Day 296: Tiles Chosen, Ensuite Taking Shape, and an Evening at Nando’s

My eldest and I went out around 7.30 this morning (before I’d even had breakfast!) to three tile shops and came back with six more sample tiles. We knew that at least one of them would be ok.

When we got home we laid them all out on the floor and my daughter came up with a combination of three – two for the walls and one for the floor. When we discussed this with the plumber he asked us to rethink one of the tiles because it was a different shape to the rest.

After we worked through all of the tiles again, she came up with white lustre for the walls and then we’re going with a feature wall and the floor in a different colour. When I calculated online how much this would cost, I was horrified. I hadn’t realised how much tiles were, and we hadn’t even picked expensive ones. It’s going to look lovely though.

The ensuite update

The builders made good progress again today. Here is the wall with the cubby holes cut out ready for the shelves.

The floor is also down and there was more prep work going on. They were here for a good nine hours today.

After doing a full day’s work today and managing everything else going on, I was feeling a bit tired. My eldest had gone round to her friend’s and my youngest wanted to go to Nando’s to get chicken and child. I said that I was going to have a lie down on the sofa for a short while first, so she played the piano with earphones in whilst I had a lovely nap.

Nando’s for dinner

We scanned the code outside the restaurant and got a table straight away. We’ve been there before so we know the drill. Walk in in your mask, sit at the table, scan another code to bring up the menu and place order. Then wait for food to my brought over to you. All very organised and my chicken, chips and salad was delicious.

I had a lovely chat l daughter and I was pleased that we’d made the effort to go out.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 295: Shopping for Tiles, Decision Made on Bathroom Suite, and I Sold Some More Clutter

I’m selling about one item a week on average at the moment through Facebook Marketplace. Books and games tend to go quite quickly particularly if they are new. A lady messaged me about the brand new little pack of Charlie and Lola books in a plastic rucksack and she needed them for her son’s birthday. She was over the moon when I said that they were still available and let her have them for a reduced price of £6

This type of clutter clearing works for me, Even though it’s quite a slow process, waiting for someone to want it, at least I know that they are going to a good home. This obviously doesn’t work for everything I want to get rid of, most of the clutter goes into the charity bags. That’s going well too.

Ensuite renovation

We had a discussion with the plumber this morning about the final design of the bathroom and I’ve agreed to pay him the extra for the shelves in the en-suite and the bespoke cupboard in the main part of the room. We’ve also made a decision on the bathroom suite which will be fitted next week.

Today they made good some of the walls, strengthened the structure surrounding the shower walls and plastered the ceiling.

It doesn’t look like much has been done, but I know that they’ve been working hard all day with behind the scenes type stuff.

Shopping for tiles

My daughter and I went out to Topps Tiles store this morning. We bought 5 different floor and wall tiles and brought them home to get the rest of the family to help with the decision. What I didn’t realise until I’d paid for them was that I can take them back for a refund when we’ve finished with them. That’s a result!

Another busy but productive day. Hope you’ve all had a good Wednesday.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 294: Utility Room Floor Cleared, and Work Continues on En-suite

The day has whizzed by today. The plumbers were here again working on knocking out more of the cupboard and creating a structure for the shower wall. They found a lot of damp and said that the shower wasn’t built very well. Whoever had put it in before basically did a bodge job (as they say). Apparently it’s one of the worst built en-suites that they’ve seen.

It’s always been a problem to us with the smell in there and now we know why. The rotten wooden structure on the back wall of the shower will have to be replaced. It was built so badly that the dividing wall into the room was moving as he shook it.

I’m so glad we didn’t just put a new shower in over the old one. The problems would have still been there.

Not sure if I mentioned it yesterday but the plumber had an idea about adding in some tiled shelving in the walls next to the sink, and making a small bespoke cupboard in the bedroom. This way, most of the old space is utilised. He’s come back this evening with a quote on this extra work and I need to let him know by the morning. It’s more expensive than I thought, but my daughter seems happy and he can get it all done in the same timeframe using his chippy (or carpenter as we call it).

