Is It Worth My Time?

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

As you get older there is one thing you learn to value more than anything and that is your time and how you spend it. As I have got older, I have not become less patient or less tolerant of people and their problematic behaviour, I have just learned to value what is worth spending my time on. It may have taken some time to get here, probably a little too long because I am, despite what others may say, a very patient and tolerable person. Probably too tolerable for my own good, that's not to say I'm a mug, actually I probably am.

I had a bit of a cliched existential mid life crisis this year. I figured that someone who has worked so hard at everything they've tried, would have a lot more to show for it, the truth of the matter is most of us don't. I looked back at what I had done, what I had and hadn't achieved and wondered where I had gone wrong. This wasn't about starting over, or even an age thing because I'm always pushing the never to old agenda to encourage people to follow their dreams, it was about not repeating the same mistakes and ended up back where I started.

I thought about how long I could have left on this planet, women on both sides of my family tend to have a long life span, yeah I could get hit by a bus tomorrow but that's not how I want to live my life anymore, living in the moment hasn't really got me anywhere and I personally don't want to spend the rest of my life winging it. Yes life is short but you know what fifty years is a long time and there are a lot of things I could get accomplished in that time.

I thought about what I could do with that time and then I thought about what I want to do with that time because I realised for the first time in my life that I had time, which is a privilege I never realised I had because I spent too much time reflecting on what I have done instead during the past, instead of focusing on what I could do with the future.

Busy is not a personality trait, I know busy people, they look tired and edge all the time. I tired of being tired! I don't need much, I don't want much. I want to write and make art. I want to leave the city and have a quieter life, I'm sick of the noise and the chaos, some people thrive off this energy, it drains me of energy. I can do all the things I want to do in that time, yes I know something might happen in that time, I well aware of the curve balls that life throws, I've been hit by a fair few in my time but everything up until that happens is all just theoretical.

I value my time, I'm not wasting it anymore, I have time, I don't need to make time, either I give it or I don't. So for the first time in my life I have a life plan, not the do this by that age kind of a plan but a plan of how I want to spend my time because of the things I want to do and accomplish and the person I want to be and for the first time in a while I feel calm and centred because I feel a purpose.

Time is an investment and I find myself asking more often is this worth my time? Do I or anyone for that matter, get anything out of this? You are free to do with your time what you wish. I firmly believe enjoyed time is not wasted time, no matter if someone else thinks it's pointless. How you value your time is subjective, what is worthy to one is unworthy to another but that's not what I'm really talking about I guess. I guess what I'm trying to say is I now value my time and what I spend it on, and who with because I value myself more. 

My So Called Life - Monday 12/11/18

Monday, 12 November 2018

Despite planning  this week to finish at least half of the 20 odd drafts I have sitting here in a folder, this weekend sort of made me want to write some more diary style posts as well as usual opinion/essay posts. Not that I find my life very interesting or adventurous, in fact the complete opposite my life is super ordinary and mundane. But I like reading about people's ordinary lives the same I like reading about exciting travel adventures, it's all about balance and blogging doesn't always have to be with purpose, it can just be sharing for the sake of it. Life is varied, mostly filled with boring day to day life stuff with the few odd exciting things thrown inbetween, this week has not been one of those but my usual Sunday blog post is late because of boring life stuff!

I wrote before how this year has been moving super slow, me included, just as things started to get back on track, of course something else happened. Nothing major but life has way of telling you to get on with stuff. So we are renters, so we never planned on staying here for good but this year we made the decision that we would not renew our tenancy for a number of reasons mainly sky high rent. So we're booking a little holiday to go have a look at relocating elsewhere round the country because the London housing market is basically ridonkulous, a flat on our street sold for 3/4 of a million last week. A flat in tooting, a place I grew up and worked in, a cool little cultural bolthole on the edge of the city that is scruffy but full of character has somehow now only available to, well not us. I'll let you guess how insanely high a house costs! After working in leasehold management for thirteen years, I will not buy leasehold! Anyway a move was always inevitable but it also means I can't quite get settled into my work. I'm all for change, nothing stays the same after all but their has been a very obvious shift since we moved here and someone declared it the place to buy, the local traders at the market and surrounding shops are slowly being pushed out for hip pop ups and on trend foodie places. It's still scruffy, it's just kind of lost it's character.

