Decluttering with less emotion

I need to get rid of a lot of unnecessary things in my life in order to keep up with my overall 2018 goal of leading a more efficient life. But sometimes letting go can be really difficult and emotional. So I am working in phases to declutter.

I decided to tackle my soap making supply cabinet this week, but I did find it to be emotionally challenging. I bought a lot of soap supplies a week before my spouse lost his job. This event caused a lot of alterations in our lives including an address change. When I was ready to start making soap again, I could not find the recipes that I had wanted to try prior to buying my supplies. So I had to adapt and use different recipes. But there were a couple of the supplies that I just could not find a use for. So I just held on to it, in case I ever found a use for it. These items were taking up space in my small cabinet

But this time when I made soap, I decided to be focused and get rid of any items that I was not using.

To help me take the emotion out of the task, I asked myself these questions:

  1. What type of soap would I be making? Would I be trying new recipes?
  2. How often would I be making soap this year?
  3. Which soap making items will help me keep to my goal of being efficient?

I do not for see making soap more than 2-3 times a year and I do not plan on making fancy soap. My needs are simple; I only like dye-free soap with only a few different oils and no additives like lavender petals or ground oatmeal. We find that this helps the bathtub stay clean longer.

Realizing my needs made it easier to get rid of all the “extras” that I had but did not use. Now when I want to make soap, it will be easier to pull the items that I need out, and see what I need to purchase without having to rummage through the cupboard.

If my soap making goals ever change, I can then purchase any additional items. But for now, simple is efficient.

I plan to ask myself similar questions when tackling other areas in my life. Being a little more efficient is going to give me some additional time to relax and enjoy life.

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Bullet Journaling simplified

My overall 2018 goal is to lead a more efficient life. To me this means getting rid of unnecessary clutter and keeping things simplified so that I have more time to breathe and live.

I was very excited when I heard about bullet journaling late last year. I lovemaking lists, writing down my goals and the things I have learned.

The idea of incorporating a creative element to my lists really appealed to me. However, I found the bullet journal process to be taking up a little more time than I could spare. I want to only keep one journal for the year and not have to keep transferring things from one journal to the next each time the journal ends.

So here is my simplified bullet journal for the year:

I started by listing all my 2018 goals, IMG_20180209_103620which I call my adventure list and placing it in the insight cover of my journal. Having it right at the start of the journal allows me to see it easily every time I open the journal. This keeps me on track with the plan for my year.

The INDEX page is truly a great idea. By numbering each page in the journal, I can write down the page number for each item in the index page. Going to the right page has never been easier.

 

You can list whatever you want to keep track of in your bullet journal and can IMG_20180209_103732decorate it as much or as little as you want. As you can see, I am more on the little side.

How my journal is different from most, is that instead of writing my daily to do list in the journal, I write it on a

IMG_20180209_103853separate piece of paper and then paper clip it to my journal. A lot of times, I write items that are not urgent, and need to be completed in a few days, so I can just move my to do list from one section of the journal to another.

When most items get done, I create a new to do list and add it to my journal after removing the old list. I feel that I save journal pages this way. At the end of the year, I do not need to remember  that on the week of Feb 5, I had to print some documents. This way when I look back at my 2018 journal, I can be reminded of things that were important to me.

If you like writing list and journaling, I definitely suggest trying a bullet journal. It can be very calming and fulfilling to see your goals achieved visually.

In the bag- my solution to tiny drawers

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I have the tiniest bathroom drawer. And I this is where I have to store all my stuff to get ready in the morning. In order to maximize the space, I put my things in different toiletry bags. These bags fit well in the drawer and help me stay organized. It also makes it easy to find my stuff in the morning, since everything has its place.

Simplicity in the New Year

As the year comes to an end, I have been reflecting on how I would like to spend more of my time in the 2016. One thing for sure is that I do not want to waste time on unnecessary things that do not add to my life. I want to simplify things and focus on what brings meaning to me.

One thing that I wasted a lot of my time on for many years is keeping my container cupboard organized and tidy. Getting my kids to put each item exactly where it needs to go has been a losing battle and it certainly irritates me when I look at the mess that I have to tidy up. I have tried many ways to organize this effectively, but have not been successful.  I do realize that they are not to blame, as my organization plan has not been the best, with the many different containers I have.

The other night I had a great idea- SIMPLIFY. Instead of having tons of different sized containers, just have more of the same sized containers. This way it is easy to get things and put them away. It has taken me quite a while to come to a solution as easy as this.

So from now on, the question I will be asking myself will be “How can I simplify this situation?”

I hope that everyone has a wonderful 2016 filled with many special meaningful moments.

Here is a picture of one of my container shelves. Something as simple as this, brings me great joy.

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Quick Bookshelf Makeover

I was over at a close friends the other day and noticed the clutter in her bookshelf. My friend has been complaining to me for a while now that she was unhappy about all the excess stuff she had in a small house.

Together we spent about half an hour working on her bookshelf.  We talked about what she needed from her bookshelf. She wanted to have easy access to her books so that she would easily be able to get information she needed from her reference books; she needed a place to keep some cds that she needed to listen to for work; and she needed a place to store all her journals. She is an avid journaler. She was very frustrated with the clutter in her house and did not know where to start.

We picked out a few momentos that she wanted to display in the bookshelf, the rest of the pictures were stored in a photo storage box.  She could pull out the pictures easily when she wanted to look at them. We looked for things she had in the shelf  to re-purpose  instead of having to buy new organizational items, like the basket, which is now used to store her cds.

This was just a quick help project, but I left my friend excited about the results we had achieved.  We discussed strategies for keeping her bookshelf clutter free. My friend was really motivated. Now that she had a glimpse of what her bookshelf could look like and with a lot of the clutter removed, she spent the next day going through her bookcase and removing  additional items and paper that did not belong in her book shelf anymore.

