Staying on Track

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I know that there are many and varied opinions of ‘to do’ lists. I have used them in differing guises and with varying degrees of success over the years.

Now that I am retired there is really not a great deal pressure to get things done. My lists are simply a memory aid more than anything else. I jot down things I think of in the notes section on my phone and while I do not follow it exactly, I do refer to my notes each morning. There always seem to be plenty of things that get rolled over to the next day (or week).

One of the things I had been meaning to do for some time was to make another pair of sock protectors for GMan. Last night I cut out 2 pieces of fabric.

This morning I joined the seam, hemmed the bottom edges and turned a casing and added elastic. It took about 15 minutes of my time and they were done.

Another item ticked off the list.

My list is also very flexible. For example, I had intended to clean the kitchen windows today, however, we woke to high humidity, drizzling rain and low cloud which meant that we could barely see the backyard. It does not seem like the ideal conditions for cleaning windows so I am off to work on tidying my sewing room instead.

How do you plan your day?


What to Take?

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I know that 2 weeks have passed since my last post as I have been occupied with various activities both at home and elsewhere.  However, I will save those stories for another day.

Although we live in a semi-rural area, bushfire has not ever been regarded as a high risk due to being in a high rainfall area (1800mm or 72 inches is our average annual rainfall) with relatively high humidity and a generally temperate climate.  This has changed over the 14 years that we have lived here with longer dry spells, periods of low humidity and an increasing number of days over 30C and even over 35C.

We have been watching the increasing fire emergency with concern for the residents who have been impacted.  Yesterday the emergency came too close to home.  An uncontained bushfire was burning a mere 10 kms (as the crow flies) from our home.  It was posing a threat to properties to the point where people in the immediate area were readying themselves to leave.  The threat has eased today but we are mindful that things can change very quickly.

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GMan and I have made a physical list of what we would take/do if we needed to leave the property.  It is in 3 parts:

1. What we would grab if we had to leave with virtually no warning.

Clothes – long-sleeved top, long pants, closed shoes and socks
Wallet/purse and car keys
Laptop, charger and external hard drive
Phones and chargers
Documents (passports, certificates etc) which are all stored together and easy to grab
Medications and prescriptions – I now have 2 weeks worth stored together

2. What to do before we leave.

Shut all windows and doors
Turn off gas cyclinders
Open chicken run

3. Additional items if we had a little extra time to plan.

More clothes
Woollen blankets
Feather doona
Contents of single-drawer filing cabinet
Box of family history documents
A couple of items of value
Some non-perishable food
Chickens  (in a large cardboard box)

The overwhelming majority of things on these lists are based on practical considerations rather than any sentimentality.  Decluttering over a number of years has allowed me to look rationally at what is really important when the chips are down.

I hope I never have to action these lists but the way things are changing I can no longer leave things to chance.

Please have a plan, stay safe and remember, that above all – it is only stuff.  Your life is paramount.

A Peek Inside

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On the weekend I did a bit of organising in the cupboard opposite the office/library.  The catalyst was a Christmas gift – a set of decorated peg magnets.  The are 7 which are labelled for each day of the week as well as some extras.

I decided not to clutter up the door of the refrigerator with them.  Additionally, I felt that they would not be strong enough to withstand the breeze which can be quite strong.

Instead, I opted to mount them inside one of the doors of this cupboard.  First, I had to create a surface suitable for the magnets.

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We called in to Bunnings and bought a flat metal bar which GMan cut in half and I mounted them on the door.  The pegs were placed at intervals and it looked great.

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Perfect!!  Or so I thought until I shut the door.  I did not realise but if you take a closer look at the first photograph you will see that the vertical divider in this cupboard is not centred.  The door should sit flush against it but the metal bar prevented that.

So, it was back to the drawing board.  I removed my handiwork, trimmed a small amount off each bar, re-drilled the holes at one end and tried again.  This time I placed them almost flush with the hinged side of the door rather than centering the bar.  The final job was to fill the holes from the original screws.  These are yet to be sanded and touched up with paint.  That may be a job for the coming weekend.

Here is the second version of my handiwork.

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I am not a great fan of diaries but I do love a list so I have started fairly simply with some small notes for the coming days.  My goal is to write down all of the little things I need to do or remember and each day I can refer to them.

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The rest of the cupboard needs some work as it is the mostly the repository for the many photos accumulated over the years which have yet to be sorted, culled and scanned.  That is a a future project.  However, tonight I did tidy one file of the filing cabinet.  It was several old work diaries which I have discarded.  I ripped all of the pages out and bagged them up to take to work tomorrow and they will go in the shredding bin.  It is a small step, but definitely one in the right direction when it comes to removing unwanted stuff from your home.


The Home List


Happy New Year!!

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I mentioned in my last post that I did not have any major resolutions or grand plans for 2018.  However, I have created a list of things we want to get done.  We have agreed that we will not take any major overseas holidays this year but will try get some things done around the house.  We have been overseas for each of the last 4 years and while we thoroughly enjoy the trips it does not leave much time to catch up on domestic tasks.

