OP Shop – Lessons

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12191456_1050387451659804_271184034381943813_n (1)Since moving to Australia and being a stay at home mom I realised I needed to get out more so I volunteered at my local Salvation Army Family Store . This has been such a great experience. I made some friends and the other volunteers are a wealth of local information and knowledge and generally just a really great bunch!  So what did I learn about Salvo’s . Op Shops  and any number of names they are known by ….

LESSONS AS A VOLUNTEER

  1. Just show up . I had no retail experience .Didn’t know any locals and  I didn’t know what use I would be but I feel I have learnt so much about customer service, stock control , merchandising etc
  2. It is hard work but very satisfying
  3. It provides me with a local reference when the time comes for job applications
  4. It gives structure to my week having a set time of work
  5. No the staff don’t get first pick of what comes in . We are only allowed to shop at the end of our shift and then its also only items out on the floor. Same as everyone else.
  6. They are usually understaffed so instead of being critical of the service or merchandising VOLUNTEER!
  7. Staff can do nothing about the fact that you are looking for a specific item which they don’t have in stock  AND NO we can’t just order one in for you .

LESSONS AS A SHOPPER

  1. Go with an open mind but be mindful of what you really would need or have use for.
  2. No they aren’t hiding the good stuff in he back .
  3. The stock is only as good as the donations received.
  4. You may feel that an item is overpriced considering it was a donation but remember a shop has running costs too!
  5. If you notice something is broken please bring this to the staff members attention as we endevour to have used but not broken/torn items for sale.
  6. Return the items you have tried on to the shelves where you find them.
  7. Just because you don’t see the items displayed that you donated last week does not mean we are ungrateful or have taken them for ourselves. They may well be sold already !
  8. Don’t underestimate the power of soap and water to rejuvenate an item.

LESSONS FOR PEOPLE WISHING TO DONATE

  1. If clothing it is broken , stained, torn or stretched please bin it but if it is cotton please donate it for rag recycling
  2. Only donate electrical goods that actually work.
  3. When donating large quantities of clothing it really helps if you have put like with like
  4. Your Salvo will only be as good as the donations it receives
  5. Shoes which are still in good condition are welcome
  6. When donating bedding/Manchester it is a great help is you indicate what bed size it is.
  7. Please do not overload a bag of box to the point of tearing.
Enjoy your opportunity shopping !

 

 

Moving Once Again

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My partner and I generally don’t wait long after making a decision to see it through. Late May we decided to pull the trigger on his ” home-coming / my emigration “to Australia his home country. Since making the decision and getting things in order there have been ups and downs but most interesting has been people’s reactions. Generally there are 3 camps  a) excited for us ….. b) people who want you to justify your decision ……..c) indifferent.

Obviously groups a and c have been the easiest to deal with group b however not so much. This has got me thing thinking a lot recently and made me realise a few things . Numerous families become very vitriolic about South Africa before they leave perhaps due to job losses , crime whatever negative was the motivation for their trip and group b have come to feel that they need to defend the fact that they are staying. You don’t have to . We were born here so its our right to live here ! Don’t question your decisions because they are right for your set of circumstances. People who are leaving have no right to judge those who are staying and vice versa. Each individual’s set of circumstances are different therefore their choices, opportunities  and options are different and uniquely theirs.

Am I excited about this  adventure? Yes . Am I terrified at times ? Yes

Using things up !

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A while ago I read a post on a blog called http://quintessentiallyme.co.uk/ about using up the beauty products you have and it got me thinking, I wouldn’t call myself a make -up junkie or the like but with our big move coming up I realised I have loads of products which are intended for the same purposes which are half used, and things I just didn’t like using. So I set myself the goal of using the products and not doubling up on things I already have for whatever reason. Mostly because that blog post drew my attention to the haul of products cluttering up my bathroom and vanity. This process made me aware of the following,

1. Buying a bigger size because its better value is only better value if I already know I like and will continue to use the product.

2. I had quite a hoard of sample sachets …. use them don’t hoard them !

3. Sometimes even if a product didn’t quite deliver what you expected friends and family often enjoy inheriting those and may find them to be the right choice for themselves !  ( just be careful not to offend certain individuals by offering used toiletries) This frees you up to buy something you like instead and not have that slightly used item taking up bathroom space or the guilt of binning a reasonably full item !

