#Konmari – the reason I think the craziness works

One of the key concepts of the Konmari method is that you gather things of the same category throughout your home, bring them together and then start the “does this spark joy?” questioning.

I’m going to talk more about this method vs the room-by-room organising I still advocate in another post, but for now I want to tell you what happened to me with two categories of household items in my home.

Konmari |www.OrganisingQueen.com

As I mentioned before, I need motivation to continue so I started with easy organising – my kitchen. I regularly declutter in the kitchen so it’s not an area that will slow me down.

(we won’t mention the stationery just yet)

Konmari |www.OrganisingQueen.com

Vases

I gathered vases from my cupboards and from all over the house.

Here’s the thing – it took me seeing all those vases in one place to have my AHA moment.

That is the magic in the #Konmari method, I think. You gather everything, bring it all together in one place, have a big fright, realise you’re crazy to have collected so much ________ (fill in the missing category you’re currently working with) and then only is it easier to really see which of those things spark joy.

I mean, who needs 17 vases if you don’t even buy flowers that often?!

I’m now down to 11 – and 1 holds washi tape in the study :)

Konmari |www.OrganisingQueen.com

Water bottles

Again, there were kids’ water bottles, my water bottles, spare (new, unused water bottles), summer water bottles, gym water bottles.

I knew I probably had too many but didn’t realise the sheer madness til I brought them all together and put them in one place.

I’m still a little bit skeptical but when I actually do the method as intended, I really do get great results :)

And a lot more cupboard space!

Are you doing the Konmari method yet?

Which area of your home are you tidying this weekend?

You get to choose – unpopular but true

The first rule of time management (and life!) is realising that you always have a choice.

Always.

Often people tell me they don’t have a choice because of x, y and z.

And actually, with all due respect, that’s not true.

You always have a choice.

I’ll give you this – sometimes those choices are Super Hard (like choosing an awful job with money over the uncertainty of a job hunt) but they’re always there. It also takes courage to admit that those choices exist.

Let me explain.

1. I’ve been saying I can’t go to Weigh-Less and gym on a Saturday morning.

Then I realised I’m lying to myself. Technically I could do it. It’s just super hard and really tight time-wise to make it to Weigh-Less with the kids’ breakfast and gym.

But I could do it if I really wanted to wake up 30 minutes earlier.

Instead, the kids eat on the go (Provita, muffin or a fruit) and we do it.

You get to choose | OrganisingQueen.com

2. A lady told me she didn’t have time to do anything for herself.

When we explored a little more, she did, in fact, have time, but she was too tired at night after all her (self-imposed) chores were done.

It’s not true that she doesn’t have a choice. She does. She could, technically, do something for herself first if she wanted to and then finish the household chores. I argued that the self-care was a big rock for a once-a-week activity and the chores were the pebbles that would always find a place. She could even leave some for her husband.

It takes courage to admit, “I’m choosing to do household chores instead of spend time on my own hobbies or activities that nourish my soul”.

You get to choose | OrganisingQueen.com

3. Still someone else was talking to me about a work situation.

She said she didn’t have a choice in leaving her employment because she couldn’t find another job.

I told her to accept responsibility for where she was at. To stop complaining and realise if anything’s to change, you’ve got to make it happen.

If she didn’t want to go out and find something else, then to consciously say to herself, “I’m choosing to stay at my current company because of X, Y and Z”. Otherwise, she’s got to realise she has a choice.

Well, this same lady sent me an email last week. Apparently I kicked her butt and she decided to go out and look for another job. She didn’t have the job yet but the fact that she felt empowered and was taking action made her so happy. I’m sure that new attitude translated very well to interviews.

You get to choose | OrganisingQueen.com

Your coaching challenge is to…

1. Identify 1 – 3 situations where you’ve been saying “I can’t” or “I don’t have a choice”.

2. Change your words and say, “I’m choosing to do __________ because of ________________” At the very least it will help you to accept your circumstances or it will empower you to change your words and start making different choices.

