Friday, February 4, 2011

52 Weeks of decluttering - week five

I am here to report that NO decluttering or organising was achieved this week and that is perfectly okay!

Instead, it has been the sort of week where we rely on what has been organised to get us through :) A combination of extreme heat and commitments away from home have left no time or energy to do anything organisational.

So I thought I would share some of my existing systems with you and how thankful I have been for them this week.

  • Nappy-bag method - no, everyone relax: nobody is having a baby! However, one of the best tips I ever got as a new mum was to always keep the nappy (diaper) bag stocked and ready to go and to have duplicates of all items so you weren't constantly finding yourself without some essential. Over the years, I have applied this method to the kid's school/swimming/ballet etc bags and now they are all old enough not to have any of those, it is my turn :) Currently, I have:
    • Yoga bag - with everything yoga inside, except the clothes. I have a specific bag for yoga, with aids like socks, jacket, towel-mat, water bottle, scarf and more. All I need add is clothes to change into after work, as I head straight to class. I also keep a set of toiletries in the bag to freshen up after the work day. I now keep a yoga mat in the car, as I have several and always used the studio ones, which seemed silly!
    • Swimming bag - I attend two water aerobics classes each week, Monday and Friday, at two different pools! My swimming bag is where I store my swimwear and towel, so I don't needlessly have to transfer from a drawer - after they are washed, they go straight back in the bag. I have the most wonderful wet bag I bought at a baby expo I volunteered at - designed for mums using cloth nappies! It gets my wet bathers home from the pool without soaking everything else :) This bag has its own water bottle, plus a set of toiletries - body wash doubles as shampoo. I buy ten class passes for each pool and these live permanently in the bag, so they are never left behind.
    • Laptop bag (currently a sleeve) - my work laptop is also my home laptop and the only computer I use, so it goes to the office and back with me three days a week. I have one laptop, but two power leads, so I never have to pack that unless I am at an external location. I also have two sets of USB cables which connect my Blackberry, camera AND my new Kobo (blessed be the people who use standard peripherals!) so I don't have to worry! This means I can charge them ALL through the laptop, but I also keep a second phone charger permanently at the office. And I keep a card reader at the office for uploading photos from my compact point and shoot (which uses a different USB cable :( )
    • Handbag - much to the distress of those who put my body back together again (my chiropractor and myotherapist!), I tote a lot of stuff around in my bag :) I HATE being caught without life's essentials! So, I have permanently in there stuff like lip balm, Moo Goo moisturiser, Burt's Bees cuticle balm and other personal care items, I also have tweezers, tiny pliers (jewelery repair) and folding scissors! I keep my compact point and shoot camera in this bag and my retractable Sony headset, plus my wireless internet dongle. I have a tube of Pure Wipes and some Blister Stop. I carry a small tin of almonds for when I need a snack and a sachet of honey if I need a sugar fix (I am a fainter!). Like my mother before me, I carry a tape measure. I have a pen and my Moleskin notebook. Three pairs of glasses (reading sun and distance!). - but have a second pair of reading glasses by my bed.  A post-card sized wallet holds ABA postcards, receipts for petty cash and other active paper. A drink bottle. I just add my phone,  and my new Kobo (:)) and I am ready for anything!
    • Shopping bag - I have posted about this before: a tote bag that holds six eco-silk shopping bags, my Fregie Sacks for fresh produce, my Keep Cup and an empty water bottle: all part of my pledge to eliminate disposable items as much as possible. Kept at the foot of the passenger seat in my car, grabbed for every excursion into any retail location, even if I am not planning to buy!
    • Dog-walking belt - I love my DOOG Walking Belt which lives in the car, because it is most of use for our regular beach walks. In it are poo bags AND hand wipes (really brilliant!) but I also keep lose change for emergency gelati purchases ;). Hooked on to the belt is a pouch for my Blackberry and yet another water bottle! I plan to buy some sunscreen wipes to keep in here too. And I have some of my Squizz cards, because dog walkers make lovely new friends :)
  • Dinner roster - four adults live in this house and four adults share the cooking! The two kids and I do two nights each, while my husband does one. Same nights each week, so nobody can say they forgot. I do Friday - when our fruit and veg box is delivered and Sunday - when I have usually been to a farmers market, so have lots of fresh goodness, which I prefer. We have other deliveries timed perfectly with my son's nights (he cooks spagetti bolgnese and salmon steaks every week), while my daughter draws on her pantry stash of tinned goods - ever the back-packer :). Rod usually cooks some sort of meat and three or more veg on a Saturday.
  • Home delivered everything - fruit and veg, meat, bread and milk, monthly groceries! Even when I am too tired/sick/busy to shop, food arrives! Magic!
  • Self-serve laundry - to each their own! All the family deal with their own laundry,* fitted into their schedule when it works best for them. Individual laundry hampers. My daughter likes the marathon of lots of clothes, less frequent laundry and major wash days on days off. My husband likes to get it all done on a Sunday, ready for the work week. My son does it when he runs out of clothes! 
  • Paid help* - I pay for our cleaner who comes twice-weekly, as a management strategy to allow me to work, rest and play! So as well as all the house cleaning, she does all my personal laundry, plus towels and the bed linen for my husband and I. The kids do their own bed linen. Of the three days I work, one day's pay goes to the cleaner - and I get the four days I don't work to manage my health, community work and home management!
  • Sunday night sort - not always Sunday, but mostly, I take 5-10 mins and prepare for the week ahead. I grab yoga clothes and pop them in the bag, return laundered swimwear and towel to that bag, tidy up my handbag and replenish where needed and make sure my phone gets charged etc. I also tidy my wardrobe of anything out of place, so come my work-day mornings, I can calmly and easily get ready. I try to work out what I wear the night before, to save me morning brain-power!
These are just a few of the strategies I have to keep the wheels turning, even when the wheels fall off! The best days are when I come home from work to a freshly cleaned home, with my laundry folded or put away, the fridge and pantry are full and there is a home-cooked meal underway  - it is like having a WIFE or MOTHER!!!!!! LOL!


