Making improvements: TOOLS

It’s no good just tossing stuff and simplifying if we don’t also use our imaginations to improve our — let’s call them our systems. Our systems are the way we do things and the tools we use to do them. Mine needed some serious overhaul.

My office baskets – I spend a lot of time in this room, but I don’t get a lot done. I realized that the clutter and disorder has been a major distraction and energy-suck. I had too much furniture in the room – desk, wheeled microwave cart repurposed to hold the printer, a wicker settee, two other chairs (including the desk chair), and two older file cabinets.  In addition, books were double-shelved, one row in front of another, for most of the shelves — and I’m pretty sure that if I live another 62 years I won’t read half of them.

I had a bookshelf that is a real clutter collector, and I wanted to rehome it. So I started there — pulled the writing books out and sorted which ones I find useful and which ones never have helped. The latter are on their way to a free share shelf at the local post office. Some of the domestic books are headed the same place, and the rest are now replaced in the main shelves.

When I purged my paperwork, during Hurricane Dorian (which skirted my area but left my joints stressed), I consolidated six drawers full down to three. Yeah, I had that much paper clutter. One of the three drawers was my journal collection. I’d like to purge those, but a friend is urging me to tell my story, and I am using them . . . not fun, but probably needful. That means five drawers became two.  I bought two sets of two woven baskets off Amazon and put all that stuff in baskets in my main shelf.  They look quite pretty.  When I buy the shelf I’ve decided to get for the printer, which will fit under my Ikea desk, it will have an extra shelf for my extra printer paper, so I will probably have more shelf space freed up. The journals fit into an Amazon box I’d been holding on to, and are now stored in the closet.

Vacuum cleaner. One of the tasks I badly procrastinate on, due to back and knee issues, is vacuuming. I have a really good, efficient Bissel vacuum cleaner,  but it’s heavy and I find it hard to stand to use for more than a couple of minutes. So I am trying out a plug-in “stick” vacuum from WalMart — I like it a lot and find it useful for light maintenance. Once I figure out the best way to clean the filter, I’ll probably use it more.

Mop. I also bought an O Cedar mop with a removable, washable cloth head. WOW!  Where has that thing been all my life!  There’s a spray bottle where you put the water and cleaner (I use cleaning strength vinegar) and spritz . . . and run the mop over . . . and I don’t know when my floor has been so clean. Not since it was installed, I’m sure.  I bought the mop plus two extra heads through Amazon, and used two heads the first time I mopped. Yeah, that’s how mucky my floor was. That’s why women used to mop on their hands and knees with real rags — to avoid swirling the dirt around and simply redistributing it. Which is what I’ve been doing for (ahem) years, evidently.

Dish drain. I wash my dishes by hand, and I’ve been using a large enamelware basin for washing, one sink for rinsing, and the other side of the sink to hold my standard dish drain. Living in a small trailer, I don’t have counter space to leave a drain with a mat. But I also don’t like having to take up the sink with the drain. — I came across an advertisement for an over-sink dish drain. I’d never heard of such a thing! But it’s a brilliant concept. I ordered one, it arrived yesterday, I put it together last night and inaugurated it today. It’s not perfect — the water dripping of the draining dishes is kind of an unpleasant addition to the work. But it’s a big improvement over what I had going, so I’m well pleased. Also available through Amazon.

Those four things — baskets, vacuum, mop, and dish drain — have made such an enormous improvement in my ability to stay on top of my homekeeping.  What tools do you need to re-figure or upgrade to make your work more efficient and pleasanter?

 

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