Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lessons I Learned from Grandma

I'm back from vacation to see my grandparents in Florida, and I have to say, this article was partially inspired by them. You see, they live in one of those retirement trailer parks. By "trailer park," I don't mean sketchy places on the outside of town; no, I'm referring to those really nice double-wides that are basically real houses, only smaller.

Emphasis on the word smaller.

When they moved from Ohio when I was in elementary school, I remember that they actually hired a professional auctioneer to help them sell off most of their stuff in what was likely the most official yard sale in history. They simply couldn't take everything they had to Florida, so they took what they needed (including several heirlooms, of course). In their new place, they had to get extremely creative about storage because of the limited space. Their pantry is quite small, so they go grocery shopping several times a week. They have no attic, garage, or much spare closet space, so storing things like holiday decorations is challenging.

While I was visiting, I stumbled across a few things late one night that made me think of my own crazy endeavors, and it made me chuckle. I was searching through their electronics trying to find cables to help them with their TVs, and this is what I found. On the outside, these are perfectly normal entertainment centers:

Tucked away, however, are Christmas decorations, decorative centerpieces, and boxes for wrapping gifts:

My personal favorite is this next one. Keep in mind that my grandmother DOES use the microwave as intended, but when not in use it serves a different purpose:

That's just epic. Grandma uses it as a bread box. As long as I can remember that's where she's kept the bread in Florida. Why not? It's idle space when not in use - might as well put something in there . . .

Like I said, seeing this really reminded me of myself. Keeping all of my earthly possessions in a storage unit has caused me to get a little creative about where and how I store things. Not everything is in the storage unit, but a good amount of it is. In the rear, I have things that I rarely (if ever) access such as cook and bake ware, bathroom supplies, and the like. Closer to the front, I keep my clothes, tools and fluids to fix my car/home, bulk toiletries and cleaning supplies, and non-perishable food. It's not presently this neat and clean (it's WICKED cold outside right now), but I try to keep things manageable:

This next one is a bit strange. My office has shower rooms at the far end of the building that rarely get used, so I started using them rather than go to the gym (more on all of that later). I got sick of toting my gym bag in and out of the shower room every day, so I found an out-of-sight place to store them:

I know I have yet to touch on where I cook meals, but I keep a good bit of food at the office for breakfast and lunch. I also have utensils and small appliances like a smoothie maker/blender and coffee grinder (for my aforementioned French press travel mug from my last post). In order to have easy access, I keep some simple medicine on hand so I don't have to go digging through my storage unit should I become sick. All of this is neatly tucked away like so:

Something tells me that grandma would be proud - what do you think?