What’s in your cupboard? (My Kitchen Inventory)

Galley kitchen in a loft apartment

By a tiny majority, inventory posts were the ‘winner’ category in my recent poll (not too late if you haven’t completed it!).  Lucky, cause you’re about to get a whole week of them!  Get excited.  See what’s in those cupboards and drawers…  And feel free to ask where something is, or why something is where it is!

One day, I’ll publish my house’s inventory. But it would be one L-O-N-G post, and so I’ve broken it down, and I’ll share snippets over time. Then, in the end, you’ll have the whole picture.

Today, let’s look inside my kitchen cupboards – scroll to the bottom if you want to orient yourself with my kitchen in a photo, but you could just let me draw a little sketch for you:

Galley kitchen in a loft apartment
Sketch of the kitchen, with today’s cupboards shaded

The reason there aren’t more cupboard to the right is due to the kitchen and cabinetry being built into/under the stairs. It’s an effective use of otherwise dead space!

First, I’ll be showing you the two stacked cupboard to the right of the fridges.  The first selection of pictures are for a set of two cupboards, with two shelves in each.  The top shelf houses the microwave, then under it is baking tins.  In the second cupboard is saucepans on top, and miscellaneous on the bottom.

Microwave, with baking dishes underneath
Microwave, with baking dishes underneath

Bottom shelf / upper cupboard:

10 items

IN the baking cupboard, there is: 2 cookie sheets, a dozen patty cakes pan, a brownie pan, a square cake tin, and smaller round cake tin, a loaf tin, a small 'cookie sheet' (for nuts etc), two lidded Pyrex dishes
IN the baking cupboard, there is: 2 cookie sheets, a dozen patty cakes pan, a brownie pan, a square cake tin, and smaller round cake tin, a loaf tin, a small ‘cookie sheet’ (for nuts etc), two lidded Pyrex dishes

Top shelf of lower cupboard:

6 items – see this post for the bigger frying pan’s lid

Saucepan cupboard - not how I usually store things, but so you can see everything
Saucepan cupboard – not how I usually store things, but so you can see everything
Really how I stack them, cause this suits the use more (the little flying pan and lid are not 'hiding')
Really how I stack them, cause this suits the use more (the little flying pan and lid are ‘hiding’)

Bottom shelf of lower cupboard:

4 items

Cupboard below the pots and pans - colander and bowl, ceramic jug, pyrex jug mainly for stock), seldom used pie dish
Cupboard below the pots and pans – colander and bowl, ceramic jug, pyrex jug (mainly for stock), seldom used pie dish

Thin edge of the wedge cupboard (Catch all!)

The cupboard under the ‘thin edge’ of the wedge under the stairs is a little multipurpose. It holds my wired appliances with lower rotations, such as

  • the food processor,
  • the hand food processor/whizz stick and
  • the blender

Of those three items, two were 100% free from freecycle – I’m sort of proud of that! I also store my grandma’s old china – not for sentimental reasons, but for big parties etc. I’d prefer stockpile china than use single use.

I also store ‘excess’ bathroom products such as hand wash, perfume & facewash (the last two were gifts). The cardboard box holds all my plastic tupperware (mainly former yoghurt pots and take away containers). Whilst I’m mostly anti plastic, it can be useful to ‘gift’ things in reused plastics. It’s also good for small quantities of leftovers.

A overview of 'everything else' cupboard under the stairs
A overview of ‘everything else’ cupboard under the stairs

Let me break that down some more with some snapshots of ‘areas’:

Top Shelf:

OK I give up counting here, where I get to the catch all!

The food processor is out so you can see to the back.  There's the excess toliteries to the left, and then some serving platters under the food processor attachements
The food processor is out so you can see to the back. There’s the excess toliteries to the left, and then some serving platters under the food processor attachements
The blender jug is also out for simplicity - but there's some excess beer (for guests) and the blender's base.
The blender jug is also out for simplicity – but there’s some excess beer (for guests) and the blender’s base.

26 ceramic plates
5 stick blender attachments
3 items to the blender

Stick blender storage
Party plates, and the newest addition, the stick blender (with all the attachments, which I didn’t need… :()
Cheap tupperware storage solution
Reusing a paper box makes for a ‘pull out drawer’ to store my plastic containers. Mainly reusing store bought goods containers, which are great if you can’t ‘bring’ something home with you. Oh and my mandolin slicer (I’m lazy!)

