rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
A few weeks ago I was trying to find a blog post I remembered Tim Harford writing about research into different perceptions of gift-giving depending on whether you are the giver or the recipient.  Along the way I also found that he'd written about Maria Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and rolled my eyes a bit (I have read enough of my friends' reactions to the book to be sure I would personally find it intensely irritating), but was interested to see how he pulled out three principles of economics that Marie Kondo is illustrating:
  • status quo bias (Kondo says throw it out unless it "sparks joy", which Harford sensibly changes to "a compelling reason to keep it")
  • diminishing returns (the tenth pair of jeans is less valuable than the second, which is why you tackle all the things of the same type in one go)
  • opportunity cost (if you can't find a beloved possession under all the other things you have, you can't enjoy it)
So this inspired me a bit to start tackling the chronic mess in the house, a lot of which is down to the fact that things don't have a home, because we haven't got room to put them away, so they don't get tidied away.  I started with the toys in the living room, because they were causing the most friction, and I also thought they were the best case of things that really should "spark joy".  (Clothing rarely does for me, for example, and I doubt the children's school uniform does either.)   It took me a good couple of hours, I did most of the work of division, with the children occasionally challenging my choices in one direction or the other, and at the end of it I had 2 carrier bags for the bin and another 9 for the charity shop.  I reckoned we removed roughly 2/3 of the toys by volume; and what remained is small enough that we can keep similar things together when tidying rather than finding it too overwhelming and shoving everything away anyhow (and making the problem worse).

Nico spontaneously spent ages over the next week playing with some specific wooden jigsaws we literally hadn't seen in months if not years, which rather gloriously illustrated Tim's point about opportunity cost.

I've done several more sessions since, especially in the last few days.  It needs me to have time and energy and inclination to spend several hours at a time sorting through a category of things, because I haven't figured out a way to bitesize it without causing even more disruption to everyone else and/or having my work undone again.  It is tiring to keep making decisions, especially potentially emotionally-fraught decisions.   I found a fourth economic concept coming to my aid: in management accounting I learned the concept of sunk costs, that is, when making decisions it doesn't matter what time and money have already been spent, what matters is the future costs/benefits that will result from the decision. 

The children have learned to trust that I won't take something away if they say they really want it, so at least now let me get on with it until I'm ready for their review, which has sped things up a bit.  And slowly the living room and bedroom spaces are becoming nicer for them.  I've finally removed enough stuff from the children's room that I can actually tidy / reorganise what is left.  This morning I asked Charles if he would rather I took him out to the cinema today, or continued working on their bedroom and he chose the latter.

And for all it seems a bit weird, I've found it sometimes helps me to let go if I say thank you to things as I put them in the discard pile.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I had three piles of paper on my desk, things accumulating mostly for me to Do Something with or file.   These piles were approximately 30cm, 20cm and 10cm deep.  Somewhere in these piles I knew there was a piece of paper I needed to find in order to complete my tax return.  I'd already cost myself £100 by not finding the piece of paper before 31st January, and I was rapidly approaching the point where it was going to cost me £10 a day not to find it.

A while ago I read [livejournal.com profile] siderea 's post about filing, and realised her system was not far from what I was trying to do, and that getting things filed was the most useful thing I could do, and so I starting doing short bursts of filing the stacks, nibbles at the elephant, and managed to get rid of the smallest pile, quite a lot of which was no longer relevant and could be filed in the recycling bin.  But then I kept finding more interesting things to do than nibbling the paperwork elephant, and so progress stalled.

On Saturday afternoon I made myself start tidying up the filing again.  And for whatever reason, I found myself getting into the flow of it, and going back to it after interruptions for food and child-bedtimes, and just Not Stopping.   At about 2am, most of the way down the last and biggest stack of paper, I found the vital piece of paper.  And because it was already very late for me, and my sleep was already messed up, I decided to put it on one side and finish the filing job.  And then I was still awake when that was done so I finished and submitted the tax return.  Then I went to bed, leaving one full filing cabinet, one much-emptier desk, and one giant drift of paper on the floor destined for the recycling.

