Planning – What is your motto for the year?

 

2016Many people this time of year are focused on New Year’s resolutions or setting up a few goals for the coming new year. I’ve been a big goal setter for several years. I like to remind myself what I want to accomplish during these 12 short months as well as celebrate all that I’ve accomplished at the end of the year.

Over time, the way I set goals has evolved and I’m sure it will continue to evolve. I change. The world changes. Technology changes. Many different things influence my methods to achievement.

In my book, Tame Those Pesky Details, I talk a bit about goal setting. However, the past few years I’ve added a twist. Before I begin my planning, I determine where I want to be at the end of the year and summarize in one or two short sentences, mottos or mantras, what is the theme for the year. Everything else falls in line behind that.

It’s often said, if you don’t know where you’re going, all the planning in the world won’t get you there. While setting goals is fantastic, I’ve found it’s become even more meaningful by having a motto or two as an umbrella of sorts to summarize and light my way.

Let me give you some examples. Perhaps, if you’ve been working on a project for a long time, this might be your Year of Manifestation, when you finally reach that major goal. Or, if if you’ve struggled financially but feel you have a gameplan for changing that, your motto might be the Year of Good Income and Good Savings.

Only you can decide what your motto will be. The first year I did this, I only had one motto. Now, I find that I like to have two. Why? I can’t exactly explain. If I had to deduce I’d say one has more of a personal slant and the other relates primarily to my business, but they intertwine. However, if there comes a year when I feel one will sum it up completely for me, I’ll do it.

I like to set up my motto as a daily appointment on my Outlook calendar, so every morning when I turn on my laptop I’m reminded and focused on making my year the best that it can be in the direction of my motto. Doing this definitely inspires me and keeps me on track. I’ve also written it into my planner (more on that later) but you could set it up on your phone or make a pretty screensaver image with it. Whatever works for you!

Most goals tend to be pretty specific, but I feel we need to be open to opportunities that arise that may be better than we ever imagined. Or, that are our dreams come to fruition! Working towards your goals but focusing on the big picture motto creates a perfect storm of positive energy. At the end of every year, I’ve realized my motto has been achieved even though it might not have played entirely with my goals. In a good way.

What are my mottos for 2016? Sorry, I share a lot but for me, that’s something I hold private. If you care to share, I welcome that. More importantly, I encourage you to think in higher-level terms when it comes to your goals and know that you have your destination, you just don’t always have your route!

Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

I am,

Your Aunti Cindi

This post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own.

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #8 – Clothes that Should Be Hung

Magic of Tidying Up

Honestly, it seems as if these clothing categories can go on forever!

I’m now up to clothes that should be hung, the next category in my tidying journey based on Marie Kondo’s book.  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, There are still six more clothing categories alone, in addition to like, the whole rest of my house 🙂

I suspect my time constraints are no different than for anyone else with a normal, busy life. So, I’m here to say you can do it in spurts. Just keep moving forward!

Bottoms, for me, are quite an easy category as I don’t have near as many as I do tops and I clean through them on a regular basis. Some folks I know have over 75 pairs of just jeans. I don’t own 75 bottoms in total!

I started with skirts. Now, very few people have ever seen me in a skirt or a dress, but I do like them. I wear them on occasion and buy only what I really, really like. I have 11 and I kept them all.

I don't have too many but I do like them!

I don’t have too many but I do like them!

As for shorts, I don’t have many of those either. In spite of the fact that I live in the desert, I tend to only wear shorts around the house, and will switch to pants when I go out. I used to buy certain brands that I liked but they are no longer available and I haven’t replenished them. However, I did an honest purge here and got rid of over half.

Just a few shorts here, too!

Just a few shorts here, too!

Pants, as I said, I constantly update. I have specific brands and styles I like so when they go on sale or I see that one is wearing out, I toss and replace. However, I realized I was keeping a few pair that I hadn’t worn since the last century. Amazing they were still in my closet! Out they went! I kept 75 percent of my pants.

There are more in the drawer but these are a few in the current rotation.

There are more in the drawer but these are a few in the current rotation.

I do have some special occasion pants which are not included in this bunch. That’s a future category. These are my everyday and work pants and jeans.

I did demote  downgrade – one or two pair of pants to loungewear, which is verboten in Kondo’s world, but I think they were originally loungewear and I upgraded them. So, now they got put back in their place.

