Category Archives: decluttering

… and I still never remember to take them to the supermarket!

I washed a load of “green bags” today. Technically, they are all different colours – but they’re the nice big non-woven poly bags.

They say a lot of things about us:

  • We read The Age and have been known to go to museums and/or art galleries
  • We have holidayed in Lorne
  • We mostly shop at Coles
  • We support the Anti-cancer council and have participated in the Mother’s Day Classic
  • We flirt with concepts like “natural produce” (but see above re: mostly shop at Coles)
  • We have children (or have very strange taste in adorable bunnies and Fifi and the Flowertots for adults)

Mostly though, what they say to me is:

  • How the hell can one family have TWENTY ONE envirobags?

The really sad thing is, this is probably less than half of our supply. Sure, they’re good for carrying games – but there are some stacked beside the game shelves for that. And it’s good to have some in each car, now that we are a 2-car household after I successfully stole my dad’s Daewoo.

But not, perhaps, 21.

I hope our local Coles still has those recycling boxes to collect envirobags to turn into car tyres or wearable art or plastic currency notes or something.

Now to decide which ones to keep …

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Posted by on October 10, 2010 in decluttering, shopping


Study – finished (sort of)

New desk is IN. I got so excited about this (or possibly by the smell of varnish) that I sorted through 3 boxes of papers and chucked most of them out.

Found all the birthday cards I got for my 18th birthday. Surprisingly, and delightfully, I am still in some form of contact with more than half of those people. Many are ‘reconnects’ through Facebook. It was nice to read what they had written. For now, the cards are in the “Melissa memorabilia” box – but I suspect I will dump most of them at some point in the future. Other old Christmas cards etc were chucked – we found a pile that was clearly 1993. Not sure why that year was special – it wasn’t anymore.

Status of the Big Clean Out is that Fraser has one column of shelves that he is working through. This includes a 25 cm-thick pile of manila folders (empty) and a shelf of empty CD cases. He rescued some of them from the bin (BAD Melissa!).

This is what the 6 columns of (each approx 60 cm wide) shelves in the study have consisted of for the past um 10 years or so:

Lots of junk

old manila folders

old magazines

old CDs

Lots of junk

old manila folders

old magazines

old CDs

Lots of junk

old manila folders

old magazines

old CDs

Reference books

Lots of reference books that we never actually refer to

Crime fiction, mostly double-stacked Crime fiction and some science fiction. Mostly inaccessible due to door.
bottom shelf empty and inaccessible bottom shelf lots of books and inaccessible bottom shelf lots of books and inaccessible bottom shelf inaccessible due to junk on floor in front of shelves. Which is a shame because it has some of the useful reference books. Oops. bottom shelf inaccesible due to junk on floor in front of shelves bottom shelves inaccessible due to VERY IMPORTANT boxes of stationery stacked behind the door and blocking the bottom 2-3 shelves

This is how they look now:

Fraser’s VERY IMPORTANT stuff

old manila folders

old magazines

old CDs


Folders with family records


sorted CDs

old laptop

books – fiction – not sorted yet

1 shelf with a desk tray

Reference books (reduced to 2 shelves). Dumped some of the others, and moved others to relevant places on the main shelves.

Rest of shelves are books – fiction – not sorted yet

Crime fiction, mostly double-stacked but accessible (I stack prolific authors in 1 horizontal pile, with titles that don’t fit there vertically in front) Crime fiction and some science fiction. Mostly inaccessible due to door.
bottom shelf used for stuff that we need to check if it works or not and then throw out if it doesn’t or put into operation if it does (eg old PC keyboard that I could use for my laptop) bottom shelf EMPTY! books – fiction – not sorted yet books – fiction – not sorted yet bottom shelf inaccesible due to to-be-sorted pile on floor in front of shelves bottom shelves inaccessible due to to-be-sorted pile on floor in front of shelves

And this is the Ultimate Plan:

Fraser’s VERY IMPORTANT stuff

Folders with family record

Important (sorted) CDs

Computer game manuals

Books – general fiction Books – crime fiction – double stacked if necessary Reference books (2 shelves)

Books – crime fiction – double stacked if necessary

Books – crime fiction – double stacked if necessary Books – trashy novels that I used to keep hidden in the bedroom. Double stacked by necessity.
bottom shelf computer cables box and maybe old laptop bottom shelf music CDs boxes bottom shelf either books or some other storagey item bottom shelf either books or some other storagey item bottom shelf either books or some other storagey item bottom shelf either books or some other storagey item

The sorting of books will take longer than the rest.There is another shelf that will probably be available for fiction, as well as others for non-fiction etc.

