mstakenidentity: (Default)
My household organisation mission is starting to morph into a mission to make the house/myself more environmentally friendly. This is a good thing.

I'm taking advantage of being relatively cashed up at the moment, particularly considering things will be a bit tight next year. I've bought an energy saving powerboard for the television system downstairs another for the computer. Then at [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo's suggestion I ordered some sandwich wraps and pockets so we use less glad wrap. And as our green bags are getting quite old and ratty I indulged in some very pretty "Envirosax" bags, which will fit easily in the glovebox of the car and hopefully eliminate the chances of arriving at the supermarket on the way home from work and realising that when I left the house I left the greenbags on the kitchen bench. On the weekend I decided to augment my beloved Diva Cup with some Rad Pads for the days when the Diva Cup is really overkill. As strange as it sounds, I'm actually looking forward to my next period to see how they go.

Next few things on the list for when we can afford it are a solar powered security light- hopefully removing the need to leave a light on outside when we go out- and a solar powered iphone charger.

The less expensive environmental or household organisation things I've done are to keep the 2lt plastic milk bottles instead of throwing them in the recycling. I've been drying them out, taking the labels off and filling them with rice and dried beans and popcorn etc. Protection from weevils and hopefully I can find most of the items in bulkfood places eliminating the plastic packaging. I discovered that unfortunately the jars [info]impostinator very kindly gave me for my preserves and marmalade making wouldn't work (they're old Vegemite jars with plastic lids) but this turned out to be a blessing, because now they house all my baking needs. I have one with shredded coconut, one with cocoa, one with chocolate chips, one with glace cherries and so on. Again, hopefully I can find somewhere selling most of these bulksale so packaging won't be an issue.

I'm also trying to return to my less wasteful roots. I stopped using hankerchieves when I was 19 at the request of my boyfriend who was grossed out by them, and somehow I never went back to them. A few weeks ago when I was over at my cousin's place I sneezed and asked her for a tissue, and she handed my a hankerchief. This inspired me to go out and get more (they are less prolific than they were when I was young) and I am now the proud owner of 8 hankerchieves, which will hopefully be enough to get me through a wash cycle. I'm also trying to follow the rule my mother had when I was growing up- no more lights on that people in the house. If I'm the only person on there should only be one light, even if that does mean turning off and on the light in the kitchen every time I need to stir something.

On the social/animal justice front since we got back from honeymoon I have not bought non free range chicken and have not ordered it in a restaurant. I may have eaten it at friends or relations houses but I figure that as long as I have the purchasing power and choose not to buy it I'm doing what I can. Also we have meat maybe twice or three times a week now, we have a lot more dishes with tofu and/or beans. Next step is only buying free range pork products. I need to find out where I can get free range ham and bacon. Any ideas?

So, that is where I'm at at the moment. If anyone has any ideas about environmentally friendly or frugal products I can buy please let me know, also any advice or tips would go down well. We won't have as much money next year with study etc. so I'm trying to find ways to save money then and hopefully not compromise too much on my environmental and social beliefs. And yes, I'm aware I'm in an incredibly privileged position that I can even consider all this, I figure that since I can I should, and I should remember that not everyone can.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Spent most of the last two days dozing on the couch.

Today I got off my bottom and did some organising. We know have more stuff in the cupboard under the stairs and I've made a start om organising the pantry. The empty vegemite jars given to me by [livejournal.com profile] impostinator came in very useful, they are now filled with pearl barley, shredded coconut, sprinkles, pumpkin seeds and all manner of things that have a habit of tipping over when in their plastic bags and making a huge mess. Their are still quite a few more things to be organised in the pantry, but I feel I've made a good start.

Tomorrow we will haul the cats to the vet at 9:30, then go vote in Moonee Ponds (we'll be out of Melbourne for the election), then hopefully have time for a nice sit down lunch together before I head off to work.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Today Seamus found he unexpectadley had the day off. We celebrated by having haloumi on toast with marmalade for breakfast, I went out to buy it while he did the vacuuming. After a lovely prolonged breakfast we headed off to the post office so he could submit his uni application and I could send some mail I've been meaning to send for a while. We then went into a little homewares shop and bought ourselves a few things we needed plus a present for friends who are engaged (and I think we've picked something original and- I hope- useful.) Last shop was a junk shop where we bought cd folders galore.

