Monday, 24 September 2012

Pass the gin and smarties...


It is day one. 

I had no work. 

There was no school run.

There was absolutely zero bits of stuff planned for today.

So Frog got up at 7:08am.

And then went down the hall way and annoyed her sister until they were both in my room whining and shouting. Mostly at each other. Possibly at me too but I had stuffed the corners of the doona in my ears so I'm not sure.

Eventually they fed themselves while I pretended I was busy drinking my coffee. I'm sure they noticed my pretend sipping went on way too long for any normal cup. It had been empty for ten minutes when I finally gave up the pretence and dragged my butt out of bed.

I don't have anything planned except for the blissful days that I will be going to work and will hopefully be able to con WonderMan into picking them up from their various daycare whatnots.

Where's my holiday in all of this?

No one is sleeping in.

I have to entertain and referee and divide and conquer regularly. I've swapped the morning rush for entire days of angst and throwing peanuts at the monkeys every five minutes in case the starving beasts decide to eat my legs.

In a moment of desperation this morning I decided we would go to the library and then remembered the library is closed on Mondays.


The pillow fort is back. Entry is free but donations of gin and smarties are gratefully appreciated. 

And make sure you bring some peanuts to keep the monkeys at bay.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Organisation Update - Week Two

UPDATE: I thought I posted this on Monday night, I must have been REALLY tired because I just found it in my drafts folder. Mumma brain strikes again!

Well the end of last week was so much BLAH... with little Frog unwell and the rest of us alternately exhausted and coming down with her bug as well.

I'd managed two days out of five for our first week of The Organised Housewife's 20 Day Challenge. I was a bit cross with myself, and with the universe for dumping everything on us the second we relaxed a bit.

Never mind, I thought, just pour a cup of tea and get on with the job.

This week I did, in spectacular fashion!

We may have gone slightly off the plan this weekend, but only because a new addition forced a total furniture reshuffle. The upside is that we have a lounge and three bedrooms that actually LOOK like they are lived in! Not just stark rooms with a bed/chairs.

This house is actually starting to look and feel like our home. Because we rent, and because we moved so often and had so little furniture we have spent the last five years looking like we were "camping" in whatever house we were in. 

Which reminded me... in October I will have known WonderMan for five years, that's when we met, and we will have been engaged for 4 years and 9 months which is probably getting on to be ridiculous but one day, one glorious day, we will get around to getting married. But not next year as we hoped. Bother.

I'm very easily distracted today, can you tell?

Right cleaning. Yes.

Day Six - Bathroom

We have two bathrooms, one main one which is the kids bathroom, and an ensuite off our bedroom. 

And they are not my job. So I didn't clean them. WonderMan did. He does one during the week and the other on a Saturday. This is working really well and I'm happy with his standard of cleaning so I don't interfere! I do clean the toilets one extra time each week because I hate grotty toilets. And I really really don't like toilets in bathrooms like we have in our ensuite. 

But I did reorganise them, see?

WonderMan was always telling me off about this cupboard!

Not any more!

Day Seven - Fridge

Woo! I already cleaned my fridge on a whim just before starting the challenge. I'm trying to keep it tidy and give it a quick wipe each week.

We were also tasked to declutter our cookbooks. 

I have a fair few of those! And a mountain of clippings from magazines. I tidied the bookshelf during the first week, but hadn't yet done anything with the clippings. I took Katrina's fantastic idea and organised them all into an expanding file, chucking out quite a few along the way! The file also fits neatly into my cookbook cupboard, perfect! I have removed a couple of rarely used cookbooks to be sold/donated, whatever is easiest. What's left is a well used collection, definitely no dust collectors left!

Our new habit was to meal plan - I do this every week as we are on a strict grocery budget. I never used to plan lunches but this week I included a few recipes I could make anytime and store in the fridge. This made a nice change from vegemite sandwiches!

My meal plan is generally just a list on a notepad. I am yet to find a nice printable, that doesn't also contain a pathetically small space for your grocery list! How are the ingredients for 14 meals going to fit on ten tiny lines? If you find a great menu plan with matching separate shopping list printable let me know in the comments!

