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When campers live far north, like I do, enduring seven months of bitter cold and then five fast months when camping is possible, we do all we can to be ready to go as soon as the weather allows.

Here are 3 photos of my camp bin being unpacked, showing essential items that help make my home away from home as cozy and as safe as can be.

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Camp Bin includes: red first aid kit, small sleeping bag (an extra), blue camp hammock (a new fabric one!), mosquito jacket if bugs are really bad, two propane bottles, bear spray with belt holster, air horn (not shown), metal water bottle, bug spray, seat pad for picnic table, kitchen wash bin (see below), large tongs, green tablecloth, camp mirror, small dustpan set, lighter, bungee cord, solar shower, Off lantern with candles, LED lantern with batteries, shelter privacy wall (white shower curtain), small paper towel roll, 4 metal skewers, aluminum foil, fly swatter, and 14″ hatchet. Not bad for one bin!


Having an organized camp bin helps make the difference between enjoying a great getaway, or surviving an ordeal. Here’s my kitchen bin unpacked:

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1 – white plastic wash bin
1 – plastic cutting board
1 – wire rack (upcycled baking rack, to grill on fire pit grate)
1 – red silicone cutting/heat mat
3 – kitchen towels (1 cotton, 2 microfibre)
1 – cleaning supplies mesh bag (Biodegradable Camp Soap & dish brush, plus Pine-sol & Irish Spring as repellents only – not for washing)
1 – plastic water glass (with 1 silicone oven-mitt rolled inside)
1 – melamine cup (with a week’s worth of plastic bags for daily campsite garbage trips to the Bear Bins)
1 – camp cook stove attachment for propane
1 – small flashlight plus some extra cordage
7 – clothespins
2 – metal plates
1 – melamine bowl
2 – stacking pots with lid, black mesh bag
2 – extension fire pit forks
1 – cutlery bundle: steak knife, paring knife, 2 forks, 1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, small tongs, metal spatula, military can opener

Beyond this collection of smaller items packed in to one main bin, there are other essential items for comfortable SUV camping that I’ll share about in upcoming posts. Bring on the milder weather!

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[Copyright © 2017 Front Yard to Backcountry]

Art by Leonid Afremov

Art by Leonid Afremov

I have a home office that is tiny yet nonetheless perfect for me. It contains everything I need and then some. I repurposed a second-hand corner desk to now be a pair of glass desks, side by side.

When seated at my desk area, I face a bright window that looks out to the trees and clouds. Under my keyboard and mouse pad is a green fabric table runner (folded in half) for comfort from the cold glass. To stay out of the direct path of sunlight, you’ll see my pair of computer monitors are tucked over to the right, leaving the left desk open for crafting, reading and more.

office nook 1In this compact space when moving my chair from one desk to the other I have to negotiate the chair castors around the desk legs but that’s no problem.

This set up took a little while to figure out, and then once I decided upon the shelving system, it all came together beautifully.

The opening of this ‘nook’ is four feet, one and a half inches. So while I contemplated having wood cut to fit exactly, I ended up going with pre-finished shelves. As you may notice, there’s a gap at one end of each shelf but my bins and magazine holders close it up nicely.

I also decided on varying widths for the 4-foot shelves. Two are the narrowest option at eight inches deep. These are at the top for rarely accessed paperbacks and memorabilia, and the bottom shelf taking up the least space possible on this frequently used shelf. Another one is 10 inches deep; it’s the second one up from the bottom with frequently accessed binders and projects. And the last shelf is a foot deep and holds 13” deep bins with maps and greeting cards, as well as with magazine holders and a stack of infrequently used books.

office nook basket 1Below the shelves is a very handy craft supply ‘catch all’ from the uber organized Ikea. Designed for kitchens, this rod with S-hooks and one hanging basket is superlative for getting organized in a small space.

On the left open desk area, also from Ikea, is a translucent desk mat under which I’ve slid the back cover of last year’s calendar which handily displays all of this 2014 year at a glance. I love it!

So there you go. Ta da! My tiny yet delightful home office ‘nook’ created out of an odd little corner that was left over when the previous owners bumped out the master closet into this guest room. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and now that I’m all organized on the other side, it’s a win-win!

Here’s the tools you’ll need for installing Standard Rail and Bracket shelving:
Measuring tape / Stud sensor / Philips-head screwdriver / Level / Hammer

standard amd bracket diynetwork

source: DIY Network

And here’s the link to visit the DIY Network for clear step-by-step instructions to get the job done. I did it all by myself in about an hour. Oh, a drill might be nice though! I’m a pretty big strong gal and it still took quite a bit of torque (aka muscle) to turn those screws fully into the wooden 2×4 studs. Just saying.

Home Depot Standard Shelf System: Approximately $50
Two (2) 4-foot shelves, 8-inches wide
One (1) 4-foot shelf, 10-inches wide
One (1) 4-foot shelf, 12-inches wide
Three (3) 4-foot lengths of standard rails
Twelve (12) brackets for corresponding shelf width
Box of 100 #8 Philips wood screws (more than enough)
(Already had tools required)

Ikea Product Names (prices subject to change): Approximately $40
BYGEL Rail $2.99
BYGEL wire basket $3.49
BYGEL S-hooks $1.99/10 pack
KASSETT Box with lid, Large $8.99/2 pack (I bought 3 different pairs for about $25)
FLYT magazine files $2.99/5 pack (I bought 2 packs)

For under $100 and in less than half a day (including purchasing items) I created a wall of shelves that helped inspire my completion of this lovely office nook for myself. It inspires me everyday. I hope you are inspired as well. Carve out your own office ‘nook’ even if you have lots of space. Cheers!