Where, you ask, are all the eating things? Bowls? Well, they are all on my open shelves, which are pretty self explanatory:

(73 items on shelves, not incl pen jar 7 contents.  7 items in hanging rail)

Everything within arm's reach and in regular use here
Everything within arm’s reach and in regular use here

If I was more minimal, I’d not have a mandolin slicer. Or a blender + food processor + stick blender. And I’d probably just not entertain and do away with additional plates. And beer, well I don’t need it, so it shan’t cross the threshold. But compromising is part of life.  And I like how the ‘tools’ make things easier than doing it by hand – I seriously get a sore wrist from grating and I can’t imagine slicing as finely as the mandolin, even after my knife skills course!

Is this a lot of stuff, or a little?  What can’t you imagine doing without, and what would you toss if you took over my kitchen?

What’s in the bag? (Handbag contents inventory)

I usuall carry a pretty large handbag, cause it fits my work files in it nicely. However, in my opinion, there’s not all that much IN the bag otherwise, and I can easily down size most of it for a night out and a smaller handbag. Here’s everything laid out:

Handbag contents
Handbag contents

Let’s look a little closer at ‘the bag of everything’

Plastic holder's contents
Plastic holder’s contents

And it all laid out in the open:

Everything out in the open
Everything out in the open

What I like about this collection is that I feel ‘confident’ I have ‘everything I need’. I can do my face up no matter where I am (cause I don’t wear make up at work, being that I’m in muddy holes and the like). I also keep some loose tissues and a pair of earplugs in a side pocket, should I find myself needing to sleep away from my stash at home. Two phones are sort of a requirement that I like, because smart phones die. Thankfully having the charger in the bag nowdays saves BIG dramas. And where would I be without my moleskin list book? Many a blog post idea (and work to do list) end up in that lovely book of cubed paper. Swoon.

How does your handbag compare?

Check out MOchimac’s at her blog, Save Spend Splurge

How’s it hanging? (Art inventory)

As part of my house inventory, I have decided to document all the art that hangs in my house. All of it provides great memories of my travels. Some of it, you may have seen snippets of in other posts, but the best place to see where they live in my house would be to look at my House Tour

Bedroom:

Cuban lady beside wardrobe
Cuban lady beside wardrobe
Eiffel tower near wardrobes (I took that photo!)
Eiffel tower near wardrobes (I took that photo!)
Christmas gift from a friend in Heidelberg
Christmas gift from a friend in Heidelberg
Orchid water colour from Thailand - one of my first art aquisitions
Orchid water colour from Thailand – one of my first art acquisitions (horrible photo I’m sorry)
Two water colours of the most memorable parts of Rennes, Brittany, where I live in 2006
Two water colours of the most memorable parts of Rennes, Brittany, where I live in 2006
Three views of Rome from a trip in 2006
Three views of Rome from a trip in 2006
Cuban water colour car from my trip in 2010
Cuban water colour car from my trip in 2010

Living Room:

This scarf was a gift on my graduation, but I was never wearing them, so I decided to frame it (at GREAT cost), but I love it, and it works so well in my living room.
This scarf was a gift on my graduation, but I was never wearing them, so I decided to frame it (at GREAT cost), but I love it, and it works so well in my living room.

Hallway:

Cuban photos - these I purchased, but they hang on the other 'little wall' in the hallway
Cuban photos – these I purchased, but they hang on the other ‘little wall’ in the hallway
My souvenir purchase from Morocco last year
My souvenir purchase from Morocco last year
Dumpster find!  Yes, that's two Eiffel towers in my house.  This is at my entrance
Dumpster find! Yes, that’s two Eiffel towers in my house. This is at my entrance
THese photos were taken by yours truly when I lived in France in 2006 - with real black and white film - back when cameras had film and all!
THese photos were taken by yours truly when I lived in France in 2006 – with real black and white film – back when cameras had film and all!

Kitchen:

This artwork comes from Vanuatu, my parents bought it and when I moved out, my mother suggested it would suit my home.
This artwork comes from Vanuatu, my parents bought it and when I moved out, my mother suggested it would suit my home.