The oldest bits of paper in the piles were from August 2012, i.e. one month after Nico was born.  So that's how long I've not been keeping up with the paperwork (there were odd runs where I had clearly kept-current for a few months but not caught up the backlog.)  It is such a weight off my mind to not have the teetering piles of doom looking at me any more.   The desk is by no means empty or even tidy, but what's left is things like photo albums and bundles of letters from my grandmothers and Charles's schoolwork from two years ago and so on, not financial paperwork.

It worked, but I can't say I recommend the binge-eating approach.  I was exhausted all of Sunday, got very little done and only got dressed because [livejournal.com profile] nassus was arriving.   Today when another Thing arrived in the post, I made a point of reading it and then filing it straight into the relevant folder in the filing cabinet, not onto the newly-clear space on the desk.  Long may this last.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
We have two shoe racks to give away:

They have been claimed and have left the garage!

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I have the following baby-related things for sale, all currently located at my home in Cambridge. I'm happy to deliver within a few miles of home, and willing to come to some arrangement for family/friends living further afield.  If I don't sell things in the next week or so I shall brave eBay (and its weird policies on second-hand cloth nappies).

Changing table: Kub Eco Changer, White. Bought last June from John Lewis for £75 and still in very good condition. We are replacing it with a cot-top changer for space reasons. JL don't seem to do it any more, but it is available at other suppliers.
Asking £50.

Double breast-pump: Avent Isis iQ Duo pump: double pump, comes with carry/storage bag, 2 chill bags & 6 freezer packs. Costs about £260 new, I bought it second-hand on ebay for about £150. Since then it's been used daily for about 8 months with C, and as little as I could get away with two or three times a week for about 6 months with N. Everything still works well, but N is eating enough solids that I don't need to pump milk for him to cover my half-day absences, and so I won't.
Asking £100

Single manual breast-pump: Avent Isis, like this one, but I don't have the model number to be sure they are the same. Bought new for C, used only occasionally. Probably cost about £20 new.
Asking £10

Bottle/pump steriliser: Avent Express electric steam steriliser. Does not seem to be available any more - big enough to sterilise all pump parts and 2-3 bottles, or just 6-7 bottles. Takes about 10 minutes to sterilise. Probably cost about £50 new.
Asking £20.

Cloth nappies: Sized approx 0-6 months, they've had about 12 months total use, seem to be in good condition still.
18 Tots Bots Fluffle nappies, size 1, cost £8.75 new, no longer on sale. They are white, fluffy, and dry quickly when hung up.
Asking £75 for all 18.
4 Motherease Airflow wraps, size Medium, cost £8 each new.
Asking £15 for all four.

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I would like to give away a 1.5m long body pillow.  It spent much of the last 6 years folded in half in storage, so is a bit thin at the halfway point.  I found it useful for pelvic/bump pain in my first pregnancy but haven't done so in this, and it is taking up space I want to put baby things in.  Pillowcase is clean.

Collection from Cambridge as it is bulky (but I can deliver by bakfiets to anywhere in the city if that is easier).
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I decided to do something about the overflowing glasses cupboard while waiting for eggs to boil, and Charles helped me sort them into keep and get-rid. Later, after he'd finished his egg, he ran off into the living room, found the decluttering bags, and insisted we cull his toys too.

It's not the first time we've gone through his toys with intent to declutter, but the first time he's initiated it. I was impressed at his enthusiasm and also his decisiveness: barely any dithering, he knew exactly what he wanted to keep and what he'd had enough of. He probably culled about 10-20% by volume, which means the boxes in the toy corner are nearly full rather than completely overflowing, and a bit of floor space has been reclaimed.

After a few months without even trying to declutter, in the last week or so I've found some enthusiasm for it again. I'm pleased/amused at Charles's enthusiasm for joining in.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Charles has been ill and slightly feverish since Wednesday. On Thursday evening he insisted I sit with him in his room while he went to sleep, and for much of the evening he would wake and whimper sadly if I left the room for any length of time. Tony was out, and I decided to make the best of being mostly stuck in one room, and started clearing up broken bits and assorted clutter from his shelves. It took me 6-7 hours, with plenty of breaks (mostly to sit and soothe my fretful child) but I achieved the following:

detailed list probably only of interest to me, but trust me, it was impressive )

It's a good thing Tony was out, because I think my random progress would have driven him nuts (I'm decluttering the games shelf because I tidied this game off the floor on the way to pick up the dressing-up clothes, why yes there is a pile of curtains on the landing and a heap of books on Charles's floor ...) Left to myself I found it quite fun and a useful distraction from fretting over my son.

