The William Morris Project: 2014 | Too Many Books

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The William Morris Project

I’m pretty pleased with this one, folks! Not that it’s revolutionary or anything. I admitted to myself that every project I do will adapt as we change as a family. When I put all the books in one room, Nico wasn’t much of a reader and Mikey was reading small series books. Now Nico has interests of his own and Mikey likes big books. I can’t blame him.

BABY GOT STACKS

Between Mikey’s many series and Nico’s developing interest in reading, books started to collect in every room of the house. The fact I continue to buy books is absolutely irrelevant to the issue at hand. (HAHAHAHAHAHAA!)

Side note: I started reading most of my books on my ipad because the Mister was ready to make me sleep outside with my books and a flashlight. I love to read at night, so much so that I can’t fall asleep unless I’ve read two hours before going to bed. This is a problem when two hours means after midnight. He bought me the ipad and begged me to read with the lights off. That was fine for a while, but over time it bothered my eyes and I started to miss the experience of owning books. I like the look of books everywhere. I like going to the bookstore and searching for the perfect book. Also, and this will sound odd, but I swear my taste for books has turned tawdry now that I know I don’t have to worry anyone at school will see my copy of Gay Wizards, Consulting Detectives and the Women Who Love Them: The Best of 2014.

Children's Books

I realized believing I could store all our books in one room was like that one time the Greeks told the Trojans, “It’s just a horse!”

So I bought two cheap bookcases from Target for the boys room and had Mikey and the Mister put it together. Both went into the room and we started the book purging process. It wasn’t easy with Mikey, who is a sentimental pack rat. Nico, not so much. If he saw the movie and read the book, he was okay tossing it. I took close to 50 books to the school on Monday and, I’m happy to say, a lot of them were checked out by the younger grades.

I’ll show the boys’ new bookcases another day, but for now here is what I have done so far with my new found four shelves of space.

Cookbooks, 2

Cookbooks

Cookbooks! I finally have a place for all my cookbooks! I used to keep them in the pantry in the kitchen, which was fine, but my motivation to use them was less than zero. To access them I had to get a step ladder and forget it. I forgot which books I owned and I ended up storing my most used books in a kitchen cabinet. Now I have them all on two shelves with nine ready to go to Goodwill. Yes, I purged my cookbooks while I was at it to make room for two cookbooks I bought last month. That means I’m seven cookbooks lighter, so at least I’m going in the right direction.

The William Morris Project: 2014 | Makeup Drawer Redo

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The William Morris Project

The last time I worked on my makeup drawer, it was a total redo. I was proud of how much I had purged at the time, but looking at the after now, I see I could have tossed in the trash another bag’s worth of makeup.

Makeup Drawer, 1

My makeup drawer last week may have had less makeup than the first time I cleaned it out, but it was back to being cluttered and messy. Loose powders and compacts are dusty monsters.

Makeup Drawer, 2

Makeup Drawer, 3

I took out everything in the drawer and put it in a purge pile. The obvious items went out first. I admit, there weren’t too many obvious items. I knew I would start rationalizing, so I went into the project with some notes on makeup expiration. If it had expired, I tossed it out–with the exception of a handful of eye shadows because while the beauty editors at Allure says they expire in 3 months, other sources said 12 months. I wear eye shadow, at most, a few times per year. I don’t want to toss out everything I have and then buy replacements that will sit in a drawer. For now, some eye shadows stay until I can figure out a workable solution.

Sticking to bright line rules whittled down my makeup by at least 50%. After that, it was as simple as washing out my makeup caddy and putting the makeup back in place.

Makeup Drawer, 4

Here’s the new and decluttered makeup drawer. I admit that I will probably add some mascara to the drawer–or nice eyeliner since I shouldn’t wear mascara.

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These are my notes in case you were wondering about the expiration dates. You can see them–sans scratch outs and misspellings–in the Allure link above.

The William Morris Project 2014 | Holiday Refrigerators

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The William Morris Project

Only a holiday, in this case Easter, can take a cluttered refrigerator and turn it into Monica’s closet. It never fails. I’m not fantastic when it comes to cleaning out the fridge. I have a friend who cleans out her fridge every week before going to the grocery store. Every week she washes the shelves, cleans out the drawers, and tosses out whatever needs tossing. She rarely has anything that needs tossing, as you can imagine. Insufferable organized clean person.

My fridge gets nowhere near that attention. There isn’t food molding or open cans of soup or raw meet dripping onto the vegetables, but yesterday, 3 days past Easter, it was a mess. (You can see the before picture on instagram.) Cramming the boxes of kale was the second to the last straw.

Clean Out, 4

The last straw was receiving my first order from Farm Fresh to You. I wasn’t about to stick all those vegetables in a cluttered fridge so they could get lost and spoil. I cleaned out the fridge, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Again. If I had a dime for every time I said that I could pay someone to declutter my house.

Clean Out, 2

So much better! I even decided to make use of the wine rack thing that I always said I would never use. I tried to use the soda tray, but I couldn’t figure out where it went. Both the wine rack and the soda tray may go back once we’re done with the wine and soda. Both reflect Easter shenanigans since we don’t drink wine or soda regularly.

