Saturday, February 20, 2010

I love my man!

I love my husband!

Not only did he take me to ikea to get the last few things I needed to finish my kitchen ...

But he then bought me the bulk of the things I wanted to organise our office area (which is in our garage)!

What a man!

My dream is to have a long enough desk for my computer, and study, and for miss e to work beside me. I think it might just happen.

And future plans are afoot for a craft desk for Miss E for her birthday ... and a sewing spot for me!

Stay tuned! It's going to be fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Would you eat it Wednesday?

This was originally going to be Feral food Friday. But my mum reminded me my bin is emptied Thursday which would mean rotting food in my bin for a whole week! And since mum wisdom is as good in my books as gran wisdom - I thought I better look for a new day!

Would you eat it Wednesday? When was the last time you checked your fridge? Take a moment. Throw the feral foods. Move the leftovers you need to eat soon to the front of the shelf. Give your fridge a wipedown and tidy your pantry quickly.

And make a shopping list while you are there!

Learning by taking risks

I was talking this afternoon to Miss E's prep teacher.

We are blessed with the sort of teacher that you dream of getting for your child. She is well read. She is enthusiastic. She is talented. She acts crazy at times.

Her goal for prep is to get our children to be confident in themselves, love school and learn to love to learn. That's it.

That said - I know the curriculum has been expanded well beyond the "normal" prep curriculum, and I love that too.

Today we were talking. We were talking about my girl. And the perfectionist in her. For example, every day in class they do "cross pattern walking" and other activites. These are specially designed to get the left and right side of the brain to cross over (or something like that anyway)

To begin with Miss E didn't want to do it, because she didn't know how. Then she tried it but gave up, because she didn't do it right. She told me she couldn't do it. She told me the teachers said she was doing it wrong. (um - don't think so honey - they were just helping - but you are so like me and I probably would have said that too)

The perfectionist in her stops my girl trying new things. If she can't do it already, or is worried she will fail, she just refuses to try.

And so our conversation went. Till I mentioned this perfectionism. And the teacher said "we have to knock that out of her". And I agreed.

And here is where the lesson lies. She said "the way we teach children nowdays, and how we get them to learn, is we need them to take risks. They have to try things. And fail. And in doing so they stretch themselves beyond what they thought they could do."

And I've thought about that all night. What do you not do, because you might fail. Is your house untidy, because "I'm just too busy. I don't have time". And because you worry you might start and be right back where you started.

Is there something you always wanted to do, but were too scared to try.

We need to take risks. That is how we learn. We might not always succeed. But if we try with all our heart there is a lesson, even in the failing.

What risk can you take this week?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Choices ...

I'm leaning to this ...


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Keep it or dump it? - an update on how Spring Clean all Round is working for us.

Now that some of my systems and ideas are starting to become habit, and we have been living with some of the changes for a little while, I intend to review some of my older posts to let you know what has been working, what we are changing, and what has gone by the wayside.

A month ago I reviewed "Spring Clean all Year Round", a sweet little cleaning system that helps you spread out those ongoing cleaning tasks throughout the year.

I'll be honest - I didn't use it while we were renovating. It was enough for me to cope with keeping things generally tidy. Any more was beyond my reach.

But now things are becoming *somewhat* normal again I am loving using this.

It sits in a corner of my kitchen.
Each night I lay out the cards that are set aside for the following day, and discuss with Paul any tasks I need his help on, or would like Miss E to do.

As I complete each task I refile them vertically in the next spot they will be done. This is so I can pull them out if I need to refer back to them the same day.

At night I file them horizontally, and pull out the next day's tasks. Easy.

I like this system as I am reviewing the day before what needs to be done, and Paul and Eliana are clear on what I need them to do for me.

My next task is to make a few extra cards for tasks that are not in there, but I would like added to the system. This way it will evolve with our families needs.

Definately a keeper! Cute and functional. Perfect for me!

Today's decluttering challenge - the front entry area

Today's challenge for me was our front outdoor entrance to our home.

Weeks of demolishing and building had taken it's toll. That - and cleaning it up seemed just so overwhelming.

Most of the big stuff had gone - but there were still plenty of piles to remind me of the renos ...

like this one here ...

Today is stinking hot and muggy - so maybe not the best time to do it, but I was sick of all the muck being tracked into our home.

So - like everything ... 15 min at a time ...

And things are not perfect - but they sure are a lot more peaceful now!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear Dad

(and Kelly- for some reason whenever I see the top of my messy fridge I think of you and feel guilty.)

This is for you!

My fridge. Top cleared. Cleaned and scrubbed.

