What if you had a chance to reset the year?

First published in my newsletter on 30 June 2024

I have big plans for tomorrow morning – to wake up at or just before sunset, make a cup of tea and a rusk, and do a few reflection exercises.

Honestly, I feel sad, lonely and like nothing is working out but I’m still going to sit with myself and do a proper reflection over the next few days. I also have a milestone birthday coming up which is always a good time to take stock and change course.

Join me on one or more!

1. Mid-year review

  • What has worked?
  • What could be better?
  • What have I learned about myself?
  • What needs to change?
  • What delighted me or energised me?
  • How am I living my values?

2. Word of the year review

I have never changed my word mid-year before but I might do so this year.

A few questions for your word of the year review:

  • How is my word guiding me?
  • Am I living out my word?
  • Is my word helping me make decisions in line with my values?
  • Do I need to change my word? Why?
  • How will this new word support my current circumstances?

3. 24 in 2024

I wrote about my decluttering efforts which are some of the items on my 24 in 2024 list.
Here’s my Q1 update.

I am 42% through my list as at the end May and I want to take a whole bunch of things off that I have no intention of pursuing. More in the next couple of weeks.

4. Work/ Career review

The company I work for happens to have a financial year-end of June and I’ve just finished performance discussions (and had mine) so this is the perfect time to reflect on the past year.

  • To what extent did I achieve what I set out to do?
  • Am I still making a difference?
  • What is working? (with exception reports and the like, it’s important to stop and notice if anything is working)
  • What do I need to change?
  • What do I need to finally accept? (hybrid LOL)

5. Financial review

Just because I’m on a money kick…. (are you listening to The Broke Generation podcast yet? It’s money + psychology)

  • Did I set any financial goals this year? (get out your list)
  • Am I where I thought I would be with these financial goals?
  • What is going well? (did you automate savings or transfers into an investment account?)
  • What is not going great? Why?
  • Do you need to stop and reset your goals?

Please note – these are all OPTIONS. I certainly do not mean for you to feel overwhelmed by reading this list.

What to do

  1. Pick one or two on the list.
  2. Make a cup of tea or coffee
  3. Block out 30 minutes
  4. Get writing

(Bonus – think about the prompts while you’re having your shower or bath, or even making that cup of tea – and then get writing when you sit down)

Meals, meal ideas and meal planning

When I first wrote down this blog prompt, it was summer/ autumn and we definitely had warm weather.

Now, blessedly, it is winter and I actually am somewhat inspired by meals again.

This is my favourite meal when we go to Clarens – the local golf club restaurant makes these delicious meat pies. Yum!

A few questions for you to consider before we start chatting:

  1. Do you meal plan? Why or why not? If yes, which frequency do you use?
  2. How do you get ideas? Or do you have a system?

On meal planning

  1. I still meal plan and I will say that some weeks are easier than others. I love cold weather and cold weather, comfort foods so I am always more inspired in winter.
  2. I also still have a “eat from the freezer” week once every four to six weeks. It is very useful for finishers like me as occasionally, it is really satisfying to have absolutely nothing in there because you’ve eaten all the food. It also fuels my creativity when I have to use up random ingredients in the freezer and pantry.
  3. I have always been a weekly menu planner but very occasionally, like in the freezer week, I might make a menu for 10 days to use up things.
  4. I have a friend who makes a monthly menu plan and then shops monthly too. That is hugely impressive but I am 100% sure the teens in my house will scupper those plans by eating food since it is there.
  5. How I do meal planning – part 1 and part 2. These were the two most popular posts on my blog in 2017 😉

Another benefit for the hybrid worker – time and money

Plan so that you have leftovers to take to the office. I spoke to a new colleague in our team recently who said that she and her fiance consciously cook with leftovers in mind so that they’re not tempted to buy food. They are also saving for their wedding and I think that it is so clever and disciplined of them.

