Organising my home - it's been life changing!

25 August 2022

I've been organising my home over the past few weeks but this time it's not the same as what I've done in the past. I don't think of it as decluttering anymore because to me, clutter is a group of unwanted items making a room look untidy; most of what I let go of was hidden in drawers, cupboards and sheds and taking up space that I wanted to reclaim.



I gave away the foods Hanno liked but I didn't and when I go through this cupboard, there'll be fewer things. 


This was way overdue - my spices.  I only had one bottle that was passed its use-by date but that date was 2018!


I was much more mindful this time. Now it's only me who lives here, I didn't have to consider anyone else's ideas or choices - I was creating the spaces where I would live in the coming years. The thought of cupboards and drawers containing unwanted clothes and shoes, unneeded bed linens, tools, manuscripts, fabrics, timber, paper work, photos and who knows what else forced me to sort through it all.  It was a horrible job, it took a lot longer than I thought it would but it was liberating, satisfying and SO worthwhile. If you've been thinking of doing something like this, I urge you to go ahead with it. It's life changing.



It made me think of my parents and my grandmother's homes. Back then, houses generally didn't have spare rooms, garages or sheds packed full of "stuff".  Now, in a world where most families need storage space for all the things they buy, we also have the newish business of storage sheds where you can buy space to store things you own but never use. 🤔 My mother, like most parents back then, packed summer or winter clothes away in the top of the linen press and used the clothes appropriate for that season.  At the end of the season, they were washed, folded and put away again. That was the only kind of storage I can remember. 


Hanno's office. I spent a long time here working out how to pay things on time, what accounts could go and shredding papers.


Sadly, we've fallen into a trap of buying what we like because it's cheap. We've surrendered our dollars to China/India who make what we want while they become stronger and we are weakened. We need OUR OWN manufacturing industries so that our people have jobs and we stop giving money to other countries. When we pay our own populations to make the goods we need, they'll be paid a fair and decent wage and the products will be priced appropriately. It's a good way to cut rampant consumerism.


While I was at it, I made a new ironing board cover.


I started reorganising our home soon after Hanno died. Tricia organised Hanno's clothes so I didn't have to deal with them and I started on the kitchen cupboards, Hanno's office, laundry, bathrooms and garage.  I thought about doing this for about three weeks and I decided to keep what I love as well as what I absolutely need, and remove the rest.  And when I say remove, that doesn't mean it's now in the garage or in the car boot, it's ALL GONE from my life and my home.  For instance, I got rid of my old china, cutlery, glassware, pots, pans, bakeware and some furniture and small appliances.  But I kept the dinner set Hanno gave me for our 25th wedding anniversary - a Villeroy and Boch Petite Fleur set that I love and had on display in a cupboard. We only used it at Christmas and birthdays, now I use it every day and it makes me SO happy. I got rid of my bread maker and slow cooker. If I want bread I'll knead it by hand and I can easily use my old cast iron pot on the induction top for slow cooking.  I'm currently working on my wardrobe and the linen press. I'll be finished next week. 🙃


I use my Petite Fleur dinner set every day now and wish I'd done it years ago. I just kept a few extra dinner plates and bowls because when all my family are here, there are ten of us.


It took a long time because I wanted to be sure of my decisions and I was dealing with my stuff as well as Hanno's, but now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Most of my reorganisation is done, 90 percent of what I want gone is gone and I feel that the work I've done is an investment in my future. There were SO many things I could have been doing instead of sorting through rubbish, getting stuck with pins, sneezing because of the dust, and having to decide where to put what was in my hand (most of the time it went to recycle and sometimes the rubbish bin). 



I resolved that from now on I'll deal with excess by not buying it in the first place and if something I already have becomes superfluous, I'll get rid of it. No more putting things in a box or a cupboard to gather dust for years simply because I couldn't decide, or was too lazy to deal with it there and then.  This has been life changing for me and it makes me happy every day to get out of bed and look at what I've done. I'm not looking after junk I don't need now, I have extra space inside my home, it feels right and I'm SO glad I did it. If you've got a lot of stuff you're not using and have stored away, I hope my story will help you to do what I did. It's not easy but it will make your future life easier.


