Marie Kondo-ing is kicking my ass – the clothes story

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So in the month of May, I had decided to Marie Kondo my life. After reading her book ‘ ‘The life changing magic of tyding‘ , I thought I wanted my life changed and I wanted to get rid of the declutter. However, it just hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be.

So the rules are simple:

• declutter by category in a particular order,

• collect all items from that category,

• touch each item and ask yourself ‘does it spark joy?’

• After your done with all your items, and only after you are done, you discard all items that do not spark joy and find a place for items that do spark joy.  

It sounds easy right, well it wasn’t for me. So I followed Marie Kondo’s rules to a T. I started with the categorie clothes. I started with my kids clothes, because I thought that would be easy.  And luckily it was. Kids grow, so they change clothes every once in a while, which is why they haven’t collected an endless amount of clothes. They outgrow them, plain and simple.

My clothes, well, that was another story.  It took forever to collect my clothes, because I have clothes in my closet, in another closet, in my kids closet, well everywhere. Who knew that I stored clothes all over the house. After finally collecting all my clothes, I was astonished at the pile that had accumulated in my bedroom. Wow, do I own all of this?

And now the aspect, does it spark joy? Well guess what? about 80% did not spark joy. Yes, I got rid of 80% of my clothes. I always complained I had nothing to wear. And apparently I didn’t like a lot of my clothes. And now I really do not have a lot to wear, but at least I like the clothes. I just have to figure out how to combine them and work it out. Maybe I will create a capsule wardrobe, but that is for another month.

So what got tossed? Especially my work clothes got tossed. I had a lot of nice suits and what not, but guess what, it wasn’t me. It was what I thought I needed to look like to be taken seriously.  I also have a lot of casual wear that just wasn’t me. Too much of my work life had taken over my private life. Wow, what an eye opener.

I also really liked some clothes that I currently do not fit. After my second baby 1 1/2 years ago, I still have some baby weight on my body. I took all the clothes that sparked joy which didn’t fit and decided to box it up. I will put it away for a year (hopefully sooner, but who knows). And if it doesn’t fit in a year, it is gone.

So I did this about a month ago and this what I learned so far:

  • When you have things in your closet you love and feel good in, you will always feel good getting dressed and getting dressed will take a lot less time.
  • When you get rid of clothes, you notice what you like and what you don’t.  I actually got rid of even more clothes after the initial purge. I would wear something and think, ago, this doesn’t work anymore. It is so much easier to get rid of stuff and get my closet up to date.
  • People really don’t look at what you wear, so it is okay to have a few outfits which you wear
  • When you realize you only want to have stuff that you really like, you don’t shop as much. I actually went shopping and bought nothing. I had such a hard time asking myself what sparks joy that I thought I should do this when I buy things. This resulted in coming home frustrated not buying anything, even though I needed some clothes. In the end I was happy I didn’t by something that was okay. From now on, I am only buying things I love.
  • When ou realize your fashion sense changes over the years. What you loved two years ago, may not be what you love right now, and that is okay. It is about letting go, about finding what fits you right now.
  • When you realize you closet is empty. I have 40 hangers with no clothes on them. So now I am figuring out what to do with the space.
  • When you figure out where your old clothes go to, it is easier letting go. I called a woman’s shelter who where happy to receive clothes, which made purging just a bit better.

Why do I want to tidy up my house?

norbert-levajsics-184254.jpgDuring the month of May I am focussing on ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo. I will be reading the book and living by the book.

I started reading this book, because let’s be honest, my house (as my life) is a mess. We moved into our lovely home over ten years ago and merged all our stuff. And since then we have been accumulating stuff, but not really letting go of anything. As well, I recently wrote down my bucketlist, on it I stated ‘make our house a home’  and to do that decluttering is definitely necessary.