We are at work during the week and find that we think of jobs to do faster than we can accomplish them.  Many are things we can do but some will definitely require some professional assistance.  In those cases we still need to make the contact and arrange for the job to be done.  GMan is considering taking some annual leave during the year to try to get ahead on some projects.

Here is the initial list – in no particular order.

Make 3 more raised garden beds
Connect tank and get new outdoor taps
Make outdoor sink
Have back wall washed
Replace front steps and add handrail
Revarnish verandah
Revarnish verandah handrail
Repaint ceiling in kitchen, hall, lounge/dining room and front entry
Repaint front entry
Recoat slate floor (front entry and fireplace surround)
Refinish vinyl floors
Replace 3 security doors
Paint external door to dining room
Paint board on wardrobe in 3rd bedroom
Finish painting edges of verandah ceiling
Create garden bed outside vegie garden
Make gabion seat for above garden bed
Build lychgate
Build pergola
Remove tree near front steps and replace
Remove trees beside driveway and replace
Replace garage roller doors
Finish concreting and pebbles and verandah
Paint exterior blockwork
Assess guttering – new or repaint
Battens under the house
Make rack with pulley system in workshop
Blinds for lounge/dining room

The first step will be to assign priorities to the items on the list.  There will other things added over time that may well take priority.  If I am completely honest I really don’t think that this will all be completed in 2018 but we have to start somewhere.

I am excited to report that the board on the wardrobe has now been painted so that is one thing off the list.  It was probably the smallest and easiest task on the list but they are often the ones which are most likely to be overlooked.  The 2 horizontal boards had been removed when we painted the room years ago.  GMan bought a length of replacement board but it was not put up until a few months ago.  I was determined not to leave it for years before doing the painting.

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There will be updates during the year as we hopefully make some progress on the outstanding items on the list.


Time to Plan

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Even though we have been home for 3 weeks since our holiday the legacy lives on.

We returned fresh and invigorated with lots of ideas and plans.

I don’t know about contempt from the phrase, “Familiarity breeds contempt” but I do know that being away from your normal environment allows you to consider things with fresh eyes.  We had time to really ponder and discuss all sorts of possibilities including what we want to do in the garden, future holiday plans and retirement activities as well as some of the smaller things we hope to achieve around the house before the end of the year.

There seemed to be so many times in conversation that GMan would comment, “We need to do/get/make……….” that I would simply respond with, “Add it to the list”.  Although we did not have a physical list, we certainly remembered plenty of things and have actioned several since we have been home.

  • 3 new chickens bought
  • Clear at least one vegetable garden and plant seedlings
  • Empty compost from compost tumbler
  • Ordered and installed a new modem for the computer
  • Taken the computer to be repaired/replaced
  • Painted the outdoor table (a work in progress)
  • Repaired the washing basket
  • Taken a bag of bits and pieces to the op shop


I know there have been others but this gives you an idea.

Then there are others which are earmarked to be done this week.

  • Gather tax info to send to tax agent
  • Buy a new DVD player – DONE today
  • Buy a new batter charger – DONE today
  • Remove dead shrub from front garden – DONE today
  • Advertise some furniture which is no longer required
  • Follow up on a rejected refund claim
  • Contact electricity provider re solar refund

By planning very specific small projects/goals it is very satisfying to work through the list.

I wrote this post last night and today we managed to cross 3 more items off the list.  I am sure there will be more to add by tomorrow.




A Laundry List


Tonight I want to share a germ of an idea that has formed gradually over a period of time.

Some people have an ongoing shopping list to which they add items as they find that they are required.  Others keep a list of what is stored in the freezer and cross things off as they are used.

I am thinking of creating a laundry list. I have this cupboard in my laundry.  On the left-hand side are the assorted brooms and the vacuum cleaner (not shown), hangers for knitted items and dispensers for plastic bags as well as the racks on the inside of the door for laundry liquid and presoak and the rag-bag.

2015-02-16 01The right-hand side has the laundry hamper with shelving above.  This holds various cleaning items as well as spare light globes, batteries, rubbish bags and shopping bags.  However, the door is clear and this is where I could put my list.

2015-02-16 02I envisage a write on/wipe off board and am thinking of making one myself from a sheet of coloured A4 card and laminating it.

So, what am I going to write on this list, I hear you ask?  It will basically be a reminder of extra jobs that need doing such as ‘stain on white trousers’, ‘scrub cuffs of mauve shirt’, ‘hem of black skirt’ or ‘darn striped sock’.  They will be all the little things that seem obvious at the time but by the time I am doing the washing/ironing it can be overlooked.

What do you think?  How do you keep track of the extra laundry jobs?

A Christmas List


I have started to get my Christmas list which was in my head, down on paper.  It is not a list of what I want but a list of Christmas related activities and tasks.  I need to check that nothing gets forgotten.

Over the last few years it has become an unwritten rule that nothing overtly Christmassy happens until after 3rd December.  The significance of this is that it is Miss O’s birthday and I think that it is important to be able to focus on her special day and not let it become overwhelmed in the lead-up to Christmas.  Our darling turned 5 yesterday so has the adventure of starting Prep and the whole new world of school next year.