Ideas for meal planning

  1. Plan around the proteins or the carbohydrates. I still plan around the carbs for my nights and I write some ideas down for Dion’s two nights too. It doesn’t always work as we even recently had two pasta nights in a row. Apparently I’m the only one who is bothered by this!
  2. I follow a few instagram accounts where the people make meals that are relatively easy to throw together. When I find one I like, I take a screenshot and here’s the trick – I make it in the next two weeks. Beyond that time, I can’t actually get motivated to try it. I imagine this is the same for people who try organising tips and tricks. I find that the Australian content creators cook similarly to South Africans.
  3. I still have my calendar list for ideas. For those reading this for the first time, I printed out two calendar sheets years ago – one for winter and one for summer. I then wrote all the meals everyone in my family will eat (maybe not happily, but they will all eat it). When I’m stumped for ideas, I look at these two sheets to get ideas

The argument for spontaneity

I have to address the matter of spontaneity which is the biggest objection I hear from people.

You can be spontaneous and you can meal plan.

If you want to be spontaneous on a random Tuesday, go for it. The benefit of having the meal plan is that you know you can pull together a meal because you have those ingredients in your pantry or freezer. I almost never completely stick to my plan 5 days a week unless I’m on holidays. And then, I make a plan so that I use up all the food we’ve bought and there is little wastage.

Do you meal plan? If yes, how frequently? Where do you get ideas? Do you keep the same menu year in and year out?

Declutter update on my projects – 6 months in

stationery

I did my last declutter update at the end of March. Read more here.

Another 3 months have passed and while, I’ll give you an update, I also want to add some thoughts about my feelings on this project.

General decluttering:

I have just finished batch 8 of 24 items – that’s 192 items that left my home. We’re on a net lighter item number because some of the things that left were lovely big things like a bed, a car seat and two booster seats, as well as all the other bits, mainly clothes, etc.

Use up 24 in 2024

I have finished this project and continued on. I particularly want to use up all the little sample sizes of things like Advent calendar goodies, many half-used lipsticks, etc.

Stationery

13 items used up or donated, and I’ve given 7 gifts made up of several stationery items. If I donate another 4 stationery items, I’ve reached my full goal and we’re only half way through the year.

What I’m learning:

General decluttering

This is already a well-established habit and I probably don’t have to focus on it for it to continue being a fixture in my life.

I have good systems – my one in, one out rule works very well to keep things under control, and I love limitations of space as a trigger to get rid of stuff.

Use up 24 in 2024

I really had no idea I had so many speedsticks, soaps and body lotions around. I mean, I’ve been using them up and still I have lots. I want to persist with this one because it’s good to force myself to finish up things and not just buy something on sale. Also, when I truly need something, it feels like a real treat. E.g. I have about 2cm of body wash left and I bought a new bottle last week when I picked up my prescription. Every morning I sniff it and I cannot wait to start using it. It’s the small things 😉 I also find immeasurable joy in the new lipstick I bought.

Stationery

I actually have too much to use up myself so I’ve been making gifts for others (if they’re into stationery – surprisingly, not a lot of people get such delight from stationery as I do).

More importantly, I’m using my stuff. No more keeping the nice notebooks for “one day”; I am using them now, even if only for boring work notes!

In summary

I will continue with the beauty, body and bath stuff (just so I don’t break loose and go wild) but also occasionally treat myself. The goal here is to not hoard or stockpile but still enjoy a lovely lip or nail colour. And hopefully use up all those darn speedsticks and body lotions. I actually found myself thinking yesterday, “wait, do I actually have to go BUY face wash?” (yes, once the one in the shower is used up, I will check my stash just to make sure)

And I have to remind myself that I do not need any more notebooks or gorgeous pens.

My domestics’ children will be getting a lot of their pens and pencils from me at the end of the year.

How are you doing with your decluttering projects?

What are your money standards?

I shared last time that I am on a money kick since I subscribed to The Broke Generation podcast at the end of last year. I am not a millenial and do not define myself as broke – but I love the mindset and behavioural economics stuff she talks about.

Then I read that book in April and re-activated by 22Seven account (it’s an app!).

