Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Recovering from lofty perils!

Well I seem to be back in "recovery" this week, this time recovering from clearing out the loft! 10 days of hard work and each day we managed to get 2-3 bags of "stuff" to our local Age Concern charity shop, recycling as much as we could! My husband is certain that the house has now raised itself up by a couple of inches! :)

Letting go was always a problem for me, letting go of the memories, of links to the past and the people we have lost. I really used to tie myself up in knots over this! Now after some thought and prayer I choose something small for the memories and hand the rest over to be of use to others. I seem to be a changed person! yikes!

We found some great treasures as well! My wedding veil, the box was crushed but the veil has been washed very carefully and is as good as new and my daughter is going to see if it will do for her wedding next year.

We are also sticking to the new rule - for everything coming into the house something must go. I found a lovely "like new" fluffy dressing gown, much nicer and longer than the one I had. That one was a charity shop buy as well, soft and fluffy but very pink and too short to be really warm, in fact I used to resemble a large pink marshmallow when I wore it! Now it is washed and packed and ready for the charity shop and the new longer burgundy one is washed and in regular use, and very cosy it is.

I found a super little rectangle shaped pyrex - perfect for small lasagnes, so a little blue patterned sweetie dish has left the building!

Lets hope I can keep this up because I never want to have to go back to sorting out that mess again!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Charity shops - be considerate when you donate

Recently we have spent a lot of time visiting our local Help the Aged Charity Shop! The "stuff" in our loft is shrinking down and the space available is growing at last!

All this has taken time, effort and energy. Not just the heaving bags of "stuff" down the stairs to sort out, but the washing/ironing of clothing, washing up of glassware and crockery, cleaning up of toys before giving them away to donate.

We have all by now perhaps heard the tiresome joke about what to do if your suit needs dry cleaning "take it to the charity shop - let them do it and buy it back"!
I worked in a charity shop (Cancer Research) as one of the many volunteers and they work very hard for no pay! These are wonderful, caring people wanting to give something back to the charity that has perhaps helped them or a relative with the illness. They are most definately not our servants!

The task of sorting out the donations can be a mixed blessing, some of the donations are a superb gift to the charity and help to bring in much needed funds, for which the charities are very, very grateful, but some items show a distinct lack of respect for the volunteers. Opening a black sack one day I found in amongst someones dirty laundry a filled nappy!!!!!! The whole lot had to be thrown away!

The charity shop I worked in did not have laundry facilities, if something needed to be washed and was worth doing, the manager took it home to launder at her own cost. We did steam iron some of the donations but that took up a lot of our time where we could have been sorting or helping in the shop. Some ironing is expected as often clothing is held in sacks for a while before sorting and the upright steam iron contraption was quite popular to use! :)

Now when I spend my pennies in the charity shops I think about all the work that has gone into the presentation as well as the bargains I find!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Clearing out the old!

Now this is something I have had great difficulties with! I wonder if others have found the same? We have spent today making a start on clearing out our loft space. We moved into this house in 1983 and within a year had a new addition to the family in the shape of our daughter. Anything remaining unpacked was quickly added to the growing pile in the loft. As each year passed by more was added and less taken out. I found it difficult to part with reminders of the past! Result - chaos!!!!!

Recently a friend was telling me that a major leak had ocurred in their loft space and totally ruined all that was stored up there! Enough!I cried, and decided that this week with husband off work, we should start clearing the loft. Today was the first day and we have already cleared about 1/4 of the loft space. 2 trips to our local Help the Aged charity shop ensued followed by another 2 trips to the dump (I have recycled everything else to within an inch of it's life I promise you!) Apart from pulled and aching muscles we both already feel so much better and all the keener to tackle the rest of the loft space! Hoping to find enough to inspire me to start selling on ebay and amazon so that we can put some pennies aside for the next wedding in the family!

By the end of next week I could be crying out for mercy and over-dosing on ralgex but it must be done! Tomorrow I have a few hours off though, as I am on a youth leaders course, run by our Church. Ah! bliss!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Apricot jamming!

Hello again! I'm back to blogging as and when the energy allows, a lot of changes have been made here but they are all for the better! For one thing I am determined to get the mortgage paid off within the next 3-5 years, so frugaling is now being taken up a level. Wish me luck.

To start with I have been making some jam, the jam maker was my birthday present last summer and is brilliant! So far this year I have made 12 jars of marmalade, 8 jars of blackberry jelly and now 6 jars of apricot preserve.

At long last I've got myself organised and opened one of the tins of approved foods apricot pulp. Really pleased for the outlay of around £3 for the pulp and sugar I managed to get 6 jars of apricot preserve and 5 freezer boxes of apricot pie filling. I worked out that would have cost me £17.54 to buy! I have another tin to open and use as well! :)