Discardia – 9

Well, I finally had a productive weekend!

We gutted the only storage cupboard in the house ahead of the door being moved from my husband’s study to the downstairs bathroom so we intend it to be more of a utility cupboard now instead of a dumping ground/utility cupboard/extension of the study.

The way we (I) approached it was to pull everything out of the cupboard bar the shelves and put it in the playroom, then close the door so Tabi couldn’t get at it. Then we worked through it in pieces over the weekend, cleaned the cupboard, then replaced the things we were keeping in that cupboard.

Before(s) on the left.

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Unfortunately the befores don’t show the scale of crap we had, so heres what the playroom looked like!

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And here’s some of the stuff we got rid of. Plus a full box of donations and I just sold the big chest of drawers we were using in Tabi’s room.IMG_0578

A lot of stuff is now piled up in boxes because it’s to be kept in the study now but we can’t do anything with it until the building work is finished so I’m just going to have to live with a messy house for the next 2 months.

There are some things that I’m not sure we’ll use but want to wait until the we’ve finished downstairs and then discard, just in case. I’ve been trying to list a chair and a table lamp on gumtree with no takers for months but when this work is finished, I’ll have a perfect spot for them so they don’t need to go anymore. If I’d managed to sell them, I’d be scouting for replacements so I’d like to avoid that situation with other things, like picture frames and ornaments.

Hopefully this is all finished in 2 months. Every single room in the house finished/decorated and decluttered in 2 months!

Money ‘earned’ – £35*

 

*Edited as I sold a rocking chair just as I hit post!

Thirty-Three

I’m 33 today.

 

Overall, I’m very happy. I have a good house (it’s not an old doer-upper or brand new self built eco house, which would be my top picks but unlike those two, I can afford it!), happily married (we’ve been together 13 years next month), absolutely besotted with my gorgeous, bat shit crazy, tornado of a daughter and I have a good stable job with brilliant management and co workers.

HOWEVER!

I think I might start treating my birthdays like MOT’s. Just to see if there are any niggles that could be sorted out for the year(s) ahead. Kinda like New Year Resolutions, but made sober and not abandoned in February.

  • My life balance is out of whack. I’m not managing to juggle part time University study, part time work and spending quality time with my daughter, husband, friends, extended family… I have no hobbies, just an endless to-do list and something needs to give because I feel like I’m just bolting through tasks instead of enjoying my time. I’m pausing uni next year to chill out a bit and try to find a better balance before adding studying back on.
  • Health & fitness. I’m really unfit. And overweight but I’m less concerned about that. If I was given the choice of being able to run a 10k at my current size, or keeping my current fitness level but waking up a size 10, I’d rather run a 10k. I’m going to focus on my health in the next year with the aim of being able to do either Tough Mudder or a 10k at my next birthday. I’ve only got one body and I’m treating this one horribly.
  • Declutter – and finish it. Whole house, take no prisoners, decluttering. My husband has come around to the minimalist mindset which makes things much easier!
  • Counsellor/Therapist – Is there even a difference between these two things? My Mum died suddenly 18 months ago. I was 9 weeks away from giving birth so I just shut down and haven’t really dealt with it since and I’m now finding that I can’t stop tearing up when I’m on my own, mainly when I’m driving and that’s probably not normal, to be crying off and on all day. So I’ve been thinking about seeing someone. I don’t know if I’ll actually do it, some inherently British mindset about self care being self indulgent, but I’m considering it.
  • Take up a hobby. Not something which serves another purpose like running to get fit or studying to gain a qualification. Something which is its own end. I’m leaning towards learning the cello. I’ve never learned an instrument before, can’t read music. I just love the sound.

 

 

First step

Oh my god, I’m so unfit.

I mean, I knew I wasn’t as fit as I used to be, but I just about threw up/fainted in spin class.

I wasn’t even doing the suggested resistance, I just wanted to keep my legs moving. I had to sit in my car afterwards for 5 minutes because I was shaking too much to drive. I scoffed a little bag of skinny popcorn and some dark chocolate when I got home and feel better now, but jeez that was awful!

I just wanted to write this down so that a year from now when I’m training for tough mudder I remember how hard it was at the start.

The ethical shopping minefield

I’ve just rewatched the ‘True Cost’ documentary on Netflix and just like the first watch, I’ve come away slightly sick and completely baffled.

How exactly do you manage to shop ethically? Minimalism is helpful, consuming less is as important as consuming well. But how do you know which brands to trust? Are all brands with factories in developing countries inherently evil? Or are there companies using factories where workers are treated well and paid fairly? What about the environmental side? Some companies pay well and dump toxins, how do you know which is ‘best?

I hate throwing anything in landfill. I recycle as much as possible, which is helped by our local council. I have 4 bins (here’s a pic of 3 of them, the green one is out for collection!)

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They are as follows:

  • Blue bin – landfill. Collected every 2 weeks (it’s the smallest of the 4)
  • Brown bin – food and garden waste. Collected every 2 weeks
  • Black bin – paper waste. Collected every 4 weeks
  • Green bin – plastic and cans. Collected every 4 weeks

If we want to recycle glass we have to take them to the collection point ourselves. There are textile recycling bins, electrical appliance recycling, books, etc at the local tip. I generally sell or donate needed/damaged clothes so that, although I might be done with them, the lifecycle of the items is longer.

