Decluttering and shopping

I try to keep a spick and span home – which is SO much easier now that I have oddles more space, in both square meters as well as storage space.  That being said, I know one day we might live in a smaller place, so I’m always critically reviewing what we have.  Here’s what I parted with on Friday:

Destined for trash - a dress with a damaged collar (and was cheap as), dead socks, a bra I wouldn't subject on anyone, and a mangy bath mat
Destined for trash – a dress with a damaged collar (and was cheap as), dead socks, a bra I wouldn’t subject on anyone, and a mangy bath mat
Tweezers than no longer tweeze, single earrings, what's left of reusing a backing from a photoframe and bent L's from my bed ledge moving house
Tweezers than no longer tweeze, single earrings, what’s left of reusing a backing from a photoframe and bent L’s from my bed ledge moving house
Found on the street - didn't fit my oven :( Took to metal recycling at Reverse Garbage
Found on the street – didn’t fit my oven 🙁 Took to metal recycling at Reverse Garbage
Exercise c**p.  The glasses and band from my Neon run, where I intentionally took no money, but someone bought me (groan).  The pedometers were freebies my parents got and thought I might want.
Exercise c**p. The glasses and band from my Neon run, where I intentionally took no money, but someone bought me (groan). The pedometers were freebies my parents got and thought I might want.

 

As I took the day off on Friday (I only ‘earn’ one a month now, rather than one a fortnight),  I spent most of the day shopping or window shopping.  I bought a canvas print I’d admired in the thrift shop the week before.  I also dropped some items off in the thrift store (and tossed some in the garbage – no one needs worn out clothing or grotty bathmats).  What else did I buy? A box for bras to ‘sit’ on my ottoman, where they tend to linger.  And a basket for a 40th gift 😉 And two running tops… and a headband for running.  Oh yes! I was on a role.

Not as blue - but I still love it!
Not as blue – but I still love it!

In light of my consumerist moments, I came home and really weeded through my wardrobe.  I drafted the most boring post listing all the tops I had, all the jackets etc etc.  And then, looking at it, I started culling.

The art I almost bought.  Seems Salvos was given a bulk collection of images, but I'd already bought the other one already.
The art I almost bought. Seems Salvos was given a bulk collection of images, but I’d already bought the other one already.

The upshot was 20 items for decluttering.  Two will be copied and reinvented.  Some will go to the trash.  Some will go to the op shop.  None are worth money, so I won’t try to sell anything.  This is in addition to about 10 items of clothing I’ve given away this year.  And there’s two pairs of running tights/leggings that are showing signs of their last legs.

In counter balance, I’ve bought 13 items in 2014, so that’s a nice counter balance.  Although, I don’t track my other stuff as carefully, though there is a spreadsheet for that of course.

I’m pretty sure the decluttering is partly for me to mentally justify any further purchases this year.  I really would like a teal top or two.  One outbound teal top has been replaced by a more casual teal and navy stripe top.  The incredibly thing is how many pieces of have given that I wear a uniform.  Though it’s starting to seem like those days are numbered, so perhaps my ‘re’ cluttering will be expensive work wear.

Do you declutter to feel ok about buying more clothing, or do you truly believe you need less?  How do you know when is ‘enough’ for work clothes, or basics (for example, I had 16 long sleeved t shirts for wearing under wooly/itchy stuff)?

How do you manage your bookmarks?

Sometimes, I’m just a busy bee! So please, tell me, how to do you keep track of all your blog reading? Here’s how I do it:

I have two much loved blogs and they receive pride of place on my bookmarks bar at the top of my page.  These are blogs that thousands of people comment on, so they are ‘famous’ to me!

Then I have some folders, and here’s how they roll

The way things usually are!
The way things usually are!

Food/recipes, with general food blogs, but then recipes in a Sweet folder and a Savoury folder

Next up is Mommy DIY.  This features US/Candian blogs that are DIY/mommy blogs (where they talk about raising their kids amongst other things)

Read Fridays is a seldom use folder, but has blogs I know haven’t posted a lot regularly, so I think ‘oh I’ll check them once a week’, and Friday is usually my day off (or slow day).  Honestly though, I often don’t look at the 4 blogs listed in there!