So with shifting career paths during the summer I knew there would be no Christmas stress this year because as with any new venture, it involves a lot of planning, prepping and also in my case brushing up on my skills. My muscle memory when it comes to drawing has complete amnesia. I spent most of the year clearing out my old business, reselling old stock and supplies and making enough room to paint and then the leak happened. Now it should be noted we've been trying to get the garden fence fixed for two years and only a couple of weeks ago the landlady sent someone round to measure up for it! That with some other repairs that I've been pointing out like the repointing of brickwork because you know who wants a massive bill for re-structural work?  Landlords, it is a perk to have a tenant who knows what the fuck they are talking about when it comes to things! Anyhoo, so I get my work room just how I need, cleared out  and decluttered, organised and ready for me to get on with stuff and the bloody roof starts leaking. So of course we sent photos, landlady is like I'll let them know yada yada yada! Thankfully we haven't had a lot of rain and the leak hasn't been so bad, it's more of a big brown stain, than a leak and then this weekend's weather happened!

I haven't been in there since Friday, when I was trying to take some photos and inadvertently managed to knock a cup of coffee all everything including myself! I walked in there yesterday to do some tidying and prepare projects for the week and was greeted with the overpowering smell of damp plaster. I looked at the brown stain, it seemed the same and then I noticed the rest of the ceiling and last night's heavy rain had decided to come through other parts of the roof and through the light fittings, it appears my work chair soaked up most of the leak as it was directly beneath it. So yeah I'm a bit peed off and may have yelled sabotage at the ceiling because now I can't switch on the lights and my chair needs to dry out. I also have to move everything out of the room, especially my fabrics because of the damp smell but also experience has taught me that roof leaks and landlords never end well. FYI my landlady manages the property from abroad, doable but not practical. I've also in my  old job visited enough leak situations in residents homes to know that water travels where it can and when it can't will break on through the other side with all the gusto of The Doors song! I also lived in a flat where we had a leaky ceiling in the bathroom, again the landlord not really hands on, wasn't really fussed (I will one day write a post about that flat and three months of why on earth did I agree to this) even after the ceiling fell down, literally minutes after my flat mate got out of the bath. So to be on the safe side I started moving stuff out, mainly my fabrics and art supplies.

I could see this as a set back, in fact younger me would have but instead I've taken a preemptive strike and reorganised my priorities. Not an ideal situation especially in regards to to earning money but I knew things would be kinda lean for a while anyway. The shed/outhouses downstairs in the garden needed to be emptied out anyway, one to decided what stays and what goes, and secondly because the repointing needs to be done. But considering it took them three years to come back and look at it again I'm not really convinced that they will be repaired anytime soon. So I emptied it anyway because one had all our packing boxes in and decided to start packing away the stuff we don't really need right now, like DVDs because we have so many TV series on the Tivo to catch up, the bulk of books because I don't read that quickly anyway and so on. It will also give me the push to have one last sweep through things to decide what stays and what goes. So despite me proudly declaring on Twitter the other week that the living room was finally looking like a living room after I cleared out all the excess stock on eBay, it's now filled with empty boxes, my personal knitting and fabric stash and a bunch of art supplies. There are still things in the craft room because I couldn't empty it all but it will need to be emptied eventually to fix the damage and to redecorate.

Yes it's an inconvenience work wise but it is what it is and despite me joking a week ago would it be too early to start packing things away, it turns out I am anyway and at least when we do move, we won't have to worry about that! Besides I've become an excellent packer over the years having moved quite a few times, when I left my flat to move in with The Goth, the van driver was convinced all my stuff wasn't going to fit in, I told him not to worry, packed the van myself and there was room to spare. Despite the chaos I create when making things, I can actually be quite a methodical and organised person when I need to be, part of my old job was also writing policies and procedures. Anyway apart from prepping my art project and editing and finishing the 20 odd blog posts, I now have some packing to do and possibly prepping another eBay/Depop sale to shift some stuff.

