Thursday, February 25, 2016

Decluttering to be slim

I love Peter Walsh’s book ‘Does this clutter make my butt look fat?’. I’ve read it a few times and listened to the audiobook many times. He said that in his years as a professional declutterer he came across many instances of people losing weight once they had decluttered their home. (I see he has a new book out too which looks great and gets good reviews 'Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight').

I can definitely see how this would be true. There is a definite difference in the way I feel when I've decluttered an area or a room. I don’t feel so bogged down, and this lighter feeling carries over into other areas of my life as well. I used to feel like a failure if I had to declutter again, because I thought I’d done it once. It was only when I realised that organising and simplifying is simply good personal hygiene much like brushing your teeth or taking a shower which you do on a regular basis that I felt better about it.

Sure you may do a big declutter like Marie Kondo says is all you need, but I do believe there is maintenance, because there is always a flow in and out of our home. And more than anything else, our home is a reflection of what’s going on inside of us.

If home feels messy and like you’re wading through things with cluttery corners everywhere you turn, how can you have clear thinking? When I think ‘I’m too busy to straighten out this room, I’ll do these other things first’ I invariably find I take more time than I might have because I can’t think straight.

I’m not following Marie Kondo’s category list to the T, but I am going through our home by category which is what she recommends. First was books, and I donated those this week. Then I started on my closet with my knicker drawer. Before, I just threw my undies in the drawer in a higgledy fashion and as a result was wearing the same ones over and over simply because they were on the top.  I'd organise the drawer sometimes, but mostly it went back to the way it was. So I tipped out the whole drawer (it’s not very big) and then folded them KonMari-style. I only got rid of one pair which had fringey elastic (not in a designer way) because I’d had a big clean-up late last year and bought some new pairs too.

This photo may be too much for a blog, but how pretty do all my folded knickers look? I also did my singlet/tank top/camisole drawer. I love them all so I just refolded and stacked KonMari-style as well. My bras were also good, they had been sorted out when I did my knickers. Socks, I donated a few pairs and arranged the rest.

So all my small drawers are done and I’m ready to move onto my three large drawers. I haven’t organised them in so long – maybe six months? – that all my summer clothes are mixed up with my winter woollies, and home clothes and out clothes are mixed up to. I’m sure it won’t take long, maybe an hour or two, but oh, it will be so satisfying…

Are you sifting through your home decluttering and simplifying like I am? Do you feel slimmer/lighter when you have decluttered?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Simplifying and KonMari-ing

I'm on the home stretch now finishing up my newest book 'Thirty Chic Days: Practical inspiration for a beautiful life'; we're down to the final edit and then it will be released - I'm planning for it to be out in March - exciting!  However, having a messy and cluttered home office does not feel good when I'm writing.  My home office is the room that everything gets put into and it's really putting a crimp in my creativity.  So I have been decluttering this space with Marie Kondo's 'Does this spark joy?' question in mind.

The bookshelf above, sits behind my writing desk, and this photo of it is post-streamlining.  The photo below, is the 'before' photo.  There is a whole extra row of books along the top, plus piles are stacked on top of the standing books in each cubby.  The After photo calms my heart.

I am donating a lot of books.  There were many fiction books that I thought I'd read again but I haven't.  An example:  I had all Sophie Kinsella's wonderfully funny and nutty books including the Shopaholic series.  I will probably re-read some of them at some stage, but I can easily borrow them from our library, and in the meantime someone else can enjoy them and I'm not having to house them.  The only book in the fun-fiction category I have kept is Jemima J, by Jane Green.  I love this book and have read it many times.  I was surprised to see on Amazon that it had really polarising reviews - it seems you either love it or hate it.

I'm also moving along those books that don't inspire me as much as I thought they would - sometimes it's something as small as (literally) the font.  One book that looked like it might interest me had such tiny font and really closely spaced lines, so much that it made my eyes funny.  I'm not in the market for large print just yet, but this tiny print was ridiculous.  I don't need that kind of aggravation in my life so out this book went - and I checked to make sure the font on Thirty Chic Days was not too small :).

Some books that I kept simply needed their dust jacket removed and I loved them again.  Some dust jackets look outdated or are faded, and when you reveal the simple cover underneath, the book seems quite different. I love Debra Ollivier's Entre Nous and can't ever see myself decluttering that, but another of her French-themed books 'What French Women Know' I was on the verge of donating because it had such an awful red and black dust jacket, with no image and no design qualities whatsoever.  Looking inside the book showed me that I actually probably wanted to keep it because the information within looked quite delicious, so I removed the dust jacket and found a simple white cover with pretty pastel spine detail.  I felt bad throwing out all these glossy paper book covers, but I know I will enjoy the books much more without them.

And then there were books that just didn't resonate with me anymore.  Ten or fifteen years ago they did and I read and re-read them then, but now, well I've moved onto other things and some information I just don't need anymore.  I've learnt and implemented, and now it's time for someone else to have a chance to read those books.

The final type of book I donated was reference books that I knew I would never pick up - it would be straight to Google for me.

Look at those stacks of books waiting to be released into the wild - they look so ready!

I did have a few issues with the donation boxes though.  You know how cats like to hide in boxes?  Well, Nina (on the left) and Jessica (right) are no exceptions.  They stayed in the boxes so long I was getting impatient.  I wanted to get those books packaged up and out of my home office.  Eventually they surfaced and I could box everything up though.

I haven't completely finished my home office declutter, but this was a big part of it and the energy feels so different already - fresh, airy, clean - and this inspires me to keep on going (not that I need motivation right now - I've got it all goin' on).

A great Feng Shui tip I read, was 'make your least favourite place into your favourite place'. When I think about which was my least favourite place in our home it was definitely the home office, because even though I want to sew and write in there, it was a dumping ground of items to donate or store and it wasn't a very inspiring place to be. No more though; as I streamline, clean and scent my home office, it's now the place that lifts me up and makes me feel so creative.

What area of your home would you say is your least favourite, and... just what are you going to do about it?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The ‘More’ Technique

Common wisdom says that whatever you give someone attention for encourages them to do more of the same.  It’s used with children and even for training dogs.  Therefore, to apply it to ourselves, this wisdom says that you would do well to focus on the good behaviour and ignore the bad behaviour - because you want more of the good, and not the bad of course.

It makes so much sense.  Instead of telling ourselves we cannot stay up late because we will be tired in the morning or we cannot eat treat foods all the time; why not reframe these statements?  Many examples spring to mind and reading this list is very appealing to me (more so than a list of nots):

More water (to drink)
More fruit and vegetables
More protein
More walking
More sleep
More early nights
More home-cooked meals
More quiet time
More time spent grooming
More time spent organising
More fun

Doesn’t that sound much more motivating?

For me, in addition to the above, this week I’m going to focus on:

More creativity
More time to spare by being better organised
More books to read
More being
More positive affirmations
More listening
More green tea

What are you going to do MORE of?
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