Showing my drawers to the world

A busy weekend ahead of us, so the next few tasks will be smaller ones; I feel OK about that, though, after the mammoth under-stairs job!

Today to tackle one of the recurring issues in this house – the fact that every drawer has turned into a junk drawer.  It seems that no matter what, they get stuffed full, but that’s at least partly because we never had places for some things. So, as it turned out, 90% of the drawers in the house contained at least one hair bobble, at least one pair of scissors, at least two red pens, a handful of curtain hooks (WHY?), etc etc.  With all of those things removed, suddenly they’re not so much junk drawers any more.

So I decided to tackle the bedside cabinet drawers.  Again, this was a great example of the whole bigger project paying off, as nearly everything I touched I could instantly find a home for!  Maybe some of you live like this all the time, but not me.  It was a great feeling to use one of my pound shop boxes to store the battery charger and all the rechargeable batteries I found and it’ll be even greater the day I need them and I know where they are!

Here’s my revamped, minimalist bedside cabinet drawer:


Isn’t that sweet?  Like living in a hotel.

I also did my underwear drawer but I’m not posting a picture of that on the internet.  (Although TOP TIP ALERT- wind pairs of tights round your hand and tuck the toes in the middle for a tangle-free drawer!)

January 24th: reJanimated bedside drawers.


Lather, rinse, repeat.

Today’s task is one of those annoying ones where it really doesn’t look like you’ve done anything at all but I really really have!  Basically after arranging under the stairs yesterday I decided to take the very brave step of venturing back under to organise the contents.  Of course, this involved getting most of it back out again, but as we know, the beauty of the incremental nature of ReJanimate is that this time, it was loads quicker as everything had a place to go to.

I had freed up a plastic tub yesterday so I put a load of CDs in there as they were slipping all over the floor.  Behind the racking I put things that are genuinely under there for long-term storage and I also put some more hooks into existing wall plugs to hold coats etc higher up.  I took some spring jackets upstairs and hung them in the spare wardrobe (where there is now space!)  and stuck all the shoes in the show cupboard and basket (after getting my husband to throw away some of the six pairs of old trainers he had under there…).  Add a bag for scarves and one for gloves and hats and it’s done!  Phew!  Also, we have a lot of scarves and gloves, which makes it all the more crazy that last week, when it was -8c I had to walk to work in mismatched gloves because I couldn’t find a pair.  And even they were both left ones 😦

Also, hey! I now have 45 hair bobbles!

So no picture as it really looks the same as yesterday.  But it is not the same,  oh no.

January 23rd: did the final under-stairs ReJanimate.

Underneath the stairs is a place where I ReJanimate….

Today’s photo doesn’t look much like an after photo, I must admit. But it doesn’t matter, because it represents the day I took on a great and noble task, one written about in days of yore – rejanimating under the stairs.  Confession: I started doing this the other day and completely lost hope and gave up after a little cursory sorting.  But thinking about it today, I tried to bear in mind the important ReJanimate creed – you don’t have to do it all at once. Sure, its a big job, but it doesn’t have to be done in one go, and according to the rules of ReJanimate, anything you do is a success.

So I thought some more, and I realised one stumbling block was a big basket that got shoved under there when we redid downstairs, which was large, heavy and full of magazines.  Well, I considered, that’s easy to fix – I can take some to school to use, some are for stashing with my knitting stuff and some can go to a friend.  Underneath those, I found a load of really old travel brochures, so I recycled them, and pretty quickly, the basket was empty.  Job done.

The best thing about rejanimate is that this now counts as a day’s task completed, so the pressure’s totally off.  I still had energy though, so I went for it!  I moved the shoe cupboard from the bottom end to near the top, turned the shelves 90° (which blocks off the end but we never, ever used that part anyway),  put all my bags on a rack I took out of the bathroom and ended up with room for the hoover and, crucially, the other pushchair. 

Now, it isn’t finished – the shelves need organising and so do the baskets, and I obviously – obviously – knocked a box of poker chips all over everything immediately, but that’s all a job for another day. Or more than one day!  It’s OK!


January 22nd: reJanimated under the stairs.