If you've managed to make it this far down thanks for joining me for another episode of my not so exciting so called life! Don't worry, I'm not planning on doing these every week but every so often as more of a life update thing.

Being Lazy is Self care

Sunday, 4 November 2018

It's not been the greatest of weeks causing my anxiety/stress levels to go through the roof and send me into a series of mini manic spirals. The sciatica pain in my leg still lingering, I went for an endoscopy on Monday (which I might add is a thoroughly uncomfortable and unpleasant but on the plus side they couldn't find a reason for my random vomit episodes), on top of that I had a reaction to a new beauty product and my face now resembles a sun slapped puffer fish! So I've been slinking off to bed early with my laptop to sulk and binge watch Netflix, something I rarely do, not sulking, I'm always sulking. On Thursday I barely made it through the start of a film before I dozed off, I was that tired but then again I'm always tired, I mean like since forever. Over the years I have attributed it to many things, being young and restless, a rather prolonged bout of insomnia that sent me into one of my worse spirals and now because I just don't know how to switch off because I'm middle aged and restless. Not even in sleep, even on the rare nights when I get uninterrupted sleep (I wake up on average at least twice in the night) I'm still not fully rested, I have wild dreams, fitful sleep, my body and my brain do not know how to rest, which is probably why it's continually breaking down! When I think about it, not being able to switch off has been a problem as far back as I can remember.

On Monday I felt going to bed early was warranted considering I'd just spent the afternoon having a camera tube shoved down my gullet, yes I did have a peek at my insides also I felt a bit bruised which is normal, and decided to take advantage and have some down time. Tuesday I did the same but I was fine so it felt a little indulgent, what is the difference in lying in bed and watching TV than sitting on the sofa watching TV, well on the sofa I'd usually be doing something else as well like knitting, multitasking will be my downfall. By Friday I had fully embraced my new lazy self and have caught up on three Netflix series in my never-ending watch list. The thing is what I call lazy isn't really lazy, it's just rest. Like I said I'm not really good at resting, I'm a constant fidget, even in my sleep, people hated sharing beds with me when I was young as I would move so much in my sleep. I rarely wake in the same position I fell asleep in, I've been toying with getting one of those weighted blankets to see if that helps. I envy my husband who sleeps like the dead but also relieved that my constant restlessness doesn't keep him awake too.

Going self employed was both a blessing and a curse, blessed my time was no longer owed to someone else, cursed that I don't know how to switch off. When you work for someone else, you have cut off point, we'll call it 9 till 5 for the sake of argument, it varies but when your shift is over, most of the time you get to go, switch everything off, leave and it's there waiting for you the next time you walk in for the next shift. You get benefits like annual leave, sick pay, etc, I get that varies from job to job and in some not at all but for the large part in public sector it does. In self employment these things need to be factored in, so for the most part you over compensate for the just in case scenarios and swing widely over to workaholic status and sometimes forgetting to switch off entirely. This happened a lot in the beginning, early mornings, late nights and frequently asking what day of the week is it and not knowing when I last took a day off. Since then I've learned to dial it down a little, set routines and a more structured work day but I still sneak in work during the evenings and weekends to keep things ticking over and running, and also because when the creativity flows, you let it flow. 

I have over the years had many creative pursuits/hobbies/interests. I like to give things a try myself but recently I've been very tired and bashing myself for not being more creative and hands on. Not making enough, not writing enough, not cooking from scratch enough. I keep calling myself lazy but I know I'm not mostly because I can't fit everything into all the hours of the day but then I also spend a large amount of my day procrastinating. Not the sitting round and staring at a blank page kind of procrastinating, the kind where I'll clear out a cupboard, or clean the whole flat, do all the laundry, relandscape the garden (I kid you not)  just to avoid doing the thing I'm supposed to be doing, so technically still getting shit done. My husband says I'm the least laziest person he knows and that I don't know how to relax and he's definitely right on the latter.

