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

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