Saturday, 8 June 2013

Tidy Friday - a clean sweep?

It's been two weeks since the last Tidy Friday. School holidays and beautiful weather called for an impromptu break from blogging and tidying.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to report this Tidy Friday.

Thinking back over two weeks there was hardly any food waste other than this mouldy onion, and even then you can see that it's sitting on a chopping board because the good part was salvaged.

The warmer temperatures have resulted in fresh produce spoiling faster, but for the most part we've stayed ahead of the game by doing things like zapping black bananas into banana muffins and popping stuff in the freezer.



Another reason for no food waste is that we've done small shopping trips to buy exactly what we needed over the half term holiday and this week. Less food in the house = less food waste. 

As for the rest of the house, there was a long overdue half term declutter of Son's bedroom, which conveniently took place whilst it was raining. If the weather had turned nicer sooner it might not have seemed such an appealing prospect.



This was decluttering on an epic scale involving at least two trips to the charity shop, copious recycling, offloading some clothes onto my youngest nephews and nieces and happily only a tiny amount of non-recyclable plastic for landfill.

There are no before shots (we won't go there) but this is the book case after the clear out. Notice how there's half an empty shelf (just ripe for more clutter) and you can see the blue wall behind the shelves...



We even managed to expose enough of the wall on one side of the room to wallpaper paste a World Map (bargain Christmas Present bought from The Works). We like maps.



The linen cupboard lives in Son's room and had got really messy too, resulting in half its contents being piled up on the floor of the bedroom waiting for space to be made, so that also got some attention. There's nothing like neatly folded linen, or even just folded linen in my case, but ours never stays that way for some reason.


This post-half term week has been quieter on the decluttering front whilst we were still dealing with the fall-out from Son's room (which probably counts as three week's worth of decluttering in itself!)

 Things we learnt from this decluttering experience:


  • What most decluttering experts fail to highlight is that the most important thing is a constant supply of coffee and chocolate digestive biscuits. Decluttering uses up lots of energy and even the most boring of tasks isn't so bad if you know there's a chocolate digestive biscuit waiting for you at the end of it.
  • You need determination and time. Having read various guides to decluttering I've decided the main thing is actually getting started and not losing your resolve once you have started, rather than following any particular system. I've also decided I'm not very good at following 'programmes' but am more of a guerilla declutterer.
  • Break it down. We did several hour long bursts over 3 days rather than an all dayer.
  • You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. At the end of the exercise Son's room looked fantastic but the landing and top of the stairs looked awful - bags and piles of stuff everywhere. Don't underestimate the time that redistributing the clutter takes!
  • Team work is the answer. Son and I were the crack decluttering duo. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of every single miniscule piece of plastic detritus on his bedroom floor. I had to hold everything up for examination while he cried, "Don't throw that away, it's a Lego minifgure policeman's tooth pick!" but on the other hand he did all the running around reallocating clothes to the dirty laundry basket and stuff to other rooms etc while I turfed things off shelves and off the floor. Husband was chief charity shop delivery man and did several runs with an overflowing shopping trolley.
  • Music whiles away the time but when you have heard the same Newton Faulkner CD twice in a row, and know all the words to songs you had never heard before you started decluttering, it's time to take a break.
  • Fortuitously we had an extended family get together at the end of the whole exercise, and were able to override some family members' desperate requests not to come bearing clutter, and still offloaded a bag of clothes. (The downside of publicly blogging is that everyone knows what you are up to)
  • At the same get together we had a discussion about clothes4cash type enterprises. Living in cities, both my siblings have shops nearby where you can take in clothes, they will weigh them and pay you for them. Yet another tool in the decluttering kit and weapon in the war against stuff going to landfill.
What next? Make hay while the sun shines; a little garden decluttering maybe...

FoodWasteFriday
Food Waste Friday was dreamt up by thefrugalgirl.com
to encourage people to use up food instead of waste it. 

The Non-Consumer Advocate is running a 'Goal of the Week' 
feature at the moment which is another useful motivator 
for general decluttering and getting stuff done!

19 comments:

  1. I used to try to de-clutter my children's room with them, but I never got anywhere, because they wouldn't let me give anything away. Suddenly, things they hadn't touched in a year were SO important to them. Now I do it in little spurts when they are in school. They rarely even notice that I've been in there. I have often filled up garbage bags to the brim with things to give away and I've never had them come back to me and ask if I know what happened to their______. I'd rather have their help, though. It's nice that your son was so willing.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. We had a few disagreements about what should stay and what should go! The declutter involved a big tidy up too, and so the deal was he had to be part of the whole process. He's a good natured chap so obliged, if not willingly, and it was useful to have another pair of hands!

