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?

An easy trick to help you let go of your stuff

I wrote  on Instagram recently that I had a watch from May 2008 and I finally had to let it go.

Suzanne’s mom reminded me in the comments that I bought it on the same trip to Scotland when I met Suzanne (we’d arranged to meet up half way around the world for the first time – read more here). In fact, we stopped at the Swatch store in Princes Street, Edinburgh, on our way to drive to Stirling, where we were to meet Suzanne.

There are are 3 points to this post:

  1. Some of us are more sentimental than others.
  2. For those of us sentimental people, take a picture so that you have something to remember your item. It is easier to keep a photo than the physical item.
  3. That may be enough to then let it go. If not, you might need a bit more intentionality like giving it to someone who you know will use it.

Bonus – sometimes we all need to take a wide-angled photo of the rooms in our house. When you see the same thing, day in and day out, you forget what it actually looks like. I did the same recently (took a picture of the morning light) and realised there are PILES of books that need to be dropped off at the library again.

Are you sentimental?

Is it easy for you to let go of stuff? If yes, what is the sentence you tell yourself to help you let go?

4 insights on stockpiling toiletries from The Year of Less

 

 

I read a book called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders in August 2018. I’ve just gone to read all my highlights on Goodreads (19 of them!) and now I think I need to re-read the book 😉

But that’s not what I came here to tell you about today.

When I originally read the book, I remember one piece very vividly, the section on stockpiling toiletries.

It completely changed how I think about things now.

Many people (I daresay, 98% of you reading this post) buy extra toiletries when they’re on sale. The sales captivate us all – 3 for the price of 2, the summer/ winter sale, and so on.

In the book, she asks us to consider how long specific items take to use up and how long you really need to keep spares.

Stockpiling is not great for at least 4 reasons:

1. it wastes money

if your money is held up in “stock”, it is not available as cash (remember Accounting in high school?). I prefer to have the cash rather than bottles of shampoo, conditioner or similar. Yes, I’m aware that the prices of things have increased (especially in South Africa due to loadshedding) but I would still rather have cash in the bank than two extra speedsticks in my bathroom vanity.

2. it is clutter 

This one is fairly obvious. Stuff you have and that you need to store because you’re not using is called clutter.

3. waste of product 

if you buy 3 products, they might go old before you can actually use them (this has happened to me once with speedstick deodorants)

4. most of the world lives about 5 minutes from a store

and now… there’s online delivery too. If you run out, I promise you it will be a 5-minute detour to get what you need and for most of us, you will know beforehand that you’re going to run out in a few days.

A personal example

I use Olay day moisturising liquid (with SPF!). One bottle lasts 6 months. Given that there are often sales, it used to be tempting to buy extra but I am no longer tempted. Why? I can tell that I’ll run out within a week or two both because of the weight of the bottle and the fact that I write the date on the bottle with a permanent marker when I start using a new bottle.

But also, it just makes no sense to buy 18 months’ worth of product on a buy 3 for the price of 2 sale. What if they change the formula or make a pretty new bottle or (I don’t think this will happen but…) I want to try something new but I’m stuck using the old stuff for 18 long months.

Upholders love self-imposed rules

  • I will  keep one spare speedstick deodorant in summer because the consequences are immediate if I run out (!)
  • I do buy the 3 for 2 shampoos because 1 bottle of the brand I use lasts me just under 2 months
  • Keeping a travel toiletry bag stocked is not stockpiling because it actually saves me so much time when I travel for work or pleasure. I’m on holiday now and I will have to replenish some items (on my list!) once I get back home.

In the 17 years of writing this blog, I have still not managed to convince people to stop stockpiling toilet paper. I personally don’t get this obsession as in my house, I “budget” on about 5 days per toilet roll per bathroom, so I know how long we can go before stocking up.

My goal is not to change your mind but I do want you to consciously know that:

  • that is actual money in your cupboards
  • money you can never recoup
  • and you’re probably going to take years to go through your backstock 🙂
  • also, you don’t need to take hotel toiletries with you (I only take bottles that I deem perfect in function or form, or if the fragrances are particularly compelling)

Tell me, where are you on the stockpiling spectrum? 