Today we had to decide on the type of bathroom suite, shower, shower door etc that we wanted (will be confirming that with him in the morning) and tomorrow my daughter and I are going out to look at tiles as apparently they should have been ordered by now.

The utility room

I felt a bit fed up with the mess downstairs this morning to the point where I couldn’t even get to the washing machine because of the junk on the floor in there. I picked up one thing and worked out what to do with it and it sort of spiralled from there.

I had the morning off, and so I spent about three hours clearing stuff in the utility room and the dining room that’s been accumulating. I filled two more charity bags, which pleased me. I felt so much clearer-headed afterwards.

This is the utility room floor now. It’s too embarrassing to show you the before picture.

Deliveries & painting

My daughter’s new mattress turned up today and also the Ikea furniture. She’s very excited to put it all in her new room at the weekend. The bed isn’t arriving until next week though. The builders won’t have finished the bathroom, but she will have finished painting her room.

She did some more painting this evening. There’s actually not much left to do now. I’m so proud of what she’s achieved.

Until tomorrow..

Sandra

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Day 293: The Ensuite Has Gone, and the Decorating Continues

It’s been another long day. As I went to sleep so late last night, I only got about four hours; however, I knew that it was going to be another busy day ahead. I got up to the sound of my alarm and after doing my stretches, I got going.

The plumbers turned up around 9am and covered all the floors upstairs and the stairs with protective plastic sticky backed stuff. They apologised in advance that the building work was going to be noisy, but the girls and I were going out to their contact lens and sight test appointments anyway so we were going to be out of the way. They got started with knocking out the en-suite.

When we got back the skip had arrived and the plumbers had taken most of the appliances and tiling out and started knocking out the panelling and plasterboard.

They revealed a wasp nest that had got in through a small hole outside and was sitting behind the plasterboard. The wasps were all dead which was good (see photo on right below)!

En-suite before, and wasp nest revealed

Later in the afternoon the whole en-suite and spare room cupboard had been knocked out and the space looked pretty big. You could see right through from the en-suite door and out through the spare room cupboard (see bottom two photos).

The plumber gave us a few options on how we could use the space and left us to make the decision overnight. I think he could sense some tension as we don’t agree much in this house.

One of the options is to create three large cubed and tiled cubby holes in the bathroom thereby utilising the space at the back of the old cupboard. The shower tray would increase from 800mm to 1200mm and that would also have a cubby hole for shampoo etc. The rest of the spare room cupboard could be used as shelving in the bedroom or a smaller cupboard. It’s going to cost us more obviously, as there’s extra tiling. He could get his carpenter to design and build a small cupboard. I think I need to know what the extra cost is first.

They also found a lot of mould and damp and the reason behind that was because the ventilator unit going up into the loft had had something thrown over it so it was squashed and not ventilating anything. If only we’d known that all this time.

So, an eventful day and the rest of the next couple of weeks are going to be similar.

When they’d gone, my daughter wanted to continue with painting the room. I started helping and then I stopped to help my husband cook dinner.

My youngest helped with the painting instead. I have just been in to see how they’ve done, and it looks really good. Just one coat of paint on the ceiling left to do and a few edges need tidying up.

The girls cleaned everything up including washing the paint trays and brushes. They are experts now having done the lounge and the youngest’s bedroom this year.

How am I feeling?

I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed as there are a lot of decisions to be made this week, a lot of people coming round to do various jobs, I’m going to be busy at work, and there’s clutter everywhere. It’s best that I don’t try and think of it all tonight. I’m probably making a mountain out of a molehill.

Time for a bubble bath and to clear my mind! My neck is still a bit stiff from painting the ceiling yesterday.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 292: Painting, Painting and More Painting

My daughter and I achieved a lot today in the spare room (her new room); however, because I’m still clearing up in there I haven’t got much time to write about the details. I’ll try and give you the gist of it.