All this means that my money consciousness is raised. I also have my annual meetings with my non-life and life financial advisors (which I dread at first and then I’m happy to have it over with for another year!) coming up in the next week.

What are money standards and why should we know what ours are?

Emma Edwards says that money standards are “the standards you’re living by with your own personal finances. The habits we engage with create standards that we live by, and interrogating these standards can help us get out of our own way and start living to our full potential”

I see it as the rules I’ve set for my money.

1. I never complain about the price of petrol.

It’s a common thing in South Africa (might be all over) for people to complain about the price of petrol. They hike up the price on the first Wednesday of every month and on that Tuesday evening after work, many people drive by the petrol station to fill up on the old price.

Two things happened for me:

  1. One such month I drove by, saw a long queue of cars, and decided that my time is worth more than waiting to fill up my car. When I got home, I calculated what the difference would be and it was somewhere between R20 and R30 overall for that tank of petrol. My time is worth more than that so I’ve happily told myself ever since that I can fill up my car whenever I want. (granted, petrol is way, way more expensive now)
  2. We went to Ireland in 2008 and even back then, 16 years ago, petrol already cost R25 per litre. I decided right there and then that I would never complain about the petrol price again.

What does this do? It makes me grateful for the ability to fill my tank (and that I have a car!) and doesn’t make me feel frantic on that Tuesday before the petrol price is due to increase.

2. I don’t mix old money with new money

For some reason, when I explain this concept to people, they find it hilarious but in my head it makes sense.

Old money = money from the old salary
New money = money from the new salary

I get paid on the 25th of each month and ideally, on the 24th, I would recon my budgets, and move any “old money” that is left over into my savings account. Of course, life is busy so this never happens exactly on the 24th except maybe once or twice a year, when the 24th falls on a weekend.

What actually happens in practice is that recon still takes place and everything gets nicely tied up before I start spending the new money.

What does this do? It forces me to face facts every month – have I overspent in one area? am I underbudgeting for some categories? (Recently I realised that the app was telling me I’m overspending my eating out budget so I had to think it through properly because I like to take people out for lunch/ supper for their birthdays – might as well admit it to myself with an appropriately-sized budget). It also forces me to make every R do something in my budget. Now this feels rigid for many people but it works for my brain.

3. I don’t “do” sale racks (physical or virtual).

This is a slippery slope because it’s very easy to convince yourself that something is perfect for you or you absolutely need it just because it’s on sale. I love saving money as much as the next person so I started telling myself these two statements:

  1. would you buy it at full price? Most times the answer is no and then I’m happy to leave it. Sometimes if the answer is genuinely yes, then I have a few other questions – is it the correct size? does it make me feel good? – before I might buy it.
  2. you can afford to buy it at full price later if you still want it. Hot tip – I don’t want half the stuff I think I want in the moment as time passes.

What does this do?

Well, because of my little bonus here – I don’t rummage through physical sales racks, the ones stuffed to the gills with things they need to get rid of – I save a lot of money and time.

Now please tell me, what are your money standards?

Raising your money consciousness… with the 3 As

A little preamble before we start…

1. I stumbled upon an instagram account late last year; I don’t even remember her name but it was a very young girl in the UK (max 26 years old) who was a budget-influencer. Can we call them that? She inspires people to be wise with their money.

Anyway, as you do (as I do!), I went solidly down a two-hour rabbit hole reading everything she’d posted and watching plenty of her reels. In one of them she suggested a few money podcasts that had some year-end reflections.

2. I love end-of-year reflections so I popped over to Apple Podcasts, downloaded all four of them and basically listened to less than 5 minutes of them all before deleting except for The Broke Generation by Emma Edwards. I love her breezy, very practical way of looking at money and it absolutely helps that she’s a British woman now living in Australia, which always feels like a sister to South Africa.

3. I also read a fantastic book in one sitting on 1 April that my husband was decluttering (without reading!) called Manage your money like a f*cking grownup. Yes, it is a bit sweary but more for effect here and there – I didn’t let that put me off at all because the book was fantastic.

