A rookie mistake.

BP and I made a rookie mistake last week. I call this a rookie mistake because it’s the kind of decision we would have made thoughtlessly in our pre-BNN life. And here we are, 19 months later, making the same sorts of mistakes. Unlearning life-long habits is hard.

My laptop isn’t functioning all that well and really needs to be kept in one steady place. In addition to this my back doesn’t thank me for using my laptop as it’s intended (on my lap). We decided to get a small desk for our living area so that I could remain a part of the gang while using my computer.

BP recalled, with sentimentality, how much he’d loved his childhood desk The Fearse Family: A Rookie Mistake– an 80s style map top desk (chunky and brown). He asked around and found that it was located at his sister’s house. She kindly offered to have it fixed and delivered it herself.

We have had it less than a week and it has served its function as a table for my laptop quite well, but it has also quickly become a new surface to add clutter to. We knew this was going to happen. Everything we have learned about removing clutter from our home tells us that we need less surfaces and less storage, not more. Everyone who has lived in a house knows that it is going to take less than a month for those drawers to be loaded up with stuff.

Although we had already discussed the need for a dining table in the front room, sentimentality clouded our vision and we brought in this desk that is all wrong. During the winter months we only heat the front half of our house. The back half has few blinds and curtains and most of the heat would be lost. The only time we use that end of the house is for eating dinner. We could easily have solved this issue and the desk issue with a small, compact dining table in place of the big, chunky desk.  If we had a dining table here it would still be a surface, but at least it would be one that we had to clear every night to eat.

I’m disappointed in our thought processes which basically showed no growth from our impulsive decision making prior to our first buy nothing year.

Of course now we have a fierce Fearsian stand-off. BP is sentimental and wants to hold on to the desk and I am a cold-hearted clutter clearer and want to move it on (or at least out of the house) to make room for something more practical to our purposes.

When you make significant changes to the way you lead your life, you owe it to yourself not to relax on those ideals. We have worked too hard to claw our way forward to now allow ourselves to slip backwards into old habits that don’t suit our purposes.

This week, to help us remember how far we have come, BP and I used ingenuity to repair a squashed, shattered and near destroyed washing basket. When I bought this basket, several years ago, I bought the cheapest one I could find. Everything about it was nasty. It didn’t take long for it to start deteriorating. Recently someone sat on it, or stepped on it, or was pushing someone else around in it as though it was a car and it collapsed into itself. Since we’re working on reducing our waste, and there was no way this was recyclable plastic, we knew that we had no choice but to find a way to repair it, or reuse it. I made the decision to buy the shittiest, cheapest basket I could find and I’m now responsibleWashing basket
for where that ends up. So, how do you repair a shattered plastic washing basket? Start by connecting all the broken bits back together with a few handy pipe cleaners, then insert a hardy backdrop (in this case some cardboard that came as the packaging for one of Little Fearse’s birthday gifts) and go to town with gaffa tape. Ta da! I reckon it will last us another decade, don’t you?

The daily decisions we make about our consumption and about the things we bring into our home need constant examination. This way of life is not yet ingrained in us, which is not helped by the fact that it is far from the norm in society. I see that there is a shift and change happening around us and I hope that things will change in this lifetime. All I can control are the choices that I make and hope that I can mostly make good ones.

Mama xo

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The end (of April).

Today marks the end of two challenges we set for ourselves for the month of April; The Minimalist Game and Supermarket Free Month. Along with continuing to focus on reducing our waste and renovating a dollshouse for Little Fearse’s birthday, it’s been a big month.

The Minimalist Game became quite challenging towards the end and we still need to get rid of 28 things for Monday and another 13 for Tuesday. I have grand hopes that these things will be removed from Big Poppa’s office because I’m out. I have hunted everywhere! Here are some of the places we further decluttered to get to our total of 465 outgoing items:

  • DVD cabinet (this must be the fourth time we’ve been through these and still found more to get rid of)
  • Big Poppa’s office (a so-far untapped resource for stuff)
  • My jewellery box (again!)
  • CDs (for about the third time)
  • Clothes (unbelievably we are still getting rid of clothes from our adult wardrobes)Image
  • Books (yes, even books were ruthlessly discarded)
  • Furniture
  • Toys (although we did have some incoming for Little Fearse’s birthday – not as many as anticipated, our family and friends know us too well!)
  • Shoes (even Big Poppa!)
  • The shed
  • The cupboards in the spare bedroom (wowsers, they just keep filling up)
  • The garden (old pots, mostly)
  • Old electronics (yay for e-waste!)
  • The kitchen (again)
  • The linen press

The fabulous thing about this month of purging is that we really started to see our space with re-newed eyes. After finally moving on our beloved but large couch (yes, the one I mentioned here, right at the beginning of our journey) we were able to see that our back room had far more potential than we previously realised. We swapped my beautiful 1920s writing desk with the booksheves and created a whole new reading nook to house an antique coal shoot my Mum’s cousin passed on to us and one of my Mum’s antique library chairs. This also meant that Big Poppa finally got around to staining the coal shoot and it’s ready to go.

