Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It fits!

The hunt for the perfect skinny kitchen bin is over:

Over the past year and a bit, the sight of the grotty old kitchen tidy sitting at the end of my bench has driven me insane. It was the first thing I saw every time I walked into the room - not quite the sort of feature I had in mind. If we had people over, I'd hide it in the pantry.

Thankfully, it's now been banished to the garage. :o)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's all happening!

The long-awaited landscaping has begun and at the end of the first week, there's quite a bit of progress. It's actually only been three days, since they started on Wednesday, but already it's looking tidier and we're beginning to see things taking shape.

Here's where we started from. Garden furniture and barbecues (Yes, plural...we have three. Don't ask...) all cleared out and safely stowed in the garage. A bare slab, some crappy dirt and the remnants of a few weeds that resisted bombardment with Roundup:

Three days later, there's been a lot of rubbishy soil, weeds and bits of builder's debris removed, roadbase spread and concrete poured. We now have an extended slab, all ready for pavers on Monday, plus the framework of our feature screen along the fence.

There's also some clearing been done along the back, and more roadbase spread and compacted. Not much to see yet, but it's neater than it was...

The landscapers left their equipment parked out the back. I am tempted to take the Dingo for a spin over the weekend....

The boys will be back on Monday to finish the screen and start laying pavers. THAT'S going to be exciting!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happiness is....being organised

I hate clutter and mess, but somehow constantly find myself living amongst it anyway. If I won Tattslotto, one of the first things I'd do is employ one of those organising and de-cluttering mobs to come round and sort us out.

*sigh* Since that's unlikely to happen, I have to take matters into my own hands. There are so many great products out there to help you keep all your stuff organised and easy to find. Unfortunately, the pricing on many of them is completely ridiculous. So in the interests of saving both money and my sanity, I've come up with a few ideas and thought I might share them.

#1 - the dreaded junk drawer

This is the kitchen junk drawer I'm referring to, as opposed to various other junk drawers you might have. Ours was a complete disaster, full of useful stuff, only we could never find it when we wanted it. That's because it was also full of complete and utter crap. Where does that come from?

Howards Storage World has these great clear acrylic drawer dividers in assorted sizes and shapes:

Perfect. Also very attractive. But: a) they don't have any stores near us; and b) these work out a little exxy when you figure out how many you need. So I hunted around the supermarket and came up with this not-so-pretty but cheaper alternative:

I think we'll be right for pens for a while....

Also sticky tape....

The smaller baskets were as cheap as chips, around $1, from memory. They may have been on special....

I basically kept the stuff we're most likely to need, threw out the junk and moved the rest to more of these baskets in the laundry overhead cabinets. Light globes, batteries, shoe laces, stuff like that.

#2 The even more dreaded kitchen utensil drawer

I'm sick of never being able to find tongs, veggie peeler, the right measuring cup and so on, just when I need them. So I applied the same principle here, with more baskets:

The idea is to sort your stuff into various sizes and then put them in appropriate-sized baskets. You have zero hope of finding a small utensil in a huge pile of larger stuff. By the way, measuring cups may not under any circumstances be flung loose into the drawer - they have to be stacked up. Mum's rule, no exceptions....

This is still a work in progress. I need to clear out the cling wrap, foil, freezer bags etc from the next drawer down and find a new home for it. Then I can spread the utensils over two drawers - it's much easier to find things when they're spread out shallowly rather than piled ten deep.

It's not brain surgery, not expensive and nothing that requires any skill. So what are you waiting for?

I'll share a few more tips as I get things sorted. I'm working on a temporary wardrobe solution at the moment. Don't hold your breath waiting for my next post though, I'm kind of busy...

Friday, February 5, 2010

The intrepid (bargain) hunter

Today I'm celebrating several wins on the bargain-hunting front.

Bargain #1 - You know those clear plastic shoe storage boxes that a certain storage specialist shop sells for $22.95 each? Well, I discovered that Target has their own version for $12.95 for a pack of two. But today, they were marked down to $4.99. Yippee! But wait, there's more.... At the register they scanned for the rock-bottom price of $3.15.

Damn. Should have bought more than four packs. Guess where I'm going again tomorrow?

Bargain #2 - A few months ago, I was eyeing off this framed print of bamboo leaves, also at Target. I didn't buy it at the time because I had umpteen other things to spend $50 on. Today, I spotted it again, this time with a red price sticker on it. I didn't have my glasses on, so had to peer at the price for a while to be certain that it really did say $10.86. Score!

Bargain #3 - Next, I noticed a "wood carving" wall plaque, depicting a Buddha head. It's actually cast plaster or some sort of plastic resin or something, but who cares? I couldn't find a price on it anywhere, no bar code, and nothing on the shelf to indicate how much it was. I know they usually sell for $60-70.

I asked a staff member, who had to call somebody more senior to check. I made sure to point out that it had slight damage to one corner (which I can easily repair with the help of some craft supplies) and the answer came back that I could have it for $19.95. Sweet! The girl scribbled a code and the price for me to give to the checkout operator and I headed off. But that code registered a price of $6.95.

Another phone call to check, and they decided it was all too hard and I could have it for the cheaper price.

If you think Buddha's smiling, you should see my face! Who says decorating has to be expensive?