decluttering, rEArranging, simplifying

rEArranging…the magazines


When we had the flood at the cottage in Scotland (for any new readers click here) I was quite pleased to find that my collection of Coast magazines had survived undamaged.  I always looked forward to the walk along the beach to the village store to buy my copy and buying local helps keep the shop running as it is the only one left now (the Post Office closed down last year and is now part of the general store) and it is 15 miles into the nearest town.  As we have never had a TV there I would read and reread each copy on an evening whilst listening to the radio.

Since the flood it seemed a bit pointless buying the magazine any more and to be honest I haven’t really missed it as a lot of the features are just repeated like any other magazine so I thought long and hard about why I was hanging on to this great stack of old magazines going back to 2005 and I couldn’t really come up with a good enough answer to warrant keeping them.

I had already taken any useful coastal gardening features out a while ago, as these were the most interesting articles for me, the recipes were mainly for cooking fish (and as you know I am vegetarian), and I had also torn out any decorating ideas that might inspire me in the future.  I decided that if I needed any of the information in the future about the featured Seaside towns and walks or seabirds and animal life I could always find something in other places like the internet or local library so last night I sat and poured through each one, pulled out any remaining features that I might want to refer to…


Coast Magazine

and here they are all ready for the charity shop or recycle bin.

Down Your way

I kept half a dozen of the earliest copies together with a handful of local magazines called Down Your Way which have nostalgic contributions written by Yorkshire folk and my mum always likes to read these when she visits.

Coast Magazine

The old Lloyd Loom bedside cabinet now housed on the mezzanine of the newly decorated bedroom has a handy ledge to display my much reduced but more manageable collection.

I actually feel quite relieved that I do not have to find a space to store all those magazines now and it is another step on my way to a simplified life.

being thrifty, budgeting, fEAsting, food shopping, meal planning, trEAsury

Never spend your money before you have it…

and when you do have it hold on to it and don’t waste it on lots of things you don’t really need…I really should listen to my own advice!

I have spent all day today entering a stack of receipts into my money program on the computer and balancing bank statements from as far back as March.  That must be when my life notched up a gear and everything went a bit crazy for a while.  As I remember we had my sister’s wedding, then a two-week holiday at Easter, followed by my return to working a lot of overtime well into the evening, followed by a visit from my mum, followed by another holiday and so on and so on…

Anyway I am now balanced again and it has been no surprise to find that I have well and truly overspent on food, clothes, general day-to-day spending and dare I say it…I will whisper it (magazines).  So much for my budget and good intentions – so much for those good ideas I had to shop at home – so much for my pledge to myself to avoid the magazine aisle – I certainly need to take myself in hand again as I have 10 more days to pay-day and I refuse to dip into savings to bail myself out.

Tonight I have been down to my local Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shop (yes I know how sad I am to be shopping in Sainsbury’s on a Saturday night) and I managed to claim back £65 before I began by returning some clothes that didn’t really work for me and some door hooks we decided didn’t look right where we were going to put them.  My total shop was £74.79 and with items already in my store cupboard and freezer I should be able to make a decent meal every night and packed lunches for me and my daughter to take to work each day.

As it happens many of the items I bought tonight were on offer so certain items will cover next week too.  I actually saved £3.34 according to the slip of paper I was given at the till called a Brand Match. I don’t usually buy many Brand items as I tend to go for the Sainsbury’s own ranges but I do like the Alpro Organic Soya milk mainly because Sainsbury’s don’t do an organic one.  My most expensive item was a block of Organic Parmesan cheese at £4.50 but I intend to grate it all and freeze it and that way it is much cheaper than buying those little ready grated packets.  I find that it adds flavour to many dishes when sprinkled on the top and as you need less it is better for you than other full fat cheeses and apparently easier to digest.

Deutsch: Parmigiano Reggiano in der Markthalle...

My cheapest item was a tiny tin of Tomato Puree for 25p followed closely by 4 Bananas for 40p.  It is unusual to see anything on a receipt for under a pound now – I expect if I bought the Basics range there might be more but I do tend to go for the Organic range and foods with no additives and as close to nature as possible especially with dairy foods, eggs, breads and vegetables.

This week I intend to make a Nutloaf to use up some of my left over nuts and we can have it hot one night and then cold with salad the next.  I also like to sprinkle Almonds on my Cauliflower and Broccoli bake as they are an excellent source of protein.

