Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Around here

In my last post I mentioned that my sister was moving house and it feels so overwhelming with just how much stuff can be packed into our units or houses particularly when you live in the one place for a long time.  I'm always trying to declutter by selling items I don't need, throwing things out and donating things to charity. It's an ongoing process and each year you need to go back to the beginning. The linen cupboard had a big declutter about a year or more ago however I'm ready to tackle that again.  [I've added some photos from my last house move in 2011] and that was huge.

Packing up my sisters belongings has made me more motivated to go through everything in our house and I have way more stuff than she does.   The kids went through their rooms a couple of weeks ago and got rid of clothes that don't fit, and other things they no longer need.  I'm much better at letting things go now than I was 5 years ago and each year it seems to get easier but it's an ongoing process.



Some ants got into our pantry last week and found some sugary sprinkles and then the next minute they were all over the pantry.  I've sprayed and each day there were a few more ants and then I sprayed again.  On the weekend I'm pulling everything out again and reorganizing it and I've bought some new containers to store smaller items in the pantry.  I had some larger Sistema biscuit containers however they take up a lot of room and can be half empty so I need more smaller containers so I'm doing a big revamp.  These containers were half price at Woollies this week so I stocked up.  They aren't cheap but very functional.  Kmart has heaps of great pantry stuff as well so go check them out.  This 6 piece Tupperware look a like is only $12.

I was already motivated to declutter and then my friend told me about Maria Kondo a Japanese Consultant who has a TV show on Netflix.  I've seen her name mentioned 3-4 times in the last couple of days on the internet and Instagram and then my friend mentioned her as well so I checked her out.  She has written two books The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy.  I've heard of the first book over the past twelve months but it didn't sound interesting enough for me to look into it any further.  Yesterday I watched the first episode on Netflix of the Friend Family [Friend being their surname].  A typical family with 2 young kids and a husband that works long hours and a Mother who is exhausted.  It was amazing to watch and how their relationship changed over the month of the process and that everything has a place and stuff they no longer use or wear has gone to charity.  I then watched the 2nd show while I was cleaning out 3 of my kitchen cupboards.   Maria also has a special way to fold clothes  so you can see them in the drawer and they stand up by themselves.  This method looks great too.


She has a 5 step process which is different from tackling one room at a time which makes so much sense.  She does everything by category for the whole house as follow:-

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Paper
  4. Komono [miscellaneous}
  5. Mementos


I can highly recommend you watch this series.  Being the New Year it always feels good to start fresh and clearing your house of things that no longer bring you joy is what Maria Kondo is all about.

In Australia we have Peter Walsh who is a well known decluttering and organizing expert who has appeared on Oprah and The Living Room TV show on a Friday night. He has written several books as and the biggest thing he comes across when helping families declutter is important memories and treasures in the garage ie mementos.  It could be photos or a special item from their parents who have passed on and they can't part with it.  He says these things deserved to be treated with respect and on display in the house and not in a box in the garage.


So if you have some free time watch the first show of Maria Kondo on Netflix which runs for an hour you'll be up and motivated in no time. Can't wait to watch more.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Around Here

It's the last day of 2018 and another New Year is about to begin.  In 2017 I worked on my health by exercising and eating well and in 2018 I undid what I achieved as I just didn't have the right head space.  2019 my big focus will be to reset this and do it all over again to get my health in check.  I love chocolate and it's my go to for any occasion.  Bored, happy, sad, cranky, any occasion really, so I need to give up the store bought stuff and just make my own healthy version to have over the weekends and not every day.  On the 1st October 2017 I gave up diet coke for good and haven't had any since.  As I don't drink alcohol and drink lots of water during the day [I also gave up diet cordial at the beginning of 2017] so having a cold diet coke was something different for me and I loved it too.  On the weekends my daughter and I would walk to the shop and back to get the paper which took about 50 minutes so I'll have to get back to that as well.  We loved our girl time and getting out for our morning walk.

In 2019 I will be focusing on decluttering again and my garage is the biggest place I have to start.  Last week the kids did a spring clean in their rooms by washing their walls down with sugar soap, getting rid of clothes that don't fit and any toys or books they no longer want was donated to charity.  They also cleaned their blinds which were full of dust so that required sugar soap water as well.  They did this over a few days so 1-2 hours a day on a job and they got through it and listened to their favourite music while they worked.  They are both used to the 3 bucket system - sell, donate and throw away as we have been using this system for a few years now so they don't find decluttering difficult.  I get the final say on the buckets at the end to make sure what is getting thrown away is really for the bin.

My sister is moving house so I have spent three 8-10 hour days with her packing and decluttering and cracking the whip....the charity shops will be overflowing with what we donated.  Beautiful pottery and painted plates, bowls cups etc. that we loved years ago but now we just use white dinner ware etc. and they are too good to throw away so you hang onto them in the garage for years until the time comes like now ie a move that you really need to get serious.  Lots of stuff heading to the charity shop and a dump run and the rest is being moved.  Every time you move you under estimate how much stuff you have and how long it will take to pack everything so I was glad to help her out because when I moved 7.5 years ago she was there helping me.  Admittedly I had two small kids on my own and had to pack an entire 2 story house and a shed up however she has been in her unit for 8 years so has lots of stuff too.  

