cleaning, nEAtening

my oven mate…

More oven cleaning today as if I haven’t done enough recently doing my daughters.   I like to give it a thorough clean at this time of year ready for all the November and Christmas cooking.

It wasn’t as dirty as I thought it would be – that might be because we have been careful to wipe it down well after each meal or perhaps we have been doing less cooking!

I use a product called Oven Mate Cleaning Gel by Lakeland it has no horrible smell and does a good job – I can recommend it.  I decided to take out the inside glass panels in the doors to clean as well and so it was a while before I had it all put back together again but the result is gleaming for a cooker that we have had for more than ten years and it was second-hand when we got it from my sister who possibly had it for 10 years herself.

We took it as a stop-gap to tide us over until we had a new kitchen installed because our old gas cooker had died on us unexpectedly and we didn’t want to have to buy a new free standing one.  But just as unexpectedly we had to cancel our new kitchen because I became quite ill and had to keep going in to hospital.  So the cooker has remained and become my mate…

Oven Cleaning

I am still waiting for my new kitchen!!

 

 

cleaning, fEAsible, nEAtening, organising, rEArranging, simplifying, taking stock

simplifying the house – declutter day 3…

It is a while since my last post on decluttering (usual work and home commitments taking over) however, I had in mind all week to have a good sort through my cleaning products when I could spare a bit of time with a view to taking stock, using up and creating some space in my cupboards.

Over the last few years I inherited first my mum’s unwanted cleaning products when she moved and down sized, and then my mum-in-laws when we cleared her house.  I gave all the products a home as I cannot bear to throw out perfectly good items even though a lot of the products I don’t usually buy or use.  And of course when we emptied the kitchen at the cottage I had to bring the cleaners back home and absorb them into my cupboards here.

I generally use Bi-carb, white vinegar and elbow grease alongside Ecover all purpose cleaner for my worktops and Stardrops for floors and general cleaning jobs.   I keep Dettol to give door handles etc a good wipe over and I use washing powder to clean my sink as well as my clothes.

For those jobs that need a more specific cleaner I use Lakeland Oven cleaner (which is a gel as I do not like sprays), metal polish for my silver, Flash for paintwork and Ecover cream cleaner for the bathroom pottery and tiles.  In addition I have Ecover toilet cleaner and I keep a bottle of thick bleach which I use a teaspoon at a time to add to the water when I soak my dishcloth overnight in a little non bio washing powder.

In the garage I keep an assortment of car shampoos and waxes (not that I use these very often!), alongside a few specialised cleaners such as sugar soap when we decorate.

I have also a bit of a collection of products I have bought at sometime for a purpose  – aluminium cleaner is one of them – although now I cannot even remember what I actually needed it for and Upholstery shampoo another – I never did get to do that patch test!

So  working in true Kondo style I emptied all my cupboards of any cleaners and cloths and laid it all out on the kitchen worktop.  I must say I was quite shocked at the amount I have accumulated especially those that I haven’t used in the last 3 years.  I even found I had multiples of some products I would never think to use such as methylated Spirits – I am still wondering what I can use this for as I particularly hate the smell.

Cleaners 2

This is just some of the cleaners – there is more outside of this snapshot!  After sorting and separating the items I normally use from those that I just want to use up I put the useful cleaners back into my trusty Muji containers.  In this one below I have oven cleaner, Stainless cookware cleaner, some mould cleaner, silver and brass wear cleaner and the aluminium cleaner (although I am still not sure what I am going to use this for)…oh and not forgetting the iron cleaner.

 Cleaners organised

I keep my rubber glove supplies in this one with some non-stick pan scrubs.Containers

And my Eco – cleaning cloths in another container.

Cleaning Cloths

I do like to look after my clothes and therefore I am very careful washing and ironing them to keep them looking good for as long as possible so I do tend to keep a variety of different washing powders and liquids.

I generally use Persil non-bio powder unless I have really grubby clothes from the garden and then I tend to add a little bio to the mix.  I use non bio liquid for the 40 degree knitwear and underwear and it is also useful to prevent those white powder marks appearing on all our black garments.  For hand wash wool and those delicate delicates I have a bottle of Ecover liquid for woollens and I also keep a container of pure soap flakes for those items that need a gentle non-detergent wash.

Yes I know I could start a regular little laundry service – it looks worse written down than seeing all the products in the cupboard LOL!  Someone tell me they have such a collection too.