I have stacks of books to read mostly because I buy books faster than I can read, a pile of sewing projects to finish, new projects to plan, design and make, blog posts to finish, a book to write and other stuff. I had loads of plans for creative projects for Halloween but I lost my Halloween spirit and turned the pumpkins into risotto and soup because I just could not be bothered. You should know that me losing their Halloween spirit is the equivalent of Santa Claus not be arsed with Christmas! Me and Betty Crocker have been baking up a storm because I can't even bear the thought of baking from scratch. I love cooking, it's therapeutic, it's great eating a homemade meal from scratch but you know what sometimes you just gotta eat the ready meal or bake that ready mix cake because time is short, energy is low, enthusiasm has long gone! These are all the things I know and give as advice to others but never put into practice myself but I'm currently recalibrating and adjust to stop being so hard on myself. What is the point of starting over in a new adventure if you burn out before the first hurdle?

I've had enough burnouts to know the importance of rest, I'm just not good at looking after myself, slowing down, or learning my lesson. This is probably because I've spent a lot of time pandering to other people's needs but I'm getting more selfish, it's not been popular amongst some for obvious reasons but pulling back and making people deal with their own problems has freed up some time. I'm fortunate to have someone who has my back and reminds me constantly it's okay to tell people no and that looking after yourself is not selfish, and that you don't need to justify that to them.  There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to self care and knowing your limitations. It took me a long time to learn that I was not limiting myself enough and that includes time with other people. It's so easy to overstretch yourself, just do this one little thing, oh and then this and then that. People are also great at guilt tripping with their oh you look fine, you never do anything I ask, you're always letting me down! Or everything turns into a competition, they've had a harder day, they're more stressed, they're been more ill, I'm a magnate for these people!

Not only that we are always being encouraged to push ourselves to the limit to achieve maximum results but for what? And more importantly for whom? Yes deadlines are important and whatnot but I'm talking more about trying to do everything, it's an easy trap to fall into, everything in the world is designed to make you feel you are underachieving or not trying hard enough and it's all a lie. So the next time you feel guilty for taking a time out and just chilling when you could be a number of other things on your to do list, don't! 

(Photo by me taken in Leigh on Sea)

The Summer of Discontent

Sunday, 28 October 2018

This year has been one long drag and not just because of the never ending doom cycle of news, it's just dragging, I feel like a tortoise wading through molasses, and yet somehow we're nearly at the end of October and I question where has the year gone. Time seems to move simultaneously at the speed of light and in slow motion, everything takes forever and yet the days speed by. Not long ago I was complaining how the heat was slowing me down and now we almost at winter where I fight the urge to hibernate. 

Admittedly it's not been a great year, on a personal level it's not been bad but not great either, more like an annoying dripping tap that won't stop even when fixed! I had plans, I always have a plan, my problem is that plans are not well thought through and hastily implemented. I have mostly been lamenting over my Etsy business folding, it was never my plan to continue it on forever. My plan to slowly phase as I got set up in my new ventures and do a slow crossover but that was taken out of my hands. Sales just took a nose dive and maybe I took it a little too personally, messages from customers to cheap to even pay postage and asking for discounts on already discounted items didn't help. I know for fact that I probably undercharged, I feel bad for knowingly underselling myself, it was going good until it wasn't and maybe that it's not a bad thing because it's forced my hand, forced me to stop avoiding and making excuses, and to have no choice but to let go of what was never really meant to be because when I became self employed I just did what I had to or knew how to, instead of what I wanted to because or urgency, or so I thought/was trained to believe.

