Decluttering, Again and Again

2 Comments

Have you ever met anyone, either in real life or online, who has told you that they decluttered their entire home in a weekend?  I have read these kind of stories a few times but I have a really difficult time getting my head around the concept.  Unfortunately, they usually involve a huge garbage skip and wholesale dumping of perfectly useable items.  I find this strategy a disgusting waste and totally unnecessary.

My approach is the complete antithesis – a little bit at time and I often go back to the same area multiple times.  Also, I never dump anything.  I try to find new homes for them using a variety of strategies.

The bookshelves in the study/office is the perfect example of my method.

Once upon a time this is how it looked.

2011-12-21 01

As the culling continued over several years we whittled it down to one bookcase and sold the other.

The small freezer was moved down to the workshop.

2016-05-03 02

We upgraded from our folding table.

2012-05-07 01

To this desk.

index

We added a blind to the bare window.  I wanted to create a comfortable reading area/library so we sourced 2 armchairs.

2016-10-09-02

Fast forward a bit more and we have culled the books even further.  There were some non-fiction ones which have been relocated to the shelving in the living room.

This shelving unit was originally horizontal in the living room but was moved to the spare bedroom/sewing room to store some of my sewing materials and equipment.  We decided to swap it with the light-coloured bookcase which will work better for the sewing stuff and is aesthetically better in the other room.

2017-10-13 01

Here are 2 views of what I think is the final state of the office/reading room.

2017-10-13 02

2017-10-13 03

It has been thoughtfully curated over a period of time as our needs and ideals changed.  I certainly could not have achieved this in a single weekend for one room, let alone a whole house.

There has been no waste as all of the items have been reused in our own home or found new homes.

New to Me

Leave a comment

Sometimes things are just meant to be.  A couple of weeks ago my mother told me that had some casual clothes – mostly tshirts which were now surplus to her requirements.

In the spirit of my relatively streamlined wardrobe and a lack of need, I refused most of them.  However, this one caught my eye.

2017-10-10 01

I had no intention of rushing out to buy a pink and white striped rugby top but when I saw this in the pile I simply fell in love with it.  This top is very lightweight and perfect for our generally mild weather for about 6 months of the year.

After wearing  it for a couple of days when I first received the top, I washed and ironed it.  While ironing it, I noticed that there was only one button on the placket.  The button was white and I searched my collection of numerous white buttons but could not find any suitable ones but discovered that I had 2 pink buttons that were the right size.

When I was planning what to pack on our upcoming trip to the UK I decided to include this top.  Even though it is quite light, it is loose enough to wear a thermal top underneath it and with the addition of a warm jacket I would be quite snug when out and about.

Even though this was an unplanned addition to my wardrobe, I am confident that it will  be perfect for my needs and get plenty of wear.

Old and New

Leave a comment

This is a post that I have been meaning to write for a couple of months but it would be nothing without the photographs.

2017-10-08 01

Sometime ago we did yet another round of sorting and organising in the workshop.   This tall galvanised bin is now empty and I am not sure what its future will be.  It is over 50 years old and came from my parents’ place.  The bin was one that was originally supplied to householders in Brisbane by APM (Australian Paper Mills) back in the 1960’s for the purpose of collecting used newspaper for recycling.

2017-10-08 02

Most of the various outdoor and garden implements were stored in the bin using the same principle as the utensil jar on the kitchen bench.

However, it was becoming overcrowded and at times was difficult to extricate the desired item.  Also, since it was circular it took up more space than we wanted so it was time for a new solution.

We had often discussed that we felt the best option was to hang the items on the wall.  But how?

The ‘centre aisle’ at Aldi provided just what we needed.  One day when we were doing the grocery shopping GMan spied exactly what we needed so we bought 2 hanging racks.  These were duly mounted side by side and gave us the opportunity to hang 12 different items.

2017-10-08 03

We chose to hang the items which were a lighter weight and saved the heavier ones for a rack we had prepared earlier.  A few years ago we demolished the old chicken run and rebuilt it in a new location with the salvaged materials.  We left the small wood shed which was adjacent to it but tidying up we found a hanging rack screwed to the rafter at the back of the shed so GMan removed it with a view to using it elsewhere.  After having been stored for several years it has finally found a new use.  The heavier spades and garden implements are safely stored.

2017-10-08 04

 

Holiday Learning

Leave a comment

Education comes in all sorts of guises and is not necessarily undertaken in the classroom.

It has been school holidays here for the past two weeks and our granddaughters came to visit for a couple of days.  As always, they enjoy activities which they do not have access to at home.

The citrus trees still had plenty of fruit so they picked 2 buckets full of oranges and then it was time to squeeze them.

2017-10-02 01

They both had plenty of opportunity to hone their skills and Olivia was also able to cut the oranges.

The weather has been very dry recently and last week was particularly hot so watering the garden was essential.  There is not a lot growing at the moment but plenty of water has ensured that the young bean plants survived the heat.

