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KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #14 – Books Part 2

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #14 – Books Part 2

Well, I must say, if books are taking me this long, I can’t wait to get to paperwork! I thought I could recap with just two blog posts, but alas, I was wrong.

I’m continuing with my KonMari journey per Marie Kondo’s book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, working my way through all the books. Determining which to keep and which to donate is not the problem; figuring out how and where to display what I have left is.

I like to keep my books together by subject or category. Meandering my way through my bookshelves, I discovered some categories have just two or three books. Others easily transcend two to three shelves!

As I said in my previous books post, I want to focus on the display as well as the collection, so I had to think outside my box when it came to properly addressing these smaller categories. In addition to display, I want to make sure I can see each title. I’d previously had so many books piled onto shelves I couldn’t find what I needed or purchased the same one a second time because I didn’t realize I already owned it. My goal is books I love displayed in a way that reflects my personality and is a joy to view, along with ease of finding them when I need to.

Several years ago, I spoke with a professional organizer who said to move things out of the way so that you can set things up how you want. Then, deal with the excess. I took that to heart with a console table next to my desk. I’d had several display items on it, none of which I intended to keep. I also wanted to have room for family photos. I’d previously put some on bookshelves behind me where I couldn’t see them while I worked. What fun is that?

So, in one fell swoop, I cleared the table, set up some photos and placed my MSU Sparty figure atop three Michigan State books – a category that seemed wasted on the bookshelf. I can now appreciate everything on the table, enjoy Sparty who is energized and focused, and easily glance through the beautiful campus photos whenever I’m in the mood to reminisce. Yay!

I’m also blessed to have a sister with a good eye for design and who understands my quirkiness. Occasionally, I’ve needed her help and she’s offered great advice! I tend to like things less crowded so at times I’m not good at displaying multiple items on a shelf, but she can see right through that and meet me in the middle.

She’s also the one who says, if you love something, buy it. You’ll find a place for it. Maybe not right away…A few years ago, I purchased two glass mosaic heart-shaped vases by Debi Lilly, the smaller one in purple and the larger in red. I didn’t know where I would use them, but I loved them. They’ve sat on one of my nightstands ever since. However, while I was working on my bookshelves, I needed something interesting to fill a void. I grabbed the purple one and filled it with a strand of fairy lights. OMG! It looks so cool on my shelf when it’s lit! However, my sister suggested moving it up a shelf, and bringing my gold IKEA crown up to replace it. I balked at first, thinking it was too crowded, but she was completely right. The crown deserved to be seen and the purple vase fits perfectly on the higher shelf. Now I need a place for the red one.

I had originally put the crown on the shelf it’s on now, but I moved it to the bottom one because all my Princess Diana and other Royal books were there. I used it to separate the Princess Diana books from the others, which I’m sure she would appreciate and seemed appropriate for the category. But the crown really was too pretty to be hidden and I’m glad I changed its location. I ordered simple lighted mercury glass spheres by Valerie Parr Hill and I think the largest one will work perfectly there.

In the photo above, you see two of my completed shelves. The top one is all of my Richard Branson books. I’m a big fan. So much so I had no idea how many books I had! I also owned the shaking hands piece, and I felt that the two of them belonged together, since Branson has built his fortunes on partnership.

The second shelf contains classics like Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Millionaire Next Door. I added the Believe sign and candles as inspiration. 

Here are some tips for displaying your books:

  1. Treasure hunt. Bring together items in your house or perhaps in storage that reflect the mood you want for your bookshelf. You can have more than just books on the shelves! 
  2. Leave some breathing room. It’s important to not over stuff the shelves. You want to be able to enjoy and use them, not just have them serve a utilitarian purpose.
  3. Grid it. I spoke about this in my last blog post. Identify what goes where, including accessories. Put it on the grid but see how it looks and feels once you have it in place. I moved a few shelves to different locations. On paper they made sense, but I didn’t like the way they looked or felt.
  4. Light it up! If your shelves don’t have built-in lighting, purchase some! It makes such a difference, particularly if they’re on timers. I used a variety of things from microlights to flameless candles. Put them in and around things. I’m normally a very balanced person when it comes to display, but I loved mixing it up, putting light in different locations. 
  5. Stack them and line them up. Books don’t have to only lie down or stand. Mix it up! Just be sure you can see all the titles and they are organized in a manner that makes it easy for you to find them. If you really want a cohesive look, wrap them all in kraft paper and use a label maker to put titles on the spines. I don’t have the patience for this, but it does look very pretty!
  6. Categorize. Decide how best for your to locate your books when the time comes. Do you prefer category, topic, author, title or some other way? Mine is done by category, then display. As long as the book is on the right category shelf, I’ll find it. I’ve really limited my books (for me, anyway!) so it’s easy-peasy!