I think the random-walk approach is very natural to me and is often how I approach the household chores, especially at weekends: wandering back and forth around the house tidying/doing stuff until either I've had enough or the house is "good enough". By contrast Tony tends to tidy one room at a time until that room is done. No wonder we do housework better separately than together.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I made [community profile] unclutter_2011 for Dreamwidth, because I couldn't find an existing decluttering community on Dreamwidth. I've just posted to [site community profile] dw_community_promo to see if it stirs any interest.

The LJ comm exists too, I just wanted one here if I could.

Edit: Or I could just use [community profile] unclutter instead because that already exists and is active, I just couldn't find it by interest. Seems silly to duplicate effort.
rmc28: (glowy)
I have been learning the importance of writing things down before I forget ... the below is mostly reconstructed from emails and statements and vague guesses.
Read more... )

More cheering than the boring numbers is actually clearing entire shelves in the junk room. If I can clear enough of them, I can take down the wobbliest of the shelving units and start feeling like I might one day actually empty the room.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
There was a Flylady mail today "Set a timer for 15 minutes - walk through your house and get rid of whatever you can in 15 minutes." So I just did, starting in the study and moving out into the house. I got halfway down the hall:

cut for detail )

I deliberately stopped moving things once they were in a place where the "next action" is easy, so that I was focusing my 15 minutes on getting things from "clutter" to "actionable".

Right, now another 15 minutes on actioning some of those things ...
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Saturday 10th: 1 large bag of books to Oxfam, on the way back from ballet.
Friday 16th: 1 large tub of protein powder, collected by freecycler.

In junk room ready to go:
1 bag textile recycling
1 bag baby-2 year clothes for charity shop
1 bag misc for charity shop

Waiting for freecycle collection tomorrow:
1 large cardboard box containing lots of bubblewrap and similar packaging
1 carrier bag full of jiffy bags

Offered on freecycle:
1 unopened pack men's underpants

I am trying to do "something decluttering-related" every day, even if it isn't actually stuff leaving the house. It would be really really nice if we could get the junk room cleared by the end of this year. We cleared all the "ready to go" bags out of the junk room on Christmas Eve, so this is starting fresh for 2009.

(The baby clothes are a result of me finally tidying the baby clothes into transparent Really Useful Boxes which are now labelled and stacked neatly on the top shelves of Charles's room, along with the smaller cloth nappies and my breastpump and accessories. We're also culling-as-we-go from his current clothes as he appears to have just grown out of the smallest of them.)
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Caught up on some sleep last night. Charles woke us up this morning by quietly and contentedly chattering in a very cute way. As I was never actually ill myself, I went to work today but took a bit more care than usual over hygiene for the sake of fellow workers. Charles's quarantine from children, pregnant women, elderly, or otherwise reduced-immunity people ends at 3:30pm tomorrow, subject to no further, ah, issues.

That one night resulted in three washloads (at 60°C of course), and Charles ate almost no solids for 36 hours. I'm very grateful I'm still nursing him.

Today I managed to declutter a shelf-full of free baby clothes that has lurked in a guilt-inducing fashion in our room for months and months, and tidied up his current clothes shelf. The majority of the clothes will move on via Freecycle (whence most of them came) as an embarrassing proportion have already been outgrown. There are some nice new additions to his current and future wardrobe, and I kept back my favourites of the outgrown stuff to go in the small stock of "clothes for if we have another one".

I have removed 8 carrier bags of Stuff from the bedroom today, which feels good. Some of it is in the bin, the rest is in holding in the junk room pending charity-shop drop or freecycle.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Before I venture into Freecycle, does anyone want any of the below? I'll check back in a day or so and sort out. It would be nice if we could arrange handover before the end of next week.

