Category Archives: Organise

My Name is Brooke and I am on a Decluttering Bender.

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. Every spare moment lately has been spent clutter-busting our home. I’m only a fraction of the way there, but damn it feels good. I feel lighter somehow.

I’ve been reading lots about minimalist living and the slow home movement, and buzzwords aside I think they’re both really interesting, desirable, accessible ways to live. They both apply to what this whole journey is about.

So far:

Sparky and I have cleared our wardrobes, with the hope of sharing one wardrobe and getting rid of the other, as it clutters up our bedroom far too much. This 30 minute exercise netted us 5 big garbage bags of clothes to donate and two big garbage bags of pure crap, which was recycled or tossed as a last resort.

Yesterday I cleared out both of our bedside tables (netted another huge bag of recyclables/rubbish) as well as our bathroom cabinet. Another big bag full’o’junk there.

Went through my multiple piles of costume jewellery and tossed 95% of it. It was mostly tarnished, broken, mismatched or really really ugly. I actually don’t wear much jewellery, so I need very little in the way of this stuff.

I cleaned out my craft cupboard and threw away two more bags worth of random scraps that I’d been keeping for “just in case”. Nope, no more.

I sorted through our cookbooks and bookshelves, put aside all those books I’ve borrowed over the years and never returned (sorry, Dad!) and now have a big basket that I will try to sell to the local second-hand bookshop or otherwise donate to Vinnies.

You know those magazines that you buy/subscribe to and keep for no real reason? Yeah, me too. But as of yesterday: gone. I tore out anything I really wanted to keep and the rest was recycled. (I did keep my Organic Gardeners though – I use them a lot).

This morning I’m tackling the laundry and may just be crazy enough to try and tame the beast that is our “store room”. Maybe.

K.I.S.S: Paper Traps!

I’m very very bad at lots of things: returning phonecalls and emails, cooking with chicken (it freaks me out) and keeping our bills and other admin-y type things in order.

As a result of the last one, I occasionally am late paying bills – oops – which really bugs me. It introduces unnecessary stress into my life, and as we know, I’m allll about reducing stress.

I’ve been looking at my life and trying to pinpoint the recurring stressors, and while there are many, there are a few that I think can do a better job at managing:

– paperwork/filing
– bills
– weekly meals/grocery shopping
– managing appointments/schedules

I read somewhere that the best way to deal with paper traps is to touch it once. That is, to have a place where you bring in your mail, open it, recycle what’s not needed, sort what is and pay your bills or take any required action. It means you know exactly what to do with every thing that comes in your mailbox. Of course, my life isn’t that predictable and usually when I bring the mail in I have a hungry baby in one hand and a stack of mail and local newspapers in the other, with a nappy beg around my neck and a toddler hanging off my knee. But, you know, the intention is there…

So with all that in mind, and as part of our ongoing renovations, Sparky and I have decided to build a bench in the back family/dining room that will function as a hub for all that kind of stuff.

I saw this one on design*sponge a few weeks ago and knew that was basically what we were after, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will put ours together.

The plan being that we incorporate a place for all the following in the one space:

– opening mail
– recycling any unnecessary mail
– box for action (bills to be paid etc)
– box for filing (paid bills)
– laptop
– phone/laptop/ipad chargers
– home phone
– notepad
– shopping list

Ours will be higher than the one featured above, and we will have a couple of stools tucked in underneath which means I can check emails, pay bills etc while keeping an eye on the kidlets. A vase of flowers or an indoor plant, plus a couple of artworks on the wall and it should match in really well with the midcentury/industrial/nanna/eclectic/crafty/diy vibe we’re going for (!!)

K.I.S.S: Organising the Kitchen

I’m not a natural-born organiser. In my natural state I’m more of a seat-of-the-pantser, but I find that ridiculously frustrating and know that I do much better at life if I’m at least semi-organised.

So as part of the Great Experiment I’ve decided to put effort into organising my life, bit by bit.

Over the weekend I tackled the pesky drygoods cupboard. You know the one where you shove random bags of brown sugar, cocoa, flour and breadcrumbs in amongst bottles of food colouring, vanilla essence and loose sultanas that have fallen out of their box? Yeah, that cupboard.

It’s not rocket science, but I had a strategy in place to tackle it, and it meant a grand total of ten minutes (shopping time extra, but it doesn’t count because I went and had a coffee: bonus!) and I was done. And felt amazingly satisfied!

1. Listed everything I had stored in the cupboard
2. Figured out what sized container I needed to accommodate a full bag+
3. Armed with the list I went shopping for the containers I needed (what price is organisation? For me, $30! Thank you, Big W).
4.Transferred everything to its container and labelled each one. (OK, an admission, I haven’t actually done the labelling yet, but I will. Because it is very, very important……)

That’s it. Simple, I know. But even so I had put off doing this for ages because it felt like such a sucky way to spend my time. But now that it’s done, it really does make a difference. It’s easier to see what I have, what I need and what I have inadvertently bought 6 bags of (yes, you, desiccated coconut). Plus now I don’t have to dodge a cascade of cocoa every time I get something off the top shelf!

Get Out(side)! Plus the Clean-Out Continues…

Ahoy! I hope you all had wonderful long weekends? A pretty wet affair here in Sydney unfortunately. We managed to get one day’s worth of outside work done though, which felt so, so, very good (nothing beats gardening and outdoor work to chill my mind and work my muscles) and we now know exactly where the vege garden will be going in a month or two, as well as the fruit trees, compost bins and chook run. I’m ridiculously excited! I’ll be sure to take some photos of the work as it progresses.

Aside from the garden planning, I managed to have another big clear out of our storage room, and have culled another 4 big garbage bags of clothes and toys that can go to Vinnies. I also finally organised the craft cupboard and went through all my remaining jewellery stock. I only have one crate of it left, so it’s gradually going. I can’t tell you how much better I feel with every cull I do. Just releasing ourselves from the excess stuff we’ve accumulated is seriously liberating.

I estimate that I’ve got about another 6 crates worth of stuff that can go, it’s just a matter of sorting through it all to find what I need to keep, what I really, really want to keep (remember: love it or get rid of it) and what can go.

K.I.S.S: Love it or Get Rid of it (part 3)

As I’ve mentioned before (here and here) I’ve been trying to trim down our worldly possessions bit by bit every week. I’m selling some of our stuff on ebay, having a farewell fire sale on Etsy, giving a lot to charity and throwing out the bare minimum.

It was a bit of a crap weekend here, Sparky had to work and the kids and I are still a bit under the weather, but I did manage to clean out my wardrobe and swap over my summer clothes for my winter ones. (Our wardrobes are on the small side and I keep a box of seasonal stuff, to make sure I have enough room. Annoying but necessary. Plus it forces me to go through my clothes and shoes twice a year.)

I have a fairly decent amount of clothes and shoes for Vinnies, as well as a heap of maternity clothes I’m lending to my sister-in-law. It’s so nice to be able to see the bottom of my wardrobe again, and not have to shove millions of coathangers aside whenever I want to see what clothes I have.

Bonus: I was going to give this skirt to charity too, but the fabric is too pretty and I think I’m going to try and use it in some as yet undefined craft project. (I’ll add it to the pile of unfinished projects now, shall I?)

Brooke x