Tag Archives: organise

A good declutter

I’ve just come across an interesting article on Apartment Therapy, that introduces a new (to me) concept in the ongoing process that is a clutter-free home.

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It’s called an outbox – a defined space (out of the way of everyday living, like in a closet) to act as a halfway house for all those “things” that you’re not quite sure what to do about… and need a little time to consider a more permanent separation.

My current way of dealing with excess stuff is to sort as I go. I have a box for “give to friends”, another for “give to charity” and another for “list on Trade Me”. However, I recently had a minor panic attack after overhearing a conversation between my mother and aunty, at a family birthday, about a gorgeous handmade dress my aunty had made for me as a baby, and a lovingly knitted blanket my mum had made. Mum commented that she was pretty sure both had been handed on to me at the arrival of my own baby girl. Having just done a massive sort of all baby clothes and bedding I was rooted to the spot trawling through my picture memory again and again, trying to spot the precious hand-me-downs. Come Saturday morning I begged and pleaded with Andre to climb back into the roof space and have one more look to see if he’d left any vacuum bags up there after bringing them “all” down for me a few days before. There were tears of relief when I spotted the creamy lace of the dress and the ribbon on the blanket. They didn’t end up being dumped unceremoniously at the charity shop after somehow getting in the wrong box. Nightmare averted!

This outbox concept would deal with such situations, as it offers time to really make a decision on what goes where. No treasured items mistaken for rubbish.

So, here are the rules:

1. Anything can go in the Outbox
2. The Outbox is allowed to get messy
3. Everything must stay in the Outbox for at least one week
4. After that time you have several choices
a. Take anything back out
b. Leave anything you are undecided about for one more week
c. Dispose of the rest by moving to the garbage, recycling bin, or giveaway pile

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Currently we have a complete room that is acting as an outbox. It’s the “green bedroom” – so called because of it’s bright green wallpapered walls. And because we don’t know what else to call it yet… it’s currently suffering from personality disorder – part spare bedroom, part storage room, part project room. I may as well just go ahead and call it “Outbox”. And hope that one day I’ll get to the bottom of the pile!

By the way, here’s the AT take on an outbox space:

Day 4: Set Up a One-Room Outbox

Hmmm… really? Nothing? Not one thing in the whole house is up for trial by outbox to decide it’s fate? Because surely those gumboots are keepers – noone in their right mind would consider not keeping sunshine yellow gumboots (ahem… wellingtons).

How’s your outbox looking?!

 

Tidy up time!

Warning: It gets ugly in here…

There’s nothing like friends coming to live in your house to get you motivated about clearing out the hideous and embarrassing spaces in your home. Thanks guys!

First up was the worst space of all. A space that is probably the worst because it’s not one that gets shared too often. It’s one that visitors, and even extended family keep out of generally, even when the kids are persistently inviting them in to “come and see…”!

The master bedroom. The one that I was too frightened to share even on the Before & Progress page. Because there was no progress.

But last weekend I learnt that even a declutter and tidy up on a large scale can be called progress. This is it:

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This room has become a dumping ground for bits of projects, boxes of paperwork, endless blankets and pillows and cushion inners, and let’s be honest… piles of clothes that never make it to where they belong.

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May this cringe-worthy sight keep me motivated to work towards a master bedroom that is a pleasant place to be!

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As with any good tidy up, things look so much worse in the process. Not only did our bedroom look like a bomb had gone off, but the lounge and spare room got treated pretty badly too. I’m pleased to say the lounge is restored to normal again, but the spare room still suffers… Still some sorting to do there!

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So, here’s how we are looking now (I did get to sleep that night!):

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Tidy…! But there is not a single thing I love in this room. Except for these (temporary) flowers and the digital clock. Sad but so true. It is the least loved room in the whole house.

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After months of living in a room that was not only uninviting, but actually rudely obvious about not wanting to be habitable, it feels good to feel like we at least have a bedroom that is behaving like a bedroom should. We haven’t won it over yet by any means, but this little step of progress makes me feel like one day it might get all friendly and say “oh won’t you come on in and stay a while? – It’s peaceful in here!”

Cheers to unintentional but very strong encouragement to get things sorted, and to a clear space that allows you to see a way forward! Here’s my last thoughts on the way forward for this very important room.

An organised office nook

I don’t know where to start with this, so maybe I’ll just start at the end?

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Aaah that’s better! I guess I just didn’t want to start by showing you this:

0625_0554That is what was left of the doorway off the lounge into the kitchen, after we started working things around to create a new bedroom, laundry, and the office nook.

I can’t seem to find a photo from before we got started with demo, but here is the view from the other side, looking from the original kitchen into the lounge.

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Here is the wall as it was getting cut out…

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And after the framing and lining was completed…0625_1586

Eventually the trim got finished and we got some paint up. That is how it stayed for longer than I care to remember – one giant filing cabinet across the lounge, and a definitely seen better days student desk, with piles of all sorts half hiding behind it.0625_2087

Then the magic started to happen. We bought a piece of laminated timber benchtop off Trade Me, cut it to fit, varnished it up and one evening last winter it got installed!0625_4832

That was followed by some much needed shelves.

0625_4948And the delay since then has been all mine. I guess I was busy elsewhere.

So now I am delighted to introduce you to my office nook. Enjoy! Feast your eyes!

