Moving around

When taking photos there were two rooms I avoided: Bunny’s and the rec room.

Bunny has the second largest room in the house. It contains her hutch, her ‘pantry’, and a small filing cabinet. The built in cupboard is tiny and has random office supplies and excess toiletries. Her room is often messy and looks quite sparse.

The rec room, on the other hand, is overflowing. Four years ago ML completely renovated it. As Bunny was living there she was relocated to her new room since she and ML have different tastes. She really goes for the distressed floor boards look which was a major point of contention between them.

At that time the plan was that the room would be ML’s area. I have taken over most of the house so this would be his place to relax and unwind. I recognize that this sounds exclusive but it really isn’t. I think it’s necessary for each person in a home  to have a place they can really express themselves. For me it’s our living room. Everything there is geared towards my desire for a restful room.

While its ML’s space it’s also shared space as all our books, games and movies, workout items as well as my crafts are there. Full disclosure: when I get into a project I’m a mess. Well that’s not a relaxing place for anyone. When I went to take photos I realized that the reason the room looked shabby was because my things were everywhere.

The other piece I realized was that the rec room has too many jobs and some if them are conflicting. Most of our rooms have a maximum  of three jobs. The rec room had 6:

  • Work out
  • Craft
  • Watch movies and relax
  • Entertain
  • Budget and do basic home office functions
  • Have serious family conversations

Knowing that these two rooms weren’t being treasured we decided to make a change. It took three days of moving and KonMarie exercises but we feel much better!

Bunny’s room now has all her things and is functioning as my craft room. We moved one of the bookcases there and everything fits in it with space! I also put a folding table and an office chair.

The table meant that some of the office supplies in the cupboard got to be moved and are now in use. We opted for the folding table as we don’t enjoy cluttering our basement with outdoor furniture in the winter. Come winter one of the outdoor dining tables will live in Bunny’s room. Not only does the room look more inviting but we’re hoping it leads to all three of us being tidier.

With one bookshelf out of the basement as well as a bunch of craft bins off the floor it already looked better. However, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to revisit KonMarie. We got rid of loads of DVDs ($50!!) and have a large stash of books to find new homes for as well.

These changes meant I got to rearrange the bookcases so we now have 3 cases of books and 1 of games. The entertainment unit is also much lighter.

I knew it looked good because I felt so much better walking into the room but it was nice when we had people over to hear them remark on the difference.

It was amazing that with $0 we managed to transform 2 rooms and make more welcoming spaces.

 

That Gift Closet

When I Konmari’d my home I created a gift closet for items that could conceivably be regifted. I also included items purchased on sale as emergency gifts( last minute invitations that require a gift).

Last week I was picking up some things for work when I noticed a sale. I checked the expiry dates on the items and realized that they would be good until 2017.Jackpot!

I came home with these riches.

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New additions to the gift closet

My only concern was that this may be wasted money if I forget about them or don’t have people to give them to as the gift closet has gotten a bit full. So I did an audit with ML and figured who is getting what items.

This is my list starting with my most recent acquisitions and who will be getting them:

  • The 5 cake mixes are going to be used as birthday gifts for 2 friends with the other 3 being emergency gifts
  • The soups  & dip mixes are going to be part of Christmas for each of our parents.
  • ML’s dad is going to get dip mix for Father’s day
  • 2 sets of Bedroom slippers: one for each sister in law as part of a comfy, cozy Christmas gift pack
  • Toy animal carrier: Christmas gift for a friend’s child who will be ~8 months at Christmas
  • Insanely cuddly teddy bear: new baby gift in September
  • Ball cap : happy to see you gift for a cousin as he collects them
  • Gluten free cookbook: Christmas or birthday gift for cousin
  • Athletic set: birthday gift for a friend’s child
  • Kid dishes: gift for friend having a second child. They’re easy to clean, portioned platters for kids as well as a bowl set. Plan is to add kid friendly consumables.
  • Novelty cookware: either going to a specific friend for Christmas or used as a Secret Santa present

The following are items that can be given as gifts but I don’t have a particular person in mind:

  • Jeweled photo frame
  • Liquor filled chocolates (must be given prior to September)
  • Martini bath set
  • Christmas cookie cutters
  • Christmas jewelry set

It turns out that my feeling that not everything in the closet will be used was accurate. There were a few items that I ended up putting in my own stash.