PF is for Personal Finance and I group all those blogs I like to read about their debt journey etc.  There’s probably a few blogs I could take off this list, cause they are no longer capturing me, or they aren’t posting regularly (and could move into the Read Fridays folder perhaps?)  There’s about 15 blogs in this category at the moment.

The next folder is Subscribe which is for some of the blogs I get direct emails from (others email me, and don’t get bookmarked.  I’m not sure why, perhaps just not that thorough).  Some of the PF blogs I get direct emails from too, but they stay in the PF folder.  There’s 10 blogs on this list, and they are largely regular readers of this blog too. Awww thanks for reading!

My followers is a different tab, and holds all my readers that are on Blogspot.  Why? Cause I can’t read your blogs at work, so I like to have a tab that I know to head to when I get home if I want to comment or read your posts.

Next is a folder I just decided could be consolidated to the above, called Read at home which was for the same reasons as above – blogs I couldn’t access at work, where I used to get the bulk of my internet!

Lastly I have a collection of posts on reaching a greater readership or improving my blog.  I don’t really refer to these, but for some reason felt the need to keep them bookmarked?!

Sometimes I think I should resort them, making sure all the blogspot ones are in one tab (with the typepad blogs too, cause I can read those at work, but not comment).  I would like that lovely little matched iconography!

So, please share with me how you manage your blog reading.  Do you rely on emails? Do you have a set time, and open all your bookmarks? How do you deal with blogs who drop in writing frequency?

Book storage

After reading about how Extra Organised stores her books, I thought I’d take a chance to review my books and where they are stored around our new house.  (By the way readers, help me remember to use OUR not MY… I need to share, and using sharing pronouns! I have to get out of the bad habits pronto!)

After three years of living with my parents, in a room LINED with books, I got a bit over seeing books around me.  Living in the loft, I hid most of my books behind closed doors.  I didn’t own a book shelf, and had only the skinniest shelf for displaying books, as shown below:

Well, the new house came with a great little built in book shelf, which I’ve used for what few books I own, and many other ornamental items, such as three birdcages.  Here’s a photo whip around of what my books are stored.

Top shelf is my 'files' binders and the bottom shelf is the unfiled!
Top shelf is my ‘files’ binders and the bottom shelf is the unfiled!
My collection of holocaust books and some french texts
My collection of holocaust books and some french texts
My high school photo album with two books that wouldn't fit where I hoped they would!
My high school photo album with two books that wouldn’t fit where I hoped they would!
Stacked and packed
Stacked and packed
Reference books and my stationary drawers
Reference books and my stationary drawers
Yes, to the right, are my childhood stamp collections!  There's also my three travel journals in the middle!
Yes, to the right, are my childhood stamp collections! There’s also my three travel journals in the middle!

How do you like your books? Lying down or like a library? Do you face them out like they do in book stores, and increasingly, libraries?

Things to think about when setting children’s pocket money

Most children live with their parents til they reach majority (or older). I did not – I went to boarding school from the age of 10.  I think that’s a large reason why I’m financially responsible (and independent) now.

I’d like to share my experiences and hope it’ll give another way that parents can look at teaching their children about money, budgeting and priorities.

Set a time based budget

My father gave me a cheque every term for the term’s expenses.  I knew how long a term was (at 10, you can read a calendar!) This was ‘walking around money’ – money for movies, snacks, outings like ice skating, but also gifts for friends and family.    My meals were provided from the school, which including morning and afternoon tea.  But that’s no soft drink or chocolate bars!  When I started, at age 10 in 1995, I was given $100 a term.  It worked out to about $10 a week.  The reason I think this works well, is it gives you a good window to look at what you want to do, and what you’ll have to spend.  If I’d started with a weekly or fortnightly ‘pay’ or pocket money, I might have spent it all each period, knowing more was coming soon. A term is a longer amount of time to forecast for, and teaches discipline quickly!

