What I learned in May

I love these monthly round-ups of what I learned.

Last month, I learned that:

I read fewer books when I have too many non-fiction in my batch

I’ve always known that I read faster when I read fiction only but in May, I read a total of 10 books (previous two months equalled 12 books each), 4 of them non-fiction!

Does your reading speed change depending on what you’re reading?

My headaches are hormonal

I tracked the days when I had headaches especially since the weather is cooler, and noticed that they happened on the same two days of my cycle.

Still not sure what to do as my gynae was all “yes, that’s normal” the last time I mentioned it, but at least I’ve isolated it.

Konmari first, then organise clothes

This year I swopped over my summer and winter clothes, and it was SUPER fast. Like in 30 minutes. Here’s a photo of my wardrobe if you’d like to see, and here’s a photo of my long-sleeved tops.

I have a strong suspicion that it’s because I’d Konmari’d before.

You have to act immediately if you want to catch seasonal photos

Autumn in Johannesburg is a tricky beast. One weekend the leaves are still green, the next they start turning, you have a few short weeks of that glorious golden glow and then they fall off.

This year I had a full weekend when the leaves were glorious, and then the next weekend it rained non-stop the entire weekend, and then half the leaves were gone. I still made the most of it and ended up going on 3 photohunts for beautiful autumn leaves.

I have to track my sleep forever 🙂

I reached my 3-year Fitbit anniversary on 26 May. More than anything else the Fitbit can do, I most appreciate the sleep tracker.

I’d been easily hitting my sleep goal of 7.5 hours, but I’ve really had to work at maintaining that this month. No idea why but I suspect it has something to do with my natural night owl tendencies.

More on this because I need to focus on sleep in my year of happy project for June as the theme is nourish.

What did you learn in May?

PS Thank you for completely indulging my love for all these photos 🙂

Do you store clothes for your kids?

This month I’m focussing on our physical space.

Part of that focus was going to be the kids’ clothes but I got to that at the end of April since that was a good time to sort it out with the weather getting colder.

The thing with kids is they keep growing.

I bought two pairs of school PE pants for each child two months ago during a cold spell and Kendra’s already outgrown that. No, I was not happy about that at all.

Back to the question of this post.

Do you store clothes for your kids?

Most of the time, I don’t.

I used to store a bit in the early days but now there really is no point. Unless it’s an item of clothing a good 2 sizes bigger that will definitely fit during the next season.

Interestingly, I’m a finisher and I noticed that I can’t wait to get done with clothes and get them into the donate box. The good thing is I’ve involved the kids in the process of fitting, donating and moving on since they were babies so there is usually not too much drama when it’s time to let go.

Kendra and I do something which might help for you – if I notice an item of clothing to be too small, we wear it “one last time” so she can savour the wearing of a favourite item.

This is her hugging a favourite sweatshirt as this was the last wear.

The only time I store clothes is if they receive a gift of clothes for a size or two up, and they already have enough for the current season. Or underwear 🙂

I do have a box of clothes for each of them in their wardrobe but that’s purely because they (again) share a room and so we only keep the current season out and hung up/ on shelves. The off season’s clothes are all folded (after the smaller ones are donated) and stored in plastic containers. I actually love our system because it forces me to go through their clothes properly, at least every season, to make space for bigger sizes.

Tell me, do you store clothes for your kids? Do you have a rotation system?

PS Here’s the frugal girl on storing children’s clothes

My house also has a to-do list

For about 18 months before we moved out of our old house, we finally did all those things on our list that we needed and wanted to do.

I had a to-do list I was working off of, and when we found the current house, I had about 12 small things left on the old list (from about 60).

So then I decided we will no longer leave things and only fix when we’re selling.

Be realistic with time and money

This is not your fantasy life; it’s your real life. You still have to work and rest and do other stuff on the weekends, so do pace yourself.

Things in the house cost money, even if it’s to buy new pillows or a tablecloth, it all costs money. You have to realise you need to keep money for paying off the bond, emergencies, holidays and doing your house to-do list.

Balance big and small things

I’ve shared before about a small change we made in our bathroom. I’m so glad we made this change otherwise I would have been unhappy for years because we can’t afford a bathroom remodel.

You can go even smaller – a new duvet cover or pillow cases do wonders too.

This might not work for you if you’re a maximiser; this is someone who has to have the perfect solution and will happily wait til that can be done.

It’s not about being discontented

I feel like you can be content with where you are in life, but still make a few changes to be happier. The Nester’s blog is a great place to read more about this concept.