  • Makeup gift set since the box had gotten a bit banged up ( it had been purchased with someone in mind but we never connected).
  • An assortment of lotions that would most likely be able to be part of various gift packages. The problem is having the memory to recall they’re available or the energy to create said gift package.
  • Various body washes. Same reason as lotions.

As we can use all these items and they’ll simply reduce our household bills while giving us a treat ( I’m going to smell like grapefruit for at least 2 months) I think it’s a win.

I did have a moment of feeling cheap as I was doing this exercise. I thought about it and realized it was because the majority were purchased on sale, while a few are being regifted. I also felt that someone may feel cheated if they knew I purchased their Christmas gift in June because it was a great deal. This line of thought caused a bit of laughter. I realized that my purchasing a gift for someone now means that they’re never far from my thoughts, that their likes and preferences are so obvious to me that I want to get them meaningful items.

After are how much was spent last Christmas I’m feeling good about my gift closet and the types of presents I’ll be giving my loved ones this year for special occasions.

 

Beverage Dispenser Update

Last Sunday I purchased 100 ball pits for $15 and then turned to you to ask for your suggestions to deal with the leftovers.

A few of you  (Jess and Elizabethsg412) recommended that I use things from around my home. Once the dispenser was a bit less full I took the balls out and put in seashells I had in an envelope. The poor shells have been languishing for years but when I did my KonMari clean I couldn’t bear to part with them.

They’re finally getting their day in the sun!

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Though I liked the balls, I really do prefer the calming and beachy feel these bring to the kitchen.

With my refund I was able to purchase some groceries for the vacation, cleaning supplies and personal care items. It’s amazing how much and how little $15 can get you!

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments! I really do listen to you 🙂

KonMari Revisited

In April, Grace over at the CFO MOM Blog began blogging about her experience implementing ideas from Marie Kondo’s book Spark Joy.  You may remember that I gave my home an overhaul after reading one of Kondo’s books. Reading Grace’s journey had me reflecting on if my experience had been either life changing or magical. It’s been 8 months since I’ve completed my fanatical mission of banishing items that didn’t spark joy.

So far the benefits have been:

  • I really altered my way of thinking so I’m less likely to bring things that don’t feel joyful into my space
  • I continued finding ways to improve
    • Arranging my kitchen cupboards so almost all the food can now be in the kitchen rather than in basement storage
    • Reorganizing our sock bin using cardboard dividers to make it  much tidier
  • I’m more willing to let things go that no longer are suited to our life.
    • I don’t fix broken items. I want to but I don’t. I now acknowledge this and send them to homes where they can be fixed or throw them away
    • I no longer keep books because I have them. I pass them along.
  • My clothes! I haven’t purchased new clothing in ages
    • I have 2 bins: worn since October and not worn since October. When I get bored with my current selection I put them in the worn bin and pull out things from the not worn bin.
  • Our home feels ginormous!

We’re not perfect but our home was at a sweet spot last September and we got used to it. Slowly things started to creep in. Even ML has mentioned that it’s feeling cluttered even though it doesn’t look it. So it’s back to the drawing board, sort of.

Last week I began using the KonMari method again in key areas. It was easier this time because I  had stored like items together when I packed things away last year. I also have a better idea of what needs to ‘tidied.’

I’ve adjusted the method to suit my needs. Instead of KonMari-ing the entire house again I’m just doing the categories that I feel have gotten a bit crazy. I began with cookbooks and  was able to get rid of items that don’t do it for us anymore. Some of them were items I kept when was on the fence about them last year. Then I tackled clothing. Once more I was able to get rid of a host of pieces I kept last time because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them.

Revisiting KonMari has allowed me to cherish the items in my home and ensure that we’re surrounding ourselves with things that make us happy. It’s also been great way to check in with myself as I get to see what items still spark joy in me.

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A lot of the sorting happens in Bunny’s room so we can spend time together. She enjoys giving her opinion but clearly finds tidying exhausting!

If we Were Having Coffee – Friday High

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If we were having coffee, it would be outside. ML just cut the grass, and by grass I mean the dandelions that return every year, so it looks quite lovely.

With a little luck my chippies will pop in for a visit as we’re sitting there. I’m so excited that they returned this year. I’ve fed them for the past two years and they always start off skittish but by July they’re feeling secure and will come right up to their ‘coffee’ cups when we’re outside and enjoy a meal.

