Jewelry at a Glance

Years ago, I had my clothes in the laundry room and David’s clothes were in the bedroom closet. There is blue foam covering the laundry room walls. I used straight pins to hang my necklaces, bracelets, and fabric scrunchies on it. I got teased about being OCD but I loved seeing everything displayed.

Unfortunately, it was not a good plan for allergies.

Everything was open to the room and eventually, the clothes got dusty. I had to take it all down and moved my clothes back upstairs. Now we call the laundry room “The Locker Room” because David and Derek store their clothes there. (We use allergy screens now and an allergy furnace filter and they do not get dusty.)

I keep my clothes safely behind closed doors but I still display my jewelry. I bought a bulletin board and mounted it behind the bedroom door.

I purchased several new pieces of jewelry on our weekend in Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa. I had to redo my jewelry board.

First I removed the items I no longer wear and all the sterling silver. They tarnished when I left them out. I moved them to a closed jewelry box. I sorted the earrings in one bowl and the bracelets in another bowl.

Separate necklaces, bracelets, and earrings "Jewelry at a Glance"

I hung the necklaces using T-pins and arranged them on the board by color.

Arrange the necklaces "Jewelry at a Glance"

The bracelets filled in holes left by the necklaces. Some of them I hung on the T-pin with the matching necklace.

Add bracelets "Jewelry at a Glance"

I put my earrings in 4 hole buttons and placed them in the remaining spaces. I used straight pins to hang them. I hung them by color near to the necklaces I would wear with them.

Hang earrings in the spaces "Jewelry at a Glance"

As you can see, I have room for more Navy colored earrings!

Next week I will show you the daybed I put together for under $135.00!

©2009-2017 All rights reserved.

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Resolved: More Weight, Food, Spending; Less Organizing, Travel, Reading

You read that title correctly. My resolution this year is to eat more food, gain weight, and spend more. I also plan on less organizing, travel, and reading.

More Weight

I can thank Jenny Kuhn for this resolution. Here is a picture of Jenny and me, with her daughter Kathryn, around 2005.

Jenny, Katie, & I "Resolved . . ."

She moved to Arkansas and opened Jenny’s Gym. Last October, she competed in the World Powerlifting Alliance competition in Portland, OR. She is now the WPA-APA World Powerlifting record holder in the squat and the deadlift for the 45-49 age group in the 132# weight class. She also broke the previously held accumulative world record (squat+bench+deadlift), see here.

Jenny lifting in her gym "Resolved . . "


Jenny regularly posts clips of her clients lifting. Most of the clips are of middle-aged women who are strength training. Sometimes she posts informational clips. When she explained the proper way to do a push-up, it changed my life.Jenny Kuhn "Resolved . . ."

I usually tried doing push-ups from my knees, but that does not use all the muscles correctly. You need the same form as you would use to plank. Now I do them off of the kitchen counter and will move to the ottoman when my arms are stronger. If I do not keep control of my arms, I bump my forehead! I know I am using the correct form now.

Since muscle is heavier than fat, I plan on gaining weight this year. I want to gain muscle, not fat, and will concentrate on that instead of my bathroom scale!

Eat More

For the past few years, I would weigh myself on Monday and plan my meals based on that number. It didn’t work! I would gain a pound and then try to cut way back on my food. Of course, that pound stubbornly stayed.

This year I am going to work my body and feed it what it needs. I will eat bigger servings of salad, vegetables, and more meat. I never have been a big bread eater, but my sweet tooth is my downfall. That is where I will cut back.

More Spending

I am a saver and try to buy everything on sale. That is not always possible. This year, I want to buy things when I need them and not do without. I have lived under the poverty level during childhood and as a mother. I have no problem telling the difference between a need, a want, and a desire.

In my wallet now are 2 months worth of allowance! I also have a note of a few things I need to order. (Hello, sports bra!) I have watched the sales for over a year and have the money. I just need to get online and order it!

Less Organizing

Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady, says over and over, “You can’t organize clutter.” But I can, and that is the problem! I organize things that I should send to Goodwill or pass on to family members.

There is a box with “Graduation” written on it in my pantry. My youngest graduated in 2015. I am hanging on to it for my sister-in-law, Melinda. I need to just give it to her, even though Brayden doesn’t graduate for another year.

Less Travel

I will no longer feel guilty for staying at home. There are many opportunities to go places and do things, but if I have to take a round of Prednisone to go, it is just not worth it! (Or worse, go without Prednisone and then fight a flare for two weeks.) I don’t care that I only go out 3 times a week for four hours. I have so much I love to do right here at home.

I know my Facebook page is boring, but I refuse to compare myself to others. I will travel vicariously with my friends. (Sorry, Jill, I have no desire to go clear up to the Arctic Circle. Enjoy your trip!)

I really enjoy the posts from Australia on the travel blog, outan’ It was interesting reading about celebrating Christmas during their summer!