Pantry inventory

When I say pantry, I do extend it to my fridge where I store condiments.  I won’t be listing the stuff that rotates through regularly.  Generally speaking, I keep a bare fridge, but a stocked pantry, with a varying level of stuff in the freezer (often leftover meals, and sometimes prepared vegies or similar).

Grains - the carbs bases of meals
Grains – the carbs bases of meals

Grains
Aborio rice
Brown rice
Polenta
GF macaroni
GF spaghetti
Udon noodles
Mung beans
Brown lentils
Quinoa
Lasagne sheets
Felafel ‘kit’
Oats

Everything to make a cake, and then some!
Everything to make a cake, and then some!

Baking
GF Self raising flour
Self rasiing flour
GF plain flour
Plain flour
Cornflour
Buckewheat flour
brown rice flour
Chickpea flour
Dry yeast
Bi carb soda
Baking powder
Cocoa

Baking add ons (in the teal tray to right of the photo above)
Vanilla essence
Gelatin
Sultanas
Peanuts – whole
Peanuts – chopped
Pistachios
Sunflower kernels
Almond meal

“Sugars” see photos below, above herbs/spices
Brown sugar
Caster sugar
Icing sugar (powdered sugar)
Palm sugar (cubes)
Glucose syrup
Maple syrup
Goldern syrup
Honey

Canned supplies, with over height sauce bottles
Canned supplies, with over height sauce bottles

Canned supplies
1 x black beans
2 x cannelini beans
2 x coconut cream
1 x coconut milk
2 x anchovy tins
1 x tuna (HUGE)
2 x mussamun curry paste
1 x caramelised onions (such a cop out, but a great thing to have on hand!)
2 x tinned tomatos
1 x tomato paste
1 x thickened cream UHT carton (small)

Spices to the right and 'sugar' liquids on the other side
Spices to the right and ‘sugar’ liquids on the other side

Herbs/spices
Dukkah
Beef stock cubes
Taco spice sachet (another cop out!)
Ground gloves jar
Mixed herbs
Bay leaves

Spice rack with 3M hooks
Spice rack with 3M hooks

Spice ‘wall’
Cardamon pods
Cardamon ground
Chili ground
Chili flakes
Chinese 5 spice
Cinnamon quills
Cinnamon ground
Coriander ground
Cumin ground
Curry powder
Ginger ground
Mustard seeds – brown
Mixed spice
Paprika – sweet
Rosemary
Sesame seeds
Star anise
Tumeric
Vanilla beans

Sauces and oils - which are at arms reach, being above the stove
Sauces and oils – which are at arms reach, being above the stove

Liquid condiments – oils, sauces etc
Olive oil
Canola oil spray
Sesame oil
Peanut oil
Grapeseed oil
Mirin
Rice wine
Red wine cask
White wine cask
Rice wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar
White vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Tomato sauce – never eat this, but guests you know
BBQ sauce – as above
Sweet chili sauce
Kecap Manis (Sweet soy sauce)
Soy sauce
Fish sauce
Rose water

Fridge condiments/sauces
Vegemite
Speculoos paste (smashed up biscuits you get with coffee in Europe)
Crushed garlic – cause sometimes I just can’t be bothered!
Lime juice – laziness again!
Vegie stock
Seeded mustard
Dijon mustard
Ikea mustard/sauce thing
Capers
Olives – currently black AND green!
Gherkins
Parsley (in a tube)
Miso paste
Red curry paste
Shrimp paste
Tamarind paste
Kaffir lime leaves
Tomato paste squeezy (beats the one I have stored in the cupbaord!)

Freezer
Tasty cheese grated
Parmasen cheese
Frozen raspberries
Puff pastry
Shortcrust pastry
Fresh kaffir lime leaves

Overall, I’m pretty content that there’s so few gluten-y items hiding in there, as I’m not really strict on trying to be gluten free.  My philosophy is largely not to have temptations at home.

Clothing Inventory

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There is something very very wrong with me, that I get excited about doing a clothing inventory! It was wonderful!  I was inspired by other bloggers and their recent posts: Dar at An Exacting Life with her Year-Long Wardrobe Project Complete! and Kim at Extra Organised planning her inventory, with a nod to her ‘number’ with her Life, Unplugged post

The inventory thankfully dovetailed nicely with my summer to winter transition, but being Australia there’s a lot of ‘all year round’ stuff – like singlets that layer under longer sleeves.  And jeans.  Without further ado…. (drum roll please!)

