[De-Clutter] Trying my hand while on vacation 

So as I mentioned, I read The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying up, and I’ve really got the itch to give the method a go. But in true first world problem style, I am on a month-long vacation and can’t possibly de-clutter (although my boyfriend would disagree, since I am known to be a chronic over-packer, but on the other hand, he’s now acquired two tennis racquets to bring home to Australia. Things are equal). 

But the itch still needed scratching and I decided to apply the “does it bring you joy?” test to my Instagram account at 3 in the morning, when another bout of insomnia had me staring at the ceiling. I’m a passionate consumer of social media, and, tragically, reality television shows (amongst other things such as cute clothes). I follow a lot of irrelevant people  and stores who I don’t know on Instagram, and from the book, realised that bloated number of followed accounts and feed full of crap was most definitely not bringing me joy. 

I had done a similar cull in November, after I spend $180 on clothes from an online store who only advertised on Instagram. I was pretty mortified at myself, and immediately went about an extreme cull of brands that caused me to feel inferior and as though I needed to purchase more and better to be happy. 

But letting go in this way can be such a process. Last night I culled every Bachelor and Bachelorette Australia account (it seems like the former “contestants” just go on to a career of mediocrity, unsubtlely advertising miscellaneous irrelevant brands on their Instagram after the show ends), all brands, every celebrity (save for Kayla Itsines, whose #fitspo life I truly can’t get enough of and, pardon my wilful state of gullible-ness, seems not to advertise anything but her own workout app regime anyway) and any other person who I actually didn’t feel “joy” at seeing their account.

The celebrities (real and faux) weren’t too hard since honestly, who cares. I found it trickier to click the unfollow button on people from high school who I wasn’t even that close to back then, or others who at one stage I did care about but truly have nothing in common with any more. I really felt the battle between my instinct, which was surprisingly ruthless, and my brain saying “what’s the harm, sometimes it’s nice to check in and anyway it’s just Instagram, it’s not like you’re clearing out your closet?”

Across the total last two culls, my estimate is I unfollowed 80 accounts which I deemed as not bringing me joy. This was a timely reminder to me to try keep track of some numbers, although I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I undoubtedly feel lighter, calmer and happier when I scroll through my Instagram account (which I do far too often, but that’s another issue). I’m definitely looking forward to applying the method to my apartment when I get home. 

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[De-Clutter] Trying my hand while on vacation 

So as I mentioned, I read The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying up, and I’ve really got the itch to give the method a go. But in true first world problem style, I am on a month-long vacation and can’t possibly de-clutter (although my boyfriend would disagree, since I am known to be a chronic over-packer, but on the other hand, he’s now acquired two tennis racquets to bring home to Australia. Things are equal). 

But the itch still needed scratching and I decided to apply the “does it bring you joy?” test to my Instagram account at 3 in the morning, when another bout of insomnia had me staring at the ceiling. I’m a passionate consumer of social media, and, tragically, reality television shows (amongst other things such as cute clothes). I follow a lot of irrelevant people  and stores who I don’t know on Instagram, and from the book, realised that bloated number of followed accounts and feed full of crap was most definitely not bringing me joy. 

I had done a similar cull in November, after I spend $180 on clothes from an online store who only advertised on Instagram. I was pretty mortified at myself, and immediately went about an extreme cull of brands that caused me to feel inferior and as though I needed to purchase more and better to be happy. 

But letting go in this way can be such a process. Last night I culled every Bachelor and Bachelorette Australia account (it seems like the former “contestants” just go on to a career of mediocrity, unsubtlely advertising miscellaneous irrelevant brands on their Instagram after the show ends), all brands, every celebrity (save for Kayla Itsines, whose #fitspo life I truly can’t get enough of and, pardon my wilful state of gullible-ness, seems not to advertise anything but her own workout app regime anyway) and any other person who I actually didn’t feel “joy” at seeing their account.

