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Hello Again

Well, after a long break from blogging – 6 months – I’ve finally got enough time to myself to contribute some more thoughts…
In the time I’ve been away lots has happened: I have tried very hard not to aquire more stuff, ethically reduce the amount of stuff I have already, and to live as lightly as possible. But I have fallen off the wagon a bit and need to refocus.
I will be blogging over the next few days about each of my goals/interests and also introducing a couple of new things into the mix.
I’m using my work laptop just now so don’t have many photos available to make this post a bit prettier but I’ll have a browse now for something.

The Beach at Holkham, Norfolk - one of my favourite places.

The Beach at Holkham, Norfolk – one of my favourite places.

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More Stuff Gone!

Yesterday my Husband finally got round to sorting out his clothes.

He has had 2 1/2 wardrobes, 9 drawers and 4 baskets full of stuff, about 70% of which he never wears. After the big clear out there is 2 wardrobes and 5 drawers in total. Also 2 of the 10 or so coats have gone. (still too many coats for one person in my opinion but there we are). The thing I’m most pleased with is the shoes. He has been holding onto several pairs of running shoes from years ago for sentimental reasons and he has now let them go.

I’ve loaded 4 bin bags into the car and tomorrow they will go to the local charity shops. I will share the stuff out between them as I feel guilty taking too much stuff into one shop for them to sort out. Guilt is a hobby of mine….

Anyway I can’t tell you how much lighter it makes me feel to be able to go to bed without piles of clothes which won’t fit into the wardrobes like leaning towers of Pisa looming over the bed!

Suffolk Reed Beds

Suffolk Reed Beds


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Where do all the hours in the day go?

Well I’m back again after a short break from blogging.

I haven’t been idle during my absence (chance would be a fine thing!). I have continued to rid my home of unneeded items as I’ve come across them but still feel far from minimalistic.

I have found that I need to involve my family as much as possible with my new way of living. I spent a week noting down how long I spent on each task I ‘have to’ do. – I know, I know, sometimes I can be very sad! It proved to be interesting. I was already aware that I don’t have enough hours in the day to do what I ‘have to’ do let alone what I actually WANT to do but this has clarified where all the time goes. I’ll give you an edited version of my findings:

Laundry – 12 hours per week. I have modern laundry equipment and detergents so I’m not having to carry it down to the river and scrub it all by hand so why does it take up so much of my valuable time? 2 reasons I think: 1. The children put clothes on and then get changed more than once per day sometimes. At the end of the day they just chuck it all in the wash so a lot of what I wash isn’t even dirty. 2. A lot of my time is spent folding and putting away clothes. So, now I’m trying (and partially succeeding) to get them to keep one set of scruffs to put on after school and only put their clothes in the wash when they need it. – Do the ‘look at the front and back test’ followed by the ‘sniff test’. I’ve also been putting a pile of each person’s clothes on their beds and they can put them away themselves. This also helps them to know where all their clothes are when they’re looking for something. Husband’s clothes now look like the leaning tower of Pisa on top of the chest of drawers.

Tidying Up – 9 hours per week. This is just simply picking up things which have been left out and putting them away. This has had to stop.  Each day I now spend 10 minutes walking around the house, picking up anything that has not been put away and piling it all on the culprit’s TV chair/beanbag. They can then not watch TV until they have put all the stuff away. This has worked quite well with the children. They have been trying to keep their things more tidy and have sorted out their books and toys to reduce the amount of stuff they have cluttering up their playroom and bedrooms. We did a big tidy up which took 2 days and they now know where everything ‘lives’ and are spending 10 minutes per day picking up their stuff and, on the whole, their space (and the rest of our home) is a far less cluttered place to be. The person who ends up with the most stuff on his tv chair every day is my husband. He is not really getting it yet. After a week of having a great big heap of stuff to put away every evening before he can watch the world cup, each new day’s pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. It is certainly true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks ha ha! My tidying up has now gone down from 9 hours per week to 4.

Work – 24 hours. This is my ‘proper’ job as the finance director of our company. This varies depending on the needs of the business and was quite a short week.

Childcare – 12 hours. This is mainly ferrying them around and driving them to and from school. It also includes ‘persuading’ them to do their homework, testing spellings etc. I don’t begrudge any of this but it can be exhausting.

Other Work – 24 hours. This covers cleaning, cooking, filling/emptying the dishwasher, washing up, dog care, shopping, putting out the rubbish, home paperwork/admin. Boring but necessary.

So my working week was 81 hours. 13 hours per day Monday – Friday, 8 hours per day at weekends. No wonder I’m knackered.

My leisure time was a total of 24 hours. This seems a lot but it included sleeping before 10pm or after 6am, eating, showering/bathing, getting ready to leave the house (dressing, makeup, hair etc.), time spent with husband/friends/children, tv, beekeeping, gardening, walking the dogs, time spent online…..what I would really like is some time spent doing absolutely nothing at all.

I think the worst thing is I feel as if I’m on a treadmill, doing the same old stuff which I feel I have to do and never being able to get off it to follow my dreams. I’m 50 next year so I’d better get a move on!

So, apart from the laundry reduction and tidying revolution above, what else can I do to reduce the workload? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Holkham Beach Nofolk

Holkham Beach Norfolk – wish I was there!

