Thursday, 11 November 2010

The end is the beginning

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” ~ T.S. Eliot

It took me 4 days to clear away every single item from my house. I was really surprised by the amount of 'junks' I have been keeping for the past 14 years (^^')

Even though I must have thrown away half of our 'possessions', I still ended up with 30 boxes of barangs barangs (personal belongings). Here's some stats to illustrate...I sold away:
~ 100kg of old textbooks, activity books, worksheets, assessment books, magazines, etc,
~ 50kg of old clothing, bed sheets, towels, etc
to the karung guni (modern form of rag and bone men). I 'earned' a total of $15. I also sold away my fridge, washing machine, two fans and a radio for a total of $70. I got $10 by selling away my king size bed.

I managed to clear away 90% of our old furniture, and I do hope my 'new' house will not have more than 8 pieces of furniture. I am a minimalist...but this time I will work even harder to keep everything main aim is to minimise daily cleaning and maintenance :)

After 4 days of hacking, my whole flat was stripped down to its core. Here's my looks almost like a war zone!

There will only be bottom cabinets for my kitchen...and a tower unit by the side. This is my first step of reducing storage space. You may think I am crazy since most people ask for extra storage space. For me, the more space I have means I will fill it up with more junks! I used to have a row of top cabinets which I used it as a 'store'...keeping things I hardly use at all. One classic example: we have been keeping bottles and bottles of Coke which we bought during our holidays overseas. I spent close to 20mins opening 40 bottles (or more!) of Coke and pouring away the content before I could dispose off the empty glass bottles. Not forgetting the numerous cans of Coke I have throw away several years back. This is something I don't wish to happen again.

This is my guest/common bathroom...I have re-positioned the entrance so that the new entrance will be at the service yard instead of the kitchen.

New entrance to the guest/common bathroom. I won't have to see my younger child doing his business in full view any more ;)

This is yet another step to 'reduce' storage space. The entrance of the store will be shifted from the kitchen to the bedroom. I am going to convert the existing store room to a 'walk-in' wardrobe...literally. The space is only 1m by 2m...just enough for a person to walk into the closet to retrieve the item. Yes, it is going to be a tiny closet...but I am the sort who can survive with less than 10 sets of cloths, the space is more than sufficient. Without a store room, the only problem I am going to face is to find storage space to keep my kids' books...I hope the new build in wardrobe cum book shelves will be big enough to address this issue.

Although I have no intention to convert this into a renovation blog, I won't be able to post anything on baking for the next couple of months. I hope I don't bore you too much with this post (^_^).  


  1. HI HHB, be assured we wont get bore, at least we "see" something from you, we will miss you a lot if you are too "quiet" :P. Seem like a major hacking and renov, you will sure to be busy during this period, all the best!

  2. i couldn't wait to see finishing touches especially your built-in oven!

  3. Your post brings back 'fond' memories of when I first bought my home. Also tore the whole place down and looked just like your pictures. Looking forward to seeing your new home :) Hope you don't miss baking too much.

  4. Haha! I was in the same predicament thirteen years ago, when I downgraded from a landed to a 4-room HDB. Imagine the usable and good 'junk' I had to discard! Right now, I'm still junking things because like you, I'm going to give my flat a makeover in a couple of years.
    I look forward to having a preview of your new place!

  5. That's a major renovation! It's good to clear away the clutter. You will have a brand new home very soon! Miss you when you were not posting, like missing an old friend. :)

  6. I will not get bore, as I like to see everything related to house. Please promise to us that you will show us the progress till the final of touches. I will stay tune till the end and I will not get bore, hahaha..

  7. Great to see the progress and your sharing along the way HHB! Looking forward to see your make-over home soon. Meanwhile, take care friend.

  8. LOL! That's a major renovation! Actually, it does look like a warzone. Reminding me so much of the new house my family is now living in, that is, before it was fully renovated and furnished. Right now, it's still kinda messy though. =P

    I can never understand why collecting Coke cans and bottles can become an obsession/hobby!!?? LOL! There's a can collector in my house. Headache ...

    Nope, you aren't boring me out. I've always loved the way you write and share your life with us, not just about your culinary adventures, which is what that's pulling me back to your blog. Something to read about and look forward to.

    Take care, buddy!

  9. wah!Looks like the whole house is under renovation. It is a big big rebuild of your house. Can't wait to see your "new" house. Perhaps you would held a house warming too.

  10. Dear HHB
    This is the best time to renovate n buy your new household items cos so many things on sale now :) Hope u are not too stress n have fun with your renovation.

  11. Wow! HHB, I look forward to seeing your newly renovated kitchen;), I can imagine it will be a nice, pretty, warm cosy kitchen , where all the good yummy food are produced by your loving hands! do keep us posted..

    love, cupcake

  12. Wow really exciting, a major overhaul!!! Can't wait to see the new house.

  13. Very interesting post, I love before-after posts :-)

    Please keep us updated on the renovation progress!

  14. This is interesting. Do keep us updated.

  15. Wow! Looks like some really major works taking place here. Can't wait to see your new home :)

  16. hello HHB,

    I really like the photos and the posts...
    It makes you appreciate the things you make or create to satisfy your tummy (:

    I was wondering how did you make the e-book?


  17. Wow, this is pretty major! You must be really excited about the new change! Hope everything goes smoothly. ;) thanks for keeping us updated! It'll be fun to see the progress and the final "product". :)) remember don't be too stress ...enjoy the makeover! :)

  18. Wao, look like not just the kitchen is having a make over ... so after hacking the kitchen .... did your kids see what they said there will be ?

