Simple Life

Project: Simplify: Hotspot #3 – toys and kid’s clothes

I am going to cheat for last week’s hotspot for Project: Simplify since I have recently had a good sort out of my daughter’s toys and clothes when I got phase 1 of her nursery done.  I don’t really need to do any more for the time being with the clothes and toys although her out-grown clothes will need to be sorted and put in the loft at some point – for now, they are being stored in the owl bag I used as one of my hospital bags.

Downstairs, we use a basket to store all the toys which is hidden down the side of the sofa. I am sure this will change as she gets bigger (and her toys do the same).

The exception is her play gym which has to stay out due to its size and frequency of use!

This week’s hotspot is the pantry (or in my case, the kitchen cupboards) and the fridge.  Again since we have only just recently moved in, this won’t be such a big job as we got rid of a lot of expired food when we were getting ready to move.  The fridge could do with a clear out though – I found a yoghurt from January in there on Saturday…

Simple Life

Project: Simplify: Hotspot #2 – Paper Clutter

I am a bit behind with these but the important thing is that I am doing them so I am not too worried about the deadlines!  The second hotspot for Project Simplify was paper clutter.  This is something I feel I am constantly battling and it doesn’t help that getting ready for the move and since the move, a lot of our filing and archives are scattered around the house.

I was getting a bit fed up with the constant sorting of paper into piles, only for it to get in a mess again.  This is a kind of ‘before’ shot (in the background of a picture of ricardo and my daughter):

So the first step was to gather every piece of loose paper from around the house then start sorting into piles: bin, shred, recycle, filing, action needed. I had a little helper;

After disposing of the rubbish, I then organised the three concertina files which were all serving the same purpose, meaning I could never find anything as I didn’t know which file things were in. I used one to hold all our old filing and labelled ‘archive filing pre’ plus the date.  i used a box file to store all our conveyancing paperwork from the move. I wrote proper labels on each section of the newest concertina file and filed away all our current paperwork which we might need to refer to easily.  The third concertina file is empty, ready to be used for archiving once the current file fills up.  Another box file has been used to hold all our receipts and manuals which take up room but might be needed one day.  Box files are great for this sort of thing as it is very quick to throw a receipt in a box file making it much more likely for me to maintain.  Some pretty filing concertinas house the filing for my teaching applications (not yet done but I already have a few leaflets etc.) and my daughter’s filing including her medical information, children’s centre timetables, nursery pamphlets etc.

Here is our side table now… just the ‘action needed’ pile attached to a clipboard with my nearly complete to-do list (although a new set of chores will be added this week I am sure!).

I will be getting an in-tray for this table which will store all the ‘to action’ papers and all the incoming mail which I will go through once a week (or more frequently if I get chance). The filing concertina, my daughter’s filing and the receipts box file are under the table within easy reach, all to make it as easy as possible foe me to keep on top of filing.  Having these in the lounge instead of the study upstairs makes so much more sense as I am much more likely to get it done while we are watching TV in the evening.  Before filing used to be dumped upstairs and since I rarely even go in the study, it got forgotten.

Next up: toys and kids clothes clutter.

Simple Life, Words

My definition of Quality Television

In my list of Simple Goals, I wrote that I wanted to watch only ‘Quality Television’ but I felt I needed to elaborate as this might not mean exactly what you think it does.  You see, despite wanting to make time for the good things in life and to get things organised, I am not quite ready to give up television entirely, and in fact whilst I am breastfeeding, there really isn’t much else I can do other than read and I still haven’t managed to do that comfortably for any length of time.

However, I did have a long look at my television viewing habits and my Sky Plus planner and realised that I watch a lot of guff. So I want to approach my TV viewing with the notion of Intentional Living in mind.  Sure, I can still watch Deal or No Deal from time to time if I really want to but I want to stop wasting so much time watching said Guff just because I can’t be bothered to find something better to watch or even better, do.

Time to go



Multiple episodes of Ellen and Oprah are recording every day at the moment and frankly, much as I love these two ladies, I really don’t need to watch these episodes especially since they are so old (some aired over a year ago in the US making them rather out of date).


I also spend too much time rewatching snippets of E4 shows that I have already watched like Everwood (I don’t even know what is happening on this show since I only watch it once in a while and yet I can waste half an hour trying to figure it out) and Smallville reruns (Tom Welling is very alluring, what can I say?). Other shows getting the Kate Axe:

  • Location, Location, Location / Relocation, Relocation
  • Homes Under the Hammer
  • Cougar Town (I’m behind with this and just can’t seem to care enough to catch up)
  • One Tree Hill reruns
  • Gilmore Girls (I do not need to see it for the third maybe fourth time)
  • Hellcats – I started to watch this but realised I am too old for this kind of show and it will only make me want to be a cheerleader which as a 34 year-old British woman is most certainly not a possibility.

