hot off the labeller…

After all the decluttering, reorganising and reshuffling of the last few days I have everything labelled to perfection – even my dear hubby –  (though he doesn’t fit neatly into any of my storage boxes)!  You can imagine what he has to say about my labelling but for all his jokes he is able to find things and more importantly put them away afterwards.  I actually quite enjoyed myself – sad I know!

 

Labelled Storage

 

Most of the garage is done now and we can actually move about in there and find things.  We have a few things to sell, a few to give away and a few to mend or just attend to.  So we started a jobs tray for me (see below) and a jobs box (much larger) for OH.

This is as it stands today:-

  • drill a hole in the bottom of the decorative hanging bird feeder – a present from 5 years ago and still waiting a drainage hole.
  • hammer the parasol holder into the ground by the patio
  • Glue the pottery ducks beak on – obviously it is not frost proof as it drops off each winter – a gift from my mum – he is hidden behind the ivy at the moment!
  • replace the socket in the office
  • Screw in the vine eye hooks to the fence for the climber
  • add the wire
  • plant the Xmas tree
  • feed and weed the lawn with one of the 4 boxes of lawn feed!
  • clean the copper rings with Brasso
  • clean the brass plant mister with Brasso

During the clear out I came across the drawer with flower arranging tools.  I am not a flower arranger  – I generally go for the just picked and put in a vase natural look but occasionally I have made gifts with flowers and so I keep a drawer with a few tools, tapes and florist wires.  The vintage flower frog below was discovered amongst my mother in-law’s things and I decided to keep it.  She used to go to flower arranging classes.  I may never use it but somehow it reminds me of her and how creative she was and it is such a delightful little object and packaged in its own charming little box.Flower arranging tools

Vintage flower frog

 

Some items from the shed that are not affected by the weather have had to be rehoused in the garden.  Not knowing where to store my terracotta pots, some of which are vintage from my dads garden shed, I searched around and found this handy little place inside my Victorian cloche that belonged to my father in law.

Terracotta pots

It is a few years since I grew any vegetables – I gave up my little plot, which is now flower bed, a few years ago when I began working full-time.  Looking at all the lovely veg I see being grown on some of my favourite blogs I decided to buy a Courgette plant and grow it in one of my large pots. Courgette

 They are quite decorative vegetables and already I have flowers appearing with the beginnings of the Courgette behind them.  As I was too late for Sweet pea plants this year I also bought a few left over pea plants from a local nursery and have planted these into another pot with some willow stems for support.

Herb pot

The strawberry pot which again came from my dad’s garden has Chives and a few stray self seeded flowers

The Fence

Remember the fence saga – here is a catch up picture – the climbing hydrangea is blooming and once the wires are in place I can tie it back to the fence and hopefully by next year it will cover the mishmash of fencing and all will be well again.
Climbing Hydrangea

The Obelisk (which I previously called a Gazebo!! – it’s my age) is now in place and planted with Honeysuckle – Lonicera Scentsation  – cream and yellow flowers with a long flowering season and a wonderful scent.

Honeysuckle

Just in case you got the idea from my recent moan about the fence that we didn’t get on with our neighbours – well actually we are good friends and I can totally understand that he isn’t a gardener  – I am just a bit too precious over my plants!

Potted geraniums

As part of the garden tidy up I bought one or two summer bedding plants to put in pots – I do like these wooden crates such a shame they don’t last – I might line it with polythene and grow some herbs in it for the summer.

Birdhouse

The new bird house now has a zinc roof to protect it from the weather – another job off the list.

eating outdoors

After all our hard work we put up the parasol and had lunch outside – perfect.

How are you enjoying this warm spell?

Back soon x

 

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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.

Day 1 of the Big Spring Clean up

The Shower Room

This room is one of my favourites it is accessed from both the office / craft room and our third bedroom so has two connecting doors opposite each other.  It has a walk in shower , a basin and a loo. In addition we have a family bathroom that has a bath with another shower over the bath, basin and loo.

Lots of scrubbing and rubbing required in here to get it fresh and gleaming again. I find that you need to be very methodical when doing a big clean otherwise you can soon end up in a muddle. I go from inside to out and from top to bottom.  One of the things I noticed when watching a TV advert once about a kitchen cleaner product was that the difference between the before and after was the shine they put on everything in the room.  Even old and shabby items can look good when they sparkle after a good clean.  So even if you don’t have a lot of money to afford new things (and we have been there!) you can always make a home look good just by keeping it clutter free and sparkling clean.

So the first thing to tackle is the inside of the two cupboards.  I love both my Ikea cupboards – the wall cabinet, which is slimline, we picked up very cheaply in the Bargain Corner because it had lost its shelves.  We had some toughened glass shelves made to fit and everything is neatly stored behind what looks like a mirror over the basin.

In this cupboard I tend to keep a few first aid and medicinal items, thermometers and a glass for rinsing plus a container of handy cotton wool and cotton buds.  We do have a bigger cupboard like this downstairs which houses all my supplements, medication, homeopathic remedies and more serious first aid, but this is handy for the few items that we are more likely to use upstairs.

