Rainy Day Activity

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It has been a cool, showery day so outdoor activities were not really possible so I returned to my photo project.  I started this about 2 months ago and you can read the details here.  After the initial burst, I have continued to make progress by doing a bit almost every evening.

Yesterday, I located the albums which had all been scanned.  They were carefully stored in the bottom of a wardrobe in the guest room.  It was an incidental find as I was not specifically looking for them.

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Today I have cross-checked that all the photos have been scanned and filed in correctly dated folders.

It seems like an enormous waste but the hard copies of the photos and albums will eventually all be discarded.  However, I need to retrieve all of the dates and details to include in the description of the digital copies before I consider doing that.

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The albums cannot be reused as there are details written in them.  Therefore, I will be removing the plastic photo sleeves which can be recycled as ‘soft plastic’ and then the lightweight cardboard pages will be able to be recycled separately.

As you can imagine, it has been something of a nostalgia trip as I sort through over 40 years of photographs documenting various aspects of our lives but predominately celebrations and holidays.  It is a stark reminder of how valuable photographs were when images were recorded on film then sent away to be developed and the anxious wait for their return.  We thought twice about taking dozens of images which were relatively expensive to develop.  Our attitude to photos has certainly changed with the advent of digital cameras and cameras built into mobile phones.

Rethinking in Retirement

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No, I am not rethinking the fact that I have retired.  I am very happy with that decision.

I am talking about rethinking previous habits and two examples spring to mind.

When I was working in the city it suited me to have my cut at a salon close to my workplace.  Once I finished work I did go there a few more times by incorporating my haircut with another reason for a trip to the city.  I always intended to review this practice and change to having my haircut in our local town.  My hand was forced by the impact of the coronavirus as a trip to the city is simply out of the question at the moment.

I am fortunate to have an acquaintance here who is a hairdresser and is happy to visit and do haircuts in the client’s home.  So, yesterday was the day.  It was actually 14 weeks since my last haircut so I was looking rather shaggy.  I am very pleased with the result.  Thanks, Anni.

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Similarly, we had always had our car serviced regularly in the city as it suited GMan to drop it off and collect it when going to work.  That is no longer the case and today we took it to the local service centre in our town.  The ute had been serviced locally for a number of years and there was no good reason not to take the car there, too.

I am sure there are other habits and routines that we will change in retirement.

Photos – The First Step

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5 days ago in this post I unveiled my latest decluttering project.  I intend to have all of my photos culled, sorted and labelled in a digital format.

I started with the files that were already on my computers – yes, plural.  The very first step was to consolidate them onto one device for the purpose of this project.  That resulted in reducing the number from over 18,000 images to 17,300.

I then removed further duplicates as I placed the photos in 15 primary folders plus and additional one for some assorted videos.

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The categories I chose reflect my interests and priorities.  Yours may be very different.

Within those folders are sub-categories.  For instance, the one named ‘Animals’ contains photos of various pets we have had over the years.  Each pet has their own folder.  ‘Family’ which contains the largest number of photos has a folder for each year.  Within that folder may be folders for specific events such as birthdays and weddings with the remainder of photos for the year simply be ordered sequentially  and labelled with the person and place if applicable.  Some of the folders may be removed completely once all of the photos are dealt with.  The folders ‘Food’ and ‘Clothes’ are primarily for photos used in blog posts.  Once these have been checked against the folders for the blog and the photos referenced then the photos and other folders may be deleted.

Although this screenshot looks very neat, there is an enormous jumble within those folders that will take many hours of work to unravel.  I have plenty of time and intend to a little bit every day – a bit like eating an elephant!

The second part of the photo project is contained in a box.  The box on top of the filing cabinet contains all of the photos which have yet to be scanned, along with assorted other bits and pieces.  I dare not show you the contents yet as I am not ready to dive into that and the photos that need scanning until I have the digital files under control.

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The good news is that the digital files have now been whittled down a bit further to 16,500.

So, why am I doing this?

  1.  As with any decluttering project, I want to keep only that which is useful and of value.  This means removing duplicates, photos that no longer have any meaning to me and poor quality images where there is a superior one that is similar.
  2.  Having an organised and curated collection means that my family and I are more likely to peruse and enjoy the photos.
  3.   When I am gone it will be easy for people to choose which photos to retain and which were only of value to me.
  4.   My descendants will not be left wondering as to who was in a photo or where and when it was taken.

