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Crate Clutter Challenge Update #2

I had a week off work in February and decided to tackle my daughter’s bedroom for my Crate Clutter Challenge.

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As you can see it was quite a mess, just an accumulation of clutter of the years.

IMG_0395Once I’d crated up all the clutter it looked even worse. I was very tempted to give up at that point. Only the fact E couldn’t get to her bed kept me going.

Luckily a lot of the clutter was books so I was tackling my Let’s Talk About Books Challenge at the same time.


When the room looked like this, I was about half an hour away from finishing. I’d already got three boxes of books and a couple of bags for charity and around seven bags for the Hippobag. I was storing these on the landing until I’d finished the room and G made the very helpful comment that I made more mess than I cleared up when I tried to declutter.




I disagree –

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A month on and E’s managed to keep her room in a fairly clutter free state. The lovely thing is she enjoys spending time and playing in her room now whereas before the decluttering she only really used her room for sleeping.

During the half term week I also completed the crate clutter in my guest room and I crated up the clutter in our main bedroom ready for the next challenge. So a successful week. After the main bedroom there’s only my son’s room to do before I start downstairs. So I foresee much procrastination of the Crate Clutter Challenge in my future.

Crate Clutter Challenge Update #1 January 2013

I thought I’d start off this crate clutter challenge (CCC) with the easiest room in my home, or the one I thought would have the least amount of clutter – my guest room.

We don’t have a big laundry area so tend to use this room for drying and dumping clothes etc so, apart from piles of odd socks, I wasn’t really expecting much clutter in the room.

I cleared two of these bedside cabinets


and I cleared this chest of drawers.


BUT actually two of the drawers have DVDs and video games and, since I’ve decided to make the DVD/Video games a sub-challenge in my CCC, I didn’t empty those out.

I still ended up with these crates of clutter


I probably need another crate for the overspill.

The problem is I don’t know the best way to tackle sorting through this clutter. Realistically there is nothing in these boxes that needs to stay in the guest room so it all has to be either put in it’s proper place in my home or sorted out for rubbish/recycle or charity. And I think this is the crux of the problem.

I don’t have a garage or any other place where I can set up a “halfway station” – somewhere to keep stuff until it moves out of my home for good. I’m worried I’m going to move clutter from one room to another while I’m doing this challenge rather than actually declutter anything.

My plan for February is to think about how I could set up this halfway station and come up with an organised way to tackle the crates once the clutter’s been corralled. Any suggestions?

Hopefully update #2 will be more positive.

Just a matter of time

Like many, I’m a busy working mum, juggling so many balls they’ve just become blurs. Time is not something I can manage or control, it keeps passing despite my best efforts. So inevitably, everything I do towards feeling fabulous has an opportunity cost in terms of time.

Until about six weeks ago my “morning routine” involved washing my face, slapping on some moisturiser and, if I was going to work, applying some eyeliner and lipstick. Now I’m developing a new routine (including cleansing and toning) in the morning the opportunity cost is either time spent sleeping or getting into work later – which isn’t great for me since I’m far more productive first thing in the morning.

So as far as skincare, haircare and beauty is concerned, anything I do has to be worth the time it takes. Let’s take foot care and hair care as examples

I bought Volcano from Lush over a month ago. Now this is a foot mask so the directions require me to apply a thick coat to my feet, wrap them in plastic and then leave on for 10 minutes.

So in order to use this product, since I don’t particularly want to try walking around with plastic wrap on my feet, I have to find time when I can put my feet up for 10 minutes. Now, if I’m going to need to find this time then the result has to be worth it. I’ve tried this foot mask once so far. It was so much hassle and the early results were insignificant. I’ll give it another go but if I don’t feel any tangible improvement I can see this pot sitting on my dresser, slowly gathering dust.

But compare it to a product like Champney’s Intensive Foot Butter. This takes no time at all to apply, massages easily into my feet and I love the minty smell – subtle, not overpowering and my feet feel refreshed and softer. I never used foot cream on a regular basis before but I’ve found it simple to incorporate this into my routines because it’s quick and pleasant to use.

My current conditioner of choice, Aussie Frizz Miracle which has the following directions “start with Aussie Frizz Miracle Shampoo, then apply a splodge of Frizz Miracle Conditioner. Rinse out with warm water.”
Couldn’t be more simple and, together with the shampoo, its done a lot to reduce the frizziousity (made-up word of course) of my hair

Now let’s take the Wen Conditioner that came in the JolieBox
“Rinse hair thoroughly, Apply to scalp, massaging vigorously, and add a splash of water to create a foaming effect…Massage vigorously for 1-3 minutes, comb through hair, and leave on for 3-5 minutes for maximum conditioning.”

