Friday, 26 June 2015

Moving house after almost 10yrs and decluttering like a maniac

It's been a while since my last post, to say the least. 3 years on and I have a new baby, 3 kids in total now. Break out the champagne/baby wipes.

And after 9 years in a 1 bedroom apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world, I now have to move. Which means that my rent will increase considerably.
*bites fingers
*tries to pretend this isn't happening.

So I'm making lists upon lists..... upon lists.
Lists of what to donate or sell. Lists of items that are essential vs items that I definitely will not use. I may need to put things into storage in my parents' garage for a time, so suddenly what I move needs to be worthy of prime real estate. If I haven't used it in the past two years (or more, in some cases), then what in the world is it doing in my kitchen?

I recently got rid of my juicer, for example.
Oh, you sold it? you ask.
Ok then, so you gave it away?
For some time my juicer parts had sat prettily in the third drawer in the kitchen, taking up valuable space but also seeming valuable. That juicer cost me $175, I would often hear my brain say. The base of the juicer though, the meat of it, you could say ironically, sat on the floor behind the kitchen door. Too big to fit in the cupboards, too big to sit behind the kitchen door too, really, but that was a place I kept it, under spare plastic bags and supermarket dreams. Amongst dreams of someday becoming healthy enough to use it all the time. And in hopes that I could be bothered cleaning it for a whole ten minutes and dealing with its huge parts scattered to dry on the kitchen bench because they just won't fit in the dish drainer (it was compact but apart it was huge).
So, to cut it short, i realised that roaches had been living in the underparts of the motor/base of the juicer. Like, lots of them. So many, in fact, that after banging the base on the floor a good ten times, roach poo was still quite happily and freely falling from it. Gah. I left it on the floor by the outside door for a good few days, then, realising that there wasn't a part if me that could deal with placing something roach or even once-roach infested onto my kitchen bench ever in my life, no matter how sure i was that there was no more poo left, it had to go. Into the bin where it sadly (and grossly) belonged.

So that is one less thing to move. But each time I place something into the bin my somewhat green brain says "off to the landfill.." and I cringe and feel guilty. Where does all our stuff go? We either have too much in our houses or we just keep piling it up in the dirt in the middle of yonder. I have a car boot full of bags to be donated. It has been full a few weeks but i keep forgetting to dump it. Every time i go near the charity bins here they are so dramatically full (bags literally spilling out of them and many items placed on the ground around them) that it depresses me to think that even we have too much charity to go around, meaning more stuff in our houses and then more stuff chucked in the normal bins.

But, the lists. I am enjoying the lists.
Lists of forms needed to be filled out for baby's life to officially (on paper, anyway) begin. Lists of processes to go through to get her passports and photos and identification. Lists of agencies to call regarding her tiny baby life. And now lists including "Find new place to live. Cry."

I don't want to move, but I am happy to have been forced into a new direction, who knows what will happen in the next year?

I will keep you updated, I suppose. I hope to! Maybe I will read this in 3 more years and realise my failure.

Sarah xx

Saturday, 24 March 2012

My favourite new book of lists

These days I'm really big on lists. I always have been, but now I feel like I'm really getting back into them -I've got daily to-do lists, weekly chore lists, and lifetime goal lists.

My mum always tells me how I was always scheduling my time as a young girl -I'd list the things I had to do each day and the time I'd do them. It just seemed fun to me, to write out what was to be done and to work my way through it all. When I got into highshool I loved my timetable -another list of places to be and things to do.

When I worked in an office organising overseas shipments of goods, lists were my best friend too. I was praised for my efficiency and for never forgetting anything -but it was all down to lists. Each day I would write out every single outstanding thing that needed to be written or done, and I'd work my way through it in priority order. I'd put a normal box to be ticked on most items and on the really urgent items I'd circle the tick box and add a star if it could not be forgotten for a second, so that every time I looked at the page on my desk the most important item would stand out. I'd never finish a whole page of items in a day, but I always had it in front of me, what needed to be done, and it gave me a clear picture of where I was headed. It also served to give me a great feeling of achievement and spur me on to the next task, as gradually more and more of the page would be ticked off and highlighted. -a friend at another job had taught me that, highlighting things as they were done. It was like giving myself a star and it made colours where achievements had been made.

Now, I love a to-do list for the housekeeping. I have a large, unlined book that I write everything in. Whether it's an address I need later in the week or a list of dusty places I need to clean (hi, under the fridge, I'm getting to you...), I have it all there. I'm going to keep the book afterwards too, to see what I've achieved this year. Perhaps the book will only last until June (it's almost halfway full already) but it'll be a nice little keepsake of this period of time as a mum and a housekeeper.

