Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go : Clothing (Before & After)

Hiya!

I thought I’d do a “before & after” post of my clothing to document my progress (to check out the actual process, click here)

Most of my things were concentrated in three (no wait, four actually) spots in my room: my side of the closet, a dresser, a night stand (or whatever those things are called) and boxes under my bed.

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Now, I’ve never considered myself as someone who had a lot of clothing.  For the most part, I hate shopping for clothes.  This is why when I find a shirt or pair of pants that I like, I typically buy 2 or 3 in different colours (or not) and move on to other, more interesting things in my life.  And had you asked me how many tops and bottoms I had, I probably would have said about 20 tops and 5 bottoms.  It turns out, I was wrong.

Excluding hoodies, pajama tops (because only toddlers wear those to go out of the house) and maternity tops, I had 47 of them.  Forty-seven shirts.  I don’t need 47 shirts.  Case in point, when I’m lazy and skip a week washing my clothes, I would flip through 3-5 shirts before finding one that I liked (or liked more than the other things that my closet offered me).  Once I was done sorting, I ended up with 30 tops (and here’s the kicker) including maternity tops – most of which I can wear as everyday tops.

I cut the number of dresses I had in half and did similarly with my pants and sho

es.  I realized that I’d been hanging on to so many pieces of clothing because I felt guilty of letting go.

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Yikes!  As it turns out, this ended up filling two ginormous trash bags.  One went to the trash, the other to a donation center.

As of right now, all of my clothing is together.  I managed to store my maternity wear alongside my regular clothes without a problem.  Though I can’t wear my maternity pants (I can still wear all of my other maternity stuff), it doesn’t bother me that it’s in my drawers instead of being stashed under my bed.  I enjoy the ease of this.  I also enjoy opening my drawers and closet (notice the space between the hangers now!) and seeing quickly what I have.  Now that I’m done with my clothing, I know I’ll be able to let go more easily in the future whenever I find something that doesn’t spark joy anymore.

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I’ve also decided that I wanted to change the type of clothing I bought.  Purging the things in my home to only be surrounded by things that I love has gotten me thinking of the imprint I’m leaving in this world.  I would like to work towards living in a better world and leaving a smaller imprint.  This is why I’ve decided that from now on, I want to purchase sustainable, eco-responsible clothing for myself.  It’s odd, I’ve never been one to love buying clothing.  But this change in vision on my part has gotten me excited about it!

Next, I tackle the kids’ clothes.  Afterwards, I’m moving on to books.

Thanks for reading! 

Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go – Part 3: Clothing

This is part 3 of my journey to tidying and minimalism.  For part 1, click here.

According to Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the first step in decluttering should start with clothing.  And by clothing, she doesn’t just mean tops and bottoms, she also means shoes, bags, scarves, hats, belts and jewellery.

So, how exactly should one go about cleaning out one’s clothing according to her?  Take everything out.  She is adamant about this.  Go around your house and pick up every last bit of clothing that is hiding in a closet or box and put it all out on the bed (or the floor, or…wherever).  This is important because it allows you to actually see everything that you have.  If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised by what you own.

Then, you pick up every item in your hands and ask yourself one simple question:

Does this spark joy?

That’s it.  No “if you haven’t worn it in over a year, toss it” rule, no “keep only x amounts of this and x amounts of that”.  Nope!  Does.  It.  Spark.  Joy?

Sounds simplistic and a little bit hazy right?  But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense!  I mean, why would you want to keep something that you don’t like?  Why would you want to keep something if it doesn’t suit you well?  Because it was expensive?  Because you received it as a gift?  Because you only need to lose 10 more pounds before you’ll fit into it again?  Because you thought you’d like it (and really, really want to like it) but it just doesn’t “click” for some reason?  Because, because, because?

Personally, if I’m going to live with less (and even if I chose to live with what I had in the first place), I would much rather live with things that bring joy into my life.  Things that I love.  Not things that I keep out of guilt or any other reason.

Now, given that I have kids and not a lot of uninterrupted alone hours, I decided that instead of pulling out every single piece of clothing and putting it on the bed, I would go sub-category by sub-category.

Once I finished going through everything, all that was left to do was to put my clothing away.  Now, Kondo, suggests folding pretty much everything (except stuff like dresses, skirts and stuff that just don’t belong in a drawer) and her method seems weird (at first, at least).

She explains that she believes the best way to fold clothes is to do so in a manner that they stand up (a great tutorial for visuals like me can be found here).  The point being that when you open your drawer, you can see very quickly exactly what you have.

Curious to see how my decluttering and sorting went?  Wait ’till you see my before and after post next week!  I’ll give you a sneak peek though.  Here’s a look inside one of my drawers (it’ll also help you visualize Kondo’s method of folding):

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Welcome to my shirt drawer!

 

 

Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go – Part 2

This is part 2 of my series on my quest to tidiness.  You can find part 1 here.

But you see, lately, I’ve come to realize that I’m not as zen in an untidy environment as I used to.  I’m feeling myself being slowly but surely pulled towards needing my immediate environment to be tidy in order to function better.