Day Eight -  Spare room / kids toy room / craft room

We don't really have a proper spare room, we have a second living area that I use as a sewing room. It's also where we enter and leave the house every day as we are on a sloped block and the driveway leads to this door. Off this room leads our bedroom. There is also a big open window space looking into the kitchen which gives us a great view of the kids outside when we are doing things in this part of the house. It's a gorgeous light filled area but doesn't seem to fit anything I want to do with it. We trialled it is our lounge room but finally settled on the formal lounge and dining area at the front of the house. 

One of my goals was to create a space where guests could stay in comfort. It's a little difficult to do this because we only have three bedrooms and there is NO WAY I am making my girls share a room. My hair would go grey overnight!

Now that I have cleaned and decluttered this space though, I have formulated a plan. Eventually the ping pong table will go when I get my dad's much loved leather top office desk. A sofa bed and large screen will allow me to use the space to sew and let the kids play, but also turn into a comfortable and private sleeping area for guests. Ikea and I will have to have a look at some sneaky storage solutions for people's clothes etc. 

We are well on our way to making good use of this space.

Day Nine - Junk drawer.

I haven't done this one yet, because I don't have much of a junk drawer. More like a series of junk cupboards! I will take a rain check on this one and make it up next week.

Day Ten - Oven.

This is the one that I always procrastinate until it's time for us to move. Then I scrub the bejeezers out of it until it is sparklier than it's probably been for the last five tenants. Meaning I am never the one who gets to enjoy the clean sparkly oven. I am well aware of how stupidly backwards this system is.

This oven was pretty clean when we moved in but it was pretty obvious the glass front only got a cursory wipe over as evidenced by my first baking picture on Instagram:

I promise to do it this week. Promise.

Finally, I caught up on some of last week's tasks.

The lounge room (featuring our new garage sale couch which occasioned the Great Furniture Shuffle):

The laundry: Yet to replace the gigantic basket with separate sorting baskets but it's on the list.

I've also progressively vacuumed, scrubbed and mopped the floors this week as well. Next month I will shampoo all the carpets to remove the build up of winter dirt and give us a fresh start for Spring/Summer.

It's been a massive week, and everyone in the family has been involved with helping and organising. Hopefully by tackling this challenge as a group the responsibility will not fall back on just me in the future.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Organisation Update - The Organised Housewife 20 Day Challenge

I'm following The Organised Housewife's 20 Days to Clean and Organise Your Home Challenge!

And.... I'm already behind... nuts.

Days one and two rocked! My kitchen got a much needed going over, although I was able to cheat a little in places because I happened to wipe the cupboards down on the weekend. I have been keeping an eye on them and spot wiping them as part of my morning/after breakfast tidy up though.

Frog helped me do the dishes :)

WonderMan just shook his head when he opened the cupboard and saw the space labelled "dish detergents"

Shiny happy clean kitchen!

Our bedroom has nothing much to clean, just declutter the small piles on each side of the bed where we don't have bedside tables. *SIGH*

So that took relatively little time, but I did discover a cobweb at the back of my bedhead that could have meant some nasty creepy crawly visiting me in the middle of the night, I removed that quick smart! 

A garage sale provided me with a small Ikea table which has become my temporary bedside table to hold my mountain of books off the floor. The larger table which came with it is destined to become the lounge room play table, giving us a chance to remove most of the toys back to bedrooms and back into a rotation system.

But I am afraid this is where all the shiny happy ends because I got called in to work for an extra day, and then we went away for an extended weekend. 

Today, my kitchen is telling me off for piling all this clutter back in there and I can't remember when the last time I vacuumed the floors was. Such is the life of a temp, and a mother who can suddenly find herself with a sick child on top of her weekend away.

Today has been about regaining the essential routines. 
I collected all the washing in the house and started after breakfast to ensure I got most of it dry before the next couple of rainy days due tomorrow.  

I helped the girls to follow their morning routines which made school drop off simple and stress free. (Well not quite; Tiger dumped the contents of her suitcase in the laundry instead of putting her clean clothes away and I thought I would teach her a lesson by washing it and making her put it away anyway. Turns out every piece of underwear she had was in there.... DAMN!)