4. In the book, I was reminded of 22Seven, an app that helps you track your spending, manage your money and identify gaps. I was on it about 10 years ago and then I stopped (it was still a website when I used it) and now it is even more fabulous. It has the most beautiful dashboard and you can generate reports. Very exciting for nerdy people like me. It had huge changes in my life way back when and I’m also gaining valuable insights this time around.

All of these things happening in such close proximity has made me be very conscious about money, for good and bad.

So where do we go from here?

There are three parts to raising your money consciousness and here is where I’d like you to join me:

Awareness

Are you happy with how you’re treating your money? To quote Suze Orman from the early aughts, if you treat your money with respect, money will flow to you. Do you know your numbers – how much you bring in, what your monthly expenses are, and what’s in your savings account? Do you know if your retirement account is red, amber or green? Are there some bits you’re avoiding in the hope they just go away? (they’re not)

Analysis

Here’s where you’re honest with yourself. Actually go look at your payslip, bank account (s), statements and start making notes. Do you know what each item means and why you have it there?

Then go deeper. What’s making you feel squeamish? Where do you need to do some work around money? When you find yourself reacting in a weird way, ask yourself, what’s really going on here?

I shared one such incident with a colleague recently – my husband asked if he could take my car somewhere far and I barked out a few sentences and then realised, hey, something’s going on. I honestly don’t mind anyone (licenced) driving my car so what was going on? It was a “filling up of petrol” trigger – not even the price of petrol, but the whole schlep of detouring from my route, doing the whole oil/ water/ tyres check. All that. We’re sorted now – we’ve agreed that he also has to do it once a month so I still do the chore the exact same amount of times (once!).

Action

Then you take action on all the steps you’ve identified. This is a work in progress because just the awareness step results in about 5 action steps. E.g. I knew what I earned but I had to recheck exactly what the monthly outgo was. 22Seven also told me what my top 5 spends every month are. I was horrified when I saw exactly how much “non-grocery grocery spending I was doing”.

That’s enough for now – more in two weeks time.

For now, how is your awareness of your money?

If you haven’t done any analysis in a while, I highly recommend an hour or two (don’t say you don’t have time; most people spend 4 – 5 hours on social media every DAY) where you objectively look at your numbers and maybe start taking additional action.

5 steps to get back on track when life tries to derail you

We’re four months done with the year and things are getting a little bit boring in respect of pushing through with your goals, right? We’re all churning along with the same old goals we set in December/ January, still striving to figure out some stuff, and if you’re in South African, no loadshedding but plenty (PLENTY) of power outages, water pipes bursting and depending on solar like it’s your lifeline (it is!). Or you’re being majorly derailed. I wrote a few weeks ago about me breaking loose with my decluttering projects.

I had some very clear health goals and guys, I’ve lost only 1.3 kg in 4 months. That’s it. My iron meets the doctor’s expectations but the cholesterol still needs work (my view is it’s the red meat I’m forcing myself to eat two to three times a week because I hate kale and spinach more…).

These two examples are not unusual, by the way; I just conveniently forget about the slump every year until I notice the pattern. You see, it’s not a matter of if you will be derailed, but rather, what will derail you.

I like to think like this – if you know that on the way to your goals, you will encounter 5 obstacles, then in your head, your expectations are managed, and it’s a “oh right, here’s obstacle 1, and here’s obstacle 2” instead of “oh my gosh, I’m a failure, why did I set this stupid goal, why did this happen to ME, I can’t do it, etc.”

5 steps to get back on track

  1. Identify the symptoms

Are you feeling tired, demotivated, frustrated or overwhelmed? Great! These are the indicators that you need to be aware, notice and most probably shake things up.

2. Get very clear on the why for your goals 

Do you still want to go after your goal? Why? (my health kick – yes! but maybe I can let loose a little on the decluttering since I have done a lot and it’s been a way of life for years so I am unlikely to stop at this point)
If you don’t want that goal anymore, here’s your big, fat permission slip to stop and change things.

