organizer par excellence…

That’s me!

Give me a dwelling, any dwelling, and I can turn it into a cozy home. Ask my husband and daughter. They’ll swear I’m a miracle worker when it comes to making the most of any amount of square footage.

Over the course of my marriage I have decorated, even redecorated, three apartments, one townhouse, one condo, and three houses. While I’m not a professional, hands-on experience has made me proficient at assembling my family’s living spaces in the long, blink of an eyelash.

Practice makes perfect. It really does.

My daughter’s current apartment is a great, open concept space. There’s even a small foyer leading into the living area. Happily, the wall between it and the kitchen was taken down before she moved in. If not for that, the cramped kitchen would have been claustrophobic, not to mention hot when the stove was in use.

As with most older buildings, the one-bedroom, one-bath apartment is lacking in kitchen storage space.

Above the stove, sink, and refrigerator are squat, boxy cupboards. The type usually reserved for the odd appliance…the rice cooker, the blender, the crockpot. Other than those, there are only 3 other cupboards to store food and dishes. Only one of these is of normal size. Another is narrow. The third while wider is awkwardly situated in a corner. Not much room towards the back for anything.

Having a dishwasher is amazing, although there’s a price to pay for that luxury. There’s only one drawer for cutlery…and nothing else.

While we awaited the arrival of the mover with my daughter’s furnishings, I spent a couple of sleepless nights imagining and re-imagining the use of the space in her apartment. It didn’t take long for me to concoct a brilliant floor plan. Forgive the braggadocio but there are few things for which I’ll take a bow. Decorating, of which I am passionate, is one of them.

Using my daughter’s large, black, glass front cupboard as a dividing wall off the foyer, and a 3 panel, bamboo, room divider facing the living room, we configured a pantry to store not only foodstuffs and miscellaneous kitchenware, but also items we couldn’t find room for elsewhere. With two collapsible shelving units purchased from The Container Store, we were in business.

Resolving the storage problem helped make the apartment more functional. When funds are limited and location is important, there’s always a way to make lemonade out of lemons.

Except for the house we currently own, none of our dwellings have been spacious. In every other home I have had to configure how best to accommodate all our family’s needs. Fortunately I’ve always been up to the challenge.

Watching young couples in the home-buying process on HGTV often drives me crazy. That they require everything from granite countertops to walk-in closets to hardwood floors is beyond my comprehension. Americans are most definitely guilty of getting everything they want…now! Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned ingenuity?

There are limited advantages to growing up poor, such as learning to make do. While no one opts for that, it’s a reality for lots of folks…

…including dancers.









spring cleaning…in august?

I’ve got my daughter’s homecoming to thank for my self imposed spring housecleaning…at the height of summer! 

Trying to figure out where I would put extra boxes of pasta…spaghetti, elbow macaroni, and shells…and salt and pepper dispensers…and oodles of boxes of different varieties of green tea…and multiple cans of spray starch and shaving cream…and on and on and on…made me decide to rip the house apart and start all over again. How far have I gotten? Don’t ask.



Actually, the kitchen is nearly done. The shelves in my pantry are organized. Wonder of wonders! No more stacking boxes of tea on top of one another so that it was difficult to know what I had. I’ve cut apart the boxes, so that the tea bags are fully visible and labeled. There’s my husband’s “go to” green tea with lemon, and my personal stash of sleep aids…decaffeinated green tea.

Then there’s…earl grey green tea…peach green tea…mango green tea…jasmine green tea…chai green…acai green tea…pink lemonade green tea…green tea with ginger, coconut and vanilla…and finally, yerba matta green tea. This last one was recommended by my chiropractor. I drank it once…and grew chest hairs!

Did you know that green tea is a great metabolizer? Three cups a day can help with weight loss according to some diet gurus. Now you know why I stick with decaf. I’d be swinging from the dining room chandelier otherwise.

In addition to the green variety, I’ve got…English breakfast…Earl Grey…coconut macadamia nut…mango passion fruit black tea…and oh, yes…just plain old black tea. Haven’t drunk that in years, but I keep it around just in case it comes back into style.

Trooping the colour - Kate

Then there’s the specialty of the house…not mine but the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. Their special blend of black tea which, you guessed it…I’ve yet to break open. I’m waiting for that special day…when the Queen comes for high tea. I don’t care which one it is…grandma or Cinderella. And you know when that’ll be…when h..l freezes over!

To top this all off, I’ve something which professes it will “sweeten” my mind…vanilla almond. I’d better drink a bucket of that when I’m done reorganizing my house…

What I did with the teas, I also did with the shelves holding the canned foods, the bottles of everything you can think of, and the pastas/rices and grains. In another area I was able to store all the family’s vitamins and supplements…except for my husband’s which are in the bathroom medicine cabinet. In order to do this I had to move some of my everyday spices, like salt and pepper, baking soda, baking powder and others of this variety to another cabinet. I’ve yet to get into my beloved spice drawer to clean up the mess left by a bottle of vanilla which spilled and sesame seeds that jumped out of the bottle because the cap wasn’t secured tightly. I wonder whose fault that was? Probably mine, since I’m head chef, besides being head housekeeper.

Today, Labor Day, I’ll be laboring in the adjoining dining room which has become a temporary storage area, meaning…it looks like a dump. 



My helpful hubby and daughter insert themselves wherever they can, meaning…wherever I think they’ll be able to do things as well as me. No ego here. Just the plain, honest truth. There’s no one who knows better where everything should go than the house boss. Don’t you agree, ladies?

So while you’re all picnicking and swimming and lazing about in the sun…think of me…slaving away in my castle…

…like the idiot that i am…