BEFORE:

AFTER:

 

I am so glad that my dear friend’s life is a little happier now.

Organizing- free containers

I have a fascination with boxes. Whenever I receive a gift, I am usually as fascinated with my gift, as I am with the box that it comes in. I have to resist the urge to keep every box I receive. I always feel that there might be a great use for the box, especially if it will help me stay organized.

Another thing that I love to do after the kids are in bed is to get in bed, watch tv and do my projects.  To make my life easier, I have organized my bedside drawer to contain some essential items- notepad, pens, glue (for my projects), and as one of my goals for the year is to take better care of myself in 2012, I have also included in my drawer my creams and other necessities. Using my Ferrero Rocher containers, and other containers that I have saved along the way, my drawer is organized to keep everything I need close by.

My drawer and its contents are practical to ME, and it has not cost me anything to be organized; and have everything easily accessible.

A note about containers to save- make sure they are sturdy and can actually hold things well. Clear containers are great, because you can see what is in the container. If you are going to keep oily items, plastic containers are great because you can clean them easily. Square or rectangled shaped containers, I find are better for organizing, instead of round containers as you do not have any wasted space between the containers.

Contact information- all organized

With the Christmas holiday just around the corner, I have been busy getting each family member to write a short message in each card we give out.  While I enjoy making the card and writing a Christmas wish, I do not enjoy the process of writing out the addresses. I usually write a list of names of who I need to send cards to a few days in advance, because I do not want to miss anyone out. I came across my 2010 list by chance, and found it really helpful to have this list to start with.

This has inspired me to get more organized with the contact information of all my friends. I typed out my card list and contact information, and saved it on a usb stick. I can now use mail merge when I want to prepare mailing labels for the envelopes.

Using a box that my friend did not want, I put in my address book, card file, stamps, mailing labels with our address, and USB stick with all the information. Now, when I need to mail something to a friend at any time, and especially at Christmas, I  will be able to find what I need, all in my handy dandy little box. This box can be stored beautifully anywhere. (Well it is going into my desk drawer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe I have made the task of sending out my cards a lot easier, by having everything I need in one place.

 

 

A touch of luxury (minus the cost)

When my sister was redecorating, she gave me her CD shelf. I never intended to house cds in it, as I thought that this would be a great shelving unit in a narrow spot. I found the perfect place for it in my closet, between two shelving racks.  However, I was not using it at its full potential.  I have always wanted to repurpose it better, but then lack the inspiration to do so.

Before

Now a year later, I have been motivated to do make it more functional. I have been looking in various places for containers/ baskets that would fit, but could not find something I liked for the price I wanted. Inspired by my box with light yellow flowers, I decided to look for boxes around my house that would fit in the shelves. I was able to find a few boxes that I have been saving to use for wrapping presents.

Using a butternut paint spray can that I have (this worked out quite well, because that is the only paint can I have), I sprayed all my boxes the same colour. I looked through my stash of ribbons that I had saved from projects or gifts that I had received, and found a lovely piece of green and yellow ribbon that I had bought from the thrift store for 35 cents.

Close-up

The yellow on all the containers, tied everything together and the ribbon, was an accent for some of the boxes. Not everything was matching, but there was a connection that ran through all the shelves. I used a glass vase that I had, to put some of my soaps (which co-incidentally are yellow as well), to add another decorative element.

The different boxes on the shelves, have helped me become more organized. I now have items placed neatly and they are easy to find. But above all, I have something visually pretty to look at and inspire me while I figure out what to use for work.

After

This project cost me next to nothing, and has been a great way to use items around the house. Each time I look at my shelving unit, I feel a touch of luxury. This has certainly made me happy.

Do you have items in your house that can be re-purposed to help you get organized?

Happy Birthday dear sister!

 

I am truly blessed to have a wonderful sister who is always there for me. She cheers me on, supports me when I need help and listens to me when I need to talk. She continually inspires me.

Happy Birthday my dear!

This past weekend, I helped my sister organize her pantry and bookshelf. My sister loves to drink tea and has collected and received several different types of tea. It was difficult for her to keep track of what she had. I encouraged her to look through her stash, to only keep what she loves to drink (and would drink), and to give away the rest of her delicious collection to the food bank.

Before

Before

   

During

During

To me, something as easy as looking at an organized panty, gives me the feeling of luxury.

After

After

    

After
After

My birthday wish for you dear sister, is that you open your pantry door, look at all your favourite teas and enjoy a cup while reading the paper, and remember that you are loved.

Have a great day!

Lots of love XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

 

                                  

           
 

Organization- Birthday Boxes

The kids and I have lots of fun thinking of themes for their birthday parties. Early in the year, we think of a theme and the start planning and preparing for a party in September and October.

Pros of starting early:

  • The kids have fun, thinking about their party and deciding what activities they would like to have at their party.
  • We can look out for bargains and sales to get what we need for the party.
  • We have time to make the invitations, thank you cards, goody bags, props needed for party. This becomes a project we can enjoy doing as the year progresses.

Cons of starting early:

  • We need a place to store our creations.

 For the longest time, I had two boxes in my study, that looked pretty messy.

Before

Before

A free solution- photocopier boxes with lids.

Photocopier paper box

I painted the boxes with some extra wall paint that we had in the garage and made some labels.

My eye pleasing solution

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Each child now has their own box to store supplies for their party. Projects in progress can be stored in the boxes until we have time to continue working on them.
 
What a difference! I love it. A few simple steps have achieved big results.
 
Do you have any simple solutions that have satisfying impact?

SKF2011