My mother has been saying for years: “you have to many things, you should get rid of it.” and did I listen? NO. At the moment,  we have a small attic full of stuff and one room filled to the brim. And this room is supposed to be our home office. So I have decided to tackle the clutter and have a life changing moment through tidying up.

I just started reading and Marie Kondo actually promises that if you treat tidying up as a special event, follow her strict rules, than you only have to tidy once in your life because the effects will be permanent. Well, doesn’t that sound amazing.

 

Her first exercise is actually not to clean, tidy or declutter, but to envision why you are doing this? What is your end goal after you have decluttered and then ask yourself why five times.

My vision is to have a peaceful house that radiates a sense of calm, space and freedom with a splash of “us – our own way”. I would like to spend less time cleaning, more quality time with my family. As well, I want family and friends to feel welcome in our home and have people over often (which is not the case right now).

While writing this down, I am actually dreaming of this. Of having a home that feels calm, spacious, free and a splash of what makes our family our family. At the moment, I don’t have a lot of people over, however I always envisioned a house full of people, and especially that my kids can have their friends over all the time.  So well, that is my why, now let’s start with the next step, decluttering the first categorie – clothes.

April’s slow living

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Photo by Jake Givens (unsplash)

In April, I decided to live by the book. I selected a book and tried to live according to the book. The book of the month April was ‘Destination Simple’ – everyday rituals for a slower life‘  by Brooke McAlary.  I devoured the book in a day. It is a lovely read . Brooke has a way with words where the information is so understandable and relatable. As well, there are exercises in the book which put your money where your mouth is.

I am usually someone who reads a book and says ‘ yeah, I get that’ and not do the exercises. With this book, I loved doing the exercises because they were so easy to start. And by doing the exercises I learned so much more.

Next to what I posted on gratitude and braindumping, I also learned about single tasking, unplugging, three thing to do list, creating rhythms and tilting. For me, especially creating a rhythm has helped me start up my day and end my day in a slower pace.

So to summarize, April has led me to living with a slower mindset. By creating certain habits, I was able to create rhythms (not routines), so that I have more rest in my head. And I got more done due to having a daily three things to do list.

Since it is spring, and springcleaning is something I never do. I decided that in May I am going to live by the book: ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’.

Grateful for gratitude

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Foto: Alisa Anton (unsplash)

This month I have been reading destination simple from Brooke Mc Alary. A book with every day rituals for a slower life. The first week, I worked on braindumping, which was a way to get everything out of my head on paper.

The second week,  I worked on being grateful and writing this in a daily gratitude journal.  Gratitude journal is a word I heard before. Oprah started a whole movement by telling people to keep a gratitude journal in the 90’s. In short, if you appreciate whatever shows up in our life, it wil change your personal vibration.  So stop focusing on what is lacking, but focus on what you have.

So for a week, I wrote three things I was grateful for everyday. It was easy to be grateful in the evenings. I was able to replay the day and find things to be grateful for. In the morning however, it was a bit harder to be grateful. I did notice, I was in a better mood after writing in my gratitude journal and I did enjoy the daily little things in life. So I will keep this practice up.

 

 

You can’t always get what you want

dfcaxbf-p4g-morre-christopheFoto: Morre Christophe  (usplash)

As the rolling stones say: “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes well you might find , you get what you need.”

I had a romantic idea about my first day of my sabbatical life. For the first time in it seems ages, I would have to time for myself. I would just have time to do what I want, which I guess is rest.

Well, things didn’t turn out that way. After a sleepless night, both my kids turned out to be sick. So my day is all about wiping noses, cuddling – lot’s of cuddling, a bit of tv and just hugs and kisses for my babies. It is definitely not the way I saw my first day off, but it was exactly what I needed. It was a simple day full of love. It was the day I needed, because apparently I really needed to slow down, slow down to a stop.

