A clean and tidy desk

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Cross-posted from 


I got round to tidying the desk and everything on it yesterday because I needed to set up my new toys.

So not only do I have new speakers for my PC and a dock for my iPod, I have something to show for my Christmas money and a clean and tidy workspace. 
The old speakers are in the loft , should a friend with the same speaker system need a replacement speaker rather than a (no longer available) replacement remote control, as I did. The battered headphones I’ve been using for the past 8 months are on their way out.

Oh, and I will be making sure that glasses of water go nowhere near the new kit as I’ve found to my cost that they tend to irreversibly damage electronics.



Daily de-clutter challenge: Feb11th and 12th – dishes, pans and mugs

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 Cross-posted from 

There aren’t too many dishes and casseroles  in the house and the large ones tend to be things I bought from a potter rather than mass produced stuff, so they will stay. However, pans are different. I’ve examined my collection closely and I think it is about time I invested in some new ones. The damage to the surfaces seems to come from stacking non-stick pans inside each other, due to space limitations.

The mug collection which stretched back almost to student days had a good clear out, and replacement with more respectable (read nicer) thingsafter my last house move. Why not before? Sentiment – there were quite a few from my politically-active days that came with memories. Who’d have thought a simple mug could hold memories?

I had a conversation with another LJer at the weekend, about using the “best china” rather than leaving it on the shelf, for what my mother called “better days than Sundays”. I suppose the habit of keeping something for best comes from her and my grandmothers, but when was the last time I had someone over for tea and got out the best teapot and china?

Daily declutter: Day 4 -11

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 Day 4 – Computer: This is not a quick job. However, in the space between Christmas a New Year I got rid of in excess of 200 emails. More sorting and deleting needed there. I’ve always used folders so everything is tidy in my mailbox. My virus checker does a daily update and I’ve just updated my firewall. Pop-up blocker and spyware blocker are in place. I’ve been using a stand-alone hard-drive for back ups – I shall do a back-up when I finish this post. Outstanding is sorting, oroganising and deleting photos which are on my PC and adding the rest of my CDs to my PC. This will eventually update my iPod, give me music at this desk and an additional backup – but it all takes time and the day job has to come first.

Day 5: Decorations :These were taken down quickly. No big job as I have a small table-top tree and just a couple of strings of cards. A lot of my cards are once a year communications from old Uni friends and so I always hang onto cards for  a year before they get recycled to keep the notes that are inside. Surplus decorations went to a charity shop two or three years ago. All the cards are neatly boxed because last year I went on a post-Christmas sales spending spree in WH Smith and bought enough cards to last me for the next three years However.. the bags and boxes are still awaiting moving back into the loft as it’s not the easiest of tasks, involving moving cars out of garages, getting ladders out and scrambling up said ladder lugging bags and boxes.

Day 6 – Wardrobe: I’m working on my weight , having put on a lot over the last year, so clothes are of mixed sizes and I’m, “fingers-crossed”, moving downwards. So only a handful of huge “fat shirts”, whihc have been with me for years, have been put aside in a charity shop bag. 

Day 7 – Shoes : I threw out some old stuff last year , so this just amounted to an old pair of clogs which are past it, even though they’ve been indoor shoes. There are two pairs of high-heeled courts in the back of the wardrobe, last worn at a family christening, so at least 6 years ago. With the state of my knee I can barely walk in heels now, but I’m loath to throw them out as they are classic, barely worn and I don’t want the waste of buying another pair for a similar event.  Am I being silly? ( and no, I don’t have a shoe habit, unless they are comfortable flats)

Day 8  – Cutlery: Done before Christmas. It has to stay neat and tidy as there is so little room.

Day 9  – To Do List : I’m with  

here, it’s the passport. I haven’t needed one for years but I may visit Ireland this year if my family history stuff progresses, so that’s top of the list. Identifed but not done yet.

Day 10 – Borrowed or migrated: I’m pretty sure that there is nothing borrowed in the house. The biggest migration is books and work files which colonise the landing as there isn’t enough room in their “assigned ” spaces. The work files are a priority and I need to make arrangements for a box or two to be labelled and collected for storage in our registry in Swindon. A job  for next week.