Cleaners stock

I removed everything that needed using up and I am working my way through this box in the picture below.  It consists of a few almost empty items some of which I inherited and would not purchase again but do not want to waste and one or two duplicates.

Use Up Cleaners

Whilst the cleaners were out I began straight away to use up some of the almost finished bottles and in doing this I created a bit more shelf space too.   I now have some very shiny pans after using the Shine Brite and the tiles in my shower are gleaming after using some old Jif cream cleaner.

Shine Brite

 

I also got to work with the remains of the Sticky Stuff remover and cleaned the ‘sticky’ patches off a number of items.  Next I will clean up my silverware and the car might even get a wash and polish, I may even get around to cleaning that upholstery.

There are still a lot of cleaners to wade through but my cupboards feel a bit lighter – I just hope no one else is thinking of moving and giving me their unwanted stuff!  Even though these products may not exactly ‘bring me joy’ I cannot throw them out as Kondo would mainly because I have the environment on my conscience  – but at least now spring is on the way I can make an effort to get cleaning.

cleaning, fEAsible, nEAtening, sEAsons

My new Focus for this month…

It is so lovely to see little signs of Spring creeping in everywhere, the lighter nights and mornings, sunnier days and the first burst of  colour as the Spring flowers emerge. I feel winter is definitely behind us now and we can give a huge stretch and come out of hibernation.
It is with this in mind that I have decided to dedicate my focus this month to an energetic Spring Clean and I must say I can’t wait to get started.

Spring Clean

After the long winter months I can finally blow away the cobwebs, throw the windows open wide and  let some fresh air into the house, put the washing out onto the line to dry and clean, scrub, clean until every nook and cranny in the house sparkles.

Washing Day

If you click on the drop down menu above on the tab Focus 2014 you can see my plan for March.  Each day I will tackle a different task which will lead me to my goal of a clean house.
For those of you who have been following along I will be updating you on my previous projects for January and February – focusing on Finances and Simplifying my Space, the former actually proved to be easier than the latter and I think this is mainly due to the fact that I could do a very small financial related task in the evening, whilst the clearing tended to be left for my days at home.
Did you watch the video about Innermost House on my previous post – I know some of you did and there were mixed comments but I think the general consensus was that there was something quite magical about it even if it is definitely not for you. 
For anyone who missed it here is the link again – Innermost House
…and for those who would like to see more this is another video called ‘On the way home’
I have watched them a few times over now as I see and hear different things at each viewing –  there is something of the spirit of the place that I would like to capture and apply to my own home – for instance I love the fact that she has ‘chosen’ what she wants to live with her in the house.  As the documentary says there is nothing superfluous there and that really appeals to me so whilst I continue to simplify my space I will be putting this into practice and really choosing only the items I want to live with.
Did you notice that when asked if she was a Luddite she didn’t rush off to Google – instead she took a beautiful leather bound book off the shelf and looked the word up.  We often have to resort to this method when we are at our cottage as we have no computer up there, or internet connection or phone line even and funnily enough I never miss it.  If we need to know the answer to something we go into town and generally ask Billy in the Hire Shop he is our Google  – a font of all knowledge or (and Dar will love this) we visit our local library – but you have to leave plenty of time because you will be drawn into a lovely long chat with the librarians.
Most people commented on hearing the sounds in the documentary – the sounds of nature that are often go unheard these days with all the background noise pollution we suffer from having electricity and engines surrounding us.  I must say that I might find the lack of listening to music a problem as I expect having no electricity would mean no means of playing CD’s etc.  Maybe they have musical instruments and I definitely would have to have room for my piano.
And just what is in her cupboards?  I am curious to know what she is keeping in there – what chosen articles are allowed to be part of her life.  I have so many unanswered questions and each time I watch it I want to know more – I expect you can tell that it has had a profound affect on me!!
After discovering her website I will be definitely settling down tonight for a good read. www.innermosthouse.com
My meal plan for the week, grocery spending and what I have bought last month will all be on my re-routed blog click here.
budgeting, fEAsible, financial focusing, my goals, trEAsury

Financial Focusing update #13

My last day today focusing on the finances.  It is funny that I should end my updates on number 13 – unlucky for some maybe but I have potentially saved a lot of money over the last month with my bills and my task today is to revise my Housekeeping budget.

I have noticed on my travels that one persons Housekeeping is not comparable to another as they encompass different categories.  So that you are not in any doubt I will set out exactly what comes under the heading of Housekeeping in this household.