Like many people, I have left this task far too long but I am now determined to complete it.  I honestly have no idea how long it will take.

The Long Haul

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I have begun a new project and as the title indicates, it is not something that will be completed quickly.

The sorting, cataloging and culling of my photos has begun in earnest.  The first step is the digital files, so there is really very little to show.  I had files duplicated on 2 computers as well as some of them on an external hard drive.  They are now all consolidated onto a single device.  There are currently over 17,000 files.  They include nearly 1,000 prints that I scanned some years ago.  There are still more to scan but they can wait until the next stage as I want to get all of the digital files sorted before I add any more.  Some of the files are duplicates and others will undoubtedly be culled.  At least I only have a handful of images on my phone as I regularly download those to the computer.

There have been several attempts to do this over a number of years but it was simply to big a job to tackle while I was working but a combination of retirement and an extended period of self-isolation has proved to be the perfect formula for tackling this task.

Previous attempts have helped me to come up with a digital filing method and naming convention that will allow me to find and access particular images with relative ease in the future.

There is lots of fun in finding some blasts from the past.

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I intend to try to do at least a little bit of this project every day but I also have plenty else to keep me occupied and interested.  Tomorrow I will be helping GMan with his latest garden project – building new compost bays.

Love a List

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We arrived home a little over 2 days ago after being away for almost 3 weeks.  There was the inevitable washing and ironing as well as grocery shopping but there seemed to be a million and one other things whirling around in my head that required my attention.

So, the first step was to write a list.

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I started writing this on Wednesday evening and have worked through many of the items but there are plenty left to do.  Some may not even get done but that is OK.  I know that some people advocate against “endless ‘TO DO’ lists” but I find that the clarity that a list provides far outweighs any perceived pressure.

I don’t have fancy journals or bulletin boards – just a simple unused notebook is sufficient.  I add things to it as I think of them and there is no specific time-frame so it is more of a memory prompt than anything else.

My list is a mix some regular tasks – washing, ironing, handwashing, digital tasks – send email to ………, update Outlook calendar, clear out inbox, food preparation – cut up pineapple, make Tabasco sauce and completely miscellaneous jobs such as writing up notes for a presentation of our Scotland holiday photos.

List-making minimises the stress of feeling like I am juggling too many balls, provides a reminder of what needs to be done and provides a sense of focus and accomplishment as I tick things off the list.

What about you? Lists?  Yes or no?

 

Gone

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Decluttering and streamlining what we own is a recurring theme here.  I have never had a huge cleanout but have tended to gradually reduce what we have by not replacing things as they are used or removing things that no longer have a purpose in our home.

However, I want to share a couple of things that we have re-homed in the last week.

The first was actually at work.  It is nearly 18 months ago that I wrote this post about a bulk amount of paper clips being discarded.  Unfortunately, I received very little support from the sustainability team so the bag of paper clips was still languishing in the cupboard beside my desk.  Every time I opened the cupboard I was bothered by the thought of what was going to happen to them.  Last week I noticed a small bag of assorted paper clips/bulldog clips in the ‘Mail Out’ tray.  These were being returned to the mail room so I asked the courier from the mail room if they could take the bag of paper clips and she was delighted and said they would be so useful.  The quantity did not daunt her in the least!  YAY!!!  The rescued paper clips now have a new home.

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Today my sister and brother-in-law came and collected a pile of old broken pavers.  This post from 3 months ago was about removing the old pavers from an outdoor staircase.  We gave some of the salvaged pavers to our neighbour to make an outdoor path and kept the remainder for a small landscaping project we have to do.  Of course, in the process of lifting them some broke and others had been cut to fit the space.  We did not want these but my brother-in-law was happy to take them for solid fill at his place.  Today was the day that they went to their new home so that is something else gone.

These are some of the good used pavers but the pile of broken ones have been moved along.

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Something New

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Just when you think you have pretty got this organisation game sorted there is something else.

I have several lightweight cashmere/merino cardigans and jumpers which I handwash and then put on a very short spin cycle in the machine.  I generally hang  them on specially designed hangers on the line, however, the past couple of days have been cold and wet here so there was not a lot of point in hanging them outdoors.

So, I decided to hang them inside and was wondering where to put them when I noticed the inside of the door of the clothes dryer and had a lightbulb moment.

Here they are hanging from the door of the dryer.