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We’re hosting our families, separately, for Mother’s Day. It’s funny I think both mums would like to visit with each other but I feel more comfortable doing it this way. We’ll be hosting a joint family later in the summer so that they can see each other but then our siblings can choose how they participate.

For my mum I’m in charge of the salads (potato and green) and one dessert. We haven’t decided what we’re making for ML’s.

I love both our families and they’re easy going. No one is going to wander through my house tsk-ing at the shelves or wondering when we last dusted. Yet, I find when I have people over I begin to look at my home through those judgmental eyes. On the plus side, it spurs me to tidy properly and get rid of things that are just taking up space. I’ve been slowly doing that this week and not only do I feel productive but I feel lighter.

I’ve got a bit more to do tonight. Tomorrow will be spent doing groceries and prepping the meals so that I feel relaxed  on Sunday. We’re going to be hosting from 11:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Sunday with a maybe 2 hour break so I want to set us up for success emotionally.

I’m looking forward to the weekend and spending quality time with ML & our families.

How was your week? How will you be spending your weekend?

 

 

I Like New Me!

When we purchased our home I had a very clear idea of what I wanted.  Since I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to get it I kept looking in my price range and being selective. Lucky for me we purchased my (almost) perfect home.

I’m thinking of this now as friends of ours are purchasing a new home and a few acquaintances are moving up to ‘better’ homes. I remember when we were house shopping feeling poorly because all the good homes were out of our price range and I suspect the person I was then would have been rather jealous of the homes some folks are moving into.

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There’s been a few surprising upsides of budgeting and blogging and this has been one of them. I was preparing myself for the envy I was going to feel when these folks shared where they would be living, as I know they easily make doubly our household income. Instead I felt joy.

Joy! That was it, I was thrilled that they found a home in a neighbourhood that they love. I’m excited to see how they decorate and I’m looking forward to making desserts for their housewarming party.

It sounds petty that I was prepared for envy but I understood that the envy would probably come from a place like this:

  • Oh the things we could make in that kitchen!
  • It would be lovely to have a bedroom that could fit everything and all my clothes could live in the same spot
  • Formal dining room! Yes please, Honey we’re starting Sunday dinners now.
  • Then finally: wouldn’t it be nice if we could live like this, if only we had more money.

The feeling of excitement caught me off guard so I started to poke at it. Goodness know I can’t just be happy. Here’s what I found:

  • My focus on my budget and all the things I can do while living with my means has made me grateful for my life
  • The KonMarie exercise has left my home feeling spacious so I’ve stopped lusting for larger cabinets
  • I’ve slowly been adjusting my dream home requirements to suit my current home. For example I’ve always wanted a bar. One that I could stand behind and display funky glassware on. As this wasn’t feasible in my space I created a really simple one that allows us to display our liquors and some of our glassware.It’s not the dream one but it’s been so functional that it no longer feels like a poor alternative and I’m happy with it.
  • Though there are things I’d love to  have if we move to another home I’d also be perfectly happy if this were our forever home

Have you found any surprising upsides from budgeting?

Photo courtesy of Simon Howden via freedigitalphotos.net

Challenge Accepted! But…

I love those time challenges that make their way around the world. Spending challenges, saving challenges, push up challenges. You name it I want to try it. So when I came across a list of pre-existing challenges that I could explore I was in seventh heaven. I may have lost a few hours delving into the nuances of each of them.

Here’s the downside of challenges: I try them as stated and feel awful if I don’t do them exactly.

The fix is simple: I need to adjust the challenge to better suit my lifestyle while achieving the purpose of the challenge. I did this when I used the KonMari method and I got the benefits of the system without feeling awful about myself.

One of the things I had loved when I originally did the KonMari method on my clothing was the fact that I adored every piece in I owned. When I brought out my winter wear I did a mini version of the exercise but thought I’d do it after I had a chance to wear the pieces and see what suited me.

After reading all the challenges I opted to attempt Project333. I emptied my closets and drawers and started counting pieces. I was miserable. I was stressing because I couldn’t get my clothing down to 33 pieces forget having the total number of clothing, accessories, jewelry and outerwear.

“This was so much easier when I was basing it on joy!” I told the very patient ML who was forced to bear witness to this insanity. After griping a bit more about the stress of this I decided to base it on joy. I emptied all the clothing on the floor and started picking things up that I would wear in the next three months that filled me with joy.

