A mini home improvement project

BeFunky Collage.jpg

We are really tight on space right now as we are living with family, but since we will likely be here for another 6 months I wanted to try and make the room look a bit nicer. Initially we were going to decorate the whole room when we moved in as it was one of the last rooms left to decorate after my family bought the home from an older lady. However we initially decided not to because we had so much stuff in there and did not think we would be staying so long, but as always life likes to throw a few curve balls! So the decor is a mix of old lady meets young couple who had to move their flat into a bedroom! Today I decided to tackle this mini project – the top of our chest of draws.

My idea was to reduce the amount of clutter in the room and also the different colours to more neutral tones to make the room feel less ‘busy’. When I began the project and I stopped to think about this space I couldn’t understand what was going through my mind when I bought those bright blue baskets as I have never decorated any space that colour and think they are a huge eyesore! I guess this is what happens when you buy on impulse and don’t think about what will suit the space and style you already have.

The first thing we did was to declutter the basket – we got rid of about 2/3rds of the items and then I replaced the blue basket with a more simple white one for £2. I returned the library book and removed the multi-coloured journals which are to be decluttered later tomorrow. The basket will go to be donated as it is in perfect condition and I am sure there is someone else out there who will enjoy that brightly coloured, er… monstrosity.

What do you think of the before and after? Have you been working on a home project lately? Or is redecorating on your to-do list in 2018? Share with me in the comments below.

 

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My decluttering goals for 2018

As someone who has already been on the minimalism journey for 5 years now I am more in the maintenance phase of the journey, however I have noticed things starting to creep back into our space and so here are my decluttering goals for 2018.

My tower of jigsaw puzzles.

My overall goal is to focus on using up what I already have.

  • Puzzles – Quite typically for me, I went overboard buying puzzles during the period when this became my favourite hobby. Now I have around 12 or so left to complete. This stack is taking up 1/4 of the space under my bed so I’m keen to get them done and in future only buy 1 at a time.
  • Bath/body products – I was gifted a lot of bathroom products at Christmas but I hadn’t actually finished last years!
  • Notebooks – As a writer I have gathered a lot of notebooks over the years as I was in the habit of buying when I already had a stack. During the later end of 2017 I managed to finish several and plan to continue doing so in 2018 until I am down to only one notebook at a time.
  • Cross stitch – 7 years ago I used to love cross stitch. I spent hundreds of pounds buying threads and materials, patterns and so on. However for the last 18 months my interest has gone and now I am left with excessive materials which would take me years to use up, so my plan is to try sell what is left and recoup some of the money.
  • Camera – I bought a D-SLR camera almost 2 years ago but haven’t used it nearly as much as I thought I would so I’m also hoping to sell that this year.
  • Books – I have around 20 unread books at the present. After I have finished reading them I will donate so that someone else can enjoy them.
  • Colouring books – Once again I started a new hobby and went overboard buying far too much, unfortunately it turned out that colouring was not something I enjoyed as much as I thought I would and now I am left with several colouring books. Thankfully some are unused and can be sold or gifted on.

As you can see the vast majority of my plans are long-term so in essence my decluttering for 2018 will look like a walk rather than a run!

My notebook stash.

How about you? Do you have plans to declutter in the new year? Share with me in the comments below and thanks as always for dropping by.

I’m now on Pinterest!

I recently made a new Pinterest account for my blog and I wanted to share it with you all – click here to follow me.

I use the account to pin ideas for my future home, well-being and health tips, organisation tips, cleaning tips, food and drink ideas and so on.

I’m a big lover of Pinterest and I hope you’ll join me over there!

Happy pinning!

Using it up: Going zero waste beyond packaging

I wanted to talk about something today regarding going zero waste. The focus of the zero waste movement so far has been about making no rubbish which has to go to landfill as well as producing fewer items for recycling. But recently I have been thinking about expanding the meaning of zero waste in my life.

The Chain of Waste

If I purchase a book, that book will have arrived at the bookstore in a large cardboard box along with either paper filler, bubble wrap, or plastic fillers to prevent damage; sometimes plastic wrap is also used. If I purchase an item of clothing in a store it will have arrived in store shrink wrapped in plastic which is removed before the item goes out on sale. If I purchase loose fruit and vegetables the trays used to transport that to a supermarket are still covered with large plastic liners. Whenever we purchase anything there is a whole trail of waste created right from the raw materials being mined, logged or manufactured all the way through to how that item reaches the store in order for us to purchase that item.

Therefore in order to further the zero waste lifestyle I feel that we must look at not only how much packaging we take home with us, but also consider how much waste was likely created for its production – after all, if we follow zero (home) waste, then we could purchase 100 items of clothing and recycle all 100 cardboard price tickets, and call this an ecological act.

I think when we consider the amount of waste created in order for a product to reach us, then we owe it to our wallets and to the environment to make sure that we use the items we purchase. After all if we buy 100 items but only use 2 then the resources and money required for those other items are being wasted.