Upon arriving home we went upstairs and put cds and their booklets in the folders. This took a while, but now we no longer have a pile of cds in the study and all the pirated cds and dvds are hidden away. Win! Also, I looked through dvds Seamus had pirated before we lived together and discovered a few I really wanted to watch. Consequently when we sat down to lunch we did so in front of Shrek 2, and I still think that human Shrek looks just like Seamus :-)

After the film we decided to wander down to Verb and grab coffee and just relax in each other's company, it was really nice. Then we got home with enough time for me to check the mail (and discover two Book Depository books!), collect the cd cases into a box to be op-shopped (I was going to just put them out to be recycled, but apparently people pay money for cd cases, so I figure the op shop can have them, unless anyone here is interested?) grab some dinner and had in to work.

And considering the shift so far, I'm glad I got the nice relaxing day before!

Day off tomorrow! No Seamus unfortunately during the day, but looking forward to partying the night away!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Yesterday I had a full day off, all to myself! I decided to catch up on things around the house, the main one being cooking.

I set myself a budget of $50, which I exceeded but only by about $7. I bought mainly vegetables from the local green grocer, then two lamb shanks, 500gms of lean mince and a bacon bone from the butcher, a loaf of bread and 4 small dinner rolls from the bakery and some coconut milk and lemongrass from the asian supermarket.

On reaching home I immediately turned on the slowcooker and made a lamb shank stew, main ingrediants lamb shanks, onion, lentils, potatoes, pumkin, carrots, beans, red wine, canned tomatoes, assorted herbs and spices.

I then set the largest pot we have up half full with water and put it on the stove over a low heat. I threw in the bacon bone, some pearl barley and dehydrated beans and put the lid on. I got out the second largest pot and only filled it about two inces deep with water, then put in lemongrass, ginger, galangal, lime leaves, garlic and chilli. I put that over a low heat with the lid off and kept an eye on it till it reduced by an inch, at which point I turned off the heat.

I made up a bolognese sauce in a third pot and left it to simmer for about an hour, then let it cool.

I cut into large chunks onion, garlic, potato, pumkin, carrots, zucchini, green beans and red capsicum and threw them in with the bacon bone along with a can of tomatoes and some herbs, then I left it to get on with becoming soup on it's own.

I cut up quite a lot of veggies for a stirfry, then put them all in one of my bigger freezable plastic boxes. I poured the reduced thai herb mix over them and sprinkled fresh coriander over that then put the lot in the freezer. When we defrost it we'll just have to throw it tin the wok with coconut milk and be done!

Once the bolognese was cool I made up two lasagnes like dishes. One was a normal straight lasagne, the other differed in that instead of pasta I put in a layer of eggplant, then of sweet potato, then zucchini with mushrooms scattered through. Both of these went into the freezer.

Lastly I made a veggie curry with whatever veggies were left and some lentils, then waited for that to cool and froze it in one-person sized portions, on it's own it will be a good lunch and with rice it would be substancial enough for dinner.

The above took me about four hours, not a bad way to spend a stormy afternoon.

Once I'd cleaned up the kitchen I headed upstairs and started on the bookshelf in the study. Both Seamus and I had kept all of our uni readers, but we did pretty much the same subjects (just three years apart) so I got rid of the doubles (mine- because I wouldn't throw out seamus' stuff without permission) and voila! We have shelf room! I then did a quick ransack for anything op shoppable. We'd only done that a few months ago so there wasn't much, but I still found a few that missed the last cull. I then gathered everything that I could see that needed to be recycled in a pile on the floor. Once the pile reached my chin I started carrying it downstairs to the recycle bin, swearing at the cats along the way who were hyperactive and trying to trip me on the stairs.

I did not quite finish taking the pile out before having to leave the house, so some of it is still on the floor of the study ([Unknown site tag]? It's the pile on the floor behind the computer chair if you have time).

I headed out into the storm to collect Eva and we had a rollicking good time at Go Go dancing. Dancing definitely improvess my mood and I think it will be incorperated into all future plans to fight winter blues. We swung by Fitzroy to pick up Seamus from work then dropped Eva home and gorged ourselves on lamb shank stew and apple pies.