Health problems (nothing serious), stress, and lack of sleep have caused me to slow down even more, again that's not necessarily a bad thing. It has given me time to think things over, not one who likes to get lost in their thoughts, my mind is a mess at the best of times, I have at least been able to reevaluate what is important, what is not, how I ended up here and where I want to go. Things are slowly sorting themselves out and my head is clearing after a long, low level depression this year, I'm just grateful it was low level, things have been much worse in the past. I have made progress over the years and no longer feel the need to apologise for my absences or withdrawal and taking my time to care for myself or putting my needs first. It's been a long drag which I feel is coming to an end, whether it's a natural or I'm forcing it I can't tell but either way it's progress.

But I had a mini revelation in that I may not be slowing down enough and by that I mean, I need to stop feeling pressured by time. When I was an angsty gen x teen I promised myself I would never become a part of the system and get a desk job and slave to the wage and all that, I was gonna damn the man and be free and and creative, man I was naive! I spent 13 years tied to a desk, under pressure to perform and deliver and that dream career of being an artist and writer just got pushed further and further to back of the queue of things that took over, not necessarily more important, just seemingly so. Jump forward to angsty 40 plus gen x me, the fire that burned bright back then hasn't totally been put out, it's still smouldering, it just needs some air to breathe.

It occurred to me today after someone stated that they spent far too long making a project, that I have not been spending enough time on projects. The time she had spent on that project showed, and it was beautiful and intricately detailed. Enjoyment is never wasted time but somehow we end up quantifying how we spend our time, and making statements that this is taking too long or I spent way too much time on this especially when it's something we like. I have got into the thinking that quantity is way better than quality, to produce more is better even though I say over and and over again quality over quantity my brain is trained to switch them around. Working 13 years in an office where meeting deadlines and quotas were more important above all else, answering phones within three rings, sending out acknowledgements instead of answers, timed breaks, etc etc I left with these rules firmly ingrained and then implemented them to a creative career which as you guessed does not work as well. Yes it works well in some areas, like account keeping and filing taxes, and keeping an eye on spending but in the beginning I got in backwards. I spent too much timing producing items because that is what I knew how to do and left admin to do once a year when taxes needed filing, a mistake but one I learned from and now four years down the line I'm finally admitting that I need to undo pretty much all that I learned over the last twenty years and start again if I really want to get where I want to go, and I know it's going to take time and patience, the second does not come naturally. 

When I was younger I would spend hours on one drawing, sketching over and and over again till I got it just the way I wanted, then outlined it and filled it in. Hours, even maybe days on one single drawing. The same with writing, hours spent going over and rewriting and rewording a story or a piece, last week I ended up deleting a blog post I put out in a hurry because I fell into the trap again of just putting out a post for the sake of it. The whole need to be seen to stay on the scene mentality is believable not true, it's just that if you here something repeated enough times, it sticks in your head like The Chicken Song! But I am getting there, I write because I can and I want to. Some will be good, some will be okay and some will be meh! I, more than anything, need to stop this sense of urgency in regards to my work the way I've been trained to. A part of me wishes I had been more like some of my nonchalant, don't give a fuck colleagues that never got anything done, then I realise that if I had been like that I would still be there! 

Putting aside the slight fretting over the lack of money I'll be earning whilst taking this time out to relearn and hone old skills, I am relieved to not be dealing with the Christmas onslaught this year.  I get that I'm in a good position to be able to take a step back from work especially from the one period where I would normally earn the bulk of my yearly income, times are pretty tough on everyone right now especially financially so that is no way a brag, more of acknowledgement that I am somewhat privileged in some aspects of my life. We need to take time to acknowledge our privileges more. I have set up an independent store away from Etsy's nagging me to focus on lower shipping prices, bulk discounts and quicker turn around times instead of focusing on producing unique and good quality products. Not one to shy from a fresh start, I set up a fresh insta account because the algorithm on my personal account is borked. It will take time to build up a new followship but I prefer dedicated spaces for different projects. I get that can be annoying for the people who follow me and what me flip flop between accounts and constantly setting up new ones etc but meh!