Grandma Donna always has good tips for cutting back and focusing on the home

Delicious basic recipes to help with your grocery bill

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Housework - nothing has to be perfect

8 August 2022

Sometimes readers ask me how I keep going and why housework isn't boring for me.  It is boring sometimes but boredom doesn't stop me from doing anything. I keep going because of the rewards I get from doing my house work - it gives me the life I want. There are a lot of things we have to take responsibility for when we're adults and one of them is creating a home that you feel comfortable in. If you don't have the drive to regularly do the work that gives you that home, push yourself.  If you keep at it you'll see the benefits and the work you do in your home will change you. It did that for me. It made me slower, more generous and thoughtful and I'm glad for that.



Cleaning up the kitchen.



When you get stuck in, you'll be surprised that it doesn't take much to make a really warm and comfy home. Nothing has to be perfect, it just has to be to the standard that makes you feel comfortable. And remember, housework never ends. So when you have enough, stop and come back to it the next day. The sky won't fall in and you'll feel better for it.



I think you'd be surprised at how much you can get done in a short time.  For instance, when I'm waiting for the kettle to boil or the toast to cook, I clear the kitchen bench. If I still have time, I wipe the bench too. If the bench is already clean but the kitchen bin is full, I empty it. If you have 15 minutes to spare, empty everything out of the fridge, wipe the shelves and put it back in. It's a good habit to get into the day before you do the grocery shopping. 


I've got a couple of meal ideas for you today. I had these two meals this week and they're ideal for one or two or five or ten. If, like me, you're living alone, the ravioli bake makes four portions, the omelette makes two. 


Ravioli Bake

This will take less than an hour to cook. You can put it all together and have it ready to cook in the fridge and just heat it up when you come home from work. It will be ready in about 20 minutes.  Just enough time to make a nice salad. 


When you freeze the leftovers, put it in a container already cut into portions but without them touching so you can remove them easily if you only want one piece. I had one on the day of cooking, the second portion the following day and I froze two portions for next week. 


Buy a bag of ravioli or make a batch of ravioli. I bought a bag because I wanted this to be a fast meal.

Make a tomato sauce. I made mine with a 400ml bottle of tomato passata that was on special that week. I fried off an onion, half a capsicum/pepper, diced two sticks of celery and added oregano and parsley from the garden.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the uncooked ravioli to a small oven-proof dish and pour the tomato sauce over it. Sprinkle on some cheese if you like it. and bake in the oven at 180C until the top is golden. Mine took 20 minutes.


Spanish Omelette 



This recipe takes two eggs per serve. I used four eggs and it served me for two days.


Peel a medium potato and slice it into thickish slices. Microwave for four minutes and cool.

Use a non-stick frying pan you can put in the oven. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, sliced onions, capsicums/peppers, garlic and any vegetable you have in the fridge or backyard. I picked baby silverbeet/chard and added that after the onions and peppers were cooked.  Remove the vegetables and keep the pan on the stove.


Break the eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper and about a quarter cup of cream.  If you want a spicy version, add some chilli flakes. Pour that into the frying pan, add the vegetables - potatoes and onion mix - making sure they're distributed well over the top of the eggs. 

Cook on the stove top on medium heat for five minutes then put the pan in a preheated oven at 180C. Cook in the oven until the top is golden and the eggs are set. 

I used a small frying pan - 150mm and I cut the omelette in two for two meals. I like this when it's cooled rather than hot from the oven.


Here is my constant companion. Gracie and I sit out on the front verandah most afternoons and watch the world go by. She's an easy dog to live with. She likes to stay by my side but does go a bit mental running around the house with a lamb fleece in her mouth.  It's her seventh birthday on Wednesday. How time flies.


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