Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tip 44: DIY pen holders

Well, the verdict is in: You all love your popcorn almost as much as I do! Christine suggests truffle salt (a rare delicacy!) and Kim suggests dressing your kernels in olive oil, salt and pepper. I tried Kim's tip this afternoon while Matt and I watched Lost from last night (thank goodness it was so much better than last week's episode!) and I have to say, I love Kim's idea. Matt adds that he appreciates the somewhat fruity flavor the olive oil provides.

After your popcorn snack, you might be deciding it's time for a tiny project. My dilemma recently was pen and pencil storage in our desk. I de-cluttered a desk drawer and then didn't have a good system for holding all my writing utensils. So then I found a sturdy and somewhat pretty empty box that used to contain Ginger Bath Candy from Origins. (The store does not appear to carry this product anymore, but let me recommend the Ginger Float bubble bath and the Ginger Body Scrub.) I threw all my pens and pencils in this box, but I still wasn't satisfied, until I looked at a piece of cardboard and found inspiration...

Tip 44: To divide up larger containers, use pieces of cardboard as free, simple, sturdy and (best of all) green dividers.

Here's what I did:

1) Find a piece of cardboard that is approximately the right size. I chose a top flap of a Crate and Barrel box and lined it up next to my empty Origins container.


2) Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the width of the box as snug as possible.


3) Now take a second piece of cardboard. As you cut this piece, it should be slightly taller and slightly more narrow than the original piece. The reason for this difference is that this piece is going to fit over the original piece. Once the cardboard is approximately the right size, cut a slit right down the middle.


4) Fit this new piece of cardboard on top of the original piece of cardboard. Getting this perfect will require keeping the scissors handy and cutting bits and pieces at a time, but it shouldn't be too difficult. Now put it all together!


5) Now I essentially have four boxes in one, perfect for arranging my supplies into categories: highlighters, pens, pencils and teacher pens (you know, fancy colors to make students see your comments).


Before you put your pens in place, now is an excellent time to perform a pen purge. At some point Matt added about five boxes of pens -- mostly boring Bic pens which I hate -- to our desk drawer. Because I hate these pens, I had ignored them for the past three or more years. And then the other day I went through them and got rid of a ton that did not work. Behold, the soon-to-be-disposed pens:


For my next mini project I think I will try this on a slightly larger scale. I'd love to make dividers for my sock and tights drawer, so this might be an effective strategy. Of course, if you don't want to do this yourself there are plenty of products already out there, such as this honeycomb-shaped drawer organizer from Real Simple (available at Bed Bath and Beyond for $8.99).

Next up...A Tale of Two Bedsheets, or how to find better-quality linens.

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