Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sorting out the Storage Room

Another project I worked on over the long New Year's weekend was organizing the storage room. I've always been happy with the three shelves I have in there, but the boxes and other stuff along the walls needed some work. The open space seemed to be getting smaller and smaller.
Once I really got to really looking at everything, I wondered why I had an empty sweater bag hanging on a clothes rack. Probably because when I moved into the house I thought, I have the rack so why not hang something on it. And a garment bag that hadn't been used in 10-15 years. Why, oh why, was I keeping it. It's now on the garage sale pile.

Other things that were driving me nuts were the un-matched boxes that hold the Christmas stuff, the cooler that was always in the way, and the ceiling tiles that just got piled anywhere.
Over a year ago I noticed a few of the ceiling tiles in front of the window were starting to come loose. Over the course of time, gravity just seemed to be pulling more and more of them loose so eventually I took them down so they wouldn't fall and break.
Then when I made plans to have the microwave put in upstairs, the electrician was going to have to run wire through that room to get to the electrical box so it wasn't practical to put them back up until he was finished. That was four months ago! By now I'm so used to part of it missing that it doesn't bother me. And it's a storage room...who needs a finished ceiling. :-) It's on the someday list. Doesn't everybody have one of those??!!
 I got rid of one storage rack and moved the boxes along the wall instead of in front of the garment bags. That's another thing to be cleaned out. Someday! There's a cubby hole in the wall (why I don't know) that the ceiling tiles fit in so the edges don't get banged up.

I bought some new bins for the holiday stuff, the cooler is now in the garage, the shelves have been re-organized, and the garage sale pile is larger. 

 All the dead spiders and bugs that you normally find in a basement have been vacuumed up, and the room is clean again.
In this picture, you can see the missing ceiling.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Simple Cinnamon Rolls

I love homemade cinnamon rolls but have only made them from scratch a couple of times. My mom has been getting some leftover dough from a business in town. She gets it in a big bag, but she divides it into smaller packages and puts it in the freezer. This way she just gets out what she needs and has fresh rolls. I was able to get a couple of packages from her over Christmas.

They're so simple to make. Start by pressing out the dough into a rectangle with your hands or a rolling pin on the counter or a pastry sheet. Melt some butter and spread on the dough (be generous). I put brown sugar,cinnamon, and raisins on mine, but you could also use pecans.

Roll up the dough and pinch the edges together.

Cut into 1 to 1.5 inch slices and place in pan.

Cover and let rise in a warm spot until double in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Make some frosting and drizzle over rolls. Yummo!!
I went ahead and baked all of the rolls at once and then put the pans in the freezer to take out as I want them. Another option would be to put all of the slices on a cookie sheet and freeze them. After they're frozen, you could put them in a freezer bag and just take out the number you want.  Put them in a pan to thaw and raise and then bake.

One of these days I'm going to use my new Kitchen Aid mixer to make the dough myself!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Organization Projects

I had a four-day weekend over New Year's and decided to do a little bit of cleaning and organizing.

I have very little drawer space in my kitchen so this big drawer really gets overstuffed at times. All of a sudden everything was just getting dumped in no matter the weight of the the almond bark on top of a second bag of marshmallows. 
I removed everything from the drawer so I could start with a clean slate. 
The heavier items like the almond bark, brown sugar and chocolate chips went on the bottom. I found a box of freezer bags that belonged in a different drawer. The loose packages of Chex Mix and hot chocolate also found a new home. I didn't gain a lot of space, but I can find things again without digging to the bottom.
The linen closet also needed a quick organize. This one wasn't too bad so I didn't take everything out first. I just restacked a sheet set and threw a couple of pillows in the garbage. Not sure why I kept them to begin with. I had gotten new ones for a reason. And those three candles have been removed since I took the picture. This was just a safe place for them until the Christmas decorations were put away and they could be put out again. 
Next on the list was the spice (and more) cabinet. This one also wasn't too bad, but the middle shelf just wasn't working for me. I have several turntables around the house so I ran to Target and picked up one more.
Once again I took everything out and wiped down the shelves. I found a couple spice duplicates so I combined them into one. I filled all the salt and pepper shakers so the bigger bottles could go in the way back.
Since I'm not very tall, I can just barely reach the things in the front on the top shelf without standing on a chair. I put the things in the back that I only use once or twice a year like the parafin, canning salt, and food coloring.
I love newly organized spaces!
I did a couple more areas and will post about those later.