* 3 clothes airers: 1 2-tier, 1 3-tier, 1 with 3 leaves (can go in zigzag or triangle, child not included)

* 3 CD folder book things, each claims to hold 120 CDs. Bought them, decided they didn't suit us. They were cheap.

* Table lamp (no bulb, child not included)
* 2 sidetable/stool things that I have finally evicted from the living room
* 1 CRT monitor, no longer required. I think 15".
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Another migraine started brewing Saturday afternoon, and though I drugged it into oblivion, I was shattered for the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday and most of today. I had a lie down between breakfast and going to work and another one between fetching Charles and going to music class, and another one after music class. Charles helpfully went to sleep for two hours, allowing me to doze and cook and register for childcare vouchers

Going to bed soon, as part of the Get Enough Sleep project.

I did a lot of reading over Saturday afternoon and Sunday, about a year's worth of Cycle Campaign newsletters and all the easy-to-deal-with home email - the end-of-day average is now ~50, but they're all the slightly awkward ones. I will try to make myself do one a day or something.

We had Mum & Mick to stay over the weekend, though they were in London all day Saturday and I had crashed before they arrived back. Sunday was very relaxed, and if it was rather enforced on me, it seemed to go down well with our guests. My meal-planning appeared to work ok, though [livejournal.com profile] fanf produced all the actual meals over the weekend. I think I will leave him more leeway next weekend to use his own creativity. This week has got off reasonably well although I amended my planned meal for tonight as Charles was asleep when I needed to obtain onions. Lots of leftover ping, and more filling than I expected. Bonus. [livejournal.com profile] crazyscot's rice recipe worked perfectly so I will use that again.
rmc28: (glowy)
Goal 2: Sorting house.
2a: decluttering. First I'm going to finish moving the paperwork backlog from in/pending/out trays to 43 folders.


I have now finished this. After doing quite a lot of it in dribs and drabs, I hit the remainder in one last 90-minute orgy of sorting paper last night. The 43 folders have paperwork to-do in them up until April. I also had a pile of shredding, a pile of filing, a pile for the paper recycling, a pile for the green bin (card etc) recycling, and a very small bag of actual rubbish. The bin/recycling stuff went last night, the shredding/filing I've done today while Tony and Charles are out.

Among the things I found were 2 sets of expired co-op dividend vouchers, worth over 20 pounds in total, and the 6-month-old quote for repainting the windows that really really needs doing now. Hard evidence of why it costs to let things get so out of hand.

I have succeeded this week in processing all post as it comes in, whether that be bin, recycle, shred, file, act on now or file in folders to act later. I'm up to date with the tasks in the folders.

Then I'm clearing my email backlog at 15 mins per day. Then I'm going to start tackling the junk room, one item per day.

About to set the timer for the email tackling. My end-of-day total is currently ~130 in the home inbox.
rmc28: (glowy)
On Sunday, I was thinking out loud at [livejournal.com profile] bugshaw and realised that 43 folders would help me turn the overflowing intray of doom into something I might actually deal with in a sensible time period. So off I went to Staples, where as luck would have it, they were packaging a 1-31 tabbed concertina folder with their "multipurpose" 16-tabbed concertina file that can be either 1-31 or A-Z or Jan-Dec (with the extra 4 tabs being 1st Quarter, 2nd Quarter, 3rd Quarter and Special).

I am a fairly naturally-organised person but I am learning that some of my habits of doing things simply aren't efficient enough these days. 43 folders is an obvious tool to start with now that I can't guarantee to deal with the intray as it comes in. I am taking a handful of papers at a time from the existing mess and either dealing with it immediately or filing it in the folders. Only 1 item per day, only 10 or so per month, for now, and I'm not filing them in days this month when I know I won't be here. Already I feel I am getting more done from the intray than before, if only because it doesn't feel so oppressive to only do a few pieces at a time, and filing the non-urgent stuff means I am getting to things that really should get done sooner. I can see this really working in the long-term and have only now to be embarrassed that it took me so long from hearing about the technique to using it.

