phone email

HOW is it August already? And coming up for the end of August at that! I don’t have time for a full update, but I did want to just hop in and record what I’m up to for the summer of 2022… which is nearly over already. Time. It’s oozy and weird.

It’s been manic as always in the Watkins household, and these two little bundles of fluff turned 9 (NINE!!!) in June. They’ve been keeping me entertained through all the madness and are the lights of my life. They seem to be getting a bit friendlier with each other as they get older, too, which is really nice to see.

Right now, I have a massive skip outside my house and am merrily flinging the detritus of the last few years into it at all hours – stuff I’ve cleared out then shoved in a bag in a cupboard, stuff I don’t need any more, stuff I really should have got rid of when I moved back in after the renovations, and a frankly embarrassing amount of recycling because my shed has got a bit out of hand. Out of sight, out of mind would be apt here and it nearly smothered me when I last tried to put it out for normal recycling day.

(Don’t worry, my skip company recycle as long as it’s in the clear bags!)

I’m hoping it’ll help me clear my head and get back on top of things post pandemic.

I realised quite early on in the process that one of the reasons I never make any progress when tidying up (ADHD aside, there’s a whole set of posts about that which are currently set to private but which I might release at some stage), is that I only ever tackle the surface mess.

So I move stuff around, but I’ve never actually sorted out my cupboards, drawers, various storage solutions to make my life easier from the inside out!

Since discovering this I’ve had to try very hard not to just spend hours watching all the life hacks on social media, but I have:

  • Transferred all my hanging clothes onto flocked/velvet hangers – they stay on and more fit in the cupboard and I am no longer frustrated by finding half my wardrobe on the floor every time I open it
  • Invested in decent stacking washing baskets that are the right size for me to comfortably carry against my hip and support with one arm. Tiny things matter and this makes my laundry safer, easier, and therefore much more likely to happen.
  • See also previously investing in two decent, correctly sized, flexible and handled laundry bins for my bedroom, so I can bring them down my narrow stairs without risking death or a broken limb.
  • Collected all my pens, pencils, holepunches, scissors, staplers and other office stationery type things into one big box, with the intention of sorting them out so there is a set in every room that needs one.
  • Reorganised and labelled my colour coded in tray tower on my desk
  • Added a bamboo riser to my desk so I can put my keyboard, mouse and number pad away and actually use my desk for writing
  • Sorted out the two massive boxes of books in my room – there’s a small boxful to get rid of and the others all fit in my existing bookshelves, except the precious ones which will get new shelves in my room in due course
  • Defrosted the bloody freezer which has been the source of more tears than are reasonable over an electrical appliance over the past couple of years. It took a massive chunk of today but I am SO PLEASED it’s done.
  • Installed fly screens on conservatory and office doors so I can have air but no flies. Have had to pin up the bottom so the cats can get in and out (little divas!) but this still reduces the overall annoyance of flies, moths and small birds so I’m happy.
  • Ordered and installed new lightbulbs for the various ones round my house which weren’t working
  • Ordered three smart plugs so I can finally attempt to put my ceiling fairy lights up in the living room
  • Collected all my filing in one place so I can tackle that after I’ve sorted out the house
  • Taken the old, broken blinds down in the conservatory and ditched them, and replaced them with new double sided pretty ones (actually did that earlier in the year and they have been a GODSEND in the hot weather – but only got round to getting the old ones out of my garden & shed when the skip arrived last week)
  • And a load of other stuff which escapes me right now. But life is feeling more organised and less stressful already.

Things which I still plan to do this summer:

  • Replace the cat palace (it’s a cat tree but Clovie is so regal we renamed it) because it’s old and I can’t get it properly clean and it’s done a sterling job in its time
  • Get the bureau working as a proper part of the living room, not just a general dumping ground for stuff as I go past
  • Fairy lights in the living room, conservatory, my room, spare room and garden
  • Loads of art framed & up – even the small postcard sized ones, I’m going for full maximalist effect
  • Get all the weeds out and put sand back into the brick section of my patio
  • Fully clear the shed and get rid of all the crap in the back while I still have the skip
  • Actually do all my filing and get it all in date order again
  • Sort out Alexa/Echo with routines to help me as much as possible with admin and stuff
  • And some business stuff which can wait for another post!

I’d also really like to start my digital decluttering, sorting out my digital photos and screenshots and stuff, and kicking off my photo albums and scrapbooks plan, although that’s a very long term thing so I’ll see how I go once the main sorting is done.

Things which will probably wait till the spring:

  • Restoring my bar
  • Painting/oiling my decking
  • Putting all my garden plates & ornaments up on the fence
  • Cleaning the BBQ properly
  • Art framed & up on the big wall up the stairs that I can’t safely reach even with a ladder
  • Cleaning gutters & soffits and painting them (god, the stuff you spend money on when you’re an adult)
  • Painting my garage doors
  • Painting my dresser, desk, sideboard, mirror and fireplace
  • Painting the wall behind the bureau
  • Sorting out the loft
  • Pulling out my desk and cleaning behind it properly – after the experience with the massive spider in the ceiling corner the other day, I’m just leaving well alone

I have failed to wild swim or take my beloved Malaika boat out at all this year, but I have managed to do some really lovely things:

  • A halfway day with Claire and the doglet she was looking after
  • A day in Lavenham with Emma & Esther and my rainbow dress, where I found some antique treasures (a steampunk peacock, a seafaring wooden box, a magpie puppet and a beautiful book about hares)
  • Stargazing from Ally’s hot tub at night
  • Being on national TV for the first time with TEMPRD
  • Drive my lovely visiting family around (Mum’s cousins, Gran’s niece and husband, so my… second cousins I think?) while they were here from Oz
  • Sat in the garden with a few different friends and put the world to rights
  • Eaten a lot of cake with various people
  • Been featured in a mixed exhibition at the NaviStitch gallery throughout July
  • Celebrated my fourth freedom birthday (the fourth anniversary of leaving my day job for good)
  • Had a stall at Wivenhoe Regatta dressed as a pirate
  • Had an eye test and for the first time ever, had no clinical change – this made me a bit emotional but in a good way
  • Been brave and asked a new gallery about stocking/exhibiting my work
  • Had a gorgeous day in London with Jules
  • Collected approximately a million feathers
  • And loads more I can’t recall off the top of my head.

Right now, I am off to bed so I can be up bright & early tomorrow to head out to the Adnams brewery and the Southwold seafront with Mum, for what would have been Dad’s 78th birthday – and then back to the sorting when I get home.

(and tentatively hoping I might have my blogging mojo sneakily returning because this is the first spontaneous post I’ve written in ages!)

Summer diaries 2021 - chaos, overwhelm and kittens