I haven’t completed the book step in the KonMari method yet, but I’ve noticed that I’m really happy when I walk into my office and see how organized my bookshelf is becoming, particularly at night when all the lights come on. I have six more shelves plus the top of the bookcase to organize, plus books in other areas of the house. I’m taking my time. I have lots of other projects I’m working on!

There will be at least one more blog post regarding books, but I’ll also be posting some images on Instagram, so be sure to check it out!

How do you organize your books? Have you started a new routine when it comes to buying/reading/storing books? Leave your comments below.

Next up, Books Part 3. Join my feed on Bloglovin’ or catch my Instagram posts to keep up to date.

Enjoy!

Cindi

 

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

 

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #13 – Books Part 1

KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #13 – Books Part 1

As a writer, I tend to read a lot, which means I own a ton of books. However, as I continue in my KonMari journey, I wanted to use my bookshelf in my office to not only house books but display items that bring me joy as well. And, my project binders.

Several years ago, I was all about accumulating as many interesting books as I could, to one day have a dedicated library in my house. I envisioned myself drinking tea beside a huge window, surrounded by floor to ceiling books. However, every time I moved, there were more and more super heavy boxes of books that no one – including the movers – wanted to lift. The more books I had, the more bookshelves I needed. It was an endless cycle.

A couple of moves ago, I decided not to take three bookshelves with me to my new home. I donated over 500 books to the library, followed by another 200 once I settled into my new place. Some books I read. Some I would never read. Almost all of them nonfiction.

Basically, what was left is what I now have, and it’s still too much. In fact, at times I have forgotten I own a particular book and buy a second or third copy. It’s frustrating that there are so many books on the shelves that I can’t get to the ones I want. It’s time to purge!

I also wanted to bring some light and air to my bookshelf, which sits behind my desk in my office. When I walk into my office, I want to be inspired and happy to look at the bookshelf, not be distracted or annoyed by the mess.

Marie Kondo, in her book,  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingsays to put all your books in one pile and purge from there. I couldn’t do that. I had to take it shelf by shelf, which was organized by topic. Even cleaning through my books that way I’ve had stacks on the floor for several days while I decide on the new layout for my bookshelf. It would have been a nightmare with all of them on the floor at the same time!

As I touched each book, I determined if it deserved a place in my home. If so, it went into Pile A. If not, Pile B, whereupon I noted all the pertinent information (title, author, ISBN, price) onto a handy dandy spreadsheet. I always keep track of books I donate or sell. That way, I won’t buy them again – hopefully. Then, I checked Amazon to see if they were worth selling. Most were not. So, they were put into a box and packed into my car to deliver to the library.

However, there were some that didn’t fit into either category. They didn’t deserve to stay, but I really wanted to read them before I sent them on their way. I know, Kondo says to just give them away, but I truly believe I will make it through this pile. Alas, Pile C needed a home.

As I worked through the shelves, I had to decide what I wanted where. So, I did my usual – I drew a quick sketch of the bookshelf on a piece of paper, identified what I knew and listed the book categories that still needed a home. (I use this same method for kitchen cupboards, bedroom closets/furniture and anything else that can be put on a grid. It helps me to think things through.)

I’m about halfway done, and it’s been a challenge. I cannot believe how many books I can squeeze onto a shelf! (These are really deep.) I’ve always been good at organizing things, I guess to the point where I have far more than I need of some items.  

So far, I’ve donated about another 100 books, added about as many into Pile C, with many more books to go. However, what I’ve done I’m thrilled with! I just love walking into my office and seeing the clean shelves, lights and words of inspiration.

Here are some tips for cleaning through your books:

  1. Bit by bit. If you have a lot of books, take it a bit at a time. It gets too confusing when you have books all over the place. When you want to put them back on a shelf, you won’t be able to find it. If your books bring you joy, there’s no reason to toss them, but be realistic.
  2. Decide on the use. Do you just want to pile your books on your bookshelves, or do you want to use the shelves for other things as well, such as display items, awards, photos, or office items. You have to make that decision before you start to put things back.
  3. Make a grid. I find it’s best for me to make a list of all the categories I need to put into a particular space, make a grid, then decide where they go. Sometimes it’s decided on the grid. Other times I put the item away then note it on the grid and cross it off the list. It just helps to keep you organized so you don’t forget anything crucial.
  4. Clean it! Once the shelves are empty, do a good beeswax dusting and let it sit overnight before you put anything back. Let the beeswax do its job. It’s not often the shelves are completely empty, so take advantage while you can.
  5. Feel the energy. I’ve changed the layout of some of the shelves several times, until I felt it was right. I even changed the location of two or three categories because, while they looked good on my grid, I didn’t like the way it felt on the shelf. 
  6. Light it up! I’ve had so much fun using the inexpensive LED fairy lights on timers to light up my bookshelves. I’ve even used flameless pillar candles and lighted candle bases. It’s so exciting to walk into my office and see everything lit up. It increases my energy immediately.