shirlnutkin said...

once again ... love this! motivating and inspiring for an organized surroundings. and i love the bag homage, so to speak!

Brenners said...

I'd like a wife and mother. :P :)

Carol said...

Sounds like your home runs smoothly! I am jealous of your cleaner and food deliveries. Happy Organizing!

Need To Change said...

Sounds very organised. I do some of those things. Like the shopping bags go straight back into the car after I unpack.

Yvette O'Dowd said...

Carol, I hasten to add, the cleaner is because I have multiple sclerosis and this only allows me work part time. Years ago, I had to abandon work - and everything else - abruptly because I pushed my health too far doing it all. So when I returned to work once more after a six year break, it was on the proviso someone come in to do all the housework.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing in the comments about your MS. I have recently been dxd with fibromyalgia and am not working right now. It is inspiring to see I may be able to return. Routines in place will help, I am working towards it.

Tangerine Meg said...

Yvette, to say you are a fantastically organised human is an understatement! I admire you so much!

Yvette O'Dowd said...

Meg, I have to be organised, because i got to watch what happens when I am not! After a big health crash in 2000 - which had me abruptly stop working/earning, left me unable to do anything much for three months and saw domestic environment crumble around me - I resolved that our home must be automatic enough for me to be out of the picture and still function. It took me a year to work through every single part of the house, setting it up so the kids and hubby could do and find everything, a stranger could come in and get it all to work and I could manage the barest minimum of housework when sick.

So, it is about ten years (!) now since I started that mission. The wheels regularly fall off and this is no show home, but I am still able to maintain back to the system as needed.

One reason I share my strategies is because I want to help others facing the same battle - whether through chronic health issues, full time work or young children.

Please don't put me on a pedestal, it will only collect dust!!

If you want to read more about what I actually did, click the Getting Organised link on my blog. I got a lot of support and inspiration at the time through, so want to pay it forward.

Samantha said...

Thank you for sharing all of your great ideas about your standing organizational systems to keep you organized on the go.