Set boundaries

Know what’s included and what’s not. My pocket money did not (generally) include any toliteries – those were refreshed in the holidays.  Clothing wasn’t included in this amount either – I do like how 71 toes does it – the children contribute a percentage of clothing purchases, which I think is fair and a good way to slowly transition to full ownership of this cost (that link’ll teach you all about their system too).  I also could ‘charge back’ any expenses at the school’s clothing shop, and any medical appointments or taxis (to the airport or medical appointments) were all on an account that my father settled with my fees.

source: parenting.kidspot.com.au
source: parenting.kidspot.com.au
source: parenting.kidspot.com.au
source: parenting.kidspot.com.au

Tracking

To withdraw money, we had to go to the office (at set times, as I recall), and ask for the amount we wanted.  We then had to find out ledger sheet, and subtract the amount from our total.  It was great maths practice, but also gave us an idea of how much left.

Ownership

By signing over a lump sum to your child allows them to ‘own’ some money, but also some responsibility.  Try not to cave into paying for things that should come out of the child’s budget.  I don’t think it hurts for kids to have to pay for their ice cream or their pop corn at the movies (heartless parent I’m going to be!)  A few ‘ouch’ moments teach more than someone swooping in and solving it!

The system above worked for a number of years, when I didn’t have access to an ATM for a bank deposited amount. When we were allowed more freedom as boarders, Dad moved away from the school based cheque system, and went to putting money in my bank account every time he got paid.  As I’d learnt to manage a lump sum, it wasn’t much of a stretch to adjust to a fortnight pay schedule and ‘save’ for the future.

What are your thoughts and the pocket money systems you use/used (or had used on you)?

The mess & update in the niche

I try to be zen. Decluttered. Minimal. And then, I have dirty little secrets, that I’m ashamed of.  And that’s my storage niche.

See the niche, at the back there?
See the niche, at the back there?

First, I don’t like any of this being ‘out in the open’ – ie visible from other parts of my bedroom. I did buy some shutters (from the op shop, so second hand) to refashion to hide this area. They are living with a friend, who may never get around to cutting them to size. Which really should encourage me to keep this area tidy and minimal!  Here’s what’s in there:

Two suitcases, the water polo bag (with gear in it), additional throw, mosquito net, blow heater
Two suitcases, the water polo bag (with gear in it), additional throw, mosquito net, blow heater
More mess - carpet offcuts and the summer rug
More mess – carpet offcuts and the summer rug. Oh and dumpster scavenged Christmas wrapping paper!
This mattress used to be under my bed, but it went back here.  I don't love it, it's a bit messy, but easier than trying to get it under my low rider bed
This mattress used to be under my bed, but it went back here. I don’t love it, it’s a bit messy, but easier than trying to get it under my low rider bed
Before: with old carpet but empty
Before: with old carpet but empty

From what’s in here, this is my ‘plan’

  • use carpet off-cuts to re-carpet the niche (it’s the old beige carpet, and the rest of the upstairs is grey)
  • use or lose the blow heater (deadly things that they are)
  • consider storing mozzie net and throw in linen closet (or install shelves in niche…)
  • do I need an empty box for my Le Creuset? No! Let’s get that reccyled/repurposed now the box for all gluten free flours!

Well since I’ve drafted this, I got a bee in my bonnet, and got that carpet changed! Here’s the afters!

New carpet in the niche!!
New carpet in the niche!!
Sometimes, my house is a mess! (All the stuff from the niche)
Sometimes, my house is a mess! (All the stuff from the niche)
Another view of the empty, newly carpeted niche
Another view of the empty, newly carpeted niche

Wow there was something seriously up with my camera there! Sorry for blurry/blotchy!

Now for it filled up again:

And the mattress, keeping it all 'hidden'
And the mattress, keeping it all ‘hidden’
Suitcases now on a different wall, with the throw, heater and a winter jacket to the left
Suitcases now on a different wall, with the throw, heater and a winter jacket to the left
Summer rug, wrapping paper, and some of the mattress
Summer rug, wrapping paper, and some of the mattress

Sigh.  My dirty little secret.  Once it’s hidden, bare bones minimal and proper organised, I’ll be content.

