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):

Welcome to my shirt drawer!



Posted in Infant, Parenting

The Aussie Inspired Baby Burrito

In light of my last post on weaning my son off his pacifier, I’ve decided to let you in on the swaddling technique I’ve recently started to use.  It’s a cross between the traditional swaddle and the Aussie swaddle (which I recently learned existed).

My son has recently outgrown his Swaddle Me blanket (to my great chagrin) but isn’t ready to go swaddle-free even though he frequently breaks out of his swaddles (or attempts to).  If I don’t cocoon him up, he ends up waking himself up by rubbing his little fists all over his face and scratching himself (when I haven’t trimmed his nails properly).  Furthermore, now that he is at an age where he has trouble transitioning between sleep cycles because he hasn’t learned to self-soothe yet, I need to keep wrapping him up so that he doesn’t have more opportunities to wake up at night and during naps.

The problem with the traditional swaddle, though, is that it takes away anything that he can suck on (let’s not forget here, that I’m weaning him off the pacifier even though I know he has a need to suck to fall asleep).  I’ve tried swaddling with one arm out, but it always ended in disaster: he would wake up because he was rubbing his face, or he would grab his pacifier and pull it out and then get pissed off because he was unable to put it back in.

I then tried the Aussie swaddle.  However, access to two hands seemed to be too much for him to handle because no matter which side he turned his head, there would be a blanket covered hand right in front of him.

So, I decided to merge the two methods.  Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Find a tired, squirmy and cranky baby (if you’re looking for one, I’ll gladly lend you mine; he’s got an inexhaustible reserve of crankiness).
Step 2: grab a large blanket (I use a twin sized sheet cut in half) and fold the top part down to form an approximately 6 in. flap.
Place Sir (or Madam) Cranky in the center of the blanket with his/her shoulders slightly below the top of the fabric.
Fold your baby’s arm upwards placing his/her forearm inside the fold of the blanket.
Bring outer edge of the blanket down at an angle and tuck the edge under your little one’s bum.
As with a traditional swaddle, wrap the excess fabric around your baby’s body, tucking it under his/her back.
Fold the excess fabric at the bottom upwards.
Place your baby’s other arm against his/her body and wrap the remaining fabric around his/her body.

Then, you can place your little Aussie burrito in his/her crib.

This swaddle is really great for my son because it allows him access to one hand (he can suck on it through the blanket if he wants to) while keeping his other arm snugly pinned against his body.  It was important for me to allow him some means of fulfilling his intense need to suck, give him a chance to learn to self-soothe all while providing him with the snug environment he still needs.  Furthermore, I see this as a nice transition between a full swaddle and the partial swaddle (one arm out) that is used to help wean babies off the swaddle.

What’s your experience with the swaddle?  Did you use a special swaddle blanket ?  How long did you swaddle, when and how?