Category Archives: toss it tuesdays

toss it tuesdays: eureka, I broke the vacuum!

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Perhaps it was bound to happen.  Eight years old and the plastic had gone brittle, and as I flipped it over to check for crud on the bottom of the vacuum, the head of the vacuum separated from the rest of the machine.  Darn.

I must be a bad minimalist, as I have a back-up vacuum.  When I first moved out on my own (twelve years ago! where does the time go?), I bought a tiny little hand-held vacuum that managed to keep my horribly dark blue berber carpets clean (or so I thought – they were dark blue, how could one even tell if they were clean or not?)  I used it sporadically before obtaining my full-size vacuum when we moved into our current place in 2003. Since then, the back-up vacuum has done little else than take up space in the closet.  I think it’s a bit fortuitous that having decluttered nearly 6000 things this year, and I never thought to get rid of this secondary vacuum.  Yay me.

Even funnier was when I broke the vacuum, my three year old piped up and said, “Uh oh, the vacuum’s broken.  I’m sure they sell those at the thrift shop.”

toss it tuesdays: unloading the Halloween haul

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It’s the day after Halloween and there is a general feeling of a sugar hangover hanging over the neighbourhood.  Only a quarter of my son’s class showed up for school this morning. Who knew that one night of sugar highs would have such an effect?  As this is my son’s first year attending school full-time, I wasn’t quite prepared for the highs and lows that would surround Halloween and trick-or-treating.  I’m now faced with 6.2 lbs of Halloween candy (yes, I weighed it – I couldn’t resist!) and am thinking of ways to get it out of my house without tossing it all in the trash in one fell swoop.

A couple of ways I’ll be attacking the stash of candy:

  • I’ll be giving it to my son’s teacher for her candy drawer.  I know not all teachers like to give out rewards or treats in the form of sugar, but I know that my son’s Grade 1 teacher does occasionally give out candy as a reward for good behaviour.  Not a practice I would be endorsing for home, but I don’t mind that she does.  I offered her some candy for her candy drawer this morning, and she gratefully accepted – I’ll be dropping off a third of my kids’ Halloween loot to her later today (only the nut-free treats will be heading to school).
  • I’ll be sharing it with friends.  This is my favourite way to get things out of the house, especially things that are sugary treats and snacks.  I like to spread the love around, so I’ll be serving Halloween treats at playdates and home and taking them to friends houses, and you’ll probably even see me bringing treats to the playground in the coming weeks.  Whatever it takes to prevent ME from eating more than MY fair share of my kids’ Halloween candy.
  • I’ll be letting my kids enjoy it.  Halloween is a festive celebration that seems to come and go in such a short period of time.  I have lots of memories of Halloween from my own childhood, sorting through my pillowcase of loot with my younger brother each night after dinner, choosing our favourites first and finally being left with nothing but small taffy candies at the bottom of our bags.  I’d be remiss to not let my kids enjoy making some of their own Halloween memories.
  • I’ll be throwing it away.  All the sticky taffy-like treats are so bad for kids’ teeth, so I won’t feel guilty about throwing the occasional Tootsie Roll straight into the trash. Same goes for the Double Bubble, or anything with the words “jawbreaker” in the name.  I’m such a party pooper, I know.
How was your Halloween?  Did you go trick-or-treating, or did you have a quiet evening at home? 

toss it tuesdays: Ekco 123 garlic press

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I don’t much enjoy shopping.  I find the high of purchasing to be fleeting, and I often find myself second-guessing my purchases by the time I have arrived at home.  Or I end up having buyer’s remorse, because I am always afraid that things I have spent good money on are going to break.  Needless to say, I find myself feeling extremely dissatisfied and annoyed when the things I do own finally break.

Today, I broke my Ekco garlic press.  I’ve been using it for (what else?) pressing garlic, and the handle cracked at the same time as the metal press broke.  Argh.

A garlic press should at least be able to press garlic, no? Clearly my superhuman strength is too much for this one...

I’m more annoyed at the waste of having this kitchen utensil break (this is the third garlic press we’ve owned) than I am by the inconvenience of it – I’m not planning to replace it, as I’m pretty sure a knife can also do the trick of chopping garlic in a satisfactory manner.

Do you slice, mince or crush your garlic?  Do you have a special device to help you along, or do you make do with a simple paring knife?

Do tell.  Clearly, this is one of those “need to know” things.

toss it tuesdays: goodbye SMAKA cheese slicer

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Last week I let go of my coffee grinder.  There was nothing wrong with it, but I had acquired a Magic Bullet in weeks past and had, much to my delight, discovered that it was capable of grinding coffee beans with much less mess than my coffee grinder.  So I sent the bean grinder off to the thrift shop, where a host of other small kitchen appliances and accoutrements had gone before it in recent months past: a bread maker, an indoor grille, a coffee machine, a crockpot and a spice rack.  I’ve decided now that all superfluous appliances have left the building, it might be time to focus more energy on purging some of the rarely used kitchen utensils sitting in the two drawers we have allocated for these things in our kitchen.  One rarely (if ever) used item is our SMAKA cheese slicer from Ikea.

SMAKA, what else are you good for?

When I first moved to Vancouver, I had a roommate (who also happens to have been my oldest friend) who insisted upon us moving in together that we make a trip to Ikea to outfit our apartment.  As someone who had never lived on their own before, I knew Ikea was cheap and would fit the bill as far as getting our place furnished without spending too much money.  Unfortunately, when things are cheaply priced we tend to buy more, and often it’s things we don’t actually have much of a use for.

My SMAKA cheese slicer is evidence of this – I’m sure this gadget wasn’t more than a couple of dollars twelve years ago, but it’s still hanging around in my kitchen and has probably been used only a handful of times.  It hasn’t seen much love for a couple of reasons:  1) it can only be used to slice cheese, 2) it’s awkward to use, and 3) a knife is an equally good tool for the job.  All in all, the existence of such a tool is pretty unnecessary, but I bought it because my friend/roommate convinced me it was a must have item for our kitchen and because it was inexpensive.  Needless to say, it will be making its debut at the local thrift shop in the next couple of days.  If you need a kitchen utensil that cuts cheese and nothing else, then this could be the kitchen utensil for you.