I’ll do a final blog post once I’ve finished, and post photos on Instagram, but I thought I’d share what I’ve done so far. This is such a tough category for me, particularly if you’re an avid reader like I am. And, I keep my cookbooks and art books in other rooms. So, more mess to make!

I’d love to hear your comments on how you’re using KonMari to sort through your books. Leave your comments below!

Next up, Books Part 2. Join my feed on Bloglovin’ or catch my Instagram posts to keep up to date.

Enjoy!

Cindi

 

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

 

Recipes: Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

Recipes: Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

I’d been craving this meal for awhile, and with the cooler temperatures, I thought it was the perfect time to enjoy! It’s one of my favorite recipes and is super easy to make.

The original recipe comes from the book by Suzanne Somers: Eat Great, Lose Weight (p. 162). There are lots of good recipes in that book, but this is my fav.

I decided to make it in a slow cooker this time. I was worried it wouldn’t turn out as I remembered it because I’ve always cooked it stovetop, but it came out absolutely delish!   

I changed things up a bit from the original recipe the very first time I made it. Initially, I used only skinless boneless chicken thighs. I prefer dark meat in poultry, so that was my go-to. However, this time I used chicken breasts. And I don’t put as much meat into the recipe as it calls for. I use only about 2-2 ½ lbs.

I’m also too lazy to make the preserved lemon rinds. Instead, I wash the lemon skin really well, then just slice the rind of one lemon with a twist into the pot. Be sure to remove before serving.

Most of my family loves olives, and I’m sure you couldn’t put a bad olive in here. My favorites for this recipe are oil cured olives. However, I forgot to buy them, so I used Kalamata olives, which I always have in my pantry.

The original recipe calls for saffron, but instead I serve it over Mahatma yellow rice which I make in a rice cooker. I prefer to keep the rice separate until serving, but I’m sure it would be fine if you mixed it.

I don’t measure things exactly when I cook. I usually just throw things in that approximate the measurement. So, feel free to adjust to your taste.

 

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

¼ cup olive oil
3 medium onions, diced or one 12 oz. package frozen diced onions
2-2 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
2 cans Swanson 33 percent reduced salt chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (not Italian)
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinds of one small lemon
1 cup oil cured olives
1 cup frozen corn

Pour olive oil into bottom of slow cooker. Add garlic and onions. Add chicken pieces, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Cook on high for one hour.

Add parsley, cilantro, cumin, ginger, corn, lemon rinds and olives. Cook on low for three hours.

Shred the chicken pieces. Add back to the slow cooker and cook on low for one more hour.

Serve over rice.

To make the rice:

1-5 oz package Mahatma yellow rice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 ½ cups chicken broth

Place everything in the rice cooker. Stir occasionally. Cook until the lever pops.

 

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I do! Let me know in the comments below. And, if you make any other changes, please share!

Cindi

My Four Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

4 Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

It doesn’t matter the time of year. It seems everyone is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing their homes, and looking for new and better ways to do so.

I admit, I’m guilty. Right now, I’m doing a major cleanout and it’s refreshing to see open space where once there was something that collected dust.

It seems each season brings a host of new books advising how best to clean through your stuff. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of them, but it seems I still go back to these four books. Here are my favorites:

  1. Move your stuff, change your life by Karen Rauch Carter

I discovered this book in 2007, and it sits within easy reach of my desk. Carter approaches cleaning and organizing from a feng shui perspective, but she’s so much more than that. She takes a very holistic approach to life and is continually educating herself on how our homes can best and most healthily support us. She even wrote a sequel called, Make a Shift, Change Your Life.

Since we’re talking about cleaning and organizing here, I love her approach to working through the process. She suggests defining your perfect life in great detail, then checking to see that you have items in the house that support it. If it doesn’t, out it goes! She’s even conducted annual decluttering workshops to kick start the year.

Whenever I need something positive to keep me going as I declutter, I check out her YouTube channel or Facebook posts, and I’m motivated once again.

  1. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

I know, this is another feng shui book, but Kingston does an amazing job of getting down to the psychological and emotional reasons you keep things, and how to move past them. I was fascinated when I read this and still feel this is one of the best books of its kind. Decluttering somehow makes sense with this book.

I read the original, but there’s now an updated version, which I will also purchase. Kingston’s ideas are simple and effective, and you will refer back to it time and again. Like a good novel, once you get to the end you want to start reading from the beginning.