It helps that my new small desk in the new study is (deliberately) too small to take much clutter before it is unusable. That way, tidying it is very fast too, and [livejournal.com profile] fanf is good at gentle nudges when I am slow to do so.
rmc28: (glowy)
During the week I managed to get the little room into a lettable state (which involved a fair bit of messing around in Charles's room), order replacement futon mattress, freecycle the old squashy single mattresses, freecycle the baby-bath which had been taking up an entire shelf, order replacement firm mattresses. And stay alive and fed, keep Charles mostly happy, and investigate childminders. And hold down my paid job.

I enjoyed using the new study a fair bit this week - only Tony's computer is in there yet but I have an account on it so email/web access is feasible. I fell asleep in the early evening a lot though, and had corresponding insomnia at midnight at least 2 nights.

This weekend Tony has been a demon sorter of all the little bits of clutter that I moved out of what's now Charles's room in order to sort out the little room. He's also moved all the books down from that room and sorted them sensibly in their new home. Tom, Owen, Ross and Eleanor all came to visit at different times, and all of them left with things we wanted to say goodbye to . We culled the coatrack and have 6 coats in the charity bags as well as a mystery pile of coats not owned by anyone currently living here, for perusal by Keith & Cat before I send them too to the charity shops.

Next week: another shelf-worth of stuff has already been claimed via freecycle and will be collected; the replacement futon mattress arrives on Thursday so the old futon mattresses need to be freecycled or tipped by then; new bed mattresses arrive so I can make up the bed in Charles's room; Tony should finish moving stuff out of Charles's room and giving it a home; I will start moving all my working files into the new study; the charity bags need to go to a charity shop.

I am very tired. Tony is being an angel and settling furious overtired baby to sleep so I can have a break. But the New Study Project is really going well and making us all happier.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Large desk with 2 sets of drawers built-in - obtained free from our neighbour a short time ago but too large for us and will be replaced by 2 new desks on 21st November.

152cm wide by 70cm deep by 72cm high.

Photo here (child not included).

If no-one we know wants it in a week I will try freecycle.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I spent a couple of hours on Sunday having a serious clearout of my clothes. There is now nothing hanging up or on shelves that doesn't fit me; there is nothing in the underbed storage that I don't love and will be happy to wear again as/when it fits, with a very very few garments kept for sentimental reasons. I have 3 carrier bags of clothes for the charity shops and a further 5 carrier bags of clothes have been Freecycled - 3 gone, 2 awaiting collection.

The difference is amazing - no longer do I have heaps of things messily taking up space, nor do I have daily reminders of how much weight I've put on in the last 2 years. I hope this week to do something similar for the baby clothes, and ensure we can find things that fit and go well together without rummaging through what has become another heap. Making the bedroom as pleasant and relaxing as possible is a real payoff for us.

At the party yesterday I was inspired to make a little giveaway pile of books that I really didn't want to keep, and was delighted to see all but 3 books gone at the end of the party. Some of those books had lurked on my to-read shelves for years and it was a release to stop feeling guilty about never actually getting round to read them.

Keith came over today and helped us attach some new IVAR bits to walls in the living room and the hall, so we've done most of the reorganisation of the living room. There's a fair amount of shuffling of Stuff to do, some of it into other rooms and some of it right out of the house, but eventually we should be able to remove 2 of the bookcases which will give it a more spacious feel.

Douglas moves out tomorrow. He's been a good short-term lodger and as well as the financial benefit, he's given us time to rethink what we want to do with the rooms in the house. Instead of renting out his room as a double room, we're going to make it a joint study that can also be a spare double room for guests. The current small spare room needs a bit more work but will then be lettable. It won't bring in as much money, but for someone who doesn't have much stuff it'll be a nice small cheap place to be, and will have the distinct advantage of not being underneath our bedroom. I think that the downstairs room will always be a bit of a hard sell if you aren't Keith, while the little room upstairs just suffers from being little. We've had lodgers happy in that size space before so it can't be impossible to find more in future.