Isn't it pretty!

Bathroom organisation - when you hardly have any room

My bathroom is tiny. And ugly. And old. You never see pics of it! There is a reason!

Paul and I are thinking of renovations later in the year - but we need to get the kitchen done, then the office first I think

One thing that DOES work in our bathroom is this. As there is pretty much no storage I use a shoe organiser on the back of the door. Each pocket has a purpose (eg hair clips, make up, thermometer, etc.

It is easy to use. You can see what is there at a glance and it stores a heap. But it also puts limits too -if the pocket is full then you need to rethink what you are storing.

Maybe not the most elegant solution, but it works for me.


Why did no one tell me about this???

I just spent half an hour cleaning the outside of my 11 year old fridge with this ...
It took time ... but boy it got a good result!

My fridge almost looks white again!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why Ikea?

I've been asked a few times - why Ikea for our kitchen?

I thought I'd blog just a little tonight about our experiences.

For us it was a combination of quality, price, and function.

#1 - We loved the options Ikea gave us. Not only in the cupboards and veneers, but in the little storage ideas and solutions that make Ikea unique. I wanted a really functional kitchen. Ikea could help us achieve that.

#2 - The quality. Compared to other kitchens in the price range we were looking at, Ikea was much better quality. It was the little things that mattered - things like dampeners on the drawers so they can't be slammed. I was very happy with the quality.

#3 - The Ikea Kitchen planner software. Once I figured this out, this was key to getting what I wanted. It let me play and change things. And I didn't feel so overwhelmed.

#4 - My Father in Law is a builder. This meant I could relax in knowing that any little problems we came into with installation would be fixed well.

#5 - The ability to upgrade components that mattered. Things like the pull out shelves for the pantry. And the ability to pay extra for the custom made bench tops. I believe you need to buy decent benches - they are the workhorse of your kitchen.

#6 - The price. Our cupboard veneer was discontinued. This meant we got these at 65% off retail. Which meant I could put more money into things like the cupboard upgrades that I wanted. And price DOES matter.

Overall, I am very very very happy. A few things were a problem, like a dented sink and living so far away. But to be fair, once we made them aware of the problem Ikea were EXCELLENT and compensated us for our time.

Would I do it without Gene (the Father in law builder) - probably not. Although I do think we *could* do it. But it would take a lot more time. And a lot of googling and youtubing to work things out. And probably hiring a handy man to help with some bits. And no one could do a job as good as Gene.

Would I go ikea again? I guess that depends how it wears. SO far, that is a yes. Time will tell...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Progress!

I think all we have to do now is paint the walls - and get the flooring done.

Walls are scheduled for Tuesday ... Flooring quote is organised for then too ...

In the meantime ...

We have HANDLES (thanks dad! Love you!)


(did I tell you my mum is amazing? She is an inspiration to me!)

Oh how I wish I could get you all here to see my feature tiles in person! They are black glass - but when the light hits them this amazing grey/silver detail shows. I LOVE them!

15 minute house rescue - UPDATE!

What I achieved

Family Room
- rubbish gone
- folding done
- toys, glasses etc all returned to right rooms
- one load washing put away
- tv cabinet tidied
- vaccuuming done
- magazines thrown away
- load laundry put on

*still to do - ironing*

Main Bedroom
-Bed tidied (was made - just tidied)
-bedside table cleared of books
-dirty laundry taken to clothes basket
-clean laundry put away
-Miss E's books returned to her room
-beads put away
-space made for my project life kit to live
*still to do - Paul to tidy his bedside table, old chest of drawers to be taken to shed*

Miss E's Room


-bed made
-toys picked up
-library books out to return
-toy unit tidied
-toys in cupboard tidied
-3 toys removed for donation
-washing put away
-winter clothes sorted and clothes removed for donation
-vacuuming done

* clean back of door storage pockets and reorganise (pics to come)
* clear basin of clutter
* new towels
* wipe and clean basin and mirror
* empty bath of toys - declutter bath toys

* change sheets on spare bed
* load of laundry
*** to do - clean shower and bathtub**

More to come later!

Today my house is out of control ...

Today I am doing a 15 minute house rescue!

15 minutes in each room. Goal is to recover each room as best I can in that time.

Anyone want to join me? I'll report how I went in two and a bit hours!

Monday, February 8, 2010

For those who wanted more of the kitchen ...

(and that means you Kelly!)

The ceiling is painted ...

The cornices are painted ...

and the tiling has begun ...

Have I told you before just how much I love my mum?

Pantry storage

I love my pantry!

One thing I insisted on when we were choosing our cupboards was this pantry.

