It was not so long ago

Today we ventured into the top of my wardrobe to de-clutter – somewhere which hasn’t been touched since we moved in.

We had a wonderful afternoon unveiling old treasures from my childhood… art work, stories, photos and so many beanie babies. We had such a good time laughing and remembering so I thought I would share a few of my favourite pieces.

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Photos from when I was just over a week old.

The caption reads ‘Asleep again, Juliet is giving me a rest’

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Clearly an artist in the making here… although I am a fan of the colour scheme.

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Experimenting with texture – the cat rather liked this one.

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‘This flower smells eggstra eggstrodinary!’. It has become apparent upon reading this eggstrodinary card that from a young age I found my own jokes much funnier than others did – I still laugh at my own jokes 😀

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This one was my favourite that I saw during this clean out.

I also found an unfinished short story I’d like to share… I wish I’d finished it because it’s rather intriguing.

‘Once upon a time, there was a boy called Sam. It was bed time at number 24 Springfield. Sam crept down the stairs, he could hear his mother and father talking about building a time machine. Sams father turned away and walked off into the shed so sam turned back and went to bed. 
In the morning he hid in the cupboards, his mother thought he had gone to school. When his Mother and Father went off to work Sam crawled out from the cupboard, he was hungry so got himself some breakfast before wandering into the shed. There was a huge box in the shed. Sam knew what it was – a time machine! Sam thought it wouldn’t hurt if he went in and had a try. When he went in he saw lots of little buttons with numbers and symbols on them, Sam pressed START. The machine then asked him to press a number so sam pressed SIX. Sam’s Mother always told him about her life growing up in the 1950’s and he has seen photos of her back then… The door opened. 
 
He was somewhere very different now, but he spotted someone familiar. It was his Mum. Sam ran up to his Mum
she said “go away shorty!”
Sam said “but, but… but Ma it’s me, your son”
Sams mother replied “I don’t have a son. Stop it, just go away you’re such a pest!”
 
Sam felt like such a nobody… his own mother couldn’t recognise him. Everybody stared and laughed at same, oh no he wasn’t wearing the right fashions. He ran to the time machine, when he got there somebody was inside. It was a hippy… The hippy said “Come with me to heaven” Sam tried to tell the hippy that this was not an elevator to heaven, it was a time machine but it was too late the weird hippy already pressed number TEN. 
 
The time machine didn’t move, it didn’t stay either. How annoying, they were stuck in thin air”
 

That’s all I have of the story… maybe one day I’ll finish it off.

We did part ways with alot of the toys and made headway with other items. When de-cluttering sentimental items it may be better to use the gently, gently approach rather than our usual ruthlessness. Besides, in all our de-cluttering and getting rid of stuff, it’s nice when you come across those few items that have personal values attached to them. There are some things worth keeping.

What are some of your favourite childhood memories you’ve found when cleaning up?

Little Pop

P.s. We were hesitant in throwing out the Beanie Babies… we aren’t sure if they’re worth anything. If you have any knowledge on this subject matter we’d love to hear from  you!

What Not To Donate @ Op-Shops

We’ve been doing another round of de-cluttering around the house post-Christmas, we go by the usual system – three piles for keep, throw out and donate. Many charitable organizations rely on the public’s donations in order to support themselves and whilst donations are always welcomed and encouraged, there are a few items that should not be placed in the donation pile.

Last year Australians donated over 300,000 tonnes of items to charity op-shops, 60,000 of which ended up in landfill at a significant cost to the organisation. This is what makes this list important as donating inappropriate goods can actually be counterproductive at times. (Thoughtful Donations: What Not to Give to a Charity Op-Shop, 2013)

LittlePop has volunteered at an op-shop before and this allowed us to be more aware of what is and isn’t appropriate to donate to op-shops. We understand that not everyone has this knowledge and so thought we would compile a list to share with our readers 🙂

We also thought this would be relevant because of the holiday period that’s just passed, I estimate many people are also in the midst of de-cluttering a little bit. We have noticed quite an influx of unopened or almost new items laying around at our local op-shops, I assume these to be unwanted Christmas gifts – which is unfortunate. I am thankful though that they are being given a second chance rather than ending up in landfill.