I'm quite excited about the new joint study. It means we can get Charles's room ready much sooner than I'd thought (though we still won't do it by his 1st birthday). I can temporarily abandon the black hole of junk in my study and, not weighed down by it every day, may have more oomph for dealing with it in small doses until it's gone. We can make the new study childproof as we move into it, so that Charles can join us there. Tony and I will also be able to see a bit more of each other each day, rather than reading our emails etc in our respective studies at opposite sides of the house. And of course, we can finally offer proper guest space to more than one person.

When my current study is finally clear of junk I want to make it a music room. I have wanted a real piano for years and there's easily room for one in here, as well as other instruments, a music stand, sheet music, etc.
rmc28: (glowy)
Found in the spare room and disavowed by Keith, Cat & Andrew:

* 1 pair yellow cotton women's trousers, size 12, Cinzano label
* 1 pair black cotton women's trousers, size 18 (but a very small 18 in my opinion). DenimCo label.
* 1 "Salvador Dalek" tshirt, size L

If I can't find their owners, they'll probably end up with a charity shop (except the tshirt, we'll probably keep that as it's very cool).
rmc28: (finches)
Tony got home very late on Wednesday, which meant the moment I could stop being responsible I crashed asleep. We were both horribly tired Thursday morning as a result, so I took it very easy on Thursday and didn't do much until going to the pub in the evening. There we saw lots of people, I got sufficient breaks from baby to stay awake longer, and we were able to go home together and have some actual conversation-time.

Still tired this morning, and Charles didn't drink enough yesterday so he was dehydrated and I was painfully full of milk. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon remedying this in between short naps (on his part) and faffing (on mine). I managed to list some excess baby clutter on Freecycle and then in the late afternoon and evening tackled the baby clothes. I've now got four bagfuls for Freecycling, as well as a load to go back to my friend Vicky to pass on to her brother. Charles has just grown out of most of the stuff that fitted him when he was born (not to mention the swathe of things that never fitted him), but I've kept back a few items for sentimental value. I also culled a lot of the rest of the stuff, as we had so much (thanks to generous friends, family and freecyclers) that I could afford to be picky. Our shelves are rather less overflowing now, which feels good.

Anyway, that job took hours, with breaks to feed and soothe baby and attempt to feed me, and sometimes just to rest. There was a party but I was too tired to face the walk there and back, and the necessity to be sociable. Tony came home at a sensible time and brought food, and domestic harmony ensued. The pushchair has arrived and Tony has assembled it. Maybe tomorrow I will be up to taking it somewhere.
rmc28: (glowy)
I've discovered the following duplicates in combining my and Tony's CD collection. Free, but you collect from Nursery Walk, or send me postage.

U2 - The Unforgettable Fire
Prodigy - Music for the Jilted Generation
Garbage - Garbage
Evanescence - Fallen
Dido - Life for Rent
rmc28: (books)
L came around for a couple of hours and I cunningly proposed a 'game' of sorting: either books or baby clothes. She opted for books. We brought two stray shelf-worths upstairs, swapped them for two boxes of Stuff, opened up the half-collapsing box that's been cluttering up the bedroom for months, and added the generic pile of reshelving that's been growing next to it for the last month. She seemed to enjoy sorting and time flew so that by the time we did break for her to have tea, it was nearly time for her to be collected. We did manage to squeeze in some Tintin on DVD by dint of persuading [livejournal.com profile] arnhem that he wanted to watch some too.

After they'd left, I finished the job with some help from [livejournal.com profile] fanf and we now have a WALL OF BOOKS in the bedroom. Tony estimates 24 metres of shelved books (all paperback fiction) in the bedroom now, plus another 13 metres or so in his room of assorted other categories. Plus my to-read shelves and the children's books downstairs.

An excellent use of the evening. We have actual floorspace in the bedroom for the first time in ages.
rmc28: (glowy)
On Sunday afternoon we went to Newmarket for a barbecue organised by one of my colleagues. It was excellent, far too much food, and very relaxing. I've never actually been to Newmarket in all the years I've lived in Cambridge, and although we just drove through I think I'd like to go back and make a proper visit when in a state to walk around and enjoy it properly. On our return I basically went to bed for the rest of the evening.

