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 🙂

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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)

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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:

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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

{Konmari} Ugly blue takkies

Ugly blue takkies | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Ballito

Here’s just one of the reasons I love the Konmari method. I’ve been telling myself I need to get rid of these old takkies (sneakers) for years.

I’ve probably had them for 8-9 years and they’ve been all over the world so they’re not the very prettiest takkies I have at the moment.

I kept taking them out to donate them and I end up putting them right back with my shoes.

Ugly blue takkies | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Top of the Rock, NYC

But then I read that book and I realised why I don’t seem able to get rid of these shoes.

They spark JOY!

Once I realised that, I happily wear these not-so-pretty shoes on my photowalks and they bring me much, much joy.

Ugly blue takkies | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Charlotte, North Carolina

Is there an item of clothing/ houseware, etc. you think you should get rid of but you really love for no good reason?

Ugly blue takkies | www.OrganisingQueen.com

V & A Waterfront, Cape Town

The highlights of the Organising Queen month

Happy Leap Day!

Dion and Marcia - Ireland 120

Dion and our friend, Craig – Leap, Ireland (May 2008)

And now a round-up of highlights this month…

Top 3 posts

I know how she does it

My 5 favourite stationery finds

Kids and toy clutter – I re-read my post and I love it even more after writing it 🙂

Top 3 Instagrams

The pictures in this post 🙂

I still want to do a post on the Christmas cards – do comment and let me know what your policies are.

Most commented on

This one

 

Saving you money

My R600 mistake

Saving you time

Using social media time for your hobbies

Putting you first

Make your life easier

Most useful post for me to write

How I Konmari’d my nail polish

 

PS bonus points for the first one who can tell me the company that slogan was used for – no googling 🙂

Which was your favourite post this month?

I finally Konmari’d my nail polish

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It surprised me, actually, how difficult it was to tidy my nail polish. Tidy is the word Marie Kondo uses to sort/ declutter/ organise.

Yes, all those bottles spark joy but even I can hear that’s stretching it, just a bit 😉

Konmari-ing nail polish | www.OrganisingQueen.com

This was my process for decluttering them:

Pile 1 – ones that sparked joy but didn’t look good on my skin

They looked good in store (lights!) but in normal light, they look too dark/ garish, whatever. I still liked the colour but not on my nails.

  1. Bottles that were decent – donated (we have a number of girls at work who like nail polish so I just said, “help yourselves”). It helps me (this might not work for you) to declutter if I think, “who can use this today?”

2. Bottles that were not really donate-able – we used these for nail polish cards and I even kept some to make dipped ring bowls. They turned out beautifully.

Pile 2 – ones that sparked serious joy, looked good and I usually receive compliments

I also admitted to myself that some I only use on finger nails and some I only use on toenails. E.g. I would never wear the yellow on my fingers but I love the colour on my toes in summer.

I also realised that some are “winter” colours for me and some are “summer” colours.

Konmari-ing nail polish | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Last but not least, I did a very Konmari thing.

I noticed when listening to her book that she often applies logic when working with her clients. For instance, if you have 1000 ziploc bags, even if you use only 1 new one a day (unlikely), it would take you three YEARS to work through that stash. So why keep them all?

I applied this logic to my nail polish.

Konmari-ing nail polish | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I typically wear a different colour every 4 – 5 days. It’s about how long it takes for me to get bored with looking at a specific colour. That’s 73 different colours in a year. However, I would wear a colour at least twice each, so 30 bottles is really all I should own, at most.

(I had many, many more than 30 – I blame it on the Essence brand. Such gorgeous colours and at such a good price I kept saying, “it’s only R25, I might as well take 3”! Also, when people know you like things, they keep buying you those things and before you know it, you have a drawer full of nail polish!)

Konmari-ing nail polish | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Once I got into the process, I was able to cull to below 30. I think I ended up with 27. Yip, just counted. The pile on the top left doesn’t count – those are my base coat, top coat, quick-drying drops, and so on.

(I’m realising as I type this how… um….passionate I sound. At least I’m not like this with make-up?)   Konmari-ing nail polish | www.OrganisingQueen.com

So there you have it – the nail polish is finally sorted but I know I’m going to have to keep a close eye on it because I already caved a month later and bought a gorgeous neutral this weekend called, “Oh Mr Darcy” from Rimmel.

Now who could resist that?!

I know we all have a certain “issue”. For some it’s hair products, for others perfume, make-up, face creams, etc.

Tell me what your “issue” is. And have you applied the Konmari method to it yet?

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