4. I do not need 6 eyeliners in black if I only occasionally wear eyeliner ! And what is up with keeping lipsticks when the shade has never quite worked for me ? And having 4 eye makeup removers on the go ?

5. Getting rid of a hairbrush which never quite cut the mustard  and replacing it with one that does can shorten the time spent blow drying ones’ hair

6. Organization in my case has to start with de-cluttering !

These points are not unique to me but I really hope I can stick to my new approach and not get sucked into buying things I’m note entirely sure I even want to try ! My other golden rule is now that I don’t start a new product  unless I have finished the current one !

Have a lovely weekend

 

Transitioning Owner to Renter

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We sold our home in Port Elizabeth and the time we are spending in Cape Town may well turn out to be transitional  because we are considering all sorts of long-term lifestyle changes ……..So we decided to rent instead of buying .

The biggest challenge is adapting to a ” renter ” mind-set . It makes me mental. I sit in a rental home which at first glance seems to be in ok shape but once you live in it you realise its numerous short comings. Having owned, it is difficult to hold back and not just start renovating things or expecting irrational upgrades from the landlord. And it’s no one single big project its simple little fixes but when you sit down and make the sums it certainly doesn’t add up to a financially responsible approach to make these improvements from our own pockets.

I have also transitioned from full-time employment to a more part time/ freelance situation purely because our kids are at a stage in their lives where the value of a parent being home with them far outweighs my full-time earnings. This means that I spend far more time at home than ever before.

Have a great day?

Show House – Part 1 – Bedroom

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We have lived in our current home since July and  the last week in November we were frantically putting on the finishing touches to prepare for the Show House on Sunday. Why do we always need a deadline to get things done . I’m not talking massive renovation projects here I’m talking about little tweaks that make a huge difference.  Things which are making me love the house more . Little tweaks we have made. Tweak one – Master bedroom

1. 1 Fixed the tile grout in the en-suite – (20 m Minutes)

1.2 New linen and cushions for the bed ( 1 hour shopping time) from Mr Price HomeIMG-20131125-00647 1.3. Extra Length curtains from @Home ( 1 hour for shopping and hanging)

Before

Curtains that are too short

Curtains that are too short

After – Extra length curtainsIMG-20131201-00656

As this photo shows we had to put the curtain rail up extra high so as not the obstruct the wardrobe doors. The window was an awkward placement and shape but it really looked very luxury especially when the curtains were drawn.

1.4. Giving the pedestal fresh coat of varnish and varnishing the sea grass drawers to the same colour. I have always disliked these pedestals but a girl’s gotta work with what is available.
IMG-20131125-00646

 

1.5 Revamped old wicker chair with varnish to provide a little seating area for putting on shoes etc. It peeks out in the first photo and also provided a place to put the extra cushions at night.

BeforeIMG-20131109-00627

 

Overall I am very happy how things turned out! But some lovely professional photo’s were taken and Im hoping to share those.  So the lesson I learnt from this process was not to put off doing the little things because you need to enjoy the space while living in it.

Have a great week !

Tat – Shelf

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Our current home has quite a minimalist style but sometimes a room needs a little something. In this case the room needed furniture and some pictures for the walls but one particular wall was quite expansive and thus needed something. After spending quite some time trying to decided if I needed to paint something large or possible add furniture I gave up and just moved on and focussed my attentions elsewhere and then inspiration struck ! While driving into our car garage on Saturday I noticed the shelf next to my car and got thinking that maybe with some paint and a little TLC it would have potential,

My initial investigation made it apparent that 1) it was currently storage for a lot of junk anyway 2) it was quite rickety . So a quick chat with the man of the house and he agreed to DIY it to be a little sturdier. IMG-20131109-00626

Once he had worked his magic I gave it a wash with some sugar soap and then set about using some water based varnish to darken and even it out as one can see from the before pics it was quite colourful.

It took at least 4 full coats and then some spots got additional coats to get a consistent coverage. Once done I played around with some items we already had and it now looks like this . IMG-20131110-00629

I’m rather happy with the end result although there is still some tweaking to do !

Mummut stools Ikea Hack

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We had these two mummut stools from Ikea around the house which had been painted in a past life and abused by all the family as “ladders” to stand on for

IMG-20130811-00535hard to reach places and even as a low ladder for house painting

While wondering the aisles at Builders Warehouse last week I saw that Rustoleum have a spray paint specifically for plastic which retails for about R80. I selected a blue shade and immediately thought these chairs would work perfectly at a little desk for the boys room. 