My budget isn’t the only thing I have been busy on today – I have been developing a new system for my clippings as I seem to have quite a collection.  I see all kinds of bits and pieces when I am flicking through my magazines, sometimes it is a new beauty product or supplement that I might like to try, sometimes I want to keep an article about a place or art exhibition I want to go to or a play I might be interested to watch at the local theatre – so tomorrow I will introduce you to SPIF my Systemized Product and Information Folder.  Until then I am going to bed with a mug of cocoa and a couple of magazines ( that I bought last week and not tonight – just in case you were about to ask!)

being thrifty, crafts, crEAting, fEAsible, getting things done, managEAble, taking stock, trEAsury

Are we really half way through January?

I cannot believe that already January is slipping away fast and there is still so much to do to turn my house from mess to order.  I seem to have begun to re-order so many areas and completed none as yet. So what have I done so far?

I had a pile (and I mean a pile) of old magazines to go through to tear out the articles and pictures that I wanted to keep.  Every month I buy Country Living and Country Homes my two favourite magazines.  I love the articles and pictures and even though I have tried to be ruthless and throw out as much as possible I find this process hard for three reasons firstly,  magazines are now so expensive and as I said before I hate waste so I feel in a dilemma that I need to hold on to something to justify the cost otherwise I feel like I am putting £4 in the bin!  Secondly, I spend so much wasted time organising the mountain of clippings.  Thirdly,  I find many of the articles and ideas quite useful if only I could remember they are there!

Unfortunately,  I do have a bit of a weakness when it comes to magazines and this is the first aisle that I see as I go through the door of my local supermarket and temptation is too much.  So on top of my two regulars I may pick up an additional craft or health magazine each week, whatever looks promising on the cover.  This all adds to my future clippings pile and my further frustration of organising them.  I am quite worried about myself when I find that I have a collection of clippings of every kind of Detox plan going only then to read that a lot of well-known TV doctors do not believe them necessary!

My new challenge to myself is to bypass this aisle (sorry Sainsbury’s – and I hope your profits do not take a dive!) unless I am specifically buying my two ‘allowed’ magazines each month.  Even better I have thought about having a cut price subscription which would save me money over the year.  But – am I strong enough not to be tempted back to browsing the magazine aisle?

My shopping at home plan is going very well and the stock in my cupboards should keep me going for a while until I have used up all those gifts and freebies of hand creams etc and multiple buys of cleaners and detergents.  All I found necessary to buy this past week apart from a small supermarket shop was some tissues – 2 for £2 at Boots and two display folders of 100 pages each from Rymans enough to contain my recipe and craft clippings, expensive I know at £9.99 but hopefully useful.  Oh and we bought a new bed!  Well it is not the kind of thing that I keep a stock of in my cupboard!  I can’t wait for it to come for a good nights sleep.   I only wish we could have decorated the room first but then we would have missed the special offer at John Lewis.  Decorating plans are in the pipeline once the house is decluttered.

The Christmas decorations are now returned to the loft and I have updated my card list and addresses for next year.  One of the messiest areas in my home was the office come craft room and taking one drawer or shelf at a time I have had a thorough clear out and re-ordered most of it.  There is still plenty to do in here and I will require a trip to one of my favourite stores – Muji  for some additional storage trays.

As I have bought quite a lot of blank cards in the past my second challenge to myself this week is to make time to produce some cards that will be suitable for birthdays.  This will not only help to reduce the space I need for storing all the blank cards and special papers that I have collected but will also save money on buying birthday cards from the shops.  I find that most of my friends and family like to receive the homemade ones so I need to get creative and think of some new ideas.  For some reason I find Christmas cards easier to do.  Below is the 2011 Christmas card I made using a ‘Snowflake’ stamp kit form Muji that I received as a gift last year and some white embossing enamel and glitter.  (Apologies again for the quality of the picture – I am sure it is me not my camera!)

Snowflake Card

For the rest of the day I have to look at some paperwork – balancing statements and shredding old receipts to make way for this years.  When I see the mountain of receipts that I have from the whole of last year I know we have to reduce our spending – I can’t believe how much time I must have spent on purchasing things – even just the necessities!  Living simply in a tent somewhere and becoming more self-sufficient suddenly becomes appealing as I would not have to deal with all this ‘stuff’.