Monday, October 29, 2007

Organisation truly is the key.

I think I've taken to this simple living bizzo so well for a number of reasons. Firstly. I am not out to prove anything to anyone. I have no big agenda, no big chip on my shoulder etc - I *personally* feel that this decision; this concious decision to help our environment, is just the right one for me. My husband thinks I've turned into a hippy, but he's happy to accomodate me. My parents and my sister think I'm mad.

Anyway. Organisation is a HUGE part of this simple living. More than I ever realised.

Generally, on a normal day, this is my pantry;

Now. You probably won't believe me, but it is the case. Every night, before I go to bed, my house gets put back together. Why? Because everything has a place, and for life to be organised, everything has to be in that place.

I probably have a big problem with being organised. I get all titchy if I'm not aware of what is going on. Control freak much??

But, since starting this simple quest - being organised is just THE biggest factor. You can see everything in your pantry at first glance, you can see what you need, and what you have an abundance of.

A good example of this, is my linen cupboard. This morning, I opened the door to put a tea towel in there - I honestly could barely fit it. See, I had done a big "shove in there and we'll deal with that later" with the linen cupboard. Until I got to the point of not fitting anything else in. So, in 15 minutes (honestly, that was ALL it took); I ended up with this;

Scary huh? I got rid of NOTHING. Not one pillowcase. Nada. Just simple, easy organisation.

I cannot possibly see how anyone could remotely live a simple life if there is stuff everywhere. First step. Clean it out. Keep only things that make you smile, or bring back a memory you cherish. Whether that be a photo of your grandmother, or a statue you won in the spelling competition when you were 5. Work it out. Do you love it? Could someone else love it more??

Then, STICK TO THAT DECISION. Once every couple of months, every cupboard in the house gets a going over. I like to touch everything; just so I know what I have. However, I don't have a cupboard full of bits and bods. Everything in my cupboards (ok, ok, linen cupboard is excluded!! ;) ) is there for a purpose. I don't have 18 different sets of sheets. Why? I wash a set and put them back on the bed. If, on a bad day, i get caught and it rains - I simple use the one spare set that I have. I do have another set for the spare bed - so overall, I have 3 sheet sets. But why would I need more?

The kids have 2 spare sheet sets - so 3 each. Obviously I use them, with toilet training and vomit and foulness of two year old toddlers who love chasing earwigs, but do NOT like washing hands or face.

Get my point? Only have what you need and use what you need. Find a permanent home for all these things - and that is the hard bit!! Once you've found a home - it's just a matter of putting it back there every day.

Of a night, I ususally wonder around the house putting things back where they belong. My headphones are on, the house is quiet and I can just wander about in my own little world. It is one of my favorite times of day. Then, every morning; whether I be working, or staying home with the kids, or going to Queensland - the house always starts my day off looking like this;

And I always make my coffee with a self appreciating smile.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Live bigger for Less"

And that statement is, right there, the reason our world is the way it is. Mass production for cheap and nasty things that break in a week and end up as landfill. A million trillion litres of water are used in production, 18 trees are cut down - so we "can live bigger for less".

It's pathetic.

Onto other things.

MIL is down for the remainder of the week this week, and it will be nice having her around. She wants to see this Aldi place that I speak of. So, we'll go have a looksee today - I need a few odds and sods from there anyway.

The garden - is going well. Everything appears to be growing well and is loving the weather. I'm sure that it's not going to like it so much after 5 months of it. But, at the minute, it's incredibly nice being out in the garden.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy days

Slowly but surely, this blog builds up. Hopefully, one day it will be full of completely useless information for me to look back upon.

This weekend was very quiet, but very pleasant. Saturday was just me and the kids home - G had to work in the morning. So, I was up early and spent the morning just catching up with the household stuff. The afternoon was spent going through our filing cabinet and getting rid of old bits of paper.

Once I'd done that; I went right through everything again and organised it properly. By nature, I'm pretty organised anyway - but in this instance, I holpunched, I date filed and generally got that filing cabinet so organised it wouldn't know itself.

The aim of this, in my world, is to see where we are at a glance. Financially - I have all our telephone bills filed in date order, so at a glance, I can see just how good/bad/up/down the bill has been over the last 12 months. I feel more in control of our life like that, and if we do have a bad month; seeing all the *good* bills really shows me that this life is possible.

Today, we had a nice day. In the morning, we packed up the kids and went to a big wholesale nursery a bit of a way out. It was nice to look, but there wasn't much of what I was looking for. Specifically; a dwarf manderin. So, we kept going on our merry way and got some new knobs for the barbeque and then went to our local nursery.

I found my dwarf manderin; and I also got some geraniums. Geraniums have taken their sweet time in becoming something I wanted in my garden; until not so long ago, they were glorified weeds in my world. But, I have since seen some that have actually been looked after - and they can look AMAZING. So, I have tried them in pots and we'll see what happens. They are in the perfect spot; so hopefully I'll have some awesome looking flowers soon.