What I love about it is, although it is only 600mm wide, the shelves come completely out - they pull out like drawers.

What this means is I can use every little bit of shelf space, and easily access every single item.

In this pantry, I can easily store all the food we stored in our large corner pantry, but instead of losing things in the depth of the cupboard we can see everything on each shelf at a glance.

Very happy!

(oh - and as you can see - I also like tupperware modular mates! They work well for me!)

Pop-up laundry baskets - my favourite decluttering tool

The only way to organise clutter is to get rid of it.

These are my favourite tool to do that.

I was using garbage bags, but they tore, fell over, and basically annoyed me.
Plus they are B.A.D. for the environment.

These are a great solution. Pop up laundry baskets. They are light. They fold down to nothing to store easily. Plus - you can play Australia's national sport, and take potshots at the bin for a bit more entertainment.

The ones I use are from flylady. But you can get cheap pop up laundry baskets at your nearest "$2 shop", or in the laundry or toy departments of big W, Kmart etc.

Makes organising SO MUCH easier!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Iron and ironing board storage ...

Just a simple tip for me.

Dragging our iron and ironing board out of the cupboard was a PAIN.

So we didn't. And it lived in our living room.

$10.95 and a trip to Howard's Storage World and my problems are solved.

This hanging device "thing" screwed to the outside of a cupboard in our laundry. Now it is so easy to put away - and I don't need to worry about what I am knocking inside our cupboard. So we USE it!

I've seen them at hardware stores, big w etc too.

Moral of the story ... if it doesn't work or is too hard LOOK for another SOLUTION!
There is always one there!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Does this count as decluttering?

One car load of cardboard, old kitchen and building scraps left over from our kitchen renovation.

Aaaahhh! I can breathe better already!

Feral Food Friday! (OK - I know it is Sunday!)

OK - I know it's Sunday - but I was away till just now ...

How's your fridge? Anything growing?

Anything being ignored ready to move forward so you EAT it????

Just a reminder!

I came home to a fruit bowl that had seen better days. Not what I wanted to see - but it's ggone now. Next step is to use the fruit up before it gets to that stage!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Things I love - Tefal toast n egg

I needed a new toaster.

I splurged and bought this.

(after reading a LOT of reviews)

I. Love. It.

I can poach an egg and toast a muffin with no mess, little cleanup and go about other things while I am waiting.

In the time my egg is cooking I can have lunches done. Or the fridge cleaned of feral foods. Or get ready for work if I am late.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Begin again ... and again ...

You know that song?

The one that the moment someone starts singing it you will not get it out of your brain all day?

The one that burns itself on your brain? And drives you slightly insane?

You know -
This is a song that never ends ...
It goes on and on my friend ....

Well - I've come to realise - that this is sort of what our decluttering journey is like. There is no end. It does go on and on. I just hope it's not quite as irritating as that song. There will always be a need to keep going. Maybe not as intensely - but
we will outgrow things
our children will change
things wear out
things break down
our interests change
we get tired and don't keep our systems up as well as we should ...

and sometimes we see a better way.

Case in point. Remember that little nook in my garage that I so nicely organised my Christmas decorations and party supplies into?

This one here?

Well - after our kitchen renovations and all the stuff stored in our garage it kinda looked like this.

and if you removed that shopping trolley from the front that is blocking the view it was kinda like this

all those things i had to move in a hurry because *someone* wanted that space now!

Part of the clutter was my basket of fabrics. I will deal with that later. That cupboard needs cleaning first.

and now - after 20 min - it looks like this!

Much nicer!

Top shelf is our luggage. Then three shelves of containers that had previously "organised" our clutter.

Just goes to prove it again. You cannot organise clutter.

Once everything is done and I know I can't use these elsewhere I will freecycle them. But for now they stay

Uncluttering my handbag has it's own payoff!

Besides receipts, junk mail etc ...

I found money!

Makes it all worth it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Things I like! Bless the man (or woman) who invented these!

I don't know if this happens in your house, but it sure does in mine.

You have dinner/lunch/snack whatever.

You have leftovers.

You store them nicely in your fridge with the full intention that one day soon .. you will eat them.

Life goes on. One day runs into the next. Then you can't remember what day you opened it and if it is still safe to eat.

Enter the daysago digital day counter.

The come in either magnetic, suction cap or with a band attached to wrap around products.

Take counter.
Set it.

Attach to leftovers.

And the counter counts UP, telling you how many days ago you opened suspect food item.

Love it!

It suits the nerd in me, the gadget freak, and the woman who hates leftovers festering in her fridge!

I got mine from

Service was fast and prompt.