Day 218: Clean Windows and a Sneaky Little Apple Pie

I’ve never wanted clean windows as much as I do these days. Looking through clear glass makes such a difference. It just seems more important to me than it ever used to, which is quite symbolic considering all the decluttering I’m doing.

The window cleaner came round today and when I told him that I’d been cleaning the inside of the windows using a new cloth that I’d bought, he jokingly said that he’d noticed… that made me think that they must have been really bad before. Either that or he has a trained eye for these things. It made me chuckle.

When he’d gone, I cleaned the inside of the conservatory windows. It was something that I was going to do this week anyway, as I wanted to shift the citrus plant further away from the full sun so I took the opportunity to do it today after work. This way, I could take advantage of the outside of the windows being clean. I couldn’t believe the difference, it looked like we’d got new windows!

Clean and clear windows

I wiped down the windowsills behind the sofas as well (a few dead flies, yuk!) and mopped the floor. I used the diluted lemon zest Zaflora spray and it smelt amazingly fresh.

Temporary layout of the chairs and table in the conservatory

No one really likes this layout but there’s only one other way, which is to put the table to the left. There’s still one other item I can move out of the conservatory which I will do if that’s the only way that we can make it feel comfortable for everyone. The clutter has also started to build up in the parts of the room that you can’t see, but I’m going to work on that over the next few days. I’m just grateful for the lovely space where I can sit and just think when I’m not working.

A trip to the hardware store

Masks at the ready, my youngest and I popped out to B&Q to get a bag of compost for the citrus trees that my husband and I started repotting yesterday. We picked up a few little plants as well. My daughter picked dahlias and I picked something else… can’t remember the name, I just liked the tiny pink flowers. I’m excited about finding a place in the garden for those this weekend.

Leftover pastry

Just before I started writing this, I noticed some pastry in the fridge from yesterday and I had apples that needed using up as well, so I rustled up a little apple pie. As soon as I took it out of the oven, my daughters actually ate a slice each even though it was 11.30pm… so, I took a sneaky cheeky thin slice too.

Hope you’ve all had a good Wednesday. I’m just going to get stuck into clearing up in the kitchen now, as I have a 9am meeting in the morning followed by a busy day. I don’t want to be having breakfast in an untidy kitchen.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 217: Repotting the Citrus Trees, and Taking Time For Me

Just over an hour ago I said to everyone in the house that I need some time to myself, so I have come into the conservatory to write this. It feels like the first bit of me time I’ve had all day apart from the nice walk early this morning (I’m glad I did that, and I was admiring the beautiful trees and how the light shines through… pictured above).

Anyway, after a long and busy day at work, I stepped out of the conservatory (work) and into the kitchen (home) and starting making a meat pie, mashed potato and veg. It turned out well and there’s enough left over for me and my youngest to have tomorrow (we seem to be the only ones that don’t mind second day meals).

New pots and rose bushes

Rubber pots and rose bushes

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that we bought three new pots during our trip to the garden centre. They are recycled rubber and have built in self-watering trays in the bottom, and when left unplugged it will drain the water. I think that they look really smart and we got a seal of approval from my eldest when we brought them home yesterday, which is an added bonus. They actually look good in the nice clear hallway (pictured above), but that wasn’t where they were meant to go.

We also bought two rose bushes which we temporarily placed in the new pots to bring home. They will be going in the garden somewhere, or repotted into larger pots. They have a few buds on them and I can’t wait for them to flower. I do love yellow and white roses.

Repotting the citrus trees in the new pots

My husband and I worked together this evening to take the three citrus plants out of the small pots that they came in four months ago, and we put them in these new ones.

We didn’t quite have enough potting compost, so we’ll have to pick some more up tomorrow and top one of the pots up. We’re not exactly sure where we are going to position the new pots yet, so two of them are currently sitting in the dining room by the back door and the other one is in the conservatory. We are going to have to rejig the furniture in the conservatory again to stop the trees being in direct sunlight as it’s been scorching the leaves in the hot weather.

As I write this, I can see into the kitchen – my eldest is tidying up from dinner. I did look at the mess earlier and thought about how I would do that after I’d had some time to myself. Now I don’t need to. My youngest also just sent me a text saying how much she appreciates everything I do. They are both very sweet.

I feel relaxed now.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 216: Anniversary Celebrations, Shopping, Recycling, and Two Charity Bags Collected

Our anniversary meal out

My husband and I went out for the afternoon as it’s our anniversary. It was a lovely sunny day so we spent some time in a large garden centre as we had some vouchers to spend that are going to expire soon. We bought some nice pots for the citrix plants that my husband bought me for my birthday earlier in the year, and a couple of rose bushes. More about that tomorrow when we do the repotting.