This afternoon was spent pottering in the garden. I just love spending a sunday arvo in the garden, and then having a roast dinner. We had roast chicken tonight and you just cannot beat a roast I don't think. Then, G got called out on a service call again - so now I have the house to myself. Kids are asleep and it's still probably about 25 degrees. So a beautiful night.

I've been thinking a great deal more about this whole simple life; and really; the more you start doing, the more you see what else you can do. Even 3 months ago, I couldn't imagine ever EVER getting down so low in our bills. It was just a given that we needed to spend xxx on food. Since I have completely ruined that theory of late; it cements the fact that I *was* a big consumer, and that I really never had one big thought about what I spent money on, OR what I got for that money.

In the last 3 months, we have saved so much money. Yes, it's a great thing; but up until I started this simple existence, we simply didn't do anything. Not because we couldn't *afford* it (because, in theory, we could well and truly afford it) - but there were so many leaks in our budget.

With that money that we have saved - we are having a party. Not a big one, not a formal one and not with many people - but we're celebrating. G turned 30 not so long ago and we didn't do anything for it; the terror is 2 shortly and my 30th is around the corner. We figure that we'll all have a great time - and it's a reward for all our hard work.

Obviously the party will be done simply - we're having a spit that G's brother has; and I will make some salads and some bread rolls - I will make a small cake for G and the terror - and that'll just about do it. It's not about the food (although there is very little that beats lamb cooked on a spit with salad and bread on the side) - it's about us enjoying ourselves. Catching up with friends we haven't seen all year - and having the kids spend time with all their favorite people all in one place.

I can't wait.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Early morning

How can people stay in bed and miss this delightful part of the day? That time, at the minute, between 4 & 5am.

I generally get up very early. Because of that, I am generally in bed rather early; which kind of makes me a bit of a loner. I don't tend to stay up all night - because I love this time of day so much. It's the time of day where I feel like I have the entire world to myself, then slowly, as daylight breaks, the time is shared with the birds.

It is the terrors second birthday soon. I have no idea what to get him. I don't really want to get him anything, because there is very little that child needs. He is getting his first bike for Christmas, and that, in all seriousness, is pretty much all he needs.

So, I'm thinking of getting him something little (as in REALLY little) and then putting money into his bank account. Other people do it for him - which I think is a GREAT idea. But, is it a great idea for a mother to do for her son? Is it a "I am just giving you money because it's easier" or "I am giving you money because I feel you need nothing and think that $50 into a bank account for you would be MUCH more beneficial than a stupid toy that will break in 5 minutes and you won't remember in 5 years".

For me, it's the latter. But, I'm positive my family will think that it's the former. Because, you see, their depth of love depends on stuff. A kid who has everything he could possibly want simply must be loved more than a child who has enough.

Really, with ideas like that, is there any wonder we're in the state we are? As a society?? Is there any wonder kids, who are given the world at an age that they can't grasp it fully, are off doing whatever - just so they can get some attention. So much could be solved and sorted, with just a little attention.

If the politicians actually paid attention to what those they are governing are saying, then a big sight of, even Australias, problems might be solved. But, instead, they spend six weeks saying they are going to change the world; and then the next 3 years backpeddling as to "why that hasn't happened yet".

If I were a politician, the only thing I would place my life on, is that I'd be honest. If we couldn't do it, then we couldn't do it. And I would simplify Australia. Simplify the whole ruddy lot - and I'd be my life that a big chunk of the country's problems would fade away.

We have to vote relatively soon. I'm actually pretty excited, if even a little scared. Whoever gets into government this time around, determines this country as a whole. Water, environment, climate change - this is the time to do something. In 3 years, it will be too late. The direction this country will take as a whole will be determined in the next 3 years.

I just hope that all concerned do the right thing. Wishful thinking?? I think so.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Reaping the rewards....

I'm sorry that it has taken me awhile to get back here; seriously, a week goes so FAST these days!! With sick kids and work and household stuff, it's Friday before I even blink!

This post is one about my achievements. I never did post a starting point; but suffice to say, it's never going up here now I have my results.

I have HALVED my phone bill. Well, by rights, I'm now getting billed for 1/3 of my previous bills - but hey, I'll go with half.

I have halved our gas bill. Again; by not doing a heck of a lot at all. A few small changes makes a HUGE difference.

Our shopping bill is substantially smaller. Still mastering that one, with my stockpiling etc - but overall, I have to give myself a B+ at least.

My vegies are doing great. We have that much baby spinach we don't know what to do with it all (but trust me, I'm using it!!) and I have made so much from scratch that our freezer is just about bursting. All from stuff we already had.

This whole simplifying thing really does show you just how little you need to live a thorough, healthy and fulfilling life. It has actually seriously astounded me. I never thought this was possible - let alone so empowering all at the same time.

Until I was married, I had never had a "home brand" product of anything. My parents still do have that "ick" factor - and I'm almost sure I can see their noses turning up at the fact we went to the local farmers market on the weekend. But, the irony is completely lost on them - we are probably eating FAR better than they ever have.