If I'm making a to-do list I might list places to be cleaned on one page, and errands on another. My errands always take longer to do anyway.... I might write 2 errands and not do them for a week or so. I have a daily to-do on the fridge that I use either for errands or food staples we need. Like "Milk" and "Send a card to Clare". That keeps it in my mind's eye every time I go into the kitchen. I check back and see what's in my notebook of listings when I am on the go. I might list that I have to wash up even though of course I will do that anyway, simply because the sense of achievement at seeing more things ticked off at the end of the day is well worth writing it. I also have things now like "Tidy kid's clothes" and "sort clothes for donation" -something in me recently cannot get enough of the decluttering bug. I want less, less, less!! That's good but sometimes I want to declutter things that I actually need!!

I've been sick the last week and so haven't been doing much in the way of decluttering or changing the house in any way. I'm still just sweeping all the time and moving miniscule particles of fluff out of my now crawling baby's reach -that's keeping me busy enough. I did make a few lists a couple of weeks ago but it killed me to see them untouched, no achievements made. I can't wait to get back to my little rabbit though -my book of lists!!! It's so tempting to look but I dare not til I have all my strength.

Do you use lists in your life?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sentimentality and clutter in the home

I've come to realise that I'm quite the sentimental cat lately. I peered at the cluttered-yet-organised line of things on my sideboard recently and realised that there was a theme: they were things all related to my family and/or childhood.

There was the boat my artistic brother created for my daughter out of a seed pod, a ship's sail from a pop-up book and the head of a character from Ice Age he'd found.

Next to that was a glass bird paperweight he'd once given to me.

Next to that was a little wind up clock from my late Aunt's bedroom.

Alongside that was an elephant moneybox my mum's friend had given to me, which made me remember that my late Aunt collected elephants.

Then there was a jar of buttons just like the one my Grandmother used to keep.

As well as these things, the sideboard was also covered in various glass arrangements with flowers, old cards from friends and a pile of books I am supposedly (but never really) getting through. As I tried to tidy up there I found it extremely difficult to move the things that held sentimental value, and even the few that triggered the memories of the people I love or have loved. It's a strange thing, sentimentality. It's like it pulls you apart inside, this need to keep the things that hold you to your past. Like the knitted leprechaun that I stash in my daughter's blanket drawers that belonged to the same late Aunt. I just can't part with it. I don't want to see it every day either, but I would feel a terrible feeling, perhaps betrayal or disrespect, if I ever chose to part with it. The dressing gowns I have from her as well, the long silky things that she wore year round as she was ill for much of her life, I keep for my own dear love. I think of her wearing them when I see them and it makes me smile to touch them again.

The elephant moneybox is the only sentimental item remaining on the sideboard now, but it seems lonely there. The boat has been put amongst my daughter's things. The clock and the jar of buttons have been put up in the bookshelf in the corner. But I feel myself about to put them back. They say not to keep too many sentimental things, too many cluttered memories, but I think the little things don't hurt. I have perhaps 15 items in my house that are especially sentimental, including jewellery, and when things are special to me I simply cannot part with them.

I will keep the memories as part of my decor, where appropriate, and am thinking of even getting shadowboxes to showcase the finer pieces. (I'll be sure to post pics if and when that happens, because, please note, i'm slow with craft..) I think as long as you don't have your Grandmother's entire wardrobe in a box or your late mother's china cat collection taking up a full wall of your loungeroom, the memories can't hurt.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Decluttering, 2 children and trying to stay organised.

So I just realised I haven't been on this blog for about 3 years.... um..... my excuses? I got divorced. I found love again. I've had another baby. Life got in the way and I really didn't have anything much to say about cleaning.

But it's still my obsession.

I've actually been keeping my house much cleaner and more organised than when I was married before. I've got a system happening now that I don't think I had before. My now husband isn't at all interested in the housework and I think that works for me best. I had someone else cooking and taking over my place before, but now the house stuff is all mine -and I'm loving it. The control freak in me relishes the daily washing up (that seems to never end) and I adore making the beds (yes, plural: now we have 3!!) and putting the washing away and planning meals for the family. I don't have anyone else getting in my hair about it all now and it's my little world, the cleaning, the organising, the tidying, the decisions of what will go where.

When I had my daughter 4 years ago, I was a little out of it, I think now. I thought I had it together but really I was lost. I didn't have a set role. My husband used to make food, buy us treats all the time, and the biggest treat -he used to leave his stuff EVERYWHERE. It grated my insides and it made me quietly crazy. This husband is perfect around the house. He's got his flaws (don't we all) but he doesn't make a mess (*I jump for joy). He doesn't try to touch all the things in the house and make it his own. He lets the house be mine, he leaves his shoes at the door and he sits quietly and watches his Turkish soap operas in silence. I bring food to him and he loves it. He lets me make my food!!! (my first husband only liked HIS food...)

Now, I have a routine in the morning. My second child, now almost 8 months old, has a bedtime and nap times and he eats on a schedule too. My first baby was demand fed until she was 18months old and it drove me crazy. I was worn out and drained. I felt like everything was up in the air. I had no control over anything. She slept in my bed and she was my every breath.