A few small changes that have made me super happy in the past – my yellow desk, yellow cushions, a new side plate, my navy blue kitchen, etc.

How do I plan my house to-do list?

I make a gigantic list. I used the 100 things to do page from my shining planner but my master to-do list (it’s in the pack when you sign up to my list) works just as well.

I walk through the house, room by room, and write down everything that I want to change in the next year or two.

I have quick things like get a plant for the landing, and big things like redo kitchen floors, on the list.

And then because I’m looking at this list regularly, about once a month, I have those things in mind so if I see the perfect rug for a child’s bedroom, I can get it.

That’s it really.

Does your house have a to-do list too?

If you’ve never made a master list for your house, why don’t you do that this weekend?

If it’s not serving you, let it go

This month we’re looking at what’s not working for us, so today I have a question for you – what’s no longer serving you?

Sometimes we keep on doing things simply because we’re in the habit of doing them and not because they actually serve us anymore.

Let me explain.

You go through a really busy period at work and work until 6pm every night. After that, it’s become a habit so you continue to do so even though there’s really no need. But this time spent is no longer serving you. You could be enjoying the extra time at home with your family, exercising, taking up a new hobby, etc.

Or you might have a bookshelf full of books you don’t like or need to have. You may have bought them because people on Instagram were talking about them but they’re not really your thing so you haven’t read them. These self-imposed expectations are no longer serving you.

One more…you have 5 sets of bed linen for your guest bedroom. You have guests twice a year for a week at a time, so you never even get past set 3 on the shelf. You feel like you should keep the linen because you bought some of those sheet sets at a sale and you haven’t really used them yet but… they’re not really your favourites. Those sheets staring at you from the shelf are no longer serving you.

Last year I decided to host what I called crafternoons – afternoons for groups of my girlfriends to craft. Craft was a very loose definition because photos, card-making, baking, knitting, colouring was all welcomed.

I hosted four of these but they never had more than 3 of us at any one time. They were enjoyable but they weren’t what I envisioned, especially because I’d invite about 10 ladies every time.

The crafternoons were no longer serving me so I let them go.

This is a small example but I felt such relief at the thought of moving onto something that might work better to get friends together, and that cleared the space for me to start a book club.

My challenge to you is to jot down 3 – 5 things in your life that are no longer serving you. And let them go.

They can be anything from kitchen utensils and nail polish, to bad habits and self-imposed expectations. Anything.

What’s no longer serving you? What do you need to let go of?

The great nail polish post

Just to satisfy my own curiosity, I did a little nail polish experiment last year.

It was very interesting so I’d like to share the results with you today.

I tracked each time I changed my nail polish colour.

I already have a spreadsheet for all my photos so I just added another sheet for the nail polish. Number, brand, name, date and days across the top. I put a formula in the days column to calculate how long I left a specific colour on. No, it didn’t take long at all. Probably 5 seconds each time I changed my nail polish and two minutes to set up.

This was all in the name of Konmari.

In the book, she often does this thing to show people their hoarding tendencies. Like if you had 300 ziploc bags and you said you need them all because you use one every week to take your Friday doughnut to the office, even if you took one every single week, it would take you nearly 6 years to use up that stash, which is kind-of crazy.

So me with the nail polish.

I put on nail polish 85 different times, once every 4.29 days.

That sounds about right because most time I feel like a change every 4 – 5 days.

I used 16 brands and my top 3 were Essence (40 times), Rimmel (12 times) and Yardley (6 times).

The top right purple-grey is Serendipity

I used 48 colours, only 24 colours were used two or more times, and my top 3 colours were You and me (Essence), Serendipity (Essence) and Mint Tropics (Sinful). I feel like the navy blues need a special mention because I have two colours, very close in colour, both used 3 times (Yardley’s Urban navy and Anchor blue). Technically they take second place together.

These were the ones that made the cut. And already, I’ve decluttered 3.

So how has this information been useful to me?

  • First of all, I know which brands I like so if I’m ever torn between two colours and one of them is Essence, I’d go with Essence.
  • I probably only need about 20 bottles, knowing that I will buy a few throughout the year, but also that I toss out some and have my seasonal favourites. There’s also a bright red I wear only twice a year, both times for my Spanish exams.
  • If I don’t love a colour, I should probably just get rid of it, because it’s going to happen anyway next time I take stock 🙂 #sparkjoy

What is the craziest thing you track?

What, if anything, did you find most interesting?