I spent most of Monday morning reading which refreshed me excellently. Quite a lot of time clearing out more stuff in the study, and then in the late afternoon I had another go at the bedroom with Tony's help. I got my clothes and other stuff moved across to the new shelves, and unpacked a box that has been lurking for ages and found much more efficient spaces for it. Tony unpacked the box of clothes that hasn't been opened since he got back from the US five years ago - and the contents were in surprisingly good condition - and purged quite a lot of it. Finally I had a purge of all my various piles of clothes that don't currently fit me, and reorganised the survivors into useful size groupings.

We ended up filling the boot and the back seat of Cat's car with things for charity shops, and I picked the Sally Army shop on Mill Road because one can park right outside the back. Very satisfying to have all that clutter going out the door, and the bedroom is completely transformed. I got to work early enough that I could leave soon after 4pm and now the car is empty of all the clutter.

Things that remain to be done:
* sort and reshelve assorted book piles
* sort baby things into type and size and find homes
* obtain half-height IVAR uprights to make bedside shelving (we have the short shelves and the crossbraces, if all else fails I can probably do it by public transport on Monday when I have the day off)
* remove two remaining boxes of clutter from the bedroom
* work out what to do about cot
* work out what else we need for baby/birth
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
There is a small bookcase at the end of our bed. It is full of things we need to move somewhere else, so that we can get rid of it, so that we can move the bed around to make room for a cot and a much bigger and more useful set of shelves for baby things.

I haven't felt up to clearing it out in one fell swoop. Instead, at least once a day, I've carried some stuff from the bookcase to the temporary storage area I've made downstairs (it doesn't need sorting out now, but probably we can get rid of a lot of it). Carrier bags are quite useful for this - filling one up and getting it downstairs feels like real progress.

Today I was filling the carrier bag up and underneath a pile of papers which included our hotel bill from DWCon 2004 (!) I found a ten pound note.

A round on me and [livejournal.com profile] fanf tonight then ;)
rmc28: (glowy)
We are going to drive, because trains/buses are awkward for getting to and from the care home. I have booked a small cheap car for the weekend and we will go late Saturday morning, stay overnight and come back early afternoon on Sunday. I'll drive cross country (Bedford, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Swindon, Chippenham) as, compared to the motorway route, it provides more frequent and more pleasant opportunities for stopping in case of loo or just needing to move around a bit. It'll probably use less fuel too, being less distance and generally slower speed, and from experience will take about the same time.

I haven't yet booked somewhere to stay - a message is on my dad's answerphone asking for recommendations as he's just researched all this for the wedding next weekend. Edit: there is apparently a spare double bed at Dad's, which is cool.

My dad asked if I can reproduce a printed diary with photographs I made for Cecillie about our trip together in 1999. It's been damaged, possibly destroyed, since she lost sufficient understanding to take care of it. I managed to find the APS films from the trip with only a bit of rummaging around the bedroom, but all my hunting on my PC hard drive failed to turn up the Word document in which I typeset it. The original source material was a bunch of long letters I wrote to [livejournal.com profile] bofhcam during the trip. Amazingly he not only still has them, but was willing and able to find them and hand them over to me this morning.

Last time I printed it out on high-quality paper, hand-set the photographs in the right place and got it comb-bound, but this time I may try the Photobooks offered by Photobox. I think the format will change - I remember the original being quite wordy, but I think I'll focus more on the photographs this time and keep the words to dates and times and places.

Tony had to work late last night, and while waiting for him I found myself intently clearing a backlog of email, including one which had been blocking me feeling able to post to Freecycle. I am feeling increasingly more urge to sort out the piles of Stuff around the house, so this is good.
rmc28: (happy)
Keith and I spent most of this afternoon and evening sorting out the study.  We pulled lots of stuff out of it, reorganised the shelves and added two more floor-to-ceiling shelving units.  It was more tiring than we'd expected and took rather longer.  By Dr Who time we'd just got to a point where we'd moved enough stuff back in that people could sit down in sight of the tv.  Afterwards I made us a quick meal (scrambled eggs with onion from the veg box and chives from the garden, in a wholemeal pitta bread) and after recovering from digesting that, finished moving my stuff back in and sorting it out.