But back to the list…………

Plan menu for Christmas lunch
Put up Christmas tree
Finish Christmas letter
Write Christmas cards and post
Finish hand-made gifts
Check gifts complete for immediate family
Take granddaughters to see Christmas lights
Check for carol service appropriate for granddaughters

I am sure there will be other things to add to the list but that is the main focus for us.

Christmas lunch will be for 4 adults and 4 children (aged 6, 5, 5 and 3).  It will be gluten-free/ grain-free (in line with my eating plan).  I will write more about this in another post.

The Christmas tree will go up on Saturday afternoon when Miss O and Izz are here.

I need to get serious about finishing the Christmas letter which is half-written.  Many of our Christmas greeting are sent via email but I would like to get the cards in the mail by the middle of next week.

The gifts are an ongoing project which is coming along nicely.  I think I have planned gifts for everyone – just need to check the box in the spare room again.  Nothing is wrapped yet.  In fact, I will not be wrapping gifts this year as I have made re-useable gift bags in assorted sizes from Christmas fabric.  I won’t miss the piles of ripped wrapping paper all over the floor on Christmas morning.

We will be going the see the Christmas lights on Saturday evening when our granddaughters come to stay.  Once I find the time and date of the carol service I will organise to go with Miss O and Izz.

Writing everything down helps to clarify exactly what I need to do and when.  We have a fairly simple, low-key Christmas which is naturally focused on enjoying it with the children.

Over the next week or so I will post about each of the things on my list in more detail.

When do you start your Christmas preparations?  How are you going?  Please share your plans.

Making Progress

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It is amazing the difference that a couple of days and a written list can make.

I feel as though I am making some progress now.

Buy travel pants – hopefully The Duke can do this tomorrow
Book appointment to have our tax done – DONE
Arrange remote access to the business network
Buy enough cat and dog food for when we are away – Dog food is DONE – will buy the cat food tomorrow
Check and stock up on my medication – DONE
Complete first draft of information for the house-sitter and email it to her – DONE
Attend specialist appointment re my injured knee – have x-rays, referral and Workcover info ready for appointment on Monday
Cancel another specialist appointment
Pack for trip to Melbourne next week – 3 days of work then 3 days of holiday
Stocktake of food in the freezer and plan meals to use up as much as possible before we leave
Finish quilt for Izz’s birthday
Write list of birthday/Christmas gift ideas for Miss O and Izz
Measure Miss O and Izz with a view to buying clothes while we are away

Here are a few more things that I have thought of and added to the original list.

Organise to borrow a travel clothesline
Book car hire for trip to Melbourne – DONE
Arrange accommodation for trip to Melbourne – partly done
Collate all of our paperwork for tax appointment
Change the linen on the spare beds – DONE
Organise to borrow an electrical adaptor – DONE

Being able to cross things off the list adds to the sense of achievement and produces a sort of calm.  I know I can do it.  I will be completely organised and ready to leave in a little over 5 weeks.

Time to Tackle ‘The List’


With less than 6 weeks now until we head off on our trip it is time to really focus on what needs to be done.  The only way I can confidently achieve what I want to do in a specified time-frame is to have a list.

For the past few days while I have been busy with Miss O and Izz, I keep thinking of things I need to do.

Here is the beginning of the list:

Buy travel pants
Book appointment to have our tax done
Arrange remote access to the business network
Buy enough cat and dog food for when we are away
Check and stock up on my medication
Complete first draft of information for the house-sitter and email it to her
Attend specialist appointment re my injured knee
Cancel another specialist appointment
Pack for trip to Melbourne next week – 3 days of work then 3 days of holiday
Stocktake of food in the freezer and plan meals to use up as much as possible before we leave
Finish quilt for Izz’s birthday
Write list of birthday/Christmas gift ideas for Miss O and Izz
Measure Miss O and Izz with a view to buying clothes while we are away

That will do far a start.  I will update you as things are crossed off.  I find it much easier to have a written list than to have ideas floating in and out of my head when I am least able to deal with them.

Making A List…..And Checking It Twice

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Santa Claus certainly had the right idea when it came to being organised.

2012-02-14 01I am doing some paid work at home tomorrow but also have a long list of things to do.  It is essential that I write a list to ensure nothing gets forgotten and also to do things in the most efficient manner.

Things I need to do include:

Put out rubbish and recycling bins for collection

Pick cherry tomatoes at neighbour’s place

2012-02-14 02Pick up parcels from the Post Office
Deposit a cheque
Take poster to the picture framers and choose a frame
Drop off stuff to the op shop
Go to the Co-op to buy tamari, peanut paste, shower gel and face wash
Go to the IGA to buy bacon and salami
Pick up seeds that I have ordered
Meet friends for coffee and to swap/share our produce

2012-02-14 03The list in italics all needs to be done in Maleny which is a 16km round trip so I make sure that I bundle everything together and get it all done in one trip.

2012-02-14 04Now I am off to set up a new bit of household organisation.  More on that tomorrow.