Today I visited my cousin for tea and cake, then when I came home I finished fiddling with the bookshelf. Most books are now grouped by author and also vaguely by genre, and the pile'o'crap at hand level when sitting at the computer has been obliterated. Also dusted the damn thing and gave myself an asthma attack, but hey, that's what ventilon is for, right?

Now I'm back at work today and tomorrow, and already looking forward to saturday as my next day off!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
I finished work yesterday at 8am. I was feeling quite awake and hungry, and I knew [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo had the day off, so I rang him and arranged to meet him at Verb (our local awesome cafe) for breakfast. I was slightly late, due to coming out to the carpark to find our car completely iced over. Good Lord it was cold!

After a very yummy breakfast and a long nap we headed out grocery shopping. I had a craving for Tom Kha and chicken satay, so we hit KFL on Racecourse road, a big Asian supermarket. Unfortunately they were fresh out of fake chicken (I refuse to buy non-freerange chicken but alas can not often afford it- so fake chicken is the go) so we wandered over to Safeway where we ran in to [livejournal.com profile] mousebane and Will and were able to point them in the direction of KFL, which they had not known was there. We also got fake chicken, woot!

Once home I chucked the stock, water, lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves, garlic, ginger and galangal in a pot and let it boil up to make the tom kha broth while I curled up with Nemesis, the new Lindsay Davis noval (I finished it this morning, unlike the last two it's actually very good but very dark).

After soup we headed out to the Incinerator Art Complex to see a play called Black Face White Mask, it was an amazing experience. Written by an Englishman and a Vietnamese man working very closely for over a year with a group of about a dozen local youths, mostly African, one white, one Afgani, and one I think Italian or Greek. It was about growing up black in Australia, Melbourne in particular (most of the action was set around the Flemington flats). It was well written, though it did kind of peter out at the end. It was also incredibly funny, and the young people in it were obviously very invested in it. I really hope they get a chance to put it on again. I think with a bit of polishing it would make a great Fringe show.

We got home, had the satay and polished of an amazing chocolate tart of awesome each, then after a day of not-much I was so exhausted I went straight to bed and slept through until 7:30am this morning.

This morning I was treated to pancakes a la [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo before he had to go to work. I then attacked the pile of detritus that is our computer desk. It took a very long time, some impromptu filing, a hunt through the recycling for tin cans able to become pen holders, some serious dusting and scrubbing and two episodes of Miss Marple on youtube (so conveniant when working on the computer desk!) and we now have a desk so clean and clear you could eat off it if you were so inclined. I finished up with a satisfied sigh, looked at the time and swore likea trooper as I hurled myself in the shower, through the bedroom for clothes and kitchen for food and out the door to get to work.

So far tonight has been pretty quite, the strong wind means we can only fly south, and as Melbourne is basically at the southern edge of mainland Australia this is not terribly helpful. However, apparently if we did have to go to Tasmania we'd get there really really fast.

So, all you Victorians on my flist, take care of yourself tonight!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Bedside shelf cleared!

And that will be it for a few days I think, I am working today 8am-4pm, then tomorrow 8am-4pm and midnight-8am. Also working all weekend. I'm just thinking of the overtime. Money money, I love money, I'd shovel it down my throat if I could.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Spare wardrobe tackled on weekend with the help of [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo. HUUUUGE packing box taken to op shop, almost as huge pile again of stuff divided between recyclable and non-recyclables and placed in the correct outside bins. The wardrobe took about two hours with two of us, pretty insane.

Now the only things hanging in there are our wedding clothes, an old coat of my mother's I can't bear to throw away (and really will have to get mended soon) and my old dark blue cloak and green velvet dress (if anyone remembers, it is the dress [livejournal.com profile] impostinator used to call the "not fair" dress) I plan to offer this dress and cloak to my young cousin, though I'm not sure she is still into fantasy stuff- think she's gone sideways into anime. Would anyone else be interested? The dress is beautiful, and cost about $300 new. It's one of a kind made by someone in NZ from memory. The cloak was made by a crafty ex's mum, it's blue velveteen and has slits near the shoulders so you can wear a backpack with it. Free to good home, I'd like to know they were getting worn again.

Today I cleared out the bathroom. It's amazing how many toiletries and hair products two people can accumulate, not to mention out of date medicine. I managed to fill half a small box with op-shoppable stuff and four garbage bags to be binned. Our garbos won't know what hit them this week. Also, it was disturbing how far from white our shower tiles had got. Ick.