For now, you’ll know, not every where is show room ready…  Any wizz-bang tidy up ideas? Ways to store what I more nicely?

Book inventory

I love blogging! I drafted this post, and then I thought, ‘it’s a little disjointed’, ‘why this book isn’t with that book?’.  So after completely reorganising my books, hopefully now they are stored in a way that makes sense to you – it certainly makes more sense to me!  Oh and I decluttered two books that I wasn’t entirely proud to have listed :p

Firstly, books are largely hidden in my home, after spending a time in a room with a wall lined in books. I just find the visual too cluttery. So here’s what’s on show in my home:

Beside the radio

Radio - with CD players and a retro tape deck!
Radio – with CD players and a retro tape deck!

In the same shelves, above the radio

Ring binders
All my paper filing is in these two binders

And on the bed ledge

These are the ‘plan to read’ books.

These books have been there for at least 1 year.  Maybe they'll never get read?
These books have been there for at least 1 year. Maybe they’ll never get read?
  1. Israel is Real, Rich Cohen
  2. Each peach pear plum
  3. An intelligent life
  4. Holocaust sites of Europe

And here’s what’s hidden behind closed doors

Wardrobe

Some French novels, and some texts.  Even a 'how to get a job in 12 steps'
Some French novels, and some texts. Even a ‘how to get a job in 12 steps’

French Books (in French or about France)

  1. 12 steps to find a job
  2. The game master (Le maitre du jeu)
  3. Objectif Paris
  4. If it is a man (Si C’est un homme)
  5. Bonjour Tristess
  6. Bonjour tristesse
  7. Improve your French
Books that don't fit the other categories!
Books that don’t fit the other categories!

Gifts

  1. Poland <- a gift from a Polish friend when I studied in France
  2. The Bronze Horseman <- from an Aussie friend who visited Russia.  I read Paulina Simons ‘The Bronze Horseman’ and so I asked for the original poetry.  But I can’t read cryllic!

Other books

  1. Honeymoon with my brother – Franz Wiesner
  2. The Christmas Mystery – Jostein Garder
  3. Plan B – L.R. Brown <- all about alternative ways in life.  Like no flush toliets, and Chinese meat consumption and global warming

The Back Row

To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health
To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health
The book end to the back row - all holocaust themed
The book end to the back row – all holocaust themed

Holocaust Books

  1. The holocaust odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando
  2. Night, E. Wiesel
  3. Eyewitness Aushwitz, F. Muller
  4. Among the righteous, R. Satloff
  5. Ester and Ruzya – Masha Gessen, Masha Gessen
  6. The Seamstress – a memoir of survival, S. T. Bernstein, L.L. Thornton & M. Berstein Samuels
To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health
To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health

Holocaust Books

  1. Parrallel Lines
  2. Hiding Edith
  3. Mosaic
  4. The Messanger
  5. Auschwitz, Auschwitz, How can I forget you
  6. Human Smoke
  7. Safe Passage – Ida Cook
  8. American Heroine in the French Resistance

Spirituality/Mental health

  1. Mister God, this is Anna
  2. Affluenza
  3. Growing to Maturity
  4. Finding happiness
  5. The mindful way through depression
  6. The invitation

Linen/pantry closet

The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books.  There's 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes
The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books. There’s 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes
  1. Striped book – Inspirations book from 2006
  2. Spiral bound black book – more inspirations
  3. Photo album from high school
  4. Blue display book (empty)
  5. First travel journal from 2006
  6. Second travel journal from 2006
  7. Third travel journal from 2007 onwards
  8. Plastic case of brochures for future employers etc
  9. Binder of bank statements from France – 2006 onwards
  10. Empty binder
  11. Stamp collection (Australian)
  12. Stamp collection (foreign)
  13. Binder of floristry assignments and remaining notes
These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too
These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too
  1. Tax envelope for this year’s receipts
  2. Receipts of clothing spending, electrical items, scooter related costs
  3. Writing paper and envelopes
  4. Lists book
  5. Atlas
  6. The Sweet Poison Quit plan
  7. Humourous check list
  8. Journal from 2011-12 (with lists to move house etc)
  9. Emergency