[Oh with respect to my photos.  They are horrible! No one will be asking me how to take such nasty photos, not ever.  Be nice, I live in a cave.  And it’s approaching winter here.  And the sun only really shines for 2 hours in my apartment, and both those hours I’m at work.  So… they’re my excuses!]

On the wall - scarves, jackets etc.  To the right, all my shoes (save a few pairs that are out of season and in storage in my wardrobe)
To the left – socks and hosiery are in the second drawer, gloves in the top draw, handbags in the right upper cupboard
On the wall – scarves, jackets etc.
To the right, all my shoes (save a few pairs that are out of season and in storage in my wardrobe)

Accessories, shoes & outwear = 64
Shoes: 20          (includes slippers, boots, thongs) see the complete inventory here
Hand bags: 7    (1 formal clutch, 3 Longchamp pliages, 1 ‘satchel’ style, 1 teal suede bag, 1 unused oversized tote)
Hats: 4               (cap, and 3 hats bought in anticipation for my head shave!)
Belts: 7              (cause I’m lazy and like to leave them in my pants/shorts etc!)
Scarves: 11
Coats: 4              (1 wool, 1 trench, 2 cheapies (grey, black))
Jackets: 9
Gloves: 2           (long leather & possum wool)

Summer folded wardrobe
Summer folded wardrobe (see detailed explanations of what’s what in the following photos)

Intimates = 147
Knickers: 45+       (you should see my list – the high number is due to YEARS of undie shortages through the boarding school wash system. From scarcity to hoarding! The plus accounts for some that are in the continental drift 😉 )
Bras: 14
Sports Bras: 4
Socks: 30               (9 pairs unopened, for future ‘circulation’)
Hosiery: 9             (5 pairs of stay ups, 3 pairs of footless tights, 1 pair of true tights)
House dresses: 9
Bed wear: 6
Winter house clothes: 5
Dressing gowns: 2 (winter, sexy ;))
Work out pants: 10 (includes all leggings, even if I wear them in normal circulation)
Work out tops: 9
Casual swimsuits: 2
Sport swimsuits: 2 (for playing water polo)

Wardrobe hanging section: Right to left: work shirts, work skirts, uniform, casual shirts, dresses, work pants, jackets, formal dresses
Wardrobe hanging section:
Right to left: work shirts, work skirts, uniform, casual shirts, dresses, work pants, jackets, formal dresses

Dresses = 16 (2 formal +2 piece outfit, 12 less formal)

Summer wardrobe top shelves: Top left - winter house clothes. Bottom left -  singlets, middle- short sleeved tops, right - skirts and shorts
Summer wardrobe top shelves:
Top left – winter house clothes.
Bottom left – singlets, middle- short sleeved tops, right – skirts and shorts

Bottoms = 38
Shorts: 3                         (denim, white, navy)
Skirts: 9                          (2 x demin – light and dark, 3 x striped – lime/white, black/white, pink/white, 1 x floor length casual, 3 x ‘going out’)
Pants: 4                           (white linen, 2 x beige, white dressy)
Jeans: 5                           (incl 1 pair of cords)
Work pants: 5
Work skirts: 8                (almost ALL the same style in different colours/fabric + 2 more casual/church appropriate styles)
Uniform work pants: 4

Wardrobe middle shelves: Top left - summer cardigans, middle - 3/4 length tops, right - long sleeved tops. Bottom left - jeans, right - going out skirts
Wardrobe middle shelves:
Top left – summer cardigans, middle – 3/4 length tops, right – long sleeved tops. Bottom left – jeans, right – going out skirts

Tops = 78
Singlets: 14                                     (aka tank tops or camisoles)
Short sleeved: 7
3/4 sleeved: 12                               (3 x geometric print, 2 x navy, 1 x teal etc – more variety in this category)
Long: 13                                            (2 x black, 1 x white, 6 x striped, etc – they go under ever thing in winter)
Cardigans/summer jumpers: 5
Dressy: 4
Work tops: 5                                    (button up ‘blouses’)
Thin winter jumpers: 6               (wool or cashmere)
Thick cardigans: 3
Uniform work shirts: 6
Waterpolo shirts :3

Winter folded wardrobe
Winter folded wardrobe:
Second shelf sees thin winter jumpers added to summer thin jumpers, more long sleeved tops to the right
Third shelf sees the addition of some thicker work out legging and cords
Fourth shelf adds thick cardigans, swapping out for summer dresses
Floor: Winter shoes still not on the shoe rack, and additional singlets (new)

Excluded:
Work wet weather gear and jumpers/jackets as they live in the car.  Scooter gloves and wet weather pants that live in a box in the garage – but I did include the scooter jacket as it lives in the house.

