Filing Friday (on Thursday)

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Welcome to 2015!  A brand new year for you to make of it what you want.

I have been gradually decluttering for several years so there is generally only a few things here and there to leave the house.  However, there are a couple of hotspots that just seem to invite clutter to hang around unless I am constantly vigilant.

In the lead-up to Christmas I was particularly busy at work so things got a bit neglected at home.  Also, our car was badly damaged in a hailstorm at the end of November and was declared a write-off by the insurance company.  So, as well as everything else we had to buy a new car, organise insurance, liaise with the towing company to collect the old car and so on.  All of this resulted in paperwork, notes and phone messages on the desk. Everything was finalised on Wednesday – we have a new, insured car and the old one is gone so this morning I got up and decided that I had to sort out all of remaining paperwork.

I started with the desk, followed by the other hotspots which are the end of the kitchen bench and my dressing table.  It then turned into a major clean-out of the filing cabinet and other folders so The Duke and I spent several hours working through it.  Some papers had been carefully filed for up to 10 years without ever being looked at so we were really ruthless.

Apart from clearing the papers that were in the previously identified spots, I actually have nothing to show for our efforts except that the contents of the filing cabinet have been reduced from 3 drawers to 2.  Everything was relatively neatly stored – it was just that much of it was no longer relevant.

001The desk is mostly cleared – there are just a few more things that I need to put away.

002I just need to set-up the pedometers so we can actually use them rather than be lurking in the bottom of the filing cabinet!

003This end of the kitchen bench is one of the most frustrating hotspots – the pile of papers never seems to go away completely.  It may seem counter-intuitive to put a basket here to dump “stuff” in but my theory is that it will be contained rather than expanding and spreading its tentacles across the bench.  I have also designated Friday evening as “Filing or Fling” so everything that is in the basket by Friday evening will be dealt with accordingly.  In a perfect world the basket would be empty but I will be surprised if that happens.  🙂

So, beginning next Friday (not tomorrow) the blog post will be about the filing or keeping the paper clutter at bay.

I would love to hear of any systems you may have in place to help you manage the clutter hotspots and filing.

STREAMLINE – Everything In Its Place

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Just to prove that I don’t always live up to what I write here is a photo of my kitchen bench this morning.

Kitchen bench
Well, everything was certainly not in its place.  Saturday morning is not usually the best time at our place.  We have both had a long week at work and despite the best of intentions, I have usually run out of steam be the time I get home.  The empty box on the floor and the wine on the bench were part of a delivery of purchases made by The Duke while we were away the other week.  There is an assortment of paperwork that had not been dealt with  as well as some clean dishes and numerous glass jars and bottles.

So, what is their place?

The packaging from the wine has gone into the recycling.  The box was repurposed to hold some jars that I have listed on Freecycle.  The paperwork has been sorted into recycling and a pile to be filed.

I keep 2 plastic tubs of jars in my pantry.  One holds the ones which have pop-top lids which I use for preserving and the other tub has an assortment which I keep for storage etc.  There were too many jars so it was time to cull them and keep only the best ones.  I only keep about 4 different style/size of jars with pop-top lids so that I can use a consistent size when making something like pasta sauce.

Preserving jars

The excess jars have been listed on Freecycle but if no-one wants them I will drop them off at the op shop.

Excess jars

The wine has been relocated to the wine rack storage in the cellar.  Alas, it is not strictly a cellar in the true sense of the word but it is downstairs and maintains a fairly even temperature.  The Duke and I took the opportunity to tidy up and sort out the contents of the rack.  It is now in a more logical sequence and hopefully we will easily be able to locate what we are looking for in future.

As usual, one thing led to another and I now also have some excess coffee mugs to take to the op shop as well as 2 low folding chairs to put on Freecycle.  The less stuff we have, the easier it is to keep everything in its place.

Minimalism and Multipurpose

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While the nature of some tasks require a specific tool or space to complete the job, many things do not.

The first thing that comes to mind are the plethora of single-task appliances which seem to take up residence in many kitchens.  You know the ones – waffle makers, ice-cream makers, popcorn makers, juicers, breadmakers and so on.  I admit to having a breadmaker – The Duke makes all of our bread and has done for many years, although he is playing with the idea of artisan-style bread baked in the oven and successfully made a loaf the other day.  We also have a juicer which could be used more.

However, today I want to take the concept of multipurpose away from appliances.  When we had our kitchen re-modelled a few years ago we created a large amount of bench space, including this breakfast bar.

2013-02-20 01We use this space for eating meals, serving food and general food preparation so it does not always look like this.  Once I have finished using the bench, it is cleared and we try not to use it as a ‘dumping ground’.

By having a clean, clear bench I am able to use it for other purposes.

2013-02-20 02I can pull the chairs back out of the way and I have a cutting table and workbench for when I am sewing.  It is the perfect height and totally stable.  I am also able to access it from almost any direction.  My sewing machine is in the closest bedroom (a few steps along the hallway) but this is the perfect solution for me.

So, which comes first minimalism or multipurposing?  If I had more stuff the bench would probably not be clear to use.  If I could not use the bench would I acquire a suitable table and contribute to more stuff?

This is a winning solution whichever way I look at it.