Monthly Archives:

April 2017

How To Get A Minimalist Book Collection

 

 

I love the smell of a book, the feel of a book, buying books and reading books, that’s why I know first hand how hard it is to declutter your books. In this post, I will walk you step by step through the stages of simplifying your bookshelf to get your ultimate minimalist book collection.

How many books are too many books?

I am a book lover and my answer would be, you can never have too many books.

As a   minimalist, my answer would be over ten is too many.  I’m conflicted every day on this subject.

I appreciate how hard it is to even think about decluttering your books.

Book hoarding

I was a book hoarder, I had books everywhere
  • Stuffed under the bed
  • Shoved into the wardrobe
  • In the car
  • Anywhere I had space

Every time I passed a bookshop the chances were, I would buy a book.

I was offended when people advised me to buy a kindle, and I was unable to understand why anyone would not prefer the physical version of a book.

I was a book snob. I judged people by their bookshelves and tried to guess their personality by the book they were reading on the train or the beach.

Then things changed when  I had kids and my days of curling up for hours with a book came to an abrupt end.

I would manage to read two pages at bedtime before nodding off into an exhausted sleep.

Unfortunately, my book addiction didn’t end there, and my collection of unread books continued to grow at an alarming rate.

 

 

How to stop hoarding books

 

To reduce my book collection from over 400 to under 5 books, I followed these simple steps.

  • Unread books were the first to go. I decided that unless I had rushed home and read a book straight after buying it, it was doubtful I was going to read it at all unless it was a reference book. Pretty similar to that crazy item of clothing you’ve got in your wardrobe that you’ve never worn!

 

  • Cookbooks were next. I donated every single recipe book I owned because every single recipe I needed to follow is on the internet, I realised that if I ever needed to find a method, my go-to source of reference for most things was the internet rather than a recipe book, so that made it an easy decision for me.

 

  • Next up were books I’d already read. This was not so easy, but I figured that out of perhaps the 100 books I’d already read, only two had ever been re-read by me, so the logic was to donate them. It’s tough, but it’s worth doing.

 

  • Reference books, I kept the ones we used, nothing else, this too, was relatively easy.

 

Which books to keep?

I decided to keep the books I truly loved, and I realised that there were only a few books I loved. Once I had donated all the other books it became apparent to me which books meant a lot to me, it was a no-brainer to keep those. They were:

  • A book on wildflowers my father gave to  me as a child
  • A  reference book which  I use for work,
  • A book I read, which I know my daughter will love when shes old enough to understand it.
  • A book I need to return to my mum.

So not including my kid’s books,  the total amount of books I own today is four. I managed to get rid of a giant bookcase and created a huge empty space which I love!

I do not recommend getting rid of anyone else’s books especially your spouse, to read more about getting your husband to declutter his stuff click here

The benefits of a minimalist book collection

 

If you’re a book lover like me, it’s going to be tough for you to imagine any benefit of getting rid of your books. but I soon discovered the benefits of a minimalist book collection  were:

  • I could see my treasured books displayed to their full advantage.
  • I stopped impulse shopping for books.
  • I enjoyed reading on my kindle especially as it allows me to read in the dark is extremely portable.
  • I created a huge amount of empty space
  • Less dust and clutter.

 

However, my book hoarding days are not over;  I now have hundreds of unread books on my Kindle. 

I do, however, still prefer a physical book and a  lazy afternoon visiting a beautiful bookshop, but I also like being able to read in the dark, and of course to have an invisible library stuffed to the rafters.

If you need help getting the motivation to declutter, click here.

Top tip!

 

If you want to read in the dark, take loads of books on holiday and want a minimalist book collection, order your Kindle today, just click on the photo below to be directed to Amazon!

 

 

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For further reading about simplifying and minimalism, you’ll also like  The Minimalists

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How To Motivate Your Husband To Declutter His Stuff.

