Tag Archive | Organising

Pull out the plastics

OK, pantry ordered and organised. Time to turn elsewhere in the kitchen. 

I took a deep breath and ventured into my plastics’ cupboard. 

Who knew how many items were contained within. Even more esoteric would be the knowledge of that subset of plastics: unusable and incomplete. How many bowls without matching lids? How many lids without bases? How many damaged items lay in this tangled mess?

What was clear was if everything was taken out, no way would they fit back in if lids were put on containers and then stacked on each other. The only way everything could be contained within the cupboard was if bowls were stacked inside other bigger bowls, square containers in bigger square containers, lids store altogether in a couple of containers. 

First to go: plastics that have shrunk in dishwasher, containers with heat damage, lids without bases. 

The dead and broken are easily dealt with. But do we really need so many plastic items?

So off to the op shop are plastic items we don’t use: cereal containers from when kids ate lots of different breakfast cereals, chopping board, ice block maker, ice cube tray. All perfectly good but not needed by me at this point in my life. 

Some items were repurposed and repositioned in the house. Mr S needed a new scoop for the chlorine in there pool. I have just the thing. A part from a lettuce spinner. 

Everything that went back in the cupboard had to go with the lid attached. No more hunting through the deep reaches, no more pulling everything out to find the right lid. 

And by stacking everything with it’s lid on means that we can fit far fewer items back in the cupboard. 

We still probably have too many items. But I plan on buying no more. Ever. For the rest of my life. Which may have 3o to 40 years left. So that’s not too bad.

Don’t miss the use by date

Do you want to have less food waste? 

Are you sick of finding out of date items in your pantry?  (A debate about use by dates vs best before vs smell test is for a later post.)

Here’s a simple thing you can do to minimise the problem of missing use by dates. 

Put a container in a noticeable spot. Routinely check your stock and pop items nearing, or past, the best before or use by date.

Now you have the visual reminder of things that need to be used next or soon. 

Dealing with pantry moths

The hot and humid weather of summer suits some more than others. I’m on the side of not being well suited. On the positive side of the ledger sits pantry moths. 

Invaded we were. Last summer went through most of autumn, and thus great plagues were incubated. Every time someone opened the pantry door, moths, defending their newly won territory, dive bombed the seeker of food. 

A multi-faceted approach was needed. First step was research. I have done that for you. So here I present what to do to get rid of an infestation of pantry moths. It isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to be pleasant work. It isn’t going to be overly frugal. But by ridding your pantry of moths, you will save more food being wasted and you will rid your pantry of moths. 

Step 1: empty the pantry of everything. (If you’re like me you will continually exclaim the following: When did we turn into a supermarket? Why do we have so much food? Why do we have so much out of date food?) Use this time to toss  outdated food. 

Step 2: dry goods have to go. No, you can’t keep that unopened paper bag of flour. It will have moth eggs in it. No, you can’t keep that half empty box of rolled oats. No, you can’t … No.  Just no. Toss everything. If you don’t, the moths will infect your new produce.

Step 3: spray in the pantry with fly spray and quickly shut the door. The moths will die quickly making it easier to clean the pantry. Come back in an hour. 

Step 4: use a dust pan and brush to sweep up moths and crumbs and dust and onion peels and bits and stuff. Then clean every surface and the walls of your pantry. It doesn’t really matter what product you use. Best is some detergent in hot water. Dishwashing liquid is fine. Rince your cloth in the water and detergent and wring out so it is damp. You will need to empty and refresh your water repeatedly, depending on size and state of your pantry. Wipe over again with clean water. Dry with a cloth. Then leave to air dry. 

Step 5: put cloves in the gaps of the pantry. The walls of my pantry are grooved so a clove fits perfectly, like a little tack. Moths don’t like the smell. Plus closing the gaps make it hard for the weevils to come up. The moths lay their eggs down these gaps apparently. When hatched, they wriggle up. 

Cloves being stuck in gaps

Step 6: wipe over every tin before you return each one to the pantry. Put dry goods in airtight plastic containers. 

That’s it. Only pesticides used is the fly spray. 

OK, I won’t lie. The six easy steps took all weekend. I made my boys do steps 1 and 4. Which required much nagging on my part to keep them going and not disappearing into their rooms. I did the tossing part of Step 1. And I assisted in Step 4, cleaning the bits they missed, like up close to the edges. 