Summer has not been very fruitful, some summers are just like that but that doesn't mean winter has to be the same.

(Photo by me taken in Botanical Gardens Amsterdam)

What's Next?

Sunday, 14 October 2018

So if you've known me on social media for a while, you'll know I'm not one to shy away from talking about the downsides of running a small business and being self employed. This year has been a struggle for a number of reasons and a tanking business has not helped, so today over a 1000 items sold and 728 orders later I closed my Etsy shop for the second time this year but this time for good. Why? Well the first time was to move over to my own website, except I wasn't quite as ready as I thought I was and still had a lot of old stock to get rid, so I reopened to bridge the gap. Things have been incredibly slow but I used this as an incentive to get a move on with things behind the scenes. But then things slowed down even more and then came Etsy's policy changes to benefit their shareholders, and pushing the free shipping and absorbing of costs to drive up sales campaign I decided that Etsy was no longer the site they claimed to be. The final straw was the 'we'll be promoting shops who offer free shipping over those who don't.' Small business just cannot compete with corporate companies and I don't want to. I decided to close a few hours earlier than intended because a) no sales and b) a message complaining about shipping costs!

Here's the thing, small businesses tend to lose a lot of money over shipping and packaging costs because they are not cheap and massive corporations have given consumer's the false idea that shipping is cheap. Absorbing the costs is not moral and not practical either because if you have to refund on an item, you're also refunding the cost of shipping, ie you're out of pocket! Here's another thing cheap goods still come at cost! A business cannot survive on likes alone and people not willing to spend money on goods because they equate cheapness as value for money. Value for money is not just about the price, if I can't afford something I just don't buy it, I don't email the seller and complain that there prices are too high or I can't afford shipping, I don't expect them to cover those for me just so I can have something. Consumers have been spoilt and mislead over how much things truly cost. Big companies get massive discounts on supplies, they use cheap labour in factories abroad, delivery drivers are overworked, someone is paying for that so you don't have to! I will still support and buy from sellers who are on there but I personally won't be going back.

I still have stock to get rid of, this weekend I took the last of the fabric scraps and unfinished projects down to the recycling centre. Where I can I reuse, resell or recycle what's leftover from projects etc but in truth running a craft business can produce a lot of waste and just not physically. It also feels like a lot of time and money that has been wasted to and that's where the feeling of failure hovers but it's not really unless you never gave it a shot at all right? I still have some supplies to use up and will but I work wise I want to primarily focus on writing and art, as you know from previous posts I've been clearing out a lot of stuff to make space physically and mentally for this. This doesn't mean giving up being creative in other aspects of my life, I will still be doing creative stuff like sewing, and DIY projects round the home, and baking things and whatever takes my fancy that week but it's more about creating a distinction between work and pleasure, though I will probably be cutting back or personal projects for a while until I get myself back up and running.

I still have some decisions to make, like do I shift my writing over to here? I think I probably will and keep the things like painting and embroidery etc for instagram because that's more visual and will work better over there. I have started writing, I set myself a 500 word a day limit, the first week went well and hit well over target. Last week distracted my shop stuff and trying to get suppliers and sites I rely on to run an online business to do their jobs took up a lot of my time, and I just about hit 600 words, which I'm going to have to redo because I've decided to change one of the character's background story to make the rest of the novel work. So yeah, I guess I'm attempting writing a novel again!

Apart of me is a bit sad to see something I've been working on go down the proverbial pan but then on the other it's also a relief and has left me with no real excuses to keep putting off what I always said I wanted to do as a career, which is art and writing. The art side still needs a little refining but I'm currently doing a small photo project on one of my instagram accounts which is focusing on finding beauty in mundane objects/settings but with a colour theme and is inspired by Worship Blue's #super_ordinarylife tag she set up there. I have managed a little practice water colour painting and concluded I need more practice. I have some ideas that I need to spend time sketching out but they will probably be in acrylic or gouache. I have a load of embroidery hoops with which I want to some mixed media art projects with and I'm also going to do some collage work.