The celebrities (real and faux) weren’t too hard since honestly, who cares. I found it trickier to click the unfollow button on people from high school who I wasn’t even that close to back then, or others who at one stage I did care about but truly have nothing in common with any more. I really felt the battle between my instinct, which was surprisingly ruthless, and my brain saying “what’s the harm, sometimes it’s nice to check in and anyway it’s just Instagram, it’s not like you’re clearing out your closet?”

Across the total last two culls, my estimate is I unfollowed 80 accounts which I deemed as not bringing me joy. This was a timely reminder to me to try keep track of some numbers, although I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I undoubtedly feel lighter, calmer and happier when I scroll through my Instagram account (which I do far too often, but that’s another issue). I’m definitely looking forward to applying the method to my apartment when I get home. 

Facing my fear of investing

Major confession: I’m extremely fearful of investing money. 

It’s not the risk factor so much. It’s the fact I understand literally nothing about it. No matter how many blogs I read or articles I browse that address ‘investing for dummies!’, I can’t crack it. 

But I’m stating my intention. This is it! This is the year for breaking the fear and putting some knowledge in my head and some cash on the line. My savings account balance is currently $11,445. I have a strong feeling that my previous conception that investing can only be done by the $10,000s is wrong. So step one will be to take $2,000 and put it somewhere. 

Where? I don’t know. I’m very confused about every single facet of this business. But I’m ready to bulldoze my way in. I’m sick of holding myself back, and feeling behind. However, I’d love some advice. What were your first steps? Any advice for an impulsive, distractable person in their mid-20s such as myself?

Book Review: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up 

The first book I read of 2016 has been the book that has been talked about non-stop  for the last year – Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’.

First I should say, I’m on vacation. This is probably book better read on a quiet weekend at home. While I enjoyed it, naturally you want to implement straight away – which just isn’t going to happen while vacationing.

Second, I was pre-prepared for the nature of the book from the ten billion reviews of this quirky guide online. I knew it talked about odd things like thanking your socks. That’s fine.

Third, I’m an impatient reader.
With these things in mind, my response to the book was that it was fine, but there was far too much filler to allow it to be good.

The ‘KonMari’ concepts are great. I love ditch (or declutter) first, store second. I love the simplicity of the questions you ask of yourself in the throes of decluttering. But I got bored reading them on repeat through a lot of mindless other observances. These detracted from the message: create a home containing only those things that will spark joy, and your life will more easily fall into place.

The practical tips were great. I liked the folding method. I loved the specific examples of whacky items that irrefutably satisfied the ‘does it spark joy?’ test, despite being inexplicable to an outside observer.

However, there was so much repetitive crap around the outside to wade through that I found it hard to engage with the core message. That’s been better clarified by reading the one trillion articles that more clearly define the message.

My general position is to just read those articles. But perhaps you miss the full experience of the KonMari method if you don’t take the two hours to just engulf the book.

In the end, the repetition and some of the weirder aspects such as thanking your bag each day when you unpack it don’t hurt anyone, and it’s up to you to find your personal spin on KonMari. There’s no dictation. I definitely intend on implementing a few aspects into my life once I return home.

Rating: 3.5/5

2016

Ushering in New Years is one of my all time favourite activities. You can taste the hope and celebration in the air, as people resurface after Christmas and step on to the streets, sending out the message that they are here, that they matter, that life is to be lived joyfully, noisily, surrounded by those they love. 

I’m spending 2016 looking for a way to joyfully, noisily enjoy my life, and see some real goals actualise. The main goal is to consciously work with my money. I have unconsciously, or haphazardly, given due regard to my dollars. But this is the year for tracking, saving, and getting ahead. 

To start, I bought the Mindful Budgeting planner from Blonde on a Budget. Unfortunately it didn’t arrive before I left on holidays (current location: Miami!), so I’m looking forward to using that planner once I get home. My biggest stumbling block is having a clear understanding of where my money goes. I become almost wilfully blind to where it’s gone. So consciousness is my personal buzz word.

