Monday, January 27, 2014

Australia Day weekend: de-cluttering and a taste of the chaos to come....

This weekend is a long one to mark Australia Day. It's also the last few days before the start of the school year. M is starting High School - a big milestone for all of us.

It's been a week of sorting things out, trying to cull the huge amount of 'stuff' we seem to have in our house, and a time of trying to get organised. J and I managed a day off earlier this week together, and it was a much needed moment of respite in what had otherwise been a quite busy week.


We had lunch in a pub and then walked around a bit. I'm sitting in a rather cool swing/seat thingy in a local park.

The other big thing this week was the arrival of our new (second hand) wardrobe, purchased for a very low price from the Sydney Antique Centre. We live in an Edwardian terrace, which has almost no storage. We really needed a wardrobe or something to store clothes, as we've been living with plastic boxes piled up in the bedroom for years. We are panning a renovation this year, but only downstairs, not up. Thus, the bedrooms need some tlc to keep them functional until we can afford to do the upstairs too.

The wardrobe was delivered by two guys in a truck. They tried and failed to get it up our very narrow staircase, so they ended up winching it up and over the front balcony:


Pics aren't great, sorry, but here it is going over the balcony:


Through the ancient sash window....



And finally installed in all its glory! 

I spent the rest of the day going through old stuff and culling. 3 massive bags of clothes went off to the local charity shop, but there's still just So Much Stuff!


I have no idea how we managed to accumulate so much in such a relatively short period of time...up until 1999 we lived out of suitcases, more or less. 15 years and two children later and we are far from those minimal times!
Anyway, it's a liberating feeling to have got rid of so much crap, but there's just so much still remaining I despair! 

How do you deal with clutter and stuff? 
Do you have lots of storage so you can shove it out of site, or are you truly minimal?

27 comments:

  1. ruth I am crazy about that balcony! I got rid of a bag and stored another bin in the basement, as I wasn't sure about a few things and I didn't want to be hasty. Having said that, the smaller number of things has been a great boon to me, as has the no shopping!

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    1. Thanks Wendy. Sydney has a lot of terraces with these lacy balconies! They are usually later Victorian or early Edwardian (like ours).
      I wish we had a basement!

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  2. Your wardrobe is gorgeous. Love the color.

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    1. Thanks BB! It's already stuffed full of winter clothes!

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  3. What a lovely home you have - i adore those terraces! That armoire is lovely Ruth but what a pahlava eh? But it was worth it now it is in :)

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    1. It is a bloody palava! J was most insistent that it would fit up the stairs, but I think we both knew he was delusional!! all of our bedroom furniture has had to go over the balcony, apart from the bed, which came apart

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  4. Love your balcony! I tend to keep things for sentimental purposes. My h would throw everything away if he could. I purge every so often and it does feel good.
    Moving and renovations are the worst!

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    1. You're right, A. I'm dreading our renovations (if we ever get council approval!) as we'll have to move out for the duration. I have no idea where we'll stay - eek!

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  5. Hi Ruth, I love that little peek at the outside of your home, so interesting. I always think of people in Australia living in bungalows with huge verandas!

    I always have a box in the basement and purge every now and again, so I don't have too much to do. For some reason though, as Blue Booby (I think it was) said on Dani's blog, I find it hard to get rid of socks!

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    1. HI Patricia, a lot of houses in Australia are bungalows with massive verandas, but in inner city Sydney, where we live, space is at a premium, so there's a lot of high density apartments and old Victorian terraces mixed together. In the suburbs, there's more space and bigger houses!
      I was surprised by the architecture when I first moved here from London - it's far diverse than I had thought it would be!
      I have a lot of socks too. i haven't even started on the underwear cull yet!

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  6. I love apartment balconies and that wardrobe looks to be a great addition. The whole wench over the balcony operation brought to mind the old Laurel & Hardy piano mover skit in which they weren't quite as gentle. I just watched it again on youtube and it still makes me laugh.

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    1. I immediately thought about that too!

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    2. haha! I know that sketch! Happily, the two gentlemen who delivered it were far more careful!

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  7. Your balcony is so charming and I love the new armoire, it will be lovely filled with your favourite things! Good job on the de-cluttering. It must be very trying to live out of bins, I couldn't do it, if I can't see everything I get very anxious. This is why nothing is stored under a bed or in a box in my house.
    We live in an Edwardian house with small rooms and very little storage but our house is not small, we have 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. I am very weird about clutter, I like to know what is in each room and I don't accumulate things for my home... clothes and shoes of course are my downfall and as you know I'm in the process of a massive edit, I've replaced a few things in the last week, mostly basic, wearable items including some new aprons. I can't believe how many things I was holding on to that either didn't fit or were just unwearable: no more shopping for my fantasy life!
    I have had custom closets installed in the bedrooms of our house, makes all the difference. But I love the look of your antique armoire more!
    When do you begin your renos? Will you be without a kitchen?