Less Reading

I can speed read. It is a blessing and a curse. I would normally go to the library and fill a large bag with 18 books every other month. (No, that is not a typo; it is eighteen books.) We have a great library that is always getting new books and the community buys books in memory of loved ones.

Obviously, I don’t watch TV at night, in fact, I will only watch a movie once. My family will put in a movie, and if I have already seen it, I go to bed and pick up a book. I can read a 300-page book in 2 or 3 days. The problem is, I get close to the renewal date and I speed read through my stash. That is not as enjoyable as slowly reading, savoring, and even taking quotes from books.

This year, I will only check out 8 books at a time and will make sure one of those books is nonfiction. I am on chapter 2 of the book, “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg. There are many things I would like to do, but I get bogged down in laundry and cooking. I want to make those tasks more efficient to allow time for fun stuff!

Smarter Faster Better book "Resolved . . ."

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

©2009-2017 All rights reserved.

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Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound

I reached the age . . . somewhere around 40 . . .  where my arms aren’t long enough to read. The eye doctor said that dreaded word,


The top of my glasses is for seeing far away, the bottom for seeing close up. When I recline, the angle has me looking through the bottom of my glasses and I have trouble focusing on the TV!TV on TV Stand "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound"

David has the same problem. We either prop our head on a pillow or on one arm to look through the correct part of our glasses. Then we would get a “crick in the neck.”

We needed to raise the TV!

We could mount it on the wall but would have to buy a kit. I looked around for a more frugal solution. Then I remembered the hutch in the bedroom with a large mirror set on it.

Hutch with mirror on it "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound"

We brought it out and placed the TV on it. The height was perfect! I moved a bookshelf under the hutch and set the soundboard on it.TV Raised Up on Hutch, "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound"

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Next week is Thanksgiving and I did some serious thinking about after the meal. We eat at noon and my family will usually watch TV. The best seats are on either end of the couch, which has built-in recliners, or in the big recliner. Usually, 1 or 2 will sit in the middle of the couch and the rest will take the chairs which we bring in from the other rooms.

Another problem is we store the toys for our granddaughter in the ottoman. She can’t get to the toys because the one(s) sitting in the middle of the couch have their feet on it. When she is playing, her movements can block the TV. I moved Olivia’s toys to the bookshelf and hid them behind a curtain on a tension bar.

That solved 2 problems!Toys on Shelf Behind Curtain "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound"

Invariably, I am the last to sit down and the only seat left is next to the TV. Everyone can see the TV, but me!

David hung the large mirror over the couch. I sat down in the chair and said, “Ouch!” I had moved a CD organizer to use as a side table next to the chair. It was too tall and it hit my elbow! It disappointed me that I could not see the TV in the mirror!

I got out a smaller mirror and David moved it along the wall until I could see the TV while sitting in my chair. We tried 2 different mirrors until I could see the entire TV in the reflection. (This second mirror was David’s grandmother’s and recently given to us by his aunt. I love having something of hers in my front room.)TV Reflected in Mirror "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound"

I brought up a white bookshelf to put in the bedroom where the hutch was formerly. It wasn’t as deep and that gave us 6 more inches between it and the bed.Shallow Bookshelf Gives More Room "Surround Sound, Not Surround Sight"

I wanted to raise the TV in the bedroom, too. I looked around but couldn’t find anything the right size that was sturdy.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Back in the front room, I tried a few side tables, that were 3″ above or below the arm of the chair, to replace the CD organizer and finally decided on a square column. (It was a demo of the four different styles available at the lumberyard where my husband worked. They switched companies and he brought it home.)Column Demo Makes a Side Table "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound"

I started to take the CD organizer back downstairs when I realized it was very sturdy. We laid it on its side on the piano and put the TV on top of it. It worked!CD Organizer Raised TV "Surround Sight, Not Surround Sound"

I raised both TVs, and can watch them from any seat, without spending any money! It increased the square footage of the front room because the TV stand was a foot deeper. Between the narrow hutch and the mirrors, my room looks much larger.

This weekend look around your family room. Can you switch pieces and free up some square footage for your family this holiday? How about mounting a mirror on the wall across from the TV to let it be viewed by both sides of the room.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

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Where to Store Ice Packs in the Freezer

Last week I cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer. I keep my freezer organized by using baskets. One is for frozen fruits and two are for meat.

One thing that I hated to see taking up space was the ice packs. They take a lot of space and they are worthless unless they are frozen. I decided to line them up along the back of the freezer behind the baskets. There was plenty of room and the baskets did not touch the door. When stored in the back, they stay frozen solid.Ice packs in back of freezer.

Now if I could only get rid of the contraband that my son put in my freezer…”State Fair Corn Dogs.” Why? 1) A frozen corn dog can never compare to a hot one served at the fair. 2) I hate hot dogs. 3) He never shares anyway. (Sigh)

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.


Discard Warranties in Foreign Languages

I shared before how I file my warranties in my filing cabinet. I read of one lady who kept her warranties in three-hole punched Ziplock bags. She had one category for each bag. She kept them in a large notebook.

