Looking for Simplicity in Life

I was told about this book by an acquaintance of mine so I read it….in about 30 minutes. And then I did the activities. It was simple!

The reason I am writing about this book is that I’m finding life to be overwhelming for a lot of people (I include myself in this group). And sometimes I think people need to get back to basics in order to re-set and get things back on track. This book is good for that.

In the introduction, the author – Brooke McAlary – says, “For most people, the journey towards simplicity starts with decluttering their stuff clearing out wardrobes, or sorting through books, photos and decades of sentimental items. As they look around their home in frustration, they declare, ‘That’s it! I’m buying fewer shoes/clothes/tennis racquets/toys/books/CDs. I’m sick of clearing this stuff out!’ But fast-forward twelve months and you’ll find many of them are back at it, grumbling about how they would prefer to be watching TV, relaxing, drinking a beer or playing with their kids. Instead, they’re clearing out the garage again.”

The chapters in the book deal with single-tasking, getting down morning and evening rhythms (not routines), brain dumping, three things, gratitude and tilting. I explain these below:

  • Single-tasking – immersing yourself in a task you do regularly and not doing anything or thinking about anything else
  • Rhythms – identify needs and wants for mornings and evenings which sets the tone for the day in terms of things that should be done
  • Brain dumping – writing out all kinds of things that are swirling around in your head, possibly keeping you up at night, that you get out on paper
  • Three things – if you get nothing else done in a day, write out three things that are most important and get those done. If you get more done, awesome.
  • Gratitude – while you’re writing down the brain dump and three things, you might as well write down things you are grateful for. It helps to re-wire your brain for looking at the positive in life.
  • Tilting – the opposite of  work/lifebalance. When there are things that come up or take more of your time, deal with them and don’t beat yourself up about the other things that you can’t get to. For example, your child is sick. Take care of your child and don’t worry so much about the dishes. It’s kind of like three things – if you get more done, great, but there is only so much time in a day so priorities trump balance.

The book is an easy and quick read. It’s a good place to start if you are looking for small steps to get where you need to be. Here’s a link to the book: Destination Simple

 

The Art of Discarding

This is my craft room before I did even more decluttering. I should have taken a photo of the insides of the storage bins. Alas, this is my “cluttered” craft area. I’m hoping to get paint on the walls and spruce it up more at some point. I’ll be very excited to share that “after” photo!

I read this book a few weeks ago and liked it a lot. It was the book that inspired Marie Kondo to write The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

For me, hearing over and over that decluttering is really the most important aspect to being well-organized has helped me immensely. My decision-making is so much better because of the advice from this book. Inspired to declutter even more, I spent at least 12 hours on my scrapbook room last weekend. Most people who see my home think that there’s nothing else I could possibly get rid of but that’s not true.

We all have clutter, even me, and it piles up when you aren’t thinking about it. This book made me think about it and recycle, donate and throw away things I truly didn’t need and would never use. I know this because I hadn’t used them in years and when stickers have lost their “sticky”, it’s time to get rid of them. (Not all – I can use Glue Dots on the un-sticky ones that I love.) I had ugly scrapbook paper, embellishments that were tacky or too bumpy to fit inside the sleeve of a clear scrapbook refill page, etc.

So now for some practical advice……this book’s Table of Contents alone will tell you what you need to know. In Part One, here are the 10 attitudes to help you get rid of things:

  1. Don’t keep it “for now”
  2. Avoid “temporary” storage – decide now!
  3. “Sometime” never comes
  4. “Really convenient!” to somebody else – irritating junk to me
  5. Nothing is sacred
  6. If you’ve got it, use it
  7. Storage and organization methods are not the solution
  8. “Maybe this could go…”
  9. Don’t worry that you’ll get rid of something you shouldn’t
  10. Don’t aim for perfection

Then, Part Two give you 10 strategies for discarding. Here they are:

  1. Don’t look – throw!
  2. Chuck it there and then
  3. Discard when you exceed a certain amount
  4. Discard after a certain period of time
  5. Regular discarding
  6. Discard things even if they can still be used
  7. Establish discarding criteria
  8. Have plenty of disposal routes
  9. Start small
  10. Who disposes of what? Decide responsibilities

There is a Part Three that talks about alternatives to throwing things away for people who have a hard time throwing things in the garbage.

One of the things that I found very interesting was when she talked about getting rid of things that can still be used. This might confound you but, yes, you can and sometimes should get rid of certain things that might have some use or purpose. The examples the author uses is clothes, books and magazines. She says, “The belief that things should be used until their potential is exhausted is a powerful one. People seem to think that if they keep something, there’ll be the opportunity at some point for this potential to be used.” “But it’s better not to bother about whether you use things to their full potential. It may well be the case that they could be used more, but they can still be disposed of. Accept this and you’ll save yourself a lot of worry.”

I could go on and on but I’ll stop there. Again, the book’s Table of Contents says it all.

Thanks for reading!!

 

Does this sound like you?

We’re probably all guilty of it. It’s hard to live in a society that values having lots of things. I don’t knock it but I do think we can go overboard. There is no doubt we all need some possessions to be able to not only survive but to live comfortably.

However, there is a line. It is different for different people, for different families. But there is a line and most of us cross it on a regular basis. I am guilty of it myself so please know I don’t sit on a pedestal looking down on all of my cluttered peasants. Learning what stays and what goes in my house and in my office has been a process.

I want to help others learn it so they can live a more productive life doing things they want to do and not looking at clutter and wondering why projects are not finished (or not even started).

 

 

Not Just for Apartments…..

“A rational place to live doesn’t sound very sexy, but a tidy place to live is indeed much more comfortable.” This is one of the last sentences of this article by Bourree Lam in The Atlantic. Check it out….

The Economics of Tidying Up

 

 

 

I love Marie Kondo

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book

She is my God and her book is my Bible. It is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. That book was given to me by a dear friend and has changed my life, no kidding. I wouldn’t have made changes in my home and started this business without it. Read on….http://tidyingup.com/

 

Do’s and Don’ts of Decluttering and Organizing

DO

  • start with the end in mind
  • purge things you don’t need
  • ask for resources or tips/advice
  • recycle, donate, sell, give away
  • keep ‘like’ items together
  • represent yourself with your things
  • be wary of certain storage ideas
  • play relaxing music to set the mood

DON’T

  • get bogged down in details
  • declutter for the sake of it
  • automatically buy bins and shelves
  • put everything in a landfill
  • organized based on flow of space
  • declutter room-by-room
  • worry about other’s judgement
  • get rid of other’s possessions