Behind Closed Doors

I came back from my week away all worked up to get rid of stuff and make the house feel less messy. One of the projects I wanted to take on was getting the bathroom shelves looking clean and being clean. We have a lot of dust in the house from construction and just from the natural dustiness of Alameda, so the open shelves that were fine in other contexts were a maintenance nightmare.

Plus they are these old fiberboard shelves I bought 15 years ago, so I feel like I've gotten full value from them.

The bathroom shelves, before

That's a solid hour of dusting every week, and that didn't always happen.

So yesterday I took a trip to IKEA and came home with a Billy bookcase and a door for it. I'd love to figure out some way to make it all look nice and clean with orderly shelves, but I'm pretty happy with just having everything closed up nice and neat in one cabinet.

The bathroom shelves, after

What you can't see in this picture is that there was another shelf unit in the bathroom that we also removed, so the scale fits in the bathroom again. We had been weighing ourselves in the laundry room, which is not nearly as comfortable as it seems like it ought to be.

(Gosh, it would be really great if I finished painting the bathroom, wouldn't it? I started that the week before our wedding so I do have an excuse, but not a good one because we recently celebrated our seventh anniversary.)

The other project for this weekend was reorganizing the pantry. We had a lot of loose packages of stuff and stuff piled everywhere and anywhere on the shelves, so on the same trip to IKEA I got some glass storage jars and then spent a nice afternoon with the label machine and the jars and ended up with this:

Reorganized pantry

We have eight kinds of flour, people. (All-purpose, cake, whole wheat, bread, soy, almond, hazelnut, and semolina, plus gluten which I didn't count.) I didn't even count the many types of sugar, but the list starts with three different shades of brown sugar and gets longer and longer from there.

To get everything to fit nicely, I put a bunch of smaller things like vases and egg cups in boxes and put them on higher shelves, because while I do use them, I don't use them every day. I also moved a bunch of stuff we never used and will not use out to the giveaway pile.

This thing is about getting rid of things I don't just LOVE, and to that end we've made quite a pile in the dining room:

The giveaway pile

Everything there, minus the table and the cat (would it be a Casa Decrepit photo without some animal creeping in to pose?), plus a couple other boxes of stuff in other parts of the house, is leaving in the next two weeks. (We're having an un-garage-un-sale next weekend, I think.)

I almost can't believe how much of a pile we've made. When I started I half thought the pile would end up being much smaller, but as soon as you start throwing furniture into the mix the volume increases a lot.

posted by ayse on 08/22/10


I always just figured you'd picked a ... creative color scheme for the bathroom :-)

I would be happy to take those baskets off your hands...

Pantry looks really great!

Congratulations on the destuffitization. I keep working on that in fits and starts - remodeling our garage into a wheelchair-accessible master suite a couple of years ago really put the pressure on our storage situation, since we have no attic and only a very small earth-walled cellar. A family member coming for an indefinite stay starting last month upped the ante! The Salvation Army loves me.

Getting rid of the big furniture looks impressive and feels great, but what's invisible is all the thousand tiny decisions that were necessary to get that furniture emptied in the first place. That's a lot of empty shelves and drawers in your picture!

I keep waffling about whether to hunt up bookcases with glass doors or deal with dusting, and you've convinced me, doors.

Doesn't it feel great to get something really organized?

I'm thinking I would move that bathroom bookcase over against the wall and move the little item that's now between it and the wall out in front of it. Just a bit more room coming through that door and more floor space.

By the way, I can hardly believe how much less dusting I'm doing since I got a HEPA air purifier.

Karen Anne, that little item is the toilet plunger. Maybe we'll move the bookcase over if it feels too looming, but now it's nice to not have animals knocking the plunger all over the place (wagging tails, pouncing kittens). I'm really looking forward to when we have a new toilet that doesn't plug up if you look at it crosseyed.

And maybe we should give an air filter a try. I've had some issues with them in the past (one was stirring up more dust than it removed from the air, which was really aggravating my allergies), but I understand they're getting better.

The air purifier I have is a Whirlpool Whispure AP250 at $154.99 from National Allergy Supply. Hmm, just looking, I see the price has been jacked up to $199 since I got mine.

My only complaint is that it's noisy, but apparently they all are. It did wonders for my respiratory stuff as well as reducing dusting.

I'm going to get another one for upstairs, but I'll try a different model in case I can find a quieter one.

That is really quite the camera lens you have now. Almost as if it could let you step back just a little /outside/ the wall behind you. It gives a slightly "dollhouse" quality to familiar rooms.

That's my Big Fat Lens (11-16mm). I love it to tiny little pieces. A really, really useful lens for anybody who works with interior spaces and wants to be able to take 180-degree shots indoors. The only drawback is that it's designed specifically for digital, so while you can use it on a film camera it doesn't produce the same results.

Can you maybe use wicker or cloth baskets on the bathroom shelves to provide a more orderly look? Everything would fit into a basket then you just remove the basket when you need it. Looks nice, though! Isn't purging a great feeling!

Shannon, that's sort of what I was thinking. IKEA was too crowded on the weekend to do much browsing, but the next time I go I am going to look for appropriate bins. I've also been thinking I could just frost the upper part of the door to hide the contents.

And I'm really enjoying purging.

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