 

It can be so frustrating when you are overwhelmed with your spouse’s stuff. In this post, we will discuss how you can motivate your husband to declutter his stuff.

 

The questions I’m asked all the time are:

  • How do I declutter when my partner isn’t on board?
  • How do I get my spouse to declutter?
  • How can I declutter when my husband won’t let me throw anything away
  • What do I do when I live with a packrat?
  • How can I get my husband to embrace minimalism?
  • My wife is a hoarder how can I get her to declutter?
  • My family won’t let me declutter how can I get them on board?

It seems that a lot of people who want to live a life of less, live with a packrat and I’m talking from experience when I say,  there’s nothing more frustrating!

 

 

 

 So what do we do when we live with a packrat?

 

  • Throw away their stuff and hope they don’t notice?
  • Nag them consistently until they comply?
  • Argue constantly about their clutter?

Of course not, none of those methods is going to work.

 

 

 

How to motivate your husband to declutter

 

Firstly concentrate on your own “stuff”, you will soon realise that other people’s stuff is not entirely the whole problem.

  • Make a decision today that you will only concentrate on your own possessions, for the time being, don’t worry about anything else for now.

 

  • Imagine you live on your own, would all the possessions you own right now be conducive to a minimalist lifestyle or are you hanging onto tons of stuff you don’t need?

 

  • Have you been so hung up on all your husband’s clutter that you failed to realise how much stuff you need to declutter?

 

I would like to bet that you  have plenty to declutter from the following categories

  1.  Clothes,
  2.  Miscellaneous,
  3.  Paperwork
  4. Kitchen 
  5. Beauty products and cosmetics
  6.  Sentimental items and photographs
  7. Ornaments
  8. Jewellery
  9. Accessories
  10. Gadgets
  11. Old phones and iPads
  12. Electronics
  13. Books

Be honest, does your spouse really have more clutter than you, or are you just blind to how much you own?

If you are wondering where to start decluttering, start with clothes, this is the easiest category to declutter because we are less attached to our clothes than we are our sentimental items. by making sentimental items the last category to declutter, we should find it much easier to part with our possessions than we did when we started.

 

 

 

How to start decluttering.

 

  Starting with your clothes, pile everything from each category on the bed, then hold each item, if the item brings you joy you keep it if it doesn’t, you don’t,  it’s as simple as that.

 

 

Rules for decluttering, how to get rid of your stuff.

 

  • Anything which is  broken
  • Clothing which  doesn’t fit, is uncomfortable or needs altering
  • Clothing which has never been worn
  • Beauty products and gadgets never used
  • Duplicate items
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Items you don’t love
  • Items you don’t use or love
  • Old gadgets and phones
  • Unused DVDs and CDs
  • Unused books and magazines
  • Unneeded paperwork
  • Unused candles.

That’s a lot of stuff for you to focus on decluttering instead of getting rid of your spouse’s stuff!

 

how to declutter when your partner is not on board

It wasn’t long after I started  following this method of decluttering, that I became hooked very quickly

  • I discarded or donated approximately 70 % of my stuff.
  • I only kept approximately 30% of my original possessions.
  • Everything that I decided to keep was things I loved, which made me happy.
  • I started to enjoy the empty, space, clarity, serenity and tidiness I created every time I decluttered an area.
  • Then, I began to notice that everyone else in the house kept the new empty clean spaces tidy and stopped piling stuff up in those areas like they used to. it was as if I was setting the standards of how I wanted our home to look and they just automatically fell in with that.
  • No one left anything lying around like they used to.
  • My spouse and the kids seemed to start to declutter their items without being asked to. I would find my husband decluttering his stuff, which was totally unheard of, it was as if he felt he needed more order and space with his belongings and had come to this realisation on his own.
  • due to the fact that there was much less stuff in our house, the kids had more space to play and the Toys only took a few minutes maximum to tidy up each evening before bed.
  • Cleaning the house was quicker and easier so we spent more quality time as a family.
  • we stopped buying stuff we didn’t need  and started saving for emergencies

Getting your packrat to declutter is simply not the way to tackle things at this stage, start on your stuff, move on to the kid’s stuff and watch how the whole house seems to get tidier as people notice the empty spaces!