Meanwhile, Otto came into the study last night and complained in horror that my desk was messy! In fact, I was sorting old paperwork and her complaint was mostly about the big box of “this is going to the recycling bin” pages.

What keeps me going is the thought that there are still 30+ boxes in storage. Mostly full of books and paperwork. Ugh.

Learnings and Observations from this process so far:

  • Fraser and I have disagreements about the priority of books. I was prepared for him to not think my linguistics books and non-English books were not a priority (fair call, they are of interest to only 1 of us so they get shelved accordingly). What I was not prepared for was that travel books are not a priority (and should therefore be shelved out of reach) unlike books about TV shows.
  • See also the manila folder pile, above. His plan is now to take them to work, I think. Apparently that is his Sekrit Storage Place.
  • Computer game boxes take up a LOT of room. We are going to scan/photograph them for and then dump them, keeping manuals/reference charts and CDs. If they are games that will be played again, that is.
  • It is possible to get sick of going back to IKEA for storage stuff. And then for light globes that are not supplied in the box with the light. Grrrr.
  • Apparently the Godzilla money box is also a priority. It roars and eats buildings.
  • We really, REALLY need to unplug all the cables and work out what is required and what isn’t.
  • The term “rationalise the power boards” has been used in at least one conversation. Really. And not by me.
  • Sorting paperwork takes a LOT longer than sorting books.
  • The drawers I bought at IKEA? I bought them because they are kind of adorable. I have found a (good) use for them, but next time perhaps I should find the use before buying the adorable drawers.
  • It is possible for two people to take 5 minutes to decide which of three versions of Roget’s Thesaurus is a keeper. And then find a fourth that is clearly better than any of them.
  • We have some really fab books. Especially the non-fiction.
  • IKEA have fancy storage boxes that cost $19.99 for 2. They are pretty, but they also sell not-so-fancy plain brown storage boxes that cost $2.49 for 1. And are quite possibly sturdier, albeit smaller. Combination is good. And the cheaper, CD- and DVD- sized boxes are fabulous for oh so many things.
  • My dad’s old desk mat, circa 1973, unearthed in a box of stuff that came from my parents’ old home, is an exact match for the desk accessories I bought last week. Score!
  • Using four layers of varnish on my desk did not make it optical-mouse-friendly. Also, for those who do not read short updates elsewhere: never varnish a desk outside after 5pm, unless you want an artistic coating of dead bugs stuck to the varnish. Hence the unplanned 4th coat, after significant sanding.
  • Some IKEA desk lamps do not have replaceable bulbs. You use them until they stop working, then you throw them out. If I had known this, I would have got a different lamp.
  • My IKEA floor lamp, on the other hand, is officially Evil. And not just because the uplight bit uses a different globe than the reading light bit – but because Bigster and I spotted it in the Mayor’s office during a season 3 episode of Buffy. We snickered.
  • Two people can have a scary quantity of pre-stamped envelopes and stamps. Even – or perhaps especially – when one of them is philatelically challenged.
  • It is kind of nice to sit in the study with your partner during the evening, even if you are at opposite sides of the desks.
  • Investing in a small squishy ball might be a justifiable study-equipment expense for when said partner says silly things. Errm, as long as “said partner” is Fraser, not me.
  • Putting “Op Shop” boxes beside the front door so you have to manoeuvre around them to get outside? Still not enough to make us actually take the things to the Op Shop.
  • I buy lots of gifts for Fraser that I forget about or do not get around to giving him.