I know Kondo is very specific about not downgrading any clothing.  With the KonMari Method, you should just get rid of it. In many cases, I agree but I’m not completely sold on the idea. I spoke with some friends about this and they all said they downgraded clothing and that allowed them to get additional life out of items they loved. In the book, Kondo’s experience has been that downgraded clothing simply becomes a pile that takes up space and is never worn again. If that’s the case, then yes, discard.

I don’t believe loungewear is the only category to downgrade to. After all, you don’t want to purchase brand new clothing to clean the garage, paint, garden and so on. One usually wears clothes that have seen better days but still have life in them. I realized this after I cleaned through all my t-shirts and discovered I only had good ones left, ones I would never wear for really dirty projects around the house. Luckily, there was one in the hamper that fit the cleaning category.

We in the United States are very blessed with lots of space and need appropriate clothing to do certain chores. Downgrading clothing is normal to me for specific circumstances. Maybe this is simply how I was raised and you have different experiences. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Here’s a perfect example of how easily something new and beautiful can get ruined so you need to have specific clothing for chores. I was running out the door the other day when I noticed the top lock of the screen door wasn’t closing properly. It does this about once a year when it gets cold here in the desert. I ran to the garage and grabbed my handy can of WD-40, sprayed it into the lock until it worked properly, put the can back and went on my merry way. When I returned home, I took off my brand new puffer vest, only to notice the stains from the WD-40 spray! I didn’t spray much or for long. It didn’t appear that the spray had extended far beyond the lock. However, I now have stains on my puffer vest that I doubt will ever come out.

As for storing my bottoms: Skirts, obviously, need to be hung. So, they remain in the closet. Shorts have always been folded, so no change there. However, where they are located after this journey remains to be seen. Pants – well, the jury is still out on how I want to handle my pants. I have lots of friends who fold their pants and many others who hang them. I’ve generally hung the ones in current rotation and folded extras in a drawer. I really can’t decide what I want to do here. As I clean and rearrange my closet, chest and nightstand, I certainly hope that the answer becomes evident.

My closet continues to show a shift to one which I feel reflects my personality. thus bringing me joy. There are still several clothing categories left (shoes, accessories, etc.) so the sorting and discarding continues.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. There’s much more to come. Next up: Socks, underwear and handbags.

Enjoy!

Cindi

This post includes affiliate or referral links. However, all opinions are my own.

Recipes – Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

turkey

Right about now, cooks around the country are stressed big time over the looming Thanksgiving holiday dinner. Maybe you tried a recipe last year that you didn’t quite like, or you’re searching for something different or perhaps it’s your first time making a turkey. Relax.

I have to say, for some reason, I’ve always found turkeys easy to prepare. In the past, I would baste and baste for hours, but over the years, I’ve created a recipe that seems to work with every turkey I’ve tried, from the least to most expensive. I do it every time I have dinner, and the turkey is moist and tasty. What more could you ask for?

So, here’s my makeshift recipe for an easy Thanksgiving turkey.

First, be sure it’s fully thawed. We usually have around a 20 pound turkey to feed our family with leftovers, so it’s out of the freezer and into the fridge by Sunday.

On Wednesday night, I pull out all the extras – neck, gizzard, heart – and make a broth in a big pot with lots of celery, onion, carrots and parsley. That gets used for the stuffing on Turkey Day.

Now, back to the turkey.

Thanksgiving morning, I slice several onions on the bottom of the roasting pan. If you’re using the disposable aluminum pans from the store, either use two (double the pans) or place a sturdy cookie sheet underneath because the turkey can get a bit unwieldy by the time it’s done and you don’t want to spill juices all over your oven.

Once you’ve sliced the onions, rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out, then pat dry with paper towels. Place it on top of the onions. Coat the turkey with a thin layer of olive oil all over.

Inside the turkey for flavoring, I place a stalk of celery, a sprig or two of parsley, two or three baby carrots, a small peeled onion and a whole lemon. Rinse the lemon skin and poke it several times with a fork before you put it in the turkey.

In the roasting pan, I pour one can of Vernors Ginger Ale. You can use another brand, if you like, or even beer. I happen to like Vernors. Don’t pour it over the turkey, just pour it into the bottom of the roasting pan on top of the onions.

vernors

I tent the turkey with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for an hour at 450 degrees. Then I reduce it to 325 degrees until it’s ready. If you buy a turkey with a pop-up thermometer, that’s easy. Otherwise, your meat thermometer should read 165 in the thigh. For a large turkey like this, it usually takes around 4 1/2 – 5 hours, depending on how finicky the turkey is.

