Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 3 in review

The 20 Day Challenge marches on, gaining momentum everyday in our house. Everyday I am excited to check my email to see what is happening next. It has however been a very busy week, and blogging has taken a back seat. So here is week three in review:

DAY 12 Clean the Dishwasher, De-clutter & Organise the bathroom cupboard. I often reflect on how lucky we are as modern women to have all of these appliances to make our daily lives so much easier. Even cleaning the dishwasher is as easy as adding the cleaning products and leaving it on a cycle. See TOH instructions here.

Dishwasher {Before}

Having trouble getting an after photo of the dishwaher as it is always in use!

Bathroom Cupboard {Before}
 It doesn't look so bad, does it? But when we have a closer look inside the baskets and boxes:

 I had a bit of a makeup cull, throwing anything that was broken or icky looking. Then time to wash the makeup brushes. Just a little warm water and shampoo in a plastic container, wash rinse and allow to dry. Good as new :)

 I have organised the make up into lips and eyes in the top tray, base (foundations, concealers etc) in the little balack zip up bag and larger "colour" items in the bottom of the case.
 Much easier to find everything now in the mornings.

And how about this for a handy spot for the hairdryer? No more scrabbling about in the bottom of the cupboard. I found the hook when cleaning out the linen cupboard!
DAY 13 - Clean the cornices, de-clutter the kids artwork, organise the kids artwork. I have nothing to share here as I really don't have an issue with the kids artwork. They tend to keep their special pieces on display in their rooms, and we go through it regularly. They are pretty good at decluttering: "Do you want his?" "No" etc.

DAY 14 - Clean the office, de-clutter the office desk, organise the office desk. I had been looking forwad to getting stuck into this room and here's why:
 Our office is one of the most used rooms in the house, and as such it takes a bit of a bit of a beating.

 We recently replaced our old corner style desk (that was breaking apart) with this more streamlined option from Officeworks. I wanted to go for a high gloss white to blend in with the little bar fridge we also recently acquired. But this left nowhere to store all the bits and pieces associated with a home office.
 So we purchased this matching credenza from Officeworks too (even though I swore I would never buy flat packed furniture again!)
I still need to wash the walls down and put up a vinyl wall sticker that I have been hanging on to for, well for ever. Such a relief to have this room tidy :) Stay tuned for a mini-makeover.

DAY 15 - Clean the patio/outdoor area, de-clutter weeds & organise the kids wardrobes.

Hmmm, seem to have completely forgotton about the kids wardrobes, so I guess that's a catch up job. But the outdoor area, well I went a little crazy! The weather has been seriously ordinary for a number of weeks now with rain, storms, strong winds etc so this area has been really neglceted.
Alfresco {Before}
 Having said that, I had not long ago got stuck into the scary, horror movie-esque cobwebs we has been cultivating :P
This job posed a bit of a "chicken or the egg" dilemma. I wanted to move the bikes off the alfresco, but the garden shed and garage were so cluttered that there was nowhere to store the bikes. So in order to clean the alfresco, I first had to organise the shed and garage. No before photo, but I am feeling slightly triumphant that the bikes actually fit in the garden shed now!

  Shed {After}
So then on to the alfresco. Really just a matter of washing the barbecue, table and chairs. Cleaning the windows and sweeping.

In the absence of an outdoor broom I will admit to vacuuming the pavers. Not something that is recommended for the health of your vacuum cleaner, but I did get an indecent amount of pleasure sucking up all those old bits of grass clippings that get in around the base of the windows.

Alfresco {After}
A quick dash down to the local hardware store provided some colour for the table, but I would still like a bright table runner, and possibly an update of the chair pads to really brighten it up out there.

Something like these would be cute and they match the decor in the main living area of the house . . . .

So that's the wrap up of week 3. As I type this I am heading into DAY 18. Can't wait to share the last week of the challenge!

Monday, September 17, 2012

An organised home equals an organised mind?

DAY 11 Clean the washing machine, Declutter the linen cupboard, organise the linen cupboard.

The washing machine wasn't too much of a chore. It's pretty new as our 11 year old machine died less then a year ago. I ran a short wash cycle with about 30ml of Nutrimetics Heavy Clean.

I stopped the cycle when the product had mixed in and used the warm soapy water to wipe down the inside and outside of the machine. I also found an old toothbrush to be handy to get into all the little nooks & crannies.

I also washed the softener dispenser, using the toothbrush to loosen up the little bit of build up in there. Then just let the cycle finish. Luckily this was easy and quick enough to do before work.

DID YOU KNOW that most fabric softeners are made with animal tallow (animal fat)? This is what that sludgy build up is mostly made from. Eeeeew, gross right? I switched to Nutrimetics FBC which has a beautiful fragrance, but it is a little pricey at $18.00 per litre. And again, being impatient I looked for a supermarket alternative.

Nature's Organics Earth Choice Fabric Softener is tallow and dye free, biodegradable, not tested on animals, contains no animal products, PET free plastic packaging and 100% Australian made and owned. Best of all I can get it from Woolies for $2.11 per litre!

I really don't have as big an issue with sludge since changing to tallow free.