At this point I'd like to thank Agatha Christie, and also the BBC, were it not for a laptop I could drag round the house as well as radio plays and you-tubed television programs based upon the late Dame's work I'm pretty darn sure this household organisation mission would have run out of motivation by now.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
I'm awake, fed, showered and dressed by 5pm that day after a night shift.

During winter, this is an achievement.

Household organization in the past few days; linen cupboard cleared out and organized, old student desk completely cleared out, would anyone like a desk? In reasonable if slightly tatty condition, is at least 40 years old, I think my grandad built it for mum when she started high school. Having said that he was a bloody good carpenter and it's a damn good desk- we just don't have the room. Quite lightweight, I can move it by myself, though two people would find it easier. Pic under cut

Desk )

If interested leave a comment and arrange to pick up in next fortnight. If no takers by the end of the week I'll either donate it to Vinnies or stick it out the front of the house with a "Free" sign on it.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
This week my attempts at household organisation are moving slowly thanks to being busy and experienceing some winter associated hibernation (sleeping 12-16 hours a day not good for housework... or anything else really)

I have got some stuff done however. I wiped off the dirty fingerprints downstairs on doors, lightswitches and the fridge. I swept and vacuumed the rugs. I de-cathaird the couches. I cleared aand wiped down the tables. I threw out the old lavender oil air fresheners and replaced them with the autumn popurri I've made (dried apple and orange pieces, dried autumn leaves, cloves, cinnamon and pinecones.) So far downstairs has remained pretty clean and tidy. [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo and I have also worked out a system for cleaning the littler tray that seems fair; every day I scoop out and flush any poo I can see, and then on
Wednesdays he completely changes the litter and puts the old stuff in the outside bin- which is collected the next morning.

This morning I started clearing out the linen press by sorting my yarn stash. This took two and a half hours, and it's not yet finished. I ended up with four bags of yarn that I knew I was never going to use (icky acrylic and feather yarn- that sort of thing) which we dropped at the op-shop this afternoon. We now have more room, but I haven't finished yet! I'll finish off the yarn tomorrow and hopefully get the rest of the cupboard in shape too.

I'm not sure whether to tackle the bathroom or the kitchen next.
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Second foray into household organisation: Organising our wardrobe.

I did not find Narnia, which was disappointing.

Luckily the wardrobe wasn't in too bad a state, because I'd spent a good three hours on it a few weeks ago. We had a moth infestation so I'd had to go through and throw out a lot of stuff, and while I was at it I threw out anything that needed mending (recognising that I was never going to do it, with the exception of a much loved pair of jeans that need a new zip- need to get to a tailor or find a crafty friend...any offers? I can pay you in baked goods!) and separated stuff that only gets worn during summer. I also dropped a huge load of stuff at the op shop.

Today I packed all of my summer clothes into the vacuum bags I bought yesterday and proceeded to scare the hell out of the cats (well, Loki, Puck just looked intriuged) Then I put the bags up the back of the top of the wardrobe.

I have a large Royal Doultan box which housed a very lovely wedding present from [livejournal.com profile] nearlyalegume and [livejournal.com profile] directorratbag. In this box I put all the clothes which no longer fit but which I hope will one day fit once I lose 5-10 kilos (a girl can dream.) I then labelled the box with my new label maker.

Next step- I used one of the pvc storage boxes and put in it my thongs and Birekenstocks. I labelled this box "Out of Season Shoes" It's only half full now, but when summer rolls around this means it will fit all of my boots in easily.

Then I collected all the jewellery I don't wear very often and put the earrings in small boxes (the boxes our wedding rings came in actually- a good excuse to keep them, apart from their sentimental value) and put these small boxes plus the rest of my only-worn-occasionally jewellery into a shoe box (labelled of course) I put it on top of the box of shoes and put those in the top part of wardrobe withing easy reach.

I did a final ransack of my clothes and found a few things that were op-shoppable, as well as a bag that was op-shoppable to put them in. They are currently on my car's backseat to go in a charity bin on my way home from work.

The next step was a bastard. I went through the two baskets that sit at the bottom of the wardrobe holding my socks and underwear. I made piles; everyday knickers, special occasion knickers, emergency laundry day knickers, bras, bra bits (clear straps, inserts etc), socks. I put the knickers and bras back in the baskets and got out a small bag with a zip to put all the bra bits in, that bag is now working as a diveder in the basket between undies and bras. I am not sure how long i'll be able to keep up such ridgid segregation, but figure it's good to start militant and then relax.