I didn’t want to go there but I will say that a certain very popular Netflix show and Instagram account has made it very appealing to have lots of backstock in clear perspex containers. Why?

{organising} 3 easy ways to create decluttering habits

When was the last time you had a good clear out?

Why should you even bother?

Like me, I’m fairly confident that you’re buying things or people are giving you things regularly.

I’m not even talking about being a shopper of unnecessary things.

  • When you replace your gym pants or sports bras, are you tossing out the old ones? If you pick up a couple of new T-shirts, are you just adding them into the pile or drawer?
  • When you buy a couple of new bowls, are you donating the old ones? I’m sure the old ones didn’t break?
  • When you buy two new body soaps to try, and you try them for your next couple of showers, are you using up the old ones first? Do you now have four open bottles in the shower? 😉

Decluttering your stuff helps you feel clearer mentally, and opens you up to blessings and abundance in your life, not only of the physical kind.

Here are a few ideas to create great decluttering habits:

Conscious decluttering before birthdays and Christmas

I do this mostly for the kids but for myself too if I have a birthday lunch. People will bring presents so you might as well create space for it all.

One in, one out rule

This rule is probably the most unexciting and yet the most effective constant form of decluttering I do. I keep a donate tub on my washing machine in the kitchen and I keep putting things in there. If I buy two new mugs, I look through the cupboard to find the two that spark the least joy. I do the same with clothes too.

Physical boundaries

This is another one of my favourites. Everything in my house has a place where it lives. And since my Konmari days (coming up on 7 years!), there is usually only one place, no longer three spaces all over the house, unless the item is used there. When the physical space is too small for the item (s), it’s time to reduce the number of items until the space is comfortable again.

What about Konmari?

I still recommend doing a Konmari-type decluttering if you can – the biggest use for me is that you get to see everything at the same time and it shocks you senseless so you’re never tempted to hoard as many items again. If you click through to that post, you’ll see all the vases. I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve not bought one extra vase since the time all those were decluttered – yay!

My suggestion:

  1. Give yourself a small task every day for a week (one kitchen drawer, the bathroom vanity, your T-shirts, etc.) and set your timer for 15 minutes while you declutter.
  2. It is addictive once you get going and find the momentum to move onto problematic areas.
  3. But remember, as the Home Edit girls say, you can either have the stuff or the space.

If you’d like accountability and guidance to finally get your spaces organised, please book a virtual organising session of your choice. Both sessions come with a follow-up action plan for you to implement. I’d love to help you get organised, whatever your style.

Outer order, inner calm

I think there’s a lot of truth to the statement “outer order, inner calm” which I first read about in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project.

Outer order, inner calm

The idea is that if your outer environment is ordered and organised, so too will your inner environment be.

I’ve seen this concept play out both in my own life and in the lives of my clients. This is often how I’ve seen it show up:

– I’m more inspired to cook or bake if the kitchen is sparkling clean.
– When my photos are in order, I want to play more with my photography. On the other hand, if I’m behind on photo organising, I often feel reluctant to take photos because I know it’s just adding more work to my backlog.
– When my desk is neat and tidy, or at least organised, I feel like my mind is more organised and I can be focussed and productive while tackling my Eat the Frog tasks.
– When my house is organised and in order, I’m more able to relax with a book.
– My creative clients have told me that when they take some time to sort out their environment, they are more creative.

How have you observed this concept playing out in your own life?

organised wardrobe

Wardrobe in old house

I’m not for a minute suggesting that you’re not productive, effective or creative if your environment isn’t tidy and organised; I’m just saying that I’ve seen this in a lot of people and in my own life. I think it’s because 65% of people are visual learners.

If you’re also very visual, here are a few tips to maximise your effectiveness:

  • Reduce the flow of paper into your life and have a system to contain it.
  • Have a place for everything and don’t just put things down; put them away. It takes just a few seconds longer but it’s so worth it.
  • Build in a 5-minute desk tidy at the end of your daily work routine
  • Declutter regularly and as much as you can manage.
  • Stop bringing things/ stuff into your home. One of my friends has a no gift policy for birthdays but they gladly accept cards.

Your coaching challenge

Which of the five points above do you most need to implement? Number them from 1 – 5 and try working on them with the most important one first.



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