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




I have a new cyber love.

Having lately discovered Pinterest, and raved about it on twitter (as much as you can rave in 140 characters) I thought I should devote an ENTIRE blog post to the subject. I’d also refer you to this post by Jane Alexander.

First off, I DON’T think it’s yet another social networking thing. Well, it is of course, but I’m not using it for that really. You can use it for social networking if you’re really crafty and arty and have lots of pretty work to show off and sell; it’s a great showcase for that.

I like it for two reasons though. First, it’s BRILLIANT if you need to procrastinate and you’ve been pressing refresh on twitter for the last ten minutes. Get stuck into Pinterest and you could easily fritter away an hour or so without even breaking a sweat. Take your pick of cute kittens in funny poses, inspirational posters prettified up, a FABULOUS collection of forgotten houses which are very atmospheric, dream up a house of fantastic staircases and massive rooms (a stair case that has you going up stairs but down a slide! WANT!) and drool over the most amazing libraries and bookshops in the world. Fashion, craft, DIY projects, hairstyles, etc etc etc. Seriously easy to lose time without even noticing.

The other reason I love it, a slightly less frivolous reason, is for inspiration. As a writer, you can find photos of people to match your characters or settings which can both motivate you to keep going and spark something new off. I know lots of people like to have that visual cue and I do at times, though it’s not my particular ‘thing’. And those abandoned houses I mentioned earlier? Fabulous story prompts! It’s not just writers who can find inspiration, either. Designers, crafters, artists –  there are a million ways to use Pinterest to get project ideas, share tips, make mood boards or pin colour combinations for future reference. You organise your pictures into boards – imagine you have a series of corkboards that you’re sticking these pictures too, each with your own focus. As far as I know you can have as many boards as you like which means you can organise your pictures whichever way suits you. I have 21 boards at the minute but I’m sure I’ll add to this continually. I also have my twitter and Facebook accounts linked in so I can, every now and then, post a particularly good picture to my usual networks too.

In case you’re a particularly conscientious person, the owners of the images do not lose out, as the ‘pin’ is only a link to the original work. It’s not removing the original image or copying it but bookmarking it. Which, by the way, means you can very often find new blogs to read or artists to follow. And there the link back into social networking; even if you’re not using it to extend your network it’s still very social and another way of linking up with people who like the same things you do. This is, in my opinion, why it’s not a tool like google+. I tried Google+ and yeah, it was cool, it was a mix of twitter and Facebook and I could see why people liked it. But I stopped using it, because at the end of the day it didn’t really do anything that twitter and Facebook weren’t already doing. Pinterest is different because I’m not using it to network, I’m not trying to gain followers or get more people to listen to me, and it is adding a new, visual dimension to my online activity that wasn’t there before. Whether I need to use Pinterest or not is a different matter, but I like it and as long as I continue to like it I’ll keep using it.

Here’s me on Pinterest, if you fancy seeing what sort of things I like and the boards that I’ve made. If you don’t have a Pinterest account or invitation then leave a comment and I’ll send an invite to your email address. Because I’m THAT nice… 😉