  1. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The Fly Lady

Although there are many good people out there who can help us to declutter, The Fly Lady teaches you how to clean! Not just deep cleaning, but how to maintain a clean and healthy home without spending your Saturdays washing floors and scrubbing toilets. It all comes down to routines.

For as long as I can remember, most people I know have spent their Saturday mornings cleaning for hours. What a lousy way to start the weekend! The Fly Lady agrees and aims to help you keep your weekends free for the important people in your life. Setting up a control journal is crucial to becoming successful here, but it’s super easy. I’ll try to do a blog post in the future about this.

There are references to people whose homes are in complete disarray, but even if you’re already a neat person, you’ll still pick up a few pointers.

I also highly suggest signing up for her newsletter. You’ll be flooded with messages, but there is good information and it keeps you on track.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, I had already begun doing many things in this book before it was written. I used to move a lot when I was young – a lot! – and everything just got thrown in boxes and oftentimes never got unpacked at the next location. Finally, when I had some time, I started to gather like items together, so I could determine how many of a particular item I had. It was mind blowing! Plus, items that would go into one room in one house might be used completely differently in the new one, so it was important to gather, then decorate.

I was quite open to Kondo’s approach, but I was also deep in the throes of caring for my Mom when I discovered this book, so I wasn’t able to finish going through my entire house the way she suggested. I do have an appreciation for many of her suggestions, but after living with it for a time, not everything works for me. For example, she suggests folding clothing like tops, sweaters, pants – depending on your closet and storage space. So, I folded my tanks, camis and t-shirts. It created much more closet space, but since those items now sit in drawers, I completely forget I have them! I only look in those drawers when I absolutely need those items. I would rather they hang in my closet so I can be more creative in putting together outfits. For me, out of sight, out of mind. I just need a bigger closet…

There you have it! My four favorite cleaning and decluttering books. I’d love to hear about yours! Add your comments below.

Be sure to join my mailing list and follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

Today my heart is both heavy and happy. Heavy with building lust and opportunity lost. Happy that a most beautiful, iconic structure has a savior.

For the past several hours, I’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole of the #fordetroit posts, absorbing every essence that is the future of Michigan Central Station (MCS) thanks to Ford Motor Company.

I grew up in Detroit, and I remember the first time I drove by that glorious building. My heart leapt with joy. How could something so beautiful be so unloved?

Certainly, I’m not the only person who asked this question. It’s been debated for decades. But once I laid eyes on MCS, my brain began developing a plan that has morphed a bit over time due to technology and the economy, but hasn’t strayed much from my initial vision.

At the time of my first sighting, I was traveling extensively for business. I had to put my idea on the backburner. It sat there and simmered, popped up again occasionally, but I didn’t have the experience to try to pull something like my vision together at the time.

I tracked articles and news stories about MCS, but it didn’t fully come back into my life until I started to write my novel series, The Diana Diaries. Book two – Destiny Dollars – introduces MCS into the discussion and book three (under development) – Destiny Detroit – takes the story to Detroit to pursue the main character’s vision.

The setup scenario in Destiny Detroit is fictional, but the development of the MCS project is all real in my world. My writing is influenced by my interests, and MCS, which took hold of my heart from the first moment I saw it, is part of that. I had hoped to bring it to life, at least through my book, at best through a finalized business plan accompanied by building lovers with deep pockets.

However, the last few years I was a full time caregiver to my mother, and aside from the moments to write here and there, I couldn’t spend a lot of time on my business plan. I had done some research, put together some spreadsheets to support my premise, but my focus was on my Mom. MCS had sat empty for so long I figured I had another year or so to jump in full force. First, finish the book, then present my plan to potential investors. Alas, that won’t happen. But Destiny Detroit will still contain my vision.

Joy Mangano, the HSN power lady and author of Inventing Joy, learned the lesson of not acting quickly enough on her idea for a reflective flea collar. We all know who beat her to market with that product. But, she learned and went on to invent numerous other products that serve millions of people. As I read her book, I kept getting pangs of guilt that I had not fully immersed myself in my MCS project. And now, there is none.

Would my idea have generated as much income as what Ford is doing? Probably not. But it would have helped to grow another local industry and provide much fun and flair to the neighborhood. Still, I applaud Ford for stepping up to save MCS and give it life once again. I can’t wait to see the fully restored beauty. And, should they encounter some snags along the way and need an out – I have a great idea waiting in the wings.

What am I talking about? You’ll just have to wait to read the book. Fingers crossed it will be out by the end of the year, written through tears of joy and happiness – with a touch of regret.

In the meantime, you can read the first two books – Destiny Drop and Destiny Dollars – to catch up on the characters. And, I’ll even send a copy to Bill Ford for his reading pleasure once the third book is complete.

Be sure to join my mailing list so you can be the first to know about the official release date of Destiny Detroit.

Cindi