Bubs,

I know I’ve been fucking quiet lately. I feel like a caterpillar turned mush in a chrysalis. I have nothing really to share, except this kind of bored malaise I’ve been in for a couple of months now. I don’t know what I’ll do next, I just know I’m itchy and wanting something new.

Or maybe I just need to get some LIFE into me, ya know? I haven’t hung out with friends in months. I probably need a new hobby. Today is the start of school holidays. I think I’ll just soak myself in life: do art with the kids. Go on mini adventures. Play board games. Cook and bake. Maybe even do some DIY or decluttering or house organising. You know, go REALLY WILD. Ha!

In the meantime, what I can do is share notes with you from books I’m reading. I’ve already shared my notes from Order From Chaos (a book on ADHD organisation) and Atomic Habits.

I’ve just finished reading Martha Stewart’s “Organizing: The Manual For Bringing Order To Your Life, Home & Routines“. It’s the second Martha book I’ve read – I really loved “The Martha Rules” that was published years ago. It’s her book about business & marketing, and I found it useful & interesting.

Anyways, I binge bought a stack of books on organising a wee while ago. Martha’s was the first I finished. I would probably give it a 3/5 stars. Nothing ground-breaking. Useful for me to have a peruse however and see what essential “How To Adult” wisdom I’ve inadvertently missed. Ha!

At one point in the book, Martha lays out her calendar of daily organising tasks she does over the full year including “February 28: Organize your linen closet” and “February 3: Sharpen and oil your garden tools.” This completely blew my brain out – I was equal wildly parts impressed and also thought it was bordering on psychotic. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

At one point I complained to a friend that Martha was the Antithesis of ADHD. And she responded: “That… or she is ADHD and this is peak overcompensating her poor executive functioning with complex systems.” HA! OMG WOT IF!

Anyways, Martha is Queen Virgo in all of VirgoLand (even though she’s actually not a Virgo), and I am an home-organising peasant in comparison.

Here’s my notes…

Organisational Mindset

  • Don’t expect sudden shifts in your everyday routine; recognise that any long lasting change will take persistence.
  • Tackle one room or routine at a time. Start with high-traffic areas like the kitchen & bathroom as this will give you the greatest sense of accomplishment & keep you motivated to go through the remaining rooms. If a whole room is still too daunting, pinpoint one component (kitchen cabinets & drawers, for example) at a time.
  • Doing a bit everyday is the best way to get everything done without getting overwhelmed.
  • A home that’s free of clutter conveys a sense of calm & encourages productivity.
  • Consider the needs of each person in the house.
  • Consider your biggest organisational challenge. Do you have to hunt down your keys every day? Maybe your kids drop everything right where they took it off? Designated spaces & smart furnishing choices can address your trouble areas. Be realistic & be prepared to embrace change.

Practical Tips

  • Keep cleaning supplies where they are used.
  • Totes can be used as storage.
  • Wall hooks keep stuff off the floor throughout the home, including the garage & basement.
  • Use trays to group items for a cohesive effect, such as on a coffee table, dresser or nightstand, and on kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces & entry consoles.
  • Baskets & bins are helpful for rounding up different items. Keep like with like. Label.
  • It’s always better to fold laundry right out of the dryer or off the line, rather than them being forgotten.
  • If you work remotely or have a business at home, you’ll require plenty of storage, and a system for keeping on top of the daily flow of digital & physical paperwork.
  • Before you can really clean (whether a quick weekly clean up or deep seasonal clean), you must declutter.
  • Clean tile grout by applying a baking soda paste. Spray with vinegar. Let sit and fizz, scrub with a soft toothbrush then rise with a damp rag.

Lifespans of Fixtures

  • Washer, dishwasher, fridges, aircon, ranger: last 10-15 years.
  • Central AC units: last 15-20 years.
  • Water heaters: last 10-15 years
  • Concrete & asphalt driveways: last 30 years
  • Wood decks: last 30 years, depending on weather conditions.