GRAND TOTAL: 343

What could go?

Let’s be honest, for the last 2 years that I’ve had a uniform 4 days a week. The fifth day is either a rostered day off, or I go casual, jeans + almost any shirt!  So all that ‘work’ gear (18 items) is close to unworn mostly!  I have far too many socks, but some are out of rotation til the current ones die.  I also have far to many pairs of knickers, but I’m OK with that.  I’m certainly ‘into stuff’ when it comes to scarves, they just jazz up my wardrobe so much!  I used to have a handful of dresses, when I was studying at uni (with boys/men) so pants were more common.  There’s definitely been a recent explosion of dresses in my wardrobe which could be trimmed down a little.

General Observations

I complete a more detailed inventory listing EVERY item, and then adding them up.  What I noticed was there was a heavy use of certain colours: beyond black and white (and stripe and pattern with these two colours), there’s a lot of teal, navy blue, other blues and greens and grey.  There’s only 4 clothing items that are pink, and 2 or 3 scarves!  There’s nothing yellow, orange, or even red (save for a belt with one side that’s red!). Interestingly  I used to have a handful of res shoes, but evidently that phase is well and truly over!  There’s a fair bit of stripey action going on too!

Defense

I’ll definitely admit there’s more in my wardrobe than perhaps I ‘need’ especially seeing I wear a uniform.  However, when I travel, I realise I wash less often (and have less access), so I have ended up with a greater stock pile of ‘staples’.  I also have stockpiles of singlets, socks and knickers – all of which I’m more than happy with.  I know what I like, and I like to have them on hand, as they all ‘wear out’ from heavy use.

So how about you?  How do you go with your clothes?  I know Dar at An Exacting Life is only about 10 items more than me in her total.  Kim is down at 200! I have no hope of that.  If I was to do Project 333 (33 (or less!) items for 3 months) I’d need an annual count of 132 (pft, spluter, yeah no hope there!)  I wonder what mochimac at Spend Save Splurge comes in at, cause she loves clothes!

How do I pick what should be added to my wardrobe?  Well, funny you should ask – here’s all my clothing likes and dislikes.  And I did a whole post on my handbag collection.  Lastly, there’s a inventory summary post, if you’re a real sticky beak, that links to all my inventory posts, including inside my kitchen.

9 ways I’ve used adhesive hooks

When I did my house inventory (which I will one day publish, when I work out the best things to include/exclude.  Perhaps I’ll start with clothing?), I went through receipts.  I suddenly realised how much I’d spent on Command 3M hooks: $72.88.  They are expensive, but so alluring for their ‘no damage’ mantra.  So here’s where they’ve been put into service in my place:

1. Spice storage

Spice rack with 3M hooks
Spice rack with 3M hooks

Count: 15, with more to come, since I just bought some more spices

2. Paper bag storage

More paper carry bags in the linen closet
More paper carry bags in the linen closet

Count: 1

3. Hanging binder clips of rosters, take away menus etc

The messy noticeboard - with lists and rosters
The messy noticeboard – with lists and rosters

Count: 3

4. More bag storage

Carry bags in my front buffet
Carry bags in my front buffet

Count: 1

5. Dustpan storage

Hanging up the dustpan
Hanging up the dustpan

Count: 1

6. Bra hanging

Sorry, they don’t like as nice as at Victoria’s Secret, but then again, I’m not trying to sell you my bras!

Everyday bras in the closet with 3M hooks
Everyday bras in the closet with 3M hooks

Count: 6

7. Sports bra hanging

Sexy huh?  Hey, a girl’s gotta run!

Sports bras (and head band) on 3M hooks in the wardrobe
Sports bras (and head band) on 3M hooks in the wardrobe

Count: 3

8. Gently worn ‘house’ clothes

Again, so carefully styled so you think my home is swoon worthy (*not*)

Summer house dresses on the third closet door (plus a belt)

Count: 2

9. Jewellery storage

If your new to my blog, here’s more on how I store my jewellery.

