Best thing ever: My awesome spice rack

Nov 1, 2011 by

I was tired of my kitchen cupboards being overflowing with spices that I could never find when I needed to, so with some inspiration from the internet I created these.  Its a nice magnetic spice rack that gets all of my spices out of the cupboard and easily accessible when cooking.

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This is also a very easy project.  You will need the following:

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Individual Clear Glass Spice Jars (Updated link from reader Jill with much cheaper containers, thanks!) & Neodymium Magnets and your spices

Those link to the exact ones that I used for this project.

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The nice thing about these magnets is that no glueing is required.  They are nice and strong so I simply put them in the underside of the spice jar lid.  Done and done.

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It is also a good idea to label the spices.   Grab your label maker if you’ve got one.

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They make these awesome clear labels, which work very well for this project.

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and here is the finished jar all labeled.

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I took a piece of sheet of metal from Home Depot and glued it under the cabinet for the jars to attach to.

Gorilla Glue works well for this.

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Then you just take all the jars…

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and put them under the cabinets.  Thats it.  Arrange them how you like.  You will start to notice which ones you use most often and keep those up front for easy access.

I have about 30 or so jars. It freed up a ton of room in my cupboards, it looks really nice, and its really easy to grab the spices when needed.

Ben…

Have you got a Best Thing Ever?  Please share in the comments or drop me a note 

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1-A-Week: Week 40: Fixing the world’s problems

Oct 15, 2011 by

As you may have noticed, there are things that are not quite right with the world lately.

Weather its political unrest in foreign countries to the Occupy Wall Street protests going on right here in America.

To put it simply, things could be better.

I’m a fixer.  When I see a problem or something that could work better my mind immediately kicks into high gear to find a solution.  I’m a big supporter of the OWS protests going on all over the country and world now.  I’m OK that they don’t have a clear set of demands and what they’d like to see fixed because there are so many big problems wrong with our world right now, I understand their frustrations and I am glad they are out to voice them.  I hope the results of the protest isn’t one fix that causes everyone to pack up camp and go home, but I hope the result is everyone in this country and those around the world starting up a conversation around “what can we do better?”, “and how can we fix this?”.  That is the results I’m hoping for.

That said, I’m still a fixer at heart, so beyond being out to show support with the other protesters I have to take action to make things better.  One of the things I think we can and should do more is to vote with our wallets.  Money drives way too much of our political process, but it also gives us some opportunity to bring change into the system.  If you don’t like how a particular company operates, or don’t like how they make their products, don’t buy their products and tell all your family and friends to do the same.  If you do like how one company runs their business, support that business.

I bought a Prius, not because I’m a super tree-hugging eco-warrior hippie, but because I think gas is stupid, and I think there are much better alternatives out there and we should be exploring those.  So I opted to vote with my wallet and pay for a car and car company that is actually researching and building toward that (hopefully).

So today I’m voting with my wallet again and closing my Bank of America account.  I only kept this account so I’d have access to local ATM’s to deposit checks and take cash out, but I can no longer support their business practices.  Beyond that, I am tired of paying them to hold on to MY MONEY!..especially when I have other choices.  So I closed my account and moved all of my money over to a credit union. (it was VERY easy)

No fees, I can use any ATM and they will reimburse me, and most importantly, I can now deposit checks from home via my scanner of via my mobile phone.

So I’m getting more features, better service, and its costing me less money and I’m not supporting a business that is truly doing some very bad things.

 

I can’t believe I’ve been a member for 15 years and paid all that money in fees when I didn’t have to.   So for this weeks 1-A-Week, I’m getting rid of a bad bank account that I do not need or want anymore.   And this makes me very happy.  Plus that picture on my card is HORRIBLE.

Remember remember the 5th of November.  November 5th this year is Bank transfer day.  If you don’t support how the banks are hurting our economy, transfer your money out and into a credit union.  Even if you don’t support the OWS movement, why would you pay a company to hold your money when you don’t have to.  Its very easy to find a credit union near you.

Ben…

1AW is a project by which I’m getting rid of at least 1 thing each week that I do not need, want, or use anymore. Doing at least one thing per week helps me reduce the clutter in my life and make room for what is truly important.

What are you getting rid of this week? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Family dinner

Oct 6, 2011 by

I have a master plan.

My plan is to live near my friends.  Or more accurately, have my friends live near me.  I grew up in Washington state and now live in California.  I’ve been slowly moving my friends down one by one over the last several years.  I have now moved 3 families down and am working on the others.  My plan is working very well (the sunshine helps).