A Culture of Hauls and Stashes

Being in many groups on Facebook for various hobbies over the years I have seen the rise in doing hauls, stashes and excessive buying grow in increasing popularity. There’s nothing wrong with a haul now and then but often I saw people buying far more of one particular type of item than what I could see them feasibly using in a lifetime – and that’s if they even decide to keep doing that same hobby for the next fifty or more years!
I used to be jealous, but now I reflected and I wonder how can you be jealous of people who buy things they will never use? If we don’t use something, what is the point in owning it? I don’t believe there is any joy to be gained in items that just sit and gather dust year after year, if anything the need to clean those items, maintain them, arrange them and so on just makes me long for the simple life! I’ve also seen a really ungrateful attitude with some people doing hauls – in one I watched as the poster opened box after box throwing the contents carelessly to one side!

My challenge to you

If you’re reading this blog I’m guessing it’s because you have either an interest in zero waste or minimalism, so here is my challenge to you for the following year – please let me know how you get on, I would love to hear your stories!

How many of us have books, DVD’s, clothes, various hobby paraphernalia lying around at home which never sees the light of day? I think everyone does to some degree so I’m challenging you to look around your home and ask yourself what you can prevent be wasted in your home. What books haven’t you read? What movies have you bought and never watched? Could you finish an old project you began? If you no longer have the same enthusiasm for a hobby anymore, could you pass on the related items on while they are still in good condition to prevent them being wasted? If you still enjoy your hobby what would it be like to have only one project at a time and stick with it until completion? Here’s a couple of key questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have items in your home being wasted through lack of use?
  • Could you make a commitment to using those items up before purchasing new ones?
  • If you no longer wish to use the item, can you donate it to a charity or friend who will use it?

My commitment

Of course I am not going to challenge you to something I am not prepared to do myself so here’s a couple of plans I have for 2018 with regards to not wasting items.

  • For a while now I have seen my interest in sewing decline with no renewal so I am planning to keep only the threads I need to finish my 2 current projects and selling the rest to someone who will use them.
  • I also have a pile of maybe 15 books which are currently unread so in 2018 I will be working my way through the pile and donating the books afterwards.
  • For several months I have been working my way through my stack of notebooks and paper and am pleased to say I’ve finish several since I stopped buying. I’m hoping to get down to owning only 1 notebook in 2018 instead of 20 half-finished ones! (As a small side note I recycle all the paper I use.)

Let me know how you get on in the comments below!

How to become a minimalist: Decluttering techniques

So you’ve decided you want to become a minimalist, but now what? How should you go about it? There are many different strategies for decluttering and I’m going to share them here, and tell you what my favourites are as well.

Fast methods

• The Weekend – This involves setting aside a couple of days to work on your life and completely reinvent it. Make sure you stock up on bags and boxes beforehand and scope out places where you can donate or recycle what you no longer need or want.
• One touch – This method was popularised by Marie Kondo in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the basic premise is that you go through all of your possessions and ask yourself if they spark joy for you, and only allow yourself to answer once.
• Packing party – Okay so this method actually takes a few weeks, depending on how long you want to wait, but you can have instant results – essentially you pack up everything you don’t think you need or want, then put it out of the way for a month or so. At the end of the month whatever you didn’t retrieve gets donated.

Slow methods

If fast methods aren’t for you – then there are a number of different strategies you can utilise to keep the ball rolling at a much more leisurely pace that doesn’t need to totally disrupt your life.

• 1 item per day – Created by Colleen of 365LessThings.com, the idea is to donate, recycle or use up one item per day. At the end of the year you’ll have 365 less things in your home to take care of. This works particularly well for those who feel anxious about decluttering and can be couple with other techniques such as ‘Use it up’.
• 1 area at a time – This method involves dividing up your home into areas, how small or big you want those areas to be is up to you, you could go as small as individual draws or a room, and then tackle one per week.
• Layers – This involves repeated sessions of decluttering coupled with reduced spending over a period of time to peel back the clutter like layers.
• Games – Choose a number or a colour and then declutter accordingly, this can be fun and is good for those who like a challenge but don’t want to spend an entire weekend Decluttering.
• Use it up – If you’re of a more frugal mentality then you might want to consider trying to reduce your spending and instead ‘shop’ from inside your home: this can include books you have never read, films you never watched, foods you need to eat up, bathroom products that need using up – essentially anything you have in excess make a goal of not buying and instead try to use what you own.

General advice

• Aim for good enough, not perfection. In the age of Instagram this is even more important to remember – your version of minimalism does not have to be perfect.
• This is good advice for sorting areas which have been cluttered with mixed items rather than items of a particular type – as you declutter an area take each item immediately to where it belongs – if you are donating some items after, leave yourself plenty of time to take them there. This was a great concept I learnt from Nony at ASlobComesClean.com, her theory being if you create piles of items which need to be somewhere else, let’s say the laundry basket, papers for filing and some items to return to your child’s bedroom – if you get interrupted there is a high chance that your new, smaller piles will end up merging back together into one big mess again. However if you immediately take that sock to the laundry basket, file those papers but don’t get around to fixing the rest, you have still made good progress.
• If you take don’t feel able to declutter everything in one go, don’t beat yourself up about it but instead acknowledge your progress. Sometimes change takes time, especially letting go.
• Ask yourself why you are keeping something – and be honest with yourself about it. How does the item make you feel? Does it bring back good memories but you resent having to clean it,

What method did you use on your journey towards becoming a Minimalist? Share with me in the comments below.