Clean Out, 5

The Farm Fresh to You membership happened by accident. I opened the door to a solicitor and I signed up immediately. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, and I’m glad I did. I know I could get everything cheaper if I did the shopping on my own, but I also know that’s not something I will do. I need it delivered to my door, and I need the weight of picking out what to buy removed from my shoulders. I do best when I don’t have a lot of options and I’m a creative cook when I’m forced to use something before it spoils. If left to my own devices, I’d forget the days the farmer’s market was open or show up and buy the same thing over and over again.

My post on skincare motivated me to tackle my diet, which I’m sure contributes to my breakouts and rough complexion. Since the boys and I are on Easter vacation, I haven’t found bought Starbucks or snacks. I already feel better. I’m going to eat at home more, plan out breakfasts (my downfall), and try out some recipes. I’ve been resistant to cooking from recipes lately, which wouldn’t be a problem if I was making nice meals on my own. I swear, if I liked quesadillas, that’s what we would be eating every night.

I’m debating buying the Bountiful cookbook. I’ve heard amazing things about it, and Andrea made a goat cheese + lemon spread recipe from the book that was incredible. Any other healthy cookbooks you recommend? I know, I know. You’re going to recommend Gwyneth’s It’s All Good. Any book but that one, even though it completely changed Andrea’s life and by all accounts is fantastic. This is going to sound horrible, but I can’t stand Gwyneth Paltrow. She drives me stark raving mad. Everything is so sui generis with that woman. She doesn’t get a headache. She gets “light-headed” and fears she’s “having a stroke.” Heaven forbid the woman decides to divorce like the rest of the plebs. No, she has to “consciously uncouple” and access her “pain toolbox.”

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I can’t handle her. I really, really can’t. She’s beautiful, though, and her relationship with her father was touching. I’ll give her that. Gotta end on a positive note.

The William Morris Project: 2014 |I Love Boxes

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The William Morris Project

Spurred on by the success of my bill drawer re-do, I decided to revisit ” target=”_blank”>battery box and candle drawer, which took me two attempts to organize. More because it was boring more than anything else. Check out that original ‘before’ picture! What you don’t see in the last ‘after’ was the pile of candles (tapers, tea lights, etc.) that I squeezed into that small space on the right.

Drawers, 5

Having a battery box is an idea I took from my mom. She has always stored all her batteries in an old shoe box with BATTERIES spelled out in gold vinyl letters. It was so convenient to know exactly where to go for batteries because this was the age of Walkmans, “Ghetto” Blasters, and Nintendo Game & Watch. We used batteries. Hard. She still has the same box with the same letters, by the way.

Best thing I ever did was to implement the battery box. Everyone knows where to look if they need a battery. Even Nico! He knows where to go and he puts things back…most of the time. The only problem I had was with the loose batteries. Apparently, it completely and totally not safe? The jury is still out on this. Some people claim YOU CAN BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN, YOU FOOL! And other people are all, eh, just don’t store them loose next to other metal objects if you want to avoid a short.

Batteries Box, 1

I decided to take the cautious route (shocking) and store them in a plastic container from Michael’s. Everything I read on the internet aka “where everything is true,” said to top loose 9v batteries with electrical tape or duct tape. All other loose batteries should be taped loosely together to keep opposite ends from coming into contact. All batteries have the Cheese Touch.

If you think I’m opening up packages of new batteries and organizing them into slots and then wrapping them in tape, you are seriously high. This is for already opened battery packs only.

AV Box, 1

Candle Box, 1

I transferred all our AV cords and chargers into a smaller plastic box. I did the same with our telephone equipment, though I should revisit that box and see if it’s necessary to keep the contents.

Boxes, 1

So much more room! Much better.

Let’s Talk About Home Financial Management!

Book Keeping

I’m done! I finished the curriculum committee report yesterday and then promptly took a nap. When I woke up, I finished the last of our taxes. Once again, I feel like life might be worth living.

This is the latest I’ve ever been with our taxes, and that’s because this is also the most unorganized I’ve ever been. Back in my previous life, when I had careers that involved numbers and law, I balanced our accounts to the penny using QuickBooks. I had an enormous adding machine and special pens and pretty office supplies. These days, all I have is an accordion file and pencils that need sharpening.

Home financial management isn’t pretty, but its necessary. This post won’t give you anything worth pinning if you’re the type of person who likes pretty pictures. But, if you’re like me and covet information and advice, I have a feeling this is a post that will be worth bookmarking. I want to know how you organize your bills, keep paperwork handy for taxes, and stay financially organized.

For example: thermal receipts. They fade. Even when stored in a cool, dry environment, they last about 5 years. I keep all my tax-deductible items for 7 years. My tax preparer told me that a faded receipt will no longer serve as proof of a deductible item. That makes sense, of course, but I don’t want to photocopy every single receipt we bring into the house. I’ve heard good things about receipt scanners, but those cost between $150-$350 for boring in a box. The Mister says there is now a NeatApp, which looks promising, but there aren’t many reviews available.

Surely there’s a way to handle all your finances in one spot? Preferably a spot that isn’t putting you at risk for identity theft? Banking, bills, receipts…possibly the most boring post I have ever written.

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.