5 March 11 • MAV

Soon it will be time for me to move once again. What was that you said? Why yes, you’re right. I did just move at this time last year. So kind of you to remember. And yes (sigh), I am moving again in April. This time, however, it’s into our very own flat so I am hopeful this means I’ll be staying put for some time to come.

As I prepare to make this move I once again want to be mindful about what is coming with me and what is going on to a new live at the second-hand shops. If you’ve read my words over the last six years you’ll know that I relish this kind of work. The mindful and deliberate choosing of items that will be in my world makes me giddy with glee. Even last week Stephanie mentioned my clearout post which I happen to think is one of my best lectures on the subject! If you’ve read that dispatch and you’re still coming back to visit you must be very forgiving … I can be rather harsh when it comes to the clearout. I just don’t believe in keeping more on hand than I need. I don’t believe in excess.

So, starting with the kitchen, and in part drawing inspiration from Stephanie’s post, I am sorting out my very favorite items. These are just a couple of my ‘must-haves’. I use these daily and am not quite sure what I would do without them.

My single cup coffee filter.
Since it’s usually just me or just us for morning coffee this little tool is a dream. I grind the beans, drop the grinds in my filter and brew just what I need. It helps me watch myself as I have been known to have too much coffee in one sitting and it’s convenient. It’s also a real winner if I want an afternoon cup or if someone stops by for a cup. I can have a freshly brewed hot coffee for them in minutes without any hassle at all and without a pot of coffee being made that will probably be wasted. Little red filter: I love you!

My cast iron pans.
These are the two I use every day and I have two more. I use the small white one for egg-boiling, soup-warming, oatmeal-bubbling, quinoa-making; I use the larger flat one for pancakes, sauteed kale, chicken sausage, steamed broccoli. I enjoy how easy they are to clean up and how well they take wear and tear. I also enjoy how inexpensive they are. And mainly, I refuse to have too many pans. I don’t need one in every size because I know they would just sit there collecting dust and if you’re in my kitchen just sitting there waiting for an occasion for use is not an option. Even guests are put to work! Cast iron pans: I love you!

My Zyliss spinner.
I could be a door-to-door saleswoman for this greens spinner. If you’re out there Zyliss sales staff: I’m perfectly serious. I’m a big fan! I absolutely use my spinner every single day. I use it to clean all sorts of greens (I’m a bit of a salad and kale nerd) and when I’m not using it to clean greens I use the strainer part for all of my straining (hot pasta, soaked beans, fruit-cleaning, etc). I see no sense in having a second strainer when I can just use this one. It’s the perfect multi-use item for my spare kitchen. And most importantly, it does the job of cleaning greens really well. I usually wash them through twice in the strainer and outer container parts and then spin them dry. There’s nary a drop of water left once you briskly ring them out using the pull and cord mechanism. Delightful! Zyliss spinner: I love you!

My wooden spoons & tongs.
I can get by with these three items plus a whisk and spatula and call it a day. I use my wooden spoons for everything. The one on the right was handmade somewhere in Michigan. I remember purchasing it for my first adult kitchen some fifteen years ago. I need to use Stephanie’s tutorial to give these guys some love when I get into the new flat. Note to self. Anyway, I do go into beautiful kitchen stores and see walls of fancy tools and items calling my name but I just can’t be bothered. Give me these basics and set me free in my kitchen. Wooden spoons & tongs: I love you!

Perhaps as this move draws near I’ll be giving you my list for other rooms. Can’t you just see it? ‘Must-haves’ from the living room; ‘must-haves’ from the bathroom’; ‘must-haves’ from the bedroom. Perhaps this will take over my scarf obsession and you won’t have to read anymore of those scarf-talking posts! We are probably all happy about that.

27 February 11 • SCB

Do you feel it? That February sluggish slow-down? We all need a little fresh air, I think.

This week, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been doing to battle my own late-winter fatigue. I’m all for joining the gym, going on a road trip or picking up a bright bouquet, but this is all stuff that you can do at home on any budget.

1. Shop your closet.

I revisited MAV’s CLEAR-OUT post and gave my closet a thorough and relentless purging. I took an evening to make sure what remained was mended and pressed Downton Abbey made for good company while I was ironing). The rest of the week, I challenged myself to combine and layer clothing pieces in ways I never had before. I felt like I had a new wardrobe.

2. Browse some cookbooks.

I sat down with a stack of cookbooks—some old favorites, some borrowed from the library, a new one gifted by a friend—and just spent some time turning the pages. No agenda. No menu planning. Just browsing.

I didn’t end up trying any new recipes this week, but what I did do was take inspiration from what I saw and applied it to some of our family favorites. I roasted the fish in the oven rather than cooking it on the stovetop. I added a panko topping to baked pasta. Just little stuff that helped things feel fresh.

3. Rearrange a little

After spending so much time indoors, I become a little tired of my surroundings. I get a pretty big hankering to move furniture and change things up (heck, I even start looking at real estate listings). Knowing a full-scale redo (or move) is not in the cards, sometimes it helps to rearrange just a tiny corner. I created this small display on my neglected bedside table.

The cat came along later in the day and knocked it all apart, but it’s okay. Sometimes it’s just in the doing.