Result: organised, clean and moth-free pantry.  


Apropos of nothing, I was not happy with how and where I stored my sunnies. Actually stored is the wong word. Kept, dumped, placed, lost are all more apt verbs.

The first two drawers of my bedroom chest of drawers are half sized. The top one is divided in three. I organise my bras in it but thought they would be perfect to store my sunglasses.

So mess and disorganisation being devil’s work, and ignoring the larger mess all around my house, I set about focusing on a smaller task. Collecting my sunnies from various hot spots*, squashing my bras into two sections, and putting my sunnies in the central section.

Ahhh! Feeling much better. Now I will be able to pick the right pair for the occasion and outfit.*

After such a long awaited housework task, I deserve a cup of tea.


*Not all my glasses have been collected. Will need to go on a hunt for the others.

It’s the little things

Vivien, over at Where the Journey Takes Me, posted about The Little Things. Those things waiting, waiting, waiting to be dealt with. You know those things waiting to be put back where they belong, or even worse, those little things that don’t have a place and are waiting for you to find a home for them.

Well, I’m not up to finding new homes, or developing systems just yet. My mind can’t face it. And I am still exhausted from a big term at work. I also know that I won’t keep any systems when I get back to work. My system is to use the holidays to play catch up.

So today I am going to focus on one room and put away those little things that make the place look cluttered.

I will start with my bedroom, given I gave it a thorough dusting, polishing and washing of timber work last weekend.

My bedside table:


Husband’s glasses case back to his side; hot pack back in its home so I can find it next time. Job to do today: read both magazines and then declutter.

Ah! That’s better.


The top of my chest of drawers:


Gift of the most beautiful colour of nail polish from a dear friend put away with other nail polish; gift bag put with other gift bag for re-using; card put with other stationery to remind me to purchase similar ethical cards: envelope put in recycling bin; bangle put in jewellery drawer; curtain hook put with others for when I get around to rehooking the curtain; bobby pin put back in bobby pin container in bathroom; single 10 cent coin put in wallet; piece of cardboard from perfume box used as a bookmark for book in bedside table so book is not left open, face down (sorry, reading librarians).

Much neater:


Next to my chest of drawers:


This is a dot painting from Central Australia that has been on my to do list to have stretched for over a year. Today I am off to a framing shop. Stayed tuned for an update.

On the other side of my chest of drawers:


Papers filed or placed in recycling bin; textas put with other craft items I will donating this week; post-it note with address given to husband who was looking for it; blank post-its put where they live. Look! A floor as a floor and not a storage space.


My valet stand (which is full of resting clothes – you know not clean enough to put in the wardrobe, not dirty enough to wash).


This is a doozie! Have I mentioned previously that I have too many clothes? OK, might list what this little valet stand is holding and why the clothes are waiting.

  • Cute little mustardy-green cardie (the colour and style makes it hard to match with other clothes but as it has a worn smell I won’t put it back in the cupboard until worn at least three times);
  • three sequinned or embellished singlet tops that are waiting to be handwashed (I can’t put them in the laundry as they will get thrown in with heavy duty soiled clothes);
  • a small wrap skirt that I wear over my swimmer (OK, have to admit summer is over and I won’t be wearing this again for many, many months);
  • exercise tights that were only worn for an hour’s Pilates – definitely not enough to warrant washing and the resulting fading that will happen;
  • socks that I wore for one 45 min walk and will wear again for another walk;
  • top worn for a few hours before changing into party gear;
  • little light green cardie worn once and you know by now how I feel about clothes worn once;
  • a white jacket that was washed by Mr Sans and didn’t come up well so I am saving until I do a white wash;
  • a pair of pants waiting for be taken up, waiting for over three years I might add;
  • outfit of top, bra, skirt and stocking socks that I wore for a few hours yesterday and will wear again today (it’s 10.40 and I am still in my PJs. Hey! It’s holidays. Don’t judge me.
  • a sleeveless top worn for a few hours the other day.
  • It is normal for me to have so many clothes resting. I change due to weather, work, slothing around, exercise, and may go through three changes a day but I definitely don’t wash after a short wear.

