Editors’ Note: This is the first part of a two- part cover series on organization. Be sure to check out our April edition for part two. This time of year often inspires people to spruce up their space with a little spring- cleaning, but I would suggest “spring- cleaning” can be a lifestyle built around habits, rather than spending most of the year suffering from overwhelming clutter. I believe a lack of order is a tax on the human mind and a pile of open loops reminding you of incomplete tasks. So, indulge yourself in my thoughts on the freedom and effectiveness of clutter-busting. Like many people, I enjoy clean and organized spaces, and I once even hired someone to help me get more organized. This coach used the book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen as the backdrop for the lessons in creating a more productive space. After all, a fountain is far more productive when the rocks are removed. Allen’s book outlines multiple ways of getting to freedom through the habit of decluttering your life. Each one can be easily applied to any space. To start, one of the most common tactics is to use a calendar. A calendar is a structure to hang things on — things that are easily forgotten or weigh you down mentally as you try to remember them all. Rather
than keeping track of your responsibilities on a series of notes or hoping they stay in your memory, calendars keep all your commitments, appointments, and meetings in one space. This frees up your mind to do other tasks and keeps you on track. Another technique is to use a “sometime, maybe” list. As things come to mind, put these inspirations or reminders on this list. This allows you to make a later judgment about whether you want to invest the time in the items on your list. It does not serve as a guilt trip or reminder of things you “need” to get done. Instead, it’s a list of items you would like to accomplish but cannot make a priority at that moment. There could even be some things you believe you “should” do but will ultimately heal on their own after sitting and aging on this list. Other items will naturally present opportunities for you to accomplish them. Once you have your tasks and appointments organized, you then can begin to physically organize your space. In April, I’ll discuss how I have physically organized my space using Allen’s techniques and introduce a few more methods for decluttering. Regardless of which tactics you use, I’ve found that the beauty of organizing is you can adapt this system to fit into your life as you go. And while it may need to grow and
change as you and your situation do, having an organized system to “hang it on” will always be valuable.
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For years, homeowners have opted for faux, synthetic wood furniture over real hardwoods. The primary reason was affordability over quality, allowing those on shoestring budgets to afford “wooden” pieces. But in 2020, the trend of affordability over function is dwindling, and according to interior design experts, more homeowners are choosing to spend a little more to improve the quality and life of the furniture in their home. In December 2019, Forbes asked interior design experts to highlight which trends were ending and what styles were becoming popular. Stylist Kelley Mason explained that the faux-wood look offers consumers a too-perfect look, style, and feel, which can create a sterile environment that many homeowners are actively avoiding. Instead, more people are opting for warmer, deeper, and imperfect looks that only real wood can create. Mason explains that the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi is coming back with a vengeance. Wabi-sabi focuses on the innate beauty of imperfections, such as wild grain styles and holes where knots once occupied. These pieces create an authentic look many consumers are craving, as faux pieces appear more fake than functional. Real wood can be more expensive, and that is what initially drove the consumer away from its pieces. In addition, it requires a higher level of care than faux pieces. In a consumption-heavy society, this pushed designers and homeowners toward faux. Phrases like “roughing it” might lead you to think you’re stuck with trail mix and dry granola bars on backpacking and camping trips. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, with a little preparation and some creativity, you can have delicious food on your next backcountry trip. Here are some tips to get you on the right track. Use premixed spice and meal packets. One surefire way to spice up any meal is with, well, spice! There’s no need to bring the whole container of cinnamon or cumin. For a tasty breakfast, mix oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and cinnamon ahead of time and pack them in a container. Lentils, quinoa, and a cumin and pepper spice mix can make a great chili-inspired dinner. Turn to one-pot meals. One-pot meals mean less clean up and more fuel efficiency, which is especially helpful for backpackers. With your premixed packets of food and spices, just add water and you’ll be on your way to a tasty meal. Pizza in the backcountry? Yes, you can even cook pizza in the backcountry! All you need are a few simple ingredients and either a campfire stove or grate. You can buy the dough or make your own at camp by mixing flour, salt, water, and yeast. Knead the dough,
then let it rest for 20 minutes. Add oil to your skillet and place it on your camp stove or campfire grate to heat up. Press the dough firmly toward the edges of the skillet, then place the skillet on the fire or stove and bake until one side of the dough is golden brown, then flip. Once the other side is cooked, add toppings and place back on the heat source until it’s ready. Enjoy! Keep your food to yourself. To protect yourself and wildlife while you’re enjoying your delicious meals, practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you bring in. When critters begin to associate humans with food, it creates problems for every species. Always keep food away from where you sleep, eat at least 100 yards away from your tent, and use secure containers to store food for the night.
