Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Clean Out continued

I think alot of you will be thinking about doing a bit of a clean out or declutter at this time of year. The influx of Christmas gifts and shopping at the sales are incentives to get rid of some old things we no longer need or want. If you are very short on space, remember the 'One In, One Out' rule. I just love donating things I no longer need, and I especially love the extra space in the cupboard/ drawer/ bookcase after finishing the clean out!

With kids toys, a good idea is to look at how many of each particular type of toy they own. How many barbie dolls does she have? How many similar trucks are there? If there are numerous similar items, losing a few wouldn't hurt. In my organising jobs, I included the children while decluttering their toys. Most kids I know would be happy to donate some toys to needy kids. Give them some power- say "Pick 5 special teddy's to keep and we'll give the rest to charity. A new child will love and appreciate your donations". This helps the child to feel good about the decluttering instead of feeling like something is being taken away from them.

Another great idea that my MIL Rhonda reminded me of recently, is to divide toys into 4 groups and only have 1 group out to be played with at one time. The other 3 groups are packed away and rotated depending on the season. Such a good idea as when the new season and the new toy box comes out, its like Christmas all over again for the children!

When decluttering clothing, a few tips to keep in mind are-

1. Go through the clothing one by one, from one side of the cupboard to the other. Divide clothes into piles- Wear, Store, Donate, Try On (and then decide).

2. Try to make a fairly quick decision about each item, otherwise the weekend declutter can turn into weeks of having piles of clothing everywhere which leads to not wanting to declutter again! (In my case, anyways :))

3. Get a second opinion- invite a trusted friend over to help you decide on the "Try On and Decide" pile of clothes. Ask for their honest opinion- does this style/ colour suit me? Try not to be offended with a No answer- your friend is helping to make some much needed space in your cupboard!

4. Pack the "Store" pile into a large clear plastic box and label it. I have one called "Old Clothes I Dont Wear but want to Keep" Lol :-) This box is stored way up high in the cupboard with the label facing out so I can see it if I need to.

5. Only tackle 1 cupboard or chest of drawers at a time, or one type of clothing, per weekend. Otherwise the job can get too overwhelming, the room gets too messy and the job never gets finished!

6. When you are finished with the piles, make sure you take the "Donate" pile to charity, or you may decide to try to sell the items on ebay. I like to put the "Donate" bags into the car straight away, so the next time I drive by a charity shop I can just hop out and be done with it!

I hope these couple of tips can help you with your decluttering this weekend. Please feel free ask me in the comments if you have any queries about your clean out!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Agonising over Organising

Hi all!

Hope you'll have managed to have some well-deserved rest and relaxation over the holiday period. We had such a special first Christmas for Alex, well 2 to be exact. We drove up to Shane's parents on Christmas day and then to my Mum on Boxing Day. Alex loved spending time with all his relatives and soaked up all the attention and fuss. Shane and I loved it too and while we couldn't see all of our family unfortunately, we loved the time we had with those we did manage to see.

For many Australians, the week or so after Christmas is usually a time to relax by a beach, go camping and fishing or just lie about in the air con watching the cricket or other sports on tv. For me, I generally cant really relax after a move until my home is neat and tidy, the necessary unpacking is done and my To-Do list is completed or at least attempted.

Since our big move about a month ago, I have been feeling very Out of sorts as I just couldnt find the time to get the new place tidy and organised, and it was driving me nuts! I'd be looking around the place at the mess and clutter and agonising about when I would be able to get on top of things! But I have had to learn to be patient and know that in time, things will get done. Alex is very close to 6 months old now, and while he's happy for periods of time on his own with toys, taking care of him is still very time consuming for me. Whether this is the case for all Mums I'm not sure, but I do know that I have an annoying habit of doing things the hard way sometimes! Being an "Older Mum" (at 33), I am quite set in my way I guess and I like things to be done, well, the way that I like them. Everything from the bedtime routine to making up his solid foods, I do in a very specific way for him because that is how I would like it done for myself. A friend told me recently, "its harder for us older Mums because we have done all the reading, and have had time to think about how having a baby will go or what kind of mother we will be. So when things don't go to plan, its very difficult to accept". Aahh SO true, in my case.

