Repurpose before you Recycle

Thank you for all the lovely comments both here and on  my FB page.  It is good to hear from so many people who want to ditch plastic and other single use items.  So in the spirit of reusing before recycling I have a challenge for you this week.  A repurpose challenge.

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This morning I lost an old stained bamboo tee-shirt and acquired some dusters.  Very easy.  I cut up the tee-shirt and have a nice new set of lovely soft bamboo dusters.  The tee shirt wasn’t fit for charity but it wasn’t yet ready for composting.  Win win.

So my challenge for you this week, and I’ll try to do it too and let you know how I get on:

Monday:  Repurpose something you used to wear.  It could be clothing, jewellery, a scarf or a hair accessory, anything you used to wear.

Tuesday:  Repurpose something you made.  It could be last night’s leftovers or a three piece suit!  Please do not repurpose your children however irritating they are!

Wednesday: Repurpose something you have put out for recycling.  A plastic bottle, a jar, some envelopes.  Get creative in your recycling bin.

Thursday:  Repurpose something from your black hole.  We all have them, the place where we put things we don’t know what to do with but can’t quite bring ourselves to get rid of.  Some are as big as a garage or outbuilding.  Some are as small as a kitchen drawer.  You know yours, now go release something from it.

Friday:  Repurpose something that is broken.  If you can’t repair it can you turn it into something else

You get the weekend off!

Love Gillie

 

free form knitting

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I love knitting and crochet and sewing.  I’m not that brilliant at it but I enjoy it, even if the girls do sometimes raise their eyebrows as I start another tea cosy or cushion cover.  However, the downside is that I have bags and bags of yarn, the bits left over from a project that I can’t bring myself to throw away but are not enough to make anything on their own.

Then I discovered free form knitting.  I took a workshop with Alyson at The Woolly Workshop in free form knitting.  I was going to knit a picture.  This is sunset in Basse Terre Guadeloupe.  Deep red reflected on the sand at the bottom, golden sand, sea, the last strip of pink sunset and the moonlight breaking through dark clouds.

There is no pattern, no right or wrong way, just pick up and drop colours and change stitch to reflect the picture.  Perspective is gained by changing the size of the needles.

I had so much fun I made (another!) cushion cover.IMG_2509

A brilliant and fun way to use up all those little bits of yarn taking up space in your stash.

Love Gillie

settling in

Last year our flock of hens, ducks and geese finally reduced itself to one feral Light Sussex.  As we were planning on moving we decide not to rebuild the flock.  Now we have decided to stay we have some new girls.  Meet Dolly and Polly (Light Sussex), Dotty and Spotty (Speckleds) and Doris and Floris (Copper Black).  IMG_2549

 

They have been in the hen house and run since Saturday to acclimatise them to their new home, but this afternoon I let them out into the orchard.  They were cautious at first, but soon started flapping and playing.  I left them to explore and settle in.

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I am doing much the same thing, exploring and settling in to my home.  We have lived here for over 16 years but all the changes, decluttering, redecorating, new soft furnishings and curtains, new shelves and bookcases have given our home a new direction.  It feels lighter and airier.  I find myself picking up something and moving it to another room, I don’t know why but somehow I feel it will be better there and usually it is.  I have moved pictures around, dyed loose covers.  There are more plants and even the cut flowers seem to be lasting longer!

You don’t have to move house to take time to settle in.  In fact, the longer you have lived somewhere perhaps the more important it is to look at your surroundings as if they are new and take time to settle in and see what you change and why.  We live with stuff for so long that we just assume it has to be there.  Maybe it doesn’t.

Love Gillie

decluttering changed my life

One year on.  Remember this?

 

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and this?

 

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Well now it looks like this.

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In fact that is a mere fraction of what has gone.  As I write I have six more bags to go to charity and the Singers have been dispatching some of the Boss’s clothes on Ebay.  So what next?  What have I learned?

What next?  Well there is still a huge amount to go.  The Boss is slowly working through his wardrobe and I will have to work at his pace.  The study still has far too much in it and there are a few black holes around the house to which we have been turning a blind eye.  The videos and CDs are a case in point.  But as the house has emptied we have begun to turn our attention towards the garden.  I have plans to turn our garden into a mainly physic garden where all the plants are either medicinal, edible or have other practical uses.  Meanwhile the Boss has finally got on top of the meadow and is planning the wild flower border around it.  Currently it’s mainly vetch, poppies and cornflowers, but give him time.

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What have I learned?  How long do you want me to go on?

