Pin of Pens

Saw this on Pinterest ages ago and saved my toilet paper rolls. 

It didn’t take long and then I made my own…

I’ve had this for a couple years now. It lives in our office cabinet in the kitchen, but I once kept it in a drawer. It’s so great to see everything at once. Just a plain box with toilet rolls. (Feel like I sound like Bryan Reagan-“It’s a box with rolls in it… I call it ‘box of rolls'”)

My daughter had quite the pile of art supplies and crayons never get put back in their box. So, I made her a similar craft shoebox…

Some are rolls, some are cut up cereal boxes. One is a cough syrup box. It’s not pretty but it sure is useful!


Manageable Challenge: Strict Grocery List

I love podcasts. Best way to enjoy a long drive. My husband is always finding new ones to try out. He found one recently where each episode is an interview with a cookbook author.  I checked out Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook after hearing the author, Dana Gunders, interview. 

The book does contain recipes, but it is mostly a how to stretch and store and use up everything in your kitchen to eliminate wasting any food. The first part of the book argues that if there were a kitchen anti-waste revolution we could eradicate global warming, well maybe she doesn’t come down that strongly, but she presents a pretty strong cause and effect of our spending and wasting habits surrounding our food. 

The biggest place to combat waste in the kitchen, she argues, is at the grocery store. 

I’m trying to challenge myself now to: Go with a list and stick to my list. 

I’ve been shopping from my grocery list for years, but I’ve not made a big effort to adhere to it entirely. 

When I check out I’m asked, “Did you find everything alright?” 

And my answer is too often “Yes, and then some!”

My personal challenge for myself is now to give myself “finding eyes” not “shopping eyes” and only get what is on the list. ONLY. It’s best not to even look at anything else. I’ve done it successfully once so far. On Tuesday there were four things on my list…

I left with just those things. 

Now to do that more often. 

There are times when I’ve forgotten to put it on my list and I need it, so I’m trying to take a moment in the car to reread my list and my weekly menu and double check before I get in the store and am faced with prettily stocked shelves that just want my money. 

Want to take on this challenge with me?  Let me know if you have tips on getting out with only what you went in for!  I’m like 1 for 4 so far in trying this. I could use some help!

Fold Smarter, Faster, Better

Have you ever heard “trying to fold laundry around a toddler is like trying to stack papers on a desk with a fan blowing on it” ?  It’s a great exercise in futility. It’s like a row of lined up dominoes or a stack of blocks. Something in them just has to knock it down. (Result of The Fall?)

Like I warned an older child who wanted to play blocks when my daughter was less than 1, “Don’t get too attached, she will wreck your masterpiece;” if I fold it they will come.

I needed to find a better way.

A smarter, faster, better way.

The task-et, the basket…


Set the scene…


I now fold standing up not sitting down, making me fold faster already.

How great is this couch?!  Had it for years and never used its fine flat edges as a perfect folding platform until recently. IMG_5302

My mental map of where the piles go by destination…couch

Remove every item and place in piles by owner/destination. It’s like setting a table. (Actually, folding on a table, around a taller bed, or right on on the kitchen counter would all make a good alternative if you can’t stand behind a couch.)

They don’t mess with the piles, oddly enough. It’s only the folded stacks that make them go all Hulk Smash.

Now the basket is already empty. This may be a placebo effect, but I feel accomplished just by seeing the bottom, even before folding.

I carry away the kitchen pile and fold the items right on the counter and put them away. Everything in drawers is stacked vertically now since Marie Kondo’s book.

Actually, just read this and get the basics…


In order to rotate wear I stock my newly laundered items in the back and pull from the front.



Beautiful right?!


Back to the couch and I fold each pile and put it away one destination at a time.

By using the couch I can fold vertically and stack right up against the backrest.




I still rubberband the pjs!


And stock them from the back. IMG_5341



When I sat and folded it took a lot of motivation to stand back up and put it all away. It also made my back ache. Now when I’m done folding I’m basically finished putting it all away and a body in motion stays in motion.

I love my new folding system. As my kids get older I’m already planning on having them fold their own pile.

How about you?  Does folding and putting away clothes get lost in your home?  Are my kids the only ones that enjoy throwing folded clothes?