Went to do this Thurs. a.m., and I’d already done it!
  2. Vac the mattress when you strip/change the bed.2:20 p.m.
  3. Go thru the records and cull.
  4. Clean at least 3 ceilings laundry, dining room, hall 2:00 p.m.
  5. Put the hoses away for winter too.

BACKLOG:

  • Recaulk the bathroom as needed.
  • Make pepper jelly (or use up the peppers somehow).
  • Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  • Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  • Make cookies with the frozen oatmeal. Recipe found. Oatmeal removed from freezer Tuesday.
  • Empty my desk, again.
  • Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish.
  • Clean off DH’s desk.
  • Move the longer lumber from the shed so it can be put away in the loft.
  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc.
  • Do the last gather of tag sale materials, last sale is Saturday 10/14 date changed to 10/21
  • Put ice scrapers in the cars, examine and see if they need replacement?

Chores on hold or in process, for whatever reason:

  • Fertilize the lawn. Did the dooryard lawn and the lawn on the street side of the bulb bed. Tues. 4:30 p.m. Lots more to do!
  • Cut more sage and other such from the garden. Kale Fri. 10/13, most of the rest of it 10/15. Need to pull some tarragon and that’s it.
  • Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)
  • Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing!

Getting It Gone

Since last summer, I’ve sold our old dining room table, the bookcase which was in the hall, the oak stand which was in the entry and one of two Hoosier cabinets. Still to sell: a double dresser, a marble/wrought iron table, at least one coffee table.

I acquired on a sale rack at a home center not too long ago two jars of paint in “modern finish” (high gloss) in black and white. I also got a high gloss liquid wax which does the same thing, but it’s clear. This morning I cleaned the black strap steel shelves in the hall then lightly coated them with some of the black paint to spiff them up. I didn’t “paint’ them, I used the paint as a “buff.” Worked. It was what I had in mind when I acquired the paint. Black metal looks dingy after a while and cleaning it doesn’t get it looking as good as I’d like.  In the process, a lot of things were put in the car to go to the antique store.

Yesterday I started cleaning out the shed; we both worked on it in the evening. There’s a lot less stuff in there (much of it is in the car for the booth) and we generated 2 bags of trash. If the roof project was finished, we would have set up the bagster we got a while back. That will happen soon.

There is still the storage IN the shed: all the items on the 2 platforms (it’s like a bunk bed) and two shelf units. When we get those cleaned out/cleared/modded and then the stuff we’re keeping stored the way we have planned, the shed will be much more efficient and easier to use!

Today

They’re putting the new rafters in place. I’m cleaning out the shed.

There are a few obvious “go to the dump” pieces: a broken-down particle board bookcase I bought when I had the store. The ones which were put together were disposed of long, long ago. This pile of boards has been in the shed since something like 2001! It’s going today.

When we bought the house, the kitchen lights were fluorescents with a plastic grid hiding them. One of those grids (or more?) are in the shed too. I don’t know how long the grid has been in the shed, but we’ve had the house > 20 years now, so the thing has been in our space at least that long. It could have been an extra stored in the shed when we bought the place, or it could have been moved there when we replaced the lights. I don’t know — and I don’t care. It’s going away.

About 5 (?) years ago, at auction, we bought 2 single-pane sidelights. We have the better of the two installed in the new kitchen wall. (Partially replacing the two windows we removed from there last summer.)  I had the idea we might use the 2nd sidelight on the shed itself, but this morning DH said to get rid of it, so it’s going!

ingrid-catlin-too-much-stuff

At one point the contractor asked if we had any 8 penny nails? I didn’t know, but there was a peanut butter jar with a few huge (he said they were 10 penny nails) in it and I gave it to him. Told him NOT to return the jar or any he didn’t use. One more item gone!

I need to get back to the shed clean out so I can actually FINISH today, preferably this morning. (I’d like to go to the antique store this afternoon and maybe run a few errands too!)

Mundane, necessary, and productive: my day so far. Not too bad!

I won’t get this done this morning. For one thing, it’s noon. For another, the dump doesn’t open ’til 1:00!