One of the best things ever about this plan of mine is that we get together for our big family dinners once a week or so.  Just a night when everyone’s schedule is open that we can go over to one of our places and all sit and eat together.  We cook, we eat, we talk, we play games.  It is wonderful.

If this sounds nice to you, I encourage you to start your own family dinners.  I recently ran across a link on Reddit, (a site I waste entirely too much time on).  It was a great post about how a friend who had a job hosted dinners with his friends who were not as fortunate.  The post received tons of comments but his was one of my favorites:

carpeggio
Man, this struck a chord with me.
I don’t have a particularly needy past or anything of the sort.
Most people would say hey, “He’s cooking for his friends! It’s Easy!”
I thought that at first too, but it’s more then that.
In the picture they are all feeding on a quality homemade meal,that was made with love and care.
Something about that picture brought a tear to my eye. I think that you are accomplishing so many positive things with one act, and I am truly inspired by it.

There were also a lot of comments from users wising they had friends which made me a little sad and entirely grateful for the amazing friends I have.

So this is a call to action for you.

Gather your friends and have dinner with them.  Its so simple, yet one of the best things you could do.

Make a commitment to doing this today.

  1. Call/text/email your friends right now.
  2. Plan a night to get together and eat.
  3. And make this chicken pot pie.  Your friends will think you are a genius.

“The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.”
- Abraham Lincoln

Ben…

Now back to my master plan.  I still have more friends to move.

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1-A-Week: Week 24 & 25: Cut the cord

Jun 28, 2011 by

I actually cut the cord a few years ago.  I was getting so tired of hearing the home phone ring.  I would never answer it because it was only a wrong number or someone trying to sell me something despite being on the no-call list.   Anyone who really wanted to reach me would just email or use my cell phone, so I finally did it.

I cut the cord.  I got rid of my home phone service.  My wife and I both had cell phones anyway, so why did we need another line?

Its been one of those Best Things Ever that I’ve done.   I’ve never needed a home phone since and do not miss paying all that money for something I never used.

I almost went with a VOIP system to keep the home phone, but use my internet as the connection, but instead I just got rid of it altogether.

Except I never got rid of the phones.  I put them in a box and just found them the other day.  So my 1AW for last week and this week is to get rid of all my old land line phones.

I’ve been having great success getting rid of my old stuff on eBay and making some cash doing so, so I’m putting my old phone on eBay for someone that could use it.

If you still have a home phoneline in addition to your cell phone you might want to look and see if you still need it.

  • Are you using it?
  • Could you just use your cell phone and eliminate that monthly bill?

I highly recommend cutting the cord.   One of the best things I’ve done and I wish I had done it sooner.

Ben…

1AW is a project by which I’m getting rid of at least 1 thing each week that I do not need, want, or use anymore. Doing at least one thing per week helps me reduce the clutter in my life and make room for what is truly important.

What are you getting rid of this week? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Best Thing Ever – Kitchen edition

Jun 25, 2011 by

This is the first in a new series I’m posting about the Best Thing Ever that you’ve done.  You know those things you do and then every time you look at them or use them you think to yourself,

“Why didn’t I do this years ago?”

Those are the inspiration for the Best Thing Ever series and I want to hear about yours.

This is the kitchen edition

What is the best thing you’ve ever done in your kitchen?  I love my kitchen and have done a full remodel on it, but the best thing I ever did was the pull out drawers.  These things are so tremendously useful I can’t believe I waited so long to do them.

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If you have cupboards in your kitchen with all sorts of random items stuffed into the back of them that you haven’t seen or used in years, you should look into getting some of these slide out shelves.  They are worth it and you will be so happy you did from that day forward.

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I built mine with my neighbor Don.  He is much better at woodworking than I am, and he has all the tools ;-)  And yes I did run the LA Marathon.

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Here we are cutting the wood to make them.  They were very easy to make.

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Here are some of the finished drawers setting up for the glue to dry. I made 8 of them and installed 7 in the kitchen and one in the bathroom vanity.  That is how much I love these things!

So that is my Best Thing Ever for my kitchen.

What is the Best Thing Ever that you did in your kitchen?  Share your best ideas with the world and help make everyone’s lives a little better.

Ben…

Send me your feedback and I’ll put it all together for everyone to learn and get inspired from.

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