A New Boiler Gave me a Reason to Clear a Bit of the Garage

I got up a bit earlier this morning to clear the utility room so that our new boiler could be installed. The engineers from Drips Plumbing & Heating spent the whole day removing the old boiler and installing the new one. They did a fantastic job and due to lockdown rules etc., we just left them to it and stayed out of their way when they had to bleed the radiators etc.

Turning the gas off was a challenge

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11 Ways to Keep Warm When You Have no Central Heating

Fingerless gloves to keep your hands warm whilst typing

Our gas boiler packed up last night and whilst we knew that it was probably on its way out anyway, due the noises it was making over the last couple of weeks, we didn’t think it would grind to a halt at the coldest time of the year.

Thankfully the plumber/heating engineer who renovated our en-suite a few months ago was available to come round at lunchtime today to have a look at it. To cut a long story short we need a new boiler as our one is so old you can’t get parts for it anymore. He’s ordered a new boiler for us and will install it on Wednesday this week. We’re lucky and very grateful that he can fit us in so quickly.

So, we have a couple of days where we have to find ways to keep warm. I’m used to being cold during the working day as my office is in the conservatory; however, the rest of the family aren’t used to it. Here are some ways that we’re going to try and keep warm over the next couple of days:

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Turning the House Upside Down Looking for Important Paperwork

I needed to find a couple of important pieces of paperwork today for our tax returns. As I had this morning off work, I ploughed straight in looking through the ‘backlog’ boxes of paperwork in our bedroom without first thinking through where I might have put them. After a couple of hours I was physically and mentally exhausted and at lunchtime my husband offered to help.

We decided that his time was better spent making us some lunch so he cooked us fillet steak with a home made peppercorn sauce and some spinach and I cooked some oven chips. We work from home in different rooms all day and don’t always coincide with our lunch breaks, so we like to make the effort at least once a week to have a ‘lunch date’ and we both enjoy it.

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Getting on Top of the Cleaning

Since starting The Organised Mum Method (TOMM) for tackling my cleaning three weeks ago, I’ve been religiously ticking off my tasks on the #teamtomm app and getting a smiley face at the end of the day. As mentioned in my last post the method includes daily tasks as well as cleaning set rooms Monday to Thursday. There is also a Friday focus where one room (on an eight week rotation) gets a deep clean. Last week the focus was bathrooms.

The bathroom checklist included some tasks that (embarrassingly) I hadn’t done for a while. I couldn’t start on them until Friday evening as I was working late; however, it was actually a light relief (after sitting down at my desk all day) to be scrubbing the window sill, window, floor to ceiling tiles, shower attachment and shower screen. I threw away so many empty and unused toiletry bottles away. It was very satisfying and took my mind off the challenging week I’d had at work. Later in the evening I had a bath and it felt wonderfully clean and the bathroom smelt fresh.

That was just the main bathroom, so I set myself a target to tackle the other bathrooms over the weekend by using the other feature of TeamTomm… the bootcamp section. This has no time limit.

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Keeping a Record of Your Project Progress Helps Keeps You Motivated

“Progress is one of the most motivating feelings for the human mind. You need to have some way to visualise that; some way to see that you’re progressing.”

James Clear, on Dr Chatterjee’s Feel Better Live More podcast #145

Just wanted to jump on here and update you on my current home projects for this year which are going really well and making me feel quite calm and organised. In the past, I’m not sure if I would have used both of these words in the same sentence, but that just goes to show how I’m feeling right now.

By writing down in words the progress I have made to date it’s definitely going to help me to feel more motivated.

Project 1: Cleaning

I have been using The Organised Mum Method (TOMM or #teamtomm) for cleaning since Monday 4 January (I can hear a cheer from Vikki Thompson – selfcare365 😀 as I know she’s been using the same method but has been doing it for a lot longer than me).

Cleaning is something we all need to do whether we like it or not, but in the past I’ve focused on the tidying up and decluttering rather than the cleaning. I never really had a routine; I’ve tried but always given up with it. For this reason, I decided to start an already established routine and TOMM is working for me.

I will be treating cleaning as a project for a couple of months and then once embedded it will become a way of life. Certain areas haven’t had my attention for a while and I need to get them under control. Every day has daily tasks that need to be done as well as certain rooms getting done on certain days. All rooms including the outdoor areas are also on an eight week rotation.

Being only on day 13 at the moment, with more focused cleaning on Fridays, it’s only the lounge and the kitchen that have had the most attention so far (although I have used her Bootcamp section of the app to do additional cleaning in other rooms). This should mean that after a couple of months I will be able to relax a bit more… I hope.

The TOMM app costs £4.99 but it was well worth it just to see the smiley face telling me that I’ve done my cleaning for the day. The weekends are also pretty free because you only have to do the 15 minute light clean each day. This keeps the weekends free for my other projects, and to rest.

As at yesterday I am on a 12 day streak (yeah!)…

… and apart from the hard work of cleaning the kitchen kickboards last night so that I could tick it off the app, it’s not been too bad. I had to get on my hands and knees and scrub and it certainly was a workout in itself!

How can I see that I’m progressing? I’m able to track my progress on the app. The highlight for me so far is that everyone in the house has noticed how clean the main areas are looking and I am so up to date with the washing (and this includes towels and sheets). There have been days where I have actually had to go looking for some washing (e.g. bathroom mats) in order to tick the task off the app. I really don’t think that will be necessary going forward as I may just give myself a day off washing once a week or use that time to do come decluttering of clothes. Now, that’s an idea!

