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Rainy-Day Projects: Hot Tips to Tackle Some of Your Biggest Conundrmus

When April showers force you out of the garden and into the house, take a cue from Mother Nature and focus your spring cleaning efforts on projects you may have been putting off until a “rainy day.” Tradition dictates we shake out the rugs and dust the cobwebs from the corners, but there are other projects that might help you start spring feeling fresh and light.

Portfolio Perfection
If you are a saver, you probably have a drawer (or two) stuffed with your children’s papers and art projects. I realized it was time to clean out “the drawer” as I was looking for a piece of my college senior’s artwork from high school and found it—along with her first crayon scribble on a restaurant napkin from 1992. Time to edit! I envy the people who make beautiful scrapbooks for their kids, but starting such an archive when they are 22 is a bit daunting. Still, I wanted a unique way to preserve and store a few keepsakes I just couldn’t part with. I let my daughter sort the items she wanted to save and I reluctantly let her toss the rest. Presentation books, found at our local art supply store proved to be the perfect storage solution. These books are used by art students and professionals to preserve and protect their work. They usually sport a sturdy black polypropylene cover and typically contain 24 acid-free sheet protectors. Pieces can be slipped in and out of the sleeves, and aren’t permanently secured or damaged with glue, and the acid-free plastic keeps the artwork from fading over time. Since some of her “masterpieces” were large, we chose an 11×17 book, but they come in all sizes. A cute label on the front made the book uniquely hers.

Lots of Pots
When I have time to watch television, I enjoy those DIY programs about decorating, remodeling and cooking. I love watching an entertaining chef prepare a new dish and I love a glimpse into those TV kitchens—so clean and well organized and sporting shiny, new pots and pans. This spring, after 25 years of marriage, it was time to rethink, replace and recycle just about everything in my kitchen! After emptying every drawer and cabinet, I was shocked at how much “stuff” I had that I never used and hadn’t seen in years. I discovered I had random flatware in patterns I don’t remember choosing and at least five glass measuring cups. After getting rid of items that were damaged or broken, I filled three plastic bins for each of my children. At some point they will all (hopefully) move out and have their own apartments. As I wiped down each cabinet, I realized that I had unpacked my kitchen sixteen years ago when we moved in and everything had pretty much remained in the same place since then. Taking time to rethink and reorganize gave me a much more efficient space and I even had room for some shiny new pots and pans!

Lending Library
I see my husband sigh every time I make a trip to my favorite bookstore. I just can’t seem to embrace digital readers—I love a new book! Unfortunately, those stacks of books in my home closely resemble a hoarding problem, so this spring I vowed to get those piles under control. I have a copy of each book selection from our book club since we started meeting in 2005. Instead of parting with those books, I purchased a wire shelving unit with adjustable shelves and organized my books by the year in which they were discussed. I will add one book a month until …well, until I run out of room or until we stop selecting books! My new goal is to get rid of a couple of volumes before I bring a new one into my house, so I have passed books along to nursing homes, local libraries and neighbors. I’m quickly getting those piles under control and I love seeing all of our book club selections in one place.

This year, add a couple of new projects to your to-do-list and you will start spring with a clean slate!

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