Once I’m in a normal routine again, I will share my weekly status report. That sounds so dull. But as I said – I want to be joyfully, noisily living my life. And without some solid understanding of what I do with my money, and my motivations for doing so, I can’t find the peace to live joyfully and noisily. 

For now – I have a week ahead in the Florida Keys, before heading to DC, Trinidad and Tobago, and finally, back to Australia to press start on real life. I’m really looking forward to sharing this year with you all. 

[Organise]: My Kikki-K Planner Set Up

On a quiet afternoon, I can find myself deep down the Pinterest rabbit-hole that is organisational options. Lately I’ve gone on an Ikea and label-maker frenzy to get my pantry in particular, but new apartment on the whole, into an orderly and organised haven. My favourite yearly purchase is my diary – and this year I’ve decided to go for something different – a Kikki-K planner, rather than a one year diary.

After clicking through the various options – Filofax or Kikki-k? Or the billions of other brands I never knew existed? I went to the shops with the intention of purchasing this planner – limited edition gold, personal size, time planner. The gold was gorgeous, but I realised it was probably a bit faddish, and the size for what I was looking for, in terms of the page and week-to-view look was far too small. I also didn’t love the inserts in the time planner – the week-view tab was great, but Birthdays, Shops & Restaurants etc. didn’t really suit my needs. I browsed Kikki-K for a while and fell in love with this beauty, which unfortunately wasn’t on sale, and came it at a whopping $79.95.

So I waited a few weeks, and realised that it really was the diary that was going to suit my needs for the year. So as a final splurge, I purchased the beautiful planner and also the 2015 Time Planner Large Insert.

A gorgeous leather feel.

A gorgeous leather planner!

The first thing I loved and still love about this planner is the textured leather. It feels durable, reliable and easy to clean, as well as a really fantastic colour for regular use. Another selling point to me was the press-stud close. Although an elastic close is probably better for shoving more items into your planner, I preferred the press-stud close, because it gives a satisfying click shut.

This is how I have the front set up at the moment:

Planner front open

I was opting for a simple set up. There are some gorgeous and pretty layouts all over Pinterest and Instagram, but I wanted a setup that was simple, functional and applicable for both work and home. In the credit card inserts I have a small post-it stack (my favourite size!) which I use for potential date planning – the sticky lets me reschedule or move things around before I’ve settled on a particular time/date for an event. The dot stickers are from K-Mart, which I use to mark the various things I write in my planner. In the top pocket is the Today pad that came with the planner. I’m not sure if this will stay in my planner forever, but for now it looks cute.

Inside the zip I keep my old Driver’s License (it’s come in handy a surprising number of times), and I slot any parcel pickup notifications into the back flap so I can collect them all at once. I do a shocking amount of online shopping!

I have the tabs as follows:

1. Calendar [Week to View] (from the refill I purchased – see link above)

2. Meeting Notes

3. To Do

4. Planning [Month View] (also from the refill I purchased – see link above)

5 & 6. Spare Notepaper to be appropriated – currently used for drafting blog post ideas

7. To Action [Perpetual Calendar adapted to tracking all my exercise].

photo 3 (1)

As you can see, I colour-code entries with the dot stickers. Red is important, Yellow is task to be done that day, Green is exercise, Blue is event and there are white stickers but they seem pretty useless on white paper!

This is a pretty empty week on purpose by the way…

The refill has been amazing for adapting the Personal planner to a Time planner without having to include inserts I wouldn’t use, and having more blank paper for more versatile use.

My exercise tracking looks like this:

photo 4 (2)

Just simple – a Green sticker to say boom, exercised, and a short scrawl as to what I did.

Let me know what you think – would you do something different? I am desperately trying to track down a transparent ‘Today’ ruler to mark my page in Tab 1, but can’t seem to find one for the A5 size. If anyone can suggest where I can find one, I would be so grateful!