The final frontier

So this is it – the end of the month of reJanimation!  I couldn’t be more pleased of what we’ve achieved this month, and all for what turned out to be relatively little effort and under £100 expenditure. 

Bathroom: totally reorganised, new storage, ‘new’ bin, toys tidied away

Spare room: wardrobe w/drawers sorted (two drawers empty), chest of drawers sorted, all under bed stuff organised, sewing things organised, knitting/crochet stuff organised, dressing table cleared, toiletries sorted and brought into use, make up ditto, 49 bobbles stored in bobble box!

J’s room: new storage bought, all toys organised, books on shelf, unused items put back into boxes for storage, corner of miscellaneous rubbish cleared, pictures hung, metal noticeboard from kitchen reused for magnetic letters

Landing: airing cupboard organised, spare bedding stored, whole shelf empty

Master bedroom: side tables cleared, general junk removed, new wastepaper basket, my chest of drawers sorted

Study: completely tidied and organised (my husband’s big job)

Stairs and hall: pictures hung, curtains hung over door, pushchair stored away, basket installed for shoes/hall stuff

Under stairs: completely cleared of junk, storage reorganised, CDs put together, photos all in box/albums, bags on old racking from bathroom , coats and shoes sorted through, extra hooks added, old coats washed

Dining room: toys organised, expedit cleared (one basket empty), paperwork system created, sideboard completely reorganised (drawers for cables, place mats, candles, stationery, cupboards for J’s drawing stuff, unused frames, pen/stationery box, battery/bulb box)

Kitchen: tea towel drawer sorted, cake decorating gear together, two cupboards reorganised, baskets for veg organised, space by door sorted and cleared

Utility room: high shelves sorted, room made for ‘spare’ box to put extra tins/packets, rubbish removed

And a million tiny jobs you wouldn’t even notice but make the house run more smoothly.  I don’t think I did anything in the living room but it was OK to start with. 

That’s one month’s work.

I never felt overwhelmed or like stopping, for a few reasons – one, part of ReJanimate was that anything counts.  Folding some t-shirts could be a day’s task if you’re tired or busy.  Two, it got so much easier as I went on, as more and more things found a ‘home’.  When I sorted the drawers of cables I was able to make piles of the extra stuff I found and say definitively where it all should go – so simple!  Three, the more I did, the more I wanted to do.  Everything looks better.   And four, avoiding making lists worked really well. There’s no looking back now and thinking ‘oh, I never got round to that,’ and feeling like a failure.  Of course there are always more things to do, but there’s also more days in which to do them.

I also realised that the house was not, actually, full of crap.  Sure, I threw out a lot of bags of rubbish, but it was all either packaging, broken or obsolete stuff.  There was hardly anything that was just useless or unwanted.  So my original aim, to reuse unused stuff, has really been achieved.  I have a much clearer idea of what we have in the house and what we need (pretty much nothing!).

I ended on an absolutely classic ReJanimate today – something that summed the whole thing up.  Our bottom drawer in the kitchen was a dumping drawer, but so was one of the drawers in the welsh dresser. So I emptied both drawers, refined and amalgamated the contents into the welsh dresser, moved the pans into the bottom drawer, realised the pan cupboard had a higher shelf than the other cupboard, thus moved the big boxes of cereal off the top of the wall units into there, chucked out all the expired cereal, moved the condiments into the shelf above the cereal and that freed up a full cupboard for multi packs of crisps, bottles of squash etc.  Phew.  Again, not much work, not hard, free…but still, it hadn’t been done!

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January 31st: reJanimated kitchen shelves and cupboards.

The Cable Girl

You may remember that yesterday I said all the jobs that were left were small ones – well, that’s true enough, but a small job isn’t always the easiest!  Today I tackled a small but deadly job that I had been putting off – the cable drawer.

No, wait, it was worse than that – the cables drawers.  Plural.  Ack.

Two drawers containing two tangles of cables like a robot version of Saw.  And I know its trite, but, seriously, HOW do they get like that?  How?  I didn’t carefully wind them all up together so HOW? Actually, my old friend Jerome K. Jerome speaks for me on this issue:

There is something very strange and unaccountable about a tow-line. You roll it up with as much patience and care as you would take to fold up a new pair of trousers, and five minutes afterwards, when you pick it up, it is one ghastly, soul-revolting tangle.
I do not wish to be insulting, but I firmly believe that if you took an average tow-line, and stretched it out straight across the middle of a field, and then turned your back on it for thirty seconds, that, when you looked round again, you would find that it had got itself altogether in a heap in the middle of the field, and had twisted itself up, and tied itself into knots, and lost its two ends, and become all loops; and it would take you a good half-hour, sitting down there on the grass and swearing all the while, to disentangle it again.
That is my opinion of tow-lines in general. Of course, there may be honourable exceptions; I do not say that there are not. There may be tow-lines that are a credit to their profession — conscientious, respectable tow-lines — tow-lines that do not imagine they are crochet-work, and try to knit themselves up into antimacassars the instant they are left to themselves. I say there may be such tow-lines; I sincerely hope there are. But I have not met with them.

Bit of culture for you there, what?  Tow-lines, USB cables, ’tis all the same. 

And does any household need seven pairs of Apple ear buds, aka the Worst Headphones in the World? I mean, they really are tremendously shit but it seems awful to throw them away.  Anyway I kept them, in case one day seven people come round and all want to borrow some headphones for the train home.  It could happen.

It was a shock to realise how much of the stuff in there was simply obsolete – all manner of Scart related leads and adaptors, phone extension cords, aerial boosters and coax cable, AV cables and things that were once part of my daily life but are now just junk.  When I started teaching media 10 years ago we used scart adaptors and av leads all the time – in fact I used to spend a good proportion of my time connecting analogue cameras to video players and portable TVs, and it wasn’t as if that seemed old-fashioned then.  But now of course it’s entirely digital.  We barely even use DVDs.  Crazy!  So out it all went.

I kept timer plugs, some USB leads, a couple of spare ac adaptors (I find these do come in useful sometimes!) And the travel plugs but that’s about it.  A pointless photo as it still looks like a drawer full of cables but I threw a whole bag of stuff away!

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January 30th: reJanimated the cable drawers.

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:

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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.