Good (enough) housekeeping

It’s not all that long ago that I worked on women’s magazines in London. Okay, it was a decade ago – and two countries ago – but sometimes it feels like yesterday.

As well as writing for several health and beauty titles, I was a magazine junkie. I literally gobbled them up. My London flat was crammed to the rafters with glossy magazines (Marie Claire, Red, Vogue), which I’d leaf through for ideas, their beautiful pages becoming progressively more dog-eared and tattered as the years went by.

Any space remaining in my single-girl flat was taken up with the freebies I received from PR companies. Eye creams, moisturisers, vitamins, hair products, makeup, body-firming lotions – you name it, you could probably find it in my bathroom.

Oh yes, there were benefits to working on magazines (dah-lings!), especially the pharmaceutical title I edited for a few years. I was plied with ‘gifts’ from big-budget drug companies, and swanned off on press trips abroad at the drop of a hat.

Smart cheats, easy fixes - what's not to love?
Smart cheats, easy fixes – what’s not to love?

But, today, things are different, aren’t they? I realised this while standing in line at the supermarket this morning.

The new issue of Good Housekeeping Middle East was out and I actually felt a ripple of anticipation. I picked it up. I put it back on the shelf. I picked it up again. The feeling of excitement was undeniable. So I tossed it in the trolley, on top of the broccoli.

Fifteen bags of groceries later, I was able to snatch 20 illicit minutes on the sofa with the January issue, while sipping tea and being used as a climbing frame by LB (there may have been some Maltesers in there too).

I pored over the page with the headline ‘Declutter Your Fridge’; read all the quick tips on freeing up shelf space (square, stackable containers are better than round ones – who knew!); I learnt that eggs stay fresher if you keep them in their carton, not the fridge’s built-in egg holder (a revelation!); I even drooled over some rather nice bathroom sets.

I sped-read an article on having too little time, and found myself engrossed in an interview with New York City lawyer-turned-writer Gretchen Rubin on getting into the right mindset for decluttering (bring it on!). Can you guess what exciting things I’ve been doing this week? Yes, clearing out our accumulated junk.

LB might have started gnawing on my leg by now he was so peckish, but I was inspired – 2013 will be the year I become a better housewife, I vowed. I will never be THAT person who moves unopened mail half-way across the world again.

Boy, how times (and taste in magazines) change!

12 thoughts on “Good (enough) housekeeping

  1. Are you also now listening to Radio 2?? 😉 I think that’s what happens when you are a mum – you read useful, practical magazines and are thrilled when the freebie is a roucher for money off a baking master class, or similar! 🙂

  2. I love reading about how to de-clutter your fridge/bed room/closet! Also found myself walking out of Choitrams yesterday with a cooking magazine!

  3. Maria Smith says:

    I also love the organization/de-cluttering tips from just about anywhere. I think it’s part of the need to streamline your life once you’re a mom. I have a green cleaning service that helps me with a lot of tips as well.
    There’s a reason why they say running a household is nearly as stressful as being a CEO.

    • I agree Maria! I definitely feel like I’ve lost control over so many parts of my life – and decluttering helps me feel a bit more on top of things. And less time wasted looking for stuff too, like the Kids’ Panadol the other night! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. Decluttering… oh, you saucy minx!

    I think Elaine is right about Radio 2. I’ve started doing that recently.

    Perhaps there’s a novel waiting to be written “Fifty Shades of Lidded Storage Boxes”.

  5. I feel the same way about books, and with a toddler, you can imagine how tough it is for me to even consider picking one up! I keep buying them, though.

  6. I’ve just recently moved my townhouse into a storage unit 10×20. I cannot believe how much unopened mailed I threw away. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I vow to go mail free ….since May last year I’ve ditched my home phone after 3 months of actually see that only telemarketers phone the home phone. And it seems like forever that the only mail I get is junk, junk and an occational utility bill. I’m keeping my mail box from the townhouse unit for a month and plan on not getting a forwarding address with the post office. My sister is a postmaster in another part of Canada and says it’s impossible….I beg to differ. And I have to prove a point to the sis.

    • We have PO boxes here in Dubai (there’s no mail delivery to the door, tho they’ve started experimenting with this). Our PO box is at least 20km drive from the house, at my husband’s work. He checks it every week or so, and I love the fact it means junk mail is a thing of the past! Thanks for commenting!

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