2017-10-02 02

It is difficult to think of anything that is more important to learn than nurturing, picking and preparing your own food.  I find it very gratifying to be able to share these skills with the girls and encourage their interest.

 

 

My Minimalism

5 Comments

I often read or hear people asking quantitative questions with regard to minimalism.  These generally revolve around how many of something you need.  Examples include, “How many pairs of shoes do you have?” or “How many sets of clothes do I need for a 2 year old?”

Additionally, there are numerous blogs and articles out there which exhort you to get rid of appliances or say that one set of crockery per person is all you need.

Conversely, I maintain that minimalism should not be prescriptive and that each person has different circumstances and will make their own choices.

The thing that defines minimalism to me is that whatever you own is mindfully curated and limits are set.

In particular, I have been reminded recently of variations in kitchen requirements.  We grow some of our own food and naturally we end up with a glut of certain produce from time to time.  I do my best not to waste it.  Processing a large quantity of produce is generally when appliances come into their own.

I can happily squeeze 2 or 3 oranges using this vintage glass juicer.

2017-09-09 01

But when it comes to juicing the 160 grapefruit that we have picked in the last 2 weeks I have neither the time or energy to do them by hand.  My trusty food processor with the citrus juicer attachment comes into its own.

2017-09-09 02

This was one batch of about 60 grapefruit that I juiced last weekend.  In the space of 30 minutes I had several bottles of juice for GMan plus containers of juice to freeze for future use.

2017-09-09 03

Citrus are not the only produce that I deal with in bulk amounts.

Some time ago I bought a 20kg bag of onions.  Once again, I routinely dice one or two onions using a sharp knife but the food processor with the cutting blade is invaluable for processing larger quantities of onions.

2017-09-09 04

I chopped 3kg of onions and then used another appliance – my dehydrator – to dry them.

2017-09-09 05

24 hours later  – back to the food processor, but this time with the spice grinder attachment.

2017-09-09 06

The end result was dried onion flakes and onion powder which cost me $3 and a little time as compared to nearly $13 to buy the same quantity from the supermarket.  As an added bonus there is no packaging either.

I have used the deydrator to make garlic powder, tomato powder and vegetable stock powder using the same general method.

2017-09-09 07

Then there is the Kitchen Aid mixer which I regularly use to make spreadable butter, pizza bases, combine various flours for my gluten-free flour mix, the occasional cake and GMan uses it when making sourdough bread.  It also has a pasta attachment which I use occasionally.

2012-01-31 03

The high-speed blender is also used regularly to make smoothies, mango sorbet and peanut paste to name but a few.

2015-12-09 02

So, my minimalist kitchen is probably a joke in some people’s eyes but it works for me.

However, I do not have single-purpose appliances such as a waffle maker, ice-cream maker, hot dog maker and so on.

You see, minimalism really is what is right for the individual and their circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

An Apron for Alice

Leave a comment

This week is Book Week here in Australia. Most of the primary schools have a Book Week parade and the children dress as a character from a book.  One of my granddaughters is going as Alice in Wonderland. She has a blue dress, white stockings and black shoes as well as long fair hair and a black headband but needed a white apron. So, this is what I made for her today.

I used some white cotton fabric which had come to me from my mother.  It had been used to make a prototype of a dress so I unpicked it and there was plenty of material to make the apron.  The remaining fabric has been put away because I am sure it will come in handy one day.

2017-08-20 01

Here is a photo of the dress which I made for her about 18 months ago.

2015-11-29 01

I am looking forward to seeing a photo of the entire costume.

Spring has Sprung

1 Comment

Even though it is barely the middle of August there is definitely spring (some would say summer) in the air.  Our winter was very mild here and we could be in for a long hot summer so it makes sense to get a head start on the summer growing season before it gets too hot.

I harvested the last 4 purple cabbages and dug over the bed in readiness to plant some beans.

2017-08-13 01

We have never had quite enough soil to fill these beds to the level I would like so I took the opportunity to add some more material to the bed before I planted the beans.

2017-08-13 01

This is one of the various mulch/compost piles that are dotted around our property.  GMan uses this one exclusively for grass clippings.  I know that the purists say that you cannot compost just one type of material such as lawn clippings but I can assure you that the underneath of this heap had broken down beautifully into rich compost and was teeming with worms.

We removed the decomposed material from the bottom of the heap and returned the rest to the heap for another day.

Here is the bed topped up and ready to plant.

2017-08-13 03

Meanwhile, I weeded the carrots which are continuing to grow nicely.  I have harvested some baby ones as I thinned them out.

2017-08-13 04

The newer blueberry bushes which are now a couple of years old, are finally getting established and showing some real signs of progress.  Some, like this one are covered with flowers and fruit.

2017-08-13 05

A closer view.

2017-08-13 06

Finally, a reminder that the garden is not only about growing food.  It is about enjoying our surroundings.  This photo is of the natural sculptural form of the the deciduous white cedar which dominates the back garden.

2017-08-13 07

What season is it in your garden?  Is it changing?  Have you modified your planting habits or even what you can grow to accommodate changes?