5 Things I Learned in January 2016

envelope pillow

One of my favorite subreddits is Today I Learned, or TIL. It’s great when my brain is craving some factoid snacks. One of the bajillion projects I keep meaning to try is regularly tracking my own personal “TILs.” Not so much detailed trivia like /r/TIL, but more like bigger life things – like learning how to do something or learning something that holds some longer-term significance. So I’m going to take a first swing at a summarized TMIL, “this month I learned.”

Here are 5 things I learned last month!

1. The Konmari Method of folding clothes

Oh, the tidy trend. Tidy this, tidy that. Marie Kondo is hot right now.  Lucky me, I just moved, so I don’t have much life-changing tidying to do. However, I’ve started using the KonMari method of folding my clothes and let me tell you, it is actually kind life-changing and maybe even a little magical. It doesn’t take much longer than how I folded clothes before (once I got the hang of it), and now I can see everything in my drawers. It saves space and just is more practical than lying things horizontally like I used to. Not to mention it just looks lovely.

2. How to put on a duvet cover

So I got this awesome colorful duvet cover from Society6, right? And so I was excited to put it on my bed. Only problem? I’ve never had a duvet cover before! So I was unprepared for the drama that is putting on a cover on a duvet. I’m there thinking, “It’s just like a big pillowcase, no biggie!” Oh so very wrong.  I basically got caught up in a tornado of tangled fabric. It was a scene. I finally gave up and asked the YouTube gods for help. Of course they delivered this upbeat feel-good video showing me how to do it “the California roll way” (oh yeah). I still don’t fully understand how this got my cover on the duvet, but it did. Some kind of voodoo duvet magic.

3. How to use the MBTA commuter rail

The purple line. I had never used the MBTA commuter rail before last month. And so I did not know that the MBTA actually has an awesome app that lets you buy tickets in advance, and then instead of the conductor punching your ticket, you just show your phone. Futuristic and super handy. It’s definitely how I’ll be getting in and out of Boston from now on.

4. General Beatles discography

I’ll clarify. When it comes to The Beatles, I basically have only ever listened to compilation albums. Rubber Soul? Revolver? Nope, I’d never heard of them before this year. Of course I’d heard of Abbey Road, but I couldn’t have told you which popular songs were on it. Now I can, and I can also tell you that it was released before Let it Be but after Sgt. Pepper. Why does this matter? Maybe it doesn’t. It just feels like something I should probably know to be connected with, y’know, popular music history or something.

5. The best way to sew a throw pillow cover

Do I mean the only way to sew a throw pillow cover? I think maybe. After sewing some little curtains to transform my TV stand into a fancy junk-hider, I had some leftover fabric to sew a matching throw pillow. I googeled how to do it and found several videos on how to do it the “envelope” way. I got the general gist of it and whipped up a cover so fast, I was both amazed and appalled at how easy it was. I wanted to sew another one immediately, but alas, I had no spare pillow forms. But wait for the next good sale at Jo-Ann’s — watch out — my apartment might just start overflowing with pillows.


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