What I learned from Spring into Organising

I ran (or tried to run) a Spring into Organising challenge during September.

It was mostly a failure in terms of getting other people to play along, but I thought I’d share what I learned from personally doing the Spring into Organising challenge for the 5 weekends in September.

  • Konmari has served me very well. I did the full Konmari in August 2014 and while I believe that you do have to do a little refresh now and again, it has been life-changing for me. Spaces are super quick to sort when you mostly have things that spark joy in your home.
  • I am happier with a leaner, streamlined home. I am not one of those people with a “we’re making memories and that’s why we have a messy house” mindset. I fully own that I like clean, orderly, clutter-free spaces because this is what brings me peace.

 

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  • Dedicated projects motivate me. I made a plan at the start of weekend 1 and I did all those spaces and then some. I ended up sorting out 17 spaces and it felt wonderful.
  • It sucks when you feel like no one else is doing a challenge along with you, even if they are. Just being honest.
  • Things are coming into our homes all the time (gifts, updates to clothes, etc.) so they need to leave all the time too. Someone asked me once on Instagram why I always have a couple of areas to sort, and my reply is still the same – I live with other people (D, the kids, and the nanny is here 4 days a week) and so even though most things just take a 5 – 10 minute tweak every couple of months, it’s still necessary. Just last night, I returned medication to our medicine cupboard and it was messy so it needed a sort. Popped on a podcast and got to it – 20 mins later, order was restored, old meds tossed out and all was well again.

It occurred to me that spring is not over yet so I’m continuing with organising bits and pieces around my home.

The printable is still available for free here – please do avail yourself if you want to get your home in order.

How do you tackle spring cleaning/ organising? On a schedule or as the mood strikes you?

3 ways to Konmari your digital life

You all know I’m a big fan of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

And I know exactly why she calls it life-changing – because then you start thinking of every area of your life in terms of sparking joy.

I have on my list to write about Konmari-ing your to-dos but for today, I want to talk about Konmari-ing your digital life!

Because we can’t see digital clutter as obviously as we can see physical clutter, we often don’t realise it’s there but believe me, it’s still affecting you, especially with distraction and overwhelm.

When you open your inbox, you feel drained at the sight of all those emails, your computer runs slow because there’s so many photos on there and when you go into Instagram, you can’t believe how much some people post because you were on just this morning and your feed is full again.

Sound familiar?

Let’s look at 3 places where you can Konmari digitally and then add some joy into your life again:

1. Free printable downloads

We women like free things, don’t we? As a result, we download anything and everything we can find that’s for free. If it’s free, it’s got to be good, right?

Actually, it’s not all good. Not only are you cluttering up your computer but you can’t possibly use all the things that are out there because we now live in an information-overload society.

I’m not immune. At one point I had about 6 different grocery shopping lists on my computer, all of them free downloads.

What I do these days is honestly ask if I’m going to use something. If not, I don’t even download. And when I clear out my document folders, I ask myself if that cute printable really sparks joy. If not, I delete.

Also, here is your permission to delete my free stuff too if it no longer serves you. I know it works for me but we’re all different.

2. Emails and email notifications

My organizing clients need help with email more than any other thing in their office, and paper’s a close second. That’s because email’s so fast and because we don’t use it correctly.

Get familiar with the delete key (my favourite key on my physical and phone keyboard) and start deleting. Delete immediately once you’ve replied to an email and don’t file unless you absolutely have to. Sometimes you need to keep an attachment but not the email.

If you’re trying to save money or (as in my case) not buy books, unsubscribe from all the deals emails. If you really need to know about something, trust that it will still come your way (like through Instagram stories, in my case!)

Something I personally do is delete from and send quick replies “thanks for the payment” on my phone, but I answer emails that need longer responses from a computer.

Disable all the notifications from Facebook, Instagram and the like. I only get friend requests, messages and notes on my wall in my inbox. The rest I’ll see when I log on once a week or so. I’ve long disabled Facebook and Messenger from my phone – best decision ever.

Here again, decide on your comfort level for emails and make sure you process until you feel joy again. For me at work, that’s when I can view all my emails on one screen.

3. Instagram

How many people are you following on Instagram? Are you aware of how long you take to read all of those posts every day? Do you set a limit for yourself or is it only the upholders among us?

I’m as guilty as you are even though my Instagram use has shortened dramatically over the last two years.