Posted by on October 6, 2010 in decluttering, house



I have been twittering a lot about our study lately. I thought perhaps the time has come to share some pictures.

Here is what the study used to look like, in theory.

Very clean and tidy room

The bookshelves along the South (bottom) wall are built-in, white melamine. Six rises, each about 60cm wide, with variable height shelves. They go all the way to the roof. As you can see, they were blocked by the desk to the point that we really couldn’t use a third of them – which had lots of old paperwork sort of jammed in. Not a good look.

The desk is an old one of Fraser’s family’s, with a drawer unit to either side of a central gap for sitting. Great if you have a big office and are entertaining clients, but not much use if you have two people wanting desk space at once. The filing cabinets were also hand-me-downs from our respective families, and the two bookshelves were 6′ tall with five evenly-spaced fixed shelves.

Here is what it had come to look like, in practice.

Lots of boxes everywhereThere is a reason why I am not uploading a photograph here.

The study got a lot worse earlier this year when we moved rooms around and, in particular, when we moved Otto into the old spare room. Stuff that was in there – another of the pine bookshelves, as well as the poker machine Fraser was given for his 18th birthday – had nowhere to go but the study. So we had boxes everywhere. The room was even less usable.

The shelves were blocked at the bottom by the boxes. In the lower right hand corner of the picture, they were blocked by the desk. Accessible parts of our “good” built-in shelves were being used to hold piles and piles of paper, including old magazines dating back to the 1980s. Meanwhile we had nowhere for our books and even the games were overflowing into the study. It had reached the stage where the children were banned from taking friends into the room as I was scared something might fall – and if it did, we might see a domino effect.

And here’s my new plan.I used the IKEA home designer tool, which is excellent except that it does not allow you to add any non-IKEA furniture . I had to improvise a bit to get things laid out to even an approximate scale. I’ve replicated it in VISIO because that is more manipulable, if less full-featured.

I was a bit nervous about this layout, especially about hanging the bookshelves out from the wall, but we needed the storage space. Here are the pictures from the IKEA home design tool (remember, the existing desk is kind of wrong). I had to use a tall cabinet to represent the poker machine, and a combination of desk, gap and drawer unit for Fraser’s old desk. And wall to represent the built-in bookshelves. Ah, it’s all wrong 🙂

In that second photo, you can see that it is a little cramped – well, a little tight, anyway. The room is actually a little bigger than it looks, though, as the poker machine is against a fireplace that is set back a bit from the wall, giving us a whole 15cm extra to manoeuvre. That’s critical space, that is.

So far, it’s working. My new desk isn’t in yet – we’re waiting till we’re done unpacking – but we seem to have plenty of room. That’s helped by the amount of stuff that we’ve been chucking out. We were averaging 1 box out for every three we unpacked. Old papers (I even bought myself a shredder to cope with it all), duplicate books, redundant magazines. Old “records” that really weren’t needed. And omg so many CDs!

We spent nearly an hour yesterday just matching up computer games with their boxes, cases and manuals. Urgs. I think we are going to toss out most of the boxes in a week or so, too (F wants to scan them for first).

We will never have a lean, streamlined home, but at least we have got rid of some of the crap.

And the KASSET boxes from IKEA are our friends. We have oh so many and then some, and even need some more. Also the amazing leg of my desk, which is actually a storage unit all in itself and currently holds stationery, printer paper and Important Files.

So it’s all good, so far. We’ve unpacked all the boxes that we stored in Bigster’s room for the week, and just have a few to go from Otto’s room. Then we can move the old air conditioner out (I’m hoping for a big project before the end of the year, so we can buy a split system and get rid of the big ugly portable one), sort the last box of memorabilia into our own boxes (still need to get those) and move my desk in. With a few shelves to spare, even.

Oh yeah.

And the **THIRTY TWO BOXES** that are still in storage.


I need another week off.

