Pinterest Project Day 3: Sugar or Salt Dispenser

People come up with the coolest stuff and post it on their blogs. Most people might look at this next project and wonder if there really is a point. But for artsy  people like me, I appreciate the value of a cool container. 

My salt container is working just fine as it is from the grocery store. But when I saw how someone turned a mason jar into a dispenser by saving the top from an empty salt container, I couldn’t resist. After all, I figured I could use it for sugar or something that doesn’t come in a nifty dispenser.

Do you see what I mean?

I guess if I had better lighting and knew how to focus my camera, you’d see what I mean. Sorry about the crummy coloring and lack of focus. Considering my figurative lack of focus most days, a literal lack of focus isn’t all that unexpected.

To try this Pinterest project, I cut the top off a salt container.

My first attempt was sort of a fail because I traced a canning jar lid and cut it out. But I cut it a little small, and the salt leaked around the edges. I won’t show you the fail.

Instead, I’ll show you how you should leave a little lip around the edge when you cut the top off. And then, if there seems to be some extra layers of cardboard around the rim, peel those away. Tip: a wide mouth canning jar and ring work best for this. If you use a pint jar with a narrow mouth, you will have to trace a lid and cut it out (no rim possible, but still does work).

I wasn’t going to post the next photo, since it wouldn’t focus. But I’m sharing simply because I thought it looked like my salt lid got its fangs into my finger. Weird huh?

 Now, this photo gives you a better idea of the lip around the edge.

Next, just tuck that into the ring of your canning jar lid and twist it onto the jar.

Works great for sugar, salt, and other dry ingredients. It goes without saying that it’s cardboard, and not ideal for wet ingredients, right? Be sure to make a label or write the name of the contents on the lid so you don’t mix up salt and sugar. Not that I know this from experience. Cough.

I’d call this a Pinterest success!

Pinterest Project Score:
Successes – 2, Fails – 1 

Have a project you’d like to see me try from Pinterest? Leave your suggestions in the comments below and I’ll see if I can make it happen in my 31-day experiment.

The House that Cleans Itself

Spring Cleaning Help

Does your house clean itself? Mine doesn’t.

I hate cleaning house. Well, it isn’t that I really hate the actual cleaning part, but I hate that it gets dirty again so quickly. For example, recently I spent a good part of a day cleaning, doing laundry, and baking. Then my two boys arrived home from school along with three teen boy friends. Within thirty minutes, there were shoes by the back door, crumbs on the floor and the Better Homes and Gardens scene was over.
Worse than keeping a house clean is keeping it organized. I consider myself an organized person, yet I still have days where I search everywhere for something I’ve misplaced. I’m always looking for new organizing ideas. Which is why I recently picked up a copy of “The House That Cleans Itself” by Mindy Starns Clark.
The back cover promised creative solutions to keep your house twice as clean in half the time and how to get your family on board in the process. Mindy Clark delivered on her promise. This is a terrific book! She has ideas for creating a flow pattern in your house and figuring out ways to minimize issues with clutter. She approaching organizing with common sense and applies innovative ways of thinking to her method. I enjoyed the book so much that I’m planning to pick up additional copies to share with friends.
One additional benefit to Mindy Clark’s approach is that she infuses the application with faith, and I love anything that integrates faith with everyday processes. Each chapter begins with a scripture reference. Throughout the book, the author includes examples from her own life and others experiences that help the reader apply the concepts. Each chapter concludes with a humorous embarrassing story from someone who has struggled with organizing.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for new cleaning and organizing ideas. It’s spring cleaning season. Why not start fresh with a new method?

Do You Have a Clutter Problem?

Breaking the Clutter Habit
If you had thirty minutes notice for unexpected company, how ready would your home be?  Would you have to conceal an embarrassing amount of clutter? I’m familiar with the mad clutter dash. I sweep the papers from the dining table into a laundry basket and stash it in any of four or five hiding places I would rather not reveal to my readers just in case any of you might be future house guests of mine.  Several days later when it’s time to pay the electric bill, I spread all the papers back out on the table in search of the yellow envelope, already having upturned three other stashed laundry baskets hoping it might be in there.
I doubt I’m alone in my constant battle with the clutter habit. Getting rid of the surplus that litters our lives is a multifaceted process.  It isn’t as simple as dealing with stuff.  For those of us who are clutter challenged, we usually experience it in all areas of our lives—our homes, our minds, and our bodies.

Environmental Clutter

First, creating new habits that minimize clutter in the home requires a massive purge of junk. I start with sorting the things that are immediately troublesome and later move to sorting closets and storage areas. For me, the mail is a big source of trouble so I start there. As you sort and throw away (yes, I mean throw away), ask yourself these questions: Do I use this anymore? Do I have duplicates of things? Am I saving garbage? Do I have an emotional attachment to things even if they are broken?
Once you deal with the clutter that is in sight, begin sorting your storage areas.  If you have a hard time parting with things, ask a friend to help you be ruthless in your purging. Once you establish some order, create new habits. Put things away when you use them; your mother knew what she was talking about! Do daily maintenance before bed every night and deal with the junk mail on the day it arrives.

Mental Clutter

Next, we need to look at mind clutter.  When our schedule is full, commitments, to-do lists, and responsibilities choke out any possibility of relaxing and undermine our housekeeping efforts.
Media such as television and radio over stimulate our brains while noise pollution from traffic and machines add to the overload. We clutter our heads with worry, self-hatred, feelings of worthlessness, and stress. These usurp the energy we need for managing our habits.
Combating mind clutter requires clearing the schedule enough to allow time to relax and rest.  Jesus understood the importance of getting away from the hectic crush of life. In Mark 6, he recognized that his disciples hadn’t had time to eat and he called them to come away with him “to a quiet place and get some rest” (vs. 31).
Perhaps God beckons you to come away to where He can speak to you and you can rest.  You won’t hear him through the clutter.  You will have to make the time.  Unlike the junk mail and paper garbage that we have to sort on our own, God doesn’t expect us to deal with our emotional baggage all alone. He says we can give Him our worries because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:8). 

Physical Clutter

Many of us who deal with any kind of clutter also have excess weight on our bodies. Frustration, depression, mental pain, and low self-esteem lead to emotional eating, which breeds more depression and mental pain. Overloaded schedules leave little time for planning healthy meals or for physical exercise.
Shedding those extra pounds requires a change in habits.  Start with something small that will motivate you to continue to create new habits.  Go for a walk during lunch hour instead of reading a book; or put away the chip bowl and sort junk mail while watching television.

 Whether you struggle with clutter in all three areas—home, mind, and body—or in just one area, victory begins with new habits. We grapple with disorder in our homes, fight the ever-growing quicksand of schedule confusion, and saddle our bodies with excess pounds accumulated by years of self-neglect.  But if we never make any changes, we’ll never know the sweet joy of living clutter free.

I guess I’ve got some laundry baskets to sort.
Reprinted from Michelle’s August 2007 Wisconsin Christian News column.