I tried that, but I had way too many warranties because I keep them all. I also keep copies of the receipt, stapled to the warranty, and the original box.

The last time I cleaned out my filing cabinet, I decided to just keep the English warranty.  I cut off the warranties in other languages. That cut down the bulkiness of the files.

Only keep what you can read!Warranty with foreign languages cut off.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

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Measuring Spoons on a Key Ring

“You know you haven’t cleaned your cabinet out in a while when you are  finding sippy cups in it. Oh my!” Antoinette

I am a little over halfway through cleaning and organizing my kitchen cupboards. I saw my friend Antoinette was tackling the same job. Her post was hilarious because her baby is in 8th grade!

I get the most pleasure from opening my drawers now. I gave my daughter the duplicate utensils and organized the rest.

My baking drawer was the most frustrating. After trying to find the correct measuring spoon unsuccessfully, I came up with a brainstorm.

Stainless Steel Key Rings

My metal measuring spoons came on a display rack that broke. (It lasted a few decades.) I also had a set of plastic measuring spoons. I decided to put both sets on key rings. It worked great!Measuring Spoons on a Key Ring

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

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Labeling Storage Boxes

My sister-in-law, Melinda, rescued a beverage dispenser from being thrown away at work. She knew I would love it.

She washed it up and delivered it in time for my Mother’s Day dinner. It worked great, keeping the tea cold, and the stand is tall enough to fill a large glass.

But, it is not practical to use every day. I decided to store it with the dishes I only use for large family dinners.

After taking it apart, and wrapping the lid in a paper towel, I put it back in the box and marked the corner.

I label boxes in one corner, on top, and on both sides. That way if I need to turn the box a different direction when I store it, I can still see what it contains. If the box is on the floor and has smaller boxes on top of it, I can read the label on top.Cardboard box

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

DIY Tie Organizer

I like organizers that allow you to see all of the selection. At one time, I had all of my jewelry pinned to the insulation board in the laundry room when I used it as my “walk in closet.” Later my husband and I switched “closets.”

Back to the ties…I would neatly roll them, but they would invariably end up in a twisted mess. Finally, I put each one on a shower curtain ring and hooked the rings to a hanger. I placed clothespins between them to keep them separate.

I then hung it on the end of my husband’s closet pole. He can pick a tie at a glance.

DIY Tie Organizer

DIY Tie Organizer

Can You Find My Toaster?

Below is a photo of my kitchen and you can tell how small it is! As I shared before, I try to keep my counters empty, see here. Yet, some appliances are used more frequently than others…like a toaster.

My toaster is in plain sight…but can you find it?

Clever Toaster Storage

Clever Toaster Storage


I learned this tip from my friend, Paula. She kept her toaster in a rectangle basket and stored it in one of her cupboards.

I wrote down the measurements of my toaster and found a tray of the proper dimensions on which to keep it. When I want to make toast I pick up the tray and move the toaster to the counter. The tray traps all of the crumbs and keeps my counter and storage area clean.

Did you find it? It’s right next to the bread maker on top of the china cabinet. The slides are facing the wall.

There is an oval tray under the bread maker to make moving it back and forth easier. It is also a good way to store your turkey platter or other large trays.

Your Buried Treasure

The words “Buried Treasure” make you think of precious metals underground, but sometimes they are just buried. Treasure can be defined as: wealth, rich materials or valuable things.

Last week I found a treasure that was not made of rich materials or expensive. In fact, it was free…it came with the item it was designed with which to be used.

That is what made it so valuable. I could not purchase another one. What I was using as a substitute did not do the job completely.

Where did I find this treasure?

In my storage room.

I was actually looking for a curtain rod, when I picked up a basket and saw it inside. The funny thing is I had been looking for it for months. I don’t know how I possibly overlooked it!

During my many years of being housebound, I spent fifteen minutes a day doing what refers to as decluttering. I went through every room, closet, shelf, and drawer pulling out items to give away and throw away. When I finished the final room, I thought that was it. I no longer needed to declutter.

Unfortunately, life is in a constant change. Our granddaughter was born and I accumulated many items just for her use. Those items and toys were taken to the storage room and stacked.

She has outgrown the bouncy chair, pack and play, high chair, and baby gates. At the ripe old age of four the only item she still needs is a car seat.

When we purchased the car seat, it came with a plastic zip on cover. I folded it up and put it in a basket in the storage room.

When we bought a new van, my husband brought the car seat in the house. I set it in the entry way and looked vainly for the plastic cover to protect it from dust. I used an extra-large space bag, but it only partially covered it.

Yes, my buried treasure was the plastic, car seat cover. I have to protect that car seat because I plan on using it for many more grandchildren.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the store, picked up an item and found I already had one. I’m looking at a scarf right now that I should return because I found an identical one in my closet!

The point is, we waste so much money because we let things pile up and things get buried. Decluttering is a job that is never finished. I need to put it back in my daily routine.

Only this cover fits the car seat.

Only this cover fits the car seat.