Our newly arranged, calm, functional, enjoyable dining room.

Our newly arranged, calm, functional, enjoyable dining room. And you know what else? I went in and took this photo without rearranging a thing. I love that there is so little purposeless clutter these days.

 

We also rearranged our kitchen to create a more cohesive preparation space and learned that we have an issue with our electrical plugs. This is something we need to get sorted, but with less stuff it just seems so much easier to do these things.

I also mounted a shadow box in Little Fearse’s play area that BP painted two years ago. We started a wall of family photos, something we’d been intending to do since we moved in three years ago.

Removing the stuff has really given us an opportunity to enjoy our home again. Even after a year of purging we still have such a long way to go but it’s beginning to get to the stage where we can see our progress and enjoy the empty space we’re making.

The actual act of physically removing stuff from our home has had an impact on so many areas of our lives – it is easier to invite people over, it is more enjoyable to be in every part of our home and spaces function as they’re intended.

If you haven’t started decluttering – I highly recommend it. Do the minimalist game this month. You won’t regret it!

[Coming up next: Our Supermarket Free month and a series on the dolls house renovation.]

Mama xo

Mama

Links we’ve loved #5, Part 1.

My parents tried to sell their piano for years. When that failed they tried to give it away. No one wanted it. I was really shocked. Like many people I had thought that pianos were expensive to buy and something people valued. I was wrong. When BP and I bought our house he asked if he could have the piano. I wasn’t so sure, but as it turns out it has been a great addition to our home and a beautiful instrument for Little Fearse to explore. This article talks about putting free stuff on the curb, but also includes a really upsetting youtube clip of pianos being tossed in the tip. Adopt a piano, you won’t regret it!

If you want to squee a little go here.

This isn’t my favourite article on this topic, but it is the most recent I’ve read.

This is pretty cool – imagine being plastic bag free entirely.

This article made me really glad to know that we have so many strong females in our lives.

Our FB page includes links and photos throughout the week. We’d love to see you there.

Have a great weekend,

Mama xox

Links we’ve loved #4

Fascinating article exploring the origin of the diamond ring as an engagement gift. Mama does have an engagement ring, though not a diamond. It is a vintage 1930s ring and did not cost three months of anyone’s salary.

We are big Rosanne fans in the Fearse cave and have been enjoying viewing old series back to back this year. We love Jackie, but she’s not cool. This made us laugh.

We love looking inside other people’s homes. This takes voyeurism to a whole new level. The last fridge probably looks the most like ours, though we like to think we have more fresh food in there.

Fan or not, this Kanye interview is one of the best interviews either of us have read in awhile.

Dad humour.

Tina does it again.

Furnishing your apartment for free. We certainly furnished our house on the cheap, but these are some great tips for doing it even cheaper.

Travelling with kids just sounds horrendous from this stand point, but not everyone has a terrible time of it. Some people even like it. Here are some ideas for making it simpler. 

Little Fearse is teaching herself  this dance. We are not sure how we feel about it.

Stay warm this weekend,

Big Poppa, Little Fearse, Mama xoxoxox

The John Burmingham surprise

Today I pulled a book off the shelf that I’ve never read to Little Fearse. I have read it before, but I had forgotten the story.

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In the book Georgie has out grown his cot so his Mum sends he and his Dad to the shopping centre to buy a new bed. After reading the first page I looked at Little Fearse and said “That’s not what we’d do in our household. We’d find one second hand.” She nodded sagely (actually, I think at this point she climbed off my lap and I read the rest of the book to the back of her head).

Well, to my delight, Georgie’s Dad didn’t think they needed to go to the shopping centre, either. They saw a second hand furniture shop on their way and stopped off to see whether they had any beds. They found a little old bed, which was said to be magic. Georgie’s Mum and Grandma were unimpressed, but Georgie loved his new-old bed.

The last ‘scene’ of the book has Georgie climbing lovingly onto the bed on top of a pile of rubbish in the dump where his Grandma sends the bed while they are away on holidays.

Mostly, this book made me think about how sentimental we can get about old furniture and things with a former life. I find it hard to get enthused about something I’ve bought new in the same way.

One of my favourite pieces of furniture is an antique chair I bought with the stimulus money we were given from the Government in 2009. I was on a junk trawling trip to the Yarra Valley with a friend and found a green Gentleman’s Library chair that had originally been made in 1888 for the Seahorse Inn at Bateman’s Bay, NSW. BP and I had just come back from a gorgeous holiday up the East Coast and had enjoyed a romantic, oyster-filled meal at the Seahorse Inn. It was a little bit of fortune, maybe a little bit fated. Anyway, I bought the chair, I stimulated the Yarra Valley economy and have since enjoyed sharing that little story.

I can’t tell you a story about the couch we bought at Freedom or the lamp I bought from Ikea. Well, I did assemble the lamp. But that’s not much of a story.

I wonder if any of you have great stories about the things you’ve found second hand to furnish your homes?

Mama xox