Writing wise I'm still keeping a personal journal, not everyday but still pretty regular. I have as already said started a novel, well I'm hoping it will end up long enough to be a novel and I've started collating old essays from past blogs and started on ideas for new ones because well I like writing essays. So that as per usual could have been a lot shorter because I realise now that I've probably mentioned all this in previous posts but things are changing on here and in life for the better, hope you'll stick around and see what I'm up to.

(Photo by me taken in Amsterdam)

The Great Declutter

Monday, 8 October 2018

Decluttering is all the rage, I'm not really into the whole minimalist lifestyle I like my creature comforts but I also like being able to find the stuff I want and need on a daily basis, or to walk into my craft room without fear of being crushed in a avalanche of supplies. I've been looking at old photos of my work room when we first moved in here and I have saying I really want to get back to a decluttered state and clean floor space like in the above picture and I am getting their slowly. Running a business can mean taking up a lot of space but with the wind down of my old business and switching creative paths, I'm hoping I can get back to the way things were, although it doesn't help that this flat lacks any decent storage space, especially with all the odd shaped rooms.

As I said before in a previous post I've been taking advantage of the slow down in business to rethink and reevaluate what I want to do etc with my life and with that I decided to have a massive clear out. Apart of the clutter problem is that I work from home, so all my supplies and inventory are also stored here for ease of access but my business is changing direction so I no longer need half the stuff I have left over. My own personal style has changed with my new vocation, my dress is more casual because of being self employed, also I don't wear a lot of expensive or nice clothes because of accidental spillage from paints and materials etc.

I have to say I've not read much on the Kondo or Swedish death cleaning methods. the Marie Kondo methos is where to you only keep things that bring you joy so I guess a good reason to throw all the bills in the bin! The SDC method is mostly aimed at the over 50s which I'm approaching but don't actually fancy it carking it at quite such a young age but with a recent death in the family of someone close to that age, this method kind of makes sense in clearing out your stuff and prepping as if you might leave tomorrow. It makes sense to leave stuff in order so others don;t have to deal with it but it also makes sense to declutter every so often so the task doesn't get so overwhelming that you ignore it until it cannot be ignored any longer like moving house. And that is my main reason.

We are renters, London is expensive, the average property price in London is currently £626,000. Flats are around the half mil mark and houses broaching one mil, well they do in the area which I live and although I've lived in London my whole life I never actually saw myself being here forever, which is why I've never worried about buying a property here but that issue has now been taken out of our hands because everything is out of our price range but I'm not lamenting over it. We know we have to move sooner or later, we just put a deadline on it. we figure we have more rental before being able to buy but I also don't want to be dragging a bunch of stuff round with us just for because we can.

We love books, records and movies. we are homebodies, we used to go to lots of gigs but I don't get the same enjoyment out of it anymore. I don;t think it's much to do with getting older, I think as circumstances changes so do you, sometimes passions fade and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Anyway I digress back to declutting. It's taken way longer than I though because in effect I've had two declutters on the go, one business, one personal but I'm nearly done and I no longer feel that when we need to pack it's going to much, much easier.

I'd start with room by room and just pull out everything you don't want, don't need, is broken or has been ignored for a significant amount of time, what I like to call the maybe one day projects, i.e. maybe one day I'll fit back into that dress or maybe one day I'll fix that item or maybe one I'll finish that project! Keep the  to be repaired/unfinished projects in a separate pile. With the rest of the stuff, split into three piles, sell/donate/recycle. Here's how I grade.

Selling - There are a number of sites that you can sell stuff depending on what you have to sell. For my vintage stuff I use eBay and Etsy. For my retro and clothes in good condition I use eBay and Depop. For DVDs books and CD's I use music magpie and Ziffit, those that don't sell on I stick in the donate pile. Selling takes time and patience and sometimes dealing with difficult people asking pointless and ridiculous questions. Remember you are under no obligation to accept low ball offers just to sell stuff, take into account the cost of time as well. My hard and fast rule is no money is better than lost money, remember to take into account postage fees and selling fees and Paypal fees. It's also worth noting that some electronics can be sold for spare parts like old lap tops/phones etc just remember to wipe them first and restore to factory settings.

