Design: How to Organize a Pantry in an Antique Armoire

By now, many people know that I’m collecting antique armoires for our new home. I have a beautiful Italian armoire in my office that I use as my bookshelf. In the kitchen, we recently added a large French armoire (one of the ones that come apart…a knockdown armoire) to use as our pantry (which replaced an open bakers rack that came with the house). This very old piece of furniture has travelled from France to Switzerland to Guelph and now it has a new home with us in Waterloo.

It brings me joy.

You know what else brings me joy?

Organizing it!

After a bit of inventory analysis, I stocked up on supplies at Homesense (yes, this kind of organization system is an investment of time and money). I opted for white plastic baskets to house categories of items (e.g., pasta, crackers, tea & coffee) and OXO Pop containers for decanting items (e.g., flour, sugar, oatmeal). Then, of course, I labelled everything!

yes, I know, we have a lot of vinegar and oils

On top of all of this goodness, we have made friends with the previous owners of this armoire. What joy!

Personal: February Update of My 2022 Goals

We’re at the end of the month which means I’d like to share an update of my 2022 goals.

  1. Write with my fountain pen. Yes. I use my fountain pen daily for both mundane notes and important correspondence.
  2. Complete house projects. Yes. Our second TV area is coming together, and we made progress on our main floor powder room.
  3. Practice yoga. No. I did well in January, and then I took a complete break. No bueno.
  4. Host people. Yes. We continue to host quite regularly. It’s been fun to spend time with friends for short and long visits.
  5. Travel. No. Not this month.
  6. Read more. Sort of. I’m just slow-going these days. I read Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly, and I laughed out loud.
  7. Tame garbage. Reduce waste. Sort of. I’m definitely more aware of our waste production, and I’m doing better at minimizing food waste, too.
  8. Floss regularly. Yes. Daily. I still don’t know why I waited so long to get into a daily flossing habit.
  9. Walk regularly. Sort of. I’m so tired of winter that these days the weather has to be just right for me to go for a walk.
  10. Stop procrastinating. Sort of. Going into the office has helped me to get my marking done in a reasonable time frame.
  11. Have fun! Yes! I’ve had a really happy month, and there have been many days filled with laughter. Hooray!

Previous updates: January

Personal: January Update of My 2022 Goals

We’re wrapping up the first month of 2022, so this is the first check-in of my 2022 goals.

  1. Write with my fountain pen. Yes! Using my fountain pen daily.
  2. Complete house projects. Yes. I made good progress on my office this month. We also started working on a second TV area thanks to friends who gave us a TV they no longer needed.
  3. Practice yoga. Yes! I completed 24 days of yoga this month. I followed Yoga with Adriene‘s MOVE series this month, which I enjoyed.
  4. Host people. Yes! We’ve hosted several impromptu dinners this month, and it’s been really great to spend time with people in person on a small scale.
  5. Travel. Yes! We traveled outside of Ontario this month. Our short getaway gave me so much energy! And it was a very safe – not scary – trip.
  6. Read more. Sort of. I’ve started a few things, but I haven’t finished anything yet (besides magazines).
  7. Tame garbage. Reduce waste. No. Not really. I am conscious of our waste production, but I haven’t taken any concrete steps to reduce waste.
  8. Floss regularly. Yes. Daily. Why haven’t I done daily flossing ever before? I can’t wait to go to the dentist next and when they ask, do you floss regularly? I can finally say, yes! (Fun fact: Only 43% of Canadians age 12 and older reported that they floss daily.)
  9. Walk regularly. Yes. While we were on our trip, we walked 20K km every day. It was amazing. Back home, I’m walking generally everyday, too.
  10. Stop procrastinating. Sort of. Work was quite busy this month, but I packed it all in, and I reduced opportunities for procrastination.
  11. Have fun! Yes! The most fun days were the ones when I imagined we’re not still living a pandemic, lockdown life.

Personal: Goals for 2022

Last year, I drafted a list of goals, and I checked in monthly about my progress (or lack thereof). I liked the exercise, so I’m going to repeat it for this year.

Here’s my current list of goals for 2022 in no particular order. I may add or delete goals as the year moves on.

  1. Write with my fountain pen. It’s so beautifully designed, and it writes so smoothly. I’m going to try to use it as my regular pen, so that my mundane notes (e.g., weekly to do lists) are prettier.
  2. Complete house projects. I’m drafting an evolving list of house projects for 2022, so the aim is to complete them. Obviously.
  3. Practice yoga. My back has been sore for several months now, so one of the things I’m doing to improve it (and hopefully my general health) is yoga. I’m going to stick with Yoga with Adriene for a while and see if I notice any changes in my back and general flexibility.
  4. Host people. We love having people over, and we did a good amount of entertaining since we moved into our house, even with ever-changing restrictions. We’ll continue to do so.
  5. Travel. I am really hoping to travel outside of Ontario in 2022.
  6. Read more. I will aim for 1-2 books per month, I think.
  7. Tame garbage. Reduce waste. One of the things that I noticed early on in my days of cohabitation was the increase in garbage production. Oh my goodness. There’s just so much garbage (compost, recycling, regular garbage, yard waste). I’m going to try to reduce the garbage we produce (and get the rest of the household members on board, too). I don’t yet know how I’m going to put this goal into action, but I’ll use this month to brainstorm some steps.
  8. Floss regularly. A couple of months ago, I started to floss every day. Every day! Who flosses every day? Now, I do. I feel like this is a very responsible goal. I use disposable flossers, which is great for function, but terrible for waste (see #7).
  9. Walk regularly. I’m not going to worry about how long and how much, but I’m just going to walk regularly.
  10. Stop procrastinating. This goal mostly relates to when I procrastinate on marking my students’ work. Some weeks are just so slow going!
  11. Have fun!