There you go, I think that’s about all of the permanent resident books in my house. There’s a constant cycle of library books, of course.  I pretty much won’t buy a published book now days – between the library, my mother’s house (which feels like a library) and my uncle owning a book store, I have an endless source, it would seem!  I will only buy 2nd hand books when I am heading overseas, and leave them there.  How do you think I did?  Minimal?

Handbag Inventory

I recently shared what was inside my handbag, and Pauline from Reach Financial Independence wanted to know more about what bags I carried things in.  Yesterday I showed you them stashed in my buffet, recently repainted, at the front door. Here’s what’s in there:

The current ‘everyday’

It carries work files easily, and was a Christmas gift from my parents, after they saw how much I was wearing my simialr blue bag to death!

This was a limited edition in Winter 2012/13
This was a limited edition in Winter 2012/13

The collection of Longchamp bags

The blue was a long serving ‘everyday’ – perhaps for 2 years?  The black bag is better for smaller amount of stuff, so on weekends or evenings, where I’m not too fancy :p

The pale blue bag is the same size as the green bag
The pale blue bag is the same size as the green bag

“Walking around” bag

Great for markets or a longish walk where I need things, like when I walk to my hairdressers or into the city

This bag was found on holidays in Adelaide.  It's great when I know I'll be walking around all day
This bag was found on holidays in Adelaide. It’s great when I know I’ll be walking around all day
Sadly, showing signs of it's poor materials :(
Sadly, showing signs of it’s poor materials 🙁

Luxury/evening bags

The teal bag is the first time I’ve ever thought to call something ‘buttery’.  The lining is the softest silk in a creamy colour.  Sadly there’s some pen marks, but it still feels divine!  Outside is a beautiful teal suede.  I feel in lust/love with this bag at first site in Jan 2006 in the streets of Paris.  As a lowly student, I’m not sure how I thought I could justify a 80 Euro bag, but I’m glad I did. (I think I attributed it to my ‘grandma birthday money’).  And I’ve never looked back and thought ‘why’d I spend so much on that bag’.  Every time I use it, I just adore it.

This was my first *big* purchase in Paris in 2006 (the year I lived in France) at 80E.  I've never once regretted the cost, it's delicious.
This was my first *big* purchase in Paris in 2006 (the year I lived in France) at 80E. I’ve never once regretted the cost, it’s delicious.

This little cutie was a whim buy at $10 in JFK as I was heading back to Australia. Nothing is that cheap in Australia, so I took a risk that it would match my dark grey evening gown, and huzzah, whilst it’s a different fabric, it tones pretty darn well!

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

I know some of my readers have no handbags, what about you? Could you do with more (!) or less? I think this is just enough for me!

Brighten a buffet

Here’s my last long weekend project.

Simple instructions
1. Sand (with fine sandpaper and EVERYwhere, unlike me :P)
2. tape off the area to be primed and painted
3. Prime and let dry
4. Prime again and let dry
5. Paint and let dry
6. Paint again
7. Remove tape
8. Cry that’s it’s not pinworthy, but remember this is INSIDE your cupboards, the best place to fail!

Before (without the shelf)
Before (without the shelf)
Presanding the buffet interior, ready for priming
Presanding the buffet interior, ready for priming
Priming, coat 1 (and wised up to taping it so I'd get a nice clean finish
Priming, coat 1 (and wised up to taping it so I’d get a nice clean finish
Buffet painted!
Buffet painted! But tape remaining

Now, this is not the blog where you will think I’m super woman! Here’s proof!

Leaving tap too long results in imperfections :(
Leaving tap too long results in imperfections 🙁
With the shelf back
With the shelf back
Ready for restocking
Ready for restocking

And inside?