3. Get clear on your derailers

Here’s where James Clear and his Atomic Habits book shine.
If you can’t seem to make progress on your goal, it’s time to analyse your behaviour. Are you derailing your efforts because you don’t pack a work lunch? Or you can’t seem to do your monthly savings goal because you’re out for a long and boozy supper every week with friends? Should you rather change into your gym clothes at work (yes, at work) and drive straight to gym instead of going home first? Which micro steps can you take to put you back on track? If you’re not sure, or you need someone to brainstorm with you, I can be that person.

4. Pivot

Expanding on 2 above regarding your permission slip, maybe you don’t want to stop your goal entirely? Maybe you just need to tweak the goal? I have slashed some things off my list (one – instead of 24 fun nights away/ in Jhb, I’m adjusting it to 12 as that seems to be the rhythm after the four months)

If you wanted to study and you missed the first semester deadlines due to finances/ couldn’t get everything to align, etc. maybe you sign up for the semester starting mid-year? If you’re not making good strides with something (me, the weight loss), change something (I am having a call with the Lovely Maureen, my Weigh-less group leader, who is the perfect combination of Compassion and Kindness, to bounce some ideas around).

5. Celebrate your successes

We all tend to look at what we have not done rather than what we are doing. Don’t forget to stop every month (better if you can do so every week) and count the things you did get done, whether they were on the list or not.Remember: we are not the things we do.

Have you done your goals review for April yet? Here’s a quick way to get that done using your Tendency.

{Money} What to do when you want to break loose from your goals

Two weeks ago I had a meeting that really irritated me. I can’t even remember now what it was about so it couldn’t have been that significant. However, I wanted to do something nice for myself (treat myself, if you want) and went to my nail polish stash to find a fun colour to cheer me up.

There was “nothing” in the same way we have “nothing” to wear.

I then remembered a colour I love (Rimmel’s Velvet Rose) which is discontinued and decided there and then to go to the shops after work for 30 minutes to browse and buy something similar.

Long story short – there was nothing similar but I did find a colour I liked (Sorbet’s Macaroon).

I was home and the colour was on my nails when I realised that I’m supposed to be on a “use up first” mission.

There was another incident where I didn’t even think about it and bought three sets of (admittedly) very well-priced miniature toiletries when again, box 1 was opened and I was like “no, not allowed”. I took the other two sets back.

Sorbet Macaroon

But now it’s finally sinking in – I am breaking loose from my challenges of using stuff up first. Why?

  • Perhaps I’m placing too many restrictions on myself? This is possible as I’m definitely a moderator with money.
  • Perhaps I need to allow myself a treat here and there? Possibly – this is week 16 and I have stuck to my no buying of body, bath and beauty products beautifully except for these two mishaps.
  • Perhaps I need to remind myself why I’m doing this again? Highly possible – I want to get back to my pre-pandemic self where I used to buy what I needed and not treat myself daily due to the “hardship” of being locked down. To be fair, it really was a hardship for me.

This colour is Essence’s Powder Room Party

Where is this going then?

  1. I reminded myself this week while listening to The Broke Generation podcast (search your podcast app – British girl in Australia) that I need to have something to work towards ALL THE TIME. Maybe I should book an overseas trip because the thought of the very weak Rand will focus my spending super quick!
  2. I wrote my goal on a post-it note and am wrapping it around my credit card in my wallet (this has been very successful for me in the past).
  3. But also, R39 on a nail polish is absolutely fine after 14 weeks when I’ve been good with my Clicks/ Dischem spending (I have only spent on boring meds and supplements).
  4. I also set myself a budget for Clicks spending based on actual averages.

Thought for the week:

Where might you be breaking loose from your goals? Why?

Did you enjoy this money post? I’m on a money kick so I’m going to be writing more about this as long as my obsession continues.

Goals update – 24 in 2024 goals, and the secret list :)

I’m writing this goals update 3 months and 1 week into the year.

Summer – beautiful, but I have had more than enough of it.

A few disclaimers before I start the update:

  1. I have two lists this year, the main one and a few more fun, once-off items on a second list, simply because when I looked at the main list, it looked like a LOT of hard work and I didn’t want to feel burdened by a list.
  2. Therefore, when I talk about numbers done, I’ll refer to both of these.