Just this weekend, the same thing popped up from a number of people in my feed.

Stop scrolling through everyone else’s lives and run the race set before you – Christine Caine

Take some time to go through and declutter the feeds of those you tend to skim over. Get to know your comfort number. I still try to create before I consume any content but yes, it’s hard, especially when you’re tired.

I read another great quote on Lara Casey’s site last year – “idleness … is different than truly resting”. Often we tell ourselves that we’re resting but really, when we’re done scrolling Instagram, do we feel truly rested?

I feel like this is just the start of an Instagram conversation because I have More Thoughts but please tell me how you feel about Instagram.

What are your biggest battles? Do you use it to escape or when you’re bored? Or is it true inspiration, connection time with friends, or build your business time?

Your coaching challenge for this week should you take me up on it is to work on one of these three areas, and come tell me in the comments which you’ll do, and give us feedback when you’re done.

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

Children’s capsule wardrobes

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A few things I want to quickly mention:

  • my kids are 6.5 (nearly 7 if you listen to them!) and I’ve long stopped buying clothes for future years
  • they do have some things, mainly gifts from people that are too big for the current year so these get put away til the next warm/ cold season

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I had an aha moment when I started Konmari-ing my own clothes last August.

  1. First, the kids have way too many things if we have to rotate clothes (newly washed clothes go to the back of the pile)
  2. There’s so much that I don’t plan to buy anything until they outgrow clothes
  3. Capsule wardrobes are the in thing. When you have to think of mixing and matching, it becomes a whole new set of work.

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I put my new capsule wardrobe theory to work in the summer…. the hot, 8-month long summer.

Kendra needed some strappy tops so I got her two tops that would match with everything else in her wardrobe.

Connor needed two sleeveless tops too and I did the same, less picky, because he wears denim shorts a lot.

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The benefits during our holiday in Cape Town were huge:

  • everything “went” with everything else – surprisingly navy goes with neon orange, green and hot pink 🙂
  • I didn’t need to make sets (as I’ve always done) – I just tossed 5 tops and 5 pairs of shorts/ skirts in the suitcase and that was that – happy, happy days for me!
  • they dressed so quickly every day because it was easy

While Konmari-ing their clothes, I also decided to not waste my time “forcing” the kids to wear some clothes, e.g. gifts. If they told me they hated something, I donated the item even if they hadn’t worn it at all or enough. I really don’t have the energy to insist they wear things. And to be fair, I won’t wear things I hate either.

Once those items were out of the house, I felt happier so it worked.

I’ve told my mom (who loves buying clothes for gifts) to also rather not buy clothes anymore unless pyjamas – both my kids LOVE pyjamas. I think they get that from me 🙂 So that’s what she did for Christmas – pjs and money!

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This winter we’ve done the same – everything goes with everything. I had to replace one or two pairs of pants and I’m being very strict – it either matches with everything or doesn’t come home with me 🙂

The kids are happy and so am I.

Have you thought of doing capsule wardrobes for your kids?

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{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?

{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

{Konmari} The Christmas Cards

Gretchen Rubin wrote a post a few months ago about Christmas cards. She mentioned that as they receive cards, they leave it in a common space for about a week for everyone in the family to see, and then they toss the cards.

This is quite the novel idea to me.

I don’t know of anyone who tosses cards even before Christmas is over 🙂 Then again, since I’ve been blogging, I’ve also heard (previously unknown to me) that people take their Christmas trees down on Christmas night.

But that’s a discussion for another day 🙂

Back to the cards.

The comments on that blog post are all over the spectrum and very interesting.

So I took out my stash of cards. People in South Africa don’t really exchange cards much these days so we never have many. We mostly give and get to overseas friends.

I was a bit sidetracked for a while, reading the cards and then I put them back for a few weeks.

Yesterday I took them out again and I decluttered ONE card. Just one.

I then decided I’ll put them out in a bowl at Christmas time and see if they no longer spark joy then.

For now, I have the space and they don’t NOT spark joy.

What’s your take on the Christmas cards?

Keep? Toss? Lovingly scrapbook?

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?

{Konmari} tidying the books – finally

I’ve written quite a bit over the years about how much I love my Kindle but the fact of the matter is that I still have a ton of physical books.

It could have been worse but thankfully, I only keep books I really love/d.

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

So one weekend I decided I had to finally tackle those shelves and ask The Question, “does this spark joy?”