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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in decluttering, house


Sunday late

Achieved today, after earlier posting:

  • Finished shelves etc for Bigster’s wardrobe
  • Tidied kids’ room
  • Deloused both children (again) – this is the tedious, clog-up-the-hair-with-conditioner and go through it with a fine tooth comb kind of delousing, rather than the throw-all-the-chemicals-you-can-at-it. Except that for the Bigster, I did use the pink hairspray that allegedly makes nits glow fluorescent pink. Now my hands and her scalp are a rather fine shade of fuchsia. Memo to self: Next time, use gloves. I have 2 client meetings tomorrow. This could be embarassing.
  • Sorted laundry and put it away. Memo to self: In future, only buy children 3 changes of clothes, to be washed on alternate days.
  • Got out both children’s school bags. At least we could find them.
  • OMG I forgot to find them hats!
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry. When I had children, a friend told me that I could resist all I wanted, but some day I would discover that a parent’s life really revolves around the washing machine. I have since succumbed.
  • Cleaned the living room. The girls have been Being Naughty in there while Fraser and I worked. It was a disaster. It is now less disastrous and ready for our cleaner, who comes tomorrow. When she is here, it is OK if I have tidied and OK if I have not – but if I have half-tidied then the tidied things get mixed in with the untidied things and it is all a Big Old Disaster. Memo to self: Put clothes away in the morning.
  • Grocery shopping. Including School Food Supplies. Ran into someone from the creche both girls attended, which was fun. Also ran into the mum of one of Otto’s friends. Also fun. We had both left our kids with our husbands while we got the better end of the deal did the grocery shopping.
  • Moved more stuff onto shelves and cupboards. Still not enough, though. I am starting to feel cautiously optimistic that there will be almost enough space – that what we are doing will actually make a difference.
  • Washed fruit & veggies ready for school lunches this week and packed little packs of fruit. Stupid rubbish-free lunches. Grrr. I am convinced that we now contribute more to landfill than we used to, by the time all the lost little plastic containers are counted.
  • Re-bagged all the op shop stuff and loaded it into the car. It may sit there for a week, it may get dropped off tomorrow. Either way, it is now out of my house.

Fraser has also been very very very busy:

  • Built 3 Benno CD/DVD towers. We wanted to check what they would look like where we want to put them. Answer: Very fine indeed. We also wanted to calculate how many DVDs we can expect to store on each. Because linear meters are important. (Answer: around 80, which means up to 480 across the 6 shelving units. I don’t think we have that many DVDs, which is a good thing. More room for card games!
  • Cleared stuff out of the girls’ room. Including big sheets of cardboard etc. There used to be a place where you could drop off waste cardboard for recycling, but I think now we are restricted to what our kerbside recycling will take. Unless Fraser starts taking bags of folded cardboard in to work every day, we estimate that it will take us about 35 years to get rid of the current boxes in addition to our regular recycling.
  • Cleared all the wine and booze off the big wall unit thingo and put it away. As in, in cupboards away, not “put it away”
  • Collected dirty laundry. Ugh.
  • Chopped carrots for school lunches.

We don’t feel as much further ahead as I had expected to by now.  My brother is coming round tomorrow evening to help move bookshelves etc outside. I am hoping that the big wall unit thingo will also be ready to go.

Mostly, though, I am ready for bed.


Posted by on January 31, 2010 in decluttering, house


Big Plans – the Sunday report

I slept late today, and then I read a weepy book in bed. Meanwhile, Fraser had been busy building a little IKEA Hajdeby shelving unit. These are basically the poor man’s Expedit, as they are not double-sided and aren’t finished as nicely – but they were on special a month or so ago for $25 each, so I got 2 with the idea of putting them near the back door. This was not part of Phase 1, 2 OR 3 but a whole nother project.

I’ve put a cut here as there are many photos behind it, and because most of you won’t be interested in the super ultra nitty-gritty of furniture and empty rooms etc. Click if you want to see it all. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on January 31, 2010 in decluttering, house


The latest Big Plan

One of the wonderful things about our time in Germany was that it gave me time for reflection. Instead of dreaming about being in other places, I would often think about home, and about the things I wanted to do there.

