start with a cupboard.

 When this whole William Morris thing started, I read on Pancakes and French Fries that the best advice to take, when starting this project, was to start with a drawer. Well, that’s exactly the advice I took when restarting this project, only it was a cupboard, not a drawer.

This weekend, we’re having a large Thanksgiving dinner (that I’m very excited about). Our big dinner parties usually consist of a gaggle of our friends coming over to cook, eat, drink and clean up. This often starts in the middle of the afternoon and often ends in the middle of the night and often involves various people taking naps on our couch. In anticipation of the big dinner, for what is definitely my favourite holiday, I figured that we’d better get the kitchen in ship-shape since cupboards and corners will be poked into. N already cleaned the fridge out last week so I took it upon myself to tackle this cupboard. It really didn’t need much, just some reorganizing, tossing of chip bags with only crumbs in them (?) and moving medicine to the bathroom.

When all was said and done, it wasn’t the most exciting of reveals, but it does feel good knowing that I won’t be embarrassed when anyone pokes around for some sage this weekend. I even decided to show our very high tech budgeting system that resides in the cupboard, even though it’s a little embarrassing! But hey, it works.

 With the season rapidly changing, I’m actually looking forward to sorting out our apartment more. This summer was rough on the old girl, and she needs some TLC.

This post is part of the William Morris Project. I’ll be linking this post to the inspiration: Pancakes and French Fries.

garden update.

My motivation to do any type of William Morris activities the last couple of weeks has been pretty low. Between school, work, a cold (during the summer?) and all the other things that make up life, I haven’t been up to much. Today, however, we decided to get outside and weed the garden and clean things up a little bit. There aren’t any before and after pictures, because it’s pretty hard to tell the difference from a photo, but it definitely feels like a difference! The garden is growing like crazy and we’re already talking about expanding it next year and what we’d do differently. So far it’s yielded a few zucchini, lots of lettuce, tons of herbs, a few carrots and a few small bunches of flowers. If you’d like to see what the garden looked like about six weeks ago, click here.

This post is part of the William Morris Project. I’ll be linking this post to the inspiration: Pancakes and French Fries.

i heart grey sweaters.

{Addie being really helpful …}

As I mentioned last week, I was planning on going through my dresser for quite a while. I finally did it this week, mostly because I couldn’t get most of the drawers closed anymore.

Since I moved out of my parents’ house almost ten years ago, I haven’t had a proper dresser that was mine and that actually holds everything properly. I currently have two dressers. One is tall and skinny and doesn’t hold much and the other has two large top drawers with a cabinet underneath, which is helpful for blankets etc. but not really ideal for clothing storage. One day I’d like to by a proper extra long dresser, perhaps one that N and I can each have one side on, because I always prefer to have less pieces of furniture than more, but for now, what I have, will have to do.

Anyway, I started out with the unmentionables and socks. I got rid of things I never wore and paired many wayward socks. I also moved the unmentionables into the shallow top drawer in the larger dresser so that I can actually see everything I have at a glance.

{Ignore the stuff on top.}

After that, I was on a pretty good roll, so I got through the shirts, pants, shorts and sweaters pretty easily. From all of this, I learned a few things about myself:

  • I apparently love grey sweaters.
  • I need to buy myself some new underpants.
  • Most of my pairs of pants have holes in them from biking. I’m contemplating how to fix them but some of them may be beyond help. Harumph.
  • Long underwear are difficult to find a drawer category for.
  • I am apparently obsessed with wooly socks (though Canadian winters will do that to you).
  • Ironing is really not my forte.
{Under this layer, they’re all grey.}

 I’m thinking that next week, I may tackle the closet (see my note about ironing) but in the meantime I’m glad that everything has a place and that I know where the place is for now. Unfortunately, dresser organizing is one of those things that has to get done a couple of times a year. I wish I was one of those people who folds everything neatly and puts them back in the right drawer, right away, but I’m never going to be. For the next few months though, this will be a major improvement!

This post is part of the William Morris Project. I’ll be linking this post to the inspiration: Pancakes and French Fries.

filing. {or any excuse to use a label maker.}

Spoiler alert: Contains info about winner the of The Bachelorette. (And yes, it does have to do with filing.)

A subtitle had to be included on this post because, let’s face it: filing? So. Not. Sexy. But, it’ll make your life a bit easier!