To my surprise, I learnt that if I keep my stuff in order, everyone else will too!

 

I was asked on social media:

“What should I do when my husband tells me to keep clothing I don’t like or wear because he likes it?”

This question  is a tricky one and one only you can answer, however, my rules for this would be to donate if

  1. It doesn’t fit
  2. It is uncomfortable in any way.
  3. It doesn’t make you feel a million dollars
  4. It is old, worn and generally grotty
  5. You don’t love it!

I would never tell my spouse what to wear and I wouldn’t expect him to tell me what to wear so its an easy one for me! Luckily my other half doesn’t notice what goes in and out of my wardrobe so that helps!

 

Do you live with a spouse who is a packrat or are you the clutter bug? let us know in the comments!

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How To Get Kids Off The Couch And Outside!

Many of my friends and school mums are worrying that their kids are spending too many hours on screens. I hear about the constant battles with their children to get them interested in anything other than the PlayStation or their tablets.

The difficulty parents are facing trying to prize their kids away from mobile phones is huge.

In this post, we discuss some simple ways to get kids off the couch and outside!

 

Children and electronic devices: how to limit screen time.

 

Think back to the lazy summers of our youth, what made it so different from our lives today, apart from the obvious:

  • Bills to pay,
  • Rent to find,
  • Health issues,
  • Financial worries
  •  Demands of the workplace

 

We were lucky enough to be  free from the constant pressure from:

  •  Social media,
  • Adverts telling us what we need,
  •  Designer clothes,
  • Mobile phones,
  • Selfies,
  • Plastic surgery and body image
  • Botox
  • White teeth and self-tanning
  •  Holidays in Disneyland
  • Daytime television,
  •  Gaming
  • Cyberbullying
  •  Junk food,
  •  Noisy battery filled toys,
  •  Homework,
  •  After-school clubs,
  •  Image awareness
  • Competition.
  •  Pressure.
  • SATS
  • Homework

 

We had no “stuff” to worry about,  to obsess over, and winge for.

 

It’s the first week of the holidays and my diary is already bulging with party invitations and events, even though I have culled a few activities before the school holidays.

 

 

Alternatives to screen time.

 

  • I try to focus my kids time on things which they love doing, I try to choose quality over quantity when it comes to after-school activities, this frees up more time during their week for parties or play dates and to still allows my kids plenty free time just to relax and recharge at home.

 

  • I  try to be more present by switching off the internet on my phone for the full day and  I try to leave my phone at home or in the car when I’m out with the kids enabling me to be more focused on the present moment, and to be honest it feels quite liberating. I also put my phone away in a drawer and try to only check it twice a day when I’m at home to avoid the temptation to get drawn into social media or emails.

 

  • Getting out into the fresh air is vital in our house as it helps us connect with each other and connect with nature. It calms the kids (and me) by getting rid of excess energy and creates memories. But best of all it doesn’t cost anything!

 

  • Like all parents I try to limit the time my kids spend on the TV and tablets, I have realised that the more time my kids spend on electronics the more manic their behaviour is, especially towards each other. We have a “no TV ” rule in our house until 5 pm, the kids know this and accept that it is not “TV time” so don’t constantly mither for it. They also know that if they play nicely together during the day I will bring TV time forward by a few hours. This saves a huge amount of fighting and sibling squabbles in our house and TV time is a cosy time of togetherness in our house, whilst the daytimes are spent playing and burning off energy.

 

  • Tablets are mainly used for travel and situations where one child has to wait for another such as swimming, karate, rugby etc. One of my children is completely not bothered by the iPad but my 5-year-old is obsessed with it so its important for me to monitor his use rather than let it get out of control.