We went out this morning to get some paint (she picked Dulux Timeless for the walls), sandpaper, polyfiller and a large dust sheet which covered the entire room which was brilliant.

Before starting the painting

We sanded and filled holes and then painted the ceiling, walls and wood panelling. It was hard work!

Towards the end of day 1

After 7 hours I asked my youngest to order us a pizza and we sat and ate it in amongst the mess. It was quite fun.

Dominos pizza was needed

We had a good playlist of songs going and worked until around 10pm.

We then had a short break and I returned back to the room just before midnight to empty the corner cupboard which was FULL of games, DVDs and CDs that will now have nowhere to go. They’re piled up in the room.

The corner cupboard needed to be emptied because the plumber might use some of it to make the en-suite bigger, although my daughter and I would prefer to keep the storage. We’ll see what happens. I just want her to be happy with the outcome.

I’m really tired now, but am faced with a messy kitchen which I can’t leave until tomorrow.

I’m going to need one of my special baths before I go to bed not only because I need to wash the paint off but because my neck is a bit achy from painting the ceiling.

Hope you’ve all had a good weekend.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 291: Spotlights Installed in the Spare Room, Desk Moved, and Preparing for Painting

I was up early this morning because the electrician was coming round at 8am to install spotlights in the spare room. We were so lucky that he agreed to do this room for us on his day off (I needed it done before the work started on the en-suite).

Before spotlights fitted

The little gadget that he had with him was really cool as it threw a beam across the length of the room which allowed me to see where the spotlights could go. We made a decision on where to position them and off he went crawling about in the loft to cut holes from above.

I popped out get my hair cut mid morning – an appointment that I’d completely forgotten about until the reminder popped up two days ago. With hindsight, I probably should have cancelled it because I’ll be sanding down and painting the room tomorrow. Oh well, I got pampered for an hour and I had a good chat with Gina.

Once the electrician had gone, I showed my daughter the lights and she loved them (phew!). Once we’ve painted the ceiling tomorrow, we can push the lights up into place.

Spotlights fitted

One step closer to my daughter moving into the room.

Time to move the Desk

Next step was to move the desk into our bedroom in the small area where the cupboards used to be. This is only temporary until we get new wardrobes built, but it’s actually quite a nice little area for my husband to work and it has a window next to it.

Fortunately the solid wood desk comes apart. The top comes off and then the two pedestalls can be moved independently. It was too heavy for me and my youngest to carry, so I had to ask my husband for help. I took the drawers out of the desk first which made it a bit easier to carry.

Desk moved

The desk is all in place now and I’ve put his laptop, screen and other stuff back where it was.

Preparing the spare room ready for decorating tomorrow

Before even attempting to do the sanding down and painting, I was determined to take out the remaining boxes and put them ‘somewhere’. None of the clutter will ever go back in this room again which is such good news because I’m fed up of taking things in and out.

All that’s left in the room now is the TV, sofa and a filing cabinet, which matches the desk but won’t fit in our bedroom. I’ve covered it with an old sheet and will use it to stand on to do the painting tomorrow.

I found my daughter some paint samples from the garage this evening and she painted large squares on the wall to get a feel for what would look good. She’s picked one she likes, and we’ll pop to B&Q in the morning to buy a couple of tins.

I’m so tired! I’m going to have a bath and then a good night’s sleep.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 290: Getting the Bedroom Back to Normal, and Having a Fish and Chips Friday

I had a day off today and managed to pack it with a list of jobs to be done around the house, two school runs, and a trip to a different carpet shop. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that while I’m feeling motivated to get on with things, I don’t like to waste time 😀.

My main focus today was to clear our bedroom of all the stuff that was piled in there (on the bed and around it) from when the wardrobes were knocked out last week. I needed a plan to get the room back to normal(ish). I decided to do it in stages… just the bed cleared today so that we can sleep in it.