    So what to do? Those pants are definitely going to the sewing pile. The sequinned tops and cardie are being washed by my very gentle Miele washing machine; today’s clothes are ready to be worn after my shower; wrap skirt is in the washing basket; white jacket is soaking in Napisan. So now. Tada!


    And finally, hanging off my bed:

    Swimmers. It will be a long wait until I will take a dip in the pool again. These have lost their elasticity so are going to the bin. Sad, as they match the wrap skirt perfectly but no one wants to see a lady of a certain age with cossies hanging down below what is seemly.

    An hour’s work and a tidier bedroom.

    I deserve a cuppa before my shower!

    Look, I said I’d do it so you don’t have to nag every year

    So I said I would do it this year.

    And this is where I am up to:

  • Collected receipts from around the house. Dang, I hid stored them in some interesting places!
  • Sorted receipts into year groups.
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  • Shredded paperwork and bills that are not needed.
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  • Set up a station in a handy place for the next year’s tax.


    And now I feel a wave of procrastination coming on.

    No, Lucinda, fight it!

  • It’s still too much

    Despite decluttering my wardrobe and not buying clothes now for 9 months, I recently couldn’t find the pants I wanted, so I reverted to my old method.

    Pull everything out of the cupboard, find pants, and stuff everything back in, higgledy-piggledy.

    Not mature, not tidy, and definitely not showing care for my clothing.

    As I was sweeping some of the clothes out onto the floor, I thought about Cline’s statement: “We own more clothes than we can wear.”

    And I thought about the cost of all these clothes, some of which I wear a lot, some of which I will wear, some of which I will never wear again, and some of which I have hardly worn. The cost in terms of how many hours I had to work to buy them. And the cost in terms of the environmental impact to manufacture clothes many of which would just be stored in my cupboard, and not be used for their purpose, ie to be worn, (and then worn out from use). (And the cost to my time sorting and locating the items I want.)

    Do I need 9 camis? They are all different – different fabric and different colours. But I hardly wear camis. I keep them just in case.

    The same could be asked of my other tops which are all different – styles, fabric, colours, cut, fit. But I do have a lot.

    As I swept them onto the floor and then as I picked up bundles to stuff back on the shelf (I was in too much of a hurry to put them back nicely at that time; that would have to wait until I had time) I thought that this was an awful lot of fabric.

    So yesterday, as I folded and tidied the cupboard shelf that stores some of my items, I picked out several items that needed to go.

    This skirt I bought quite a few years go. I have hardly worn it but couldn’t bring myself to donate it. It’s Anthea Crawford!! And I bought it with 2 camis, a sheer top that goes over the camis, and another skirt. Kinda like a mix and match capsule wardrobe. But I never really took to the colour of this one. And I won’t wait until I donate the others. Off it goes.


    And these three items! The shorts just don’t suit my shape, and the tops are too short. I have reached an age when I like my tops to cover my lower back. So much more healthy. (Oh, I do sound like my mother!)


    The skirt and shorts will be donated to the charity shop. The tops, which are cotton, will be used as cleaning rags.

    So now my cupboard is looking a little more organised. One side:


    And the other:


    I would like to be like someone my mother knew. She had very little in her wardrobe. Every season she would buy a couple of tops, a pair of pants, a skirt and dress. And then wear them to death. Next season, out with the old and in with a new set. Sounds so liberating. Rather than hanging onto items no longer worn. And to have a sparse wardrobe!

    I might follow that with a few capsules for different “looks” and needs, as in one pair of exercise outfits, one casual outfit, one hanging around the house outfit. My fear is that one year I will not find something that suits me and I’d have to hang onto the old worn out ones.

    But that it a long way off. For now I have so many clothes, I need to just wear them.

    Mindful Clothes Shopping

    In this, the ninth month of my wardrobe diet, I have been reevaluating my future purchases.

    I have been reading Overdressed by Elizabeth L. Cline. The subtitle gives you a clear picture of the focus and arguments of the book: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion.


    The cost, to workers, to the environment and even to our clothes (the quality of fabric, cut and production) makes this book too depressing to read in one go. So I have been dipping in and out. Still, it is a challenging and depressing reading.

    While Cline’s facts and figures are American, the cost is universal in the Western world. We treat clothes as disposable items. We expect unbelievably cheap prices. We buy without thought for where, how and by whom the clothes have been manufactured, and where our clothes will end up, which is usually landfill. Even though we know that our clothes are cheap because of how and where they are now manufactured, we buy. And we buy lots!