3. If time is a challenge for you, I have a great resource for you here and here.

{Time management} Scheduling regular payments

I want to share something that made me feel oh-so-accomplished last week.

It was during my power hour (which, incidentally, is not very regular, and happens randomly every two weeks or so).

Schedule monthly payments | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I made a list of all my “life admin” tasks and realised that we have to make a payment to the school to secure our kids’ places for next year.

Now, even though the money is ready in the bank account, I really don’t like to pay things any earlier than I need to. It’s a little money quirk I have where I prefer the money in my own account drawing its little bit of interest :)

And then I realised… I can schedule a payment to go off 3 – 4 days before it’s due.

Which is exactly what I did.

I can now relax because the mental weight is off my shoulder and the school will get paid on time.

Schedule monthly payments | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I use this scheduling payments feature to pay the regular school fees every month, and the nanny’s monthly salary. It’s so easy and I love not needing to think about it at all because gone are the days when my memory was razor-sharp and I knew at any given point in the month which payments needed to be made…

I set the scheduled payment up once and leave the bank’s system to do its magic every month :)) When Nanny S gets a salary increase, I go in and make the change, and again, the automatic magic happens like clockwork.

Automation is a beautiful thing.

I do bank with the turquoise bank (for the fellow South Africans) but I’m sure all the banks have this feature.

These two payments happen aside from my monthly tithe and the transfer into my savings account, which I like to do when my salary hits my account, as a conscious, intentional action.

Interestingly enough, my mother-in-law and I chatted about this recently and she said she prefers to have no regular payments going off her account automatically. The only ones she does have are her insurance payments.

Do you like using a scheduled payments feature or do you prefer to consciously make every payment?

My life in Instagrams – May

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Beautiful winter sunsets, my favourite colour in winter, and maths for fun

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Deciding on a grey, rock painting and pretty notebooks

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Winter = reading, sunsets, snuggling and lots of tea

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I can’t get enough of beautiful winter light! Gifts from the kids and lots of tea!

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handmade jewellery from a friend, my first Burger King burger (in South Africa), beautiful morning light and a 5-year-old that suddenly looks like a teenager :o

#Konmari before and afters – my bathroom

If you missed Monday’s post, you can catch up here.

Marie Kondo suggests that you start with clothes first (as these are the easiest items; you start with the out-of-season clothes) and do all the sentimental items last.

There’s sense to this because you don’t want to slow down and you want to keep up the momentum.

Once I got the thinking around her method, I decided to start with my bathroom first as it is (quite literally) the smallest bathroom in the world, and always gives me the momentum to start organising, cleaning, whatever.

I asked myself, “does this spark joy?” and most of it didn’t, to be honest, so I tossed it. It being eye shadow, powder foundation, a few old sticky lip glosses, tons of samples (why?!), hair things I hate but keep and toner (I seemed to have a lot of toner).

This is the make-up I kept. I keep it in a little bag so if I’m late and travelling with D, I can do my make-up in the car. I have another lipliner and some more lipsticks permanently stored in my handbag.

The life-changing magic of tidying up | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I wrote in a blog post or three ago that her folding method (while making huge waves on the internet) was the thing I was least excited by. Seems like I should have been more excited.

If nothing else, this is life-changing.

I got rid of nothing but simply re-folded all the hand towels and two drawers fit into one.

ONE!

The life-changing magic of tidying up | www.OrganisingQueen.com

And then the cabinet. These things spark joy (as you can see, 5 hair products!) and I kept the 3 sample products I actually could use and put them in a pretty candle holder or some glass thing I found in the kitchen.

The life-changing magic of tidying up | www.OrganisingQueen.com

A few other odds and ends and that was the bathroom.

It sparks TREMENDOUS joy to see my bathroom so empty of stuff and I love it.

The life-changing magic of tidying up | www.OrganisingQueen.com

Also, I do have a thing for Labello!

Long-time readers may remember D and I have a deal – I’m not allowed to blog about or show pics of his stuff. The shelf above this one is his – I Konmari’d it too but no photos!