As you can see from he picture above these stool had started life as pink and green then been painted red and blue respectively and general had lived the hard life.

IMG-20130812-00537As preparation I washed them both with a sugar soap solution and put them out in the sun to dry. I did thin coats and gave the coats about 20 minutes to dry as the instructions said to do a second coat before it was completely dry. I had to do about 4 coats and still need to do one or two touch ups as I had to move them indoors before they where dry to touch as it very suddenly clouded over ! 

I am not sure how they will wear but at R80 a can one can definately respray at a later stage if it becomes apparent that some more coats are needed. Actually there is still quite a bit left in the can ! Below the pic of the chairs in the room at the desk. the desk is something we had and didn’t quite have a space for until now.

IMG-20130812-00542Have a nice week !

 

Lawn Lament

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Besides being hopelessly overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done one the inside of this house we finally got around to putting up some curtain rails this weekend and the improvement from squat style cloths rigged in front of windows to curtains which can be drawn and opened neatly was inspirational .Therefore I started tackling a very annoying little problem …… a weed patch which used to be a lawn way back when . Most picture I take are with my phone but looking at these you will get a good idea of the full horror of what I am dealing with.IMG-20130805-00497 IMG-20130805-00498 IMG-20130805-00499 IMG-20130805-00500 IMG-20130805-00501 IMG-20130805-00502

I am certainly all about using chemicals sparingly and therefore am using a 3 phase attack based on what I learnt from dealing with lawn issues at my first home last year. Last week I sprayed with a product called Turfweeder with an active ingredient of APM ,then this weekend once inspired I started to manually pull out some of the larger weeds hence the plastic bags on the lawn and then as soon as we have a windless day I will spray with Banweed MPCA.

Quite aggressive but my motivation is that from next week the lawn service will commence and they will come to cut every 2 weeks. With lawn weeds you need them to have some foliage as they absorb the poison through the leaves. Thus you also do not want the lawn getting wet for a couple of hours after application. Please let me know what has worked for you in the past as I have never dealt with a lawn of this size and this amount of weeds.

The soil generally is quite sandy and large parts of the lawn have had pathways walked into them. This was cause by our tenants having 3 large dogs on the property. The yard was flea infested when we first got here and to deal with that problem we used a product called Scatter Kill. Its a powder which you spread and then mist. WE had very good results . I am considering a repeat application as our pets had fleas within a week of being herebut that could also just have been eggs that were still in the yard. However they have been treated with Capstar and the problem seems to be resolved but time will tell.

Apologies for the pics but I am no professional photographer but it certainly gives you a feel for the state of the lawn and the yard.

Have a great week !

 

Moving On

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My partner and I recently sat down and had one of those chats were one cannot afford the luxury of being emotional but can only be realistic and practical …. about houses, homes , properties, rentals etc

When I moved to Port Elizabeth in January this year my partner was living in a leafy suburb called Walmer but also owned a home in a more suburban neighbourhood called Lorraine. The home in Lorraine had long-term tenants who had been in there for approximately 5 years so when they moved out in april we decided to first renovate a bit before letting or selling. The reality was we just did not get round to it with the demands of work and kids etc. So last week Wednesday was move day ! In this process i learnt a few things

1) We did a pre packing purge . To facilitate this we rented a bin from a local company called Mr Bin and identified a charity shop to which we donated all useful items.

2) Estimate your boxes and then double it !

3) Be realistic . I halved our kitchen crockery and serving bowls because if we hadn’t used it in 6 months we probably wont miss it. Also ones taste changes. Some items were gifts and wedding presents from my partners first marriage but nobody gives a gift wanting it to turn into a white elephant. Let it go to where it can mean something.

4) That stash of too small clothing…. let it go while the style is still current and useful to someone else. Besides if you ever are that size again then you deserve new threads!

5) Set yourself a time limit on the packing. I started about a week before the move and have a theory that you will pack for however long the period of time is that you have.

6) Use a reputable removal company. Yes renting a bakkie and labourers is doable but making frequent trips, doing your back in and not having the correct equipment to move furniture and secure it while in transit  just ends up costing you more. Below a gallery of photos from when the tenant was still in the home.

Have a great week