 

 


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Slowing Down the Decluttering

 

I have decided to have a short break from disposing of stuff. I need time to take stock and pause for thought. It would be relatively easy to continue to chuck stuff out willy nilly just to meet an arbitrary target which I have set myself.

i don’t see this as failure. I have managed 28 continuous days of getting rid of 1 more thing each day which means I have reduced my clutter by more than 400 things! (See my previous posts for details of what I disposed of where.) I have raised over £100 for charity by selling stuff which was of value. My local charity shops have received numerous donations of items and a few local people have been able to make use of things I no longer need. I can now find the things I need quickly and I feel ‘lighter’ – less weighed down by stuff. I am seriously thinking before acquiring more stuff whether I really need it.

 


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DAY 28

A bit further on the road to a more minimalist life: I now know where nearly everything I own belongs. There is still too much of it but at least I know where to find most things straight away without spending ages running around like a headless chicken looking for keys/purse/phone/shoes/coat/ipod……

However, I have some doubts as to the value of what I have been doing. When I look at the list of things I have got rid of, a lot of it is rubbish which should have been disposed of straight away rather than tucked away somewhere to gather dust. Am I really reducing my possessions or just chucking out rubbish? I think what I need to focus on once this exercise is finished is actually reducing the amount of belongings I have rather than just decluttering.

I have sorted through my jewellery boxes today. I have put all the broken chains, odd earrings etc. into an envelope to go into a charity collection at school. I’ve put a couple of things into the charity shop bag and thrown away about 6 jewellers boxes and a broken jewellery box. But I’ve still got about 30 necklaces, not to mention all the pairs of earrings, bracelets etc. I don’t even wear much jewellery. The problem is I don’t know yet which pieces to give away and which to keep. So I’ve just put everything away in an orderly way and I’ll revisit this problem later.

I think what I need to do is complete the 30 days and see it as a major clear out of  unnecessary clutter. then, when I can see the wood from the trees, take a look at each and every thing I possess and ask myself if I know it to be useful or believe it to be beautiful. If the answer is ‘no’ – pass it on to someone else who will appreciate it. I’m going through the ‘quantity’ at the moment and I need to move on to the ‘quality’.

 

My photo today is a sparkling, clear river in which we swam in the summer of 2012 near St Etienne Vallee Francais in the stunning Cevennes region of France.

 

River in Cevennes, France

 


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NEW DAY 27

Yesterday, after a couple of days break, I managed to continue with my disposal of unwanted stuff. I sorted out another cupboard in the garage and threw away:

  1. Some odd wall tiles – not enough to do anything with
  2. A used water filter (?!)
  3. A broken shower head (?!)
  4. 2 ancient light fittings
  5. A broken radio aerial
  6. Some more broken christmas lights
  7. Half a tube of solid filler
  8. A perished window cleaning squeegee
  9. Some short bits of plastic plumbing pipe
  10. A heap of used tile spacers 

I put in the recycling:

  1. Some metal cupboard fittings
  2. Some metal door knobs
  3. Some random rolls of wire
  4. Some rusty steel wool
  5. Some odd metal wall brackets

Added to the 11 things I sold/gave away/threw away the other day that’s my 26.

Today the 27 things I disposed of were:

3 things given away via freegle: Pond Liner, pond pump and a set of garden lights.

6 things given to the charity shop: Smoothie maker, a pile of Christmas gift bags, 2 felt Santa Sacks, 3 kids buckets, 2 kids spades and a pile of other assorted sand toys.

2 things recycled: a load of Christmas cards and a roll of scrunched up wrapping paper.

15 things thrown away: Some nibbled paint rollers, nibbled tennis racquets, broken badminton racquets, 3 or 4 ball pit balls, some nibbled plastic cricket stumps, 2 odd plastic boules, a broken kite, some nibbled shuttlecocks, a broken snow brick maker, 2 football marker things, some nibble bits from a tag game, old ice-cream tubs, some nibbled bags, broken garden canes and an old phone charger.

1 thing up-cycled:  Loads and loads of seashells picked up by various children on various beaches over the last 5 years or so. i have put these amongst my alpine plants on my raised bed/rock garden and they look very nice indeed (even if I say so myself!) I will add a photo of said rock garden tomorrow – It’s dark now…

 

 


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Day 27 and 28 – extreme failure…but brilliant bees!

For the past 2 days I have been really struggling with a massive headache so my journey towards a more minimalist life has ground to a halt.

I will continue tomorrow with the remaining 15 things from day 26.

Saturday will be my new Day 27.

On the plus side, my bees are doing really well. I have named the queens Victoria and Elizabeth. Victoria’s hive is called Balmoral and the bees are using all 11 frames in the brood box with sealed brood in 6 of them. I have therefore put the queen excluder and my first super on top today. Elizabeth’s hive is called Sandringham and they are also doing very well. This was a smaller Nuc to start off with so they are not quite so far ahead. I have left them with just the brood box for now. They are only using 8 of the 11 frames so far but I’m sure by next week I will be able to put a super on top of this hive too.

Here is a picture of some of my lovely bees:

MY SANDRINGHAM LADIES HARD AT WORK1

MY SANDRINGHAM LADIES HARD AT WORK