Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Understairs Cupboard Sort Out

Spurred on by my declutter of the entrance hallway I continued on and sorted out the understairs cupboard too. I am sure it is pretty much the same as most people's - chock full of coats, shoes, hats, gloves, etc.

Now it's still full of that stuff, but I cleared out some excess bits like the spare car seat so that my sewing machine and sewing stuff box can now fit on the shelf. My other half also moved the hanging shoe storage to the other wall so it's not in the way of coats.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Entrance Hallway Decluttering & Decoration


Our dearest daughter was at nursery today, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to declutter our entrance hallway while the dearest son was sleeping. This space is a huge, huge hotspot for collecting all kinds of stuff. Everything that needs to be taken out of the house ends up here and sometimes gets stuck. Things that need to be taken upstairs usually live here as well as things that don't really have a home to speak of. The latter usually end up there because it's the messiest area of the house, so one more piece of junk won't matter! And this is where visitors come in! It doesn't give a very good impression of the rest of the house, does it?

The photo above shows the view from our living room, before and after, and this next couple show a kind of birds-eye view, before and after.

Seriously, why would I need to keep the box for my new hairdryer on the radiator shelf? It was there for well over a week! ::shame:: I just kept walking by it and thinking, "I'll throw that away when I 'do the hall.'" Erm... I wouldn't have to 'do the hall' if I stopped thinking things like that and actually moved stuff when it presented itself as being surplus to requirements or in the wrong place! 
And now, of course, you can see what the decor actually looks like, since it wasn't too long ago that we decorated this room. Please forgive the stairgates and orange doors though. The stairgates are an ugly necessity and the orange doors are on that list of "things to spend our money on" but we haven't got there yet. I would like to paint them all white and get new brushed aluminium handles.
Before we moved into this house we had to paint and recarpet everywhere. The house was rented before we bought it and the previous tenants smoked, so everything smelled of smoke. The walls were all manner of crazy colours and so were the carpets. Oh, and let's not forget that gorgeous (blech!) pine cladding that was all over every ceiling upstairs.

So here's the downstairs hallway before we moved in.


Then after we had recarpeted and attacked it with magnolia...

... and now after being able to decorate properly.


Hello! Not a very flattering photo of me in that last one, but just pretend I'm not there. :o)

Now going upstairs...

The photographs displayed on the stairway.

... and last but not least. The landing before we moved in.


After magnolia-ing.


And now.

I feel like I should make some points.
  • The pushchair lives in the cupboard under the stairs, so it's not like I just moved it for the photos. It really does have a place! I would never take items away just for "staging" because that's not painting a true picture of how I've got things organised or arranged in a space.
  • We love the laminate flooring in the hallway. It was carpeted before, but it soon got filthy with us bringing the pushchair in all the time. Switching to laminate means it's so much easier to keep the floor clean.
  • The before photos aren't that great at showing all of the room, but it was before I had my 'big' camera with a slightly wide-angle lens.
  • I used scrapbook papers to make a few things pretty. Some of the photo frames on the stairs have scrapbook paper in there and also the key hooks too. Those key hooks were in the sale from Habitat and were only £1.50 a pair! The papers are DCWV Latte Paper Stack.
  • The HUGE mirror used to be in our bedroom, but i decided it would look better in the hallway. I think it really opens up the space and makes it look a lot larger than it is.  It's the Hovet mirror from IKEA.
Thank you so much for reading!

Sarah. x

I've linked this post up to...

Look What I Made @ Creations By Kara

Monday, 7 March 2011

Organising Some Kitchen Cupboards & Drawers

Oooh, I got on a bit of a roll today. I just thought I'd quickly sort out the two deep drawers in the photo above. One thing lead to another and the next thing I knew I'd done those two plus "the awkward cupboard", "that thin cupboard" and "the medicine cupboard" Brilliant!

Here are those drawers before.

And after...

I got rid of quite a bit of stuff here. Either moved it to a different cupboard, chucked it out or put it in a pile to give away.

The left drawer (top photo) now houses bibs on the left and scruffy clothes and an apron on the right. The oven glove's in there too. We keep a pile of old stained clothes so that we can change our toddler into them before she eats anything "stainy". Mums and Dads will know what I mean - it's usually orange food that does it! In summer she will just eat in her pants, but in winter we keep scruffs for her to wear instead.