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  2. Hi Sarah,
    glad you could make good use of the rainy weather. I don't even know where to begin with some of our rooms. Kids (even grown ones) seem to accumulate so much stuff that's "really important". I think a good decluttering every 6 months is what it would take to keep our house from bursting. But unfortunately, I only get to decluttering maybe once per year.

    I had your moldy carrot this week. I lost about 1/3 to 1/2 of a carrot, but the rest was salvageable. I do have a huge pile of bananas that were marked down, that I'll need to deal with this weekend. Or maybe not, food seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate these days. I thought I had a bunch of leftovers to use for last night's dinner, only to open the containers and find just a couple of bites of everything left. Well, at least it's all getting eaten.

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    1. Glad you rescued the carrot! No carrot casualties here the last couple of weeks!

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  3. I completely agree on your decluttering tips (especially chocolate). I am helping Mom declutter before a move and she has trouble purging. If I don't take it away from the house it stays there so as soon as we are done the declutter off we go to Salvation Army and the recycle/garbage bins to get the stuff out of the house. She is finally seeing that these weekly 1-2 hour purge sessions are making a big difference and now letting go of way more stuff.

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    1. Getting rid of the stuff quickly is essential! Great that your mum is feeling the benefit .

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  4. Did you know that you can freeze bananas? I put mine in the freezer when they are quite speckled, before they get black. They can then be thawed (albeit they are soft and squishy) to use in baking. I discovered (due to egg allergies in the family) that 1/2 mashed banana can be used to replace 1 egg in baking.

    Myra, from Canada

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    1. I do freeze bananas. They make a good sort of icecream if you blend them, and my kids like banana 'thickies' (bananas frozen or fresh, milk, yogurt, ice and a spoonful of porridge oats. But I didn't know about using mashed banana in place of an egg - that's interesting.

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  5. "Make hay while the sun shines" Love that phrase. I grew up where they did a lot of haying (in fact they do some where I live now), and saw how applicable it was. But really, I just like saying it. Ask my kids.

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    1. You see lots of hay stacks in the SW of England and if you're driving anywhere during the summer you're likely to get stuck behind a tractor with a load of hay.

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  6. Guerilla decluttering! Love it! And totally agree about the 'elsewhere mess' that decluttering generates. Lucky you had a willing helper to do charity shop runs, and it seems there are moments where a large extended family is very useful!

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    1. Yes I've got a nephew and several nieces to pass things onto. Their parents aren't always as keen to receive a bin bag of books and clothes as I am to give them!

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  7. Nice job on decluttering! I'm slowly working on our house (and especially, the garage too!) I really want to hang a map in my boys' room. We like maps too :)

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    1. The map's great. I can now pinpoint exactly where lots of my fellow bloggers are in the world! (But I haven't got you precisely located in the US yet...)

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  8. My son has that map on his bedroom wall :-)

    Redistributing the clutter does take ages. I've recently discovered Gumtree and have sold quite a few things, but you've got to keep the stuff whilst you find a buyer. Last week it felt as though there were bags and boxes all round the house. (I give a lot to charity shops and Freegle, but it's nice to make a bit of money out of decluttering!)

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    1. Re the maps, great minds think alike! And also on the decluttering - we give a lot away but sell a few bits too. Several people have said Gumtree is a good alternative to Ebay as there are no listing charges. Havn't tried it out yet.

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    2. I'm definitely a convert to Gumtree. I'd been putting off selling things on Ebay because of the charges and it all seeming a bit complicated. A friend suggested Gumtree and I've sold quite a few things in the last fortnight. Listing is very easy and as you said, free.
      It's supposed to be local, but I've posted a couple of things to the other side of the country (1 person sent cash and another paid me through Paypal.)
      The really good thing is that it's so satisfying I'm actively looking for things to sell now!

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    3. Sounds less hassle than ebay. I shall definitely look into it!

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  9. What a great and inspiring post! I'm learning some of the lessons you mentioned, especially about the importance of chocolate at the end of the decluttering tunnel. I totally agree with breaking things up; I can't even get started if I feel like I have to get the job done in one day. Too overwhelming!

    frances

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