Project 2: A Year to Clear

I mentioned Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s book Your Spacious Self quite a few times during my decluttering blogs last year (click here to see the post that sums up my 2020 decluttering challenge). When I discovered that she had two other books I researched which one I should read next and ordered a copy of A Year to Clear. I made a start on this at the beginning of the month and it has been a life changer so far. It’s also achievable to read and absorb the day’s contents as it’s only a half to one page each day. Sometimes I want to read more, but instead I spend that time making notes and draw my interpretation of the day’s message – example below from day 2.

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There is No Clearing Without Self-Care

I had no idea when I wrote the post Thirteen Days in Decluttering Mode last year, that it’s more difficult to clear the clutter when you’re not balancing it with lots of self-care.

I got better at the self-care towards the second half of last year; however, I was still crazy busy all the time. This year has been very different in terms of making sure that I have ample time for myself every day.

Stephanie Bennett Vogt has taught me a lot in her book A Year to Clear which I’m working through this year in an attempt to eliminate more of the clutter. On day 13 of the book she says…

Compassion is the feel good principle of clearing. When we feel safe, supported, and good we are more likely to let go.

A Year to Clear, Stephanie Bennett Vogt

Whether you are struggling to clear the clutter, or just busy all of the time, have a think about how you can add more self-care into your day.

Until next time…


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Sometimes It’s the Little Steps That Make Me Feel the Most Organised

We’ve done loads to the house lately in terms of renovation and decorating but sometimes it’s the little changes that make me smile the most.

As I took the tea towels out of the dryer today and folded them up, I thought about the basket I organised the other day and it made me smile.

Organising the tea towels

I used to just roughly fold up the tea towels and throw them in the basket, as I didn’t think I had time to do anything better than that. The basket got filled up quickly causing an overflow situation which meant that the spare tea towels got left on the side.

Now I just fold them lengthways twice, roll them flat and pop them in the basket. I was shocked that the small basket was able to hold 15 tea towels, and this whole process gave me the opportunity to take out the older looking ones and use them as rags.

As I said, it’s the little things 😀.

Until next time…


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A 41 Year Old Jigsaw Gave us Three Hours of Family Time

A zodiac jigsaw 1979

In an attempt to get through the stack of jigsaws taking up space in my house (so that we can see which ones we want/don’t want to keep), I got out the second jigsaw so far this year. We started the first 1000 piece one on New Year’s Day (Starting the New Year With a Jigsaw) which only took us around 3-4 days.

This zodiac jigsaw was one that I received from my mum and dad in 1979 when I was just a 10 years old (I’d written my name and the year on both sides of the lid of the box 😊). You might wonder why I still have it… well, my mum and dad are like me, they keep things and they gave it to me with a bunch of books and other memories a year or so ago. I think it was on one of those socially distanced days out to see them in Herne Bay last year.

As we’d only just put the other jigsaw away a day or so ago, I didn’t think that the rest of the family would want to do another one so soon. How wrong was I? No sooner had I tipped the pieces onto the table, they gathered round to make a start on sorting the edges from the middle bits; however, this jigsaw was very different to the standard ones. It was round for a start and had different sections and it was quite difficult to get the edges to stay together at first. They almost lost interest.

We all persevered and actually had quite a bit of fun, and you’ll never guess what… we finished it within a few hours. All 499 pieces of it! That’s right, it had a piece missing, but as the jigsaw is 41 years old, I’m not sure if we’ll find it now 😂.

So, the questions is… should I keep the jigsaw or get rid of it? I can’t give it away with a piece missing… or can I?

Until next time…


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Two Thoughts On Clutter Build Up, and A New Cleaning Routine

(1) I still have too much stuff that I ought to get rid of

(2) If I get rid of something that I later regret, I can always buy it again

Even though I spent 366 days eliminating clutter from my home, my garden and my mind last year, and got rid of 40 charity bags full of stuff and so much rubbish and recycling, the fact is that I still have too much stuff. Stephanie Bennett Vogt defines clutter as…

“Anything that gets in the way of experiencing our true nature and best life”

A Year to Clear, Stephanie Bennett Vogt

I’m on Day 4 in her book A Year to Clear, and she describes that clutter comes in many forms, for example… physical, mental and emotional. The exercise at the end of today says to think about how clutter shows up in your life and also what it stops you accomplishing.

I jotted down that it comes into my life in the following ways:

  • Recycling
  • Things to return to shops
  • Unwanted clothes
  • Items with no home
  • Items to sell/donate
  • Things that require a decision
  • Rubbish

Lots to think about to stop the clutter building up again. How does clutter build up in your life?

Waking up early this morning to a new cleaning routine

I don’t know why I woke up so early this morning. Maybe I was excited to be starting the The Orgainsing Mum Method approach to cleaning. I dowloaded the app and got to work on Monday’s task which is the living room and then I started the level 1 daily tasks.

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Checking up on My 2020 Processes: Filing Receipts

In an attempt not to make the same mistakes as last year, I turned to the very first post of my 2020 challenge and found that I had created a concertina file for receipts and placed it in the kitchen cupboard. I sort of stopped putting the receipts in there around August/September. I know it was around this date because I found a lot of loose receipts thrown into the cupboard instead of actually filing them in the concertina file. Why did I stop? Was the space too awkward to get to?

The answer was yes. The shelf above it was stopping me seeing into anything past the first few months of the year in the concertina file and it was difficult to pull the whole thing out. I decided that it needed moving, so I filed the loose receipts into the relevant monthly slots. After that, I took out all of the January 2020 receipts and put them in the slot labelled 20 (for the year 2020 if you didn’t work that one out 😃), and so that I can start using the January slot for this year.

The concertina file was only meant to be a temporary solution last year until I found something better but I never did, so I’m going to continue with it for now and put the whole thing in a more accessible place e.g. in the temporary filing cabinet in the study. I’m attending an online course on paperwork in a few days so you never know, I might find a new and better solution for receipts.

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