I love it when a plan comes together

I have 42 hair bobbles. No, wait, there’s one in my hair, so 43. Unremarkable, I’m sure, especially for those of you who are regular Rockerfellers and own hair bobbles by the handful, but let me tell you this – before I started rejanimate, there were times when I couldn’t find a single hair bobble, was running round the house grabbing elastic bands, bits of string, cable ties, anything to hold my hair back. Simply by patiently aggregating stuff and giving it a home I have rejanimated 43 hair bobbles from their previous dusty, unloved homes. They will live again.

Looking at the bigger picture, I finished the spare room today! Yes, it was very satisfying, like the final pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, or when your supermarket shopping scans through as a round number (logically, of course, this isn’t that amazing, but it always feels like you’re living an enchanted life, just for that moment).

Here’s a summary of what I’ve achieved in there:

* all make-up sorted, and old stuff brought back out
* jewellery organised in box
* drawers of dressing table cleared of junk
* boxes under bed emptied and used to store books and art supplies
* three bags of school stuff brought to school
* sewing stuff now in dedicated sewing drawer
* knitting/crochet stuff all in ottoman
* created ‘memory box’ for keepsakes
* stationery in stationery drawer downstairs
* put together plastic box containing essentials like Sellotape, scissors, glue etc to go in sideboard near stationery drawer
* threw out three big sacks of rubbish

All from one room. As I alluded to before, it doesn’t even look that much different, but it feels much more of a calm and tranquil place now as I know it’s all organised.


January 21st: rejanimated spare room. Finally!

A Tale of a Tub

I have a confession to make about today’s ReJanimate – it cost money! That’s right, we had to buy new things for this one, but it was worth it.

Basically we have a small, functional bathroom. It’s OK – the shower is awesome, and we’ve done bits to it but always with the idea in the back of our minds that we’d redo the whole thing soon and therefore whatever we got was just a make-do thing.  Only, after our crazy binge of house revamping over the summer, we can’t face another big project, so we reJanimated it instead!

Yesterday we went to Argos and got a tallboy unit that would fit into the small space by the sink.  Now, believe me that this is a small space.  A Borrower would suck air through their teeth and say “I was really looking for something a little roomier”.  But prewar British houses are noted for their functional but tiny bathrooms, and Argos have catered for that need with lots of functional, tiny bathroom furniture.  (note – I am not sponsored by Argos, but I will be, if they want.  I can be bought.)

Once that was in situ, it looked so good we went today and got a smaller unit and a corner shelf unit.  Add to that a bit of reshuffling of bath toys (for the toddler!) and a bin reJanimated from another room and the whole thing was completely painless.  It was.  Definitely.  No water at all came through the ceiling so stop going on about it!

Here’s the things we bought:




And here’s the finished room:


I know it doesn’t look like much but it’s the first time the room’s felt done!  Needs a new blind, I think, but that’s another day’s job.

January 20th: reJanimated the bathroom

Sewing and sandwich bags

Today has been quite an exciting ReJanimate day! We started a project which will hopefully be finished tomorrow, and then I went to tackle the spare room again.  This really is a job and a half, as in order to do anything I need to do other things first, so at the moment the whole room looks worse than when I began. However, at the beginning the room was superficially tidy but in chaos underneath; now I am restoring order at the bottom but it leads to transitional mess on top!

Today I tackled what was actually a big job – my sewing and yarn supplies stash.  Any crafting fan will know that these things just multiply of their own accord – you start off with one ball of double knit and a crochet hook and end up with enough aran to knit a ships’ worth of jumpers, half a dozen balls of baby cashmerino and some pretty but unusable stitch markers you can never throw away.

I had an ottoman full of fabric – skirts with bust zips, old cushions covers and the like that I “might make into something one day” and assorted drawers of wool and needles and god knows what.  So I did a proper cull of the fabric and kept only the most promising bits (I do have a good idea for them, I promise!) and then used a high tech method to organise my knitting stuff.

Bags.  Revolutionary, I know. Who would have thought of using a bag to keep things in? You can also use them to carry your shopping home, fact fans!  I use big clear sandwich bags – one for each project-in-progress (so much nicer than ‘unfinished’, don’t you think?) and one for each lot of wool.  Add to that a little plastic box from Poundland for hooks, scissors (I’ve found five pairs in total sincee I started rejanimating!) and it all now fits into the Ottoman nicely.  Ahhh!