Carefully remove the turkey from the oven and let it sit for 15-30 minutes before slicing. Eat!

Wasn’t that easy? No basting, no nothing. It comes out a beautiful golden brown. The oil seals in the juices while the lemon and ginger ale soften the meat.  Be very careful removing the pan from the oven as there will be a ton of juices, which can later be used to make gravy.

We got lazy on the mashed potatoes over the years and now buy the Trader Joe’s frozen mashed potatoes. They are perfect and delicious every time! They also have frozen mashed sweet potatoes.

nov7-mashedpotatoes

For the stuffing, we use two packages of Pepperidge Farm blue (regular), one red (herb cubed) and one yellow (corn). We cut up the meat and veggies from the Wednesday broth and mix it with the stuffing mix, along with the broth to moisten it. This really has to be done by feel – not too moist but not too dry. Spread it in a couple of 9×13 pans and bake. It usually takes about 20  minutes if I’m not mistaken. I don’t make the stuffing so don’t quote me on that. I just observe.

Stuffing 1Stuffing 2Stuffing 3

Anyway, I just wanted to share my turkey recipe with you. I’m always interested in hearing what others are doing, so please share! And, if you do make your turkey like I do, let me know  how it turns out.  I shared my recipe with a friend and he said he spreads honey all over his bird, then plops some inside. I haven’t tried that yet but it sounds yummy!

In the end, the holiday is not about the food but about the loving company of family and friends, thankful for another year together with great memories to share. I hope you and  yours have a happy, safe and blessed Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!

Cute-Thanksgiving-Turkeys-13

 

Enjoy!

CIndi

Cindi’s Thoughts – A Cautionary Tale of Online Shopping

Online Shopping

We’re heading into the frantic holiday shopping season, and no matter how intelligent we are, we’re still human and we make mistakes. There, I said it, I made a mistake!

Before you dig out the credit cards and start doing major purchases online, I wanted to share with you something that happened to me last year. Luckily, the outcome was fine but it could have been terrible if circumstances were different.

Last December, on a late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, exhausted, i was getting ready to shut down my laptop for the night when I received an email from a favorite retailer that an item I wanted was on sale at a very good price. Now, as tired as I was, the smart thing to do would have been to turn off my computer, get some sleep and order the item in the morning. However, we know how quickly things sell out during the holidays and I didn’t want to miss such a good opportunity.

Black-Friday-Cyber-Monday-2015-578x372

Yes, I could have gone into the store for the item, but I knew I only wanted that one thing and I thought if I quickly ordered online I could go to sleep happy. Then I could avoid the crowds in the store and spend my time doing more exciting things. As it turns out, that was not the case.

The item was just shy of the free shipping minimum, so I stayed up a bit longer to find something else to add to my order. Now, besides being exhausted, my eyes were spinning circles looking at items trying to decide what small thing to purchase to get my free shipping.

I finally placed my order then decided to catch up on Facebook while I waited for my email confirmation to come through. It did. Yikes!

Yikes!

You see, this particular retailer’s site had two quirks that threw me off my game. First off, it listed the billing address, then the shipping address. This is completely opposite most other retail checkouts. Usually, your shipping information comes first, then when you add your payment info, the site will ask for your billing address.

I’d purchased from this site before so all the address and payment information was saved in my account; I’m just saying I didn’t catch that I was looking at my billing address when I hit the submit order button. I thought it was my shipping address.

Then, this site, for some reason, kept the last address I shipped to as my default. Now, I’d ordered many times over the years from this retailer, but only once did I ship to another address and it suddenly decided that should be my default.

I received my order confirmation and was surprised to see that my order was not shipping to me but to a family member across the country, the last address I had shipped to. I immediately logged into my account, but I was not offered the option to make changes or cancel the order. This was all within a matter of about 30 minutes or so from the time I placed the order.

I located the telephone number for web order support and the representative informed me that it clearly states in their online order policies that no changes can be made once an online order had been placed. I was shocked! Zero changes? Yep, zero changes. The minute the order is placed it goes directly into processing. The only way around that is if you ship to the store because you can choose not to pick up your order.

We as consumers are partly to blame here. We want to receive everything within hours from the time we order it. That means that we lose our freedom to make changes or cancel orders as well.

drone delivery

I went to several online sites that I frequent and each one has a completely different order policy. Several do not allow changes or cancellation once an order has been placed. Others will allow changes until it ships. The rest fall somewhere in between. These policies are in effect year round, not just during the holidays.