And there we have it.

Are you inspired yet?

Have you read the book?

Tag me on Instagram to check out your photos. I’m OrganisingQueen #LetsDoThis

Facing (organising) reality

I got into crafting about 3 – 4 years ago.

I use the word “crafting” very loosely, by the way, but I do love playing around and getting creative.

I also love lists and so I’ve made two lists – “things to make” and “things to make this year with supplies I already have”.

See, there’s a distinction.

One is more pie in the sky and very much on the nice-to-do list whereas the other list is grounded in reality. I already have the supplies at home so all I have to do is take them out and create.

When I was making the second list, I thought about how it’s the same with organising.

We have these tv/ blog/ Instagram/ Pinterest-like visions of what our organised homes should look like. We want our homes to have state-of-the-art organising systems, the most beautiful containers and look like they’re ready for a photographer from a magazine to walk in and take some pictures.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming, and dreaming big, but when we become paralysed and not motivated by the dream, there’s something wrong.

The thing is that those visions of perfection often leave us demotivated and uninspired to even start as you think, “what’s the point? I could never have it look like that”.

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When I started the Organising Queen Instagram account, I purposefully chose to follow accounts that are more realistic rather than aspirational.

The point of these inspiring blogs are to give us ideas, and not to make us feel bad about what we don’t have or to sow discontent in our lives.

Are you looking at your home realistically?

See what you can and are able to do and take it from there.

Use what you have in the time you have available and just do the best you can do.

Read that paragraph again…

I’m working through my home using the Konmari method which could be really frustrating because it seems like I’m moving super slow.

But.

I do have a full-time job and a family, and so I really only have the weekend hours on a Saturday afternoon (if no other plans) to work on my project.

I might have felt demotivated looking at what is still left (a LOT) but I’m encouraged by my progress because my current reality is just 3 – 4 hours a week.

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Here are some action steps for your organising reality list:

1. Take a piece of paper and a pen (I like a clipboard) and write down the rooms in your home that need some work. Leave space under each room heading.
2. Now walk around your house and make a list under each heading of what you want to do. For example, in the study/ home office, (1) tidy desk (2) do filing (3) put photos in photo albums/ frames, etc.
3. Choose a room to start and pick your first project.
4. Here’s the important part – use things you already have to help you get organised. The most important thing is simply a wastepaper basket.
5. Don’t let the idea of pretty stop you from having things function well. Remember a shoebox works just as well to store things as a fancy box from an expensive store. I was also encouraged to read that Marie Kondo also suggests the humble shoebox for most organising needs.

What do you need to remind yourself of for your current reality?

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – it’s all over the internets

If you’re even somewhat of a blog reader, you’ll have read about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up somewhere on the internet over the last 6 months or so.

I like to think I have a tiny bit of a clue about decluttering, simplifying and organising so I didn’t get all excited the first time or two I read about it.

The life-changing magic of tidying up | www.OrganisingQueen.com

But then I saw all the controversy starting and like a bad accident, I couldn’t look away. I confess that I read all 100 comments on one particular blog post to find out what the big deal is.

The thing is that with books you like some things, you don’t like other things, and that’s the normal course of events.

What was it about this book that was either making people into raving fans or very harsh critics? People either LOVED this book or HATED it.

Modern Mrs Darcy (one of my very favourite blogs on the internet) wrote one post, and then another, and I think it was on the second one that a commenter asked what it is specifically about this book that is making it such a hit.

She said (and I paraphrase because I’m far too lazy to go look it up), it’s the fact that the author deals with both mindset and very specific how-to advice that is The Thing.

I thought, “AHHHH” and that’s what swayed me, honestly.

So when my next Audible credit became due, I bought this book and started listening.

Quick tip – if you like the idea of learning from non-fiction but you keep falling asleep after a page or two, get yourself an Audible membership and listen in the car, while you cook supper and when you tidy your house :) It will change your life. For real!The life-changing magic of tidying up | www.OrganisingQueen.com

I have so many bookmarks that I still have to go through step-by-step but the main thing about this book is this:

It’s not really about tidying up; it’s about tidying being the means to the end, and the end is your amazing and beautiful life!