Hmm... sounds ridiculous, and especially reading it here, in black and white! LOL But at least I can admit it. SO basically since our move I haven't been able to fully relax. Even late at night I've been up doing dishes or folding clothes or trying to get the kitchen organised so that we can find what we need, quickly.

And Finally.. now, I am happy to say, the place is almost to the stage where I can feel relaxed. The kitchen is organised, the clothes all have homes and there is very little clutter around the place. We are lucky enough to have a large storage area with a built-in cupboard, downstairs next to the garage, so we have kept alot of our belongings packed up in boxes there. Things we don't use at the moment such as DVDs (as if new parents have time to watch a movie!! Ha!), ornaments that I want to keep intact when the little cutie pie is walking and grabbing things; and excess "stuff" that we don't use but may use in the future.

Whenever we move I try to do a big clean out. And if we haven't moved for a while I try to do it on a fairly regular basis as well, at least once a year. The clean out always consists of sorting things into piles. One pile is to keep out (in the home for usage), another pile is to pack away (not being used), another pile for Throw aways, and another pile for Give aways. Its very simple really but the tricky part is deciding which pile something goes into.

I find it useful to turn off the Sentiment, and try to bring out the Logic. (To a certain degree of course. Sentiment always gets first preference when dealing with anything from my beloved Grandma who passed away just before Alex's birth, for example). I think when you are holding something in your hand, and you are trying to decide if you want it or if it can be given to charity, the best thing to do is to think through a few things. Do I LOVE this object? Can I live without it? Will I EVER need or use it again? Could someone else use it? Will I feel terrific when I have less clutter around? Will I feel good about myself when I recycle this object, give it a new home, and do my bit for the environment?

Last week I was doing a tidy up and clean out in the garage. We hadn't had time to sort through everything before the move. I came across a few pieces of furniture and the first pram we'd bought second hand (and hated!) and I made a pile to be given to charity. I was so excited as I called the Salvation Army to come and pick up my growing pile of items to be donated. Sadly they couldn't take all of it. Some of the furniture was slightly damaged, and their standards seem to have risen alot since the last time I donated furniture. Anyway, I now have a bit of a predicament as to what to do with this unwanted furniture. I know this sounds bad, but an idea I have is to take it to the street where we used to live. This street is the kind of place, where you can take out an old vacuum cleaner (for eg), leave it on the side of the road, turn around to wave Hi to your neighbour, and then by the time you turn back the vacuum cleaner has disappeared in a puff of smoke! And the smoke probably isn't coming from something legal. Haha!

So if I took the furniture to this Street, left it there over night and go back the next day to make sure it has been snatched up by some needy person, what's your opinion?? Do you think that is ok? I think its ok, and certainly better than sending the items to land fill! Which is the only other place they could go since the Salvo's don't want them. As long as I go back and check the things have gone to a home or pick them back up, I dont see the harm in trying.

(By the way- I would leave it out the front here at our new place but I suspect someone who lives in the area is on the local council. An old air-con was left out the front and we all promptly received a letter from the council demanding the offending item be removed at once or fines will be given out! To whom they were going to give the fines, I'm unsure of. Otherwise I would have thought That Person would have received the fine already, and the rest of us not receive the Letter!!).

Darn it I am out of time already as Alex is about to wake from his nap. (And by Darn It I actually mean HOORAY as I just love picking up the cuddly little cutie pie from his nap!! How cute is he and Gosh he is getting 4 teeth now up top wierd hey?? I thought bottom's came first).   I might have to leave it here for now, perhaps to be continued.... I'm sure somewhere in this foggy mind I have some more ideas about how to do a successful clean out. Oh yes! I do! Definitely to be continued :-)

P.s I'd like to add a note here to thank you all for the comments on my last few posts. I haven't had time to reply to all of them I'm sorry, but I always read the comments and really appreciate you leaving your thoughts :)