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    Dispose of out of date/old meds or toiletries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!

Eco Mum

Being Eco – one step at a time

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Anne Marie Bonneau aka The Zero Waste Chef

This is one of my favourite quotes when it comes to trying to be eco-friendly. Its small steps, done one at a time; eco-friendly living can be intimidating, and think a lot of people can be put off by that, so don’t make the effort. I think it’s really important just to realise that every step you do make, is a step forward.

I’m writing this blog to help others understand simple and cost effective ways to help you ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. I think people think plastic is ‘the enemy, and long term it’s one of the enemies, but a plastic item you will reuse time after time is a keeper- so many people seem to be ‘disposing’ of plastic, to buy a ‘plastic free alternative’ without realising that’s the problem – stop wasting, and stop buying stuff you don’t need.

I’m not perfect, I’m far from it- this blog isn’t coming from a righteous position! I can’t afford to, have time to, or truly want to do all things that being an true ‘eco-warrior’ involves. I drive a diesel- although I’d love a hybrid or electric car, we still use disposable nappies (although I hate the waste we produce) as I cannot find any time in my life to do more washing, and I’m a pescatarian not vegan, nor do I want to be. Oh and I best say; otherwise they’ll be a comment from my husband, my worst habit is leaving the lights on!

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

Here’s some simple, cost saving or cost effective ways of reducing your impact on the earth.

Reduce:

• Do you really need this??? Don’t need it don’t buy it.

  • Reduce waste by using reusables instead! My faves are below
  • Make your own cleaning products, or buy refillable/eco options

• Buy in bulk. Even if you buy items in plastic buy the bigger bottle/bags etc. it’ll be less plastic in the long run. I buy the giant packs of dishwasher tabs, washing capsules etc.

• Avoid tiny, travel sized bottles- more plastic, more waste. If you travel, then get reusable travel size kits and fill up with you at home products.

• Don’t waste food; buy less (don’t buy multipack plastic wrapped veg, buy loose instead), freeze left overs or use the Olio app to giveaway unwanted food insert link

Reuse:

• Reuse your plastic bottles and get refills where possible, lots of products have refills which you can get in supermarkets- hand wash and washing up liquid are common; and means less plastic waste overall.

• Hand down, sell on or do swaps. Clothes, kids toys and household appliances generally get disposed of before their life is over; donate to charity shops, friends, use random acts of kindness groups on facebook, use *Thrift to sell on your clothes, sell your kids stuff at preloved sales or have swap parties with your friends.

• Fix fix fix; fix it don’t chuck it. Not skilled to fix it yourself, do a quick search and you’ll probably find local fixer cafes.

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be reused; I wash and keep any glass or plastic jars and zippy bags. And use it to organise my food cupboards, craft cupboards and take to refill revolution at *Harborough Eco Village

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be used for craft activities; (great if you have kids or can be donated to childminders/nurseries)loo roll inserts, packaging from parcels (shredded paper/bubble wrap/ polystyrene.

*links below

Recycle:

Do your research and find out what you can recycle locally. Think beyond your refuse collection or local tip (but obviously use these too)

• Some opticians can recycle you contact lens packaging

• Some shops offer recycling for crisp packets, squeezy pouch packaging, plastic bags.

• Use your local free-cycle page- you’ll find allsorts

‘Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution.’ – Unknown
When to buy???
When there are good plastic free or reusable items you will actually use.
    Everyone needs a nice water bottle I like klean canteen, chillys and life factory again Harborough eco village have a great range .
    If you buy a lot of coffee/tea then grab a reusable hot drinks cup – I find starbucks have the best leak proof ones.
    Stop buying kitchen roll and get reusable washable ones instead from Avocado handmade
    I do use disposable baby wipes, but only when out the house- in home we have two sets of cheeky wipes one for bums and one for hands/faces
    Make packed lunches or like picnics; grab some reusable sandwich wraps, snack bags etc. my faves are planet picnic and keep leaf available from Harborough eco village
    Period products- yes I’m going there! I love my organicup, I’ve also used a moon cup before (but lost it- somewhere in the house), honestly give them a couple of months and you won’t look back. Don’t fancy it? Why not try reusable/washable period pant or pads.
  • If it’s preloved or ethically/eco-friendly made:

    • I feel at my most smug when I’ve picked up some great clothes from a charity shop, Facebook marketplace or preloved shop. If you’re local to Market Harborough you’ve gotta try The attic, little raine or a good mooch of the charity shops
      I love Thrift + to sell and buy- when selling on thrift you can either use your credit to buy preloved clothes and accessories OR for John Lewis vouchers. You also get to choose a charity to donate some of the taking too.
      Buy eco friendly toys: my favourite are tender leaf or le toy van from The growing tree shop (use ‘ivfninja’ for discount) , Lanka kade from westlodge farm shop, plan toys or petit collage from Kidly.
      Buy well, buy once- don’t go for cheap trends. I try to buy investment buys; I’d rather buy one item that will last for years at £100 than 6 items for the same price that won’t last.
      Mooch a car boot; I hate buying plastic toys for Dorothea, but shes a toddler and loves them- I’ve bought pretty much all our Duplo from the car boot and love a mooch when the weather is good

    We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. – Howard Zinn

    Last but not least; shop local, shop small, support local businesses/individuals and organisations that are making eco efforts. Join in on that local litter pic, buy from your local farm or green grocer, support your local eco-village or refill shop- mine is Harborough eco village and its wonderful.