But what about when you need to buy something new? I buy used from eBay for certain things and have a look in charity shops but the charity shops round here only do so much. We have bought things from them and donate frequently but sometimes you just can’t get what you’re after.

The fashion transparency index is great in theory but it only has a tiny number of brands listed. Also H&M got a decent score but the last few things I’ve bought from them were shit quality so had to be replaced quickly.

I have a shortlist of ethical brands now and I’m going to start buying from there. I’m finally losing the weight I piled on 3 years ago so I’ll need to replace my current clothes gradually. Some things look fine oversized but jeans falling off you? Not so much.

Happy Shopping List

  • People Tree – great credentials but as they stop at a UK 16 I haven’t ever been able to shop there. Will be first on my list when I can actually fit the clothes!
  • Beyond Skin – These are environmentally friendly, they are also vegan and to be very honest I’m not bothered about that. I eat meat, buy leather… vegan friendly wouldn’t even factor into my decision but the environmental and ethical credentials do.
  • Birdsong – made by women’s groups. I prefer people tree in terms of my own style but they do have a few things I like.
  • Made – Beautiful jewellery. Great mix of classic and statement pieces. The Daisy Knights collection is fun!
  • Thought – The clothes are a little dippy hippie for me but I like the socks and underwear!
  • ASOS – Made in Kenya – ASOS is a little iffy on the ethical shopping front, it has updates daily and encourages consumption like no other brand I’ve seen… but this collection is a good effort.

Any other suggestions?

 

The point of Birthday gifts

It’s my birthday next week and I’ve gotten the usual messages from friends asking what I’d like as a gift.

Normally I’d have an amazon wishlist, full of books because they’re around £10 and so within an acceptable gift budget. Not because they were the things I most wanted, but because I knew my friends could afford them. This is a bonkers way to look at birthdays.

The things I need (a wax jacket, cashmere jumper) are too much, I’d never ask my friends for something that expensive. I put vouchers on the list so that everyone sort of chips in for one thing without the hassle of organising but everyone wants to give things. I say ‘just buy me a drink when we’re out’ and they say they feel awkward without a gift.

Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of things I want but they’re not ‘gifts’. It’s stuff like a new living room rug, a le crueset casserole dish, decking in the back garden and a new iPad (mine is so old they don’t update the software anymore).

Any ideas? How do you handle birthdays?

 

I’m exhausted…

We’ve gotten so much ticked off our to do list.

I’ve had an insanely busy week but I haven’t felt this ‘on top of things’ in ages! However, I’m knackered so todays post shall be in bullet point format!

  • We’ve ordered the garden toys for Tabi (climbing cube, rocking horse and a pedal-less trike).
  • Bought a new vacuum (ours was 11 years old and starting to struggle)
  • Replaced damaged clothes and filled some wardrobe gaps. Not finished yet but getting there.
  • Changed Tabi’s bedroom. We needed a wardrobe now she’s wearing dresses more.
  • Sold 3 things on eBay
  • Took a boot full to the recycling centre (mainly the packaging for Tabi’s new furniture but at least it’s not in the garage!)
  • Recycled my iPad (new one to be ordered)
  • Stripped and remade the bed. Yeah, I know, should be weekly but we never seem to get around to it! Think it’s been a month!
  • Last but not least, we paid off every single unsecured debt we had. We increased the mortgage by the amount of our non mortgage debt so we’re now paying 2.69% instead of anything up to 17.19% and our monthly outgoings are reduced by a little over £800.  We still have 20% equity in the house so we haven’t over borrowed either.

Good for a week!

Momentum

And my complete lack thereof.

I’ve done little things this week but we’re still wrangling planning permission and a budget for the housing changes. There’s a huge clear out coming very soon, I reckon you’re in for the mother of all discard posts as soon as the work is completed and we start moving our furniture back in!

I did go to my Nana’s on Monday and try to clear her spare room out. She’s a hoarder and also stores stuff for my uncle to sell at car boot sales (which he hasn’t done in almost 2 years) so she couldn’t even see the bed, let alone get into the room.

I didn’t take before and after pictures but we took a car full to the recycling centre and charity shop, she can now use the bed and the floor is visible. She still needs to go through things like videos and bedding, as well as her clothes and shoes, but we got started, which is the main thing. Especially since when I’d finally cleared a path to the window, I found it covered in mould! It’s being scrubbed with bleach as I type and the window will be left ajar until it airs out.

It did need done but I think it also felt easier to help my Nana than to get on with my own clear out. I’m hoping I have more headspace after my exam to really finish editing our possessions and finding some stable ground for a while.

Unfortunately I’ve also rediscovered my love of buying Baby Boden clothes cheap on eBay so there’s more stuff on the way in. Baby clothes seem to spawn out of control whenever I turn my back. She’s growing so quickly I can’t get the ‘too small’ stuff listed quick enough!