My advice to you before you hit the Submit Order button is to review absolutely everything in detail and know the policies for that particular merchant. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of a bad situation.

I was lucky. My order went to a family member. I told him he could either keep the items or return them and keep the money. It was a small cost, so I just reordered.

However, can you imagine if I had spent a large amount of money and sent the order accidentally to an ex, someone I’m no longer in touch with or even the person I want to gift it to? If it’s the gift recipient, well, not such a big deal, but if it’s someone else, they are under no obligation to return the items to me. What’s to keep them from taking the shipment to the store and getting a refund? After all, I had clearly ordered the items and shipped the order to them. I would be out the money and the items as well.

Happy Shopping!

We’re always so busy and it’s so easy to click, tap or enter to complete a transaction. Before you do, take a deep breath, review everything with a clear head, then order. You’ll be glad you did!

Happy Shopping!

Cindi

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #7 – Bottoms, Pants and Skirts

Magic of Tidying Up

Now that I finished sorting through my tops — which I think is one of the toughest clothing categories for me because there are just so many sub-categories — it was time to find joy in my bottoms.

As I said before, I have to take the time to do this tidying exercise in fits and starts as I take care of my Mom and I’m never quite sure when I’ll have the presence of mind to make joyful decisions about the items that surround me. So, I’m slowly going through the categories as defined by Marie Kondo in her book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I suspect my time constraints are no different than for anyone else with a normal, busy life. So, I’m here to say you can do it in spurts. Just keep moving forward!

Bottoms, for me, are quite an easy category as I don’t have near as many as I do tops and I clean through them on a regular basis. Some folks I know have over 75 pairs of just jeans. I don’t own 75 bottoms in total!

I started with skirts. Now, very few people have ever seen me in a skirt or a dress, but I do like them. I wear them on occasion and buy only what I really, really like. I have 11 and I kept them all.

I don't have too many but I do like them!

I don’t have too many but I do like them!

As for shorts, I don’t have many of those either. In spite of the fact that I live in the desert, I tend to only wear shorts around the house, and will switch to pants when I go out. I used to buy certain brands that I liked but they are no longer available and I haven’t replenished them. However, I did an honest purge here and got rid of over half.

Just a few shorts here, too!

Just a few shorts here, too!

Pants, as I said, I constantly update. I have specific brands and styles I like so when they go on sale or I see that one is wearing out, I toss and replace. However, I realized I was keeping a few pair that I hadn’t worn since the last century. Amazing they were still in my closet! Out they went! I kept 75 percent of my pants.

There are more in the drawer but these are a few in the current rotation.

There are more in the drawer but these are a few in the current rotation.

I do have some special occasion pants which are not included in this bunch. That’s a future category. These are my everyday and work pants and jeans.

I did demote  downgrade – one or two pair of pants to loungewear, which is verboten in Kondo’s world, but I think they were originally loungewear and I upgraded them. So, now they got put back in their place.

I know Kondo is very specific about not downgrading any clothing.  With the KonMari Method, you should just get rid of it. In many cases, I agree but I’m not completely sold on the idea. I spoke with some friends about this and they all said they downgraded clothing and that allowed them to get additional life out of items they loved. In the book, Kondo’s experience has been that downgraded clothing simply becomes a pile that takes up space and is never worn again. If that’s the case, then yes, discard.

I don’t believe loungewear is the only category to downgrade to. After all, you don’t want to purchase brand new clothing to clean the garage, paint, garden and so on. One usually wears clothes that have seen better days but still have life in them. I realized this after I cleaned through all my t-shirts and discovered I only had good ones left, ones I would never wear for really dirty projects around the house. Luckily, there was one in the hamper that fit the cleaning category.

We in the United States are very blessed with lots of space and need appropriate clothing to do certain chores. Downgrading clothing is normal to me for specific circumstances. Maybe this is simply how I was raised and you have different experiences. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

As for storing my bottoms: Skirts, obviously, need to be hung. So, they remain in the closet. Shorts have always been folded, so no change there. However, where they are located after this journey remains to be seen. Pants – well, the jury is still out on how I want to handle my pants. I have lots of friends who fold their pants and many others who hang them. I’ve generally hung the ones in current rotation and folded extras in a drawer. I really can’t decide what I want to do here. As I clean and rearrange my closet, chest and nightstand, I certainly hope that the answer becomes evident.