Sabbatical life

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Oh my, I have had a bucketlist wish for years – take 6 months off of work and try to find my way again. After a tough pregnancy, a baby that cried non stop, another tough pregnancy, my husband having a hernia, well I was tired. Two young ones can do that to you. So after the new year, I decided to chose for myself. I decided to take a sabbatical for 6 months, starting in may of 2017 (actually it will start today  due to the fact that I have too many vacation days).

Sabbatical life, a half year to do what I want to do. Do not get me wrong, I am still a mom, a wife, just not an employee or co-worker anymore. This means I am able to focus on my family the coming months and have two days off a week to focus on myself. I have no clue yet what I am going to do, but I know that I am doing it. We shall see what the next six months happen.

 

A week of braindumping

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Foto: Aaron Burden – Unsplash

Written by: Zoe Carmichael

Recently, I  decided to experiment more in my life. I set weekly challenges to see if I can learn something new and find out what works (or doesn’t work) for me. My first challenge is braindumping.

What is braindumping? Braindumping is  a journalling exercise where you try to capture every thought in your head either handwritten or digitally.  I chose this challenge as my first challenge due to the fact that I have been tired and feeling overwhelmed lately. So why not write down everything that is on my brain for a week. Inspired by the book Destination Simple by Brooke McAlary, and her podcast Slow your Home, where she speaks of the ritual braindumping,  I took on a challenge where in the morning and in the evening, I take 5 minutes to empty my brain on paper.

In the Book Getting things Done – David Allen promotes that we write down everything that comes to our mind and trust on what we write down, instead of keeping it inside our head. He advises us to give ourself permission to capture and express any idea, and then later figure out how it fits in and what to do with it. By getting ideas out of our head, our brain  doesn’t have to works overtime. In short, our brain is not meant to hold all the stuff that we  are keeping in it. By holding all these thoughts in our brain, our brain can’t work correctly. It can’t process information and deal with the present.

I noticed that lately new to do’s were popping up in my head, at the weirdest time – in the car, at work, when I am in the shower. I would wake up in the  middle of the night, trying to find a solution to a problem. So would braindumping help?

The first few days of this challenge, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information I had written down. How was all this stuff in my brain? Emptying my mind, was at first a to do list, a long to do list. Every day, new to do’s were written down. How did I leave all this stuff in my head for so long?

In the morning, I would write things down and be sad at how much information was in my brain, how long the to do list became and how much I was forgetting. However, I also got clarity on what really needed to be done, and didn’t forget these important things.

In the evening, I would write down even more. How could this information be in my brain? How much can I store up there? I realized after a week, I slept better. I wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night because I had forgotten something.

In the end, this challenge made me happy and sad at the same time. I realized that I can’t rely fully on my brain. It needs help to function. There is a continuous brain overload, so much information thrown at it all day. I see my brain as a computer and if I don’t write down everything the disk is going to be full and then the computer doesn’t work anymore. In conclusion, I have decided to support my brain by writing down what it is saying daily. It actually has a lot to say. However, just writing things down doesn’t help if you don’t do anything with it. So I have to figure out the next step after braindumping – how to follow up on what you have written down.

The coming week, I will focus on a new challenge in Brooke McAlary’s book. She advises to combine the braindumping ritual with some other rituals. After hearing her podcast, Slow your Home, I decided to chose a week long of gratitude for this comings week challenge.

 

 

 

 

Living by the book – experiments

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I recently read an article where Elon Musk says he firmly believes reality is a simulation created by super intelligence. This blew my mind. What if we are just all playing a game? If we are just playing a game, then why don’t we experiment more.

In my search for sparkle, I am trying to figure out how to approach this search. As a self help book junkie, I decided to experiment a bit with my life and just try out some advice. Why not see the world as a game. So I am going to be living by the book, the self help book that is. Every week, I will take some advice and see if it works for me.

I am starting with the book ‘Destination Simple’ by Brooke Mc Alary. It is a lovely book about slowing down. In her book, she speaks about emptying your mind in the form of a braindump in the morning and in the evening. She also spoke about it on her slow your home podcast. This so appealed to me because my head is so full, so I am going to try this for the coming week.