In a wierd way I was looking forward to getting into the linen cupboard. It has been a source of contention, with stuff all over the floor making it impossible to get in there properly. Of course the kids grab a towel (from the bottom of the pile) and the whole lot tumbles down. And I was pretty sure there was stuff in there that was pre-children, meaning it had done two or three moves of house and never been used!
Linen Cupboard {Before}

I took EVERYTHING out and started again. All of the little boxes got sorted through and I ended up with a big bag to donate :)

Linen Cupboard {After}

I had the thought as I was reorganising that if I moved the towels down to child level, perhaps they might beable to take a towel without the whole pile taking a tumble. Duh!? So simple, why did I not think of it before?

I am beginning to feel that by organising my home, I am organising my mind. All those little irritations of a messy spare room or closet are starting to fade and I just keep looking forward to the next task . . . 

Catching Up

DAY 10 of TOH 20 Day Challenge came and went in a flurry of activity not related to the 20 Day Challenge. Just the usual kids sports day, racing to choir rehearsal, quick desperation shop to find the "perfect jacket" for that night's performance, race home to scrub up for said choir performane with Deep Blue Orchestra! Yep, just your usual Friday :P

Thankfully this week was the one of the first Saturdays since April that there was no soccer for number one son. This provided the opportunity for a weekend of catching up.

I went back through all of the checklists I had printed out over the course of the last ten days to see what I hadn't quite got to. So here we go . . . .


  • Clean the Microwave (how did I miss this?)


  • Put decorative pillows on the washing line for a few hours (we had some pretty awful weather back then, but this weekend was glorious!)
  • Wash outside windows (main bedroom)

 DAY 3

  • Create a laundry routine. I used to wash on the weekends, but with those two days being filled with all the usual family shenanigans and the weather being fairly ordinary during winter, this has been a constant source of stress. I am trying to be more disciplined and putting on a small load each day. SOOOO much easier! Hanging out doesn't seem such a chore, folding and putting away doesn't seem such a chore because the loads are so much smaller and manageable.


  • Declutter magazine collection. Love this idea from TOH so  much that I got myself an expand-a-file from Woolies when I did the grocery shopping.
  • Clean the outside of the lounge windows


  • Complete (YAY!)


  • Wash outside of bathroom windows. Had neglected to do the inside of the bathroom windows too! Possibly for about hmmm three millennium from the state of the glass cleaning wipe. Too embarrassed to post a photo of that!
  • Wipe over washing lines. Just took a cloth out with me to the line and wiped over before hanging up a load.

 DAY 7

  • Meal planning - I do tend to do this before my weekly grocery shop anyway and so the weekend was the perfect opportunity. Watch this space! I plan to regularly post the recipes, meals and shopping lists of my meal plans . . . . 


  • Update family responsibility system. We currently use and we love it. It does take a little time to set it up, but well worth it. The kids can access their own jobs to check off by iPad, laptop or desktop computer. Totally paperless, but it does have a printable too. I will post about this in more detail at a later date.
  • Sort displaced clutter from spare room clean out!
  • Declutter toys (darling daughter's room, yet to get to number one son!)


  • Ceiling fans. Well we don't have any :) So I thought I should clean the air-con filters in the two split system units. I have procrastinated, and I don't know why! Somehow this just hasn't happened, it's not a hard job but obviously I have hit a mental barrier. Something to work through.
  • Junk drawer. This is actually how my kitchen drawers look after not long ago having a re-shuffle. So I did the cutlery drawer.

  • Organise Calendar/Diary. This proved a bit of a task. We are a Mac family and I had been using Outlook for mac for my email manager. Outlook is not compatible with iCloud if you use a Mac. PC no problem, but not Mac. So I had to spend a little time setting up Mail & iCal. Now with iCloud, any calender item entered on any device (desktop, iPad, iPhone etc) linked to the cloud, automatically updates all calendars. Huh? for example I add an event to the calendar on my iPhone and within seconds it is sent to my husband's iPhone - including the reminders, alerts and repeats. It's awesome! See the Apple Website for more details. I believe Google Calendar works in a very similar way.
DAY 10
  • The Oven! Eeeek! I am all for environmentally friendly cleaning products, but when it came to the oven I called in the big guns. If it is good enough for the girls at work who do the vacate cleans, then it is good enough for me.
  • This is pretty caustic stuff. DO wear thick rubber gloves and long sleeves, and try not to breathe it in. I used damp paper towels to wipe the oven out after the allotted time and then generously sprayed the interior of the oven with a water spray to rinse it thoroughly, and wiped with more paper towel. Remember to run the oven for an hour or so BEFORE cooking in it, so that your baking doesn't taste like oven cleaner.
  • I did soak the racks in Napisan overnight though, as per TOH's instructions. This was amazing! Still a little elbow grease required, but I was surprised at how well it worked.
Oven {Before}
 Oven {After}
  • Organise Tupperware cupboard. We actually have 2 Tupperware drawers, which is great but they get just as messy as a cupboard. As the kids have taken over the unstacking of the dishwasher, we had to have a little chat about putting things away neatly. SO far so good :)
Top Drawer {Before}
Top Drawer {After}
Bottom Drawer {Before}
 Bottom Drawer {After}
  • Declutter Kitchen cupboards. For the most part they weren't too bad.
But there were a couple of problem areas.
Pot Cupboard {Before}
Pot Cupboard {After}
Utility Cupboard {Before}
Utility Cupboard {After}
Appliance Cupboard {Before}
Appliance Cupboard {After}

Serving Dish/Liquor Cupboard {Before}
Serving Dish/Liquor Cupboard {After}
Feeling exhausted after that effort, but ever so slightly smug :)