We ate at one of our favourite restaurants Frédéric Bistro this afternoon. I was really looking forward to it as we haven’t eaten out for almost five months. The tables were nicely spread out and the place was lovely and airy. I had a glass of prosecco, fillet steak with peppercorn sauce and fries. For dessert I had the pear tart (which I asked to be warmed up, yum) and ice cream. It tasted as good as we remembered it. We were also able to take advantage of the 50% off government scheme that started in most restaurants today.

The girls didn’t want to come out with us today as they were looking forward to having an afternoon to themselves. We appreciated the time to ourselves as well. We bought them back a MacDonalds and they were so grateful.

Apart form the restaurant and the car, we had to wear our face masks on and off today so it was nice to get home and be mask free. Being a Monday it was pretty empty in the shops though.

Recycling & charity stuff

I had a big job to do when I got home which was to finish breaking down the boxes and packing them up to be stored outside for recycling as they’re picking up tomorrow. It was great to get it all out of the garden as it was taking up a lot of room.

I also couldn’t believe it when two charity bags that I left outside last night got picked up this morning (I should have left more out!). This leaflet came through the door last week and it said collection on Monday.

I’ve tried leaving bags out before when different leaflets have come through but no one picked them up, but thankfully this time they did. I was so pleased that I’ve finally found a way to get rid of the bags that are accumulating. I’ll be looking out for more leaflets over the coming weeks.

It was lovely to have the day off today, but it made it feel more like the weekend than a Monday. Back to work tomorrow.

Until then…

Sandra

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Day 215: Having Fun With Roast Dinner Preparation, and Moving Furniture… Happy Sunday everyone!

Roast dinner prep fun

I’ve cooked a lot of roast dinners in my time, and I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really enjoy cooking; however, for some reason I do like taking photos of what I cook. So, today I decided to have a bit of fun and got all creative with the vegetables. It made my husband laugh, and my eldest daughter showed me how to add it as an Instagram story (which all looked very complicated but I’m a quick learner 😀).

Moving the cabinet

After dinner I emptied out the cabinet in the hallway as planned…

Emptying the cluttered hallway cabinet before moving it

It was filled with a mix of vases, ornaments, an old clock and lots of hidden clutter. Once I’d emptied it and taken the glass shelves out, I called my daughters down to help me carry it into the garage. It fitted perfectly in the space I’d created yesterday (if you missed that post click here). This is how clear the downstairs hallway looks now…

Clear hallway

We’re going to get (or make) a couple of simple shelves to put the sky and router boxes on but apart from that we’re going to keep the hallway clear – no shelves and surfaces to clutter up anymore. We also need to do some decorating and change the carpet on the stairs at some point but that’s not important right now.

The cabinet went nicely in the garage and I only put back in it what I wanted to keep.

Using the cabinet in the garage for storage

With just five months to go on my 2020 challenge, I’m really starting to see things taking shape (and I wasn’t even going to include the garage).

If you’re not familiar with my challenge, I updated the wording of it on Day 183 and created my own daily affirmation which is…

I have a clear and organised space in my home, my garden, and my mind,

I still feel positive and motivated that I’m going to achieve what I set out to do and more.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 214: If You’re Happy and you Know it Clap Your Hands… and Sort Out Some Clutter

The nursery rhyme ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ started playing through a charity bag as I brushed past it in the garage this afternoon. It made me smile and I actually did clap my hands and stamp my feet… because I could, and because no one was watching me in my cluttered hideaway. Is the rhyme going round in your head now? I had to put the radio on in order to get it out of mine 😂.

Making space

The reason for being in the garage today was to take out all the large boxes that are taking up precious space.

Empty boxes in the garage

I spread them all out on the grass ready to flatten later and kept adding to it as and when I found anything else.

Cardboard ready to be flattened and recycled

Removing the boxes from the garage left me a lot of space, so I started shifting items around but still keeping things in the categories that I’d started the other day. I was able to move the ten charity bags further back so that they were all in one place. I also took apart a broken wooden structure – it had clutter balancing on it and I just touched one box and it fell forward. I decided that it was time to get rid of it.

Clutter and broken shelves removed

I continued to sort out boxes of toys and games, and added a few of the good items on Facebook Marketplace. I also managed to fill a rubbish bag during the course of the afternoon and finished by vacuuming the floor to make it look tidy. I must have spent about six hours in the garage today – there was just no stopping me. This is the space I eventually made…

Empty space!

The plan for tomorrow is to move the cabinet from our hallway into this space.

Recycling

My husband then helped me flatten the boxes from earlier that were all over the garden.

Unfortunately there was a lot of polystyrene in some of the boxes so I’ve had to store that back in the garage in one of the large boxes. I’ll just get rid of it slowly in the rubbish bags as I don’t think it can be recycled.

My husband and my youngest daughter then cooked dinner whilst I finished things off outside.