    Anyway, I love anythg doing with reno too .. do you know that I just threw away the home and deco magazines not too long ago? I kept them for almost like 8 years. If not for making space for my boy who entered P1 this yr, I think they will stick with me for life hahaha... till now I still borrow reno books from the library!

    But, not sure if it is really good to reduce storage space. You see, I am also a minimalist. My kitchen cabinets are not to the top and not to the bottom (if you know what I mean) and yes, it is really difficult to find storage... but perhaps also a good point, it makes me think twice, thrice before I buy anythg.

    Can't wait to see the new house.

  19. Please let this be a renovation blog for these few months. I'm interested in seeing the progress of how your home is going to transform! :D

  20. I've always wanted to renovate my house but we need a place to stay, and a place to store the barangs. Another consideration is my kids are still young and their schools are within the same neighbourhood. So we're staying put in this "old" house for now, at least for the next 5 years.

    Don't worry about boring us with your renovation updates. Keep us posted.

  21. Oh, I forgot to mention. DH collects coke bottles too and during my working days, I travel quite a bit and we have a whole shelf full of bottled coke. Another shelf of canned coke were opened up and poured away when we realised there were some leakage. Now I'm also stranded, don't know what to do with them as the cupboard is now sitting under my computer table, almost out of sight out of mind.

  22. Jess, SSB, thanks for your kind comments...didn't expect anyone to miss me (^^)

    j3ss kitch3n, don't expect too much, I will be getting the cheapest built-in oven, a basic oven with no frills...likely Bosch's lowest end, less than $700 ;)

    Pei Lin, besides collecting Coke bottles and cans, I collect fridge magnets too!

    Wai Kitt...nah, there will be no house warming since it is still my current place :)

    May, thanks for your concern! I am not very stressed...although there is a great deal of work involved especially I am doing it all alone, but I think I am quite good at managing stress :)

    Cupcake, I think I will disappoint kitchen will be very plain and simple...I am going to have a functional kitchen, no aesthetic appeal, my main aim is: easy maintenance (^^')

    dee, may I know what 'e-book' you are referring to?

    Bee Bee, I am keeping everything simple, so the final 'product' will probably be equivalent to "家途四壁"!

    Sherlyn, as I age, I find that '身外物' are really not important to me any more.

    Blessed Homemaker, yes, I have waited until my kids are older. It is actually more feasible to get a new place than to refurbish your current house. However, we like our location so much that we won't be shifting to anywhere. I only kept one bottle (comes with a xmas hat and scarf) and threw away the rest, still feeling a bit heart pain...and I was so busy that I didn't even have time to take any pictures :'(

  23. can't wait to see your fully renovated house. hope your will post the progress of the renovation from time to time.

  24. Looks like your whole house is under renovation and I believe you are now staying in a temperary place right? Look forward to see your new kitchen especially the new oven. Have you decided one yet?

  25. Hey, it's a "big" change in everything!! Hope everything goes smoothly and nicely as you wish for..:)

  26. I am looking forward to see your 'New' house! The best thing for me when waiting for our house to be ready more than 2 years ago was the kitchen...

  27. I agree with you... the more space we have ~ the tendency to be a hoarder is greater... :)
    Can't wait to see (and kay poh) your renovation Bliss :)

  28. My criteria for discarding old things : if it is not used the last 2 years, it's probably not needed the next 2.

    Unbelievable but I actually have HHB withdrawal symptoms! Looking forward to see your new kitchen and its arsenal of cookware :-)

  29. This is a major works! I can't wait to see your new place! I'm sure it'll be lovely to see a "new" house! I would love to see your updates on the progress too! Don't worry about boring us, we would be bored by your posts!
    Have fun monitoring the progress. :)

  30. I like your idea of just having bottom cabinets but...where are you going to store your baking stuff?

    I have accumulted lots of junk over the years too and with the kid (it now double the amount!). I dread the day I have to shift....

    Wishing you smooth reno.


  31. experimentalcook, you are very funny! I will try to post as regularly as I can :)

    Sabbymum, although I have been baking for the past few years, I do not have that many baking stuff...they only took up one shelf in my ex-kitchen cabinet. I have only the very basic baking pans and tools :)

  32. Renovation, packing and unpacking can be quite tiring and stressful...Baking is much more therapeutic than these. I hope your newly renovated home will be good and look forward to see more baking creations from your new kitchen in the future :D

  33. Funny name for a post, thats exactly what my name means in my language XD
    Anyway, good luck with the renovation, I hope to see soon more of your delicious bakings ^^

  34. Hi hhb, i collect coke bottles & fridge magnets too! I dread the day when i hv to decide to keep or discard e bottles ;-( my heart wld surely break!

  35. I can't wait to see the final results of your completed kitchen.

  36. My goodness! This is a major Reno! How long will this take? You must have lived there for a long time to prompt you to do such a major alteration!

  37. Shirley, it will probably take about 6 weeks. Yes, this is our first house, and we have been living here for the past 14 yrs! Love the location, I grew up in this area :)

  38. Hi Happy home baker, how is your bosch oven working for you so far.. I am so torn on which model to get. between this and and electrolux basic model.

    pls share you thoughts n your oven. I am not in favour of this ONLY because of it's electronic timer.. I prefer mechanical.. as i do not really have to worry abt the elctronics motherboard going hay wire n that will need fixing.. Im quite old school...
    hope to hear from you soon.

    1. You may like to refer to the last few comments on this post for the most recent review of my oven:

      It's been more than 3 yrs, so far I have no problem with the electronic timer, in fact I find it very useful as I can cancel or reset the timer easily. Hope this helps and my congrats for getting a new oven :)