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Posts Tagged ‘organising’

I don’t really need my Inflight Toiletries Ziplock Bag anymore. I used to fly a lot. All my university years were focused on saving enough money to travel to South Africa for summer breaks and before that I was living in the UK and flying to all sorts of fun locations with the super cheap flights available. Then last year I went on an epic journey with my fiancé to Colombia and then a whole bunch of other great countries which totalled many flights in a matter of weeks. The ziplock bag of goodies made all these flights more bearable.

I’ve realised that holding onto this bag equals holding onto that lifestyle. It’s like a little glimmer of hope in my vanity that I’ll be travelling the world again. But the reality is that lifestyle is not the lifestyle I now live. I’ve traded meeting new people and visiting new places for getting to know my own family and building my own home.

Of course I’ll still travel, but it will be a lot less frequently, and I think I’ll manage just fine without it.

Items: 208

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Currently the Simple Living Forum has a thread on; “If you only had 3…” Of course many of the women have written about if they only had three make up items what they’d be. Lots of foundation, mascara and lipgloss featured.

 So I had new resolve over the weekend to see if I could decide what my 3 makeup items would be.

 I had a play around and decided that foundation would be my first item. I had kinda given up wearing foundation especially since cycling to and from work but I realised it really does give a polished look.

 Next item was mascara, I like this because it draws attention to the eyes and best of all it doesn’t need reapplying during the day.

 But the third choice was much harder. I’ve already given up my lipsticks so that wasn’t it, I love lip pencils but they aren’t very versatile, then there are eyeshadows to highlight the ‘windows of the soul’ but it ended up as a toss-up between eyeliner and lip & cheek tint.

 I went with the tint because a girl needs some glow, especially one who spends 8 hours a day in an office under fluro lighting and only one hour a week dancing. Plus this is a cheat product; I use one tint compact on lips, cheeks and eyes – awesome.

 So for the experiment, and this is a bit lame, I did up one half of my face with each ‘look’ and guess what? No real difference. And it was at this point that I had a realisation. You know when people do the grade thing? Like she’s a 10/10 or a 7/10 or maybe even a 3/10 god forbid? Well, I think I get out of bed a 6 and after showering and blow drying my hair I probably get to a 7 and then once I put on some foundation I can make it to 8/10. But I realised no amount of eyeshadow, bronzer, lipstick etc was really going to move me ‘up’ much more. I think everyone has a plateau, it’s genetics. For example, I just dyed my hair from blond (for 27 years) to brunette, I had lunch with my Mum today and she didn’t even notice. This really made me realise that you just look how you look and some extra highlighting cream or lip pencil really isn’t going to do anything!

Anyway, in the end I decided that my three things will be;

1. Liquid foundation
2. Brown mascara
3. Pink lip and cheek tint
And today I left the house without bronzer for the first time in, my god like, 9 years! And guess what, not one person exclaimed – Oh my, are you sick? You look SO pale.

Items: 209

What would your 3 make up items be? Feel free to add your list to the comments section.

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The smile test is the quintessential decluttering tool to help make decisions about things.

Being surrounded by friends and family during my decluttering whirl winds would be awesome. I imagine that I would hold up a pair of leopard print shoes, and like in the days of the roman gladiators, my crowd of supporters would roar; Yay or Nah! Thumbs up, keep it. Thumbs down, it goes.

After reading  Sue Kay’s book, No More Clutter, I’ve realized I have my own little decision-making Coliseum, right on my face: it’s my smile.

I’ve found this test is excellent for sentimental items. All those old childhood toys, teenage diaries, photos, cards and jewelery. When decision-making becomes difficult, like when I start thinking about how my Mother regrets burning all her teenage diaries, I just look at it and reflect on how it makes me feel. It’s then easy to tell whether you’re hanging onto things for the wrong reasons (guilt, obligation, laziness etc), because there’s no smile on your dial.

I’m currently using this technique to decide which sentimental items I’ll keep for my memory box. And using my list, rather than physically going through the items, has helped me decide more rationally which items are significant and worth treasuring and which items are things in my life but not needed for my future happiness.

The sentimental (or things not used on a daily basis) items that won the beauty pageant smile contest are:

  1. Book – Frida Kahlo
  2. Photo album – childhood
  3. Pink crystal
  4. Tiger stone
  5. Jewelry – childhood unicorn
  6. Jewelry – childhood silver bangle
  7. Jewelry – teenage Celtic ring
  8. Pile of cards and letters
  9. Toy – teddy ‘roobear’
  10. Toy – tiny dance skirt
  11. Diary – 1997
  12. First bank book
  13. Race ribbons
  14. Tiny shells in tiny box
  15. Photo with Dad when I was 3

I still need to down size some of these things. I don’t need a whole pile of race ribbons or letters to bring a smile to my face. Just a few of the best.

Once I see how much space these things take up, I’m going to buy a special ‘memories box’ to store them in.

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It kind of bugs me to have excess stuff. I guess you could even say it overwhelms me. I don’t know if it’s from guilt or a need to be organised. But when I see a dress discarded at the back of my wardrobe, or an old Christmas card from a loved one in a draw or a pair of flippers and a tennis racket in the garage and a basket of tangled necklaces on my dresser, I feel a bit suffocated. Seeing these things day in and day out but not using them, but not being able to let them go, is claustrophobic.

You know the saying: “You don’t own things, they own you”? Well I never got it, it seemed a bit stupid. But then one day I bought a car, and after that a 3m long dining table, and then, and then, and then. Before I knew it I owned all these wonderful things, but each wonderful thing needs a little love and care. And then, somehow it goes from love-at-first site in a shop to the responsibility of insuring, upkeep and making time to use these wonderful things. Also, things hold you in one place. Want to live in Africa for a year? What about all my stuff? You get the picture.

It was about the time of all this accumulation that  I was lying on the couch at my grandparents house, staring up at the wall of books I had always admired. When it hit me that all these books in a decade would be old. Not vintage or special edition old. Just old and dusty and mostly unloved. At that time I had a growing collection, a little library of my very own.

Now I have a library card and that was the beginning of my journey towards a more simply lifestyle, a lifestyle with fewer possessions. A lifestyle where less things own me.

I hope this 100 day challenge brings me to the simple lifestyle I want. I want clarity over the possessions I own and the benefit they give my life. And I look forward to the peace, contentment and freedom this will bring.

To see how I’m going visit my 100 thing list.

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