This baby is my every breath too, but I have space to breathe. He has his own cot, and has since day one. He knows he sleeps there, he likes it, and he knows I'm only across the room. But it makes all the difference. I have room to move in my bed!! I have time to myself -well, a little!

And I'm constantly decluttering now. We live in the same house (a 1 bedroom flat) but now there are 4 people. And it's the two little people who seem to have the most stuff. I'm constantly trying to get rid of toys, reorganise their clothes into the sizes that fit and find new ways to make things fit into less drawers and cupboards. Luckily our 1 and only bedroom is enormous -it comfortably fits a double bed, 2 cots and 3 different clothes cupboards. I'm so sick of having the playroom in the loungeroom though. If you offered me a house with a separate playroom in the middle of the desert today I'd probably take it, I'm that desperate to have a loungeroom that is simply that -a lounge, a television and a coffee table. Not a lounge, a television, a coffee table, a bookshelf, a children's table and chairs, an overflowing toy box, a spare dresser and a child's desk.

I'll post more soon on the specific routines that we have in place now, and on my recent declutterings and organisational solutions. It's nice to be back. I actually feel excited about blogging again. It's about time <3

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Clothes in the mornings

This is just going to be a quick post about household organisation. In particular, it's about getting dressed in the mornings.

When I was little, I think I was obsessive compulsive. I used to make my quilt flat with a ruler and none of my friends were allowed to sit on it. I also used to lay out my clothes each night for the next day, so they looked like a little person. I don't know what my mum thought of this, but if my daughter ever starts doing anything like it I'll tell her to relax.

So anyway, as I grew up I became much more relaxed about preparing for the next day, so much so that I never prepared clothes anymore. I'd simply have a shower and then go to my room and take clothes at random and throw them together. And I enjoyed thinking that I was being relaxed about it, as if I didn't care.

But last night as I was tidying up the house after my baby girl went to sleep, I got to the bedroom and thought to lay out my husband's clothes for the morning, so he wouldn't disturb the baby while he's rifling through his cupboard. Then, while I was at it, I thought I may as well lay my own clothes out too. I didn't think much of it, but I put a pale green t-shirt out with my pink and grey track pants. I knew we'd be staying around the house today, so those clothes are perfect.

This morning as I was on the way to the shower, I just leaned over and took the clothes from where they were laid, and I cannot even begin to tell you how relaxed I felt. Just that tiny bit of work that I'd done the night before really made me feel at ease. I felt that there was no rushed decision to be made, and no searching through the cupboards while I attempted to get shower before my baby awoke. I do have to rush my showers these days with a little one.

So that's what I'm going to do each night: put clothes out for all of us here. To make the mornings just that little bit easier.

Happy dressing :)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Oh my glove

Ok, so I had a heart attack this morning.... but in a good way.

I opened my brand new packet of Chux Extra Comfort Sensitive Skin gloves. The gloves I splashed out $4 for instead of the usual 97cent trash I buy.....

They're purple.

They fit my tiny hands perfectly.

The inside is thick and velvety and soft.

The grippy parts on the fingers and palms are swirly and cute.

There is a flower pattern and spots around the cuff.

I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love!

Why didn't I buy $4 gloves before??

I don't know if I want to use them to clean though... they're too good for cleaning!!

...Maybe I'll get another pair and keep these for "good", just for dusting :)

Sweep relief

Today I found a new form of therapy; I swept my side path, well, the path that leads down the side of the house to my front door.

I'd bought a new outdoor broom on the weekend. My husband commented to me that it was one that witches use. Well, it is, but I'm no witch.

I haven't ever swept my side path in the two or so years I've lived here. I know that might sound terrible but it's not near any overhanging trees and the tall fence beside it keeps a lot of the dirt out. There was quite a bit of fine sand in the end, but not as much as there could have been.

The neighbours, the people who live in the front of the house, had one of their old aunts over from the Phillippines last year and the year before and she spent her days outside, tidying the garden and sweeping with her handmade broom. She was very sweet and even used to hang my washing for me. I was very spoilt and never got into the habit of sweeping. Before this house I lived in an apartment and we had a maintenance man who took care of the gardens and paths there.

But I feel so proud now of sweeping my own path. It might not seem like much but when we walked down it this afternoon I felt fresher and it looked so tidy that I felt proud. It makes me want to keep all the rest of my house much tidier too... some days I'm a little lax.

I also love the motion of the sweep with this broom. It's not like using the inside broom where you just push, it's really a sweep, across the body. It's got to be good exercise. I'm going to try to sweep as often as I can. I'll leave the broom right there where I can't miss it so I can sweep at the drop of a hat, lol.

Do you like to sweep? Have you been avoiding it until now? Give it a go and let me know if it makes you feel better :)

Make your home a space that you'll enjoy being in