My closet continues to show a shift to one which I feel reflects my personality. thus bringing me joy. There are still several clothing categories left (shoes, accessories, etc.) so the sorting and discarding continues.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. There’s much more to come. Next up: Clothes that should be hung.

Enjoy!

Cindi

This post includes affiliate or referral links. However, all opinions are my own.

KonMari Cleaning Playlist #1

Magic of Tidying Up

I know, I know. Marie Kondo, in her book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, clearly states that you should commune with your belongings in private and in complete silence so that it’s easier to decide what to keep and what to discard. However, I think many of us use music as a motivator, a calming presence, good company or for many other reasons. Music is pretty much playing non-stop.  So, now that my tops are done, I’ve created a playlist that I hope you’ll enjoy.

I chose these songs for my first KonMari playlist because their titles offer a tongue-in-cheek view of our attachment to things and the decisions we need to make as we’re tidying things up.

  • Heartbeat – because our hearts are racing to get started – and to finish!
  • True Love – because many of us have a strong connection to our belongings
  • A Little Less Conversation – because we’re supposed to be doing this in silence
  • I Need You – because it’s so hard to part with things sometimes
  • Help! – because we all could use a little help going through this tidying process even through we’re supposed to do it alone
  • Heartless – because sometimes we just have to be heartless and put an item in the discard pile
  • Vampire – because all this extra stuff is sucking the life out of us!
  • La Vie en Rose – because sometimes we just want to deny we have too much and view things through rose colored glasses
  • Thank You – because we must show gratitude to those items we discard and thank them for spending time with us
  • The Clean Up Song — because at the end of the day, we need to put everything back in order

I listen to quite a wide range of music, and in the last few years I’ve been particularly introduced to new and independent artists in a variety of genre from pop to folk to kindie rock and oh, so much more, from the radio hosts at WHFR.FM. I listen to Phil Maq and his show Theme Attic weekly, and catch other programs as time permits. Jillian Rae (Heartbeat)
and The Whiskey Charmers (Whiskey Charmers) are two that I’ve come to love because of Theme Attic.

I hope you enjoy this little respite from all the hard work involved in tidying the KonMari way. Let me know your suggestions for good cleaning music!

Come back again to see how I do with my next few categories. Thanks for stopping by!

Enjoy!

Cindi

This post contains referral and affiliate links. However, all opinions are my own.

Recipe – Obsessed! Kale and Parmesan Salad

If you recall, back in the spring I was totally obsessed with California Salads (read post here). I just couldn’t seem to get enough of the tuna/avocado yumminess! My obsession lasted for weeks until I got to the point I couldn’t look another avocado in the eye – unless of course, we’re talking about guacamole!

I had several non-committal weeks, then suddenly as fall temperatures started to descend upon our fair desert city, I had found a new obsession: Kale and Parmesan salad!

Doesn't this look yummy!

Doesn’t this look yummy!

I know, I know, kale is the new hip vegetable. Well, it’s almost so readily expected to be part of everyone’s diet that one forgets there are more ways to consume the veggie than in a morning green beverage.

I personally put a bit of chopped kale or spinach into nearly everything I make. There are so many nutrients in them a little bit never hurts. My Mom, who lives with me, hates raw kale. She says it tastes like paper but she eats it when I sneak it into one of my recipes.

I honestly don’t recall how my new salad concoction came about. I think I was just cleaning through the refrigerator and this assortment of goodies wound up on the counter. Regardless, I’m so glad they did because I eat this salad nearly every day. Sure, I’ll get sick of it in due time, but for now, I love it!

I just place some freshly washed kale on a plate, then add cherry tomatoes, black olives (i can never get enough olives!), shredded Parmesan cheese, a heavy dose of coarse ground black pepper and just a hint of your favorite ranch dressing, from vegan to all-out Marie’s. Mix it all together and it is absolutely delish!

I’ve used different types of kale in the salad, and they are all good. Sometimes I’ll buy a large bag of chopped organic kale. Other times, I want the baby kale leaves. Occasionally, I can find the small leaf Italian Lacinato kale in the organic section at Von’s. It’s positively fabulous, probably my favorite kale to use.

I told some friends of mine about my recipe and they chimed in with their own versions. One adds just a dash of balsamic vinegar to the salad as I make it, including the ranch dressing. He says it’s a whole new level of awesome!