PS The nail polish situation this time last year, and how to make your nail polish last and not chip

This moving house business

I’m going to be honest here – for the first 5 days of moving house, I was not okay at all.

I suppose I thought that because I’m organised, things would move along swiftly and in an efficient manner. When they didn’t, it kind of threw me for a loop.

House best-082

Let’s go back a little bit to late 2005 when we moved into the previous house…

  • I was much more of a hoarder then
  • The prior house had TONS of storage space
  • and still we moved out and were unpacked in two days

This time I’d Konmari’d, I’m now the Organising Queen (HA!) and 11 days after the move, there are still 6 of D’s boxes unpacked. Granted, the fact that they’re not mine doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

We moved on a Friday.

On Saturday morning I was up at 6 am (unheard of!); on Sunday morning I was up at 3 am. No, I wasn’t keen to get up and started with the day; it was my busy brain thinking of everything I had to do.

After the 3am wake-up, I realised I just have to work like a slave because I’m quite fond of my sleep and can’t afford to have it interrupted on a daily basis. Happy to say I’ve slept well since.

I know there are others reading who are like me – your environment has to be in order for you to be able to breathe….

House best-011

So what made me feel better?

  1. Getting the kitchen sorted first because the kids keep asking for food…
  2. Knowing that most of my things were in place – clothes, toiletries, technology (cables, chargers, etc.) – and sadly, once the internet was working on Sunday, I felt connected again and happy!
  3. I went to the hairdresser and chatted to her, and guess what she told me? I’m being too hard on myself. She reminded me that she and two teenage kids moved into a new house last year. It took her a full week to unpack all the boxes, and a month to get everything in place like she wanted. So to expect things to be in order within 5 days was a tad unrealistic.
  4. And then Jess Lively. She did a podcast recently and she said something like this (I may be mis-quoting a bit) – you haven’t lost the ability to create a beautiful home. Wow. Because everything has felt out of place, with photo frames all over, definitely not intentional and deliberate.

House best-023
To that last point, everything in our old home had a place and felt right. While things are unpacked, we are not at that place yet. So I needed that reminder that I created a beautiful home once or twice before, and I will do so again… in time.

Who knows why I’m telling you all these things but I feel like someone needed to hear these words tonight.

Stop being so hard on yourself. You haven’t lost the gifts, skills and abilities you had, and you will exercise them again when the time is right.

Tell me your moving house stories. Did you need to read this today? Let me know so I know I’m not talking to the walls 😉

PS all pics of the old house. I have taken a few pics of “select” areas in this new house but they’re still on my camera 🙂

What I learned in May

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  1. 1 year on Instagram has been super fun

2. 4 years since my book was published (go get your $4 copy!) and it still feels unreal

health

3. 2 years of Fitbitting 🙂 Here’s 1 year with my Fitbit.

Let’s talk some more about this:

I’m not sure what happened but while I still wear my Fitbit diligently, I almost don’t really care about reaching step goals anymore. I think it started with our long, hot summer (8 months is a super long time to be too hot) but it could have been before that. I still wear the bracelet because I am mildly interested in seeing what I get to… but mostly I wear it because I love the sleep stats. Super love them.

You may remember that I had a serious goal at the beginning of last year to increase my sleep. That worked beautifully and so I continue to track my time this year because I’ve found that what I measure, I manage better. And I’m constantly at my 7 hours 30 mins of daily sleep which is great. I sleep way more than this some days which balances out the occasional 6.5 hour nights.

4. I can read 3 non-fiction books in a month. Yes, that’s what happened this month. I’m surprised too because I thought my absolute top limit was two books in a really, really good month.

5. When you don’t rest properly if you’re a bit ill, your body takes longer to heal. I know, all you clever clogs learned this long ago. It’s just a really bad time for me to be a bit ill, what with Spanish exams looming, 2 big business things happening at my real work and the not-so-small matter of selling and buying houses.

6. Konmari really works. We have move dates so I went through a few rooms thinking, ” I need to declutter so I can pack” and…. I threw out 3 knives, a pair of pants and a top. That’s awesome 🙂 If you’re thinking of moving, do Konmari 🙂

IMG_86257. I actually can mess up my Bullet Journal. I’ve started to consciously write nonsense in there too because it’s not a shrine to plannerly goodness; it’s a notebook, for goodness sake.

Bonus – it is really fun to washi up some pencils. Try it and see. I grabbed everyone’s pencils at work and in one client phone call, washi’d them all 🙂

IMG_2765

Go on then, tell me. What did you learn in May?