Necklace storage

Count: 10

That’s 42 adhesive 3M hooks holding on for dear life there! That makes it about $1.70 per hook, though I do have a few still in my hardware drawer.  Seems I’m the ultimate brand ambassador (perhaps they’ll contact me and offer me millions, but I’m not holding my breath.  Though… I wouldn’t say no!).

I also have metal 9 screwed in hooks at my entryway for jackets, scarves and hats, and another 3 on the back of the bathroom door!

That’ll bring me to 54!

It seems interesting to me that there’s no pictures/picture frames using these hooks.  I have tried them in a number of locations – both on tile and on my normal wall surface with very limited success.  Naturally the humidity in the bathroom caused issues.  Then a few ‘jumped’ off the walls – breaking a frame in the process!  After that, I went the route of nailed in picture hooks for all my pictures, save for one where I used the 3M velcro strips, as I wanted the piece flush with the wall.  After some initial teething problems with the strips, they seems to be holding well now.  There’s another inventory I can bring you – all my wall art!

Light up my life

I have an obsession.

It’s lighting.  I almost cause accidents driving past lighting stores.  It’s just so alluring.

So where’s there’s a love, there’s a way?  I created a need – I like to read on the sofa but the light isn’t great from my flowery overhead Ikea pendant light, so I thought of what might work in my space. I figured I wanted a lamp that would dramatically arc over the sofa, so I could read easily without the overhead light on.  Essentially, I wanted the Arco lamp.

The ORIGINAL Arco lamp source: http://www.achillecastiglioni.it/en/projects/id-23.html
The ORIGINAL Arco lamp
source: http://www.achillecastiglioni.it/en/projects/id-23.html

But there was NO way I was paying $425 for a lamp (click to see the Australian sales ad). Yes, I pay $300 for shoes, but not $425 for a lamp. Logical? Perhaps not.  So on the weekend, whilst watching TV, I got surfing on Gumtree for lamps.  (Gumtree is the most used service for buying and selling used goods, like Craiglist in the US).  Here’s what I found, for $60:

Here's what the ad looked like.  I KNEW it was what I wanted, grainy photo and all!
Here’s what the ad looked like. I KNEW it was what I wanted, grainy photo and all!

Now, with a 60kg base, there was NO way I was getting this to my house alone. I love a DIY project, but I needed a partner in crime. Oh, dear, what had the BF got himself into? That marble base is *heavy*. And the seller had it up three flights of stairs! First we had to get the sucker dismantled. No mean feat, given the seller was at work, and his flatmate had no idea. Rest assured, I worked it out, separated the marble from the metal rail that makes the arm, and condensed the arm back into itself (all without jokes about screwing and dark holes). It seriously is a marvel of design (and engineering!)

Once back home, we took a break for pizza (and a beer for the BF) before we tried to get it into my place. Thankfully I can go from the carpark to a lift to my apartment without any stairs. Lucky, cause it’s unlikely the bf would have considered stairs after the three flights at the seller’s place! To get it from the car to my apartment, we went super posh style – using a rolly suitcase. Use what you got people! There aren’t trolleys in my little loft. It wasn’t a perfect fit, but between the two of us, we got the lump of marble into place with relative ease, and less arm/back strain than before. (Who am I kidding, I didn’t even TRY and lift the thing, not once!)

Newly installed, at night
Newly installed, at night

I was so excited I was skipping around the place. No word of a lie. So even though the lighting in minimal, I had to get some candid shot done straight away.

The best thing was, the next morning I had a later start, so I could get some lovely ‘daytime’ light photos for you too.

Daytime beauty
Daytime beauty

That wasn’t enough? You want more. Oh, why, of course!

Whatcha looking at?
Whatcha looking at?

When I showed the ad to my bf on the weekend, he asked me ‘will it make you happy?’. My response was ‘no silly, things don’t make you happy (and I stand by that). But golly gosh, I’m giddy and all in love with my newest addition!