I just feel great. Spring is here, the kids are good and life is not far off perfect. We undertook the "lights out for a day" thing on Saturday - we actually did really well. Helps that I love candles and that we both love to play scrabble - a couple of red wines, the darlings in bed, a heap of candles and a game of scrabble - we both had a wonderful time. Although, it made us miss our camping.

A delightful blog I read regularly has put a bit of a taint on this, so far, delectable, can't get enough of blog world. It was rather sad to see Julie so upset - she is SUCH a positive influence for me, and I'm 100% sure, all that read her blog. To have someone put her down like that is just ridiculous.

Fact is, her, and others like her are trying. A far cry from so many others who deem our world to be "someone elses problem". I don't care if all you can manage is changing your toilet paper - get aware and do something. Rather than stand back and worry about what others are doing - look into your own backyard and see where you can improve. Because, I'd bet my life that there is something that can be improved upon.

I will finish this post with a couple of pictures of my garden. Let me preface these by saying that I am certainly no photographer - but I am just so proud that *I* grew all of these all by myself. 5 years ago - I'd have cacked myself laughing if someone had told me that I'd be finding so much pleasure in my garden. Or baking from scratch. Or simplifying my life. I never realised just how much satisfaction could be gained by having/using so little. I feel like *I* am in control of our destiny. And it feels great!!

My petunias - suprisingly this is their 3rd year. How I have done it (now realising that it is not a normal thing) is completely beyond me. You watch though, now that I am seriously *caring* for them - they'll die.

Sorry; no more pictures; I can't get them to load. I will try again soon.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I went to the supermarket yesterday and I was rather pleasantly suprised at how little I needed. So, with the same amount I usually budget for, I bought a whole heap of stuff to stockpile.

Stuff like laundry powder (yeah, sorry, but I'm not *that* organised just yet!!) and cleaning stuff, toilet paper and toothpaste. I was STILL under budget, have a whole heap of stuff in the cupboards - and I'm almost positive that next weeks shop will be great!! Eventually, I can see me only needing to go to the fruit and veg shop once a week (that won't change!) - and I cannot WAIT!!

My vegie patch is going along very nicely - I picked some baby spinach to have with dinner the other night and it was really nice. I suprised myself actually; it all appears to be working well. I don't have an incredible up to date photo as G has taken the camera, but as an indication -

On another note, my "purely for looks garden" is making me smile every time I look at it. It is full of colour and life and, although it's not functional in any way, it is something I am so very proud of. It was my "first" attempt at any sort of gardening and it really shows just what can be acheived.

Not much else to say really; it's a day at home for all of us today; and it is a day that, every week, I really look forward to. It's a day for the kids to just bum around the house, spending time outside with me - and we all get to potter about in the sunshine. Today will be spent putting horse manure and old rotting straw on one of my garden beds that need a boost (It was originally intended for the vegies, but I decided it had enough manure for the minute and just put some sugar cane mulch over the top), and generally cleaning up after the wild winds of yesterday.

Enjoy your day - whatever it is you are doing!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Self indulgent schoolgirl crap?? Read on!!!

It's funny.

I always thought that I would marry an electrician. Don't ask me why, but I just always thought I would. So, when I married a fridgy, I did feel a bit odd for awhile. Like I'd chosen the wrong person. Not because of the person mind, but because I was that sure that "the one" would be an electrician.

Let me preface this by saying that I adore my life. I adore my husband, my kids and my overall patch of the world.

But. (there's always a 'but' isn't there??)

Once upon a time, many moons ago, one of my husbands best friends bailed me up and told me I was marrying the wrong person. Not very nice on the friends part, granted, but he had decided that *it was time to let me know how he felt* blah blah blah.

It is HE that has gone away with G this week. Somehow, I feel odd about that. I don't like the fact that he was in my world, and will remain in my husbands, for the entire week, without my husband really having a clue as to what happened all those years ago.

The thing is though, he is an electrician. Yeah, stupid, I know, but when G and I have "iss-ewes" I *do* wonder if I didn't end up on the wrong path. And imagine where I'd be with this other one; because, after all, he is the electrician that I'd always thought I'd end up with.

Schoolgirlish? most definately. In fact, I feel rather stupid putting it here, given all the other posts I have put up. But, I don't feel comfortable verbalising any of it - so you lot end up with it. Even though I know someone I actually KNOW and love reads this (hello you!!); I can't help but put this into words.

They just left, and I feel really odd that he was even here. He was in my driveway whilst my kids were asleep in their bed. He's going away with my husband for the week. I feel the same sense of oddness when he calls on our house phone. I, although I never would, feel like telling him that he has no right to be invading our little bubble. Because, that's what it feels like.

I'm very glad that he didn't come inside. But, that will probably happen when they get home. And, already, I don't like the fact that he'll be in our bubble again.

Anyway; onto more important matters.

I have created my little stockpiling cupboard. Today is shopping day. I can't wait to see what happens with both the organisation, AND the shopping bill. I shall keep you posted.