Done

  1. Buy a new car
  2. Try a new stretch class
  3. Read Atomic Habits as a work book club (I have read it, we have met 4 out of the 6 allocated sessions and I got what I wanted from it).
  4. Listen to more music. I have listened to more music in one month than I did the entire year of 2023, so I’m calling it done.
  5. Watch more TV. Same. May I recommend Dance Life on Prime Video? I loved it! I love seeing people in their passion and hard work that goes into making that passion true excellence.

Abandoned

Do Happiness Project Revisited. Towards the end of February, I cancelled – nothing to do with the content but I was bone tired of chasing up on my playbook, nearly 3 months after ordering. The chasing up was worse than work and it was causing unhappiness instead of happiness. (nothing to do with Gretchen’s team; I am not sure why DHL decided to send it to our liquidated Post Office in South Africa – seriously, we have no post offices).

I was trying to take a photo of my favourite new summer pants; clearly I am bad at taking these pics but I still liked how I looked, so there you go

In progress

  1. Exercise going well but I have abandoned the stretch because I wasn’t getting enough cardio and that is very important to me for heart health.
  2. Reading – 30 books in
  3. 10 non-fiction physical books – I have finished 4 of the 10; 2 currently in progress.
  4. Play with photography again and post things that delight me – yes, going well! Also really looking forward to full autumn foliage, the most beautiful season.
  5. Write 24 in 2024
  6. Use up 24 beauty/ body/ bath products – this is going very well. Just this week I had a little relapse (I bought a set of body wash/ body lotions, realised only once I’d got home and opened it up so I kept one of each, and gave some to the kids and Precious). Bonus points for me for returning the other two boxes I’d also bought.
  7. Do many declutter challenges – I have now done 6 batches of 24 (you can see all of these on my Instagram highlights; I post the week’s stuff every weekend.

on my other list, I have to try a recipe every month. this is so easy because of Instagram. Also, StephCooksStuff 🙂

The other list

  1. Finish listening to last few CDs before decluttering them – done (the new car sped things up because I have no CD player so had to listen on Spotify)
  2. Make eye appointment – yay, I don’t need new specs. R10 000 saved!

And that’s it – very happy with my Q1 progress. On my main list, I am tracking at 33,3% for the year, which is ahead of  my budget. Good thing, because it looks slow hereon out unless I actually get around to planning my 50th, booking a weekend away or doing that no-spend month. Hmmmm.

How are you doing on your 24 in 2024 goals?

Whole – how it’s going, one quarter in

I’m really going to do my best with continuing to recap my word of the year throughout the year, hopefully every quarter.

Here’s where I wrote about whole and why I chose it.

On the whole I’d rate myself a 6 out of 10, making progress but not doing particularly great in all of the areas.

Body and health

  • This has been an unbearable summer. Even for people who enjoy summer in Johannesburg, this one has been “challenging”. For me, it has been absolutely horrible. Imagine spending your weekends in the coldest rooms of your house and in bed due to headaches. Yes, that is me. I only felt whole at the office and on cooler days at home.
  • I have lost about 1 kg and I am disappointed that it’s not moving faster.
  • I made and had my eye appointment and… the difference is so slight that there’s no point in getting new glasses made (yay, R10 000 saved!). Apparently I need to make behaviour adjustments like not staring at a laptop for hours on end, make the font bigger on screens (I did my iphone that very day) so that there isn’t such a strain.
  • I had my cholesterol and iron checked and I was honestly despondent until my doctor called me back. Yes, my cholesterol was higher but she is not concerned yet. Apparently the double iron supplement is doing what it needs doing so keep on keeping on. I feel like it’s swings and roundabouts – eat more red meat for iron, but red meat leads to higher cholesterol. Ugh. Perhaps this next quarter will settle things down?

