drEAming, general chit chat, rEArranging

my love affair with clipping…

Thank you for the lovely comments on my last post with a few helpful suggestions which are noted about dealing with my affliction addiction.

I have been trying to think why I like my clippings so much – I suppose they are like my best friends, a bit like my Journals, they are a visual representation of who I am and what I like or aspire to just like my Journals are a written record of my life – I don’t think I could ever be paperless as much as I might want to be to save the environment.

It would be my one minimalist stumbling block.  I think I am beyond help.

Another reason is I hate waste and I would only buy a magazine if there are features that catch my eye or an article or two I might want to read.  The only regular magazine I have is by a subscription to Country Living magazine (a regular Christmas present from my OH) and I am trying hard to economise and avoid buying additional magazines as I feel bad that I have to eventually throw them away and that feels like a waste of money.  With the cost of a magazine these days I find it can be more costs effective to buy a cheap book in the Works to satisfy a sudden urge I might have.

My clipping habit started years ago when still a teenager with my 60’s Petticoat magazine.  I would tear out pictures of the latest fashion I liked and articles on beauty routines.  This then continued as a  fashion student at art college always tearing out bits and pieces that would generate future ideas.  Then when we bought our first house I bought magazines for decorating and gardening features.

One idea from Alys at Gardening Nirvana is to use Pinterest to cut down the amount of clippings.  Good tip Alys –  I do use Pinterest as well to capture interesting bits and pieces and  I agree it is a good way to keep ideas and not have to provide the storage room that clippings demand I should use it more perhaps and buy less magazines in future.

But I am definitely an old-fashioned paper girl too – I don’t have a Kindle because I like to hold a book in my hands – there is something very tactile about the feel of books like the feel of cloth.


Once a week I love nothing better than to browse the lengthy magazine aisle in Sainsbury’s before I start the weekly shop and this is where I might be tempted to select something that appeals.  It might be anything from Top Sante to Self Build, Coast to English Garden or even our local magazine called Down your Way with memorable and humorous stories of people’s lives in Yorkshire in past decades.

So when I have a pile of magazines that I have read I go through and first of all pull out the recipes, then any gardening features that I want to keep – (in Coast magazine they are useful because they feature other people’s seaside gardens), then I might tear out any decorating ideas for future reference it might be anything from a cushion to a paint colour or furniture.  On the way through I might see something for my craft folder or save an article on improving my diet and health.   After this I clip snippets of information on new products like supplements or face creams that have been tried and tested.  From the Woman’s Weekly my mum passes on I save those crossword puzzles at the back to do at the cottage as we do not have ready-made entertainment like a TV!

Finally, after all that clipping I tear off the very front or back cover on a glossy magazine and I use these to punch out multi coloured butterflies and flower shapes to make my recycled paper cards.

Tania at Frugal in Essex mentions that she uses her smart phone so I will take this on board Tania though I will have to find mine first.  I will do anything on a computer – at work I train colleagues on our softwear programs and am called on to solve a range of technical issues but phones and me have yet to gel in the same way.

Lyn at Everyday Life – sounds like we are on the same page as far as magazines and cuttings – next time you have a throw out throw them my way.

decluttering, drEAming, fEAsible, financial focusing, general chit chat, managEAble, organising, rEArranging, trEAsury

tackling the paperwork mountain…

I am not used to working Thursdays now so it was a bit of a long week for me last week waiting until Friday for a day off work.  Due to the Birmingham visit on Tuesday  I had to work on Thursday which has recently become my cleaning day – so no cleaning done.  Dilemma then when I woke up on Friday morning – do I clean today instead or do the paperwork that is normally designated for Fridays.


The paperwork won!

It is a sit down job and I was quite tired by Friday morning so cleaning seemed far too energetic and I had a ‘ladies who lunch’ date with my friend which I knew would break up part of the day.

Surprisingly my desk was reasonably tidy and I got stuck in.  First job was to write a to do list – I now use Todoist as I can’t install Microsoft works on the Mac – it was the closest program to the one I had but not as good and I refuse to pay to upgrade to the premium service.  The list seemed never-ending in fact so long that even if I retired tomorrow I feel sure I would not get to the end.

So then I did a shorter version to capture the really urgent tasks but it still looks a bit daunting.

