budgeting, getting things done, managEAble, trEAsury

I’m pretty impressed

My first day back at work yesterday and I felt a bit like the new kid on the block.  I felt I had almost forgotten how to do my job – but like riding a bike or driving a car you never really forget and once I got going again everything fell into place.

I must say that I was pretty impressed with myself after my good talking to the other day and I managed to get myself prepared for work the night before and everything went like clockwork and even better I managed a whole day at work without spending a penny.  I had taken a healthy lunch and snacks and after finishing on time I even avoided the temptation to sneak down to the shops or pop into Sainsbury’s and hover around the magazine section.

I was extremely tired when I got home and tea was a homemade and made up version of a Vegetarian Bolognese with Tacos rather than spaghetti.  I have found having a meal plan is very helpful and I must get back to trying to use up the store cupboard items especially as our bank balance remains quite low.  Since Christmas I have not been able to replenish the extra cash we had in there probably because I have spent quite a bit on organising items which do seem to come expensive.

I have been hunting for a plastic box or two to contain the extra wine glasses I have in case of a party.  I cannot keep them with the usual glasses in my cabinet as there are too many and I don’t want to get rid of them because in the event of a party they are so useful.  I have a space at the back of my corner cupboard – one of those spaces that you have to be a contortionists to get into and cannot keep anything in there that is used with any frequency.  So far the glasses have been stored in two cardboard boxes but I prefer to see the contents to remind me they are there so I have bought 2 different sized plastic storage boxes so far but was not very excited by the fit of either (I am far to much of a neat freak to hve just any old box –  I have to have the most perfect one) and then yesterday I tried out the most recent purchase of a Really Useful Box which is shallow and stackable from Rymans and BINGO I think this is the one although far more expensive than I wanted to pay!  My dilemma now is do I return the other boxes to the shops for a refund or use them for something else?

I was pleased though that our grocery bills are quite a bit lower and of course I am saving on the cost of extra magazines.  January we spent a total of £177.93 on groceries, cleaning products, toiletries and magazines – which I collectively call Housekeeping and Food an average of £45 each week for four of us (at the moment as my daughter and her partner are staying with us).  In February we spent a total of £340.34 an average of £85 each week.

The January bill was much lower because we had quite a bit of food left over from the Christmas period in the cupboards and freezer.  In February I also took advantage of the 3 for 2 offers on toiletries and used some of the coupons I had collected.  I do need to sit down and set a proper realistic budget for the Housekeeping and Food but that will have to be another day as at the moment the decluttering and organising and Big Spring Cleanup is taking priority.

Today I am preparing ahead for my sister’s wedding next weekend – did I just say that? – you see I am getting the hang of this preparation – normally I would have done this next Friday before we set off.  I have been packing my toiletries bag and labelling pots and jars.I have a few travel sized products that I have bought specially such as the deodorant and mousse but other items I decant from my usual larger size into travel pots and bottles.

I love these small pots that I have saved and washed after using the previous contents.  They are from the Boots Botanics range and contained different Body Butters.  Unfortunately you can only buy them in a set of three now rather than singularly as before but I did discover the same pots being used for the Boots Vitamin E moisturiser in their travel section.

These are two new products that I have bought in Boots to try – my hair tends to go quite soft and flat as it is very fine and I need a little bit of lift – what a shame there isn’t the same thing for my sagging skin!

And here we are all put together in a neat little hold all which was a present from my mum.  I haven’t used it before so will see how useful it is at the weekend.  I have still a few items to add to the bag but at least I have made a start.

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decluttering, organising, rEArranging

I know it’s here somewhere…

Organising and labelling in the craft cupboard

Since my last post I have been ‘ordering’ my craft cupboard and drawers.  They are a bit of a work in progress at the moment but I am getting there.  The hardest part is making the decisions – should I continue to store it to use it or lose it?  Storage space is valuable and I do not like my cupboards and drawers overfull – I like to see space around everything as they say less is more!  So I have been quite ruthless and have decided to pass a few things on to fellow crafters and reduce the amount I keep.  I am now at the stage where I have sorted through everything and found a new home and I am about to begin the labelling and re-labelling process, before I do come and have a grand tour.

This is my Ikea Effektiv craft cupboard and as you can see I am a bit of a ‘neat freak’ and I do like uniformity – it helps to make things look organised.  The plastic and white boxes hold a variety of crafting items such as coloured card, craft card, cellophane bags, laces, ribbons and cords, folded wrapping paper, cracker making and card making bits and pieces – in fact you name it and it is probably in there!  I still need to buy a few more of the plastic see-through boxes.  I prefer these for this purpose to the plain white cardboard as it is easier to see what is inside and then I find I do not forget what I already have.  Until I can get to my local craft shop to get some more the cardboard boxes will do for now.

On the bottom shelf I have twelve A4 containers which fit the space very neatly leaving a slot at the left hand side just big enough to accommodate – (starting from the back and out of sight) – my large container of craft glue (which I decant into smaller old film pots) then my stacker pots filled with foil stars and shapes, sequins and beads. I would not label things like this as each section is self-evident.

The two large reels of curling ribbon standing in the front, one white satin, one Christmas green are an absolute bargain from Hobbycraft.  You will find them in the florists section and they are so much more cost-effective than those tiny reels you get in card shops and supermarkets.  Each reel was £2.29 and I limited myself to just the two colours mainly because they are more difficult to store.

Moving to the middle shelf – I have another stack of eight A4 boxes and a further eight smaller boxes on the left which tend to be more useful than the larger ones for dividing up ribbons and smaller items etc into type such as satin or Christmas and I if I needed to I could pull them forward a little to store something I do not use very often behind them and avoid the empty wasted space they create at the moment.  Putting something in front of them would not be an option as I use these boxes quite often and I find there is nothing worse than having frequently used items inaccessible.

On the top shelf I feel the decorated cardboard boxes would be more space effective if they were all the same width and I may eventually change these if I can find a suitable alternative but these are good because they are deep and I can store the contents on end rather than flat.  The largest holds an assortment of blank cards, the medium an assortment of quality envelopes in different sizes and the smallest box holds my lovely tissue paper collection perfectly.

I prefer wrapping my smaller gifts in tissue paper to ordinary sheets of gift paper.  Firstly, I love the way it moulds to the shape of any object creating layers and folds and secondly, I like the gentle rustle it creates when wrapping and opening.  I finish them off with embellishments of curling ribbon or raffia and reuse pieces of cut down old cards for gift tags or I have a selection of home-made ones.

The stackable grey containers on the right hand side of the top shelf house our slide collection which has now grown immensely since acquiring some quite vintage family snaps from both my mum and my mum in law when clearing out their houses.  I shall need to order another four boxes from the internet and I think there is just enough room for them to slot in the gap by shuffling the decorative boxes along and storing the empty Hanimex round cassette elsewhere – probably with the projector.

Well just the labelling to do now with my trusty Brother labelling machine for the plastic boxes and for the cardboard I have some sticky backed file label pockets where I can slip in printed white labels that can be changed when necessary without pulling off the decorative paper covering.

And Voila…the result!  (I know the picture is not good but the light is quite dismal today – I will upload a better one when we get some sunshine).  I am quite pleased that this is one cupboard now finished and the good thing about a declutter session is that it serves to refresh my memory when I come across items that I have bought and forgotten about.

Next week I will finish the craft drawers – they contain my rubber stamps and other bits and pieces.