Don’t give  up  Like learning to play a musical instrument it is hard at first.  You can see other people knocking off a snazzy sounding concerto whilst you are still struggling to coordinate your left and right hand sufficiently to get three notes out in the correct order.  But everybody has to start at the beginning.  Everybody has to practice, practice, practice before they are a master of the art.  Decluttering is no different.

It does become easier.  Trust me, you will come to a point when you are instinctively picking up things that you don’t want or need and putting them in the charity bag or recycling.

Let go of guilt.  Just because it was a gift or a family heirloom does not mean that you have to keep it.  Offer the latter to somebody else in the family to caretake if it will cause a ruction.  So you bought a dress and have never worn it but keep it because you feel you must.  Don’t.  Let it go.  Sell it on eBay BNWT!

Space is beautiful.  The things you love can shine when they are bordered by space, space in itself is something to love and cherish.

Don’t clutter it up the space.  My entire summer wardrobe fits in less space than my shirts used to take up.  My bookshelves contain books I want to read.  I know every shoe I possess, I no longer open a shoe box and look at the contents with surprise.

As I decluttered my belongings I decluttered my mind.  Now I can’t promise that this is true for everyone or that the two were actually connected.  I suffer from acute  and severe depression, the kind where all is well and suddenly for no apparent reason the lights are all turned off.  I made an active decision after a particularly nasty attack that I was going to think differently.  Thus it is quite possible that  my mind declutter is down to that.  Either way.  This year  I have gone from unsure what to do with my life stay at home mum to published author with a second book in the works; professional tarot reader; workshop facilitator and have plans for a small handmade toiletry collection.  As I decluttered I became more focused.  The things I focussed on were not those that I had expected but I am loving life and have big plans for the future.

Not everyone likes it.  A bit like losing weight and discovering that not all your friends are as keen on the new you.  I have been told all sorts of reasons why “they” can’t do it; why “they” could never let go of books (heaven forbid!) and so forth.  Maybe they really can’t or maybe they are jealous.  Whatever the reason it has nothing to do with me so I shall continue my path.

I have discovered my own style.  As I have let go of things that I didn’t like, need or want I have discovered a style that is mine and I like it.

I have made some amazing friends and some incredible business contacts.  I have discovered crossovers and potential joint projects with people I probably would never have met had I not started, and gone public with this journey.

I have more time.  I can’t explain this one, I still live in the same house, I still have the same family.  Perhaps it is more that I am more mindful of my time, I don’t fritter it away.  As I am only keeping things I cherish I am learning to cherish my time as well.

And finally, I did it because I wanted to.  You have to want to.

 

 

 

 

 

101 things you could let go of right now

I love lists.  Don’t you?  That immensely satisfying feeling as you cross off the things you have done.  Decluttering is perfect for list makers.  You can break up the clutter by room, by cupboard, by person, by subject area.  Oddly enough, I have done none of these things.  I have just started in one part of the house and worked my way round, over and over again.  Then I came across this blog by Joshua Becker 101 Physical That Can Be Reduced In Your Home .  Oh the joys, I am so doing this today.  I have already crossed off those things I have already reduced to the bare minimum or we don’t have.  But so much more to go.  I’m all fired up and ready to give the remaining clutter the heave ho.

Could you take this list round your home?  How much could you cross off today?

