Home clutter-clearing tips

Is your place looking like a tip and you don’t know where to start in the uncluttering process? Try these simple ideas on for size and you’ll be clutter-clearing like no one’s business.

1. One-in, one-out rule
When a household full of people keep bringing new things home, stuff piles up. Make a family rule that if something new is bought home to live, an old thing needs to go.

2. Don’t leave the room empty-handed
If you’ve got a spare hand, pick up something that doesn’t belong and take it to its correct spot. You’ll be amazed how many things get put away with this method.

3. Put it away, straight away
This is a matter of forming a habit. Rather than dumping something down where you’ve last used it, be conscious of putting it back where it lives as soon as you’re finished with it. It’ll only take a few seconds extra, but save so much time later.

4. Put a time on it
Speed cleaning is a thing – you’ll surprise yourself at how much you can achieve when you give yourself a time limit. Have a go at choosing an area, setting a timer for 20 minutes and go hard on the tidying and cleaning.

5. Kitchen tidy up
Take five minutes before you climb into bed at day’s end to clear up the kitchen bench and table. When you’re dealing with the morning rush to get out of the house, waking up to a tidy kitchen is psychologically game-changing.



Did you know?

The bombardier beetle has a built in boiling bomb.

The African bombardier beetle (Stenaptinus insignis) deters predators such as ants and frogs by shooting a scalding hot defensive spray at them. When a threat is nigh, the bombardier activates its caustic chemical cannon by opening valves to mix hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone – which are stored separately in little sacs – in a reaction chamber located at the back of its abdomen. The mixing process heats the liquid to a boiling 100C, before being ejected in an extraordinary insect version of chemical warfare. And if this alchemy isn’t impressive enough, the bombardier is also able to direct the boiling toxic spray in targeted directions (up, down, left, right, forward, backward), depending on where the predator is located. Mind blown!



Sticky date & toffee pudding

This is an old English recipe handed down through generations. Serve it with lashings of cream or vanilla icecream.

Pudding ingredients

125g softened butter
250g white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
700g pitted dates
400ml boiling water
700g plain flour
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder

Toffee sauce ingredients

250g butter
500g dark brown sugar
250ml cream

Pudding method

Pour boiling water over dates and set aside for half an hour.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Sift flour and raising agents together, add to creamed mixture with the water from the dates. Mix well, then add the soaked dates.

Pour into a well-greased 25cm ring tin and bake in a moderate oven for 50 minutes.

Serve warm with plenty of toffee sauce and cream or vanilla icecream.

Sauce method

Melt the butter.

Add the brown sugar and stir over heat until sugar dissolves.

Add the cream and bring to the boil.

Remove from heat and pour generously over slices of the pudding.

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