Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wrensday: The Last Of The Garden

Our veggie garden was TERRIBLE this year.  I'm not sure what happened, but we had pitiful harvests of tomatoes, beans, and peppers.  That was until now - at the end of the season.  Suddenly, veggies are starting to appear. 

Last week, before Hurricane Sandy approached, I harvested a few potatoes, several green beans, some great looking peppers, and a lot of green tomatoes.

Now I'm waiting for my fall/winter veggies to produce.  I've planted spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, pok choy, and collards.  I'll cover the beds with low hoops and row covers when the weather starts to turn colder. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Motivation: How To Maintain A Clean Garage

I've enjoyed the email conversations I've been having with several of you, my readers,  about cleaning out garages.

It seems that the universal dilemma of garage owners is how to clean out the garage and keep it cleaned out.

Garages were designed to store things.  True, originally they were designed to store vehicles, but we tend to store more than vehicles in them.  We store holiday decorations and tools in them.  We also use them as project spaces and sporting spaces and gardening project spaces.  No wonder they tend to look like a mess all the time.

I can't claim to have a neat looking garage all of the time.  What I can claim is that I'm able to clean it up pretty quickly because I don't let it stay too messy for too long.  That's really the trick.  Everything has a place where it lives.  When everything has a place to live, it doesn't take long to send everything home where it belongs. 

About once a month, Hubs and I open the large garage door and do a once over.  We start at one side of the garage and work our way around the whole garage, putting everything away.  Then, using a leaf blower, we start at the back of the garage and blow all dust, dirt, and cobwebs out of the garage door. 

It only takes us about half an hour to do this, and it makes me happy to have a clean garage.  So, are you game?  Let me know if you have any questions as you work to maintain your garage. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wrensday: Mamma Says

Wrensday:  happenings at Brown Wren Acres
Having a hungry 21 year old Marine living in our house has some advantages and some disadvantages. 
He can lift, move, or rearrange any furniture I need him to take care of.
He loves to cut the grass.
He takes the garbage out with a quick "Yes, Mam!"
I can get a big, quick hug any time I want one.
We're always running out of food.

mothers bring sunshine into our lives

At least I chose a cheerful magnet to attach the note to the freezer.  How about that sunshine?

For those of you who are worried about our starving son, we ate the ice cream that night with homemade Hot Fudge Sauce.  I just wanted to make sure we had enough ice cream for all of our dinner guests. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Motivation: Cleaning and Organizing The Garage

 Join us for Monday Motivation - An opportunity to go through your whole house (and car too) in a year, organizing and cleaning the whole way.  October is the month to clean out the garage.   This post is a collection of the Monday Motivations from last year.


Getting Your Garage Under Control

How many of you are afraid to open your garage door?

How many of you are parking your car outside of your garage because there's too much stuff stored in there?

garage door

I've only met two people in my whole life who had neat and tidy garages - and I'm not one of them.

I can clean up our garage fairly quickly, but it never stays perfectly organized and tidy all of the time. That's just how life rolls.

So let get started. . .

1. Make a plan - decided on what you will use the garage for. Will you need to park your vehicle in it? Will you need space for sporting or yard equipment? Do you need storage for kid's toys or holiday decorations? Will you want to have a workshop area or crafting area?

2. Draw a simple room layout on paper, marking windows, doors, and any other unmovable structures. List measurements in feet and inches. Pencil in where you would like to have storage areas. After you purge out unwanted items you may be surprised how little storage you really need.

3. Decide if you will need to make any repairs or changes during the organizing process. This is a good time to paint the walls, clean the floor and put a finish on it, repair holes in the walls, or replace broken windows or doors.

4. Plan for the purge. Decide how you will discard unwanted items or garbage. Will you need to call for a bulky item trash pickup? Will you need to arrange for a charity to pick up donations? Decide on what day (or days) you will work on the project and who will be available to help.

5. Plan for storage needs. Decide if you'll need to build or purchase shelves, work surfaces, or cabinets. We'll be looking at storage solutions on week #3.

So are you ready? Don't worry, I'll hold your hand. Next week, show up here on Monday with your grubby clothes on and get ready to do some dirty work.

Garage Storage Solutions

Almost every client I work with wants help with organizing their garage. After purging all unnecessary items, I help them sort the keepers and find a home for every item. Here are some of my favorite organizing solutions to help control clutter in the garage.

These easy to install tool racks are great for getting tools and accessories off of the floor and within easy reach. After all, you (or your teenager) are more likely to use it if you can reach it.

DIY Life project traditional

More vertical storage ahead. . . These metal storage shelves are sturdy and adjustable. Notice how the heavier items are stored on the bottom shelves.

Marielle kitchen

This garage utilizes cabinets, rolling carts, shoe racks, peg boards, vertical hanging hooks, shelves, and a finished floor. It's a great use of space.


There is no rule that says you can only put closet organizers into a closet. They'll work perfectly well in a garage too! Generally, you'll have to put it into a corner so that the shelf brackets have something to attach to.

Maillardville Manor-Mudroom modern entry

These posts are great for boats and surfboards as well as other bulky or ridged items

Boardshed modern exterior

Garage Organization - It's All In The Details