January 19th: reJanimated sewing and knitting stuff


Cabinet Neatening

You know how other people’s medicine cabinets are always really alluring and intriguing? Well, I’m saving you all the trouble of coming round and asking to use the loo just so you can snoop in mine by putting on the Internet for the ENTIRE WORLD to see. Alas, it’s very not interesting – some bad-back painkillers, half of a twin pack of digital pregnancy tests from 2 years ago (seriously, have you seen how much they are? I am never throwing that away!) and about 10,000 ibuprofen, which glut is caused by the Ibuprofen/ paracetamol fear – now you’re only allowed to buy 32 at a time in the uk, you see them cheap and think “better stick a pack in my basket” and end up with a mountain of packs, all with two out of them. Come the apocalypse/collapse of civilisation, I shall set myself up as a kind of healing shaman type of person, headaches and pregnancy quandaries a speciality. Of course I can only accurately predict one pregnancy, but after that, word of mouth will secure my reputation, and I’ll just tell everyone else to come back in three months, by which time it should be obvious. I also have these kickass Japanese ear-scrapers I bought at the awesome Chinese superstore in Vancouver, so I can do ear-cleaning as a sideline. Ooh, doesn’t it make you feel good to have your post-apocalyptic career all planned out?

Well, until the apocalypse I’ll just have to content myself with rejanimating stuff. In case you haven’t worked it out, today I sorted out the bathroom cabinet!


January 18th: rejanimated bathroom cabinet.

ReJanimate in no time at all

OK, I have had no time at all, seriously – full day of teaching topped off with a parents evening and a late train home.   Luckily I’d done my task for the day early and it was one thing you can do really quickly and easily – go through your jewellery box and dig something out!

I have all these nice pairs of earrings, organised nicely, complete with backs…and I totally forget to actually wear them. So in an attempt to look halfway smart for parents evening I found some smart little studs and they finished off my ‘look’ (OK, this is a look that starts with snow boots so it doesn’t take much to finish).

I’m sorry, this is short and pictureless, but it’s late and I just didn’t want to miss a day!

January 17th: reJanimated some earrings from my jewellery box.

Play and Display

Remember when you were a kid? There were always bits of your school that were just too depressing for words. Certain rooms or corridors that would just fill you with so much dread you’d just want to lie down on the floor and die. Or is that just me?

Anyway, I was beginning to feel that maybe outside my classroom was a bit like that. To be fair, there was some excellent work on display out there, but as it’s a small area and there can be up to 90 kids crammed into it at any given time (omg, seriously, open the door and children fall through it like rabbits from a magician’s sleeve) so everything gets torn and wrecked.

Then I was reading some research about what type of classroom layout was most effective (yes! For fun!) and another little quote caught my eye. It was from a girl complaining that everywhere she went in her school was beige and she longed to see colour. Now, my school is by no means all beige (mould is BLACK!) but it’s not exactly like living inside a packet of Skittles, IYSWIM. So I looked around and realised that area was ripe for rejanimating.

Here’s my new display board:

20130116-200324.jpg and here’s some frankly fancy lettering I did on the other one:


I mean, that is SMART. I ought to be a professional display makerer, which is definitely a thing.

January 16th: rejanimated my displays.

Crochet away!

I realised something today that has set rejanimate apart from other decluttering exercises – I’ve avoided making any lists. Normally I’m completely Rimmer-like when it comes to things like this – spend hours making a list or timetable in multiple colours and when it comes to the task in hand, just do whatever is the metaphorical equivalent of writing “I am a fish” a few hundred times. (This analogy will only work if you know Red Dwarf, and if you don’t, what are you reading this for? Go and watch Red Dwarf!)

Anyway, the lack of list means you can digress, which I was glad of today. It looked like it was going to be another boring one, just carrying on tidying the spare room, and I did get somewhere with that, emptying two boxes and a basket (and once again refilling the wheelie bin the moment it is emptied…), but then, I digressed.

In trying to find space in a drawer for my rejanimated sewing box, I found a very-nearly-finished amigurumi cat I made ages and ages ago. All he needed was some eyes and a nose. Years and years the poor little guy had waited and now, not only was I poised and ready to rejanimate, but I had a tidy, organised sewing box next to me.. As Jez in Peep Show says, “fate – it does the hard work so you don’t have to”.

And here it is:


January 15th: rejanimated a nearly-finished crochet cat