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And a close-up view.

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The laundry is a small, enclosed room so by turning the dehumidifier on for a few hours I was able to easily get these dry.

You may not necessarily have the same opportunity but this is a reminder that there are many possibilities if we allow ourselves to think outside the box.

 

The Useful Drawer

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Many people have what they refer to as ‘the junk drawer’, however, if you embrace the concept of minimalism in any way or have simply decluttered, there is really no reason to have a drawer full of junk.

Therefore, I actually have a carefully curated drawer of useful things.

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Some of the things are probably a bit difficult to identify so I will list them below.

Top of photo from left to right:

2 boxes of extra-long matches
Set of mini screwdrivers
Candle
Screwdriver with multiple heads
Heavy-duty ziplock bags for reuse
Bread bags for reuse (under ziplock bags)
Small bags for reuse
Brown paper
Teatowel and muslin cloth

Bottom of photo from left to right:

Cut down milk bottle containing twist ties
Cut down milk bottle containing boxes of matches, compass, mini steel measuring tape, rubber bands, tiny ziplock bags, reusable plastic tags cut from an ice-cream container
String tin
Gas gun
Baking paper
Case containing torch and charger
Bag containing pieces of plastic from cereal box liners for reusing to separate food in the freezer
Ziplock bags for reuse

The contents are very useful as evidenced by the fact that my useful drawer is opened multiple times every day.

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Do you still have a junk drawer that looks like the one above?  It is a great place to start decluttering.  Why don’t you try it and see?

The Time It Takes

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Well, it has been a while since I wrote a proper blog post.  I have been busy in the real world as things seem to speed up towards the end of the year.  At least some of it was of our own making as we chose to go to Adelaide for 3 nights about a week ago.

I managed to have the housework pretty well up do date before we left last Saturday but I have not had any free time since arriving home on Tuesday evening to an almost empty refrigerator and the prospect of long days at work for the remaining 3 days of the working week.

It would have been easy to say that I had no time but it really was a matter of making time.  Have you ever considered how little time it actually takes to do some of your regular household tasks?  It only takes me about 6 minutes to hang out a load of washing and about 2 – 3 minutes to get a load of washing off the line.

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So, during the past 5 days I have managed to unpack a suitcase, do a couple of loads of washing, including hanging, bringing it in and folding, plan and prepare meals as well as getting myself to work each day.

Things I do to create time where there does not appear to be any include preparing at least part of the evening meal for the following night while dinner is cooking, putting a load of washing on before I go to work, wiping over the mirror and vanity when I get out of the shower.

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Housework does does not need to be an enormous undertaking.  By doing a little bit often you can keep things humming along with very little time.  Other jobs that take a couple of minutes are unloading the dishwasher, wiping down the sink, cleaning a single shelf in the refrigerator, dusting a polishing a table and so on.  Every small task that you can slip into your routine is one that does not build into an overwhelming project.

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Did you notice the one thing I have not mentioned?  Ironing!  I need at least an hour of clear time to get stuck into a pile of ironing and make it worthwhile.

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How do you arrange your housework into the time available?

Ferreting in the Freezer

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After 5 1/2 years of writing this blog, I sometimes feel like I am just going over same territory again and again.  Tonight I want to share something that came to me in a blinding flash this morning.

I had done a menu plan for the next week and almost everything was from the freezer.  I wanted to check what I had with a view to using some of it up.  The fridge in the kitchen has a sizeable freezer at the bottom which is 2 large drawers and we have a small, upright freezer (the size of a bar fridge) downstairs.

Once I had cleaned the freezer in the kitchen, I had the bright idea of collecting all of the items I need for the meals for the week and put them all together on the left-hand side of the top-drawer.

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There will be no more discovering that there is no pre-cooked rice left or that I need to make a new batch of refried beans and so on.  I am not sure why I did not think of this years ago but I guess it is better late than never.  It means that each week I will do a mini-stocktake of the freezer and locate what I need for meals in the coming week.

The home-made pizza bases are on top of the other containers and the rest of the space on the right-hand side has other meals for future meal plans.  Having them here together means that at a glance I can see what meals I have available.

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I have tried various lists and inventories of my freezer but none have been terribly successful as the state of my freezer is dynamic, a moveable feast, you could say.  I am hopeful that simply having the next things that I plan to use all in the same place will assist in keeping some order in the freezer.