Making space in the garage

I started making a bit more space in the garage. I found a box of curtains – four sets of them – which have come from various houses over the years. I decided to give them a wash and freshen up so that I can sell or donate them. So, I’ve had the washing machine on all day washing the curtains and also the bedding I need to put back on our bed.

I made enough room in the garage for me to stack 4 large really useful boxes from our bedroom. I put my boxes of shoes on top of our other wardrobes and left everything else piled up by the bedroom window. Until my daughter moves out of her current room and into the spare room, there’s going to be limited space to put things.

Planning ahead

I confirmed the plan for Monday with the plumber and he said that a skip would be arriving on our drive on Monday morning ready to throw in the old en-suite bathroom appliances and other rubble.

I can’t believe that the en-suite will be potentially all finished in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed that we don’t go into full lockdown again in the midst of it being installed.

My fear of skips before I’m ready

Any mention of a skip makes me nervous because I worry that the rest of the family will start throwing random things in there from the garage and the house (it’s the whole reason why I haven’t ordered one up to now).

Having said that, I don’t need to panic too much because I have been filling a medium sized hippo bag with stuff that I really wouldn’t mind seeing the back of, and it’s getting in my way in the garage now. If my family start saying ‘what can we start throwing away?’ I can direct them to the stuff in that corner.

I just need to think positively about the situation and know that deep down only good can come out of this whole exercise. I’ll end up with more space.

Even though there’s not much so far that I’ve decided to keep from the garage, it gives me closure going through the boxes and processing the contents. Does anyone relate to my mindset on that?

Fish and chips

For the second Friday in a row, I didn’t feel like cooking so I picked up some fish and chips. They were so good.

British fish and chips

Back in my bed tonight

I was waiting for the drier to finish so that I could make my bed and then I was going to have a bath…

My husband and daughter called me upstairs. They had run me a bath as a surprise which was lovely of them. My husband was a bit extravagant with the bubble bath though 😀. He said that he mixed three together… I only have two! Not quite sure what was in there but it smelt good.

Lots and lots of bubbles

What a lovely end to the day

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 289: Thinking About Organising Paperwork, and Wondering Why I Have so Much of it

I didn’t get a chance to do much at all today in terms of clearing or tidying up. I had a few long zoom calls at work this morning, and then managed to grab a quick lunch before joining more calls this afternoon.

I had a productive day though and worked until almost 7pm… the reason being because I’m off work now until Tuesday afternoon and I wanted to make sure that I tied up any loose ends before logging off. It was a good feeling

After dinner, my daughter and I watched the final few episodes of Friends – it’s taken us 10 months to watch 10 seasons (I forgotten that it ran for 10 years from 1994 to 2004). It’s sad that they didn’t make any more. I’m not quite sure how we are going to spend our evenings now. We might need to start watching them again 😀.

There was plenty that I could do this evening but decided against it, and then I spotted the paperwork category in the spare room.

How much paperwork?

It looked like a mammoth exercise and so I sat there looking at it for a while imagining how I wanted to store and access paperwork in the future. I have no idea at the moment, but at least if I start to think about it, I might attract more thoughts.

I also have a filing cabinet unit that goes with the desk which I will eventually sell with the desk once we’re ready to let go of both (can’t do it at the moment otherwise my husband won’t have anywhere to work).

The filing cabinet is full of paperwork too – and shows evidence of a time in my life when I was good at organising things. The drop down files are alphabetically stored over two drawers. I’m not sure why I didn’t carry on putting paperwork in there. It could have been because I stacked things in front of it and couldn’t open the drawers (at a time when the spare room used to be full to the brim with clutter).

This evening wasn’t the right time to be sorting through anything, so I picked up just one file from the stack – CAR FILE – and opened it up to have a look at the contents.

It looks like I was very organised between 2003 and 2008 as this file had organised and labelled tabs etc. Why have I still got a file that’s over 10 years old that refers to cars that neither of us own anymore? As I write this, I’m trying to think of reasons why I might need the file. That’s how my mind works and that’s why I have so much clutter!