We had a lovely Christmas Day lunch with 12 people and we got the table tennis table out of the garage and put that in the back yard and also played bocce.  It's fun to have a few activities around when you have a lot of people.  The weather was lovely and not too hot like some Christmas Days. We had cold ham, prawns, Asian Noodle Salad and my Shell Pasta Salad [did anyone try the recipe for Christmas?]  My sister made Home plum pudding and custard and our Christmas Slices that myself and 2 of my sisters make each year.  I got a JBL portable speaker so we had that in the backyard playing Christmas music and everyone left about 6.30 pm. I packed up the extra camping tables, put the linen table cloths in the laundry, put the extended table back to normal, vacuumed and put the dishwasher on and was in bed by 7.30 pm watching TV after a long day.

So for 2019 my focus will be eating better and getting back to a healthy weight and decluttering the house.  The way I like to think about decluttering is to pretend I'm moving house....would I want to pack this and cart it to a new house.  How can I downsize my belonging.  If it takes me one year to do this, then one day [when I win lotto and move to acreage] packing will be easier.  Moving house is stressful and decluttering and packing takes a long time.  It's better to get stuff out of your house now when there is time and no pressure so that one day in the the event of a move....it's easier.  Besides that I know we have too much stuff and things we don't use or need.  About 3 years ago I sold heaps of stuff on FB buy and sell and it was running hot and I paid lots of my bills with the money.  These days it's a little harder to sell stuff since everything is so much cheaper with places like Kmart where you can buy a beautiful new cushion for $8 vs my $39 cushions from Myers.  The more you can get rid of stuff the better you feel.  Doing it when you have time is really the best time.

Here's some recent photos for you to enjoy.  Happy New Year to you and your families and thank you for popping in and reading my blog posts and leaving your lovely comments.  See you next year.














Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Around Here

It's the last week of the school year and Christmas is just around the corner.  Our Christmas Tree and decorations are up and the Christmas music is on.  We went away for the weekend to Black Wattle Farm on the Sunshine Coast and stayed in their newest B&B accommodation a tiny house.  Last year Sienna and I watched every tiny house show on tv and loved the show and how inventive they were with the designs in such a tiny space.  When I saw Black Wattle farm had added a tiny house to their B&B accommodation we were very excited to stay in it ourselves.  Last July we stayed at Black Wattle Farm in the Rainforest Retreat for 2 nights which was great and we loved feeding the animals each afternoon.  Here's some pics from our lovely weekend.




















Monday, December 3, 2018

Christmas Traditions

A number of years ago I used to participate in a photo project called "December Daily" by Ali Edwards where you document a story a day for the month of December leading up to Christmas Day.  I loved doing this project and taking photos of our Christmas activities we did like making Christmas pom poms, baking gingerbread men, seeing the Christmas Lights, writing out Christmas Cards to name a few things.

Back then we were at a private school so the kids finished about the 3rd of December so we had four weeks of holidays at home for this lovely Christmas project.  It was such a beautiful time and I really miss the four weeks of our Christmas activities.  The kids aren't at a private school now so they finish mid December so they are in school up until 2 weeks before Christmas and also the kids now spend one week with me and one week with the ex so there aren't a lot of days at home with the kids leading up to Christmas.  I'm so thankful I had these days with them when they were small and Christmas was so magical for us.  I haven't done a December Daily in over 4 years so and I really miss it so I thought I would go through my earlier projects and post a few photos from 2011.  So thankful I can look back at these cherished Christmas activities with my kids as they mean everything to me.  Here's a trip down memory lane to December 2011.  I hope you enjoy seeing these photos.

Putting up the Christmas Tree with my sister - our family tradition.

Our favourite Christmas Lights complete with snow machine and sausage sizzle.

The Myer Christmas CD I used to purchase every year.

Sienna playing some tunes on her piano.

James playing some Christmas tunes on the piano.

Our Christmas decor around the house.

Making Christmas Yoghurt Reindeer ice blocks.

We love making these every year. Vanilla Yoghurt, berries and icing sugar.

Holiday play dates.

The story of the Candy Cane which I found very interesting.

Christmas time means Summer Holidays and day trips to the beach.

 Visit to Santa in the Shopping Centre.

Visiting the Christmas Lights at night.
 Visiting more Christmas lights.

Myer Christmas activities.

Christmas time in the city.

Christmas time in the city.

 Christmas in King George Square.

Wrapping the Christmas presents. 

Baking Gingerbread men.

Our Christmas Books.



This was a fun activity for them to dress each other up like a Christmas Tree.

This was so much fun.

Christmas fun and lights.

This is us 2011.

Christmas portraits.

Candy Canes.

Christmas morning.