I wrote a to do list of small jobs that I had been putting off for ages, like dropping off WonderMan's watch to have a link removed, and posting a couple of letters I kept forgetting. Frog and I spent a relaxed hour down in town running errands.

I'm now off to reclaim my shiny kitchen, and remove the toy cupboard from the lounge room so I can start keeping the room clean and simple. 

With Frog home this week (but not miserable anymore) after nasty ear infection on the weekend, I'm hoping to catch up with the challenge to help us regain some order, and some family time next weekend! 

How are you going with your challenge? 

The Organised Housewife

Sunday, 2 September 2012

20 Day Challenge - Pre-season wrap up

So I told you to pop back after my last post... but then I got busy as usual and decided to do a wrap up of pre-season before starting the challenge tomorrow! I'll hopefully do a wrap up every five days or so throughout the challenge, because you don't really need me boring you with my cleaning achievements every day do you?

My first post and first pre-season task can be found here.

Pre-season ~ Task Two ~ Set up your clean kit

I would love a pretty carry-all like Katrina's, but I'm all for repurposing instead of buying new if possible. Instead I found a sturdy tub that's been a lego box, a craft container and was stacked up in the shed awaiting it's next adventure.


 Bright yellow, can't miss it! My clean kit is made up of the following:

Rags (old tea towels, cotton tshirts etc) for wiping
Old stockings for behind taps etc
Microfibre cloth for dusting
Window/mirror polishing cloth
Thick soft cloth for drying surfaces after I wipe them

Scrubbing brush (for the shower floor tiles)
Chux Magic Erasers - general purpose (blue) and bathroom/shower (yellow)
Toothbrush (for grout, joins etc)

Disinfectant  - for everything. I know we should use bicarb/vinegar - but it always seems to leave a residue, and being time poor I need fast and effective!
Window cleaner
Carpet spot remover - rental homes + cream carpets + kids = essential!
Carpet deoderiser
Velvet soap bar - for gentle cleaning when I don't want to use disinfectant

Label maker - the most essential item in my kit. If I spend half a day cleaning and organising the pantry, I'm not going to be impressed when everyone just starts throwing everything in willy nilly again. I will get cross and anxious. My label maker means organisation and peace will reign supreme, and I won't need to declutter and organise the same areas over and over.

Dustpan and brush
Vacuum cleaner
Mop and bucket

I like that I can grab the tub and move around the house doing all the things I need without going back and forth to different cupboards, or realising we've run out of something.

The next step was Routines.

Routines are the backbone of the whole deal, and I made sure to talk to WonderMan and prepare family routines that suit all of us, and make us all responsible for the day to day tidiness and organisation of our home. We really need these routines to stick, so that when I'm working full time I'm not also shouldering the load at home and being the matyr of the year.

We wrote morning and evening routines for the grown ups, and the kids. The kids' I printed out in pretty rainbow colours for each step, and stuck them on their bedroom doors. The steps are fairly similar, because Frog follows Tiger's lead and they brush their teeth etc together most mornings. Our mornings have been slowly improving so I think these will work fine.

I just have to stop subscribing to the "five minutes more" theory when it comes time to get out of bed.

The last step was to set up my de-cluttering tubs. One each for "Keep" "Donate" "Sell" and "Rubbish".

Katrina has lovely little printable labels you can stick on so you don't forget which is which.

I need to pick up a couple more baskets, which I will do on the way back from school drop off tomorrow and I'll be all set.

Oops! I almost forgot my goals!

Katrina set the following questions which we answered with our own words (mine in BLUE)

I want to feel less anxious, more clear headed while I'm at home.
I want to spend more time experiencing new things with our family. 
I want an area of the home where I can have guests to stay in comfort.  
I want to organise my jewellery and accessories.
I always lose my work name tag.
Something I don't need any more but have trouble parting with: Some sewing patterns.

These are the reasons behind jumping into this challenge, and I'm going to print them out and stick them up where they will remind and motivate me each day.
It's not too late to join the 20 Day Challenge, just go here! 
The Organised Housewife