Life of a Mum

Pre Christmas declutter/clean

We’ve had a massive declutter/clear out of most of our rooms/cupboards etc. With Christmas and Dorothea’s birthday coming up soon; we are bound to have an influx of new toys, clothes and home bits and bobs.

I thought I’d share our tips and tricks for decluttering, sorting and disposing of (don’t worry- it’s eco friendly where possible).

Hallway:

  • Full clean inc carpet freshen (see lounge)
  • Buy some gorgeous festive blooms from Bloom and Wild use this link for £10 off (they even do make your own wreath kits if you’re feeling creative)
  • Treat yourself to a fresh new vase Cox and Cox here’s a link to £20 off

Kids room:

  • Sort of clothes into piles
    Too big/wrong season- pack away
    Fits/correct season- check if needs mending, if not fold/hang
    Too small/unloved/damaged
  • Great condition;sell on- try Facebook marketplace or eBay if you have time.
  • Great condition; no time- sell through Peachy and Birdie or Kidclo
  • Good used condition; charity shop donation or hand me down to those in need.
  • Damaged; can it be fixed? (Fix and as above) cut into rags for crafting/upcycle/dispose of
  • Rearrange furniture if wanted; full clean.
  • Tidy/organise toys as per playroom
  • Sort other drawers/storage.
    Only keep what’s needed/recently used.
    Dispose of out of date/old meds or toiletries
    Buy/use drawer dividers to separate socks/vests/pants etc.
    Refold clothes so neat and emery’s to find
    Rehang clothes in sections so easy to find
    Chuck soft toys in the wash for a freshen
  • Add a cute festive touch to their room; such as this ‘shelfie’ or some novelty lights.

Play room:

If your play room if anything like ours then it’s usually a warzone! If we didn’t sort this pre Christmas it would be a nightmare.

  • Sort toys into piles
    keep- make sure they are clean and all pieces present.
    sell- outgrown/unloved toys in great condition. I find Facebook marketplace works.
    donate- outgrown/unloved toys in usable condition. Try local community groups or fb groups.
    broken, missing parts etc. (If can not be recycled, fixed or used for crafting- dispose of)
  • Buy some storage if needed to help organisation of small toys. We got the units from ikea and small wooden boxes (which I painted) from eBay.
  • Clean original storage and toys.
  • Get the kids to be part of it; Dot loves to sort out things to give you a baby that doesn’t have much’.

Mum/Dads room:

  • Rearrange furniture if wanted; full clean.
  • Sort of clothes into piles
    wrong season- pack away
    Fits/correct season- check if needs mending, if not fold/hang
    Too small/big/unloved/damaged
  • Fix/stain remove any damages- then sort as below or upcycle/craft/dispose of
  • Great condition- sell on; I love to use Thrift plus as means you donate to charity and also gain credit to re-spend (or get John Lewis vouchers) Link for £5 credit
  • Great condition; if you are local to Market Harborough you can sell on at The Attic (ladies clothes/shoes/accessories only)
  • Used but wearable- donate to charity or local organisations.
  • Sort drawers and clean out. Again if not needed/ used – sell/donate/throwaway.
  • Sort makeup/toiletries- throw away out of date, donate unused/unwanted (shelters/food bank), sort using for fresh organisation.
  • Buy a festive scent diffuser I love the Marmalade home fragrance if you are local you can buy these from In heaven at home

Kitchen:

  • Decant one cupboard at a time
    Sort contents; if not used, out of date or broken- then throw away/donate as appropriate. Try Olio to donate food or download the app.
    Clean cupboard out
    Refill cupboard- buy new ways of organising if helps
  • Fridge- empty, clean out and refill
  • Clean top of cupboards and fridge freezer
  • Clean oven
  • Clean dishwasher
  • Clean washing machine
  • Sort drawers; if not used, out of date or broken throw away/donate
  • Buy/fetch out festive tea towels
  • Buy/fetch out festive accessories
  • Buy a nice new treat for an eco- friendlier Christmas- our favourite gadget is a soda stream- and means you won’t get through tonnes of plastic bottles this festive season Soda Stream- 10% off here

Lounge:

  • Use a carpet freshener before hoovering (I make my own by filling a jar with baking soda and adding 8 drops of essential oils)
  • Full clean; including sofa – if you have leather I love Wheelers leather cleaner
  • Sort out drawers/storage- again if not needed/ used – sell/donate/throwaway.
  • Any old dvds/cds lying around? Maybe donate to Nothing new by Ruthie Ru
  • Buy some festive fragrance- I’m loving wax burners and melts- my favourites are Dragonfly and co. Or Autumn and Belle both local small businesses.

