Tag Archives: tidy

Wish me luck

Yesterday I worked my way, only semi-methodically, through tidying.  I was tidying the usual house clutter, but also tidying paperwork and finding homes for the stuff that has been left, washed up like flotsam and jetsam by recent house renovations, all the while being mindful of two very young cats that are extremely bored and therefore into and onto everything.  In all honesty it’s overwhelming and it’s too easy when a task seems so monumental to drift hither and thither actually achieving very little at all.

Today I’m trying a different tactic.  I’m following perceived wisdom and tackling one area, sticking with it and not being distracted (even by cats).  I’ve chosen my target and I’m going in now.  Wish me luck.  I may be gone some time.

Pelican FlightPelican at dusk, Naples, Florida



Filed under Home, Photography

The cheat’s tidy up

Forgotten anything in the panic?

Forgotten anything in the panic?

Strictly speaking it’s a cheat but sooner or later you’re bound to be caught out like this, so …

If you know that your guests are arriving shortly and you don’t have the time to clean the house, follow my superquick routine to get your home looking presentable.

Open the windows to get in a quick blast of fresh air.  

Get a basket, a bucket, a carrier bag or a cardboard box and go from room to room where you know ‘they’ (the guests) will see.  Put all clutter that has accumulated like newspapers, magazines and childrens’ toys in your basket and put it somewhere out of the way like the garage. 

Flush the toilet in the bathroom and squirt a bit of bleach or toilet cleaner down it.  Spray the wash hand basin with a bathroom cleaner that is designed to work largely on its own.  Leave it on to do its thing for a few minutes while you get on with other stuff.  

Use a feather/ lambswool/ or one of those dusters that works using static electricity to whisk over surfaces that you feel are all too visible, or that you know they will touch.  Don’t bother moving ornaments – you don’t have the time right now.

Go back and rinse out the wash hand basin. 

If you have the time, give the floors a quick hoover, but only in the areas they will see. Don’t bother moving chairs etc.

Close windows.

If it’s an evening visit, put on side lights only. It’s more welcoming anyway and it means they can see less!

Spray a squirt of your favourite perfume in the entrance hall. (Just the one …too much and it will smell suspiciously like a tart’s boudoir)!  Alternatively, do you have a nice scented candle you could light?

FINAL TIP: I tend to always have some cut flowers in the house, just because I really like cut flowers.  At panic moments like this they can be great to have around because it’s amazing how any fresh flowers at all in a room will divert your visitors’ attention away from any perceived shortcomings in your housekeeping.  So, if you should happen to have flowers, or you can nip out into the garden to get some, put them somewhere where everyone can see them!

Time taken: I have been known to do this routine in 15-20 minutes tops (although admittedly I may occasionally have looked a little flushed in the face when I greeted my guests)!

Bottom line?  If you’re still in a panic, remember that those you love really are coming to see you – not to judge your housekeeping skills!

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Filed under General house tips, Housework Tips

My own advice

Feeling good!An impending trip away has been the cataylst for some major tidying up around here.  I like to come home to a clean house so I always do a round of cleaning and tidying before a stint away, but this time I’ve managed to achieve something that has been staring me in the face – and irritating me – for ages.  My little office area has finally been organised.  On two sides of me are deep bookshelves, crammed, often two deep, on a number of different subjects.  There isn’t any spare space so as new books were bought at birthdays and Christmas they have tended to be slotted in wherever there was a millimetre to spare.  Equally, seeing the chaos, if someone has borrowed a book then it is simply put back afterwards ‘wherever’.  

Well not any more!  Following my own advice I’ve had a sort through, a tidy up and a pruning session.  Our hospice shop will benefit because they’re getting some beautiful books that I no longer have the space for.  I benefit because I finally know where everything is.  Books are at long last grouped together, side by side on the shelves: art, design, gardening, photography and my now quite large collection of cookery books (I only read the other day that there are collectors of cook books – I’ve clearly unwittingly become one over the years, judging by the number I have).  I’m chuffed to bits – could you tell?


As I sit typing this it’s 6.00 a.m., pitch black outside…and one of the light bulbs above my head has gone pop, plunging the whole house into darkness.  Ideally I should go to the garage to flip the circuit breaker, but that would entail going back into the bedroom to get my torch, which would almost certainly wake my husband.  I’d then have to go through the utility room to the garage, and I just know my cats would come thundering in like The Dambusters and start tussling outside the bedroom door (as they are wont to do)…almost certainly waking my husband.  Instead I’m sitting in the blackness, peering at the keyboard, which is illuminated only by the light of my computer monitor.  See how I suffer for my art!?  See how considerate I am of my husband’s slumber!? 

Actually, the reason I mention all this is: why oh why does the circuit breaker flip when a bulb goes pop?  I never remember this happening in the old days…when I were a gerl.


GentleVoiceToday at Gentle Voice: Advice we might all appreciate, especially tomorrow and in the coming month, and that is how to ‘repair’ food that you have over-salted.


Filed under Cookery, Home, modern life

Christmas Countdown, 5

Christmas giftsBy now you will hopefully have started to clear away a lot of the junk you’ve collected throughout the year, have a good idea of what ingredients you have in the kitchen cupboards and what you may need to buy. If you use a traditional butchers’ shop, you have also ordered your turkey plus any other meats for Christmas.   

Stick with the seasonal tidying / clearing out and now is a good time to start buying non-perishable goods for the holiday – party nibbles like tins of nuts, alcohol, selection tins of biscuits etc.  Again, spreading the cost of these extras over a few weeks is less painful than buying it all in one fell swoop.

Wrap Christmas presents as you buy them.

I’m not going to be giving a separate reminder to post your Christmas cards but please bear in mind that the last posting date for friends and family in far flung places may be coming fairly soon.  If you’re in the UK, for example, bear in mind that Friday of next week (5th December) is the last day for air mail to Australia and New Zealand.  In other words, it may be sooner than you realised!

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Filed under Christmas Countdown, General house tips, Housework Tips

Christmas Countdown, 4

A seasonal sort outIf you look around and find yourself thinking that there is too much clutter surrounding you, just imagine how much worse it will look at Christmas with decorations adorning the house, the cupboards stuffed with extra seasonal food and the arrival of new items in the way of gifts. 

It’s no bad idea, therefore to have a seasonal tidy up.  Throw away/recycle anything that is just plain rubbish.  Christmas, and the period leading up to it, is obviously an extremely important time for local charities.  Any quality items that you think might be of use to someone else should therefore be taken to charity shops.

Have a tidy up of your kitchen cupboards.  Check ‘consume by dates’ and throw away anything old.  Be honest and dispose of the ‘tail end’ of anything you were keeping, but which you know in your heart you are unlikely to use.  Stand back and admire the amount of space you now have …. except that now, of course, is the time to top up with replacement items that you may need in the coming weeks! 

It’s also a good idea to do a mental check list of what cooking implements you might need.  Replace anything broken or badly worn and if you need anything like new roasting tins, buy them now.

  • Keep on with the buying of Christmas gifts.  Wrap and set aside as you go along. 


Filed under Christmas Countdown, General house tips, Housework Tips