How Do You Organize Your Games?

by Friday, January 25, 2019
On BGG on FB, the question was asked how everyone organizes their games. We don't have some giant Kallax with games on them, we have a smatter of shelves and cubbies which previously held things like DVD's or books, and have slowly been appropriated for gaming over the years. Here's our...ahem...system.

We have a shelf near our front door which are quick-grab games. They are games that are good to teach new gamers, still strong for regular gamers, visually pretty/interesting, plays in under an hour typically. Basically a "we're going to a party, let's bring a game or two in case anyone wants to play" games. Intro/entry level things like Red Tavern Inn, Carcassonne, Azul, Splendor, Lanterns, etc. We keep a folded bag there that fits standard games and can fit 2-3 games in it.

Our rightmost living room shelf has one shelf which is two player games, primarily. So it has our Jaipur, Kodama Duo, Akrotiri, One Deck Dungeon, Star Realms, Jambo, Patchwork, etc Next shelf is current favorite games, ones we're pulling out a lot right now, like Terraforming Mars, various Tim Fowers games (Hardback, Paperback, Now Boarding, Burgle Bros), Roll for the Galaxy, Broom Service, to name a few.

The leftmost middle shelf has a batch of co-ops (Pandemic Season 2, Aeon's End, Shadowrun Crossfire, Xenoshyft, Flash Point Fire Rescue, etc), the top shelf and highest shelf are our chewiest games--games that take 2+ hours total including set up and play. Gloomhaven, Mechs vs. Minions, Arkham Horror, City of Kings, Mansions of Madness, etc live here. Our Legendaries live up here, too.

There is a lower shelf which has some obscure games we don't play as much, but are pretty easy to get into. A lot of random Kickstarters land here for us, like Einstein, Tesla vs. Edison (both editions), Minerva, Mr. Cabbagehead's Garden, Outlive.

The shelf near the TV are games we love which fit the form factor. LOL No seriously, the top shelf is pretty much all standard 12X12 boxes, like Escape The Curse of the Temple, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Above & Below, Android Netrunner, etc. Below that is common rectangular form factors, like Saint Malo, San Juan, Castles of Burgundy, Broom Service, etc.

Inside the TV stand: on the top are smaller card games and pub games, like Roll For It, Nightmarium, The Game, Tiny Epic _____, Herbaceous, Fairy Tale, etc. Below that are the rest of the Pandemics and Flash Points (Iberia, Cthulu, expansions), Elder Sign and all expansions, and a large collection of CAH and expansions (gathering dust, not because we eschew it, but because we have a lot more gamer friends into chunkier games now).

Then the basement is everything else. Lots of games we haven't even opened yet, games we played out and need a break, games we have boxed up to see if they are ready to be given away/sold or not.

And then there is this awkward stack of games on a side table in the living room that we haven't taken to the basement, don't have room on the shelves in the living room, but are playing off and on right now. We don't know where they will land until we know how much we like them.

The system has zero precision, but it works for us because if we know player count, table size, play length, and mood/style of game, we have an idea where to look.

Savory White Bean and Mushroom Soup

by Thursday, January 10, 2019
I had some dried porcini leftover from another recipe I ended up not making, and a container of mushrooms I wanted to make into a soup or sauce, but we are out of cream and have very little milk, so I made up a little something for lunch today. Hearty, flavorful, delicious!

2oz dried mushrooms of choice (I had porcini but a blend is a good choice, too)
4 Tbsp butter
1 8oz container whole or sliced fresh mushrooms of choice, sliced (also porcini for me)
1 shallot minced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 19oz can Cento white kidney beans or similar of choice
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup milk (or skip if you wish)
2 Tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Put dried mushrooms in a heat proof bowl and pour hot water over them to cover (boiling works, but not necessary). Push gently down with a fork to submerge them and let soak while you do other steps.
  2. Add butter to pan over medium heat and melt. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 7-9 minutes until browning and cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, mince garlic and shallot. Add chicken stock and undrained can of beans to a second pot and warm over low heat. Add a little salt and 1 Tbsp thyme, stir to combine and leave warm until needed.
  4. Add flour to pan of mushrooms and stir to combine about a minute, thickening any juices and clinging to mushrooms.
  5. Add the shallot and garlic to the mushrooms along with the Tbsp of olive oil. Stir frequently over medium-low heat, softening the shallot and garlic without allowing anything to burn.
  6. Put some paper towel or coffee filter in a fine mesh sieve, then strain the liquid from the rehydrated mushrooms into to pan with the mushroom mix. Squeeze to get excess out, then add rehydrated mushrooms to rest of the mushrooms. Reduce heat on mushrooms to medium-low. 
  7. Remove 1 cup of the bean and chicken stock mixture to another bowl or large wide mouth jar. Take 1 cup of the mushroom mix and add to this. Pour 1 cup milk in and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
  8. Mix together all parts--the mushroom mixture, the beans and stock, and the bean/mushroom blend, stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve up and enjoy!
This recipe made a little over four hearty portions. I ate some, stored some in the fridge for tomorrow, and put the rest in a freezer bag, pressed flat and put in freezer to have another day this winter.

