Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Holiday after the Storm: Regrouping after Sandy

We left the house today, the first time since Sunday.  I hadn't realized how cooped up I felt until we stepped out, stroller draped in a plastic rain guard, umbrella in hand, and breathed that first gulp of fresh air.

A Tuesday morning rainbow in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn (Submitted by Christopher)
Photo from NY1 News, viewer photo of post-Sandy rainbow in Windsor Terrace
It's like a holiday outside.  I know this sounds awful in light of the fact that so many have been traumatized by Sandy.  The death toll in the tri-state area is rising by the hour, and countless people are without power.  Even in our neighborhood, trees have been downed and the wreckage is clear.  Though I have to say, the most powerful image for me of this storm has been this surreal picture of the partial collapse of a building in Chelsea.  The thing looks like a dollhouse.  Can you imagine being inside when the walls fell down?

But here in Brooklyn, rather, in Zone B and C Brooklyn (those of us who Sandy didn't kick out of house and home) people are out in droves, crowding every coffee shop, bar and restaurant that had the good sense/luck to be open today.  I was so surprised to see so many people out and about, although I guess I shouldn't have been.  Public transit is shutdown, so many people are "working" from home, or have taken forced personal days.  After being cooped up in a small apartment for so long, terrified of what Hurricane Sandy was going to do to you, with nary a window open, it's a relief to finally be out and about, celebrating the survival of you and your possessions.  Mr. Minimalist and I were grateful for the fresh air, and the Little One was happy enough to see something besides her two stir-crazy parents walking around.

Our thoughts do go out to those who are suffering.  Wishing everyone a speedy recovery from this terrible storm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This Week's (Big) Small Find: Shallow Shoe Cabinets

In small spaces, you are often crammed in from every angle.  Your rooms might be small squares, long bowling alleys, or odd shapes with strange nooks you wish you knew how to utilize.

Enter the shallow shoe cabinets selling (most likely like hotcakes) at IKEA.
Hemnes shoe cabinet from IKEA; photo from IKEA
They come in a few different styles and sizes (frankly I'm surprised they don't make even more) so you can suit your decor, somewhat, and pick one that's right for your space.  (Personally, I'm partial to the traditional styled Hemnes collection).

At under a foot in depth, these cabinets are genius.  You can slip them in your hallway, or entryway (if you're lucky enough to have one) and not worry about taking up precious floor space   And you can use them in those odd niches in your home, or in that really narrow bedroom with the minuscule closet.

You can probably even branch out from shoe storage and get creative.  I'm thinking the bottom "drawers" might be a nice place for kids' winter paraphernalia  or maybe even toys.  The drawers tilt open easily, so little ones can help themselves.

Anyway, the options are endless.  Some of the styles might even work for small kitchens and bathrooms. 

What would you store in there?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere...

But not for us, not yet.  We always procrastinate on the pumpkin buying, I don't know why.  Most years past we wait for our annual trip upstate to go apple picking.  The orchard we go to is on a small farm, and they have a pretty sizable pumpkin patch from which you can choose your favorite jack-o-lantern.

But the weekends have ticked by, and we haven't gone, and we are booked through the rest of the season, and don't have any weekends left.

With a baby, it's not so easy to make the 2 hour trip up north.  Although we've been going to the same place almost every year since Mr. Minimalist and I met, I'm not positive we'll make it this year.  The little one is just too mobile and aware of everything, and it might be too much of a drive.  I will miss the huge bag of apples and all the yummy baking that comes out of it if we don't go.  I'll also miss seeing that huge pumpkin display, drinking the hot apple cider and nibbling on freshly baked cider doughnuts.

Maybe we'll all play hooky and go during the week.

Friday, October 5, 2012

This Week's (Big) Small Find: Kitchen Island Carts

You're standing in the kitchen, one mixing bowl tucked under your left arm, another one hanging out of your right hand, and you have NO WHERE TO PUT IT.  You scan your counters: bags of flour and sugar, spice jars and measuring cups cover every surface.

How often has this happened to you?  It happens to me on a regular basis, most recently while baking a plum cake as I describe below.

So, when you're working in a small kitchen and you feel that the counters are closing in on you, behold your saving grace: the portable kitchen island cart.

This is not a hard item to find-- you can find low and high cost versions of it at most big box stores.  Ikea has a nice budget friendly version:

Stenstorp Kitchen Cart; photo from ikea.com

And Crate and Barrel has one for more than twice the price, although it's a bit larger and has the advantage of closed storage.

Belmont White Kitchen Cabinet; photo from crateandbarrel.com

You can wheel these carts around the kitchen as you need them.  If you have one of those odd galley kitchen like I had in my old studio, you can "expand" your kitchen into the adjoining hallway/entrance hall/living room.  It's a place to rest an appliance, cut up your veges, or put down an extra mixing bowl.

Another advantage to these carts?  This is one kitchen upgrade you can take with you when you move, so it's great for renters and other folks who are planning their next move.  

Now, since I'm convinced my problem is organization and not space (I did, after all, recently upgrade from one kitchen counter to two when we moved out of the studio and into this apartment) I'm not going to cave quite yet.  But you may want to. 

What tricks have you developed to expand your kitchen?