My household contents vs 21st century US houses

If you don’t read An Exacting Life, you’re missing out! She’s inspired so many of my posts.  Today, I was a little stuck on what to write.  Nothing I’d drafted felt right or finished, and I just lacked the drive to know what to write (so, if there’s something you’d like to know, feel free to send me an email with what you’d like to know livetolist(AT)gmail.com).  And then whoosh,  An Eaxcting Life’s post comes and I think ‘oh, I could write a whole post on that, rather than just commenting!’.  So here goes:

Inspiration behind An Exacting Life's post. Source:www.goodreads.com
Inspiration behind An Exacting Life’s post.
Source:www.goodreads.com

An Exacting Life’s post is about a book she recently read, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors (Jeanne E. Arnold et al., Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA, 2012).  She used images and the texts to compare to her life.

Firstly, I live alone, so my ‘stuff’ ratio is at least 1/3 of what a couple with one child would have.  However, I likely earn as much as these couples, based on my rudimentary knowledge of US salaries and my salary.  So I have the means to have as much as these families, if not the time in life to have bought it all (I’m 28, I’m not sure how old the respondents were).

Interestingly, if I was to participate in a program like this, I wouldn’t react with ‘Oh no, I don’t want someone poking through my house’ (probably explains why I blog!), or even ‘I need to clean first’.  Sure there’s dust on the skirting boards at the moment, but overall I’m content to show strangers a few bowls in the sink.

I also have nothing on my fridge – I think the advent of stainless steel fridges has made that more and more common.  No one has ever said anything about it being ‘empty’.  I do have a magnetic noticeboard nearby, and that’s where invites and cards go, as well as some nice subway map magnets.

Noticeboard takes clutter off the fridge
Noticeboard takes clutter off the fridge

To some extent, my house is a cultural museum, almost all my ‘art’ is from my travels (I plan to catalogue all my art in a blog post in the future).  Actually,  I buy almost all my clothing overseas too.  I plan and save for trips and have the time to shop thoughtfully.  If homewares weren’t so heavy, I might also partake in buying those too (I didn’t even know there was Zara Home til I got to Dubai.  I was in HEAVEN! )  I don’t display anything related to my religion. Religious art sort of creeps me out.  And if it creeps me, imagine all my non religious friends’ reactions!.  I don’t have any trophies at all, and I don’t display my certificates.  As to photos of family: I have none! I have a photo strip of my best friends and myself from the day of my first date – but none of the said date, now bf!  I LOVE making photo albums for my brother’s 21st and my grandmother’s Christmas present last year, but I don’t display photos.  They age quickly.  And… I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all those years at boarding school, it was too painful (at the height of homesickness) to see a reminder?

With technology, I have two phones (work and personal).  The work phone tends to live in my handbag at the front of the house.  My personal phone follows me around, and it charges at the foot of my bed.  I watch a bit of TV, particularly when I’m home alone.  But I try to pick programs rather than just watch for the sake of it.  Cause I have book reviews to get too as well!  And I actually quite like the radio on, and often feel conflicted when I have to turn it off!

I do not stockpile food – I don’t have the space! I have a 10L water canteen just in case, and lots of grains, so I can eat from my pantry should I have to.  But I buy all my meat and fruit/vege fresh as it’s just outside my door.  I can’t imagine having an additional fridge or freezer, as I grew up in a family of five without one.  I always cook in my own kitchen, and about 50% of the time I cook with the bf’s help at his place.  He can cook by himself, and I’ll leave him to it, but happy to help as requested. (So blessed to have a man that cooks… something I need to teach one of my brothers!)

I don’t have a backyard.  I have a comically small balcony. I have one fold up chair. It’s sad – the size, but I knew I wouldn’t utilise a balcony, or bother keeping it clean and nice, so it’s probably good I didn’t waste money on a place with a bigger outdoor space.  I’m lucky to have a communal rooftop, that’s super sunny with an awesome view, and soon a pool and BBQs – all of which I don’t have to maintain!

More colourful than a hotel room.
More colourful than a hotel room.

In my bedroom, I think it’s spartan, similar to a hotel. But there’s more colour than a hotel – at least in the bedding.  White bedspreads are a little scary to me.  In my house inventory, I spend roughly 4% on my bedroom in the past 16 months, but I don’t include soft furnishings in that (that’d add 10% or so in actual costs).  When I look at replacement cost of the furniture (I owned by bed when I moved in), it’s closer to 11% of the total costs on the place.  The electrical items (ie ANYTHING with a power cord: fridge, phone charger etc) and the living room are the highest ‘stuff’ costs.

