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I’m Like The Queen Martha Stewart of the Underachievers. Which Isn’t Great. But I’ll Take It.

Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy.

Not I-just-walked-into-the-bathroom-and-have-no-idea-what-I-came-here-to-do kind of crazy.

It’s the I’ll-be-happy-to-see-those-nice-young-men-in-their-clean-white-coats-and-they’re-coming-to-take-me-away kind of crazy.

The feeling usually occurs when I’m trying to find something.

And not something I’ve misplaced, because that happens all of the time. That’s just me.

But I feel like I’m crazy when I can’t find something I know — in the deepest core of my soul — that I have not misplaced.

A piece of paper I know I filed. A file I know I created and stored in the file cabinet. An address I know I recorded in my address book. My address book I know I placed on the same shelf I always place it on.

Catch my drift?

It’s like… I can’t just not remember where I put something. I know where I put something.

It’s just not there.

And this happened while Justin was deployed, too, so I can no longer blame him.

I have to embrace the crazy.

It’s me.

It’s all me.

And I can’t help but think, as I notice the sanity slipping away one marble at a time, will I even notice when the bowl is empty?


Most of the time, it turns out I really did file something. I really did put it “away.” It’s just that my idea of “away” at the time I stored it was different from my idea of “away” at the time I tried to find it. And since I’m notorious for my lack of simple decision-making skills, I likely shuffled through several million placement options before settling on one — the one I thought was the most logical at the time — and then, for some reason, my brain didn’t follow that same logical thought pattern when I tried to find it again.

So yeah.

Still crazy.

The good news is, every now and then I manage to get a grip on my organizational skills.

I can light a fire under my ass and turn a hall closet from this:


To this:


Project details here.

Or a walk-in-closet from this:


Okay I failed to get a proper “before” shot, but trust me. It was bad. Filthy wire racks and zero organization.

To this:

Plumbing Pipe Closet Organizer

And, well, okay. I’ll admit that one’s not quite done yet either. I still have to add the cool light fixture I bought and these awesome wall hook thingies, but I decided not to spend any more time on it until 2013 just in case the world ends this Friday. But you can see Part 1 of how I did this (it’s not as hard as I made it sound — I need to work on my direction-giving skills) right here.

Also, lest you think my organizational abilities are relegated to closets, I also have a really cool knife drawer:

Knife Drawer

With water spotty knives.


We can’t all be perfect, okay?

But I’ll admit. I do like it when I come up with something that makes my life easier.

Well first it usually makes my life harder. Or Justin’s life harder. But then there’s this enormous sense of relief when the work is done and it’s like, hey. Where’s my hat? Oh, I know. It’s on that awesome hook I put in my closet specifically for that hat.

So it’s worth it.

And organization doesn’t just have to be physical — it can be mental.

Like file drawers for my mind.

For example:

Tired of wasting time every day trying to come up with something for dinner and then stopping at the grocery store on the way home to buy things we may-or-may-not already have in the fridge or pantry, I designed a menu sheet.

And then I combined it with a shopping list.

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 9.25.25 AM

This concept is not new.

It was just new to me.

And let me tell you — it changed the way I shop. It’s actually saved us money. And we’re less wasteful. Using this, I can figure out a menu for the week, peruse the fridge to plan to use ingredients we already have, and add to my shopping list the things we don’t (which I usually organize according to section of the store — produce, dairy, dry goods, etc.). I can also record where I found the recipe, so when I go to actually make something on Friday that I found on Monday, I know to which website or recipe book I should refer.

When I actually use this little tool, it’s a total time-saver.

I even managed to use it two weeks in a row.

So, okay. It’s there when I think to use it. Which isn’t every week, I’ll admit. But when I do, I love it.

And so I’m sharing it with you:

Meal Plan Shopping List

Because that’s just the kind of girl I am.

And don’t worry, fellow domestiphobes. This doesn’t encourage routine. In fact, this makes it easier for you to plan trying a new Greek recipe one night, a Thai recipe the next, and then somehow combine all of those leftover ingredients into some kind of spectacularly twisted puttanesca.

You know.

If you feel like it.




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Hang on just a second. In your hall closet clean-up, what did you do with your vacuum?

