The Prompt: Spring is the time of plans and projects

Spring daffodils at WisleyI have a little personal guide to the seasons which allocates three months to each season (although winter sometimes seems more like 6). For this reason Spring theoretically starts in March (see: blossom, daffodils and a bit more daylight) but actually, for me April is the month that epitomises the season of renewal. April is the start of both my Leave and Financial years at work, I began my current job at the beginning of April 2007 and returned from maternity last year at the same time of year.

I always look forward to April and I feel that this is the time of year when you see the most change for the better in the outdoor environment.

This year my world is changing a little bit again come April as I’m dropping a day of work from my week and am really looking forward to having a bit of time to myself. I have so many plans and projects – everything from bike rides to crochet to organising and de-cluttering the house. I have baking projects (I’ve always wanted to try baking some different breads) as well as wanting to figure out what to do with my blog to make it prettier, better organised, more personalised and better connected.

I’d like to try my hand at some crafts – I’ve got a thing about buttons and after many hours surfing the Pinterest boards I am very motivated to come up with some button-inspired art.

We also have an April date in the diary for our long awaited bathroom makeover! I’m really excited about this because there are so many things wrong with this room currently – everything from a horribly lime-scaled up toilet to a rubbish old wall cabinet which the doors have fallen off, to a completely unused stand-alone shower (it can’t be used as it leaks damp into the room below). I currently have to wash my hair in the bath using a plastic jug to rinse. Watch this space for the bathroom makeover before and after post, come early May!

This is definitely a time of year for holiday plans too although we haven’t quite got that far yet and I made a promise to myself that I would arrange birthday parties for the children (July and September) well in advance this year so that’s another job on the to do list for April. I’ve also been inspired by other bloggers and friends to consider taking out memberships in various attractions be it the Royal Horticultural Society, National Trust or various standalone attractions. Its been hard to reconcile the cost of this kind of thing against the fact that a baby or toddler under the age of two is not going to appreciate much of what, for example, a stately home can offer.

Some plans and projects have been on the back burner for a long time. I think that’s what happens when you have a baby. However this year EJ turns two in July and I believe that this will make a difference – at least I hope it will because there is ever such a lot on my Spring agenda!!

This post is linking to The Prompt from Sara at Mum turned Mom who’s prompt this week was: Spring is the time of plans and projects. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.

 

mumturnedmom

All cluttered up

keep-calm-and-declutter-17

Recently we have been contemplating a potential house move. Not because we don’t like our house or the place we live in general, but mostly because we would like to live somewhere with both decent, off-road parking and the potential for expansion. We don’t want to move too far (and to be honest can’t afford to move to anywhere more affluent with better schools anyway) or spend any more money or raise our mortgage from its current level either.

On Monday this week the hubster arranged for an estate agent to come and value the house and he was already finished by the time I got home from our friends’ house with the boys. It quickly became apparent that, if we want to stand any chance of buying any half decent house that may come on the market, then we need our house to be on the market too (preferably under offer) so that we don’t miss out. I think the sentence “I can have your house on the market by the end of the week” came up which put me into a state of some panic and shock I have to say. Although we had been discussing the matter and brainstorming about our options, the stark reality of picking up all our worldly belongings and being out on our ears – possibly into a smaller home, maybe losing out on some character (our house is a Victorian red brick and full of charm in my opinion) really freaked me out!

But probably the one really frightening thought about getting our house on the market was the fact that this would mean the dreaded ‘de-clutter’ operation that we have been putting off for years.

I am ashamed to admit that I clutter. There should be a support group “Clutterers Anon”. The hubster himself is just as bad – actually worse to be honest. Neither of us does DIY. I try my hardest to keep the place to a certain standard (for example, the kitchen and bathroom are priorities and get cleaned on a rolling basis for hygiene and my sanity!) I also tidy up where possible within my own framework of acceptability and the clutter is generally hoovered and sometimes even dusted when time and opportunity allows.

But I am reminded of those reality programmes about hoarders and “How Clean is Your House” – not because we live like that at all, but because the people who do crossed a line at some point beyond which they were unable to get back to normality without a huge operation, or series of operations. I feel like I need to tackle a series of operations (and this is not just de-cluttering but attending to all those little tasks that we have let slip over the past five years – re-papering the dining room where damp had peeled the paper away; binning the crappy old curtain in the kitchen which my mum always likens to a tarts knickers; removing the unsightly old plastic bathroom cabinet (the doors of which fell off years ago!) – you get the picture).

WP_000467

One very cluttered kitchen surface

WP_000468

Another very cluttered kitchen surface…

WP_000469

My attempt at a de-cluttered kitchen surface.

My nemesis in this (purely conceptual) drive to achieve the home of our dreams is Time. I work four days a week (varying hours) (plus sometimes a bit of overtime at the weekend) and when I’m not at work, I’m mostly trying to feed, dress, entertain, educate (?) (jury’s out on that one!), police, and just generally mother my four year old and 15 month old. In the little squeeze of “me” time that rears its head once in a blue moon, I dust the clutter. Or I cook a batch of food for freezing. Or I blog.

I have had one day off (both work and kids) in the last two months and that day was after we came back from our week in Cornwall so there was a huge amount of washing and organising to do. I also spent a couple of hours on one of my long-intended ‘operations’ filling 6 full black bin bags with old unwanted clothing (both mine and the boys) and took it to our local Cash4Clothes (brilliant idea, not only do your old clothes go to charity but you get a few quid back too!).

However, this demonstrates just how squeezed my time is. I feel like all the ‘jobs’ can’t be done without the initial de-cluttering operation, and I have very little energy or motivation to try and get my head round where to even begin, so the years continue to go by with little being achieved.

That said, the sudden thought of strangers wandering around my home and, even with the most open of minds and the greatest ability to see past the detritus of our lives, not being able to overlook the fact that the walls could do with a paint, several rooms need proper curtain rails, the tell-tale signs that the (dusty, unused) shower has caused damp problem on the ceiling below which we haven’t had the time or inclination to deal with, etc, etc, just strikes fear into my heart! Maybe it started off as blinkered laziness but at this point in our lives, it is all about time, or the lack thereof. Just the thought of buying and wrapping Christmas presents and doing the cards freaks me out right now – let alone attempting to sell our home and move house with a 15 month old wriggler!

So the question is: do we shelve our idea about moving at this point? Do we put the house on the market in its current state and let the ‘character’ speak for itself? Because one thing is for sure – my greatest desire and the one thing that I won’t be getting for Christmas this year, is Time…