Having assembled a frightening list I then made a note of any upcoming appointments and put reminders in my diary.  I also checked the September birthdays and made a mental note to see if I can find suitable cards from my supply to save me buying any more.  I have more than enough blank cards in my craft cupboard and just need to find some time to make some and this would be a good economy as I spend far too much on cards over a year.

Then it was down to bill paying – the plumber for the recent radiator leak (yes I know more water problems),  the roofer (who has done a small repair for us to prevent a future leak) and Yorkshire Water for our water bill (it seems a little ironic that we have to pay so much for water when we seem to attract more than our fair share of free water into our lives in the form of leaks and floods!).

Whilst online transferring the payments I did a quick check of our bank statements to assess our situation.  We have of course spent quite a bit on paint and new furniture recently for the bedroom we have just decorated – I didn’t set a budget as such but I always know when something is more than we should be spending.  The wardrobes were our dearest item and then the drawers and the small bookcase but the two blinds were very reasonable at £16 and we made the wardrobe door handles.  The duvet cover with pillowslips only came as a pack of two at £32 making them £16 each, the fleecy throw was £4 and a few picture frames at £3 or £4 each.  Everything else we already had.

Within our usual day-to-day spending there is always room to economise more.  The dearest item by far this week was the petrol we bought for the journey to Birmingham.  My neighbour has recently been sent three Sainsbury’s 12p off petrol coupons,  I go there every week and they have not sent me or OH any – so feeling a trifle miffed about that.

I am however still taking packed lunches to work so saving a good £10 a week there even allowing for the extra food on the weekly shopping bill.  I have a £20 gift token for Boots so I will wait until there are offers on the brands I use or put it towards a new hairdryer – mine stopped working one day recently, the same week as the iron died on me!

We have just changed gas providers from Npower to EDF for a cheaper deal – the electricity is already on a reasonable fixed rate and with our BT line we pay up front for the year which is cheaper and try not to go over the hour with our calls which are free for the first 60 minutes – difficult when you have 2 daughters, a mother and a sister (and not forgetting my brother) who all like a long chat.  I will just have to start keeping the timer by the phone and cut them off after 55 minutes!

As I can’t reduce most of the bills any further I can only look to the housekeeping and transport costs – food, petrol, cleaning and toiletries to make more savings.


Over the rest of the weekend I extended sorting the paperwork to a mammoth session of decluttering and streamlining the files in the office.  I am not sure where the mountain of paper came from to throw out but the files are so much lighter now.  There is far too much paper to shred – I can’t put it in the recycle bin as too much sensitive information so we will take it on holiday with us to Scotland and have a bonfire at the cottage.


So after my sorting out session everything is in order and up to date,  I even managed to set up the log in account for my new workplace pension.  We have always preferred the ethical funds for OH’s pension where we have been given a choice and it has performed well over the years so I was pleased to find I could choose an ethical one with our workplace pension provider.  I am not sure I will accrue very much between now and retirement but I won’t be refusing the ‘free’ money paid in by my employer and the government as every little helps!

My next job is my heap (I exaggerate not here) of magazine cuttings – I am not sure why I find such a pleasure in hoarding articles and pictures torn from magazines.  I spend time neatly filing them into folders – all subjects – gardening, craft, health, decorating ideas, recipes etc but now I have a whole shelf full of files dedicated to magazine cuttings plus the heap waiting to be filed.

I realise I have a problem and as an example of how chronic my addiction is I have articles on health issues I don’t even suffer with…well not yet anyway!   I have more diets than I could possibly try out and more craft ideas than I would even want to attempt – after all why would I want to crotchet a hot water bottle cover really when I can’t even crotchet!  In my perfect life I might consider it but when it takes me all my time to go to work, shop, cook and clean a crotchet hot water bottle cover is probably on the end of my do to list.  (Just checking I did add this on to the end of my list!)

So I am resolving to be ruthless – my OH is not convinced – he knows me and my cuttings well!  Watch this space…






organising, rEArranging

Organising those snippets of information (Part 2)

Care Cards

Keeping information so that it can be easily retrieved is often a challenge so here is  how I deal with information about the care of anything –  from a Kitchen appliance to advice on Stain Removal.

On my Kitchen notice board I have a bull-dog clip that has a number of A5 size information sheets and I call these my ‘Care Cards’.

I choose A5 because a lot of information booklets are printed on this size for instance my new Iron Instruction book.

