Tag: decluttering

Photography Challenge Day 170: A Book Review: Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

The winner of today’s photography challenge—is the following book that I managed to finish about two weeks ago: “Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to make more room for happiness” by Gretchen Rubin. This is the second book by Gretchen Rubin that I’ve read over the past year (the other was The Four Tendencies).

Kindle books are great; this was one of the two books I finished during July.

This particular book deals with the issue of getting rid of excess belongings and organizing what you keep in a manner that makes you happy (and others living with you). Society as a whole owns way to much stuff—and there are people who rent storage units to store the excess that they can’t fit in their houses. Now I’m currently renting a storage unit, but that is because when I moved home—my room had been converted into a guest room (and I had only planned on being a guest for a few years tops). So my bed, a large bookcase, some other furniture and other belongings (dishes and such) have been sitting in a storage unit for six years.

I’d realized out in Boston that I had too much stuff, and got rid of some of it before moving back (in hopes of savings some money), but I still have too much stuff—especially if I add in what is in my bedroom to what I have in my storage unit. I’m going to slowly be going through things and paring down on what I have (as I realize I probably don’t need forty different t-shirts). That way if I do head back to Boston and have a smallish apartment—I can fit everything into it, without being overwhelmed.

So the book has five chapters, each covering a specific point/topic in the path of creating outer order, and hopefully inner calm.

The first chapter basically lays out the facts that you have to make choices on what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to be getting rid of; also when you’re getting rid of something you shouldn’t feel guilty about the fact that the item no longer has a place in your home (as the author points out—you can out grow things, or just decide that it isn’t necessary to keep a gift just to keep someone happy (who may or may not remember giving it to you).

The second chapter talks about creating order, and just lays out some simple guidelines that once can follow: such as if you can’t retrieve an item you probably won’t use it—which makes sense, we have one cupboard over the fridge that I forget what is stored in it (obviously we aren’t using the items, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to get rid of the items). Another guideline is to avoid buying souvenirs, or if you are going to buy souvenirs one should go with ones that are small and easy to display.

This is one area I will have to deal with once I’m settled (as I don’t plan on really unpacking all the boxes in my storage unit & repacking them)—I have a lot of little knickknacks that I’d bought over the years; I do have a small number that I’ve bought since I’ve moved home—but for the most part they’re packed in my storage unit.

I think I’ve come up with an idea on how to display them nicely—making use of my large bookcase, but at the same time I will probably try to sell some of them depending on how I can display them. Having little things showing your personality is good—you just need to be able to take care of them (such as dusting)—and if you have too many of them, you might fall down on that task.

The third chapter talks about knowing yourself and others. Basically—know what you consider to be clutter, what others consider to be clutter and if they don’t agree find some type of middle ground. The fourth chapter talks about cultivating helpful habits (such as tossing junk mail right away, making your bed in the morning, putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and so forth) to help keep the clutter down to a minimum.

The fifth chapter talks about adding beauty to the spaces. This can include adding a signature color (or pattern) to the rooms, arranging the displays on a tray, having a theme for the picture frames and so forth.

Basically the book walks you through the steps/thoughts of starting to declutter your home and/or workspace. Decluttering isn’t for everyone—you actually want to be doing it, or if you start you might find yourself with even more stuff (as you feel guilty for getting rid of things, you end up bringing in more to make up for it); also it doesn’t have to happen overnight. I’ve been slowly (and I stress the word slowly) working decluttering my life for the past year—I’ve gotten rid of some stuff, but I also know that I have a lot more that I can get rid of and still be happy. How I’m going about it: I’m asking myself—does this have more than one use? If I find myself in an studio apartment—things will need to be multi-functional (and maybe even multi-storage). Having multiple collections as a teenager or young adult is fine—but now I have to ask the question: do they have a place in the life/home of someone who will be hitting their fourth decade next year?

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is thinking of embarking on the journey of decluttering.

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Review: Aquarius New Moon Goals

Well we’ve starting to wind up the first quarter of the year (January through March).  There are twenty-seven days left in March, and then the year is a quarter of the way over (where does the time go?).  So the moo will soon be entering into the Pisces constellation (March 6th), and that means it is time to reflect back on the mini goal list that I set for the Aquarius new moon in February.

Those goals included:

            Selling back DVDs via decluttr (nice way to make a little bit of money).

            Continue working on my transition plan (getting my value list down to say five to seven, and then the daily steps that I should be taking to meet my goals).

            Reorganizing my closet & the overflowing amount of clothes (maybe set up an ebay account and sell some on there?)

So how did I do with each one?