My car space is almost totally for my car, and my unridden motor scooter.  I have a metal tool box, with all the scooter accoutrements, and some paperwork that I seldom need, but keep.

I think I have a minimal home, mainly because I was mindful when I ‘filled’ it when I moved in at the start of 2012.  It helps that it’s small, so I don’t have space to ‘hide’ stuff.  I also sit around thinking ‘where do I have too much stuff’ and look to thin things out regularly.  And I’m happy to defend my choices when I compare my stuff to others, such as extreme minimalists like Zero Waste Home.

How about you? (Don’t worry, if you already comment over at An Exacting Life, I’ll be reading eagerly!)

Future house wish list

I love my loft apartment, mostly.  But I can’t help thinking ‘one day’, I’ll move and these are the things I wish my house to have

  • lots of natural sunlight: a loft with a single double height window doesn’t allow a lot of light, and given the orientation of my place, and the garden beds, I don’t get a lot of light, and only for an hour or two in the morning.
  • a fireplace: Sydney gets cold!  And I love the smell of other people’s fires in winter.  And it’s a great way to dispose of paper/tissues/wood
  • In a modern homesource:eliteproductionsintl.blogspot.com
    In a modern home
    source:eliteproductionsintl.blogspot.com

    In a more traditonal housesource:www.bluboxfireplaces.com.au
    In a more traditonal house
    source:www.bluboxfireplaces.com.au
  • a garden: even with a bigger, sunnier balcony I could go back to growing things, I loved growing sweet peas (the flowers and the vegetable!), and keep seeing awesome little ways to grow other things I’d love to have on hand
  • gas: for both cooking as well as heating/water heating.  Currently I only have it for water heating.
  • natural ventilation: firstly a bathroom window! The style of my loft makes that impossible.   It was on my wish list when I was househunting, but some things you have concede.  My next place will hopefully have more than just a bathroom window, but windows everywhere!

And hopefully it’ll have things I already have in my little loft

  • a good sized pantry
  • a linen cloest
  • an entry area – with places to store ‘grab and go’ items (umbrellas, name badges, coffee cup), somewhere to process mail, dump handbags, put things for delivery when next out etc.

What do you have on your future home’s wish list?  What did you used to wish for, and no longer need/want/wish for?

Laundry routines

Coincidentally, in a 24 hour period I read about washing habits of two different bloggers – The Manly Housekeeper and An Exacting Life.  I was shocked that the Manly Housekeeper can do 6 loads of washing in a day – that’s more clothes than I’d own I think!  I also realised he’s not from the Sydney suburb Manly, he’s just a man.

Generally
– I do a dark load and a light load per week
– I separate lights and darks with two washing hampers

Sorting before washing - two hampers lets me know when I have enough for a load
Sorting before washing – two hampers lets me know when I have enough for a load

– I hang gym clothes over my bathroom tension rail, on hangers, til they are dry, then I put them in the hampers.  This stops the constant need to wash wet and dirty clothes
– I wash in cold (except the occasional hot wash for sheets and towels – but that’d be about once a month)
– I always wash overnight (I have metering that makes it cheaper to do this)
– Everything gets hung out on a rack, or over my ‘balcony’ from the upstairs of my loft
– I treat stains, mainly with a little soap stick. It works well

My washing products: homemade washing powder, wool wash, oxidising powder and my little yellow stain remover soap
My washing products: homemade washing powder, wool wash, oxidising powder and my little yellow stain remover soap

– I do delicate washes as needed – either in my washing machine under a special setting or by hand (such as silk)
– I iron uniforms, cotton shirts and pillowcases (a habit I’m trying to get out of!)
– I fold everything as I take it off the line – making what can be two jobs at my parents, into one job.

I don’t
– use a dryer (therefore the weight of my clothes has never been a big consideration)
– use fabric softener
– use store bought washing liquid

Overall, washing isn’t a chore in my head.  I enjoy having everything clean and sorted.  Actually, I take it upon myself to fold and put away, or hang out washing, when I see it.  It just makes me zen.  Perhaps it’s genetic – my friend’s child calls my father the ‘washing monster’!

How do you do your laundry?  Can you see room for improvement in my routines?  I wouldn’t mind alternative to shop bought wool wash, plastic wrapped stain remover, and the oxidising agent (that I use sparingly, I have more than a box, and I’ve had it a year) – any thoughts?