How to survive one of those mommy days?

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We all have them, one of those mommy days where everything goes wrong, where your kids have decided to become little monsters, the to do list just gets longer and you have no idea how to survive the day.

I had one of these today. I don’t know if it is because daylight saving time went in last weekend, or if I was just in a bad mood and my kids picked up on that, but today was one of those days. Even though they are only 1,5 and 3 years old, they were fighting all day and being mischievous little monsters. So how do you survive these days?

  1. It all starts with acknowledging that these days exist. And it is okay to have them. Usually it is just a day, (however sometimes it is a little phase,) and yes it will pass. So if it is one of those days where you think: ‘why did I become a mother?’  then put it in perspective, it is just one of those days.
  2. Breathe, just breathe, and take another breathe. Try to let your breath flow your body.
  3. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Yes count to 10 before you react. Such an easy task, so hard to follow through. These ten seconds can help you take some time before you react.
  4. Figure out what sets you off. Why are you so stressed out and yelling? Is it your work deadline? A fight with your husband? A to do list a mile long? Haven’t had a descent nights sleep in ages? Whatever it is, know that it is in the back of your mind and it influences your day. And then realize, why do you get so angry when a situation occurs? My kids were just really naughty today, and just not listening to me at all. I felt as if I didn’t exist, and that linked with no sleep led me to be super cranky.
  5. Figure out what sets your kids off. Yes, there is always a moment where a situation escalates, where a little cry becomes a huge tantrum. My little man can escalate quick when he is tired and feels that a situation is unfair. So I definitely do not want to go to the supermarket with this guy when he is tired, hungry and wants an ice cream.
  6. Change up the energy. Have you ever noticed that when you sit in a meeting all day, you are bored and tired? Well, the same happens to your kids. If they have the same activities with the same energy all day, then they tend to get cranky. So try to change up the energy once in a while, reading a book, going outside, coloring, and then dancing to music, etc.
  7. Have a support system in place. Some days,  it can become too much. If that is the case, use your support system, a family member, a neighbor, another parent….. Sometimes, all you need is a half hour to recuperate. If your child can just play for half an hour at a friends, then you have some breathing room. Sometimes that is all you need….. and if that is not possible, the boob tube can sometimes also be a solution.

This helped me get through today. I am turning in early and today will be a new beautiful day where we will see what will happen.

 

 

Letting go of my soda addiction

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I confess, I am addicted to diet coke or in European terms cola light. I didn’t even know how bad it was, until the coke machine broke at work and I walked to another building to get diet coke .

I told a friend, and she laughed so hard. And said “you are not the only one” and proceeded telling her story about her inspiring India trip where she kind of went nuts when she couldn’t find any diet coke. So she finally found 2 cans at a gas station, and was trying to figure out what would be the best time to drink them  in order survive the trip.

I have been drinking diet coke since I was in high school and haven’t stopped since. I drink about one glas to a whole bottle a day, easy. My best friend calls it Zoe’s accessory, can’t leave the house without it.

Yesterday, I decided it has been enough. How can I just quit something that has been such a big part of my life? After some online research, I was shocked as to what this artificially sweetened fizzy drink could do to a person.

When looking at the ingedrients – sparkling water, caramel color (E150d) Phosphoric Acid (E338), Citric Acid (E330) Potassium Benzoate, Aspartame (E951), Natural Flavors and caffeine – I noticed that I was drinking a bottle full of chemicals.

My three year old asked me:  “mommy, can I have some?” and that was the moment when I decided enough is enough. I am ditching soda for a three months, weaning off of it long enough to let go of the addiction. It has been on my bucketlist for ages, and starting yesterday, I decided it was time to let go of the caramel fizzy drink that has made me happy and sane (as I like to call it) all these years. Wish me luck.