A month ago my mate Cath, who runs a decluttering business called Clear the Clutter, came to my house and helped me sort out the kitchen. It took 5 hours and it nearly finished me off.
After months of building work and living out of the kitchen, even after we had got most of the house back, ‘stuff’ had still accumulated over ever surface and was spilling out of every cupboard. It was positively oppressive.
For the sake full disclosure, this is not an ad. Cath is a mate but I paid her for her service and she’s bloody good.
People who are professionally tidy (or just tidy for that matter!) think differently from me (that’s not tidy, it’s just a pile), they help you see your stuff with fresh eyes (I have no idea why I still have that. And why do I have every cooking accoutrement I own next to the cooker?), and, they can keep going long after you would have thrown the towel in.
If Cath hadn’t been there, I would have stopped after the tea and coffee cupboard. Who knew I had so many boxes of tea? I only ever drank one or two varieties but now I can see them all I have different ones all the time. Living it large!
Seeing all your belongings on the table is weird. A) there’s a lot of it and B) items hide after a while – it’s there in plain sight but you stop seeing it well past its used by date.
After the 5 hours we had boxes of stuff to go out (the best part of Cath’s service is she takes it away!!!!) – to the tip, to the charity shop and to the scrap man.
That Marie Kondo really is onto something. Having less stuff and space to put things that never had homes, is life changing! It was so liberating once it was done I went on to start wearing my glasses again and sort out a few niggly things that were wrong with my car.
Mike was gobsmaked when he came home. Best present I’ve ever given him! He started talking about finally putting artwork up and making it homey (only 2 years after we moved in!).
A month later and we are yet to put up any artwork and keeping the kitchen decluttered is something you need to keep working at but it’s certainly easier now.
Today I thought I’d finally finish off the last 2 cupboards that we didn’t manage to do when Cath was here.
Two thirds of this stuff was OUT OF DATE!! I’ve so much space now 🙂
I had to do it in 2 sittings as Nancy had had enough after the first cupboard (and watched Dumplin’ on Netflix in between) – there was so much out of date stuff in them but we’re finally done with the decluttering. Now where’s that artwork?
I’d love to hear about it below or head over to Mums’ Days Facebook or Instagram to join the convo there. You should also check out Cath’s Clear the Clutter Facebook Page – she’s been sharing her decluttering expertise on there, including how to get an extra fiver from Music Magpie when you sell your stuff there. Noice!
We’re in the final straight of the building work and after a quiet January, the start of February has seen a lot more action. The back of the house has had quite a bit of rejigging – we’ve moved stairs around, blocked off a door way and made a new one, and moved the washer and drier from right by the door. Brian the builder, is part way through fitting units in the utility and bootroom (that are way nicer than the ones we have in the kitchen!) and should be done next week!! Waaaaa! I’ll share the finished article then but for now I thought I’d share the inspiration…
The idea for this area is to have a space when you first come in (there is a ‘proper’ front door but we always use this entrance) for everyday shoes and coats. We’ve used the image above as inspiration with the navy units, wooden bench and brass hooks.
Then we’ve turned what was the pantry and stinky cat room into a utility space for washer/drier, storing dirty clothes, the kids clean clothes and mops and brooms.
The animals inspecting what used to be there feeding room… soon it will look like this:
An idea of the layout for the utility space
“We’ll put the door right where this pipe is, yes?”
Then the dusty bit will be over. Ahhh! It’ll be a lick of paint in the bootroom, utility, Mike’s office and the TV room above and goodbye builders!
I’ve shared the inspiration picture for the utility area on my Instagram tonight and if you scroll along you’ll see a video of the space before the units were put in at the start of the week. I’ve also shared the video on Facebook, if that’s your preferred social media!
Thank god it’s the weekend. Half term no less! We are exhausted. I’m tired from what feels like a none week because I’ve felt so naff. Nancy’s just screamed for an hour from being overtired but is sleeping on me now. And Reuben has just lost his mind at an episode of Pokemon. Bedtime for everyone I think 🙂
Happy weekend all – Bring on the lie ins! (Lol. As if but at least there are cuddles in bed to be had!)
At the beginning of July 2018, the builders moved in to start, and I quote, 6 weeks of building work.
If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen me mention them a few times since because they are… Still. Freaking. Here.
These chaps are lovely. If you had to (which I do), these are the ones you want around.
Brian, the joiner and our main chap, is wonderful (although started sweating before he even walked through the door from about September onwards as he was terrified I’d give birth in front of him).
There’s also a team of local tradesmen – tilers, plasters, plumbers, electricians, decorators, carpet fitters, scaffolders, sanitation experts (for our septic tank), timber merchants and every delivery man in Northumberland – who are all very pleasant. And, for much of December (merely weeks after I had Nancy) lived at our house so that it would be ‘ready’ for Christmas.
But much like a child who is still hanging about at 30, it’s time for them to leave!
We have one last big job to finish at the back of the house (TV room and utility/boot area) and then we’re left with the niggly bits. Doors closing properly, touching up paintwork that has cracked, putting up shelves, soft furnishings (*shudders*) the bits that could last a life time to finish…
If you’d said to me when we started, “You’ll still have builders in your house in March next year.” I’d be pretty distraught at the prospect, but somehow you just muddle on! Day to day it’s not so bad. And much like with breastfeeding you have to keep thinking, nearly there. Tomorrow will be better. And when you get the odd finished room or area, you are spurred on to keep going.
It’s been hard on Mike as he had to take over the project management for me, which on top of his day job, is a full time job. And, it’s certainly taken its tole when evenings and weekends are dedicated to sorting out yet more household jobs (whether it’s moving our stuff about the place, chasing tradesmen, or sorting out the order of events because at one point we had about 15 different things that HAD to happen by 15th December so the floors could go down – that was fun. Not.)
So, while Mike was running the show and I didn’t need to worry about that (other than his mental state), the absolute worst time for me was when I came home with Nancy (did I mention I’ve had a baby during this building work – she was nearly named Brian!). Everything seemed a lot noisier and busier. Work men in every room (all playing different radio stations and singing at the top of their voices), using different power tools. And while Nancy was able to sleep through it, I was not. I was hormonal, in permanent pain in the nipple area, and fecking knackered. Tears were shed!!
Then the big win came. Just before Christmas.
We had had a few days at Centre Parcs and left the house a building site. When we came back they had all but finished the front of the house. We had gone from living in the kitchen and sleeping in the attic to having 2 front rooms (living room and study), our bedroom, spare rooms, bathrooms AND a downstairs loo.
It’s a big house but compared to what we were living in, it felt like Versailles.
Mike has a video of us walking around the evening we got back and one day I really must edit it into a short video to share on here.
So, we’re getting there. But, then the real ‘fun’ starts. Finishing it off. Curtains, rugs, furniture, decluttering random things that have gathered because they no longer have a home… that’s the really tricky stuff.
I know how to get a radiator moved or a new wall light put up because we ask Kevin or Alan. But neither Kevin nor Alan can tell me which rug to buy or if we should put up curtains in the Living Room or not – my dad says yes but I’m not convinced!
Either way I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to this…!