A full and very productive day today and to top all of that, my eldest daughter came back from an afternoon out with her friends and said that she really wanted to help tidy the kitchen and sweep the floor. This gave me time to write up this blog a bit earlier than usual.

I very rarely ask for help, but the funny thing is, I’m getting more help than I ever have done… and I’m very grateful.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 213: Lunch in the Shady Part of the Garden, and Recycling an Old Door

Wow, it’s been a hot day today and working in the conservatory was too much to bear. I opened the windows and closed the blinds before it heated up which helped a little bit. After having lunch with my daughter on the swing seat in the garden, I brought my laptop out for an hour. The seat is shaded by two large trees and I could feel a nice breeze.

The broken door

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I’d left a door in the garden that needed to be thrown away. Today my husband took it apart to show me that it’s just cardboard inside. I hadn’t realised that our doors were so flimsy.

The inside of our door

He took the bits of wood out that he wanted to keep and I put the rest of it with the recycling for next week. That’s one less item in the garage!

Talking about the garage, I’m really looking forward to getting more done in there over the weekend. When I popped in there today it actually felt quite cool so if it’s still as hot and muggy tomorrow, that might be a good place to be.

Friday treat

I ended the day with going out and getting us all good old fish and chips! It was so delicious.

Fish and chips

I have a good feeling about this weekend.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 212: DIY Doors and Hot Weather

You’ve probably heard of the game musical chairs, well today it felt like we were playing musical doors and handles but with no music involved. My husband (who is currently working in the spare room) is getting fed up with the door not shutting properly. This means that when he’s got the window open, the door opens and closes with the breeze. He worked out that it just needed a new handle. My daughter’s bedroom door is also broken so he called me upstairs to ask me where the spare doors were so that he could swap them over.

I knew that the spare doors were in the garage (aka my cluttered hideaway) so I went to see which one I could bring out. These doors were old ones that we used to have downstairs about three years ago before we knocked the walls down and made one large kitchen diner. I found one okay-looking door, gave it a good clean in the garden and we carried it upstairs.

Spare door

That should have been it; however, when he attempted to fit it in my daughter’s room he had no luck, as the hinges were on the wrong way or the wrong side… or something.

So, off I went back into the garage to find another old door. The hinges on this one looked right, but it needed a very good scrub.

I cleaned it as best I could and it’s ready for my husband to fit on my daughter’s room tomorrow. She currently has no door but I think she’s ok with that. As I’m writing this, I’ve just realised that the old one is still outside on the grass in the middle of the garden – I forgot to put it back in the garage. It’s been a busy day!

I’m not sure if I’ve gained any space in the garage today, but at least I’ve sorted out the ‘doors’ category and the broken one can be moved to the ‘skip or tip’ category.

Not much other decluttering happened as I worked a full day, and then logged back on this evening to finish something. The main reason for this was because it was soooo hot in the conservatory this afternoon that I felt like I was cooking. I had to get out with a view to finishing my work later. I think that I will need to shut the blinds tomorrow morning as it’s likely to get into the mid 30s here in the UK. That’s very rare!

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 211: Decluttering Progress in the Garage… and Saving the Marigolds

I spoke to my mum on the phone this afternoon whilst I was sorting through stuff in the garage. She’s a great sounding board for me when I’m not sure what to do next (I was just shuffling things around with no particular plan). She doesn’t always know the answers but she’s good at listening. After 50 minutes of chatting and talking through each item that I picked up I’d made really good progress.

Items that I don’t want: I’m organising these by putting them near the entrance on one side of the garage. This is a mix of what needs to be thrown in a skip/taken to the tip, what can be sold, and many charity bags. I left some boxes near there ready to sort through next time I go into the garage so that I can hit the ground running rather than work out what needs to be done next. It’s good to have a plan.

Items that I do want: One of my readers suggested putting things I do want into see through boxes and labeling them so that it’s clear what’s in them. As I’ve already got stacks of pull out clear drawers I’ve started to use these for smaller items (I need to label the drawers too). I have some larger plastic boxes which arrived today which I’m going to use to store larger items and then label them up. It’s still a very packed garage but I’m getting a much better feel for what’s in there and having categories is going to help with the sorting.

I have even positioned the two spare dining room chairs in there so I can sit down when I want a 5 minute break.

Saving the marigolds

The marigold seeds that I scattered in a small border in the garden a couple of months ago have been getting a bit lost in the weeds (weeding is another job that I haven’t done for a while). Today I was determined to get them out and put them in one of the red pots that also had weeds and ants in!

Marigolds lost in the weeds

Even though I was shattered from working this morning, spending three hours in the garage this afternoon and cooking roast chops for dinner, I managed to find a little bit of energy to make this pot look pretty by taking all the marigolds out of the border one by one and separating them from the weeds. I then placed them in the pot with fresh potting compost that I bought the other day.

