Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Bit of This and That

Hi folks,

I hope you are all doing fine.

I've been doing a little of this and that over the past 5 days or so.

First, I've been busy "window shopping" for various home decor accents, mainly throw cushions. Covers for throw cushions to be exact. I couldn't find what I want and certainly not at the prices I want to pay. Most cushion covers are priced at anywhere from $7.99 for a small lumber pillow to about $89 or so for a nicely patterned cover with cushion inside.   

Instead I decided to make cushion covers using some of my Japanese indigo fabric purchased over the summer at a sale price of $12. Canadian.  The remaining cushion covers will be made using some inexpensive solid burgundy pillow cases and burgundy/beige/white pillow cases with elephant pattern.  Both sets were purchased earlier in the week at $1.99 (+ tax) Canadian for each set.  Now I just need to find some deep gold coloured fabric (cost unknown) to make a few lumbar support cushions.  For closures, I will use buttons I have on hand instead of zippers. All cushions are for a friend who doesn't read this blog.  Grand total cost for 8 cushion covers will be around $20 (including tax) Canadian.  The cushion inserts will cost extra.

An idea of what the cushion covers will look like when done. I need to find fabric in gold/mustard colour.

This is the Persian inspired carpet in the living area. Current sofa and chair are a mustard colour.

At home I've started on another major decluttering exercise which usually gets combined with home organization.  Each time I get rid of a lot of things, I also end up moving things,  storing them in different locations and sometimes buying more storage containers.  Those of you who purge and organize on a regular basis know that the task is never really done.  I try to implement a major declutter once or twice each year.  But it has probably been a bit longer than that since I last tackled this task.  In this go around, I've decided one of my key tasks will be to organize my dresser drawers (and closet shelves) better so clothing is visible to the wearer.  I also plan to empty all the bags I've been storing under my dining table. Bags of fabric and clothing that need to find a home, go to the thrift or get thrown out.  I also have bags in my bedroom that need sorting. I am still trying to pare down what I inherited from my sister and my mother (mostly my mother). The storage room is filled to capacity so whatever I have in my home needs to be pared down. The kitchen will also be given a once over. I have at least one appliance to give away and a lot of cookbooks I need to pare down. Ideally I'd like to get rid of al cookbooks since I basically only use online recipes. But that is a pipe dream. I love books too much.

So to help with getting my dresser organized, I stopped at a Japanese variety store earlier this week.  The store is sort of like a dollar store though most goods cost at least $2.00 and go marginally upward in price.  I was looking for drawer dividers.  Not the basket or container type, but the kind that partitions the drawers.

I found two types of dividers to try and have since organized the small dresser drawers where socks and undergarments are kept.  The total cost was $10. but I need to buy one more sock container at another $2. for a grand total of $12. Canadian. Perhaps I will upload a photo or two when done with this project.

I also need to purchase some inexpensive fabric or plastic boxes suitable for larger clothing items.  These are for the larger dresser drawers and for the open grid shelves in my closets. For the moment, I've used several shoe boxes and a cardboard box in one large drawer. I've rolled up the t-shirts and put them side by side so they are clearly identifiable when the drawer is opened. If I had more boxes I would simply use them instead.

There are fabric boxes and various kinds of plastic storage containers widely available in my city and in a very wide range of prices.  I live in a large city but if you live in a smaller city or town, the best place to check for organizational items would be the local dollar store. If you don't have one of these, then Amazon is a good place to buy them and Wal-Mart also has these kinds of items.  Personally, I prefer to buy these types of items in a brick and mortar store so I can examine them and buy them on the spot if they will suit the purpose.

Dollarama and the Dollar Tree are the next stores I will check out.  I never get to the latter but will make a point of going there soon to check out what they have since all items are priced at no more than $1.25 Canadian whereas items at Dollarama can go up to $3.00 and the Japanese variety store prices are also $2. or more.

None of these prices sound so expensive.  But when you are purchasing a lot of items it is best to spend the least amount possible on each item.  The total can really add up even at small prices per item.  For example, to separate socks and undergarments the spend is a  grand total of $12 (+ tax ) Canadian.  But there are still 3 large dresser drawers (estimated cost to organize each drawer is at least 3 times more for each drawer ($36 each or subtotal $108  + tax).  There are also up to 8 closet shelves to organize.  Depending on what kind of containers one buys it can be anywhere from $6 to $20 per shelf (estimated subtotal $ 48 to - $160 total for the shelves). That means I potentially have another $158 to $268  (+ tax) total Canadian to spend on organizers dresser drawers and closet shelves.  This is still a high cost when you consider that all items are going to be purchased in dollar stores or inexpensive variety stores rather than the high end container stores.

There is no way I am going to spend this amount to organize clothing.  

I simply cannot fathom spending that kind of money when there are so many needs in Kenya and here at home.

  Now you see why I haven't already organized these spaces. 

In the past I've just folded everything nicely and tried to keep it organized as best I can by colour and garment type.  But my system just hasn't been working too well.  It is also  too much work to keep clothing from getting all jumbled and messy because my closet shelves are open grid.  I need an economical way to organize the clothing.