  • Car Wash (hubby’s company car)  -birthdays and high days as they say – usually in preparation for my mums visits.  Mine stays dirty most of the time.
  • Extra Cleaning Products – usually from Wilkos
  • Groceries / Wholefoods / Drinks / cleaning products
  • Lunch and Snacks at work – these are bought lunches – the cost of packed lunches would come out of the groceries budget
  • Medicines / Remedies / Supplements – anything to make or keep me well
  • Mobile Phone – hubby – only used at the cottage
  • Mobile Phone – me – emergencies
  • Parking charges (non contract) – usually on shopping trips and days out
  • Petrol – my car
  • Postage
  • Stationery
  • Toiletries and make-up

For 2013 this is how my housekeeping spending looked

Housekeeping Budget for 2013

A grand total of £5,220.26 or £100.39 per week

If you look at the Groceries and wholefoods this is the biggest spend at £3168.98 or £60.94 per week.  £10 over my original budget of £50.

So my challenge now is to reduce the amount for the total Housekeeping and this will mean identifying where cuts can be made.

Toiletries and Makeup

The total spend on some items is more of a shock than others – £521.84 on Toiletries and make-up when I only wear a bit of mascara and lip-gloss.  The rest is on beauty creams (though they obviously don’t work that well for the money!), shampoo, shower gel, body cream and cotton wool.  I always use the Boots money off vouchers and gain points so I wonder what the full amount would have been.  I like the products I buy so I can only use less and make them last longer or ask for vouchers as birthday and Xmas gifts.

Medicines / Remedies / Supplements

The other shock is medicines, remedies and supplements – now this category may contain some wholefoods in the figures as some items are on the same till receipt and I may not have split them out.   The total was quite a shock and even though Vitamins and supplements are quite expensive £11.85 a week is a steep figure to keep healthy.   The only medicine I buy is dissolving Paracetamol as I have some training in using Homeopathic remedies.  The biggest spend will be the supplements which will include my daily Vit D, Krill oil, EPA oil and Vit B12, because I am vegetarian and  Aloe Vera juice and Acidophilus for my digestion.  I do believe in keeping myself as healthy as possible and I am hardly ever off sick – I certainly haven’t had a cold this year.   The Thyroxine that I take is free on prescription for life because I will be dependent on it for life and keeps me from being Hypothyroid.

Petrol

My petrol costs me £8.29 a week – again I will only fill up when I have a money off voucher from Sainsbury’s.  I must read up on how to cut fuel costs I think there are certain techniques you can employ when driving to reduce consumption and I don’t mean coasting down all the hills although we have plenty around here.  So just like turning your oven off for the last 5 minutes of cooking I could coast the last 1/2 mile to our house LOL!

Lunch and Snacks at work

My lunch and snacks are actually less than I expected and with more effort I could reduce further –  I had already decided to take two and buy two meals at work each week.  The summer is easier for packed lunches as there is a constant supply of salad – this weather I just want soup.   (Yes I know I could make it myself and I do at the weekend but then we eat it!)

Mobile phones

I topped up my mobile with £20 in February and December – I didn’t quite make the year but maybe could stretch the December top up over this coming year.  The only reason I ran out in December was because I broke down and the very inefficient Jobs Worth at One Call Insurance took so long to deal with the situation.  Don’t they know I am on a tight budget LOL!

Stationery

Stationery – what can I say  – the lure of Rymans is just too much for a girl and all those seemingly insignificant items like display books, plastic wallets, pens and filofax diary inserts that I have purchased over the course of the year just add up.  It is my one weakness (apart from magazines but luckily they come under Leisure in my budget).

So my aim is to reduce these amounts definitely by 10% and hopefully by 20% or more in some categories.

How does this look in figures – take a look at the chart below.

Housekeeping Budget for 2014

The groceries work out at £50 a week and this year I will work on the start I made last year to meet this target.

In addition to this category we have, of course, all the other extra items such as cards and gifts, household contents, decorating, garden requirements, leisure and entertainment, books and magazines, crafts and hobbies and I will be coming to these but maybe not today.

So there we are January is well and truly over now and although I have not done every task on my list I feel my finances have had a good overhaul.  I will be carrying on throughout the year especially reducing the housekeeping which I will log on my blog rerouted.  I will also do occasional update reports but for February my attention will be on my next project.

Have a good weekend x