The Useful Drawer

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Many people have what they refer to as ‘the junk drawer’, however, if you embrace the concept of minimalism in any way or have simply decluttered, there is really no reason to have a drawer full of junk.

Therefore, I actually have a carefully curated drawer of useful things.

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Some of the things are probably a bit difficult to identify so I will list them below.

Top of photo from left to right:

2 boxes of extra-long matches
Set of mini screwdrivers
Candle
Screwdriver with multiple heads
Heavy-duty ziplock bags for reuse
Bread bags for reuse (under ziplock bags)
Small bags for reuse
Brown paper
Teatowel and muslin cloth

Bottom of photo from left to right:

Cut down milk bottle containing twist ties
Cut down milk bottle containing boxes of matches, compass, mini steel measuring tape, rubber bands, tiny ziplock bags, reusable plastic tags cut from an ice-cream container
String tin
Gas gun
Baking paper
Case containing torch and charger
Bag containing pieces of plastic from cereal box liners for reusing to separate food in the freezer
Ziplock bags for reuse

The contents are very useful as evidenced by the fact that my useful drawer is opened multiple times every day.

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Do you still have a junk drawer that looks like the one above?  It is a great place to start decluttering.  Why don’t you try it and see?

Not the Regular Rubbish

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It is about 10 days since I last emptied the small rubbish bin in the kitchen.  This week it is lined with an empty corn chip packet and most of the usual culprits are still there – a rice cracker packet, cheese wrapper, toothpaste tube, an empty mayonnaise bottle and so on.

Every week there seems to be some ‘one off’ items and this time is no different.

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On the weekend I cleaned out the drawers in the vanity in the bathroom.  Of course, this is not the first time I have cleaned and decluttered the drawers in the vanity unit.  This post is from about 12 months ago.  If you look carefully you will see the nail polish in one of the photos.

Anyway, the 3 bottles of nail polish have gone in the bin.  They came to me via Freecycle over 10 years ago and I have used them intermittently for my toenails – I have never painted my fingernails as it was not compatible with my work.  I last did my toenails just before Christmas and at that point decided that I would not do them again.  The cotton cloth was used with the nail polish remover so it is going, too.

The other item in the photo is a globe from the headlight of GMan’s ute.  It had stopped working so needed to be replaced.  GMan was able to remove the old one, buy a new globe and install it.  It is good to be able to tackle these type of jobs ourselves.

New Homes

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Just as it is wise to be conscious of your consumption when buying stuff, I try to be equally thoughtful when it comes to letting go of possessions that are no longer required.

Sometimes they can no longer be repaired and the rubbish bin is the only option.  However, more often than not the item may be of some use to someone – either in its current form or to be disassembled, repurposed or recycled.

It has taken me a couple of weeks but with a bit of patience and planning I have managed to re-home a variety of things which were unearthed during our latest round of decluttering the workshop.

My first action was to contact the local Men’s Shed to offer a variety of power and hand tools as well as some drill bits and miscellaneous handyman bits.  I do not have a photo but the gentleman who collected them was very grateful and I am pleased that they will be put to good by a local community group.  It really ticks all of the boxes to my way of thinking.

I listed the rest of the things on a couple of local Buy, Swap, Sell pages on Facebook.  I chose to give the things away as finding someone who can use them is more important to me than recouping any money.

We sorted through the many cans of paint and decided that a few of them were no longer required mainly due to changes in the exterior colour scheme.  These are being picked up tomorrow.

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The recipient is also taking this sprinkler.

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Someone else asked for these couple of cable reels.  We have 2 with long extension cords on them but these are excess to our needs.

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I did not think the inflatable pool was going to find a home but it has now been requested as well.

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I feel sick at the knowledge that some people choose to do a massive declutter over a single weekend.  They achieve this by hiring a skip and throwing everything they no longer want into it with no thought to the end result of all of this stuff end up in landfill.

By taking my time and thoughtfully rehoming them, all of these items will continue to be used and people in my community will benefit.

Something Different

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As I mentioned at the end I my previous post, I spent the remainder of yesterday far away from my sewing machine.

If you think of the room with my sewing machine as my hobby area then the workshop is GMan’s hobby space.  From time to time we have a clean up and usually declutter a few more things.  Yesterday we had another go but this time the focus was the contents of the storage cupboards under the bench rather than some of the bigger garden items.

We decided to move all of the various jars and containers of nails, screws, rivets etc from the shelf in the cupboard to this set of shelves which we had inherited and mounted on the wall some time ago.  We had not really used the shelves but it is now much easier to see what we actually have.