Another friend switched out a couple of ingredients. Instead of kale she used spinach and replaced the shredded Parmesan with shredded mozzarella. She also added chopped roasted red peppers. I haven’t tried that version but she says her taste buds go wild!

I’ve always been a salad lover, so I’m sure I’ll have more cravings in the future. In the meantime, give this recipe a shot and let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

CIndi

 

 

 

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #6 – Tops

 

Magic of Tidying Up

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey and I do apologize for the lapse between posts, but once you get started on this journey, it seems to take on a life of its own. I’m further along than my posts indicate, and I’m putting a lot of thought and analysis into what I post, so it’s taking me a bit longer to get my info out than some others might. However, I do hope that we both learn along the way!

When we last visited, I had just begun working my way through the categories as recommended in the book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. Clothing is first up, and I did my energy test of my t-shirts, to see if I could feel the joy with my eyes closed. You can read the post here.

Next it was time to tackle tops. I hate to admit it, but even though I seemed to have quite a few in my closet, i gravitated to the same dozen or so and wore them over and over again. I’m sure everyone was sick of seeing me in the same ones, but I really liked the way I looked in them and they were quite comfortable. It’s hard to argue with comfort.

However, as the book title states, this process is supposed to be life changing, so it was time for me to take a hard look at exactly what was on those hangers!

I began with my winter season tops as it was the heat of the summer when I was doing this, so long-sleeved sweaters were the last thing on my mind and probably the easiest to form an objective opinion about. In fact, Kondo suggests working on your off-season clothing first. Makes total sense.

I got a little cocky after my t-shirt experiment and decided just to hold the hangers, not the actual clothing, as I made my decision. I quickly went through my winter tops as I don’t have that many living here in the desert, sorting by what to keep versus what to discard. This time, I took a more objective stance and made the choice simply by whether or not it had been worn enough times to make it in the record books. Yes, even if something brings you joy, at some point you must thank it for its wonderful service and pass it on.

I initially discarded about 20 percent of my winter tops, then hung the remainder back in my closet. My clothes are always organized by color within each category in my closet, and as I was hanging them, i realized I could part with a few more. Once they were all hung, I pulled out even more. It seemed as if my closet was creating a certain look – hopefully, my look – and those items that no longer fit really stood out. I ultimately went through my winter tops about four times. Probably would have been easier to do it the KonMari way in the first place.

In the end, 45 percent of my winter tops found their way into the discards. Unfortunately, I was so busy playing the hanger game I neglected to take photos at the start of this category. Here are the keepers.

Here are my joyous winter tops, no ugly Christmas sweaters in the bunch!

Here are my joyous winter tops, no ugly Christmas sweaters in the bunch!

Once winter tops were out of the way, it was time to address all my three-season tops. Here, again, I found that I was wearing the same few over and over again..

I decided this time to take them off the hangers to sort them properly. As I was deciding which brought joy and which should hit the discard pile, i realized i had several i didn’t even know I owned! In fact, price tags were still dangling from the seams. So, I actually had to make a third pile – try-ons – to determine which could stay and which could go.

As it turned out, i kept over half of the tops with tags. As for the rest, even if they fit and were in good condition, if they didn’t bring a smile to my face, i bid them adieu.

Overall, i released 41 percent of my three-season tops into the universe.

Spring and Summer Tops

These are what I consider my three-season tops as I can wear them nearly year round

Then came the basics: camis, tamis and tanks. This category took up a big section of my closet, but after reading Kondo’s book, I decided i would fold these and place them in a drawer.

When they hung in my closet, i grouped them by color rather than style with the mindset that they all go under some other article of clothing – from a top to a jacket – so I would probably decide on color then select a style. Well, I’ve had a change of heart and decided to separate them by category, then color, when I folded them in my drawer. As it turns out, I didn’t realize I had certain items because of the fact they were colorized not categorized.

As these are basics, I can’t really say they offer any overabundance of joy. I use them as needed. So, i turned on the big overhead light in my bedroom and checked for condition. I had a number of new ones here with tags still on, but several had seen only one or two uses. i kept 69 percent, and spent several minutes folding and categorizing them for the drawer. Don’t they look pretty?

Here's the mess of camis, tamis and tanks before the big folding session.

Here’s the mess of camis, tamis and tanks before the big folding session.

Here they are all nestled in the drawer. Even using Huggable Hangers, I save a lot of closet space by folding them.