Anyway, enough of thinking about paperwork. Maybe over the next few days when I’m having some quiet time, new ideas of how to organise paperwork might pop into my head. I also need to get realistic about how much to keep.

Time for a salt bath, as my shoulders are feeling a bit stiff from sitting at my computer all day.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 288: Why I am not Feeling Stressed About the Mess

I think that there are many reasons why I’m not feeling stressed about the mess…

  • I have a plan so I know what is happening
  • I know where most ‘out of place things lying around’ are going to go. They are only there because of the work being done. It’s just about getting the time to go through it all
  • I am more motivated when I’m working towards a deadline
  • I’ve been listening to Your Spacious Self by Stephanie Bennett Vodt again and her words of advice always make me feel calm. She says not to identify with the clutter. I am starting to feel that connection loosen a bit.
  • I feel clear minded enough to know that I can turn a mess into something organised pretty quickly when I feel motivated
  • I now have a system going so that I can regularly donate stuff which keeps me focused
  • I have booked a couple of days off so that I can have a long weekend
  • I go to sleep listening to my relaxation program every night
  • I have me-time once or twice a day.

This afternoon I sat in the conservatory surrounded by bits and bobs that I’d stored in here when the bedrooms were being plastered.

I’d sort of ignored the mess because the builders have been here, and it feels like an excuse for me to be messy and leave things out (not a good habit). I also have my back to the stuff when I’m working in the conservatory. I wasn’t working this afternoon, so I took some time out, made myself a cup of tea and lit my candle.

I started thinking about how and when we were going to make a decision about the carpets with the opposing views on colour, and then my mind wandered to the clutter around me. Without feeling any stress or worry, I looked at each item and decided in my head where it needed to go. It made me realise that a lot of this clutter can be planned and organised in our heads; it’s just doing something with it that takes the time and effort.

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Day 287: Ten Charity Bags Donated, and a Luxurious Himalayan Salt Bath

Ten bags to the charity shop

I planned my morning around getting clutter out of the house and garage, and to the Sue Ryder charity shop. I booked the appointment just over two weeks ago and had committed to a further ten bags today, making the grand total of bags donated in the last few weeks to 20. I think that I’m doing okay and it’s getting easier each time.

Some bags were already full and tied up in the garage and a further two were in my car boot. Then there were the two bags of clothes in the house from my husband’s wardrobe that he made quick decisions about last week.

I had to find a further three full bags so started pulling out some boxes in the garage that I’d put to one side, and filled them with games, books, shoes etc. I even took some toys out of my ‘waiting to sell’ pile that aren’t selling and bagged them up. It was a good feeling packing up the car with the ten bags and driving to the shop.

It was raining slightly but that didn’t stop me making four trips back and forth from the car to the shop to carry them in. The lady asked if I wanted to book another appointment and asked how many bags I would have. I said ‘yes, another ten please’. I’m booked in for two weeks today. She seemed concerned that I’d have nothing left. I told her not to worry, as I have loads!

I’m pleased that I hoarded the many empty charity bags as they don’t provide them anymore. I think I’ll run out eventually.

I had a busy afternoon at work and then cooked fajhitas for dinner which everyone seemed to enjoy. I think it was because we haven’t had them for a while. My daughter and I then watched a few episodes of Friends (we’re on the last season now).

Detoxing salt bath

Himalayan Bath Salts

I read somewhere recently that bath salts are good to soak in after a decluttering session. After today’s clutter clearing success, I felt it was only right to treat myself to a detoxing Himalayan Salt bath. This is the third night running that I have used these salts and it definitely makes me feel different to the normal bubble bath.

It has a silky feel when you are in it, a divine smell (the one I bought was lotus flower), and each morning after I’ve had one of these baths, I’ve woken up without a single ache in my body. Is this a coincidence?

Removing clutter from the garage today was detoxing in action, and putting it in my car gave me great joy.

Hope you’ve all had a good day

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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