I listened to the book very quickly because I couldn’t wait to get started.

I also wanted to see if this book would be life-changing for me, a self-proclaimed organising queen :)

  1. The short answer is yes. I’ve been tidying (according to her definition) for two weekends and I’m THRILLED with the results in my already (fairly) decluttered home.
  2. I have listened to every single word, rewound many sections to re-listen if I was momentarily distracted by the traffic and I feel very confident to speak to the content.
  3. Just off the top of my head I wrote down 7 things that I saw as controversial on the blogs (which I will address in future blog posts) which, before listening, I thought were huge dramas, and in fact are like a sentence or two of the book. What the heck?!

The life-changing magic of tidying up | www.OrganisingQueen.com

As with anything I read/ listen to, I take what works for me and implement, and leave what doesn’t. You should definitely do the same (I say this in my courses too – we are all different personalities and obviously, we all do things in different ways) and I’ll be talking more about the what doesn’t work for me next week.

But definitely, you should read/ listen to the book for yourself (you can get a free book if you go to www.Audible.com/Happier (you all know I’m a big fan of Gretchen Rubin’s podcast and I heard this advertised last week), make your own notes so we can have a lovely, robust discussion and then we can have that life-changing magic going on 😉

I’ll show you some before and after pictures on Friday of the areas I started tidying, and why I started in that order. Meanwhile, please follow Organising Queen on Instagram because I’m posting a lot more photos on there.

So, who’s read the book?

What did you think?

PS I gave it 4 stars!

PPS Jess Lively made a printable for the book which you can find on this post.

#Konmari – and how I follow my favourite blogs

So I’ve finished the book that has been on everyone’s lips for months now. I’m really pleased about that because I really believe in actually reading something before you spout off whatever your opinion is.

That said, I’m going to do exactly that for a series of blog posts starting on Monday, so get ready :)

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But first, a question I had from Jacqueline on the Organising Queen Facebook page:

How do you follow the blogs you read? Do you do that from Facebook?

The answer is a big NO! I very rarely go into Facebook. A colleague was really shocked when I said that but I told him I set it up so that I look busier on there than I actually am.

I do post on Instagram daily and for some posts (generally not more than one per day for each of my Instagram feeds), I select the option in Instagram to automatically post it to Facebook. There are two reasons for this:

(1) I don’t want to become that annoying Facebook user who tells you everything about his/ her life.

(2) Since I mainly post photos, Instagram people are used to that, and want that. So I figure an Instagram user’s tolerance for photos is higher than a Facebook user, provided (this is key) it’s not 3 – 5 pics in a row of the exact same pose.

( I reply to Facebook messages from my email)

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So how do I read my blogs now that Google Reader is no more?

I use Feedly.

I actually have two Feedly accounts – one for personal use, and one I read from work while eating my lunch (business-y, productivity blogs). That’s been feeling a little too much (after I returned from 8 days away and found 140 unread items) so I’m slowly removing blogs from the work one, and then I finished reading the book, and now I’m removing blogs from both Feedly accounts.

It’s quite simple: I ask myself the question, “does subscribing to this blog spark joy?” and if it’s yes, it stays. If it’s no, I remove the subscription.

If it’s a maybe, I may leave it for now but I’m noticing my feelings carefully. If I open my Feedly in a week’s time and I’m still not experiencing joy, out it goes.

There are some blogs where I like some of the posts, not all. Those I keep but I sort by blog title and simply mark as read the posts I don’t enjoy. E.g. I used to follow a TON of wedding photography blogs because a lot of them are very educational about business. Now I hide the actual weddings they cover and just read the business-y posts.

Simple but extremely effective.

(some might say brutal)

You have my full encouragement to do the same with this blog if it doesn’t spark joy for you.

Guys, life is too short. Let’s live with intention.