    And the cost has also been to manufacturers and workers in countries with labour and environmental laws.

    Remember when buying a new piece of clothing was a major commitment? Growing up you didn’t have piles and piles of clothes. They were expensive as a proportion of our income. And clothes were cared for and repaired. They had to last!

    I remember how excited I was when the first cheap Made in China T-shirt was on sale in this warehouse with just soooo many cotton clothes. What was exciting was the price! I could buy heaps, in different colours, for the same price of one Australian made top. But the quality? Well, after a few washes the shape was skew-whiff.

    Cause or consequence? Either way, we don’t expect quality. When favourite clothing lines go off-shore, we know the quality will not be the same, despite assurances by the retailer. And our expectations are confirmed. But it is too late. The local manufacturer has gone. The local jobs have gone. The knowledge on how to make and repair our clothes lost.

    Yes, maybe clothes designers, manufacturers and retailers made too great a profit in the past. And I know there are no simple answers. The workers in third world countries rely on the employment, even if underpaid and overworked in unsafe sweatshops. And there is exploitation and breach of environmental protection laws in first world countries.

    Still, I will now try to only buy clothes made in countries with labour and environmental protection laws, or from suppliers who guarantee ethical treatment of their workers. I will buy fewer items of better quality with greater thought in buying what I need and like. This will mean I spend money and buy fewer items. There is the potential that I won’t actually spend much more because I will buyer fewer things, and things that will last.

    This week I needed new socks. My current socks have all died at the same time. Previously I would have accepted that my only option was for those made in China. Cheap and plentiful. Buy them in bulk lots. They may stretch quickly but why worry? They’re cheap after all.

    I investigated my options. 3 pairs of Chinese made socks at $6 or one pair of Australian made using Australian cotton and Australian wool for a cushion bottom. The latter were much more expensive. $16! And a cotton pair for $11. Ouch! I have become use to cheap imports. But what’s the true cost? The real cost? The hidden cost? That needs to be factored in!

    I just did a 30 minute walk (2.66 km) in my new wool cushion bottomed socks. Very springy!


    Want to see the speciality range of Australian made socks? They have ones that grass seeds don’t stick to. Probably great for gardeners. Go to Humphrey Law socks. I love how you can see how they are made: here. Looks clean and safe to me!


    No I don’t.

    That is my usual reply when people ask me if I feel worried.

    What about?

    That I haven’t done my tax in a number of years.

    OK, I do kinda feel a bit worried. But I just switch it off. And I switch off tax agent ads on the tele. And change the topic when my husband asks how we are going in getting it done.

    A wonderful example of burying my head in the sand. And as the years add up, I become more and more ostrich like.

    It’s just that as the years go on, the work becomes more involved.

    But it is like a remembrall from Harry Potter. I am just waiting for it to explode.


    So I have a new challenge. To get my tax done in the next four weeks. It has been one of my goals for this year. So off I go!

    First step to lift the weight off my shoulders: today I will collect all the receipts from around the house.


    Another one bites the dust

    On a roll from sewing on two buttons yesterday, I attacked another shirt. This one has roses sewn on as embellishments. Two were coming off.

    So being the queen of obvious, I sewed them on. (If you’re after earth-shattering posts full of intellectual content, my apologies.)

    The shirt has been waiting for months and months. For something that took minutes! I knew it would but I just couldn’t be arsed to get started. Isn’t that often the way? With exercise? With eating healthier? Why isn’t it the way with opening the bar of chocolate? Or the next bottle of wine?


    And then a made an attempt at a dress whose front seam had come undone. But found that the material had frayed. So sewing it up wasn’t going to work. And being where the seam was, front and upper thigh, it would be noticeable. Well, too noticeable for my liking. I am quite particular.

    So off to the charity shop. And that means I now have 36 dresses.


    And look! Nothing next to the chest of drawers.


    Nor on the towel basket (a repurposed picnic basket).


    Nor behind the door. (Except dust.)


    And I sorted and tidied one shelf.


    I am just going to rest on my laurels. All this goodness is too much. Too much, I say.

    I might get back on track with the original intent of my blog – getting fit, slim and healthy. Then again who can be….