Sometimes it’s the little things

It’s been a while! I had a Halloween post started, and then WordPress ate it, and then I got discouraged, and then Thanksgiving was ridiculous, and winter break was moreso, and the weather said nope to all my outside plans, and I have little things I’ve been doing, but nothing major, and here we are. I’m not teaching this semester, which means our budget is quite a bit tighter than I’d like. But I’m still trying to make changes that make things better.

One of the things I love about our house, that absolutely sold me on it, is our storage, especially the storage in our kitchen. Our last house was a rental and sort of a cookie cutter budget deal. (Literally, I knew a few people who had our exact house. And you could tell from the front that there were several more of it in our neighborhood.) The kitchen was set up weirdly and had about four square feet of counter space. So you can imagine what the storage situation was like. We unpacked the bare essentials and left everything else in boxes in the garage for the year we were there. But this house. Oh I love my house. Our kitchen isn’t the biggest ever, but we have counter space. And the cabinets! So many cabinets! We’ve unpacked everything and we have *multiple* empty cabinets. The mixing bowls aren’t even nested, each one has its own spot. But there’s always something, isn’t there?

We’ve got a drawer full of spices, but the bigger canisters live in cabinet. A cabinet where they fall on my head when I’m rummaging for the thing I need that is always at the very back of the shelf. So what’s a mostly broke Pinterest-loving girl to do? We just built Mini a new bed (another post! Soon!), and there were some leftover bits of wood.

20150123_155633I snagged a couple of pieces of 2×4 that are about 22 inches long. I had some contact paper kicking around from an old project, and so I decided to go ahead and use that the cover the boards. Why 22 inches? That’s how long they were and it happened to fit pretty well. Now a word about contact paper: it’s a pain in the ass. I got this one because I liked the pattern, but also because it said it’s repositionable. The repositionable part comes from the adhesive not being so sticky. The problem is, they made it too much less sticky and it comes up a lot. Super annoying and I probably won’t go that route again. I cut enough to wrap each board like a present, and then secured each seam with a piece of tape. Seriously, they sat on the counter for two minutes while I emptied the cabinet and it started coming off.

So here’s where the clever part comes in, you stand one board up so it’s tall and then set the other board so it’s not so tall for stair steppy tiers. I have no idea where I first saw this. It’s probably been on Pinterest a hundred times. Hell, I may have read it in a Helpful Hints from Heloise column when I was Mini’s age. (I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house where there were two volumes of fairy tales, a copy of Tom Sawyer, and lots of Reader’s Digest and Good Housekeeping. I was probably the only eight year old to read Erma Bombeck’s books. Sometimes I say things like this and then realize things about my personality make more sense.) So anyway here’s the in-progress, just so you can see the board placement:

So very exciting, I know.
So very exciting, I know.

These are all our taller bottles the little teeny ones live in the drawer along with the odd-shaped stuff, extra ramen seasoning packets, and Pizza Hut parmesan and red pepper flake packets. But the problem is some of the taller things are a lot taller.20150123_162504So even with the extra height it was hard to tell what was what for the stuff in the back. I used a fine tip silver paint pen to label the spices with black lids, and red Sharpie for the rest. Yes, you can see the labels for the chili powder and comino, but I don’t know what will eventually be shuffled where, so I went ahead and labelled them. They say open because we have multiple jars of both of those, so I can tell easily which I need to grab. Why do we have multiples? Our grocery store has cruddy selection when it comes to spices and also doesn’t carry Fiesta, so when we make the two-hour trek to HEB, we stock up. And yes, we do go through them fairly quickly.

Would all of this be better with fancy uniform spice bottles? Sure. But fancy uniform things cost money, and I already had everything here on hand. Was it worth it to go to the trouble of covering the boards with contact paper? Maybe not, since you can’t really see it. I like knowing it’s there, but definitely not something I would have bought specifically for this project. All in all, it was free(ish), and took me about ten minutes. Now when I open the door I won’t have things falling on my head, and it looks a lot nicer. It’s not the biggest thing ever, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth doing. I think that’s something I need to work on keeping in mind with regards to the house. There are big expensive things we really want to do, but that doesn’t mean we should knock out the easy little things.