Tag Archives: simplifying

One Thing at a Time – 10


I am a total stationery nerd. I think it might be my biggest obsession, and therefore also my nemesis when it comes to minimalism.

These were part of a set of little clips that my first ever manager gave me 15 years ago. For about 9 years I never used them – they were too special and cute to use for every day holding pieces of paper together.

Then I used to clip them on my shoes / boots when I’d worn a pair, so that at the end of the week I knew which shoes needed cleaning. I haven’t done that in a few years – so these have been sitting in my jewellery box unused. This shows that it is a reality that you can see an object every day and overlook it, not even realise that you don’t need it.

These have been chucked!


One Thing at a Time – 3

20150315_164736This is candle wax. It had collected in the bottom of my glass candle holder and solidified. You might think I’m a bit desperate, or cheating, counting this as an item I’ve decluttered… My defence is that this is an example of the everyday clutter that collects in our homes without us noticing. As we pare down our possessions, what we are left with should be beautiful and inspiring – and a glass vase partly filled with old wax is not that.

So, over the weekend I dipped my glass vase in hot water, loosened up the spilt wax, washed and cleaned the vase, put a new candle in it, and it’s now sat on my mantlepiece in all its glory. A secondary bonus is that my Dad makes candles as a hobby, so will be able to recycle this wax into something else that’s beautiful to look at..

Moving day has come and gone

20141213_151302A busy week, with annoying last minute changes of plan imposed on us by the removals company, and a flurry of people charging in out and out of both houses, and we are finally moved. This is basically the only part of the house that still needs to be unpacked – the bookcase in our study. 3 days of on-and-off unpacking and we are done! I am convinced that this is due to the sheer amount of decluttering we have done in the last 18 months.

This house is bigger than the last one, and while we do have a reasonable amount of furniture, the place feels spacious, airy and uncluttered. There are empty spaces in the rooms, which I can see I might feel tempted to fill up with new things, extra furniture and decorations.

We’ve spent some time in the last couple of days in DIY and home shops, buying lampshades and picture hooks and the like. Shopping in IKEA provokes different reactions in me and my husband. He wanders, looking bewildered by all the stuff, following the arrows that take you through the maze of wardrobes, mattresses, vases and plastic plants. I march, with list in hand, looking for shortcuts, determined not to be tempted by the array of stuff that might just look nice in that corner, might make organising our kitchen cupboards easier, might add a homely touch to a spare room. It takes all my willpower to walk past the wicker baskets without picking one up..

I am doing quite well at not bringing new clutter into our home, but am still stumped by how we can downsize further without it feeling uncomfortable or bleak.

The big box of journals

20141123_225341Part of the Clearing the Spare Room mini-project (which included tackling the mystery bag) was figuring out what to do with the pile of journals I’ve accumulated over the years.

I had thought that I had journals dating back to my early teenage-years, but I must have had a ruthless moment as some point in the past as they are nowhere to be found. The ones I do have date back to my university days – half my life ago!

The decision over what to do with these isn’t just about whether or not we have the space for them or whether we need them – we have space, and we don’t need them in our everyday lives – but more about “What’s the point of keeping a journal?”.

When I was writing these – was it to help me process my emotions? Was it as a scrapbook for me to look back on? Was I making a record of my life for others to look back on? For me it’s the first two and definitely not the last. My deepest thoughts, emotions and anxieties are not things I want to spend my time reading, or for my friends and family to wade through once I’m gone. I do think, though, that it would be nice to have a brief record of key dates and events in my life.

So I’ve decided to go through these, summarise the key events in a bullet journal style, and then destroy the originals – maybe with a couple of exceptions, keeping journals that I used as scrapbooks.

So they are all in date order in my big box of journals along with photo albums from the same time period. I’m also using these as a reference point for key events, and sorting through the photos that can be thrown away at the same time.

Job done – mystery bag tackled..

20141122_175943This is it!! I have tackled the mystery bag! The bag of junk, memorabilia, journals, letters, birthday cards and postcards that has been following me around for years has finally bitten the dust.

Recently, I have been on a total roll with getting stuff done. (That probably should be the topic of a future post.) For now though, suffice it to say that clearing the junk from our spare room has made it onto my project list, and this particular task has been long overdue.

I had planned to go through it all, organise the cards and other such stuff into date order, scan them and print them out to paste into a scrapbook. In the end though, that’s just another (very time-consuming) way of procrastinating about throwing this stuff away.

After a couple of hours sitting on the floor in front of the TV with the bag of stuff, two-thirds was recycled (box on the left), the mystery bag (in the middle) was empty, and I was left with:

  • Medals from running events I’ve participated in
  • A couple of notebooks, record books and news articles relating to childhood achievements
  • Various cards and letters from my husband (which I do have a plan for – watch this space)
  • A few more journals to add the big box of journals (which I also have a plan for)

Very satisfying, and a lot more minimalist in terms of both time and space than what I had originally planned. Now there’s progress..


House move countdown – 3 weeks to go

20141117_213547With 3 weeks to go, packing commences. I can’t bear to start much before then or we’d spend quite a large proportion of our lives surrounded by boxes.

A month before, I make sure we have all the packaging materials we are going to need and start the early jobs:

  • Ensure the moving dates are booked with all the interested parties – including the removals and cleaning companies.
  • Identify what food we have in the freezer that will need eating before we move and which recipes I need to come up with to use up what we have.
  • Notify the phone and broadband provider of the moving date.
  • Put any final things on ebay that need selling.

Three weeks before I focus on starting to pack, and try to get some big jobs out of the way – this time we have dismantled the shed and other garden furniture.

My house move plan is a well-worn routine that we use each time we move, and it has been adapted from FLYLady’s Moving Tips. I particularly love the idea of starting with packing the things you don’t use very often and numbering the boxes. This means that at the other end you can start by unpacking the boxes with the highest numbers first. It’s so logical, but it does rely on the moving men following the instructions to stack the boxes in the new house with the numbers showing. This time, I shall be super strict about that rule!