The room is now much nicer to be in - the stuff that was cluttering the floor is now on the shelves or already sorted for charity shop/freecycle/etc and taking up space in the hall and living room instead.   I've been able to shift some clutter out of our bedroom, if not quite as much as I'd hoped.  In the big pile of clothes we found some that I think belonged to my paternal grandmother.  They're too small for me but they turn out to fit Cat almost perfectly and she's opted to keep the dress that suited her best.  The other dress and the coat I think I will attempt to eBay - they aren't in perfect condition but they are genuine 1950s vintage.

My darling husband is on his way home from Nairobi right now, landing at Heathrow in about 5 hours.  I'm indulging in picking him up from Cambridge station in Kate's car, and expect him to get there sometime after 9am.  Which probably means I should go and get some sleep right now.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
All my eBay auctions sold, money is trickling in and parcels trickling out. The Indian jewellery has been bought by the person I bought it from last year, which amuses me. She will probably be able to sell it for much more than me as she puts lots of effort into marketing her items and I just want to get rid of them.

Almost everything listed on u.a.giveaway went. What remains will probably get recycled or binned. I am considering writing a "how not to piss off the giver" post for u.a.giveaway, with useful tips like "say which item you are interested in", "follow instructions given in the advert", "try writing grammatically and spelling correctly".

The geeky tshirts on u.a.forsale went in a cunning deal where I swapped them for taxi services from [livejournal.com profile] crazyscot. This allowed me to acquire some useful boxes from Staples and many folders from freecycle. This means I can complete the filing cabinet decommissioning, so the net result should be less stuff in the house, even if right now there's a big pile of folders in the living room.

The handbag and smutty tshirts on u.a.forsale seem to have no interest, I will try eBaying them for 99p each and see what happens. The upper box is nearly empty. Tomorrow I should be able to investigate the one below it, which I vaguely remember having stuff I brought away from Mum's house, but it's been lurking there too long for me to know exactly.

I have listed the free Argos mattress and 3 pairs of shoes on freecycle. I still have 9 pairs of shoes which seems a lot when I count it up, but I have looked at each pair and decided I like them enough to keep.

I got a free large suede travel bag with a recent order from La Redoute. It's pretty good quality and I think I will use it to pack away clothes Mum lent me when she moved, which I'm not actually wearing, to make room in the wardrobe, and be easy to carry when we next visit her.

There are lots of little piles of things in bags around the study, which I can delve into as an alternative to box diving or when waiting for eBay/ucam.adverts.*/freecyle. It'll be easier to do the shelving reorganisation if I can get rid of them first. The whole project still feels quite overwhelming but I'm mostly enjoying the individual steps at the moment.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Today I have:

* photographed lots of my junk
* created 4 ebay auctions
* posted 3 times to ucam.adverts.forsale
* posted 3 times to ucam.adverts.giveaway
* posted once to freecycle

and spent 2x15 minutes going through piles of old birthday and Christmas cards to see if there were any I really wanted to keep (the rest have gone in the green bin).

Although the last bit was the hardest to do, it was the most satisfying because at the end stuff actually left the house. Everything else is going to have to wait to see if people want to buy/take things. However if/when it does, that is the upper of two boxes in front of my filing cabinet emptied. Then I can work on emptying and getting rid of the lower box, and finally on the filing cabinet itself (most of its contents can probably be binned/recycled, the rest will go into lever arch files on shelves because I find it easier to reference things that way). Then Keith and I will have the space to add more shelves to the study (involving a bit of reorganisation of the existing shelves) and then I can bring down the piles of clutter from my bedroom and put them on the shelves for tackling later.

And then Tony and I can finish reorganising the bedroom and get it ready for the baby.

Critical path analysis, isn't it great? I can feel the deadline looming and it stresses me, but I have been good today, breaking the jobs up into 15-minute bursts and 15-minute breaks, and not letting myself get too carried away or tired out. We're going away tomorrow to stay with my Dad over Easter, but hopefully next week I can keep up the momentum, even if it is just 15 minutes a day.

Edited to add: I've linked to the places I'm advertising things, because at least one person is interested, and for completeness. But this isn't an entry to advertise my junk, just a witter about my day and my priorities.

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rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Rachel Coleman

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