 

I’m craving white space. How about you?

Friends, I’m craving some more white space in my life.

Maybe that’s why I chose now to finally read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?

It’s a little bit dangerous around here when I get in one of these moods because anything that irritates me gets tossed, but the house feels lighter and so do I afterwards.

White space | www.OrganisingQueen.com

It’s so essential to have some white space in our lives. I define white space as room to breathe. Breathing room is something that seems to be lacking in many of our lives and is the reason why many of us feel rushed, stressed and overwhelmed.

If you’re feeling frazzled and like there’s never enough time, it could be a signal that you don’t have enough white space in the following three areas of your life:

1. Travel/ commuting time

Leave some extra time whenever you need to travel to any destination so that you’re not constantly rushing. Also, it helps to have some breathing room if you suddenly find you need to fill your car with petrol (gas) or if there’s a traffic jam or loadshedding. I’m loving my commute these days because of podcasts and audio books.

Stress is not fun so rather take some reading with you to use up any time if you don’t like to waste time. There is value though in just being and not having to do all the time.

White space | www.OrganisingQueen.com

2. Daily scheduling

Don’t schedule your appointments back to back all of the time. Yes, it’s a good idea to do batches of tasks but not when there’s no buffer space.

If you do some batching, give yourself a solid break after doing a couple of phone calls/ emails/ etc. E.g. If you’re on the phone from 9 – 12, leave some white space and start another type of activity after an hour or so. If you run over with the phone calls, you won’t feel stressed and anxious going into the next activity or group of tasks, feeling like you’re already behind.

White space | www.OrganisingQueen.com

3. Weekends

I know weekends are the time to catch up on things we might need to do from the week but please, leave some breathing time too.

Don’t schedule something for morning, afternoon and evening. Even two activities a day can feel like too much. We have a personal family boundary of only one social per weekend day, and preferably only one per weekend, although it somehow doesn’t feel like an extra social if we go somewhere directly after church.

I’m also guilty of having a to-do list a mile long for the weekend which…. never gets all done. I do schedule lots of down time to get reading, sorting out my house and weekly meal planning done though.

Can you think of an area or two where you can build in some more white space?

A great resource to help you build more white space in your life is my Organise your Time e-course. It’s a step-by-step resource and it will take you just 20 mins a week for 12 weeks. Easy-breezy but very effective :)

The Birthday List

I’ve done a birthday list for the last 5 years. I called them my 36, 37, 38, 39 things list….. and then last year I called it Lovely things to do this year.

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My list happened to have 24 things on it. I’ve just done a stock-take and I ended up with 15.2 things done. If you’re wondering how one does 0.2 of something, it’s because I was accurate with the number of new recipes I tried, and with the number of books I read, and those worked out as % as I didn’t fully get to the number I’d intended.

Interestingly, I did much better with the items that were habits or habit-forming activities and totally bad with most things that were once-off items. This speaks to Gretchen Rubin’s theory that, for her, habits are much easier than goals. Hmmm.

There were some once-off activities that got done though, like painting the house! Well, it was one item that involved a ton of co-ordinating and running to the paint shop multiple times (I ended up with 4 tester pots and I’m still not 100% sold on the final colour, but it’s not bad enough that I want to go through the schlep and cost all again – I can live with it for 7 years!).

To be honest, I do much better with big lists :) so I’m wondering how to approach things this year.

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I haven’t settled on it in my mind yet but my list is sure to include

  • some fun – photos, reading, food….
  • some family and friends activities
  • some health and fitness goals – sleep and steps!
  • some giving goals – every year my list has some random acts of kindness and that is one of the easiest things to do
  • some house goals (the list is still considerable!), and
  • lots of holiday goals (my absolute favourite!)

At the end of the day, while I make plans, I want God to order my steps and “write” out my days well :)

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Aside from this list, I also want to do a little bit of navel-gazing to see if I’m where I thought I’d be this year, why and why not.

Do you make a list for your birthday?

Do you spend any time around your birthday reviewing the last year?

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