B.T. – Before Tissues

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Once upon a time ladies carried a lace handkerchief and gentleman had a fancy one tucked in their breast pocket.  Over time handkerchiefs evolved into a simple cotton square which everyone carried.  When I was a child you did not leave home without a clean hanky tucked in the pocket of your dress or trousers.  Handkerchiefs were as much a part of your wardrobe as your underwear and were usually stored in the top drawer along with the rest of your underwear.

When tissues became the norm there was no longer a need to store them.  It was a simple matter of having a box in a convenient location.  Quite often, it could be several locations – a box in the bedroom as well as the bathroom and living room as well as the car.

There is a renewed awareness of the environmental cost of disposable items and this is seeing more people return to using reuseable products and this includes the use of handkerchiefs.  This has led to the inevitable question of, “How and where do you store you handkerchiefs?”

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I keep my handkerchiefs in the small drawer on the left-hand side of my dressing table.

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Here they are stacked in 2 small piles.  I have about 15 handkerchiefs.

Although I do not use it, I have a fabric handkerchief bag which belonged to my grandmother and is close to 100 years old.  This is essentially an envelope and was used to ensure that the handkerchiefs stayed together and were easy to locate.

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The bag is made from fine cotton fabric and measures approximately 22cm x 22cm.  It features white on white embroidery and the photo below shows a close-up.

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The final view shows the bag with the flap opened.

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I find it interesting that there are people who have grown up in a world of tissues (and other disposable products) who have no previous experience of how to store the reuseable version.

Perhaps there is a whole new market for handkerchief bags awaiting an enterprising individual.

Do you use handkerchiefs?  How do you store them?

Bulk Storage

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I am very fortunate to have plenty of storage in our home – wardrobes in each bedroom, walk-in corner pantry, several large drawers in the kitchen as well as underbench cupboards plus a tall cupboard in the laundry.

As if that was not enough, I seized the opportunity to have another cupboard near the foot of the internal staircase.  This space had housed the hot water system but became vacant when we installed a solar hot water service not long after we bought the house.  Fast forward a few years and we were having renovations done to the bathroom and kitchen so I asked the cabinetmaker to create a built-in storage cupboard in the empty alcove opposite the foot of the stairs.

Today I was reminded of just how useful this space has proved to be over the years.  I took everything out and cleaned it thoroughly before sorting and re-arranging the contents.  The majority of the space houses the buckets which I use to store the bulk quantities of dry goods.  They are certainly not all full but it is great to have the opportunity to store the excess.

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When it was built the shelves were intentionally spaced to allow 2 buckets to be stacked on top of each other.  The lowest shelf is high enough to allow the camping refrigerator to be stored on the floor.

A couple of simple doors keep this all of out sight.

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It does not take a lot of space to create some really useful storage.

Something Different

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As I mentioned at the end I my previous post, I spent the remainder of yesterday far away from my sewing machine.

If you think of the room with my sewing machine as my hobby area then the workshop is GMan’s hobby space.  From time to time we have a clean up and usually declutter a few more things.  Yesterday we had another go but this time the focus was the contents of the storage cupboards under the bench rather than some of the bigger garden items.

We decided to move all of the various jars and containers of nails, screws, rivets etc from the shelf in the cupboard to this set of shelves which we had inherited and mounted on the wall some time ago.  We had not really used the shelves but it is now much easier to see what we actually have.

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I finally found a solution for storing the various extension cords.  This metal bracket which came from my father’s workshop has been mounted just above the bench.

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We could not complete the final bit of organisation until today as we needed to buy some plastic plugs to allow us the screw into the concrete block wall to mount the shelf to the left of this photo.

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We have yet to put anything on it but there is plenty to choose from.  The shelf beside it was the subject of one of my very early blog posts – almost 6 years ago.

I found it interesting to re-read that old post because I realised that all of the items mentioned today actually belonged to my father – even the re-purposed tins cans for storing screws – on the bottom shelf of the first photograph.

And what inspired us to do all of this?  It was trying to find suitable screws and the correct size drill bit for another handyman project.  That will be revealed tomorrow.