Specifically, about my frustration that we just didn’t have enough storage for our games, and that the girls were stuck sharing a room (and squabbling about it Every Night).

With that distance came some clarity, too – I could see things that I missed when I was at home and in the midst of them. And so, slowly, a Plan emerged.

In the dining room, we’d get rid of the ugly old buffet unit and replace it with shelving for our games. We wouldn’t need the huge bookshelf that blocks our French doors, although we might have a half-height sideboard there. We’d have new shelving built for our DVDs, so that they didn’t occupy “my half” of the massive bookshelf in the study – giving me room for my books and also the ability to actually SEE what DVDs we own.

The real break-through was the spare room – a big room. We don’t get a lot of guests but the ones we do we don’t want to lose – so we weren’t willing to lose the spare sofa bed. It wouldn’t fit in the study, so we needed to keep a spare room – and I’d been sticking on that thought for yeaaaars.

I woke, literally, at 2am one German night, with a New Plan in my head. I admit, it was complicated, but bear with me:

For starters, we’d move everything out of the spare room. When I say “everything”, you need to understand the scale of what I am talking about – I wish I’d taken photos of the room as it contained:

  • approx. 60 boxes of games and of books
  • 1 Queen-sized futon sofa bed
  • 2 3′ wide x 6′ high bookshelves
  • 1 4′ wide x 6′ high bookshelf
  • 1 3′ wide x 6′ high cupboard with doors
  • our wine rack
  • a poker machine
  • a picnic basket
  • spare quilts & linen for the aforementioned spare bed
  • a nest of coffee tables
  • various other things – you begin to get the picture, I think.

Next, we’d redecorate the spare room.

To understand this, you need to understand two things.

1. Otto loves pink.

1.5. So do I, so I am sympathetic to this.

2. We cannot take ALL our games out of that room, as there isn’t room in the rest of the house for them. Trust me, I calculated linear meters of storage space when I worked out what shelves to put in the dining room. Then I divided it by expected boardgame width. I am sorry to say that this is true.

My solution to #2 was to build a room divider about 1.2m inside the door – she has the rest of the room, but we have that first section (which also includes the pull-down attic ladder). There’s even one you can buy from IKEA. Yes, I worked out it will hold an expected 125 games plus whatever sits on top. Tragic, I agree.

My solution to #1 was to pay someone to paint the room pink. Also tragic.

So the next part of this was clear: Move Otto into the spare room.

But what of the spare room bed, I hear you ask (because my friends are nothing if not picky).

Well that is the beauty of this plan: the spare room bed moves into the Bigster’s room. On the (<10) nights when we have overnight guests, she has to sleep on a mattress in Otto’s room. But the rest of the time, she has a sofa for friends to visit, and a room to herself. Win-Win.

Now this would all have been OK if I could have left things there, but of course they had to get more complicated. And so I bring you to Phase 2.

This is a simpler phase. Its requirements are to move the Bigster’s bed, get her a new wardrobe, get rid of her old furniture (each piece of which weighs about 1.8 tonnes), move her little writing desk into her room, and buy her some new shelving for her Special Things. Then move the spare bed into the room. An afternoon’s work, surely….

Like all good plans (and appealing to Fraser’s love of Power Grid), there is a Phase 3 as well. That involves rotating the desk, adding another one, losing a filing cabinet, building a bookshelf corner and improving access to the shelving in the study.

Even I am not crazy enough to imagine attacking Phase 3 for a few months.

When we got home, I rang a builder (the guy we used for Fraser’s house) to see whether he could do the painting and also send round a handyman to attach bookshelves to walls and do other random jobs. He came and quoted (a good price) but said he couldn’t do it till February. That was annoying, because we’d already moved big furniture off to storage and sent off the bajillion boxes (I know I said 60 but bajillion sounds better) as well. Oh well, it left us with lots of time to move everything …

Then my work got busy and that didn’t matter so much … and then I emailed him, last Wednesday, to say Can you do the work still?

And he replied Yes I sure can, how about the middle of next week?