Day 11 – Plastic carriers: I use cotton bags and “Bags for Life” for shopping so the car and hall are overflowing with these. They need a tidy-up, but if they aren’t visible then I don’t take enough out when I go shopping or forget to put them back in the car. I do have a small supply ( less than a dozen) of plastic carriers which I use to line my kitchen bin. Essential, as we have to use flimsy back poly-bags for our rubbish collection and if stuff isn’t double-wrapped then the local cats and dogs will trash the bags before the bin-men collect. Oh for a wheely-bin. The village of Girton, just outside Cambridge has been all over the local news today as a local project ( http://www.sustainable-girton.org.uk/sustainable_news.html )  is giving away cotton bags to try to make the village a plastic bag-free zone    

So I’ve some jobs to “carry forward” and some of this needs to be applied to the “day job” as well as my home life.

Daily declutter 2: Cookery Books

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The cookery books are all on one shelf and I had a bit of a blast at the recipes torn out of magazines and the free supplements from magazines and supermarkets last year. Nevertheless, the shelf started with 33 books and now has 27. Not a great deal of change, but an improvement. The removals will go to the next Bookcrossing meeting I attend.

I realised whilst doing this that the most battered, and therefore most used, books are ones I’ve had for years: Claudia Roden’s Middle-Eastern Cookery, Madhur Jafferey’s Indian Cooking, Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery. All over 20 years old and they got most of their staining a long time ago. I don’t  put much effort into cooking now, it’s just a matter of sticking something into the oven or on a griddle, cooking some veg and that’s that. On a bad day “cooking “involves a microwave and takes under 5 minutes.  

I am now eating more healthily, or did until Christmas intervened, but that also means more boringly, and what’s the point of cooking a large dish if that means you’ll be eating it for the rest of the week as the freezer is too small to take left-overs?


Daily decluttering 1: Medicine cabinet

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 [Cross-posted from daily_declutter]

I’ve joined beebarf’s  decluttering challenge in an attempt to reduce the clutter in the house, which should make me more relaxed about living and working here.

The cupboard at the top of the stairs, next to the bathroom hides a multitude of cluttering sins, however today’s effort was the medicinal side of things. Beebarf’s post was very timely as I’d been advised at my asthma check-up in December to throw away out-of-date inhalers and took home several new ones. Not having  reviewed the contents of the cupboard for some time I now have a sizeable carrier bag of out-of-date material to hand in at the pharmacy for disposal. More importantly I can now easily see when I’m running out of medication , so I can get a new prescription in reasonable time.

Before: too disorganised to photo.



Tetanus : Up to date

Flu jab: get one already because of the asthma

First Aid kit in car: already there


What’s hidden in the garage? (Enforced cleaning session)

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The ideal answer would be the set of duplicate keys for the house!

Yesterday evening it still hadn’t rained so I decided to tackle the lawn before the neighbours thought I’d died.  Whilst in the garage getting out the mower I noticed that I had had mice in there during the winter. So, I checked where the spare set of keys was hidden, to see that the little dears hadn’t trashed the jiffy bag – and – NO KEYS.

So I check the alternative location in the meter cupboard – NO KEYS.

So have I finally given them to J to keep ( which is where they used to be until I lost my keys on a train back from Wiltshire in Jan 2003 when  I spent the night in a hotel 5 minutes walk from my house!) – NO KEYS

At this point I’m getting very worked up – which was ridiculous when I hadn’t given the damn keys a thought for months.

The only thing to do was a clean-out of the garage and meter cupboard, there and then. So, at 10.00 pm I was throwing stuff in bin bags ( luckily it was bin day today)

Result: Tidy garage and tidy meter cupboard – NO KEYS.

I am making the big assumption that at some previous tidying session I have thrown out the box in which the keys have been carefully secreted, thinking the jiffy bag was rubbish.

OR – they are somewhere in the house under the piles of books and papers that have accumulated in the past few months whilst life has taken over from order. I need a bigger house or to lose the book habit.

OR – someone has taken them, got into the house and then decided there isn’t anything worth stealing.

The biggest annoyance is that these were a true duplicate set , not hacked out of poor quality metal in a heel bar. ….

and there is still the nagging thought that I might need to get the locks changed.