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Here’s something of a source list:

Desktop – Trade Me
Shelves – Bunnings
Pinboard – inherited
Storage boxes – The Warehouse, Briscoes, Boxalong
Jars – collected
Ringbinders – Warehouse Stationery (labels my own)
Drawers – Ikea via Trade Me

As for a budget… do you mind if I skip that today? It’s been quite the challenge enough to get photos done and a post up!

I love that the pinboard will be a constantly changing artwork, but I also plan to hang something gorgeous to the left of it for balance. We are also toying with the idea of a narrow shelf (like this) above the pinboard to balance the shelves either side, and provide a little more storage space.

I do hope you love this space as much as I do! I’d be delighted to know what you think… comment away or tell me on Facebook.

 

A cable mess

Help! I’ve got cable problems.

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There’s no excuse for messy cords when there are so many remedies out there. You can wrap ’em, hide ’em, combine them or do something crazy and off… er, on… the wall.

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1. Turn them into art

2. Wrap them around a Bobino Cable Tidy

3. Hide them with a picket fence

4. Make it all go away with an Ikea KVISSLE Cable management box

5. Wrap and stack in a modular cable tidy

Father’s weekend in the man cave

Father’s Day rolled around this year with a few hints that tools were required (aren’t they always?!). Actually I should rephrase because he doesn’t do hints. When pressed I got “I think I need a spanner set.”

What he got instead was a sweet handmade card that is the spitting image of our newly painted (yes, yes, more on that later I promise) garage and a promise from Mama and the kids that we would dedicate two whole days to help find a spanner set.

Some…. where….. in…… here:

A spanner? In there? Hardly likely… and he wants a whole set?! Before I go any further I need to say two things: No attempt has been made to sort this garage since things were thrown in on moving day, and with all going on inside the house the garage has born the brunt of hurried returning of tools and bits and pieces. Secondly, my poor husband can’t stand up in this garage… being 6’4″ has it’s advantages – a low roof is not one of them.

Now, arrow 1 points to the chest freezer where I have a few meals stored for “one of those days”. For some time I have not been able to get to any meals on “one of those days” which is just the last straw and makes it “ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!!” Arrow 2 points to the “tool drawer” which hung out in the house for quite some time and quickly became the dumping ground for anything that I or Andre couldn’t immediately find a place for ie. everything! Arrow 3 marks the spot where one or two motorbikes are usually parked but weren’t for this photo – I just have to point that out so you know I really, really couldn’t get to the freezer and there was a very valid reason for sending Andre back out for takeaways as soon as he got home.

Anyway, there are loads of photos so I’ll let them speak for themselves for a bit:

Ugh! Because this was a serious operation, Andre took a couple of days off work so we had ourselves a four day weekend to get this chaos into order. Being Auckland, rain was guaranteed at least four times in those four days so we put the tent up to store everything in the meantime. This is how it looked by coffee time on the first morning:

Some time after lunch everything was out (including Miss E) and in various piles designated for the rubbish truck or Trade Me or for keeps (this is where we put Miss E).

And we got to cleaning in preparation for a repaint (looks like someone had tried to clean their paintbrush on the walls previously…??).

I have no progress shots of the painting because it was all hands on paint brush to get it done before dinner. I was pretty delighted to get so far in one day – never thought we’d be painting until day two!

Day two was another big one which involved splitting all the scrap timber into kindling for next winter:

And starting the slow process of moving everything back into it’s rightful place. Because this is my kind of job I was so engrossed I also missed pictures of this process, but am delighted to be able to present some “finished” pictures after a solid three days of getting well acquainted with our man cave and all that is in it (and no longer in it).

Sooo much better don’t you agree? Thanks to removing an old blind off the window, freshening up the walls and painting the lower beams white (hmm… varying shades of leftover white or not so white) and putting everything “away” the garage looks bigger, lighter and there is space to work at the work bench at the back, or even work on bigger projects without having to hang from the ceiling beams. The bench just to the left of the motorbike holds all the “for sale” things, so if you squint and picture that free from clutter it just gets better! I didn’t wait for that to be gone before I took after pictures because… well, I just couldn’t wait.

I’m pretty proud of this corner:

It’s my gardening station. I no longer have to fight with the ladder for possession of the rake. Dare I give you a close up look for my tool rack? Oops, you can see where I took a wee shortcut and didn’t paint the underside, but I can assure you only small children or squatting photographers see this view.

Down below are these old nail boxes which have faithfully followed our every move since Andre claimed them from his Dad’s (or Opa’s?) garage when he moved out. They look so smart lined up together and they’re doing a great job storing the smaller gardening tools and gloves, seeds etc.

Further back in the garage are these shelves (repurposed from the kids room, which now has a new manrobe) which hold the only new purchase for this makeover: 8 storage crates from Mitre 10 at around $9 each. We’ll call them the Father’s Day present (I think we found the spanners!).

They hold painting supplies, plumbing bits and electrical things, as well as some other odds and ends. Based on the above view I have imposed a “no more paint” rule. Surely there is enough paint, sealer and filler to allow for whatever project we dream up next?

Once I had “my” gardening corner and these shelves set up I pretty much left Andre to get to know his man cave on his own. I am absolutely delighted at the transformation and am no longer afraid to venture in for a piece of sandpaper, but it’s Andre’s place to hang out, not mine. Besides, my usefulness had expired by then anyway – I was just getting in the way and putting things in the wrong place, which was definitely not the idea. I snuck back in one morning last week to get some more photos.

Long may it last!