And I replied, Wow fabulous that will be great.

And then I thought about it.

How we had to clear the bookshelves and cupboards in the spare room, and take other stuff up to storage.

How we had to clean the girls’ room, because after 8 weeks at home their tidy room was not anymore.

How we had to empty out the massive buffet thing AND the sideboard and get them and all the shelves and cupboards out of the house.

How we had to actually BUY the stuff from IKEA so that it could be installed

How we had to build most of the furniture because it is cheaper that way and because some of it needs to be built by 2 people anyway.

How we really had to do some of it in stages so that the next step could occur.

And I realised (not for the first time) that I am an idiot.

Since then, we have

  • cleared out 3 bookshelves in the spare roomm
  • taken 18 or so more boxes to storage
  • moved a bookshelf into the study (and filled it) – after first emptying it. We think we put it in that corner when we moved here in 1996.
  • been shopping at IKEA
  • been to a friend’s wedding
  • cleaned children’s bedroom
  • moved boxes, plastic tubs and chest of drawers out of children’s bedroomm
  • deloused children (ewwww)
  • sent Fraser and Biggie to the after-party for aforementioned wedding (me, Otto and the nits stayed home)
  • built 2 wardrobes and installed drawers. Yay cordless drill!
  • cleared out the linen cupboard (threw out/op shopped about half of it. It is tragic that my kids STILL have 4 sheet sets each)
  • moved the food from the food cupboard into the linen cupboard
  • cleaned the food cupboard
  • moved all the dinnerware from the buffet to the old food cupboard
  • moved all the glassware from the buffet into my china cabinet
  • thrown out some dinnerware (well, wrapped it to go to the op shop)
  • blogged about it all instead of going to bed.

I am going to remedy that last point now. Stay tuned for more exciting updates of our not-quite-a-renovation — what do you call this stuff? A refurbishment? An IKEA habit gone made?


Posted by on January 30, 2010 in decluttering, house


Skippedidoodah Skippediay

So, there was a skip. At my house. With a few of mum’s things down the bottom, but not many.

Friday night, all we did was padlock it.

Saturday, I workworkworked all morning and finally got to mum and dad’s at 12.30 or so (three cheers for Fraser, who took the girls to the German School Excursion all by himself). Then we went out to buy them some new furniture, as they had had their sofa and armchairs carted away earlier in the week.

Now, dad has a fabulous armchair. It is a recliner, very big and comfy, made by Moran. We paid over $1500 for it as a gift for his 60th birthday, 18 years ago. He loves it, but lately he has trouble getting up from it.

So after we looked at the sofa that mum likes, I asked the salesman whether he had any OMGElectricChairs – and he did, and even though they are a bit ugly, we found one that literally gets dad onto his feet and into a standing position before he has to leave the chair. And it reclines, too.

Result: 2 Electric Recliners (sooner or later mum will find it helpful) and a rather nice bronzey green sofa. (Actually, it looks a bit like ours, but it is not ridiculously pale-coloured).

They are to be delivered on Monday, which I think is foolish. Plan for now is that they will go into the garage initially, as we have to meet the interior designer at 4pm. 

Now I am considering whether we want to take dad’s Moran recliner, especially as I want to get rid of The Stinky Chair (TM).

Anyway. Skip.

Well, meanwhile, we have filled it. Including one carload from mum and dad’s, but the rest was ours. Fraser was a trooper and did most of it, I took about 15 minutes out from work today (when it became clear that the Bigster was well and truly stuck) to go out, direct, and clean out the shed.

I feel efficient 🙂

Even more so, because over the last 3 weeks or so I have been auctioning old books etc on eBay. So far, I have sold $350 of items. Not bad for about 4-5 hours’ work 🙂

There is one more thing that I want to get rid of, though. See, a couple of years ago, our old VCR died. And I went and bought a new VCR. Then I realised that we couldn’t program the TV to see the new VCR because we’d lost the remote control that is the only way to program our TV. So we jerry-rigged the old VCR to work, then we tuned IT in to the new VCR and basically daisychained the two of them together.