So now, the question is: how should I go about becoming tidy knowing that it has to be:

  1. easy (well, relatively easy)
  2. quick
  3. sustainable

I realized that the best way to keep my house tidy and easy to clean was to have less stuff.  If I have less stuff, then it’s simpler to find a spot for everything (so it’s easier to put things away where they go).  If I have less stuff, then it’s easier to dust/clean/vacuum because there are less things to move around.  If I (and the kids) have less clothing, then I’m less likely to be stuck with ridiculously large amounts of clothing to wash because I won’t be able to wait as long between loads of laundry.

I realized that the best way to keep my house tidy and easy to clean was to embrace minimalism.

So I started researching ways to gain control over all of the stuff in my house.  Now, there are a plethora of books, blogs, articles, documentaries that address the issue of minimalism.  After a fair amount of research, I found one book that had a method I found really interesting.

The book is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  It’s author, Marie Kondo presents what she has dubbed the “KonMari method”.  It’s basically a two-step process:

  1. Declutter
  2. Organize

I know, I know, you guys are probably saying :”well, duh, didn’t you know that already?”.  But the important bit is that you have to declutter everything before reorganizing your stuff.  One of my problems, being a perfectionist, is that I try to do everything at once.  But that has never worked out for me because it’s just too much to handle at once.

The other major point is how she approaches the act of decluttering.  You see, instead of tackling this task room by room, she had found that going category by category is a much more logical approach.

Following her method, I will be tackling my decluttering in the following order:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (misc. like DVDs, electronic devices, hobby stuff, cleaning supplies…)
  5. Sentiment

She works from what she has found to be the easiest to let go of to what is hardest to let go of.  Since each category is divided into sub-categories, it means that it’s something that very doable even with a baby, a toddler and a 4 year old running around the house.

I’m going to start working on clothing this week, sub-category by sub-category until I’ve reached the end of the list.  Then, I’ll tackle my kids’ clothing.  After that, I’ll be able to move on to the next category.

Guys, I’m ridiculously excited!

Look out for part 3 where I’ll go through the process of decluttering with more detail and talking about the “rule of thumb” to help decide what to keep and what to let go of.

Are you a minimalist?  How did you go about it?  How did you proceed?

 

Posted in Parenting

What’s Your Cleaning Routine?

Ask my mom how tidy my room was when I was growing up and she’d probably either give you an eyeroll or break out in some form of maniacal laughter.  (Actually, she’d probably tactfully say that it wasn’t one of my strengths but that I had plenty of other strengths) #gottaloveyourmama.

Ask my mom how tidy my house is now that I’m 31 with two and a half kids and she’d probably tactfully say that I’m a great mom and that it’s a good thing that I’m able to let go of the little things.

The truth is, I suck.  Like seriously suck.

I know how to clean, I know how to tidy up, I know it’s important.  I know the tricks.  But darn, I just can’t get my act together.

Problem #1: I am a serious procrastinator.

Last year, when I was still on maternity leave, I figured out a method that actually worked for me.  I started by decluttering (I used the 31 day decluttering guide I found on the Living Well Spending Less website).  Then, I scoured the Web and found a whole bunch of example cleaning schedules.  I mashed a few together, put them on paper and voilà, I had myself a cleaning schedule that worked for me.

Since I couldn’t just do everything in one day as I used to in my pre-kid life, I found that there were two general methods to go about keeping a house clean and tidy.  The first was to go at it room by room (as in, each day, you would tackle a different room).  The second was to go at it task by task.  I opted for the latter as I found it more logical to take care of all the laundry (or window/mirror cleaning, or mopping/vacuuming, or dusting) on the same day.

And it worked!  I was able to keep a clean and tidy house and not go totally nuts with the seemingly monumental-feeling task.

But then, life caught up to me.  I had to go back to work.

Problem #2: I work full-time and often have to bring work home.

Suddenly, I ended up going back to work full-time, juggling two toddlers and becoming pregnant.  (That’s when the procrastinator in me kicked in and determined that the kids, my sanity, some quality time with my partner and my sleep were more important than the tidiness of my house).

But boy oh boy.  Besides the fact that my house regularly looks like it was hit by a tornado, I find myself with horrors like this when I dare look under the couch in the living room.

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This is the most recent stash that I found hiding under the couch.  Notice the can of baby corn to the right which is indicative of my daughter’s newfound passion for emptying the pantry.

Of course, I also find myself picking up toddler boxers all the time because, you know, why play with toys or the food in the pantry when you can just empty out your brother’s boxers and adorn yourself with them (yet another of my daughter’s passions).

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Problem #3: I have an 18 month old and a 3 year old.

Luckily, I do have help.  My partner and brother and the ones responsible for doing the dishes.  We also pretty much split supper duty and my partner’s pretty good at sweeping the floors.

Honestly, I am able to live amongst clutter.  I am fine with seeing dust accumulate on my bookshelves.  I can relax on my couch and see toys littering the floor.  But I would like to become better at housekeeping.  I want to find a balance between being a good teacher, being a good mom and being a good housekeeper without going nuts or burning myself out because…

Problem #4: I’m a perfectionist.

And so, dear readers, I turn to you.

Do you have any suggestions?  What does your cleaning routine look like?  How do you juggle your different responsibilities?