Here they are all nestled in the drawer. Even using Huggable Hangers, I save a lot of closet space by folding them.

I highly recommend using the brightest light you can when making these clothing decisions. Harsh lighting exposes a multitude of sins. Besides, if something brings you joy under those circumstances, just think how happy you’ll be in candlelight!

Now that tops are done, what category will I do next? Come back and see!

Enjoy!

Cindi

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KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #5 – T-shirts

Magic of Tidying Up

I think the book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, is all about challenging yourself to think differently. And, for me, I decided to face things head-on!

Kondo highly recommends sorting and clearing through your stuff in a very specific category by category way. First stop: clothing. For me, that began in my closet.

One reason I was excited to start on the closet was as a personal challenge. The walk-in closet in the master bedroom is seemingly adequate for two people. However, I have overtaken every square inch of space in it – in addition to a full nightstand and six-drawer chest. If I were married, I have no clue where my husband’s clothes would go. One nightstand is kept empty for that purpose; however, the closets in the other two bedrooms are unavailable. One is for my office and the other is in my Mom’s bedroom. So, there is only this one closet for two people. The house does not have a linen closet, so all sheets, mattress pads, comforters and other bed linens must be stored in the closet as well.

i took “before” photos of my closet, but i’m not going to include them in my posts just yet. I’ll wait until I complete my clothing purge, catalog everything in Stylebook, sell some discards on eBay and fold and store the keepers as I see fit. Plus, I have many items in my closet that fall into future categories, so I won’t be cleaning through them for a while. I’m as anxious as you are to see if clothing for two people plus the linens can fit in this closet!

One thing Kondo mentions in her book is that you have to successfully live in your own space. She says the space you have is the right amount of storage for you – I’m paraphrasing here. That thought process ties into one I discovered in my Law of Attraction studies. So, it seems to be universal.

Somewhere along the line in my research, I came across the concept of having different forms of “me” in the closet, meaning the reason so many of us have so many clothes is we have the old me, the me I want to be (perhaps through many different trials and errors) and the me that I am. I found this an intriguing way to think about my belongings as I began my KonMari journey.

The question we’re supposed to ask as we hold each item in hand is, “Does this spark joy?” As I was tidying, I added a caveat to that – “Do I love it so much I’m willing to move it?” – meaning, the next time I pack up for a new abode, do I want that to come with me? And, pay the moving charges! Certainly, by that time, many items in my wardrobe will have been replaced with new ones, but I kept the question in mind for future categories.

Once I discovered the Stylebook app, the energy surge I had for this was so strong, it was almost scary. I didn’t know if this was for my benefit or for my readers. Either way, it was an energy I hadn’t felt in a long time and it felt good.

I think most people clean through their clothes somewhat regularly, so I wasn’t sure just how much I would discard, but at the very least, I was interested in reworking the items in the closet and drawers to utilize them more efficiently.

As i go through my wardrobe, I also want to identify and discard those items that I have that don’t bring me joy when I wear them. You certainly must have a few of those items, the ones where you almost dread putting them on but you haven’t found adequate replacements that make you feel good so you just keep wearing them. Well, this time they’re going!

When it was time to get started, I knew I’d have to break every category down into sub-categories, just due to time constraints. I’m sure it’s a very interesting experience to clean through all your clothing at once, but smaller categories are easier for me to digest. I suspect I wouldn’t be able to walk through my bedroom or living room if I put all my clothes into a big pile, but because I take care of my Mom, it just wasn’t practical. I had to do it in chunks.

I decided to start with t-shirts. I knew I had a lot but i hardly ever wear them. I put them all in a pile on my bed – sorry, I refuse to throw my good clothes on the floor. How would you feel if someone did that to you? – and was quite amazed to discover that for someone who rarely wears t-shirts, I had almost 70 of them!

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My big pile of t-shirts! I had to take them all off their hangers.

I decided to do this first batch a little differently than Kondo suggests. Since she says you should feel energy when you touch an article of clothing, i decided to clean through my t-shirts with my eyes closed. To my left, I put a chair where I would place items to keep and to my right, discards.

The keepers!

The keepers 🙂

The discards

The discards 🙁

To my surprise, the final tally was actually pretty close to accurate. I did pull five shirts from the discard pile, but I also discarded five shirts from the keep pile once I started cataloging and folding them.

All folded and snuggled in the drawer!

All folded and snuggled in the drawer!