 

  • Evenings are when I like to cosy down with blankets and candles, for chats and cuddles and our favourite programs.

 

  • It’s the simple things we remember as we get old, not the money we had spent on us or clothes we wore, it was the warmth of our parent’s hugs and the taste of a home cooked meal, or a chippy tea in front of coronation street.

 

We may not be able to fix all the distractions of our full to bursting lives, but we can go some way to simplify small simple things for ourselves and our kids. We can stop making our kids so busy, stay in the present, stop filling up the “free” time and just slow down.

We might not be able to stop our kids screaming at each other and having major meltdowns but we can make it easier for them by not overstimulating them.

If our kids are lives constantly overburdened then so are ours.

We can try to create slow, empty time which helps to create pockets of calm in an otherwise crazy day.

 

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How To Start A Spring Summer Capsule Wardrobe. 

 

 

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by tons of clothes, now is a great time to dig out your summer clothes and organise a great spring summer capsule wardrobe!

In this post, we will talk you through the first steps you need to follow to create your capsule wardrobe. If you’re wondering which essential items you should be keeping in your wardrobe click here

How to declutter your closet

 

If you’re struggling to find the motivation to declutter read this post first

 

  1.   Empty your wardrobe of anything you know you will not wear until next winter, We will be heading towards making a wardrobe which is both winter and summer compatible,  I shall be doing a separate post on that at a later date. So, for now, empty everything onto your bed. Now is a good time to assess clothes that haven’t been worn, that are uncomfortable,  don’t make you feel a million dollars or anything that you don’t love. If it fits any of those categories donate it immediately!
  2.  Wash all clothes but don’t iron them as you’ll end up doing it again next winter! Make sure to put it all away in a clean, dry place. On the top shelf of the wardrobe is usually a great place to store winter clothes.
  3.  Now get out all your summer clothes. Go through each item the same way you did before with your winter clothes and follow the same process. Do you love it? Does it fit? Does it make you feel fabulous? If not donate it straight away!
  4.  Wash and iron all the clothes you are keeping, then put everything back into your wardrobe.
  5. You should now have heaps of space to view your summer capsule wardrobe and you should be able to create many more outfits with the clothes you have kept.
  6. Assess the gaps in your wardrobe, think about the key items which would complete your outfits. Write them down and keep in your purse so you buy things you need rather than impulse bargains next time you shop if you need help assessing  the  key essential items you need to build a capsule wardrobe  read here
  7. Decide on 3 basic colours to have as your base colours and add one splash of colour.

 

My basic colours are:

Charcoal grey

Navy

Black

And my splash of colour is bright red.

 

 

 

Remember to shop within your four chosen colours. if you’d like to read more about how to choose  colours for your capsule wardrobe read more here 

 

  • Stick to this rule when shopping for clothes and you will find shopping so much simpler.
  • Patterns should only include your chosen colours!
  • You will always be able to quickly put an outfit together if you follow these steps to creating a capsule wardrobe as everything will always match.

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How To Find The Motivation To Declutter.

 

 

Finding motivation to declutter is a struggle when you’re overwhelmed by clutter and mess. In this post, we will walk you through the steps you need to follow to simplify and declutter your home, no matter what stage you are at in your journey.

When you are at a loss to begin decluttering it can be very overwhelming to look at how much you have to deal with and sort out. It can be easy to be so overwhelmed with clutter that you just can’t figure out where to begin.

Often this can lead to procrastination and a tendency to put off doing even a little bit; this leads to feelings of guilt and despair which in turn leads to overwhelm and the whole process turns into a vicious circle.

 

 

 

 Motivation to declutter

 

If you’re reading this, then you’re already motivated and looking for help! You are probably ready, and the only thing that is stopping you is knowing where to start!  And this my friend, is where we come in!

 

 

Simplify and declutter

 

 Start small, on the first day set yourself a little decluttering goal.