I found the TV remote control a month or so ago, when we gutted the sofa. Technically, we could change that setup – but it was going to be too much hassle to bother.

Then, last week, the VCR (the “new” VCR) started eating tapes. So I went out and bought a new one – which is a combo VCR and DVD player – because that was all you could get.

I looked at our entertainment unit and smiled. Not only could we get rid of BOTH VCRs (and associated remote controls), we could get rid of the DVD player and ITS remote control too. Whee! Down to two remote controls (and the one for the speakers – oops), at least until we go crazy and buy a set-top box.

Only it turns out that Fraser won’t let me throw out the DVD player, because it still works. Even though we have a new one, and we can’t watch two DVDs at once.

I should have expected this. After all, it was only a month ago that we finally got rid of the Beta VCR – and it hadn’t worked since before we started dating in 1992.

Oh yeah – and one more thing.

We got a flat!

It’s kinda small, but looks very nice. My friend is going to go and do an inspection asap, just to check it out.

It’s in Wuppertal, which is right next to Düsseldorf. And I found German language classes for children just nearby.

For a non-religious person, I am very superstitious. I firmly believe that something will come up – and it did, with remarkably little fuss.


Back to work now. Procrastination break over.


Cleaning up … after cleaning up?

So, yesterday Fraser and I tackled the Huge Mountain Of Chaos in the bedroom. There used to be a couple of things there, but our cleaner tidies things into piles. Specifically, ONTO piles – so it just got bigger and bigger and bigger.

It is now no longer.

There are four garbage bags of clothes in my parents’ car (which I have borrowed), waiting for me to drop them off for charity. 

Fraser took 3 loads of papers to the paper mill yesterday.

The bins are full and there are bags of rubbish stacked outside (not a great welcome for our exchange student who arrives today).

And at 11ish last night, we had to go clean up our room to put away all the stuff we had tidied and sorted … and then left on the bed for later.


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Posted by on April 26, 2009 in decluttering, house


Clearing out the study

Did more clearing in the study after I got home last night (late – was doing usability testing till 8pm). Fraser worked on it as well, which was great – just having company makes boring tasks go so much faster.

We have 3 more huge boxes of papers to go, as well as one box of paper “to be shredded”. Whee! 

I also threw out all the original research I did during the year I was in Austria. Then I had a crisis and retrieved it from the bins. I did, however, chuck out duplicates and notes, so it’s down to one smallish plastic box instead of one huge cardboard box stuffed completely full. So that’s progress, right?

Actually, it was surprisingly interesting stuff.

Other Very Important Things that I had kept: 

  • Translations of my academic record (for when I was admitted to uni in Austria)
  • A big pile of pay slips from the job I left in 2000 (tossed – being a Role Model, see)
  • Otto’s birthday card to the Bigster, when she was a big 5 months old
  • Lots of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons, clipped from the paper
  • My Bridge System Cards from the year I was on the state Youth team
  • The list of things I packed to take to hospital when Otto was born
  • My very first ever health insurance membership book (20 years later, I still have the same membership number)
  • Original copies of my qualifications, including my HSC (school leaving exams) and – potentially more usefully – my Oberstufenpruefung exam from the Goethe-Institut
  • A play programme from the 1960s, when my mother was active in amateur theatre, as well as some press clippings about her plays (this is clearly a folder of my parents’ memorabilia that somehow got mixed up with my stuff).

And that’s just (mostly) the stuff I kept … 🙂

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Posted by on April 22, 2009 in decluttering, house


Important calculations

This was a real conversation. Really real. About me clearing out the spare room.

Me: Blah blah blah and I even found and tossed some old payslips.

Fraser: I keep all of mine at work. Ha! You can’t get to them.

Me: But … why?

Fraser: Because, if you throw them out, how can you calculate EXACTLY HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE EVER EARNED IN YOUR WHOLE LIFE?


The doubly scary thing? He thinks I wish I’d thought of it first.


Posted by on April 18, 2009 in decluttering, house