In the end, I kept only 23 t-shirts, mostly from university, sports teams or concerts. I followed the video on Lavendaire’s YouTube channel and lovingly folded my t-shirts, placing them into their new home. Once hung, these shirts now take up exactly one drawer, Most people place them horizontally in the drawer, but for me, vertically worked better,

My t-shirt discards filled an entire garbage bag! I can only imagine what is yet to come once I get into more clothing categories.

Folding was actually fun, and I’ve since used t-shirts from the drawer and they are wrinkle-free! I used to hang them because I thought that would prevent wrinkles, but in actuality, they were more wrinkled hanging, and I couldn’t tell what I had. All I saw was a sea of green or black or white sleeves. Now I can see everything I own!

What category will I do next? Come back and see!

Enjoy!

Cindi

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #4 Random Thoughts

Magic of Tidying Up

The Sex and the City movie just happened to be on several nights in a row as I began my discarding process, and I felt a bit at odds with KonMari at the time. In her book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, Kondo advises that we should commune with our stuff in private and in complete silence.

In the movie, when Carrie cleans through the closet at her old apartment before moving in with Big, she has her three best friends with her – plus adorable little Lily – along with lots of champagne and great music to help guide her in deciding what should stay and what should go. Well, Carrie’s way seems so much more fun! Alas, I stuck to the KonMari way.

The KonMari Method is not that far off from my own personal experience with moving. During previous moves – including moving my Mom – I’d already begun to sort, discard and pack according to category, long before KonMari had made its way into my life. I started to sort  that way because it was too confusing and difficult to gauge how much of any item I had until I gathered like items all in one place, then eliminated as needed. So, in essence, I had begun doing a very similar tidying on my own. Still, this book helped me to take it one step further.

Moving is a great time to purge and if you have the time, do it well in advance. That way, you can pack all the vases, mementos, cookbooks and so on in the same boxes. That will make it so much easier to unpack at your new home. If you pack by room, the items might not go into the same room at your new place. Clothing, of course, is different, but you might decide to create a library and the books that once went into your office or master bedroom are now going into your magnificent new library.

One of the great things about the KonMari method is it takes you out of the mindset of looking for ways to display or store things and into questioning whether or not you need them in the first place. Also, by categorizing your belongings, you not only see the quantity of items you own, you can determine how many near-duplicates you have and just how many your lifestyle requires.

Kondo prompts us to ask ourselves about each item, “Does this spark joy?” I’ve added a caveat to that: “Am I willing to pay to move it?” If I don’t feel the least bit interested in paying to move it next time I move, it goes in the pile. That has taken me off the fence several times.

I  have to also admit that using the Stylebook app in conjunction with the closet cleanse has been a real eye-opener for me. Not only was I required to touch every single item in my wardrobe and choose what brings me joy, I also have an inventory which will help me to make better buying decisions in the future, as well as better utilizing my wardrobe in general. More on that when I discuss my closet in-depth.

Seems I’ve always had an eBay pile which has held up my tidying, but this time I’m going full force. i probably added another 30 items easily to the eBay pile just from my closet. Kondo doesn’t really cover the idea of selling your discards in her book, but in a transcript of a Q&A she gave which I found online, she said if it brings you joy to sell it, then do so, but it will take time and are you willing to put your joy on hold while you do? Good question but at the present time, I’d say it’s a yes for me.

One thought I had along the way is that, God forbid, should I not walk this earth tomorrow, all my belongings would just be stuff, stuff that gets donated or sold at a garage sale or parceled out among my family or trashed. So, while I may have an emotional attachment to an item, no one else probably will, at which point I have to ask myself, why should I? If something truly sparks joy, that’s not an issue. It’s always the things we ruminate about that are the culprits, energy wasters, power takers.

Kondo solves the problem of where to begin. Other books offer alternative methods of cleaning and organizing, and I have found a few that delve into the psychology of why we have what we have. But Kondo uses a very pragmatic approach to discover which belongings truly bring us joy, and provides a gameplan to attack in a specific order. Does she answer all my questions as I’m going through the process? No, but it’s OK to think for ourselves and that’s part of the reason I started to blog about it. You  might have similar questions.

I’m very excited to be on this journey, and I hope that you’ll be inspired to begin your own and to share your thoughts. I can’t wait to see how much I’ve discarded in the end!

So, enough talking, let’s get to work! Next up: Clothing.

Enjoy!

Cindi