Inside of Wall Cabinet – Before cleaning

The second cupboard in this room is a tall slim Ikea Lillangen, again with a mirrored door, which helps to both reflect the light and gives me a full length view of myself (sometimes helpful, sometimes not so!)  Here I store stocks of shower gels, face creams, deodorants, small travel and guest items, pedicure and oral hygiene etc as well as toilet rolls and cleaning products.  I am always amazed at what I have to pack in here.

Inside Tall Cupboard – Before cleaning

I start with the bigger cupboard and take everything out then clean the inside of the cupboard.  Whilst this is drying I make a start on going through the contents.

I begin by throwing out any out of date products then sorting the things I like and use from the stuff I have acquired that I am not so keen on like a new product that I have been enticed into buying only to find it was a big mistake.  Sometimes I have been given an item as a present but as I have sensitive skin perfumed products do not always agree with me.   I then put to one side anything that is almost finished – the ends of tubes and bottles – with a view to using them up quickly so they do not linger and take up valuable space.  I also make a note of anything that I need to replace or restock.  So now I have everything that I want to put back into the cupboard.

On the left the items I need to use up which I will not be putting back into the cupboard but put in a pretty basket and keep on my dressing table until all finished – on the right an excess of hand cream these may have to go!

Unwanted items – but may make useful presents

Putting everything back and making everything look inviting again

Being a bit of a neat freak I want to feel a sense of pride and pleasure each time I open my cupboard doors and also have the satisfaction of knowing exactly where everything is.  I do not want to have to rummage through mountains of stuff or have cupboards overflowing with things I will never use.

I have learned over the years that presenting the items in your cupboards as you see them displayed in the shops is the key to good-looking and ordered cupboards.  Toiletries tend to get grubby over time so I clean every item with a babywipe and then a quick rub with a dry cloth making sure any grunge from around the caps is removed.  Doing this makes everything clean and looking like it has just been bought again.  I then display like things together if possible on the shelves.My Neal’s Yard collection as the blue glass is so vibrant I like to keep these products together for better effect.

Stocks of face creams – bought on the two for three offers.

I keep a container with Guest size shower gel and body lotion and another with small travel sized products that I have collected – often from hotel bedrooms and those freebies from No 7 makeup and skin care as well as satchets of shampoo and body lotion that come stuck inside magazines to try.

I also keep a container for my essential oils and another for suncare – being fair-skinned I need lots!  All the ‘tub’ containers are from Muji and the ones with lids can be found in most craft shops including Hobbycraft.

I put the cleaners on the bottom shelf and spare toilet rolls above. The rest of the shelves hold the toiletries.The larger cupboard after the clear out

The wall cabinet after the clear out

Getting down to the heavy cleaning part

With both cupboards done and everything arranged back in place I can begin the cleaning of the room.  I recently washed the walls and ceiling down so just a quick Hoover around the corners today and a wipe on top of the door frames.  I then pour some bleach into a container and using an old toothbrush I begin spreading the bleach onto the tile grouting in the shower and also the sealant and any nooks and crannies of the shower screen which I will leave for a few minutes to be working.  I also squirt some down the plug holes and overflow of shower and basin and under the toilet rim.

Whilst waiting for the grouting I get an old pan scrub out and delve into the loo I find this better than using a brush – it is more flexible for getting down into the dark depths and up under the rim.

After this I rinse the shower well of bleach before using a general cleaner on the tiles, glass doors and shower head and unit.  Although I do like to be green and would normally use an Ecover product in here – today I am using a bathroom spray containing a little bleach as it is a deep clean.

Moving on to the drains and plugholes –  I fill the basin with water and keep the plug in whilst continuing to run the water so that the overflow takes the excess and gets a good rinse through. By keeping the water running and raising the plug slightly until you feel the ‘pull’ the drain will suck through any trapped mass of hair and grungy stuff.  To clean the pipe I have a long-handled drain brush to get down into the plughole but a toothbrush can be just as good – it is always amazing the build up of black grungy stuff in here and I can tell when it is clean as the pipe becomes bright white again.    To finish off I use a kettle of boiling water poured over a handful of Soda Crystals into the plughole and left for about 10 minutes – this gets rid of any greasy residue and freshen the drains.  A few more flushes through and wow much fresher and sparkling clean.

Going from just clean to ‘gleam’

After a good clean of all the pottery I always go over with a little polish on a duster – a tip I picked up from watching a lady in a bathroom showroom cleaning the display sets.  This makes the pottery gleam like new again.  I do the pedestal as well as the inside of the basin and taps and I also polish up the outside of the loo and the toilet seat.The tiles I polish over in the same way but I use diluted vinegar in water in a spray bottle to polish the glass shower doors and mirrors.

The daisy picture I painted a few years ago goes very well with the soft tones of the Shower room.  I found a brilliant product the other day by Scotch – they are double-sided clear adhesive tabs that secure objects but can be removed from most surfaces and reused.  I am using them here to adhere the top of the frame back to the wall to prevent it leaning forwards as they tend to do.

After cleaning the radiator, skirting boards and floor I am done cleaning at last, although  I do have to wait until Hubby can help clean the fan and light fitting for me.  All that is left to do is shake and wash the bath mat and replace the towels.

I can then stand back and admire my efforts.

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.