Donating - Check whatever you are donating is wearable/usable, do not you a donating service as your personal rubbish removal service. Some companies like TRAID will collect stuff for you if you have a lot to donate. I donated a bunch of my old vintage clothes inventory that wasn't selling, along with some personal items. Places like the British Heart Foundation will also do furniture pick ups, things like sofas, chairs, beds need a fire safety tag attached to the back, and of course they need to be in a decent selling condition.

Recycling - where possible recycle, find out where your local recycling centre is and see what services they offer. And even though we're all guilty of this, including myself try not to chuck in the weekly rubbish collection. I don't have a car but my recycling centre is accessible by bus, yes we are those annoying people who carry three large IKEA bags of crap on the bus but working with a lots of textiles and fibres produces a lot of scrap waste. Fortunately my local centre recycles about 97% off all textiles donates what ever the condition. Non sellable fabrics and textiles get made into insulation and new fabrics. For bulkier waste, it might be worth forking out for a waste collection service. Most councils offer this service, some have better rates than others but there are plenty of independent services that will do it for you as well.

When you get to the repair/unfinished project pile divide into two, will finish/who am I kidding this project is now over ten years old time to get rid of it pile. I'm not gonna lie, I have found unfinished projects older than that! Don't hang on to something just for the sake of it. Repeat the steps as above, it's worth noting that you might be able to donate scraps and supplies to local community groups or schools that run craft groups or knitting clubs.

So that was my long winded quick guide to decluttering, maybe I should apply the same method to writing my blog posts!

The Birds and the Bees

Thursday, 27 September 2018

No this is not that talk, this is a budget mini makeover over.

We are currently renters, so there is only so much I can do in the way of redecorating when I get the bug for a revamp. Mostly I just move furniture around, rearrange the bookshelf to look like a rainbow, buy new bedding and all that.  We try to be sensible when it comes to furnishings, like we got all our vintage bedroom furniture off eBay pretty cheap, the same with our kitchen table and chairs, and the glass display cabinets for our living room from house clearance shops, even with delivery it cost a fraction of the price than it would have from a mainstream furniture store. And yes I'm going to be one of those people but 1930s/40s furniture was built to last, it's sturdy and strong but sometimes we also like to splurge on ridiculous things, like this gold coloured bird foot side table! 

Another blogger posted about this table and because it's so kitsch I had to have it, I love things like this.

In my craft room clear out, I discovered I've been hoarding a bunch of cushions, possibly for a project who knows I have a billion forgotten ideas. On top of other things I've hoarded, I have my own set of cushions that I've been lugging around for a while. I also unearthed some Ikea fabric I bought in a clearance sale, and some teal fur fabric I bought in a textile shop in Brixton probably over five years ago now and was probably for a fur coat I was going to make but I have enough coats.

Gold is one of favourite accent colours right now, no real reason other than I just like it. The birdy table reminded me of the story of Baba Yaga, the witch who lived in a hut that had chicken legs. Then I remembered I had a bird cage again I've been lugging around with me for when finally get our own place. It was shabby chic white, which is code for made to look old so we can pretend it's vintage looking and sell it overpriced! So I spray painted it gold!

I made the bee fabric into rectangle cushions. I washed the feather insert cushions and made zipper cushions out of the fur fabric. FYI I just want to add as a disclaimer that fun fur fabric is not exactly fun to work with, that stuff gets everywhere!

So that's my little mini makeover project for this month.

Bee fabric - £? Clearance sale at Ikea
Fur fabric - £30 Brixton textile shop a long time a go
Bird Table - £65 Urban Outfitters
Bird cage - My own
Spray paint - Wilko
Plants and pots - Ikea

Tasha M Campbell 2018 - (present). Powered by Blogger.

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