One year on Instagram

I remembered last week but then completely forgot that on Wednesday 18th May my Organising Queen Instagram feed turned ONE.

(yes, it’s a thing)

IMG_8999

My first picture was of two notebooks (of course!) and Instaport is not co-operating so I’m not able to show you right now.

Anyway, these are the 3 posts with the most likes: (I’m pleased to see my floors featuring :))

Fullscreen capture 5192016 83325 PM

And these are the 3 posts with the most comments:

Fullscreen capture 5192016 83459 PM

This year I have 3 main goals for my Instagram:

  1. to increase engagement (that means I want you to talk back) both on Instagram and on the blog
  2. double my followers
  3. keep my content pretty and, most of all, inspiring

What would you like to see on the Organising Queen instagram?

PS next big date is 25 May, anniversary date of my book 

 

{Konmari} the memories edition

According to Marie Kondo, the category you should work through last is the memories category.

I think this is a very good idea because it can definitely slow you down.

Mine fits onto one shelf – it’s my own memory box, the binder ring books for Christmas cards, the kids’ birthday cards and some of my own.

This is it after I pulled it all out onto the floor.

Konmari - the memories | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Basically the only things I had no trouble tossing were all my old business cards 🙂

Here are the kids’ birthday cards – year 1 is missing and as I mentioned on Instagram, it was quite representative of our lives because we didn’t know if we were coming or going!

(I eventually found them in my memories box with the cards we received when they were born)

There is a whole year or thereabouts of photos I just didn’t document (from when I went back to work after maternity leave) and I’m not remotely interested in going back and catching up because… that was life.

Konmari - the memories | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Konmari - the memories | www.OrganisingQueen.com

My stuff – some birthday cards, “just because” cards and so on…

Konmari - the memories | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Konmari - the memories | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Let’s talk about memories of my kids’ things. I mentioned to a mom at a party recently that I had big ideas when my kids first went to pre-school. Every week I’d take a pic of the items from that week.

That process got old very quickly and after about 6 months, I stopped. They then put their things in a plastic box and they sort through it themselves when it gets full.

This is about the stuff they give to me or that I particularly want.

Konmari - the memories | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Some of their very first drawings

Konmari - the memories | www.OrganisingQueen.com

When I did this particular Konmari sort, I found a concertina file for each kid, and I’m using one sleeve for each year. Some of you might gasp (that’s so little space) but that’s precisely why I love this idea because boundaries help me with clarity so I can choose my very favourite things to keep.

For the record, I didn’t toss much but I’m very clear on why I’m keeping the stuff I do still have, which is an excellent outcome of the hours spent looking through all this stuff.

If you’re following the Konmari method, have you reached the memories category yet? Was it a very long process for you?

Seeing your space in a new light

See your space with new eyes | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I literally only pulled out my camera one day a week for the whole of Feb (to take the 52 Project photo of the kids on Sundays), and then not quite as bad, but there’s a sense of get this done, instead of play in my March photos so far.

I was even completely up to date on Monday night after the Sunday photos last weekend.

So I decided I needed to leave my camera out more to encourage me to just grab it and snap a few photos as things look good in certain light.

And I went a bit wild today.

It was good for me because I always feel great after I’ve created with my camera, but more than that – this!

See your space with new eyes | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I noticed bits of my home that I’d forgotten, both good and bad, like

  1. the big canvas hanging slightly skew
  2. the beautiful light in Kendra’s bedroom
  3. the hand towel I should swop out to match with the bath mat
  4. the way the light shines on my wooden floors in the lounge
  5. how much I love my yellow desk

I even gave myself a challenge to take photos in the kitchen with unwashed dishes, and make it look good 🙂

See your space with new eyes | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that sometimes we need to literally take a photo of our spaces to really see them – you might have got used to the clutter in your space and this helps you see your space properly again.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this situation. You buy some clothes, come home, toss the bag in your bedroom and a week later it’s still there. We’ve stopped seeing it because our eyes are now used to that clutter.

This is why I like to get my donated things out and into the boot (trunk) of the car before it becomes a new item of “furniture” in my house that I get used to.

*ahem* I have a box of books in my sunroom….

If there’s a space in your home frustrating you, take a photo and see if you can spot what it is you need to do.

When was the last time you took photos of your home?

– Both big canvases (size A0) printed by Mojo Printing who I thoroughly recommend. I used a number of printers until I found them – they are my favourites and will courier anywhere in the country.

– Chevron rug by Airloom, bought via www.Superbalist.com

– Couches and pillows from Mr P Home

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