The drawer on the right (bottom photo) has tea towels, facecloths, dishcloths, dusters, and placemats. I know our tea towels are old and stained, but they're not getting replaced any time soon. No money for that! The facecloths are for wiping our aforementioned toddler after eating. I figured we were spending a small fortune on wet wipes, so I'm switching to cloth for after meals at home.

Then since the kids were being good I moved onto the medicine cupboard and the one we call "that awkward cupboard". It's called that because it's in the corner and half of it disappears behind the medicine cupboard and it's awkward to get into. Because of this we only store items here that we rarely need access to.

Medicine cupboard on the left, awkward on the right.


The best thing to do was just to switch the contents over. My baking things needed more space and the medicine cupboard was full of stuff we didn't need anymore like my daughters play rice (relocated) and the sharps box etc. from when I had gestational diabetes.

Here's what it looks like now:


I pinched my handy "extra shelf" rack from the tins cupboard because I didn't really need it there and this cupboard was so tall space was being wasted. Now I can see all of my baking things at a glance. I also collected some things together into Tupperware boxes to keep them together - cookie cutters, cake candles, piping nozzles, food colourings, and flavourings, etc.

This one is pretty self-explanatory really. I've created a little list of what's tucked away in there that is fixed to the inside of the cupboard door for easy reference because I will forget and it saves me having to pull everything out to see what's there. The glue isn't dry in this photo, but don't hate me. I was excited to show you and couldn't wait for the drying time!

Last, but not least is "that thin cupboard". Here's a before pic.

Sorry for the poor quality, I was using my small camera and it's not so good in low light.


Not much has changed I suppose. It's just been tidied up really. The jelly man is my coppers jar. He rocks.

Thanks so much for reading!

Sarah. x

I've linked this post up to...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

So Many Receipts!

May 2005 was almost 6 years ago. It's also the date of the oldest receipt I found in my little receipts box. Yup, I am *that* rubbish on keeping on top of this. Paperwork again! YAK!

So I tipped them all our into a big pile on the floor.

Put the ones I wanted to keep back into the box.

And the rest were burned in my parent's fireplace.

Ahhhhhh... My mind feels a fraction lighter now. There's no way I needed that 4-year-old receipt for a bra and that one from last week for the doorstop. No way!

Stay tuned for my plan on how to keep up with all this organising fun. I figured I need a way to make sure I stay on top of these systems and things, otherwise things could easily slip again. I need to keep reassessing what's working and what isn't. It's okay though. Like I said, I have a cunning plan. :o)

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Wardrobe Decluttering

This is our mahooooosive wardrobe in our bedroom. It's from IKEA (naturally) and is part of their Pax range, which is brilliant for being able to pick and mix what kinds of storage features you want inside. Sorry, the photo is wonky, I must have been in a rush.

A couple of things I feel I have to mention here are, a) the general massiveness of the wardrobes and, b) the general ikkyness of this room.

a) The wardrobes are so big because I am an idiot. Basically, I have a natural instinct in me which screams "BUY BIG!" whenever we're getting something new. Remember the "Big Unit?" My idea. Anyway, it usually takes every ounce of control to moderate the size of anything I buy, particularly when it comes to storage items. My natural impulse is to get the biggest thing that will fit in the space so that we can hide as much of our stuff in there as possible. I am battling this ridiculous urge since it is far better to streamline the amount of stuff you actually own in order to possess smaller, more compact pieces of furniture that don't completely dominate the space.

When we bought these wardrobes I was very organised and cut out wardrobe (and bed and bedside cabinet) sized footprints from newspaper and spent ages working out where each thing would go. In the end, I decided that the wardrobes could go on this wall, adjacent to the door and that it didn't matter that the door can't fully open because look at all the room we have to hide our crap! Sigh. Fast forward to us having babies and now I curse having to squish myself in sideways while carrying a child in my arms! Silly, silly Sarah.

Soooo, part of my organising mission with these bad boys is for me to be able to condense all of the items into the two double wardrobes so that I can get rid of the single one on the end.

b) Our bedroom badly needs decorating, but is sadly right far down on the list of "things to spend our money on." Above that being a car, the garden, and the living room. This is why the walls are all marked and you can see a trendy red border around the top of the walls. We stripped the fabulous orange pine cladding from the ceiling and now enjoy staring at the bumpy contours of nail hole pocked woodchip. Jealous much?