            I have a box of DVDs to finish inventorying via decluttr to generate the order form & mail them in. This hasn’t been done mainly because the weather has been crazy (and I usually take the box to work and walk it to mailing and ship it from campus). So what I may do is just break it into smaller orders (use more boxes but hey), and do it in several trips. But this is a big thing I’m trying to do this year, is cut back on the amount of stuff that I own.

            In terms of the transition plan, I have my key value list (see the post on values) that I’m going to try to ensure that I’m focusing on over the next few years. Now I need to make chart on how to ensure that I’m focusing on the values and working towards my goals as well. I’m also fine-tuning my definition of “professional lifestyle” and will be looking now towards different companies to see if they match the values (determining if they match the lifestyle will require setting up informational interviews).

            In terms of my closet & getting everything reorganized and sorted out—this is still another work in progress. I do realize that I have way to many t-shirts (I should probably count them and see how long I could go before having to do laundry), and therefore I need to figure out a way to par them down. One thing that I’m thinking of doing is the 33 articles of clothing challenge (basically you have 33 articles of clothing [shirts/pants/shorts/whatever depending on the season] and you rotate through those for three months, what you don’t use you sell, donate, give away. It’s a way of thinning out your wardrobe). So there will probably be a couple posts on that challenge once I decide to do it (probably in the spring or summer).

So I still need to work on time management (in terms of job searching/transitioning) and just realizing that with letting stuff go, 1) I can earn a little money (depending on where I’m hopefully selling the stuff), 2) I’m saving money on moving (less stuff=less space in a large moving truck=less money charged), and 3) I can save money for trips where I can make memories (and take pictures). But at least baby steps of progress are being made this year.

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Aquarius New Moon Goals

Tomorrow is the second new moon of the year, and is found in the constellation Aquarius. According to my star sign this is in my 6th house, while going with my rising sign it is in my 4th house. The 6th house is your daily work and health zone, while the 4th house is your home and family zone. So sticking with how I did my new moon goals last month, I’ll be going with the 4th house in terms of making goals again for this upcoming new moon.

So with going with home and family zone, I’m going to try to focus on straightening up and de-cluttering various areas of my home and family zone. So some of the goals are going to include:

Submit the decluttr order (sell back quite a few DVDs) and start making a third decluttr order.

Set up an cleaning schedule for my bathroom (I have a terrible habit of letting the bathroom get really dirty before I go OCD in cleaning it) and try to stick with it.

Reorganize my closet and the overflowing pile of clothes.

Take some sick leave (hopefully) and spend at least one day working in the storage unit repacking and reorganizing things.

Continue trying to figure out the next job position.

According to Moonology by Yasmin Boland, there are several things one should do during each new moon (depending on the house). So with the fourth house (home and family zone), the things one should try to do include:

Having a “Garage sale”

Hugging your parents

Sorting out your photo albums/digital photo files

“Inviting Friends over”

Renovate or redecorate so you’re more comfortable at home

“Sell your home and/or change location, or even country”

“Ask your grandparents about your family’s history”

Things in “” are either things I can’t do (talk to my grandparents for one—they’re all dead), or things that aren’t possible at this moment (moving–well I’m going to be moving, it just isn’t going to be during this particular new moon cycle or having a garage sale [truthfully this is a giant pain in the rear to do anyway, so no–I do not foresee this for quite a while]).

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Review: More with Less: How to declutter your home without sacrificing comfort and coziness—a unique minimalist makeover approach by Michelle Moore

So here is my review of More with Less: How to declutter your home without sacrificing comfort and coziness—a unique minimalist makeover approach by Michelle Moore. This is more expanded and slightly different from the shorter one that I posted on amazon.

More with Less by Michelle Moore (c)Amazon.com

Rating: 5 stars

I’ve decided that this is the “year (or possibly years—because lets face it I’m sure I’ll procrastinate a little at some point)” that I start having an active participation in my own life. This ranges from making sure I’m in a job that I at least enjoy going to daily, to making new friends (and getting together when possible with old friends), and that the house/apartment/bedroom (wherever I’m living) isn’t totally jam packed with stuff. This book is focused on that third area: making sure that I’m not just living surrounded by stuff.

I’ve read several different books on the minimalism over the past couple of months (and probably will still be reading some more just to get ideas on what to do), and this one ranks right up there in the top five.

The book covers several different things related to minimalism: hygge, and the Swedish death cleaning method; and then the author takes you through basically room by room on how to slowly start decluttering your own life/home.

One of the main themes behind this book (besides minimalism) is hygge, or the cultural practice of Scandinavians meaning “well-being” or coziness. Since hygge is a “practice” it can be considered both mental and physical—do things that make you feel cozy or increases your well-being. Read More

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