Personal: Reflections in the Age of Covid-19 – Part 4

Here we go again. On Friday afternoon, the Ontario government announced new restrictions in the province, and the news really got me down. I was so sad. Pre-announcement, I knew there was a possibility of restrictions on account of an increase in cases of the Omricon variant, but I was remaining hopeful that the worst of this pandemic was behind us, and we’d be forging ahead with antigen tests and boosters. Instead, we’re back to what it seems to me like the beginning of the pandemic. We’re not quite in full lockdown mode, but we’re now limited to having a maximum of 10 people in our homes and reduced capacity at restaurants and event venues. It’s not even that socializing with 10 or fewer people in my home is what’s really bothering me. It’s that restrictions have come back into effect. We’ve lived nearly two years of pandemic life, and it feels like we’ve made zero progress!

I know we’ve made progress. I do. The beginning of the pandemic was horrific. So many lives were lost. We didn’t know much about the spread, vaccines, and tests. Now, we do.

I know that I’m lucky. I live in Canada where I have had access to vaccines. I have a stable job that I love. I have been able to visit with my family and friends fairly regularly (and safely). We are healthy.

Even though I recognize these things, the ongoing “stay-at-home and limit interactions” guide is tiring. I know I’m not alone.

WORK

Work brings me a lot of joy. Overall, every day, I’m so grateful and excited to do the work that I do. Some days are better than others, of course. On the great days, my students are actively engaged in class, and our discussions are interesting. I have time to read and think and plan. I have productive meetings with colleagues (who I have now officially met in person once!). I feel happy to be in my gorgeous home office (and avoid a long commute in winter weather). On the tough days, I am drained. I am unmotivated. I am tired. I don’t want to open my computer. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to see myself on Zoom. It’s hard to start my work day.

During the fall term, I was preparing to start teaching in person in the winter term. I set up my office at work, and I spent time thinking about how my existing online course would be transformed to the in person environment. I met my colleagues. I bought a parking pass. Last week, the university announced that we’d be starting the winter term online. The planning and replanning has been tiring.

Flexibility and adaptability continue to be two characteristics that I must continue to draw on!

PERSONAL

In my last Covid-19 reflection post in February 2021, I wasn’t seeing people so regularly. I had bubble people, and I didn’t expand my bubble so much. I wasn’t vaccinated. Since then, my life has changed a lot! Once my family and friends were vaccinated, we started socializing fairly regularly. We spent a lot of time outside throughout the winter, spring, and summer. By the end of summer and beginning of fall, people were socializing inside, and my personal life felt normal(ish) again.

Since February 2021, I bought a house with my beau, and we each sold our previous homes. Buying and selling in the crazy real estate market was very emotional. Co-ownership has been emotional. Cohabitation has been emotional. My beau and I worked through a lot of the “how the heck do we live together” things throughout the summer months, and this fall has been fun and relatively stress-free. I could now probably write a blog post (or several) about cohabitation in your 40s!

We both like to entertain, so we’ve had many meals with others in our home, we’ve hosted weekend guests, and we’ve just celebrated Christmas with three parties (spread out so that we’d be safe). Our home has been filled with joy and laughter – just how we like it!

Christmas Eve is in four days. I won’t be seeing my family as I normally do, so this year is going to be different. But last Christmas was different. The year before that was also different. So what’s a normal Christmas? I can barely remember! That said, I’m excited to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home. We’re going to start new traditions. We’re going to eat, drink, and be merry!

And best news of all – as long as there are no more announcements – my sister and her family are coming to visit! I haven’t seen them all in person for 2.5 years, so I’m thrilled! Facetime has been fine, but it’s not the same as an in-person visit.

MENTAL

Besides the recent restrictions announcement, I have been okay. We are heading into the cold, dark months of winter, which will be challenging, but I am looking forward to skating and cross-country skiing, so I can stay active outdoors. In the meantime, I have been going for nearly daily walks, and they make me feel good. They make me forget about Covid-19. They make me observe my surroundings. They give me time to visit or call a friend. Walking is good medicine!

HOW TO HELP

There are so many places that could use our support. The Food Bank remains a good place to send funds now and always. The Region of Waterloo has additional suggestions for ways to help. If you’re not in the region, I encourage you to look at your government’s website to discover organizations in need.

If you’re not able to provide financial support, other acts of kindness go a long way. Kindness, patience, and conversation are always appreciated.

Be well, everyone!

Previous reflections in the age of Covid-19: April 2020, August 2020, February 2021.

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