C’mon down the rabbit hole.
Alert readers may have noticed that I have been rather conspicuous by my absence of late. The rest of you have probably been hanging out at the portable bar speculating on more pressing issues than why I can’t seem to get it together to post something pithy, and good on you.
As it turns out, I have been busy rather than slothful recently, though, let’s be honest here, there’s always at least a whiff of indolence mixed in with the miasma of eau de cologne, vodka processed through the skin and apple cider vinegar (trust me, you don’t even want to know) that surrounds me.
So where have I been you ask? Down the rabbit hole of middle-aged porn, obsessively re-screening the homeowner’s peep show, hanging out at the housewife’s glory hole. That’s right, my friends, I’ve slipped on my trench coat and have been spending huge blocks of time, and outrageous sums of money, at The Container Store. If you’re over forty or female or both, you probably require no further explanation, but for those of you who fail to grasp the significance of my new predilection, let me explain.
As I may have mentioned, I have some shoes — considerably more than pictured above, though nowhere near Imelda scale. Let’s just say it’s a substantial collection, carefully curated, lovingly arranged and personally significant, at least to me. As we all know, you can gain fifty pounds, develop female pattern baldness and a goiter, but your shoes will still fit. They are the foundation of the adult woman’s wardrobe, her security blanket, her hedge against sartorial disaster. As such, they need to be properly organized and displayed; they need “breathing room,” if you will.
Now, Mr. Slattern and I have shared a rather large, though inefficient, walk-in closet for several years, and in that time my need for space has increased. Unfortunately, this has impinged on his need to keep my off-season shoes out of the area designated for his shirts. Rather than accept marital discord as the inevitable result of this rather fraught arrangement, however, I came up with the clever idea of dividing the one large closet into two smaller ones. Well actually one smaller one and one really tiny one, but that’s more of a detail than a feature item. Let’s move along.
Anyhoo, it was during the closet renovation project that I began frequenting that den of organizational iniquity, The Container Store, to ogle its aisles of color coordinated hat boxes, ingenious rolling shelving units and mad clever “storage solutions.” I’d spend hours talking about retractable fixtures with the staff, stroking the finishes on cabinet facings and fantasizing about stackable accessory storage. I fetishized the perfect reach-in closet and lingered in front of the titillating array of colorful bins and coordinating hampers. I was hooked, an addict, a filthy closet junkie who could not get enough of that sweet organizational stuff.
Now, before this little adventure, I had never really understood the obsessive need for this kind of stimulation. It wasn’t until I was in college that I saw my first dirty movie, an X-rated version of Alice in Wonderland, complete with costumes, dancing, singing and more than a few acts of extreme lasciviousness. Given that Cosmo generally tucked the particulars of its centerfolds out of sight in those days, and that the interwebs wouldn’t be invented (and cluttered up with naked girlfriends, randy phone repairmen and bleating Kardashians) for decades yet, I had very little experience with this kind of thing, which is to say none at all. But my friends and I figured it was time we found out what all the fuss was about, so we located a fellow student with a car, offered to spring for gas and trundled off to the Stillwater monoplex for a double feature.
If you’ve never seen a pornographic musical, it may be somewhat difficult to imagine. It is certainly a singular experience, what with all the dancing and singing interspersed with nudity, fellatio and random episodes of fornication. If memory serves, it was all very light-hearted in tone, what Patsy Stone would call, “a bit of cheeky fun.” In truth the particulars of the film are a bit hazy owing to the extended Blue-Nun-and-bong binge that preceded our attendance, though I do recall being somewhat taken aback by Alice’s escapades with the Red Queen. Let’s just leave it at that.
In any case, not since Alice dallied with the Mad Hatter (in his improbable size 9 1/2 hat) has one pleasure seeker found such fulfillment in a single location: aisle 5 of the Container Store to be precise. Enter at your peril and try to be discreet is my advice.
Kitchen cabinets, which can run anywhere from about $100 per linear foot (installed) for landlord specials to well over $1,000 for custom hardwood units, are ruinously expensive, and for what? Without stilettos, no one under five foot ten can easily reach anything above the bottom shelf of a wall cabinet, which means you’re paying top dollar for storage you cannot access without a stepstool, and frankly, if I have to haul out a stool, I’m not going to bother with whatever is on that top shelf, unless of course it’s really “top shelf” and I’ve already got the swizzle stick in my hand.
So what’s the answer? Simple, save wall cabinets for glass and dishware storage around the dishwasher and sink and have your contractor build a pantry closet for food. All that formerly wasted space between counter top and cabinet gets used, and a built-in closet is much cheaper than comparable cabinet space. And don’t be taken in by arguments for those weird pull-out pantries. You can’t find anything without running U-shaped wind sprints around them, they cost the earth and are vexing to arrange.
Does your spice rack drive you crazy? Are you oppressed by the chaos in your drawers? Driven to distraction by the duplications and depredations of fifty different jars in as many different sizes?
Are you sick of looking at the ugly wall rack you hung in desperation ten years ago? You know, the one that’s full of mismatched jars and nothing you need, and that makes you walk on your toenails every freaking time you catch sight of it.
Well, have I got the answer for you. These watchmaker cases from Lee Valley are perfect for storing and organizing your spices and keeping them to hand whenever you need them. Once you’ve filled them, you can just throw the back up spices in all their havoc inducing original packaging in a bin at the top of the cabinet you can’t reach!
No more rummaging through drawers or ransacking your pantry in search of just a teaspoon of marjoram for that savory and delicious beef stew you’re making. Just grab your cases and go. (Mine are organized alphabetically. You’ll need to identify yours, so get ready to crank up that label maker, gals!)
Yes yes, I hear you. It’s all a tad Martha, and truth be told, I may have first spotted these in her magazine. But being a slattern is all about fast and easy, and these make it possible to be both at the same time. And as an added bonus, a full spice rack is entirely portable when it’s time to pack up your negligee and get away to your tastefully appointed country home for a little leisurely entertaining, or a cozy family meal.