The handbags tucked back in... these are all I own!
The handbags tucked back in… these are all I own!

What’s in your (bathroom) drawers?

Do people have the British sense of humour in my title.  Oh well, if not, I’ll just amuse myself with my dad jokes at the ripe age of 28 (and being a female!)

Here’s another look into what I have.  I’m not sure why I am so fixated on tracking and documenting everything, but I just can’t help myself – I hope you enjoy the sticky beak as much as I love preparing these posts, and then having them all there, on display!

In my bathroom, I have that lovely cabinet you’ve seen before, when I re-papered the back of it.

Over sink bathroom cabinet
Over sink bathroom cabinet

Well, in addition to that, I have a four shelf and four drawer skinny little cabinet (which came from Howard’s Storage if you’re an Aussie and you’re wondering).  I think it was a kind partial gift from a friend one year – meaning it cost me half as much!

The shelves of my bathroom storage - mainly for jewellery!
The shelves of my bathroom storage – mainly for jewellery!

Shall we dive in and see what I have where?

Top drawer

This is the drawer for hair accessories.  Back in the day, I had long hair that I always wore up.  Needless to say, since I shaved it, this drawer sees very little action.  But that’s ok, the hair is growing and one day Rapunzel will be jealous!

Before: Top Drawer
Before: Top Drawer

Second drawer

Not every day do I need ‘one night only’ fake tan.  Or the palette of eye shadows etc that Grandma gave me (I’m not sure I’d ever have bought a palette, but it sure is useful every once in a while!).  There’s even a stray nail polish in there – the others live in the sewing box near the sofa – which is where I’m most likely to paint my nails.  Which is… well close to never prior to the bf!

Lesser used make up
Lesser used make up

Third Drawer

If you’re ill, this is where you should start (if you don’t find it in my handbag!).  I regularly check this drawer and dispose of anything out of date.

The drug stash
The drug stash

Fourth Drawer

I like to keep mini bottles here, as well as a packing list (which is a pre-printed pad.  A little bit of an impulse buy but a helpful reminder).  The wrist watch hangs here too, as I only ever use it on long haul flights when my phone should be off.  Extra eye masks used to live here, til I freecycled the surplus.  I am hardly going to need 5 or 6, now am I?

Travel stuff: little bags and bottles and my wrist watch (seeing I only use it travelling)
Travel stuff: little bags and bottles and my wrist watch (seeing I only use it travelling)

What do you think?  Room to thin out my supplies more?  A few sneaky plastics in there, which you all know I’m not the biggest fan of in my quest for zero waste!

One buffet, so many uses!

At the front door, I have a buffet with three drawers, and a cupboard with two shelves on either side.  It is the key to organisation in my house!  Shall we have a look what’s inside?

Top drawer

This drawer holds: church collection envelopes, my name tag, a small folding fan.  In winter it also holds gloves and delicate scarves.  It holds my ‘keep cup‘ (best business model ever – I don’t know anyone who works for a big company who hasn’t been ‘gifted’ one!).  A few pens.  My journal/notebook, some little post it notes.  I stash out of circulation keys too (like work car keys on weekends, or my shared car’s keys when it’s at it’s other home).

Before: Top Drawer
Before: Top Drawer
Top Drawer After
After: Top Drawer

Middle drawer
This is where I keep all my socks and hosiery – right opposite the shoes. It just seemed sensible and I haven’t yet thought of a reason why I wouldn’t want my socks here!

After: Middle drawer
After: Middle drawer

Bottom drawer

In an apartment, sometimes there is no ‘back shed’ or ‘basement’.  And I like to have things on hand for a quick fix etc.  So I store close to all my hardware needs in this one drawer.  Only some grouting and caulking tools live in my car space tool box.

Before: Bottom drawer
Before: Bottom drawer
After: Bottom Drawer (the Toblerone is 'hiding' (from me) during Lent
After: Bottom Drawer (the Toblerone is ‘hiding’ (from me) during Lent