Marigolds after repotting

The evening

After sitting down with the family to watch a bit of TV (I actually fell asleep in front of it!) I remembered that I had a load of washing on the bed that needed putting away. I only mentioned it briefly, but my eldest went upstairs and started hanging it all up. I gave her a big hug and told her how grateful I was. She’s so lovely. I don’t want to leave my youngest out as she’s helpful too… today she helped me finish off dinner and laid the table. I’m very lucky to have such lovely daughters. If you ever read this girls… thank you.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 210: A Reason to Tidy and Vacuum, and the Sale of Some Love Shaped Clutter

After a very early start this morning to receive the delivery of shopping between 7 and 8am, I turned my attention to tidying and vacuuming the house. I had a deadline of 11.30am to get the stairs, landing and all upstairs bedrooms vacuumed and tidied before someone came round to measure for potential new carpets. This was in relation to my daughter moving into the spare room and getting that carpeted. We just wanted a no obligation quote to see how much it would cost to get the same carpet in all rooms.

Getting Help to Tidy Up and Vacuum

When I reminded the girls that the carpet man was coming round, they immediately started working on their own rooms so that I could concentrate on the rest of the rooms. It didn’t take us as long as I expected. It was lovely walking around enjoying a clean and clear floor once we’d finished. It’s amazing how quickly this can all be done when we have a reason to do it, and we all work together.

The man worked quietly when he arrived and he was gone in no time. Amazingly, the rooms have remained tidy upstairs!

I sold some clutter!

Metal wall art

One of the reasons why I decided to put these two matching pieces of wall art on Facebook Marketplace a couple of days ago was because it would have been difficult to fit them in a charity bag. I also really wanted them to go to someone who could ‘love’ them. The girls used to prop them up in their rooms when they were little but we never got round to putting them up on the wall with lights on.

A lady messaged me earlier today to ask if the wall art was still available and then she drove 20 miles to come and pick them up. I wasn’t worried about getting a lot of money for them so I let her have them for £5 for the pair and she seemed happy. It’s great that people can enjoy the things that we no longer have a home for.

Getting creative

The funny thing was, although these metal contraptions have always got in the way in the girls rooms, then the spare room, and then the garage, I couldn’t help feeling a little bit attached to them now that someone else wanted them, so I decided to take some different photos of them before they left for good. I even had a bit of fun and made an imprint on a blanket with the metal and took a photo of that too.

Wall art and imprints

A long day

I had a very intense day at work this afternoon and then I cooked bolognese for dinner so I’m shattered now. I might even make it to bed earlier than usual. That would be an achievement.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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Day 209: Finding These Pretty Bowls in the Garage, Motivated Me to Reorganise a Kitchen Cupboard

Crystal dessert bowl set

Yesterday I found this pretty crystal bowl set in the depths of the garage which I forgot that I had. It was all wrapped up carefully in newspaper dated 2008 which was the year we moved in. I don’t bring much back in the house (most of it goes in the charity box, recycling or rubbish sack) but this was something that we could possibly use on special occasions. If we don’t end up using it then I’ll rethink things.

After I cleaned it all in the dishwasher today, I tried to work out where I could store it in the kitchen. We have an end cupboard which has our best plates at the top but the rest of the shelves are just random bits and pieces like this..

Kitchen cupboard before decluttering

I thought that if I move the lower shelf up, I could fit the bowls on the middle shelf. At that point, my youngest came downstairs and asked what I was doing. She liked the crystal bowl set and said that it would be nice if everything in the end cupboard was our ‘best stuff’. I liked her idea.

I added the crystal bowl set to the middle shelf and took a photo. It didn’t look right that the bottom shelf stuck out like a sore thumb. I remembered what my daughter said and found our best wine glasses, decanter and brandy/whisky glasses (below) that were still in their boxes taking up space elsewhere in the kitchen.

Our best glasses and decanter

I removed everything from the the bottom shelf and displayed our nice decanter and glasses instead. I think that the cupboard has a much better purpose now. This is how it looks now that I’ve finished…

Kitchen cupboard after decluttering

Other progress today

As it’s bin day tomorrow, I was able to happily go around the house finding things that I could throw away. I already had a nearly full bin outside from the hours I spent in the garage yesterday, so the rubbish round the house filled up the remaining space nicely. I ended up collecting quite a bit of recycling from around the house as well, so that’s all outside ready for next week.

An electrician came round today to quote for some work we need doing around the house as well as to look at replacing the lights outside. I’m really excited about getting rid of some of the old lighting in the lounge and hallway. It’s a job that we’ve wanted to do for a decade! It’s about time we made some changes… we’re getting there slowly.

Until tomorrow…

Sandra

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