I kind of like the meal plan idea. I’ve tried it in the past though, and it rarely works for me. Because we’ll make the plan and buy the stuff and then I work late and he has a sandwich and then he’s at city hall and I have a spoonful of peanut butter and then we both get home late and can’t be arsed with cooking and go out for sushi instead. (In Vancouver, sushi is cheaper than any ingredients you will ever buy.) And we end up making maybe one of the things on our list and then making soup with the rest of the ingredients at the end of the week because we didn’t use any of the stuff we bought and it needs to be used up.

That said, even having a list of ideas for when you get home from work and can’t be bothered coming up with anything is handy, even if you don’t use it.


Click the link to the hall closet project – it’s there! Just on the far left side.

If sushi is cheaper then ingredients, I’d be getting that every night. Screw groceries! :)


You should turn the grocery list thingy into an app that can also connect to the icloud so multiple people on that cloud can update it. That way you can store your links to recipes in there, create your customized grocery list and still get the deodorant Justin needs because he updated it himself, too!



You totally lost me at icloud.

Dennis Hong

These are pretty cool, too.

Though… I did notice that they’re missing an entire section on alcoholic beverages. What the hell were they thinking?


If I had a magnetic fridge, I would be ON that! Of course, knowing me, I’d forget to throw an old sheet away and then I’d just keep re-buying stuff we’ve already bought.

I tend to just jot staples we’re out of on a sticky note I leave on the counter, then I transfer those items to the meal planner (when I actually use it). Works great until I get to the store and realize I forgot the planner.

Which has happened.

More than once.

Dennis Hong

If you were a magnetic fridge, that would be ON you….

Kat Richter

Hmmm… a shopping list. There’s a concept. Would have saved me from my corn syrup meltdown (was literally standing in the baking aisle on the phone with TWD crying because writing Christmas cards to friends in the UK made me miss traveling and then I couldn’t find the corn syrup and it was my second trip to the grocery store and curse words were eventually uttered…)

PS: Can you build me closet someday?


1. A shopping list will change your life.

2. Well? Buy a plane ticket, silly! (I know it’s not as simple as that, but in the end, really, it just is. The hardest part is coughing up the dough for something from which you might not gain gratification for several months.)

3. Sure! For a professional, custom closet builder’s fee. ;)

Kat Richter

PPS: You should hold a contest for people who design their own closets. I would make TWD enter. People could share photos on your blog (although I have no idea how you could make this happen… probably through that newfangled thing called Instagram that my students are always talking about…) and you could give them cool prizes. I would not win because my current closet design scheme is post-apocalyptic but only so that it ties in nicely with my overall home office/bedroom theme, which is nuclear meltdown :)


Haha! That would be awesome if I had enough readers who wanted to build their own closet organizers. And if I had the means to procure prizes. But other than that you might be on to something. ;) And yeah… there’s a reason I show only my closets and not-so-much my other rooms. “Post-apocalyptic” is a great term to describe their state.

P.S. Don’t get Instagram. I love it, but will probably end up deleting my account if they don’t change their new policy before January 16th. It was bought out by Facebook and they changed their terms to state that they hold licensing rights over user photos and can even sell them without user permission! Crazy.


LOVE the blue paint, how fabulous! Will you come over and organize our house too pleeeeease!?!


Thank you!! Ha, if you saw the rest of my house, you wouldn’t be asking me that. ;)

RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup

Uh, yeah… I’ve tried similar things and I usually make it to week 3, also! ;-) I hope you do better.

Did you ever say what Justin thought about your funky closet makeover?


I use it on-and-off. When I actually sit down to plan it out, I love it! It’s just a matter of taking that initial time every week that’s the hard part… :)

He LOVED it! He was shocked when he got back that I did that by myself. He’s probably not a huge fan of the color, but that’s what happens when you go to Afghanistan for 4 months… decisions have to be made. ;) He has TONS more space now for his clothes (they barely fit in the tiny dresser drawers before), so this is way more functional for us.

[…] decided to once again take turns with meal planning and cooking. (Yes, we still usually use my handy-dandy planning printout.) During my week to plan meals and cook, I try to keep the menu at least two-thirds vegetarian and […]

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