So Wen want me to spend between 4 and 8 minutes conditioning my hair. Now I know that Wen’s USP is that there’s no need to spend time shampooing first but seriously, 8 minutes! The Wen website says that it can be used daily but with proper use it only needs to be two or three times daily. It’s good this came in a sample box because if I’d seen the directions in a shop I’d have put it straight back on the shelf.
I haven’t used this yet but I can tell you now, the results would have to be phenomenal for me to make this part of my routines.

All I’m looking for are some pleasant, effective, not too expensive products which either take no time at all or are worth the opportunity cost. Surely that’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Made Up: Mini-declutter

A couple of Sundays ago I woke up before 7am which was fairly annoying since it’s one of my life goals to sleep through till lunch at the weekend. I debated whether to spend time on youtube or do something productive and was overwhelmed with a desire to sort out my makeup and jewellery.

I didn’t take any “before” pics but this photo shows how I stored my make up

It was spread over my dressing table and fighting for room with hair stuff, nail stuff, perfume and jewellery. I decided to move makeup into my bathroom cupboard and keep my jewellery in a drawer, so had to make space in said cupboard and drawer.

My jewellery is now all sorted. The beautiful jewellery box was a wedding gift, hand made in India. I keep my most expensive stuff in this and I’m using these little plastic containers to separate all my earrings. I think the gold stuff should be okay since they won’t tarnish but I’m not sure how the other metals will fare in plastic. I’ve added looking that up to my ‘to do’ list.

However after sorting out my makeup it was clear there was a serious problem

Can you see the obvious problem?

Yes that’s right – I don’t have enough makeup. Sure I only really use lipstick and eyeliner on a semi-daily basis but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a larger collection.

Problem solved

I’ve had to buy a few more containers to house my new goodies but it’s still really organised. I’ve also bought a tier rack to house my nail polish so my dressing table is looking much better. At some point I’ll take more photos (memo to self: add to ‘to do’ list).

However to make room for my makeup the other shelves in the bathroom cupboard look something like this.

I’ve started using one of my Filos (A5 Finchley) as a sort of home overhaul binder and I’m writing all decluttering/organisation/decoration/renovation projects in this. Naturally one of the first projects written in the Filo is how to organise the bathroom cabinet. I may do a post on how I go about this. Not sure.

Starter Project – It’s done (for now)

It’s been a week since I finished tidying my study and so far so uncluttered. It’s easier to remember to put things away when I’m finished if they make a glaring pile of mess

I’m not finished entirely though because I didn’t sort through the books on the shelves, the middle cupboard under the shelves has stuff that needs to be shredded before it can be thrown out and I haven’t tackled the filing cabinets at all but they’re smaller projects that can be broken up over a few weeks rather than needing a single big effort. Just need to remember to schedule that in some kind of planner.                                     
 What amazed me though was the amount of stuff I threw out.                                                                    

I have to say, I’m loving Hippobags. What’s great is that you can pick them up at local DIY stores so don’t need to order them in advance, you can keep them as long as you want (before the neighbours start complaining) and they try to recycle some of the stuff. Cool.

Starter Project – My Study (Part 1)

My home is a complete mess. There’s really no excuse for it. I have lovely cleaners who come once a week but they haven’t been this week because of half term and it really shows –

My study/office

This is my study. This is supposed to be my room which I use when working from home, but also my space to do my writing, my studying and generally be creative. We’re using one of the spare bedrooms upstairs as a study for the Upper Half and kidlings so it’s supposed to be just for me. But because this is the first room when you enter the house (after the hall) it tends to be used as a dumping ground and yet I’m expecting to be productive in here? Crazy.

I thought I’d start small by sorting out one of my cupboards for large stationery items.

It didn’t take too long and this is the after –

Yeah, I know it’s more full than before but I decided to see if I could fit the contents of my other cupboard in too. And I did!

Lovely, lovely empty cupboard. What can I put in you?

I was so inspired I decided to try tidying my main desk area. The grey metal file cabinet has been really annoying me and I’ve got a couple of old printers I don’t really need now.

I’m very pleased with the results. Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go!                                                

So what am I trying to organise?

A simple list of everything I’m juggling

My Upper half (husband), 2 kidlings (7 and 11) and dog
School Governor
Study – LLM
(Job Search)

In between this I’d like to find time for me – looking after my health and wellbeing

As every truly organised person knows, the first thing you have to do after making the decision to get organised is buy some books to help with the process. Only then can the procrastination begin.

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