  1. Glassware
  2. Cookbooks
  3. Kitchen gadgets
  4. Kitchen appliances
  5. Pots / pans
  6. Mixing bowls
  7. Tupperware
  8. Water pitchers
  9. Magazines
  10. Newspapers
  11. Books
  12. Over-the-counter medicine
  13. Make-up
  14. Barretts / hair clips / ponytail holders
  15. Cleaning supplies
  16. Personal beauty appliances (hair dryer/curlers, electric razors)
  17. Bottles of shampoo/conditioner
  18. Photos
  19. Photography supplies
  20. Sewing supplies
  21. Craft supplies
  22. Scrap-booking supplies
  23. CD’s
  24. DVD’s
  25. Decorative items
  26. Candles
  27. Figurines
  28. Crystal
  29. Vases
  30. Audio/visual components
  31. Audio/visual cables
  32. Computer equipment
  33. MP3 players
  34. Furniture
  35. Video game systems
  36. Vdeo games
  37. Video game accessories
  38. Shirts / shorts
  39. Pants
  40. Coats
  41. Dresses
  42. Hats
  43. Clothes hangers
  44. Shoes
  45. Winter gear
  46. Jewelry
  47. Purses
  48. Coins
  49. Pillows
  50. Towels
  51. Linen sets
  52. Candle Holders
  53. Televisions
  54. Items on your bulletin board
  55. Magnets
  56. Artwork
  57. Mirrors
  58. Home office supplies
  59. Pens/pencils
  60. Old batteries
  61. Tools
  62. Hardware
  63. Rolls of duct tape
  64. Coolers
  65. Manuals
  66. Phone books
  67. Coupons
  68. Sporting good supplies
  69. Sports memorabilia
  70. Aluminum cans
  71. Glass bottles
  72. Automobile fluids
  73. Automobiles
  74. Scrap pieces of lumber
  75. Brooms
  76. Rakes
  77. Shovels
  78. Garden tools
  79. Plant containers
  80. Empty cardboard boxes
  81. Board games
  82. Puzzles
  83. Decks of cards
  84. Unused wedding gifts
  85. Baby clothes
  86. Baby supplies
  87. Old schoolbooks/papers
  88. Army men
  89. Bath toys
  90. Toy balls
  91. Toy cars/trucks
  92. Toy musical instruments
  93. Stuffed animals
  94. Plastic toys
  95. Childrens’ old school papers
  96. Suitcases
  97. Soda
  98. Alcohol
  99. Processed foods
  100. Christmas / seasonal decorations
  101. Cable channels

decluttering with William Morris – the Pre-Raphaelite method

If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it.  Have nothing in your houses that you do  not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

Useful and beautiful (in my eyes).

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I have always loved the Pre-Raphaelites.  If I had studied history of art it would have been a one horse race.  But it is not just their artwork which I adore.  It is the whole ethos of the Arts and Craft movement; the belief that a healthy society was one which respected craft production and did not rely entirely on division of labour and machinery for the creation of products.  The use of natural and local materials in production.  And of course William Morris’ famous quote above.

Beautiful

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I know that there is much in our house that does not meet that criterion.  From where I sit to work I can see a carving of a fish.  It is pretty, but I don’t love it and I don’t know in my heart it is beautiful.  There is an incense stick holder which has been superceded by a more beautiful (actually more simple in design) and more useful one.  In my pen holder there are two marker pens which I know don’t work.  Outside in the courtyard I can see an old bird table that has been superceded by are more practical one.  There is a glass contraption that was supposed to trap wasps but never did.  All that and I didn’t even leave my seat.

Useful

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Join me today as we walk around our homes.  Look carefully at the things around you and ask yourself if they would pass Morris’ test.  If they do not, then why are you keeping them?

Neither useful nor beautiful

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the craft stuff has to go

There comes a time when even those who think they are mighty must fall.  I crumpled at the craft, well I don’t know what to call it.  “Room” gives it a gravitas it does not deserve and “Pile” fails to bring across the enormit of the job.  In 1999 I began scrapbooking.  I had always kept our photograph albums up to date and scrapbooking combined this with my love of playing with paper, pens and ink.  All went swimmingly, I created pages that were lovely to look at, that had lots of journalling so we knew who everyone was and what they were doing and everybody loved to flick through them.  Then two things happened.  Photography went digital and scrapbooking went mainstream in the UK.

Net result, too many photographs and too many materials to work with.  Once I had to buy 80% of my stock online from the States, now I could get it in TK Maxx and Tescos.  Sadly, the latter resulted in the death of practically every bricks and mortar scrapping shop and we have come full circle.  If I want anything other than twee tat, I mainly have to buy from the US.  Once again,  I digress.

I couldn’t be bothered to collate  my photographs any longer.  There were too many of them and I had too many materials.  I didn’t know where to start.  So I am going back to my roots….

I am not a tidy declutterer.  I like to get stuff out and sort it into piles or the bin.  Only when I am finished do I put it all in order.  Odd, perhaps as I am so organised elsewhere.  I think it’s because to me the declutter process has priority over the tidy process.  I just want to get it out asap.

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The desk is the “holding” area, most stuff on here will be allowed to stay.   But not necesssarily  here.  In the meantime I have emptied both the filing cabinet and the wooden chest of drawers but not done anything about the stuff that usually lives on the desk (paints and pens mainly).  Not ideal, but I’ll get there in the end.

 

Work in progress.

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Stuff to go.  First dibs go to Sunday School and Messy Church, then local crafting friends and then the good old Charity shop.

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Starting to look better.

 

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And finally, because all that was rather stressfull.  Some calming tulips.

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