I have a number of kitchen and other appliances and although I don’t need to keep the whole booklet available in the Kitchen (because my Kitchen is tiny and I have very limited space) there is often a page of information I do need handy from time to time for undertaking a certain task which I do not perform regularly enough to always remember the procedure.

For instance

  • For the Flymo Lawn Mower – I need to know how to adjust the height settings in Summer and Winter by adding the disks
  • For the Oven  – I occasionally want to set the automatic timer or adjust the shelves to the correct place for my Christmas cake
  • For my Iron  – I should do a self clean maintenance once a month
  • For my Washer  – I need to clear the drain pump every other month

 Then I occasionally need information on items like

  • How to care for my Orchids – the feeding and watering instructions
  • What items I can take to our local recycling point and their opening times
  • The diagram and instructions for correctly placing the coals in our open Gas Fire when I clean it out
  • A handy leaflet on the uses of my kitchen cleaning products – Bi carb, White Vinegar, Borax and Soda Crystals (see Move to Portugal for a recent post on simplifying your cleaning products)
  • And just in case I keep a First Aid leaflet with a useful ABC direction on how to resuscitate someone if I ever had the misfortune to need this (hopefully not!!)

Anyway I think you can probably get the gist now…

I photocopy the information from booklets or type out and print what I require and anything that isn’t A5 I reduce down on the photocopier.

I then used to slip each sheet into one of those A5 plastic pockets and cut off the edge with the holes but for items that are going to be used for many years I laminate them which is even better as they are wipe-able. (yes I know laminated items are not very green – if you prefer to avoid the plastic then print or photocopy onto stiff card)

After laminating each sheet I bundle them all together and keep them secure with a large Bulldog clip and hang in the kitchen.  Then whenever I want any of that information it is there at my fingertips and the cards are very transportable and can be stuck on a cupboard or wall whilst being read – much easier than having an open folder or book.

I also find it useful to keep the details from the boxes of bulbs that we purchase that are not the usual run of the mill light bulbs – like narrow screw in candle bulbs for the wall lights and Halogen for the spots.  I collect these together, photocopy and laminate  them…

…the sheet is kept with the care cards ready for when I need to buy some more – I can drop the card into my shopping bag and match the size and number up in the shop.  I also do this for batteries for the various appliances we have.



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Organising those snippets of information (Part 1)



organising, rEArranging, trEAsure

Organising those snippets of information (Part 1)

with my Systemised Product and Information Folder or ‘SPIF’ for short

For ages now I have been trying to find a way to catalogue and contain all the bits and pieces of information that I seem to collect from sources such as magazines, catalogues and even the junk mail.   These assorted clippings can be anything from a magazine recommendation for a new skin cream, to a newspaper ad for a play at our local theatre, or even a leaflet advertising an upcoming event and I keep them all thinking I might find them useful one day. (Whether this is the case or not is another matter and maybe another blog!)

Up until now I have never really found a good way of collecting and keeping these odds and ends so that I can easily retrieve the information when I need it.  All too often I have discovered details for an event that has passed tucked away in the back of my Filofax and forgotten about. I tried sticking these clippings into a small notebook but soon realised that I couldn’t organise them into any kind of order and in no time at all I had filled the book.

Then one day recently as I was browsing in my local stationery store Ryman I noticed that they are now stocking A5 lever arch binders and A5 tab inserts (even though they are in garish primary colours – what is wrong with plain white???) and this gave me the idea.

So my plan is that I will stick each clipping with Pritt stick to a piece of A5 paper (at work we always have a huge shredding pile where the bottom half of an A4 sheet of paper is unused so I cut them in half to produce a clean A5 piece to use in my Filofax).

This is a clipping advertising Solgar Probiotics that I want to try…

and this is a flyer giving details of some Open Gardens that I was interested in going to

and this is a page from a garden catalogue with various plant frames that I might be tempted to buy- but just not yet.

I have made a separate tab for each category and so far I have

Out and about (Places to go)


Supplements and vitamins


Foot care




Books / Music

Home-ware Items 

I am sure I may add to this list as I go on or even shorten it depending on how useful it is.  As soon as I have attended an event or the date has passed or I have bought and tried a product or no longer have a use for the clipping I can remove the sheet and throw it away.

When I have the whole thing assembled I will make proper tab labels with my trusty labelling machine but for now I am using a few Post it notes. So far I am loving my new binder already.

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