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I finally found a solution for storing the various extension cords.  This metal bracket which came from my father’s workshop has been mounted just above the bench.

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We could not complete the final bit of organisation until today as we needed to buy some plastic plugs to allow us the screw into the concrete block wall to mount the shelf to the left of this photo.

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We have yet to put anything on it but there is plenty to choose from.  The shelf beside it was the subject of one of my very early blog posts – almost 6 years ago.

I found it interesting to re-read that old post because I realised that all of the items mentioned today actually belonged to my father – even the re-purposed tins cans for storing screws – on the bottom shelf of the first photograph.

And what inspired us to do all of this?  It was trying to find suitable screws and the correct size drill bit for another handyman project.  That will be revealed tomorrow.

A Particular Passion

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During the holiday break I have had time to read and post in various groups and forums.  I participate to varying degrees in several groups.  I find that many of them have quite a narrow focus, sometimes to the exclusion of all else.

Some of the topics covered include:

Frugal Living
Zero Waste
DeclutteringMinimalism
Veganism
Upcycling
Buying Nothing New
Simple Living
Plastic Free Living

I dabble in all of these to some degree apart from veganism although we have reduced our intake of red meat to quite a modest level.

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At times it seems that I am not sufficiently passionate about any single topic, however, I feel that they are all inter-related and one aspect can support another.

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Hence, this blog contains posts which cover and wide range of topics and I hope you will find something of interest to you.

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Please let me know if there are particular topics which you would prefer to see more of or less.

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One Year On

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It is almost exactly a year since I wrote this post about decluttering emails in October last year.

I was astounded to see the number of emails which I mentioned was well in excess of 4,000 in all folders at the time.

I had regularly kept it to around 500 or less since then until it blew out of control a bit while we were on holidays and I have not been super diligent since our return.

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Last night I made a start on clearing out the emails and made some more progress with the task this morning.  After being at about 1,900 emails we are now back to a more manageable 470 or so.

Despite the number of emails, I am pleased that I have generally been better at regularly cleaning and culling my inbox and have renewed enthusiasm to keep it this way in the future.

During the process of tidying up the emails, I have also taken the opportunity to action some emails that I had been hanging onto as I needed to ‘do something’ before deleting them.  Sometimes this was as simple as adding some details to my ‘Contacts’.

Four Fabulous Days

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I have had the most glorious 4 days at home.  Friday was a well-earned day off followed by a long weekend.  Most weekends I am left with the feeling of wanting a couple more days to try to catch my tail.  I would not say I have done everything but I do have a degree of satisfaction that I have made some progress beyond the basics of washing and meal preparation.  The best part is that I have worked steadily but not frantically for some of the time as well as simply doing nothing at other times.

Here is a snapshot of what I achieved:

Washing and ironing – the first 3 days were brilliantly sunny with a breeze so all of the washing was done and dried which left me with a pile of ironing.  I tackled this with enthusiasm since I was armed with a new iron as well as the ironing board cover that I made on Friday.

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Shopping – most weekends I buy enough fruit and vegetables for the week as well as a few things from Aldi and Saturday was no exception.  However, I also drove a bit further to go to Morayfield so that I could stock up at Simply Good, where I buy all of the flours, dried fruit, seeds, nuts and legumes that I use.  I do this every 4months or so.  Spotlight is nearby so I took the opportunity to have a look and found the fabric to recover the mattress for the day bed.

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Decluttering/recycling – as we change and re-arrange furniture there is often some to move along to someone else who can use it.  This weekend I listed 4 outdoor chairs and a large pine chest of drawers on our local Buy, Swap, Sell Facebook page and they have now gone to new homes.  I also tidied and sorted the shelves in the wardrobe in the sewing/spare room and put a few things in a bag to go to the op shop.

Gardening – when I was at the market buying fruit and vegetables, I noticed a neighbouring stall selling seedlings.  I bought and planted out basil, beetroot and capsicum seedlings.  GMan mulched the shrub we cut down a few weeks ago and planted out several native trees and shrubs.

Outdoors – we have taken a few more steps towards finishing our outdoor living area on the verandah.  The newly painted table is back in position as is the day bed, albeit without the mattress yet.  I spent a good portion of today cleaning up the large concreted area under the house.  This is a lovely cool area in summer and I am trying to make it more useable.  I sorted and stacked various building materials so that they are in a logical order and easily accessible.

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What a shame that I have to go to work tomorrow – there is so much more that I could do here at home.

I will some more details of some of the things I have mentioned tonight in upcoming posts this week.