  •  Set a little goal which is achievable in only a few minutes. For instance, one small drawer which you struggle to shut, or one piece of the floor which is so cluttered you keep falling over stuff. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated by tiny little things nagging away at you every day. It’s often the small things that make us feel guilty and sad which could be fixed in a few minutes. One tiny little goal can make a massive difference to your self-esteem and confidence to carry on.

 

  • Choose something which is irritating you or is making your life difficult, so you feel the benefit once compleated. Often,  if we keep tripping over the same thing on the floor or get hit over the head by the same stuff falling out of a cramped cupboard, it can make us feel hopeless about our situation and stops us from having any motivation to declutter. Just taking control of the most irritating problem in your home can get you motivated to declutter a little bit more!

 

  • Choose a time when you will not be distracted by people, work or social media. One of the worst motivation vacuums is social media. We can find ourselves wasting hours of valuable decluttering time, comparing ourselves to others who we may not have even met on social media! Trying to declutter when you have family around can also be very frustrating as you may find that they demotivate you and may even stop you from decluttering or make you feel guilty for getting rid of specific items. If you have small children it might be good to buddy up with someone who needs some motivation to declutter; you could babysit for each other for a few hours. If that isn’t possible to declutter with a friend, you could try to devote 15 minutes each night to a simple decluttering task where possible.

 

  • Listen to a podcast or an audiobook, click the link for a FREE 30-day Audible Free Trial

Decluttering can be a very lonely task, especially if you feel overwhelmed by clutter. I find that listening to an audiobook or a podcast, especially those focusing on decluttering or minimalism gives me huge motivation to declutter and makes the time fly so much quicker! Self-help books and self-help podcasts are great to listen to aswell, as you can kill two birds with one stone and be learning while you simplify!

 

  • Set a timer for 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes depending on how much time you feel you can devote to decluttering without losing motivation. The beauty of decluttering in short bursts is that you will be less likely to get overwhelmed and lose the motivation to declutter. If you decide to do more that one decluttering session with the timer, make sure you switch to another area so avoid burn out especially if you are trying to tackle sentimental items. Swapping to less emotive categories such as clothing or kitchen cupboards will prevent burnout and overwhelm.

 

  • Start when the timer starts, and stop when the timer ends, take regular breaks to review how far you’ve come and how well you’ve progressed. Take plenty of time to recharge and rest; your home didn’t get cluttered in one day so you shouldn’t expect to be able to fix it in one day either. Decluttering a small amount daily is better than suffering burnout from an enormous decluttering session!

 

  • Throw away all the rubbish you’ve collected into the bin immediately. Getting rid of trash is a huge motivation for decluttering, it can give you just the boost you need to carry on! Imagine all the bags of trash you’ve just decluttered getting stuffed back in the area you’ve just cleared, imagine how terrible that would feel, make sure you are not putting those bags elsewhere in the house, garage or garden, dispose of them as soon as possible. Now think of all the space you’ve created, the feeling of freshly created space feels amazing compared to an overstuffed and cluttered house.

 

  • Pack anything for donation away immediately and put it in the car boot (to drop off next time you pass) or outside ready for the charity collection (then ring to arrange collection, they usually come the next day ). This step prevents you from changing your mind about any of the donated items. It will also prevent any family members rooting through the bags and taking stuff out again.

 

  • Clean the area you have decluttered! Check out my favourite cleaning products here.

You don’t need to be too obsessive about this but a good clean with fresh smelling products will make you feel better about your freshly decluttered space and will give you the motivation to declutter more stuff!

 

  • Put everything away! Carefully, put everything away, reassess everything you put back to make doubly sure that you love it or will use it, be ruthless, you need to create a space to let your precious and loved items shine!

 

What to do if you want to carry on after the timer has finished

 

  • My advice is to make sure the first area is complete before carrying on,  so, the steps we have covered above are completed in full before you move on to another goal. This advice may seem like it’s counterproductive, but you’ll probably find once you have completed your goal from the beginning to end and put everything back after cleaning, you will at least need to rest before you begin again. But by all means, if you do get bitten by the need to declutter, please carry on, just make sure that you don’t do so much decluttering that you suffer from beginners burnout, remember, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to retaining our decluttering motivation!