Bathroom:

  • Full clean (I like to de-limescale the taps and shower head too)
  • Clean out cabinet/storage ; anything not used, out of date or broken- then throw away/donate as appropriate (remember food banks/shelters will take unopened toiletries or sanitary products)
  • Reorganise with new boxes and label; i use Topsy Blossom for personalised decals.
  • Buy some new festive hand soap- No 34 boutique has some great novelty ones and eco friendly choices too

Garage/shed/attic:

Oh no it’s the worst place!

But you’re here to dig out the Christmas decs; winter is t the time to do a big sort of this area (too cold- leave that til spring).

But; take a quick look and see if anything easy to get rid of, unused bikes or large toys the kids are too big for??? Get them on Facebook marketplace or donate.

Get your decs out! If you’ve got some new bits you’ll find you won’t use all the old one. But don’t throw away! There’s always families that can’t afford these non essentials ( especially in 2020) so pop them on Facebook marketplace- free to collect.

My favourite cleaning products:

I do like to be as eco friendly as possible; but also have to consider the cost and whether I like the scent.

  • Thieves multipurpose cleaner from Young living great as all natural and can reuse your plastic bottles.
  • Ocean saver has loads of different options for different sprays (plastic free- just reuse old spray bottles) I love their rhubarb spray!
  • If you are local head to Refill Revolution in the Eco Village for great eco cleaning options- or shop online Refill Rev web

Now add Christmas cheer, pour yourself a large Baileys it’s well deserved!

Guest Blogs, highlighton other fab ladies, Other fabulous ladies

The Lockdown Diaries – Acknowledging Anxiety in Isolation (guest blog)

Words and images by @chameleoninhighheels

When the government (quite rightly) extended the lockdown a couple of weeks ago, I wondered whether this was the perfect ending to a day I’d rather forget. To be brutally honest, it was a shite day. On the surface it was lovely: sunshine, a walk, a socially distant conversation with a friend we met in the park, time in the garden, meals together, family time. Bliss. Only it wasn’t. In my head, it was hell. Doubts about myself and others, returning to normal life, staying locked up, it was all a big, scary, chaotic and scrambled mess.

The familiar lump in my chest and stomach resurfaces, it spreads its claws uncomfortably around my organs and renders me unable to think straight or to see sense. I try to work out if this is related to lockdown, or if there are other demons at work. I think it is both. The fears and doubts have been there a long time, but now are magnified by a world that projects fear and cannot be a safe place for us right now. I try and rationalise my thoughts and talk myself through what I can and can’t influence. I listen to the conversations in my head and weigh them up. I counsel myself and know that the shrink in me is right and wants to kick me off the imagined couch, but I am not ready to leave, not prepared to say: Yeah, I am fine now, thanks for the session.

My thoughts are as stubborn as the monster inside my body. Normally I would schedule a meet up with one of my closest and most trusted friends. Such things have to be talked about in person. But I can’t do that. I would probably also start doing lots of things to distract myself. But today I can’t do that either.

All the dinner is cooked, there is no more food to cook because the fridge is empty, I had my daily exercise and colouring pictures with my daughter gives me more time to think than I can handle. I tentatively tell one of my friends via text and it helps, she is understanding and downright fabulous. She doesn’t try to fix things for me. She is just there. I can breathe more easily. And then I just do something I read the other day by Glennon Doyle: Sit with it. Sit through it. Experience it. And let it pass over.

It’s a bit of a challenge to sit in peace when you have two kids crawling and climbing over you and a puppy chewing on your clothes. But I sit, and I allow myself to feel crap and I endure those feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and anxiousness. And I survive. I still don’t feel great and am far from being a bundle of positivity, but those inner restraints have loosened a little. I am aware that lots of people will be feeling up and down during this time, and many are feeling like this all the time. I also know that everyone’s experience is unique and personal and definitely valid. My feelings may seem ridiculous to some but they are real for me and I have the right to those experiences.

That doesn’t make me weak, stupid or unloved. I am strong – I will get through this day and others; I am knowledgeable – I am aware of my mind and I know that not all feelings are real but they can seem so; and, most importantly, I am loved – not by everyone and that is ok, but I am no less worthy than the next person.

This has been a deeply personal account of what is going on inside me, and I know that I have made myself more vulnerable with this than ever before. I am never dishonest in my blog posts, but there are many things I do not share as freely as others. Whilst I am always scared of repercussions, I am not afraid anymore of revealing a bit more. We are locked up, but we are not silenced. And I have been silent for too long. 

We all have good and bad days, and from now on I will be more willing to openly share the good and the bad, without holding back, in the hope it will speak to other so they know they are not alone.

Read more from Chameleon in high heels here- CIHH instagram