Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spontaneous Closet Reorganization

I have always hated our master closet. It is 8'-0" x 4'-4" and not very functional with a lot of wasted space. We have been struggling with storage in the master bedroom since we moved in. We generally have two laundry baskets full of clean clothes sitting as the end of our bed at all times, simply because there is nowhere to put them. We looked into getting another dresser and possibly some under bed storage, but couldn't find anything we liked. Monday, as I was attempting to shove more clothes onto the overstuffed shelves the solution came to me. It was so spontaneous it didn't even occur to me to document the before, until I have already taken out half the clothes.

Master Closet Before

The rod and the shelves overlapped so essentially we were losing about 1 foot of rod and 1 1/2 feet of shelf space on every shelf.  We split the rod in half and I got the shelves in the back and casey the shelf above the rod.  Switching the layout not only gives us more storage, but also makes the closet feel less cramped when you enter, as the shelves are narrower than the hanging clothes.

I took everything down. Took apart the extendable rod. Cut each piece to the 4'- 4" length and reinstalled them in two rows along the back wall. I have the bottom and Casey has the top. This move gained us 1'-8" of hanging space.  4" additional length on each rod and they don't overlap the shelves so that adds another foot. 

I reinstalled the 4' shelves along the long wall. I have the bottom three and Casey the top two. He wears a uniform to work everyday, so he does not need to access the top shelf regularly. We gained 1'-6" of space on each of the 5 shelves plus I plan on extending the shelves another foot. giving us a total of 8 feet additional shelf space (accounting lost space of the previous over bar shelf).   There are still some things I need to do to maximize the storage space and organize the shelves a bit, but it is a huge improvement. Most importantly, there is no longer a huge pile of laundry at the end of our bed.

Things I still need to do:

1: Cut the old rod shelf to fit on top of my hanging rod. I will store my handbags and some other accessories here.

2: Extend the 4' shelves another foot,  Still leaving over a  foot between the hanging clothes and end of the shelf.

3. Get storage bins for the clothes on the top shelf and the loft space above the empty wall.

4. Add a shoe shelf under the shelves for my shoes. I already have the shelf and brackets for this. This will get my shoes out from under my hanging clothes.

5. Hooks for the opposite wall and door.  We currently have those over door hangers left over from college and it bothers me that the closet door doesn't close properly.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Solar Panel Snow Removal

It is 2℉ here, which is actually the warmest morning we have had in over a week. Two good things about it being so cold:
1) It is usually very bright and sunny.
2) Not many tourists are willing to brave the chilly temps, so us locals have the slopes all to ourselves. We took full advantage of these facts yesterday, despite the -20 ℉ temp at the summit.

Even with full sunshine bright and early this morning, the dusting we received last night was not melting off the panels as quickly as I would have liked.

I am going to have to leave my warm little cacoon and steaming cup of mint green tea to clean them off. Too lazy to put on my Carharts, I ran out in my base layers and Casey's work gloves. The huge man gloves are not an awesome idea when you are trying to push the tiny camera button.

We use an extend-able pole meant for window washing to accomplish this unpleasant task. It has a fluffy microfiber mop wrapped around the end. Generally just touching the top of the panels will cause a little avalanche and all the snow will fall and the wind will blow it directly into your face and down your jacket, no matter where you stand. Unpleasant is an understatement, but it wakes you up quicker than any caffeine.

The solar hot water panels receive the same treatment.  These panels are fixed at the winter angle, about 60°. This angle is based on your latitude. I believe that proper formula is latitude plus 15°.   Our pv panels are manual tilt panels, as opposed to trackers which move and angle to follow the path of the sun automatically. We generally keep ours at the winter angle throughout the entire snow season to ease in snow removal, instead of tilting them to the spring angle as early as we technically should. 

When even a small portion of the panels are covered, it causes about a 20% drop in productivity. I could have waited another hour and the sun would have cleared them, but that was precious power we were losing. Truth, I needed to charge my laptop to facilitate continued blog perusal.

PS: Don't eat the yellow snow. It isn't lemonade flavored.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Horse Finds a Home

I received this hand forged horsey hook as a Christmas gift from my older sister two years ago.  It has sat in the corner of my drafting desk since. Not because I didn't like, but because I liked it too much. It is one of those things that I deemed special and unique and irreplaceable. I didn't want to waste it on just anywhere. My house is almost entirely t & g  pine. When I hang something it is most likely permanent because I cannot patch the hole and repaint like those lucky drywall people.

I finally found a place important enough for my special hook.  It services a worthwhile purpose and is seen multiple times a day. It holds the dish towel and one day possibly a fruit basket, next to the window above the kitchen sink. Most importantly the towel does not hide the horse's swirly tail.

My dogs are extreme counter surfers. Anything left unsecured is fair game; bread, dish towels, electronics, mail, pans.  I am not talking about stuff close to the edge, the whole counter is vulnerable and they even fish things out of the sink. Luckily they have not figured out how to open the cabinets yet.  Dish towels are a favorite and something that is frequently left out. After tiring of purchasing new towels every other week, being caught by guests with a mangled one or GASP! using paper towels, I decided the special hook would be the perfect solution. I use the dish towel mainly to dry hands, not for actual dishes because that is why I have air (and for breathing, that's important too).

I moved all the sink stuff out of this shot originally, but my sink looked naked so I moved it all back. This is how my sink actually looks at any given moment, but the dishes are usually on the other side. As in they are usually dirty. I think my Sis also gave me that duck vege scrubber and the star shaped sponge holder (or I may have stolen it from her back in the days when we shared a room). My sister is kind of awesome and apparently enjoys gifting animal shaped objects.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ho Hum Holiday

The holiday decorating felt forced this year. I just could not get in the spirit no matter how many batches of cookies I baked. I am usually one of those people who crank up the Christmas music and start decorating the day after thanksgiving. This year we didn't even cut our tree until two weeks before Christmas and it sat bare for another week until I finally got around to decorating it. In the interest of tradition I keep my decorations fairly similar from year to year, however I wanted to share some of my favorite moments and new additions from this Christmas season. 

I am not into theme trees my decorations are a collection of sentimental ornaments from family and trips gathered over time. 

This old sap bucket is my most favorite decoration with season. I love love love wrapping paper and wanted a way to display my finds. I had this old leaky sap bucket laying around from a failed planting project. I lightly sprayed it with a cheery red high gloss paint I had leftover from another project. The galvanized aluminum still peaks through under the festive paint giving it an old fashioned look. 

This little bucket was given to me a few years ago and had some sort of poinsettia motif that wasn't really my style. I spray painted it with Rust-o-lean Hammered Copper and filled it with bells and scented pine cones. The scented pine cones were the only holiday decor purchase I made this year everything else was reused from past holidays or re-purposed from other projects. 

In the background is one of my little reindeer friends. I last year he was paper bag brown, but this year he got a new coat of high gloss bright white. Inspired my the white lamp I fell in love with this summer

Then of course there is my other white love, Snow. I am thankful for a white Christmas again this year and hopefully every year forever after. It is why I moved to Vermont after all. I don't think I could ever again live in a place with a winter that wasn't blanketed in snow