 

Often we find that life seems to take over, we get interrupted, things take longer than we anticipated, we get sidetracked. there are many reasons we struggle to keep on top of things

  • Chronic pain
  • Hectic work schedule
  • Family commitments
  • Caring for elderly relatives
  • Caring for people with disabilities
  • A new baby
  • A hectic family life
  • Illness
  • Depression
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Caring for the chronically ill

Our focus is to start in bite-sized chunks which fit into our already hectic lives; this allows us to get into the habit of decluttering as we go, and prevents us from getting overwhelmed and suffering burnout!

The aim here to make sure that you are changing your habits as a lifestyle change, rather than one big declutter only to let things go back to the way they were.

Take your time, stop when you’ve had enough. Don’t worry if you miss a day, start the next day again or whenever you get the time, don’t let a missed day suck up your motivation, press on through the tough days, just keep going!

 

We aim to make you get the decluttering bug and for you to look forward to the next time you grab the timer and go!

 

 

 

How to declutter fast!

 

  • In the area, you are decluttering if there is anything you don’t use, don’t like, don’t need or don’t want, donate it. Do not keep things just in case you might need them. You’ve not needed them yet, so the chances are, you probably won’t need them anytime soon!

 

  • If there is anything which irritates you, for instance, the candle you can’t bear the smell of, or the unwanted gift,  donate it immediately! Stop filling up your space with stuff you don’t like! If someone has given you something you don’t cherish, donate it, they will never know! If there is a perfume you don’t love or a lipstick you don’t wear, you’re never going to wear them so, get rid of them!

 

  • Throw away anything broken or anything which is just rubbish! It’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people hang onto broken stuff. You’re not going to fix any of this stuff take it to the tip they have a special place to dispose of electrical equipment and even old tins of paint! Going to the tip is one of my favourite things to do! Check with your local council to see if they collect hard to dispose of items. Your local scrap man will usually collect any scrap metal such as white goods free of charge if you give them a call.
  1. Gadgets
  2. Toys
  3. Tools
  4. Furniture
  5. Pictures
  6. Kitchen equipment
  7. Beauty products
  8. Shoes
  9. Phones
  10. Cables
  11. Computers
  12. Keyboards
  13. Electrical equipment
  14. White goods

 

  • Now sit back and enjoy the space you have created! As I mentioned above, self-care is essential when you are decluttering your house, take time to reassess how much work you’ve done and how much better the space you’ve decluttered looks, no matter how small the win is! A  victory is made up of tiny successes, so soldier on, every little win is one step closer to your end goal!

 

Staying motivated to declutter

 

it is very important once you’ve decluttered a space that no matter how small it is, you keep it decluttered. It can be very tempting to want to fill up that space with new stuff. My advice would be to wait, get used to seeing empty space and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that living with less brings. You will begin to notice that you are spending less time cleaning your belongings as you now have less stuff to take care of, look after and clean, so you suddenly have more time to do other things you actually enjoy! Stay motivated to declutter to stop the clutter creeping back into your home!

 

Minimalist Motivation

 Once you have started decluttering your home you should begin to notice that your shopping habits change. You might start realising that buying a certain nic-nac, item of clothing or beauty product is not going to make you happy.

You may realise that, in the long run, when its added to the rest of the items in your house it may actually make you feel sad.

You may look at new items as wasting money which could be used towards a new holiday or memory. I started to imagine the new purchase being donated to the charity shop in a years time and that was a real wake up call as to how much hard earned money I’d wasted on useless rubbish over the years!

 

 

 

    •  If you suffer or are family of someone who suffers from depression or hoarding tendencies please seek medical help and support before decluttering. if you are struggling to find  help you could try contacting ocduk for advice

 

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