For this week’s William Morris post, I was planning something a little more glamorous (if you can call sorting through my dresser glamorous) but frankly, I wanted a project I could complete while watching the season finale of The Bachelorette (soooooo glad she picked Jef, BTW, even though he’s missing an ‘f’ from his name). (I love me some bad TV, especially when certain computer programing languages are causing me all sorts of want-to-throw-computer-equipment-out-of-the-window type feelings.) This left me with the filing cabinet.

Another reason to tackle the files, is that I recently read a chapter or two out of the book Getting Things Done, which takes a very early 2000s, let’s work ourselves to death approach to life, but is none the less super helpful when it comes to organizing one’s files. In the book, David Allen says that if the systems in your life aren’t super easy to use, you won’t use them. (Why didn’t I think of that? I could be a millionaire book author by now … but I digress.) This made a lot of sense to me so I followed his advice and organized my files in a way that makes them easy to use. That meant that I got rid of the actual files and put all of my papers and crap straight into the hanging files that came with our second-hand filing cabinet. That way, I can actually see what’s in a file and move it around with no interference. Easy-peasy, right?

I also labelled all of them with a label maker, something Allen also advises, though let’s get real, besides loving crap television, I also love any excuse to use something as type-A as a label maker. Also on the  David Allen list o’ wisdom, was to organize my files alphabetically. My inner librarian sort of cringed at not using some sort of Dewey decimal or similarly categorized system, but hey, who’s going to knock best-selling organizational wisdom? When all was said and done, I was really pleased with how it all turned out. I know where everything is now and I don’t have to remember whatever system I put in place several months ago, every time I want to figure out if the phone company is trying to screw me or not (which they usually are).

There was another piece of David Allen wisdom I took, which has proven to be pretty golden. I tend to worry about things that I can’t deal with right away. You know: things like having to wait for some form to arrive by snail mail before I can actually apply for the right health coverage etc. It’s silly, I know, and the obvious solution is therapy or some kind of zen living in the moment thing. However, I feel like I’ve solved this worry-wort problem by employing what David Allen calls the … well, I can’t remember … but the long and short of it is, have a folder (and a corresponding to-do list, but that’s another post) that contains all of the ‘Waiting for …” items. The stuff you can’t do anything about until so-and-so gets such-and-such to you or what have you. This has helped me feel less stress because all of that stuff is somewhere handy, waiting for me to do what I need to do with it when the time comes. I’m keeping that file, as well as a few other frequently used ones (not the phone bills, but the file for receipts that will turn into tax deductions and the like) close at hand, in a little pouch tacked to the wall above my desk. Handy and dandy.

Now, you might be thinking that I am totally compulsive and a little obsessive, and I am but, my friends, I do all of this because I know who I am and I know that if I can just get stuff out of my head and into my files (where I don’t have to think about it) it leaves me much more time and mind space to be spontaneous, have more fun and even be more productive. So there you have it, complete with some rhymes. I think William Morris might approve.

P.S. If you’re considering reading Getting Things Done because of this post, I apologize. Depending on what type of person you are, reading it before bed can either be good (it’ll put you to sleep before you can say ‘filing cabinet’) or, bad (if you’re like me, you’ll stay up half the night thinking about how much better your life will be once your files are organized). Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This post is part of the William Morris Project. I’ll be linking this post to the inspiration: Pancakes and French Fries.

my office (in a corner).

 Now that I’m back in school and hoping to run a full-time freelance business after I’m done with school, I definitely needed a better office. So for this week’s William Morris project I decided to get on an idea I’d had formulating for the last several weeks. Since we live in a one bedroom apartment, dedicating a section of the living room seemed like the best plan (N has his office in our living room too).

I wanted to make my section of the room seperate from the rest living area and from N’s office. I’ve always wanted to use chalkboard paint so I decided that this would be the project! On the weekend, I painted a one-metre strip of chalkboard paint above my desk and added a few of my favorite pieces of art from around our apartment. I’m hoping to add a few small things to the wall collection but for now I think the art chunk in the middle of the chalkboard breaks the stripe up pretty nicely. (The left side is close to our front door so will work well for notes and grocery lists and the like.) Though it might seem a little strange to have a deer skull hanging in our living room, it gives us a touch of Alberta (home) which I’m pretty fond of.

Note: My “desk” is really one part of a drop leaf table that we are hoping to get rid of (know anyone who wants it?). It will be replaced with something like this, which I understand is in the works since my birthday earlier this month. I’ll update once the desk is sorted (I’m super excited about the desk!).

This post is part of the William Morris Project. I’ll be linking this post to the inspiration: Pancakes and French Fries.