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    1. Dani, your house sounds like what we need! We only have 2 bedrooms and 1 very awful bathroom, so our renovation is really needed! M has just moved into my study, as she can no longer cope with sharing a room with her 8 year old brother! If only we could inject our house with steroids to make it much bigger!
      I'm not sure when the renos will start, as we are still awaiting council approval. We will be bathroom and kitchenless for the duration, as the whole of the back section is being knocked down. We'll have to move out, but I have no idea where! We can't afford to rent another house, so we might even end up camping!!!

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  8. Love the pic of you in the swing Ruth - you're so well colour coordinated! Good work on the culling. I think small houses can be very functional if you have storage. It's really not about space, just about maximising what you have. That said, I do think you can put in too much storage - you just end up storing all sorts of junk you wouldn't normally, because you have room for it. I usually go through my clothes every 4 months or so and do a cull. I am reasonably ruthless. The paperwork is what tends to overwhelm (so much paperwork!!! I throw out truckloads of it) The childrens things are another matter too. Children are natural maximalists and hoarders in my opinion. I usually wait until they're at school and then throw things out (they never miss them). But I suspect yours are older and that won't work so well for you. I have given them one A3 box each (Kikki K one) that is for art and memorabilia. If it doesn't fit in it, it gets thrown. And I encourage them to throw out their school books at the end of the year (aside from creative writing). They seem to think that they'll want to look at their maths book in year to come (shades of keeping useless Uni notes for years, when now you can just google for the answer!!). Good luck with all the sorting. I feel like that is my life at the moment (unpacking, sorting, organising, throwing out... repeat). Hope M's first day at High School goes well - does she have some of her old friends there? xx

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    1. Thanks! it does look as if I planned my outfit for the swing, doesn't it!
      Paperwork is overwhelming too. We tend to make huge piles that end up almost taking over any available space.Then of course it all gets thrown out and we realise that a vitally important piece of paper was thrown out with the pile. Gah!
      Your idea with the boxes for kids' artwork etc is a great one. We have so much child-generated art and stuff around the place. And you're right about the school books. There is no reason at all to keep them - they will never look at them again. Although, both of them do tend to look through their pre-school folders when they're feeling particularly sooky!

      A good number of M's friends are going to the same High School as her - it's the local selective school, so shouldn't be too much of a shock, friend-wise!

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  9. Storage is Key.
    Love that photo of you on the swing.

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  10. That is beautiful and I am very impressed that it didn't get broken on the way up! We have too much stuff too, must de-clutter!!

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    1. It is a miracle that it didn't get damaged, but I think the guys were quite experienced in delivery methods!

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  11. Happy Australia Day Ruth and family! Oh my, I love your balcony and wardrobe!!! They look exactly how I imagine mine would look if I ever live again in a tropical country. They're just gorgeous :) Because I have limited space in London, I've gone minimalist, or at least try to. I try to do a monthly sorting out if I can. But generally I do a clean-as-you-go thing so nothing accummulates. You look lovely by the way in your swing photo :)

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    1. Thanks C&TT! the balcony is lovely - Sydney is full of these types of baconies!
      Before we moved to Aus we had a minuscule flat in Bloomsbury, so no chance of any clutter there...times they have changed!!

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  12. Love love your blog. I moved to nyc about 10 yrs ago from Canberra and live in brownstone on the upper west side. So, we have three floors but we collect just too much and I'm forever culling stuff to take over to Goodwill. It is an ongoing battle to try to get rid of junk that we accumulate. Difficult to keep things under control with kids and their gear. And in nyc it seems when winter comes...our entrance is overflowing with overcoats. I dont know how everyone manages. We almost all need a mudroom to take off boots, coats, etc before we enter the house/apartment.

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    1. Hi anon! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! NYC must have been quite a change from Canberra! I love those brownstone buildings in NYC... how amazing to live in one! A mudroom would be such a great luxury in cold climates. We could do with a surfboard/water equipment room in our house, but sadly no chance of that!

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  13. I love the new wardrobe. I have much decluttering to do in the near future. All the closets are crammed full so something must be done. Your balcony is beautiful. Good luck with the start of high school. You blink and then they are out on their own.

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    1. Hi SC, you're right about how quickly kids grow up! it seems as if they were born just recently!
      Good luck with your decluttering!

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