Tag Archives: kitchen

How to tidy – in 13 steps

As a mum of three boys – oh, oops – two boys and one husband – all I seem to do is tidy up their mess.

Despite daily reminders, the clothes are always in a pile by the bath, the packaging is always on the counter, not in the bin and the toys… I mean I’m drowning in rainbow plastic.

If, like me, the summer holidays have meant more children and more mess for you, then hopefully this will help – how to tidy in 13 steps.

Step 1 – Open all the curtains and make all the beds. This way you can see what you’re doing and you have a flat surface in each room to pile shit on.

Step 2 – Empty all the bins. You’re going to need somewhere to put all the shit.

Step 3 – Do a laundry audit. Where are you in the process? (Yes, boys, laundry is a four stage process. Shoving some pants in the washing machine does NOT mean you’ve “done the washing”.) Take the dry stuff off the clothes horse/radiator/back of the chairs – or tumble dryer if you’ve thrown money at the problem – and chuck it all on the biggest bed you made, then work backwards. Hang up wet stuff, throw in a new load of dirty clothes – cos let’s face it, that laundry basket is never empty.

Step 4 – Clear the draining board and empty the dishwasher. Now you have somewhere to put the dirty stuff.

Step 5 – Gather all the dirty stuff – the glasses from the bedsides, the cups from the tables, the random spoons from the floors/garden/toybox and dump them in rough size order near the sink/dishwasher.

Step 6 – Do a sweep of downstairs and pile all the stuff that should be on the floor above, on the stairs.

Step 7 – Tackle the living room. Tidy it, plump the cushions etc and then, if there are no little people around (hurray!) light a scented candle. This will be your sanctuary while you tackle the rest of this dull-as-shit process.

Step 8 – Tidy the rest of downstairs but not the kitchen. If you have a downstairs loo, clean it. Take a quick run upstairs with that pile you made and dump it on another bed.

NOW STOP. Sit in your sanctuary with a cup of tea – or something stronger – and decide how arsed you can be with the rest of the house. Technically, you’ve done the most important bits. This is all that visitors will see – unless you have one of those fabulous open plan kitchen living diners – in which case karma has got you and you’ll need to tackle that kitchen before you call it a day.

Step 9 – The kitchen – take a box or nice paper gift bag with you for all the paperwork I know you’ll find there. Start in one corner and work in a circle, putting stuff in cupboards or toys on the stairs or dirty stuff in the sink. If in doubt, bin it.  Put the dishwasher on or wash the stuff by hand. Dump the bag or box of paperwork in a drawer, at least it’s all together, you can handle that later. Clean the surfaces then open a window.

Step 10 –  The bathroom. Do a towel audit, fold the clean ones and get your marigolds on for some scrubbing. I insist on the rubber gloves – your hands will always give away your age and your nails will thank you for them too.STOP AGAIN. You’ve done very well. You can totally delegate the last bit – except we both know it won’t get done, or will get done in a haphazard, substandard way, which you will pay for when you try to dress your children the next day… So take a deep breath, you’re almost done.

Step 11 – The bedrooms. Start with those clothes and stuff you dumped on the bed earlier. Once they’ve all been put away, tidy the rest and clean the surfaces. (I don’t believe in ironing piles – I iron as little as I can get away with, approx five minutes before I wear it.)

Step 12 – Get the Hoover out. Except no one has a hoover any more do they? Get the Dyson or whatever and sook up all the shit on the carpets.

Step 13 – Fill your sink or bucket with the pink Flash (smells so good) and mop. You may have a smug smile on your face at this time, for mopping means you’ve made it.

Step back and admire your tidy, sweet smelling haven, with toys relegated to boxes and cupboards, clothes hanging and cutlery sparkling. Savour it, for in no time at all you’ll be back in your pigsty. If anyone knows how to train small boys (and a big one) how to tidy up after themselves please God tell me how.


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Edinburgh Renovation Project part 2

Day seven in the Big Other House…

I think I might have repetitive strain injury. Today I painted the kitchen twice with specialist tile paint. It cost me £38 for a tub and saved me about £500 on retiling the kitchen. A third coat is required but Marc took pity on me and said he’d do it. So instead of this:

Mummykimmy kitchen orange

my kitchen looks like this:

Mummykimmy kitchen white

I thought I was pretty early to the house this morning. I turned up at 8.45 carrying Starbucks coffee. But no. Marc had been up since 6.30 and the plumber had been and gone. Take a look at this:

Mummykimmy pipes

Now look at this:

Mummykimmy no pipes

Spot the difference? I have never been so happy to see a hole in a wall.

Our plan to knock through into the garage playroom involves rerouting pipes and removing a radiator. There was a small moment of panic on day five when the plumber said he might not be able to reattach them to such an old boiler and we should really get a new one – at £1200. Luckily Marc stepped in and persuaded the plumber it was worth a try. If it doesn’t work I’ll be contacting Scottish Power and financing that particular cell in my spreadsheet.

Decision made, the plumber came back and cut everything off in time for the cute builder to return tomorrow and use his big tool. The only thing was, the plumber turned up at 7am, catching poor Marc in his pants (he’s staying in the house while we renovate). Luckily Marc is a pragmatist so he was content to throw on a T-shirt and shorts and supervise. Now the dusty messy knock-through job will be completed before we start painting downstairs. Score.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 19.34.48

Other achievements over the last few days include this discounted light fitting, picked up during a two and a half hour trip to B&Q.

Being with Marc in B&Q is a bit like being with a pig in shit. He bartered on my behalf in just about every aisle. We got a £60 rug for £22. He found curtains that exactly matched the idea I’d described that morning, then persuaded an assistant to mark them down by 15%. We both got very excited over black dimpled tiles for the toilet splashback. When the octogenarian who assisted us argued that they had no barcode and were not tester tiles, Marc charmed him into selling us the box for less than the cost of the two tiles we’d originally wanted. To finish with a flourish, he led me and our groaning trolley through the trades till.

So where are we now?

Today I chose carpets. The guy is coming to measure up on Monday and fit on Friday. Marc and his assistant Andy painted my bedroom dove grey and KD’s bedroom comfy jeans blue, including the radiators which now blend in to the walls. Every ceiling has now had a coat of white and the Wee Man’s room is no longer electric blue thanks to a couple of generous layers of white. Tomorrow the feature walls will be papered and on Sunday my harlequin toilet will come to life. I’m planning to film the wallpapering and speed it up – if that works, I’ll share it.

Blue and grey (with the old purple still on the door!)

Grey and blue (with the old purple still on the door!)

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 19.50.19

Read part one here



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Filed under Edinburgh, Edinburgh renovation