Deconstructing and Dismantling

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Today I needed to dismantle the Christmas tree and pack it away.  However, I had a problem.  When we got the tree out of the cupboard to put it up the carry bag ripped beyond repair.  You can see what it looked like in better days here.  It was made from a similar ‘fabric’ to the green shopping bags and it had become brittle with age – we have had it for about 5 years and someone else owned it before me.  Apart from ripping, the idea of a bag is great – much easier than trying to wrestle the back into the original box.

I decided to make a new bag using the original as a pattern. So, I deconstructed it and removed the zip so I could reuse it.

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I had a heavy cotton bedspread lurking in the linen cupboard which seemed perfect for what I needed so I set to work.

This was the result.  As well as reusing the zip, I also reused the carry handles as they seemed reasonably sturdy.  If they do not stand up to the job I can always replace them with fabric handles at some time in the future.

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All packed up and ready to be stored for another year.

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Patience Pays Off

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A few weeks ago I wrote this post about cleaning up the workshop area downstairs.  One of the photos showed the old kitchen cupboards which we had been using as storage in this area for the last 7 years.  We decided that it was time for them to go as the chipboard was all breaking up and we had eliminated enough stuff to longer require them as storage.

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GMan cut the shelving into smaller pieces and broke down the cupboard shells and drawers.  We only have a half size (120 litre) wheelie bin so we filled it with the cut pieces each week for 4 weeks.

Now it is completely gone.

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The alternative was to pack it into the ute, drive 20kms to the nearest rubbish dump and pay about $15 to dump it.  The end result is the same – it goes to landfill, which is not ideal but there is really no alternative for this sort of thing.  However, we managed it at zero cost to us because we chose to take our time and dispose of it bit by bit.

Nothing Matches…….

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……..but at least it is tidy.  The workshop area contains a mish-mash of storage cupboards and shelving.  It does not look particularly pretty but is effective.

Yesterday was the last day of our long weekend and GMan decided to continue his goal of clearing up downstairs.  On Saturday he had swept and water-blasted the open concreted area under the house so yesterday he turned his attention to the workshop area.  I do not have any ‘before’ photos but here are a few shots of the end result.

The dismantled cupboards in the right-hand photo are from our old kitchen (renovated 7 years ago) which were repurposed as temporary storage.  They are now destined to be rubbish as the chipboard is all breaking up and we simply no longer need them.  GMan will cut them into smaller pieces and gradually dispose of them via our regular rubbish collection.

Cupboards and shelves were re-arranged.  Worn-out or useless rubbish were discarded.  Items no longer required were listed on Facebook Buy/Swap/Sell sites.  Bits of wood were cut up for firewood.

The area is by no means decluttered completely but we have got rid of some stuff, made sure similar items are stored together and generally know what we have.

As always, it is a work in progress but it feels good to have taken another step towards keeping only those things that we really need.

A Simple Storage Solution

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Several years ago we bought 2 free-standing hanging racks.  They were for our daughters who were both living in accommodation that had no built-in wardrobes.

Fast-forward a few years and their circumstances changed and the hanging racks both ended up at our place.  One was boxed up in the garage and after a while I sold it on Gumtree.  The other was quite useful as I had it in the spare bedroom/sewing room.  I also use it to hang clothes waiting to be ironed or wheel it into the lounge-room to dry clothes in front of the fire during winter.

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I am working hard to streamline my sewing room and reduce the general clutter.  When I sold the small chest of drawers that had previously lived in the wardrobe it meant that I could use the hanging rail in the wardrobe for the ironing that was yet to be done.

The hanging rack can be dismantled but it is difficult to store.  I am not ready to part with it yet as it is useful during the winter months.010I decided to make a storage bag.  I found some pieces of very strong cotton fabric in my stash and fashioned a bag which was big enough to hold all of the pieces.  I added a couple of ties and it was finished.

009Here are a couple of photos showing the finished article doing its job – holding the disassembled hanging rack.  I simply tied the ties in a knot over the rail at the desired length.

011 012Now I am off to do some more sorting in the sewing room.

Have you got any creative storage solutions?  Please share.