Kids

  • Enforce the “one in, one out” rule. Before your kid gets to bring home a new toy, they need to decide on one they wish to donate.
  • Kids tend to accumulate a lot of tchotchkes. At the beginning of each year, give each child a memory box to put favourite keepsakes in.
  • Delegate tasks to everyone in the home to help them get done faster. Kids can look after their own rooms and play areas.

Kitchen

  • Add hooks & racks inside kitchen cabinets & doors.
  • Consider Lazy Susans in fridge or pantry.
  • In an efficient kitchen, it’s not just mealtimes that run more smoothly – it’s your morning-to-night routine.
  • Keep frequently used items in the open & where they are used. Group similar tools together. Employ storage and drawer dividers to customise spaces.
  • Empty one drawer or cabinet at a time, sorting like items into piles and getting rid of unneeded duplicates, broken or damaged items or anything that hasn’t been used in a while.
  • Think about how – and how often – you use each item. Store them where you use them the most.
  • Stowing dishwashing supplies in a stylish receptacle keeps the sink area tidy.
  • Put infrequently used items on upper shelves (but not if heavy or unwieldy).
  • You can add more shelves to existing cabinets. Use risers or under shelf units to triple or double vertical storage.
  • Invest in glass food storage containers that nest together. Store lids together.
  • Redefine what a junk drawer is. Keep essential household items in a drawer together, organised with inserts. Weed out what is truly junk.

Fridge

  • The coldest spots are usually the bottom drawer and the back of the top or bottom shelf, closest to the vent. The door will be the least cold.
  • Avoid overfilling the fridge as it interferes with cold air circulation.
  • Tuck a baking soda box inside to combat odours. Replace every month.

Food

  • Carve out time each week to plan meals & pack lunches and snacks daily to avoid poor last-minute decisions.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods to get the full range of essential nutrients. Prioritise seasonal produce and plant-based proteins.
  • For breakfast, make a pudding of chia seeds soaked in unsweetened coconut milk, maple syrup & vanilla extract. Refrigerate overnight. Layer with fruit & yogurt & a green smoothie.
  • For quick dinners, make pasta with vegetables & herbs from your own garden.
  • Use your own herbs to make pesto. Make basil, parmesan, pine nut or walnut. Or try parsley, almonds and orange zest; mint, pistachios and lemon zest; or cilantro, cashews and red chiles.
  • Build a sandwich board for lunch or gatherings.
  • Grow varieties of pumpkins, then roast to enjoy on their own, stuffed with grains or vegetables, or added to soups, salads and pasta dishes.

Plants

  • Yellow foliage can signal too much watering
  • When transplanting trees, dig a hole that’s 3-4 times the diameter of the tree’s container, sloping the sides like a shallow bowl
  • Add potted plants to bathrooms and bedrooms to purify the air.

Bedroom

  • Strive for serenity.
  • With your head propped on pillow, what can you see from your bed? Is there anything that interferes with your peace & enjoyment? Picture what you’d like to see from this perspective.
  • Clutter has no business in the bedroom. Create a sense of calm.
  • A bedroom’s calm is all too easily breached by tossed-aside clothes & teetering piles of books. (LOLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ALL THE PILES OF BOOKS)

Martha’s Annual Organising Calendar

(Well… the ones I want to institute. I’m not doing all 365!)

  • January: schedule health & wellness appointments for entire year
  • January: plan mid-year holidays
  • January: Refresh First Aid Kit
  • Seasonal: Buy theatre & entertainment tickets for next season
  • February: Deep clean towels by laundering in washing machine on hottest setting with a cup of white vinegar.
  • March & November: Change batteries in smoke alarms.
  • December: Go through schoolwork, artwork and tchotchkes – decide on what to keep and recycle the rest

Actionables: my list of things to do.

  • Organise kitchen drawers with inserts.
  • Buy tubs for buds & cotton balls.
  • Create a cupboard or area for outdoor and sports gear.
  • Add annual tasks to calendar as recurring items.
  • Stowing dishwashing supplies in a stylish receptacle.
  • Add potted plants to bathrooms and bedrooms to purify the air.

Righto, this was a bit fun!

Thanks for sharing the journey with me!

Big hugs & love,

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