First time viewing

I have some decent TV (or DVD boxsets) to watch that I have never seen so I will be watching the following instead:


Mad Men (season 1) – I want to watch this for the goregous outfits and Christina Hendricks alone but I have heard many good things despite it apparently being a little slow to get going.


Community (season 1) – another show that I keep hearing good things about. We watched the first couple of episodes and I whilst I am not sure that ricardo is convinced, I definitely think it will grow on us.  It has Ken Jeong for goodness sake!


Friday Night Lights (season 5) – I keep putting off watching this final season – I think it’s because I don’t want the show to end but it has ended so I should just man-up and get watching.

I also want to carry on with new episodes of One Tree Hill, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Fringe (Joshua Jackson!), Bones, Raising Hope, the superb Modern Family, and at some point. catch up with Chuck. Plus there are some quality shows on Sky Atlantic including Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Treme and Bored to Death which I will be watching at some point with ricardo.  This is certainly enough to give me my teevee fill!

Old favourites


I can’t say that I won’t throw on an old favourite which I have on DVD such as Buffy, Angel or my beloved (and for the most part, oh-so-terrible) Dawson’s Creek (more Joshua Jackson!).







Simple Life

Project: Simplify – Hotspot #1

Yesterday, I managed to (pretty much) complete the first challenge of Project: Simplify which was to organise our wardrobes.  I was particularly pleased that this was the first area to tackle since our clothes were in a right old state since we moved in.  As you probably know, our parents moved us into our new house since I was a bit busy at the time having my daughter. This meant that we did not organise our clothes when we first moved in.  We bought a large wardrobe to go in the guest room since it was clear that we did not have enough hanging space but again, we were in such a state that we never really got organised.  Ricardo spent quite a few weeks in the guest room so that he could sleep uninterrupted during the week so his clothes were mainly in that room.

So first of all, here are the before photos.  No judgement please!

The first step was to tidy up the hanging space. I moved ricardo’s casual shirts to the guest room wardrobe and put all his work shirts and trousers in the wardrobe in our room – this makes sense since these are the things he needs daily.  I removed all the clothes from the shelving areas of both wardrobes and folded them neatly into piles on the bed: sweaters, big jumpers, night wear, sports wear, decorating wear (yeah, that’s a thing, apparently), polo shirts, smart jumpers, snow wear, shorts and jeans.

I cleaned out the wardrobe shelves with household cleaner and then divided up the areas (mentally!) for each of us.  I also emptied all the drawers of our two chest of drawers and added them to the piles.  I emptied out the shoe area and paired up the shoes.  All clothes that I wasn’t going to keep went in a big Ikea bag and all my maternity wear in another bag to go up in the loft for next time (fingers crossed!).

I still need to go through the big bag to split the clothes into charity shop donations, stuff to Ebay and stuff to throw away/recycle (fabric recycling does not care about the state of the clothes since they are shredded to make into bedding etc).

Then all that was needed was for the clothes to be put away.  I used a shopping bag to store all ricardo’s snowboarding accessories.  We still need to get some shoe racks so we can keep the shoes tidy and remember to wear all our different shoes! I have seen some cheap ones in Homebase.  Overall, I am really happy with the result and it amazing the impact this has in the morning for feeling like you are on top of things. Here are the after shots:

Our room
Guest room

I even have some spare room in the guest room wardrobe for my crafting supplies!:

More photos here.

I am excited to get on with the next task which is paper clutter. I have already had one paper purge lately but I need to get a more attractive filing system so I can have it handy in the lounge.  That way I can file as I go along.  I might have to check John Lewis online as I have some vouchers to spend…

Simple Life, Words

Organized Simplicity

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional LivingOrganized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider

I have just started reading this book because ricardo and I decided that this year, we were going to wrestle our finances into order and simplify our lives. I have been reading Tsh’s blog Simple Mom for a while as it is a great source of inspiration when it comes to organisation and home management. However, now that I am a mama myself, it has become even more relevant.

The term Intentional Living refers to the idea that you don’t just let life happen to you but instead you live with conviction and have more certainty about why you make decisions. It seems to me it is activity versus passivity and proactivity versus reactivity.  This approach is very appealing to me, especially since I would like to get a hold of the things that constantly need to get done and shake this constant feeling of falling behind.  I want to be able to sit down and spend an hour sewing without feeling guilty. I want to want to sit down for an hour to sew rather than watching year-old episodes of Oprah. I want to be able to fully enjoy this incredibly blessed life I have.  I have a feeling that one of the changes will be ‘watch less TV’ but, you know, baby steps…

As a first step, I have made a short list of my goals for 2011 with this in mind. I will share my progress with you here and I have even changed one of my horizons to ‘Simplify‘ so you can easily find posts about frugality, the simple life and all that good stuff.

Finally, I will be participating in Project: Simplify over at Simple Mom.  The first hotspot is the wardrobe and that is definitely an area that needs attention.

Sidenote: The ‘z’ in the title caused me more pain than it should – I am no pedant after all – but it is the title of her book and who am I to impose my British spelling?!