I then attempted to pair the socks. Oh God. I made yet another couple of piles, one was of odd socks, the other of socks that are no longer fit to be worn on feet. I put the socks not fit to be worn in the last pvc storage box along with a few old t-shirts and labelled it "Rags for cleaning/dusting" and shoved it in the linen press. The linen press is in a disaster state, that may be the next thing to tackle. The paired socks went back in their basket, the odd socks that I was nearly positive do have a pair (possible in the wash) are in a neat pile at the bottom of the wardrobe awaiting their pair. If I havenot managed to find a pair in a week they'll be added to the rag box.

Very last step was pulling down my red backpack and filling it with clothes for our weekend away, then putting it up the top of the wardrobe within easy reach for tomorrow. Yay weekend away!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
My first foray into organisation saw me spend this morning and early afternoon clearing out the cupboard under the stairs. This cupboard had gotten to the point where even if we could fit an undersized, messy-haired ten year old in there they'd have suffocated through lack of air and space before they had a chance to find out why they had a lightening-shaped scar on their head.

First step was to clear off the small bookshelf upstairs on my desk. It was useful when I was a student because it held whatever library and reference books I needed that semester- however since I'm no longer an Arts student it's become a general dumping ground. I then brought it downstaris and stored it behind the front door until I was ready for it.

The next step was the hardest. I put the Offspring on with the volume up, opened the cupboard door and hauled everything out while loudly proclaming that someone-or-other was pretty fly for a white guy. I had a large garbage bag for rubbish, a smaller cardboard box for the op-shop, dumped everything that actually belonged somewhere else on the stairs and anything to do with Christmas in a large pile on the loungeroom floor. This all took just over an hour.

Step three was to put the bookcase in the cupboard and place the wine rack on top, then put back anything that legitimately should have been in the cupboard- excepting the cards and wrapping paper and wine bags. The amount of room free was enourmous.

Step four: I drove the highpoint and took advantage of the June sales. I bought two very large plastic tubs with lids, three white pvc storage boxes with zipped on lids, two vacuum pack bags, a labelmaker and a torch. This took a while.

The fifth step was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. I had two large tubs and many MANY Christmas items to go in them. I finally managed to pack them all away and used the label maker to label the tubs "Christmas Decorations" and "Christmas gifts and wrapping" (Yes, I get Christmas presents quite early.) I then took the tubs into the garage and (re)discovered how much of a mess the garage is, and slotted the tubs wherever I could.

Step six was running up and down stairs putting away everything I'd thrown on the stairs in step two. Then I used the small pvc storage box to house blank cards and wine bags, and I popped in a roll of sticky tape, scissors and a pen for good measure, I put this on the shelf in the cupboard (and for good measure I labelled the box "Cards and Wine Bags") I'd collected all non-christmas wrapping paper and bags in a large brown bag, which I also put in the cupboard.

Step seven: I still had plently of room on the shelves, and our kitchen is overcrowded, so I decided to move all the large "entertaiing" plates and bowls and olive holders and what-have-you onto the shelves, also the placemats and coasters. Now the shelves are full.

Step eight had to be aborted. It was going to be the ceremonial placing of a brand new torch on top of the shelves as there is no light in the cupboard, but unfortunately the torch I bought turned out to be defective, so it is currently in a plastic bag hanging on the front door knob with it's receipt. I'll have to find time to go back and exchange it. Grrr.

I'd take a picture of what it looks like now, but without a light there would not be much point. Plus I'm at work, not at home. [livejournal.com profile] mc_shamo was very impressed by it though!
mstakenidentity: (Default)
Today is my Mum's birthday. I drove out to Beaumauris to have lunch with her, then drove to Essendon to work.

I am very glad I have a driver's licence, otherwise today would have been impossible.

Tomorrow I will buy boxes to put things in, I have this crazy idea that I/we could actually have an organised house.

Meanwhile, I've taken nine cases in six hours at work, when an adverage is probably four or five in eight hours. It would be just awesome if the phone didn't ring again until after I leave.

I think I deserve some twisties. I'm off to hunt some.

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