However, experts have noted that more consumers prefer the artisan quality that comes with choosing real hardwood pieces over faux wood. The lifetime value they receive from the pieces is outnumbered by any budgetary advantages faux wood has. Real wood drives the desire for the bold styles design trends in 2020 are maneuvering toward. This is great news for hardwood craftsmen and companies. As their pieces become more valuable on the market, the door opens up to many creative possibilities. If trends continue, 2020 is set to be an exciting year for craftsmen.
2 • THE SWISS CRAFTSMAN
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A Super April April appears to be a big month for the solar system. In addition to Venus’ spectacular show, April 7 will see the largest full moon of the year (often called a “supermoon.”) The moon will arrive at its closest point to Earth in 2020 at 2 p.m. EDT, and more than eight hours later, spectators will be able to see it in all its full glory, illuminating the night sky. The moon will appear larger, brighter, and fuller than usual, given its close proximity to Earth. April Showers Spring 2020 will see two meteor showers light up the sky. The first of these, the Lyrids Meteor Shower, occurs at the end of April, reaching its peak from April 22–23. The shower runs its course every year around during the same period of 10 days and can produce up to 20 meteors per hour.
As we prepare to mark the start of a new season this March, now is the time to plan your adventures for some must-see solar events this spring. Be sure to add the following events to your list!
The Year of Venus Every eight years, Venus provides a
spectacular show in April. The bright spot in the sky that is Venus will become larger and brighter as it moves closer to a particularly active star cluster. Experts warn this may be harsh on the naked eye, but those with telescope magnification will be able to see a clear crescent shining below Venus and illuminating the second planet from the sun. Venus will continue to get brighter throughout April as it shuffles out of our view in the skies.
Just a few weeks later, in early May, the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower will light up the sky. Spectators in the Northern Hemisphere can expect about 30 meteors per hour, while those in the Southern Hemisphere will be treated to 60 meteors per hour. As with any event in the heavens, weather, light pollution, and location can limit or hinder your view of celestial events. Always search for dark, clear skies on your hunt for the best stargazing spot.
Spring is near!
Inspired by CookingLight.com
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pounded to a 1-inch thickness
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
6 tbsp spinach pesto
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup whole- wheat panko
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tsp red wine vinegar
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. 2. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to pan. Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, then remove pan from heat. 3. In a bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, and butter. 4. Spread pesto over chicken and top with panko mixture. 5. Broil chicken for 2 minutes on high heat until browned. 6. In a skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. 7. Add tomatoes and cook for 6 minutes. 8. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 9. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, and add red wine vinegar. 10. Serve tomatoes with broiled chicken.
Ovenbird Copyright Nature Friend Magazine used by permission
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Inside this Issue
Part 1 in Our 2-Part Decluttering Series Page 1
The Resurgence of Real Wood Page 2
Check Out the Skies This Spring!
Pesto Chicken With Blistered Tomatoes Page 3 New York City’s Chaotic Annual Tradition Page 4
THE DAY EVERYONE IN NEW YORK CITY MOVED
Moving is the worst. The costs of hiring a moving company and the sheer amount of time it takes to physically move everything make the whole affair an aggravating mess. And if you thought moving just one house on your street was terrible, imagine the chaos that would ensue if everyone in your whole city moved on the same day. That’s exactly what happened in New York City for nearly two centuries. From Colonial times until the end of World War II, May 1 was Moving Day in New York. On that day, every lease in the city ended, and pandemonium reigned in the streets as everyone scurried to their new homes. Eyewitness accounts of Moving Day describe the tradition as sheer mayhem. An English writer said Moving Day looked like “a population flying from the plague,” and frontiersman Davy Crockett called it an “awful calamity” when he discovered the event in 1834. Still, some people loved Moving Day. Long Island farmers took their carts into the city on May 1 and charged as much as a week’s wages to move desperate tenants’ belongings to their new homes, which was a tidy sum in those days. Children were also fond of Moving Day because they got the day off school to help their families navigate the tumultuous time.
A few prominent theories have emerged about the origins of this tradition. Some posit that May 1 coincided with the English celebration of May Day. Others say it morphed out of an event where servants would look for new employers. The most well-known explanation, however, is the May 1 move commemorated the day Dutch colonizers “moved” to Manhattan in the first place. The Moving Day tradition began vanishing in the early 20th century because many cartmen and housing builders were drafted during World War I, leaving fewer movers and less available housing. Additionally, the construction of the New York City subway gave other tenants rapid access to more housing options outside Manhattan. Finally, after many cartmen were again drafted in WWII, the tradition officially ended in 1945.
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