No stress! Even better I filled 2 bags with clothing to be donated. I filled a tub with clothing that I couldn’t reasonably see myself wearing in the next three months. These items still made me happy but I couldn’t see myself have an opportunity to wear them in the next 3 months.

With this technique I came down to 35 pieces of clothing for the next three months. I continued the paring down exercise with my shoes and outwear bringing my total to 46 items. The nice thing about the project 33 challenge is that every person who has blogged about it has mentioned that it’s about paring down, you can figure out what number actually works for you.

Here’s how it currently breaks down:

  • 35 pieces of clothing
    • 7 sweaters
    • 9 tops
    • 4 dress pants
    • 4 pairs of jeans
    • 7 camisoles
    • 5  dresses
      • 9 of these pieces can’t be worn at work as they’re too casual
  • 7 pairs of shoes
    • black pumps, silver flats, gold flats, brown heels, 2 winter boots, red heels (for charity event)
  • 3 jackets
    • long winter coat, short winter jacket, Polar Vortex winter coat
  • 1 pair of mitts and a hat
  • I haven’t counted my shawls (which I use almost daily) or my jewelry. Though I’m trying to be more mindful of using a select few.

I’m feeling really good about this and I’m now tracking to see the variety of work outfits I can arrange.

Is this Considered Home Improvement?

I was looking over my list of what matters to me to see how all of it was stacking up this month. I was a bit surprised to realize that the point I’ve been working most diligently on is:

I want to improve my home. Not for re-sale but for me.

When I wrote that I had images of a new kitchen, new floors and a deck addition. In short, things that cost oodles of money. In the meantime I’ve been clearing out my home like crazy.

I’ve said goodbye to:

  • 7 bags of clothing & accessories
  • 5 boxes of books
  • 3 bags of kitchen accessories
  • 2 bags of board games
  • 1 box of CDs
  • 1 bag of shoes
  • 1 bin of towels
  • 1 bag of office supplies
  • 1 bag of toiletries & makeup
  • reams of paper (still need to drop to a shredder)

The above list makes me sound like a hoarder which I’m not, I swear! What I am is someone who can’t bear to get rid of things that are still useful. Maybe not useful to me but still have life left in them. Notice I said goodbye – well this is because some of those items have been sold, others donated or swapped and yet others are being set aside to be sold at a garage sale. Very few things have actually been thrown away as I can’t abide being wasteful.

Getting those items off my shelves and floors as well as out of the cupboards and drawers has meant that my home feels different. Suddenly rooms that have always felt a bit too small seem spacious.

Once You learn to choos your belongings properly, you will be left only with the amount that fits perfeclty in teh space you currently own. This is the true magic of tidying. - Marie Kondo

When I envision my perfect home it is filled with space, it’s homey and lived in, with lots of airflow. By the end of this month I think I’ll be living in my perfect home.

KonMari Disclaimer: I’m absolutely certain if Marie Kondo saw what I’ve done she wouldn’t be impressed. When I speak about my journey I’ve had multiple people tell me, “You’re breaking the rules!”

I am using the KonMari method as a guideline. I’ve arranged it to suit my needs and my lifestyle. The rules I’m following are really just 4 questions. I also do the following:

  • Dump all items on the floor and then pick them up individually
    • Seeing the amount of things I have spread across a large space helps me not feel like I will be deprived by sending items to a new home.
  • Sort by category

Remember your life is your own. People can guide you but you make the rules.

Cleaning Your Space and Your Life

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As I’m cleaning out my physical space I’m finding the KonMari questions helpful but sometimes painful.

The life I thought I would have is not to be.  There are days that I mourn that fact and find it hard to embrace my new future. I am surrounded by little reminders of that lost potential future, they sneak up and cause me to start to doubt my choices. In this cleaning spree I touched more than a few items that caused me a sharp pang of sadness. Why in the world am I keeping these things? As a bizarre form of punishment?

It’s hard changing your life. When I made a decision a few years ago that took me off my planned path I was terrified. I had lost my map, forget that the map I was following wasn’t working it at least gave me the illusion of control. Even with great support it was, and continues to be, tough.

Putting those items in the bin, donation box or gift closet was so very hard and I still have more to do. I’m leaving one area until the very last because I know how painful it will be. On the plus side I know that by putting these items out of my home I will be saying goodbye to the person I was going to be and welcoming my future whatever it may bring.

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net