Accidental KonMari Part 3

by Sunday, January 06, 2019
The insidious trick of #KonMari is clearly in the little neat folds and beautiful symmetry. Case-in-point: we went to Lowes and found some perfect boxes to replace the ratty shoe boxes we dug up yesterday. But it changed the form factor slightly of what we had organized, so we each reworked our drawers a little bit. Then the last of the laundry came up and I was two pairs of leggings and two tee shirts "too much" to fit in the newly maximized, perfectly symmetrical little space. That meant two shirts and leggings I was "on the fence" about keeping immediately went into the donation pile.

Yes, he folded them specifically so all the logos and words were showing. Adorbs.
Also, I said "thank you" to some old troupe tees and a hoodie I was holding on to for sentimental value--they were worn and don't fit right, so I never wear them any more--they were just sitting in a drawer. Also said "thank you" to a few other schmumfy-but-outdated pieces. It is fascinating to me how different it feels saying "thank you" instead of "good bye". It reminds me of how my efforts to change "I'm sorry" into "thank you" has changed so much of the way I think and speak to others. Using words of gratitude rather than a negative or shame-placed word makes a difference. I am "talking" to my belongings a little differently today.

I haven't even read the damn book, but now I think I might have to.

Accidental KonMari Part 2

by Sunday, January 06, 2019
So #AccidentalKonMari is already snowballing, in a good way. Chris is psyched about this and said he is looking forward to maintaining the clothing situation. He learned the fold in a second and now every tee shirt, pair of jeans, and socks and undies are neat and tidy. We both culled easily 25-40% of our closets between us with just old clothing and clothing we were ready to let go.

Weirdly, saying thank you to several pieces *really worked*. I had a few pieces of clothing I kept tucking back in the drawer for sentimental reasons. I only felt a little silly to hold them, say thank you to them out loud, and throw them on the donate pile. Chris took out an old top he hadn't worn in years and said, "Thank you for reminding me I don't dress like this any more." LOL

Now to see if we do anything with other parts of our home with it in mind.

Today, we go to Lowes to see if we can fill in a couple organization gaps we are missing--we used every unused shoe box and bin we had and it just wasn't *quite* enough to finish the job. Also, I need a separate KonMari day for costuming alone.

You can see what my organization looked like before most days. Things just piled up, super cluttered. I hung a lot of stuff that didn't need to be hung just to keep it in view. And funny enough, I rarely used those drawers for much because I always found stacked clothing (like I grew up with) was too hard to access in a drawer. You can only see a couple top things, and when you try to pull something from underneath, the whole stack becomes a mess. I know I'm not alone in this frustration!

The before: When we decided to rearrange our "closet" wall, everything had to be taken out. I wanted to move my lesser used drawers higher up to a more functional level, and push the shelf down to become better shoe storage (right now many shoes are on a shelf I can't reach and I need a step stool or a hanger to pull the box down.

Taking everything out. And so glad we did! Chris decided he wanted to rework his end, taking out a hanging bar and moving some shelves, and we found a patch of mold in the corner. NO idea how or why it was growing there, but we scrubbed the hell out of it and am so glad we caught it!

The after: Stuff I wear the most--leggings, tees, and skirts I wear for teaching and everyday comfortable clothing.
Next drawer down, sweaters, jeans, and some seasonal and athletic stuff like sarongs and bathing suits. Part of my next step goal is to find a reasonable sized bin to put strictly seasonal clothing in and put in another room, to free up about 1/3 of this drawer for daily-wear items.
Dresses and blouses, plus a couple skirts are all that are hanging here now. The red bin is a temporary solution for my pajamas. Once I move the seasonal clothes to a separate bin, the jammies and go in the drawer. This red bin was holding a bunch of cholis in another room, which are now in an unceremonious pile on my old sewing table until they can go back in here. I really need to cull my costuming, but that's a huge project in itself.

The new closet run. This is IKEA Stolmen, which we got 12-15 years ago maybe (discontinued). We have one small closet in the bedroom so this was the way we addressed the dearth of clothing storage. There are some things on the bed that don't fit into the clothing category that is in a box waiting whatever next steps I am taking.
So that's what we accomplished in a single day, and it already looks and feels so much better. It is SO satisfying to pluck a little clothing envelope out of the drawer to get dressed. The red bin on top can be moved to the bed and I can use the top of my drawers to fold on. We'll see how long this lasts--I am curious if it feels sustainable.

Accidental KonMari Part 1

by Saturday, January 05, 2019
Marie Kondo's little system gets in your system, man.

I have been watching her series on Netflix as "filler" while I would wait for hubby to walk the dogs or whatever before we'd settled into "real TV watching". But I watched another. And another. And then he would come in and we wouldn't change the show over and watch it together. Then we were watching them all together. She's just so damn charming, and while the transformations aren't as "shocking" and meticulously staged as most home improvement/life improvement shows, that is actually an upside to the show. They aren't selling a flashy idea. It's a simple idea. A real one, for a real life, should you choose to try for it--it feels accessible, though still daunting in scope when you see what each step entails.

We made a plan to play games today. I decided I “real quick” wanted to rearrange a portion of my clothes closet. 4 hours later, Chris and I had done a huge clothes culling, reconfigured our modular closet, dusted, cleaned, and folded all our clothes. #AccidentalKonMari


On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

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