Greener Grass

Well, I guess you’ve picked up that the April A-Z has fallen by the wayside! This time it really isn’t my fault. Honest.

We’ve been looking to move house for a while and during the Easter holidays we saw a house, fell in love with it and decided to go for it. The problem is, there’s not really any hanging around with a rented property. When you buy a house (I’ve heard) you have to wait for contracts and surveys and solicitors and whatever else. With a rented house, the estate agent/landlord decide if you’d be a good tenant and that’s it, you’re good to go as soon as you arrange a date to pay your bond and first month’s rent. The estate agent here has a policy that once you apply for the house it’s off the market for four weeks then it goes back on and is fair game for anyone.

So we had four weeks to pay our bond and rent.

But we can’t pay rent for the house we’re living in and the one we’re going to live in.

So we have to move in four weeks.

But we had to wait a week to get approval from the estate agent.

So we have three weeks to move!


Three weeks to move a family of four, five years of accumulated STUFF (we’re all hoarders), baby STUFF, working-from-home STUFF. And the books. Lord help us, the books. We sold 6 boxes of books, we took another 10 boxes to Oxfam and we still have at least 7 boxes of books. That’s not including the babies’ books. Of which there are many.

Basically, I’m meeting myself coming backwards. So all writing, blogging, even twitter has gone out of the window. And I miss it – I miss tweeting my friends and writing the blog and writing full stop. Thankfully I know my friends will still be there when things have calmed down, as will my blog and my works in progress. I’m addicted to pinterest still, and being visual it’s easy to switch off from the house for twenty minutes and browse mindlessly. Plus there are cool ideas that I’m going to implement in the new house. But everything else has been put on the back boiler.

It’ll be worth it though. The new house has a garden – imagine the change from being in a first floor flat! There’s a bedroom each for the children and a converted garage where Andrew will have his office. It’s close to a small village school so Daniel will be near his new friends and it’s about ten minutes drive away from our parents.

I know it could be a case of the grass being greener on the other side. There will be downsides, such as getting used to having neighbours again. That’ll be nice but it will be hard having to watch our noise and putting up with other people’s. Umm…yeah, I’m sure there will be other things that crop up that take some getting used to. I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, my sudden enthusiasm for housekeeping and homemaking and getting organised has happened at just the right time! I’ve developed on from my last post on getting organised and I now use a filofax and a home management file – more another time – and I’m about as organised as I can be at the minute. Tomorrow we go to visit the two possible schools and at the weekend we’ll have a packing marathon. It’s all going swimmingly…so far. Wish us luck!

Getting Organised

First of all, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped out with my appeal for stories for Willow Burn Hospice. I’ve had some great stories already but I’d love some more! Check out this post if you need a reminder and please keep spreading word around. I’m looking at around the end of March or beginning of April to bring the stories together and put them into something ebook-shaped; any questions just email me at Thank you!

Right, today’s post. Well, my last post on my Happiness Project brought some amazingly kind and supportive comments, and made me rethink things a little. While I still want to work on all the areas of my life that I listed in my post, I’m officially abandoning Happiness as a Project. So there. I’m just going to concentrate on making small changes, one day at a time, listening to what my messy mind is telling me I need to focus on at the time.

Right now the universe is sending me clear and frequent messages that it’s not just my mind that’s messy. If I had 50p for every blog post that’s cropped up, book that’s sprung out at me, etc etc, on organising, decluttering and spring cleaning, I’d be able to afford a cleaner. But no benevolent being was giving me those 50p’s (mutter, grumble) so I have to do it myself.

I’m no natural housewife but I acquired a tiny nesting instinct while I was pregnant with Emmy that has hung around and turned me into a vague resemblance of a homemaker. I have somehow gained a few habits that are helping to keep 13 years’ worth of accumulated STUFF at bay. Now however I’ve had enough.

I’m a perpetual learner – I can’t afford to be a perpetual student and pay for courses and things but I’m always picking up books and searching for new blogs and sites and learning about new things, new subjects. It stops my mind being permanently corroded by Spiderman and Peppa Pig (which is wonderful in its way but, y’know…). Now I’m turning my attention to home-making. I’m a bit fed up of not being able to find things, worrying if the house is clean enough for my in-laws to come around or fighting my way through the utility room which is stuffed full of boxes of things that “we’re going to sell at a car boot sale one day soon”. They’ve been there a year. ENOUGH ALREADY.

The last couple of days I’ve been searching out blogs and books and found some that have not only given me some ideas about where to start but actually fired me with enthusiasm. I’m thinking that if I can get on top of my house a bit, making it a pleasant place to live and not being constantly so weighed down by guilt over undone jobs that I never summon up the energy to do them, I will be happier, freer and have more time and energy to do the things I love like reading and writing. Win-win. Plus, a book that I’m reading has pointed out that housework done energetically can actually work as exercise so there’s another win for me.

If you want to know which blogs are firing me up, there’s Organizing Junkie (which is a TREASURE TROVE), A Bowl Full of Lemons, and Clean Mama for starters. And I highly recommend a flick through Pinterest – put organize or organise or any variation on the verb that you fancy and you’re spoiled for choice with people’s tips, solutions, blogs etc. Since I found these blogs I’ve started a housekeeping Bible file and a brain dump book, as well as sorting out a to-do app on my phone.

There’s a couple of cautionary caveats though. First of all, if the housework is my job (which it is – this isn’t feminism stepping back 50 years or anything, it’s just the way it is) then it happens on my terms. I set the schedule, I hold myself accountable. Therefore I officially give myself permission to throw away any comparisons to other people’s houses, standards, whatever. Not helpful, not necessary.

Second, I’m not trying to be a perfect housewife for the rest of my life. I’m trying to help myself get organised today so that life works more smoothly and easily for us all, most of all me. And I shall repeat that mantra every day. It’s taken me 31 years to learn the messy habits I have; the only way I’ll unlearn them is one day at a time.

Today, I shall do my best. Tomorrow doesn’t matter until it’s here.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34