Anyhoo, this photo shows the inside of the wardrobes before I tackled them. Not toooo bad you might think, but on closer examination, you can see why it doesn't work. There are loads of inefficient systems going on here - too many drawers versus hanging space, drawers containing things that need throwing out, wellies in drawers (!) and just a general need for some decluttering.

This is "after." The changes are subtle, but here's what I did...
- Removed two of the wire drawers from the middle section and utilised a second hanging rail that was already there, just unused.
- I went through and took out two bags of clothes to either sell on eBay or send it to charity.
- I removed some personal care items and put them in my bedside cabinet instead.
- Took out the wellies and rehoused elsewhere.
- Used the newly freed-up drawers in 'his' side to store the kid's clothes I am going to be listing on eBay.
- Organised my clothes into sections - jackets, cardis, dresses, tunics, shirts, jumpers, tops, jeans, trousers, leggings.

I do feel better for doing all that! :o)

Oh, and those two wire drawers i removed make brilliant underbed storage! Now i keep my handbags in one and a few random items including those wellies in the other.

I'm linking this post up to I'm An Organising Junkie's 52 Weeks of Organising:

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Living Room Decorating Project

We are going to be decorating our living/playroom in the next couple of weeks. In fact, the only thing stopping us right now is my indecision over paint colours. I do know (possibly) that I want to do the wall with the double doors leading to the kitchen in white. That's because it's dark down that end, so I could use some light-reflecting action going on down there. I'll then match the small strip of wall that faces the same direction in white too for some continuity. 

After that... I don't know!! I initially wanted to do the walls a pearl grey colour, which is the middle right sample on the photo below. Then I thought maybe taupe, which is the top right sample. Then I panicked about it being too dark and got the rest of the paint samples you can see and didn't like any of them. This is so hard!!

I know this isn't exactly organising, but it's "homey" so here I am. Anyone have a preference on colour? Or even an alternative idea? 

Here's the room as it is now.

We're keeping all the furniture, so it's dark black/brown and white with rattan bits in places. The curtains are the same pattern as the cushion in the first photo with all the samples. I want to have lots of white in there too to brighten it up - photo frames, ornaments, etc. I'm also on the lookout for a big mirror for the playroom end to bounce some light around that darker area. I'm going to do a few little things here and there to try to bring the two sections of the room together, so it looks like two halves of the same room, rather than two unconnected spaces.

This arrangement of furniture might change too. I only just moved the small sofa there yesterday and I'm not so sure about it. If we had enough money I'd want to buy a new modular sofa to replace the two separate ones we've got.

And, we've got a Technician coming from IKEA to look at the big unit cause we've had a couple of issues with it. Sob! The doors keep dragging down and there's some tape stuff hanging off the front of the shelving. I'm so sad, cause we love our massive unit! Hopefully, the Tech will fix it.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

My Daily Box

This little box of tricks has worked wonders for my morning routine! It's a similar idea to the little cosmetics bag I put together for keeping in my handbag / nappy bag.

It sits in my bedside cabinet and when I get out of the shower in the morning I just grab the box and it has everything I need right there! Now, this might sound like a bit of a no-brainer to some of you, but please bear in mind that everything was previously strewn all over. Makeup in one place, hair things in another. Deodorant here, contact lenses there. It really was an exercise in memory and fitness just to run around finding all of my daily essentials each morning!

Plus, with everything being in one place, it's much easier to keep moving it to different places out of my daughters way when she's hanging around me getting ready, rather than having to constantly scoop up and move loads of loose items. 

So, in here I have...

A mirror - I apologise for the reflection of our awful ceiling and tatty old light shade. Our bedroom is unfortunately well down the list of "things to spend money on" this year.
Face wipes - I'm too lazy to properly wash my face each evening, so I use a face wipe. I don't wear enough make up for it to matter anyway.
Alice band - to keep my hair out of my face when I'm getting ready
Bag of hair clips and bobbles - cause I usually wear my hair up every day
Deodorant - anti stinky
Hairbrush - to pull out all my hair since all I do is shed right now
Contact lenses - all the better to see you with my dear
Moisturiser - I do think I should be considering an alternative to "First Effects" by now. :o|
Eyeshadow and brush, bronzing pearls and brush, mascara - the only make up I wear usually if I bother at all
Witch Hazel - for zits
Q Tips - for my ears. I have an ear cleaning fetish.
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