Mental and emotional

  1. I have started the year with great work boundaries. I have a number of hours I’m prepared to work every week to both 1) keep on top of things but still 2) have a life and I’ve been tracking and keeping to it.
  2. I’m still behind on a lot of self-imposed things but I’ve just had to tell myself to focus on the things on my actual scorecard.
  3. I don’t know if the teens have just settled better into school but they are a tad more communicative. I still struggle with “this is not how I envisioned parenthood”.

Financial

  1. I bought a car. Love it, happy with it.  The disciplined savings is worth it every day I get to drive in its deliciousness.
  2. I did some good money thinking while listening to The Broke Generation podcast (I want to write a post about one of the episodes) and had a realisation: I think I’m spending money recklessly in a few places because I don’t have a clearly-defined financial goal. So, am pondering…
  3. Therefore, I haven’t done the no-spend month yet but my plan is still to do one this year.
  4. Until then, I’m spending lots of money on good things like people’s birthdays, gifts and fun things.

Fun

  1. I’m finding fun in music, writing, reading and photography, all of which make me feel whole.
  2. I can’t wait to do more photography in autumn, the prettiest time of the year.
  3. I still need to decide on a celebration for my birthday in August that will be fun and will feel like me. Who are these people who like big parties to celebrate milestone birthdays? (As an aside, I read a book called Are we having fun yet? by Lucy Mangan where Liz, the protagonist, said to her husband something like, “what were we thinking organising a big wedding? We’re both introverts, hate crowds and being the centre of attention. No wonder I was unhappy the whole day)

In summary, I’m thinking about whole enough that it’s top of mind, and I am filtering a lot of my decisions through the lens of “is this going to make me feel more whole? does this look like whole?” which is the whole point.

And that’s how my word of the year is going. How about you?

Do you still remember your word?

Is it guiding your decisions and choices?

PS these photos are all from years past as it is still a few months too early for proper cold weather 🙁

Declutter 24 in 2024 – how it’s going, 3 months in

At the end of last year, I felt like I had too much stuff – stuff that needed to go out, stuff that needed to be used up and stuff that should be gifted to others.

Why?

I am generally an underbuyer but during the pandemic, I got into the habit of “treating myself” for staying home and even when things returned to normal, I was still in the bad habit of buying myself treats for no good reason. We did this with takeaways and fun food at the grocery store too, but have reigned a lot of that back, due to pure necessity (the exhorbitant price of food).

I am not the type of person who says “I work hard; I deserve it” because I believe that 95% of the population works hard and that is just not a good justification.

The point is I had lots of things I wasn’t using and they all need to go.

Disclaimer – since I first Konmari’d my house in 2014 (ten years ago!), most of the time my house just needs a quick analysis of one in, one out before it feels right again. Except for the water bottles. I give them away as fast as they land and it always still feels like there are too many.

My three categories

Beauty/ body/ bath – both personal items and household items like soaps and toilet sprays #useup24in2024

Stationery – books, pens and pencils

General decluttering – anything else goes here. The idea was as many batches of 24 as I could do in 2024. #declutter24in2024

What I’m learning

That I had no idea what I have in my house in the way of toiletries. I mean, I had 5 speedsticks. This is the beauty of the Konmari method and bringing everything together into the same space.

It’s making me chomp at the bit to buy things that truly spark joy. When I had the urge for a new nail polish colour, I went looking in a box of spares and lo, I found some bottles to scratch the itch.

It honestly helps to ask, “who can use this today?” if I’m not wild about something (hand creams, t-shirts, bags).

So how are things going?

Beauty/ body/ bath – I’ve used up 13 items from speedstick to conditioner and two (!) lipsticks.

Stationery – I’ve used up or donated 8 items – used up 3 pens and donated 5 new pencil bags.

General decluttering – I’m on batch 5 of the year. I will push to finish that batch so that the quarter ends nicely with 5 complete batches or 120 items.

Tell me, how are your decluttering/ organising efforts going?

Decide what’s right for you – whether it’s one drawer every week or one room a month. At the very least, try one in, one out or, as I heard Lisa Whittle say on a podcast years ago, one in, three out. It makes you more aware of what you bring into your space.

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