WHAT SHOULD NOT BE DONATED AT OP-SHOPS – OR CAREFULLY EXAMINED PRIOR TO DONATING

  1. Soiled or damaged undergarments – it may be surprising to some of us but this is very common. Be carefull when donating these items, for sanitary reasons there are very specific guidelines about which ones can be put up for sale. Ideally these would be hardly worn, or new and they should always be clean – most of the people who work at op-shops are volunteers, they don’t want to be going through piles of crusty strangers underwear.
  2. Books, DVDs, CDs, records, tapes and VHS – some of these are fine for donation, in fact they are fine for donation provided they are still in good condition. The reason I put these on the list is more because of the rate of which they are bought vs how many of them are donated. These items are a bit harder to re-sell, I’m not really sure why but it almost certainly has a lot to do with the digitization of media as well as the fading out of certain technologies such as video players, record players and tape players. Children’s books, DVDs and CDs do have a higher rate of sale provided they are in reasonable condition because most parents know their kids will be chewing on, throwing and (hopefully not) but occasionally ripping books over time, so it is a good way to save a bit of $$$
  3. Electrical Goods – in order to re-sell electrical goods you need a special license, and a lot of places do not have this. It is also very risky as all these items must be carefully inspected for defaults, water damage etc… they don’t want a law-suit on their hands for someone being electrocuted! Some places do have specialists who come in once a week to provide minor fixes to various items. It’s best to check this out with your local op-shop before donating, they’ll be great full you did 🙂
  4. Toys – Toys can be tricky as they have to be inspected to make sure they still have all their parts before selling. If the sorter has not come across this toy before it can be difficult to make a judgement on this.

I think that’s the end of our list for now…

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Charities report increase in junk dumped, and more people taking items from the front of stores

The main thing to keep in mind is Op shops are not dumping grounds, it may save you $$$ by avoiding charges at the local tip, but all you are really doing is passing that cost on to others who are not responsible for it.  You’re better off making use of local hard rubbish services in the area, or listing things like electrical goods on eBay. The op shop you give these things to is paying a significant amount of money every year to remove our unusable/unsaleable items which are dumped at the front of the shop or in their bins.  We have many op shops around us and its frustrating to see the loads of stuff left on their door steps every night, we have also noticed that passers by often come down after the shops are closed and go through these bags – taking them for free and making even more mess for volunteers to clean up.

Our golden rule is ‘if you wouldn’t give it to a friend, it belongs in the bin’

Do you have any advice on giving to op-shops? or alternate ways of getting rid of things?
Little & Big xxx

Natural Floor Cleaning

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When we we first bought Puppy Pop about twelve months ago and were toilet training him, understandably we had a few mishaps along the way. I have finally decided to deal with the stains left over from then now that he is properly toilet trained and we don’t need to worry so much.
So I thought I would share a neat Eco-friendly way of getting rid of tough baked in floor stains.

Love Little & Big Pop xx

Big Pops take on Buying Nothing New

‘Buy nothing new for a year’, is what Little Pop wanted for her 21st Birthday. As a parent I support my child in her their pursuits, this request was more than that for me.
Two years ago I left my job of 29 years, it was always a battle for us to pay the bills anyway, but when i was offered a generous redundancy package I took it as an opportunity for us to live the life we had always dreamed of (just for a while anyway!). For the past 1.5 years since I left work we have brought what we wanted with little thought about the impact the goods we
purchased were having on the environment. There came a point when I said ‘I don’t want any more junk!

To be honest I’m not entirely sure what I buy that is so bad, but Little Pop assures me that we will be significantly decreasing our environmental footprint by doing this. We still haven’t established any definitive rules around what we can and can’t buy (although we really should get onto doing that) but I plan on buying as much food as possible from local farmers and thus reducing the environmental costs associated with spraying, transporting and packaging the foods we buy (I know this isn’t really classified as buying nothing new but I am really planning on getting back to our roots when it comes to food).

Back to buying nothing new… We are a household of two girls so as you can imagine clothes are probably the biggest product we tend to buy new. We are a household of collectors, you never know when you will need it. We went to my wardrobe tonight and found a skirt I have had since I was 17 yrs old because ‘one day I will fit it!‘.

I would like to have a go at making things like skin care products myself from locally sourced resources wherever possible.
I plan on implementing a similar strategy in regards to cleaning products although this won’t be a huge difference to the way our household operates now. Due to health reasons i am unable to use powerful chemical cleaning products so most of the time we use natural home made cleaning products anyway. those who know me knows that I love my bicarb soda and lemon juice (these two are  must have for anyone looking to make their own cleaning products!) – soap flakes, natural oils and vinegar are also great! I plan on regularly putting up posts with various home made cleaning product recipes and showing the results they can have (for proof of course!) for anyone looking to take a more natural approach when it comes to the cleaning of the house.

Oh and lastly…something I’m looking forward to with ‘buy nothing new’ is de-cluttering our house! We have a third bedroom that is unusable due to’ stuff’ – note that cleaning this room does not mean buying storage solutions, but to really look at what we need and get rid of anything we no longer need.

I think our motto should be, ‘clean natural, eat in season, donate, up-cycle, recycle and live life chemical free.

Lets see how our Buy nothing new rule negotiation goes

Stay healthy and happy ..Big Pop.