Perhaps the solution is to make my own out of foam board. Here is a good YouTube tutorial if any of you are also interested. You could even cover cardboard pieces with Mac Tac contact paper or wrapping paper. Personally this is too much work for me.  But it might work for you if you have time and especially if you already have all the required items around your home. Foam boards are available at Staples for about $14. (+ tax) for 3 sheets. I will need at least 9 sheets for a total of $42 (+ tax). I already have the cutter. Wal-mart Canada also sells the foam board in store at 2 sheets for about $6 (+ tax) so this is a better deal. Perhaps they also sell it at the dollar stores for even less. I also like the idea of just using boxes so you can use different size boxes that will fit into your space. If you don't like the look of boxes you can cover them with wall paper, Mac Tac, wrapping paper or colourful tape from the dollar store.  I'm not 100 percent sure yet what solution I will use but I will do what is quickest and cheapest for me to get the job done soon.

While I was out looking for organizing aids I was also finally able to find a suitable phone for my mother.  My brother and I have both been looking for a set for over a month both on line and in store.  He was even going to go across the border to buy the phone we need.  But on Thursday evening I found a suitable phone on a sale price of $69.99 (+ tax) marked down from $99.99 (+ tax).  I was happy.

Some time ago I started reading a biography on Charles Dickens and while I have been enjoying it I simply haven't had too much time for reading. I've renewed the book several times already and it can't be renewed any more so I've decided I'm prepared to pay a small over due find of about $1.50 for one week so I can finish the book.  After posting about this, I called the library and was able to get an extension to the loan period for one additional week. That's great and a savings of $1.50.

Besides shopping and organizing, I've been knitting a stash of dishcloths for home use and for small gifts. I've also been giving some thought to what to get for Christmas gifts this year and have a lot of ideas for economical and sentimental gifts that will be suitable for my family members.

In progress
This is a beautiful buck from the land of Kenya.

And here are two beautiful exotic birds living at the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver.

Pied Imperial Pigeon

An Electus Parrot. I think his name is Kiwi.

I hope your week has been a good one.

Joining with our host Eileen at Saturday's Critters.

Enjoy the weekend and the week ahead!


  1. Hello, I love the pretty pillows, especially the elephant print. Organizing my dresser drawers is something I need to do too, thanks for the reminder. I love the Kenya Critter and the beautiful birds. Beautiful bloom and lovely images. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  2. Ah, the organizing. The upstairs bathroom is being redone, and its stackpipe goes right through my closet downstairs. It's the last of the 1940 plumbing to be replaced, and my entire closet was emptied to do this part of the job. I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to replace the dresser I kept in there with shelving instead, and cloth baskets to hold what the dresser held, less efficiently. I think it will be very nice.

  3. Hi Joyful, I think a gold fabric would make a very beautiful cushion cover. You are so diligent to make your own dish cloth and as gifts. They make very pretty and useful gifts item. Beautiful buck and exotic birds photo.

  4. Oh I think your cushions will look super, and shop brought ones are usually over priced. You are a very industrious person, I think we all need to be with the times we live in x

  5. Oh wow, Penny, I love your bird images. And yes, I'm trying to declutter all these months back home. It's ongoing! I started to knit dishcloths for Christmas gifts. Rina found my first attempt at about 10 rows and completed it. Now she's knitted six more and finished all the yarn! Have a wonderful day. Jo

  6. You are so much more organized than me right now. I try to continuously de-clutter but have lost my mojo as of late. I need to be better about it so it does not get out of hand.

  7. Hi Joyful, Wow, what a lot of posts! Well, that was my first thought when I clicked onto Snap That this afternoon. I’ve had blogging on the back burner for several days, actually going on three weeks, and see that you posted “Another Trip in the Works” on Aug. 31, and then four more posts in September: On the Road Again, Waning Days of Summer, Can Dogs Read?, and a Bit of This and That. So, here are some comments starting from way back and moving toward the most recent. Enjoyed your mosaics of the road trip from Vancouver to Kamloops and thanks for including the map and it really does help to situate oneself. Nice work on the birthday cake! Enjoyed your sky photos, as always, in the Waning Days post. The health news was good! The sign in Can Dogs Read? was perfect for Wordless Wednesday. Lastly, in A Bit of This and That, I admire your organizational skills and really like the cushion ideas. The elephants on that one cushion are perfect for one who loves Kenya. As always, thanks for sharing your blog. May you have a fine week ahead and best regards from the Emerald City.

  8. Those birds and flower are gorgeous. Above all, you impressed me with your practical tactics on how to organize stuff. It just take a little effort and consciousness to do things without spending unnecessary amount of money.

  9. Organizing... I just love to organize! Hearing you talk of all that you are doing, I'm wishing I had something to organize. :)
    Dollarama, now that is a favorite of my husbands when we are visiting his family. He and his mother use to love shopping for great finds together.
    Sounds like you have found some great dividers.

    I enjoyed all the photos of your birds, just lovely.

    Thank you for your visit and sweet comment, bless you.

  10. i organized the most things a few months ago and i tell you, it's a great feeling when it's done :-)
    in some moments my husband asked if we're moving ;-)
    some small parts like wool and fabrics need better solutions, but therefore i haven't found the right thing till now.
    we had really a lot of books, over 1000... most of them we gave away and kept only the nearest and dearest ones. i enjoy it so much to think about the people who read them instead of them getting fully dusted in our bookshelfs.
    wish you all the best :-)

  11. Hi Joyful, Just stopping by again to say thanks for your kind comments over on my blog and to wish you a good day. The last couple of days have been just perfect for a start to Fall and I hope the same is true for you up in beautiful Vancouver. Take care blogging friend!


I do love to read all your comments and will do my best to return the courtesy. I am no longer on Google + so cannot comment on your blog that way. I tried to open this blog to Anonymous Users but only get Spam so I've eliminated the option. Thank you for stopping by.

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