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

it’s always a good idea to dust once the shelves are actually clear 🙂

Marie Kondo, in her life-changing book, does say a few interesting things about the process of decluttering books:

  1. books are one of three things most difficult to get rid of (is this true for you?)
  2. fewer books mean there’s a bigger impact on the information (true!)
  3. timing is everything. The moment you come across and feel compelled to buy is the right time for you.
Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

the two books on the left are borrowed indefinitely from friends… so yay, when I read them, I can return them!

Maybe number 3 is true for others, but I buy kind-of all the time because I’m reading and finding books online all the time. I’ve only recently stopped buying ahead on Audible. I’m listening to one book at the moment, and have one more ready to go. I don’t want to gather/ hoard more than this.

The thing is I do get to a lot of books much later than I intend to….and most times, I’m compelled to read them at the right time. There are physical books I’m sure I will read still on my shelves.

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

these are books I LOVE or definitely want to read. Motherstyles is my most favourite parenting book ever!

That said, I took her point about asking yourself, “does this move me or not, and am I happy to see it on my shelves?”

And that was the filter I used to declutter.

I must add that the task was much bigger in my head than in reality (isn’t it always?!). Once I started working, it probably only took me an hour to finish the exercise!

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

this pile went…

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

as did this pile (A painted house is my favourite John Grisham but I haven’t re-read it in the 10 years we’ve been in this house so I’m not likely to do so, right?)

I got rid of (well, that box is still standing in my entrance way ready to go to the secondhand bookshop) about 20 – 30 books that I liked the idea of, but know I probably won’t ever read, even though many of them are new.

I’m sure I could have done better but for now, this felt enough for me 🙂

Konmari books | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Mission accomplished – I’m finally down to just 3 shelves 🙂

How are you doing with Konmari? Has anyone done their books? Was it torturous for you?

An interview with Cassey, an ESFJ, about Konmari

Cassey was one of the respondents of my little Konmari survey. I wanted to feature her because like all of us (some of you think I’m different but I’m not), she’s a normal mom with a toddler sorting out her house.

I hope this brings some weekend inspiration your way 🙂

1.What is your MBTI type? If you’re not sure, take the test here.

ESFJ-T according to the site you suggested.

2.What drew you to the book?

I was just ready for a change, to do something instead of nothing.

Reader Konmari examples | www.OrganisingQueen.com

3.Which aspects did you most love?

I loved the spark joy parts, the take on gifts, and living the lifestyle you want.

In terms of organising, the doing category by category was new to me, and that with having everything in front of you just made such a difference to making this happen and getting it done.

After years of trying I finally have a capsule wardrobe. I love the folding although it’s not easy for me to do it well.

4.What do you not love about the book?

It’s very woo-woo. I get being grateful – an attitude of gratitude is something I keep on working on – but I don’t find the thanking it method to be something for me. I also hate the colour hanging plan for your wardrobe.

Reader Konmari examples | www.OrganisingQueen.com

5. Tell me about your progress. How long have you been working through your home? Are you done? Do you intend to continue? Etc.

I am mostly done. Mementos are proving tough. There’s also my son and husband’s stuff, as well as some kitchen stuff.

J is not as enamoured with this method as I am, but he is certainly enjoying what it’s doing for me. I think it’s been a month to 6 weeks or so. It does help that we’re in a 2 bedroom flat and before moving into it we already downsized some items.

Now it’s about making sure we – well, mostly I – don’t fall back into the thinking that what you have is a big part of defining your success and worth. It was part of something that got me to finally complete something I’ve wanted to do for ages – coming across the book was just so well timed with me getting my depression diagnosis, starting therapy and taking meds. I don’t know if it would’ve worked as well for me earlier.

Reader Konmari examples | www.OrganisingQueen.com

What kind of challenges do you feel she doesn’t address well?

Décor and kids. Yes, she has you picture your space, but the way I’d love my space is very different to what the space can be with a toddler, and all of his books and toys in it.

Any other insights

I think that once you’ve done it in a big way once, the rest of the time is just about maintenance. What brings us joy changes and grows, so we will probably need to do a re-look at things once in a while. The base point will remain because I don’t see me going back to an overstuffed wardrobe or overstacked bookshelves ever again.

What was the most interesting part of what Cassey said?

Thanks so much, Cassey!

PS If you want to be featured, take the survey here and send me some pictures 🙂

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