April update

April has flown by and I have had some very busy weeks at work. Due to this, I am a bit behind my April decluttering plan. However, I will not lose all spirits. There are still some days left of April, and I will do my best to cross of a few more items of my list.

Here is my list, with the items I have managed to declutter so far. I have donated some white shirts and a black suit and I have also had a look at the kids clothes, to see if we could donate clothes that won’t fit anymore.

  • Give away white shirts and black suit (planned to give to theatre group)
  • The kids’ clothes: purge / donate
  • Winter clothes – make a box to go to attic
  • Get rid of 3 items which I find hard to say goodbye to
  • Sell black coat and skirt (mine)
  • Purge toys downstairs
  • Get rid of dresser upstairs (give away)
  • Dissemble linen closet and get rid of it
  • Declutter / remove at least one box under the bed
  • Start organising hobby cupboard downstairs

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The picture is of some of the clothes I removed from my 3 year old’s drawers. It is more spacious now, which makes it easier to see what is in there.

My aim is to see if I manage by Thursday,  to declutter / remove one box from under the bed and purge toys downstairs. I will keep you posted.

Have you decluttered anything lately? Do you manage to stick to your plan?

Lots of love,

Kari

Book review: “The joy of living with less” by Francine Jay

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I have just finished my second book on minimalism and it has been helpful, as well as inspirational in my process of decluttering and minimising. Francine Jay walks us through four main sections in her book, starting with philosophy in part 1, continuing with part 2 where she presents her Stremaline method for decluttering. In part 3, she guides us through room by room, giving us useful tips on how and where to start, and what to be aware of in the various rooms. She introduces us to the aspects of lifestyle connected to simplifying our lives in part 4.

In part 1, she walks us through a lot of the thoughts and expectations around things, where especially two of the subchapters got to me: “You are not what you own” (Part one: chapter 2) and  “The Joy of enough” (Part one: chapter 9). I think it’s easy to feel that we need more things, newer things and a bigger house to accommodate all these things in society today, as images of how we “should” live our lives often appear in social media and are orchestrated by advertisers. In addition, I have tended to keep things that I feel say something about who I am (or at least, who I want to be, or in some cases, who I used to be). After starting the process of minimizing, I still want to buy new things and keep my old things, however, I feel that I now reflect more about the things I buy and I want everything I buy to last a long time and to have a purpose.

The streamline technique which is introduced in part 2 is extremely helpful when decluttering. Before I read this book, I followed these steps to a certain degree as I think many of these steps are natural in a decluttering procerss, but I have become more aware of the various ways of organising and of where clutter “lives”. Streamline stands for Start over, Trash/treasure/transfer, Reason for each item, Everything in its place, All surfaces clear, Modules, Limits, If one comes in, one goes out, Narrow down and Everyday maintenance. I will not go into detail into these, some are probably self-explanatory, however, I have discovered that I have tended to cheat on the first point; Start over. Sometimes, when I have decluttered a shelf, or some drawers, I have not taken everything out. It does really make a difference, when you do Start over.

Another point which I found useful from this book are the Modules. I have organised some of our things, to a certain degree into modules before, but I have become more aware of this after reading the book. Furthermore, the Outbox is a brilliant concept as well. You place an outbox somewhere in the house to encourage family members to get rid of things. I have for a longer period of time kept an outbox to myself, but I think it will be interesting to see if other family members will make use of it as well.

If you want to go on a decluttering journey or simply minimise your everyday somewhat, I definitely recommend this book. It is easy to read and you can easily jump to the points relevant to you, if needed.

I feel inspired by reading books on minimalism and decluttering. Do you have any books or articles or blogs you would recommend, please share, as I love to learn more.

Lots of love,

Kari

April is here – let’s get into “decluttering mode”

We had a lovely time up in the mountains on our cabin and I forgot all about decluttering and everyday life, and it was marvellous. In addition, the weather gods were in a good mood ☀️

However, now it is time to get back in business and get started on my April action plan.

On my first Trash and transfer Tuesday I went to the recycling station with glass jars and metal boxes. I meant to transfer some clothes as well, but I am a bit behind on work, so had to prioritise that, which made me feel a bit unmotivated on the decluttering front.

However, I have given away the dresser which was on my list and I am planning on giving away the white shirts and black suit tomorrow (and I will perhaps see if I can find time to have a look at the kids clothes this evening). So though my first Trash and transfer Tuesday was not as spectacular as I had expected it to be (haha), I have gotten started on my plan and I will try to get into “decluttering mode” again. I always find it a bit hard to get back into it after being away and coming back, as there are always more of the usual chores to attend to when returning from holiday. However, I have complete one task and at least it is something.

  • Give away white shirts and black suit (planned to give to theatre group)
  • The kids’ clothes: purge / donate
  • Winter clothes – make a box to go to attic
  • Get rid of 3 items which I find hard to say goodbye to
  • Sell black coat and skirt (mine)
  • Purge toys downstairs
  • Get rid of dresser upstairs (give away)
  • Dissemble linen closet and get rid of it
  • Declutter / remove at least one box under the bed
  • Start organising hobby cupboard downstairs

I hope you have had a good holiday! Have you started a spring clean / decluttering plan?

Lots of love,

Kari

Action plan April: decluttering

pexels-photo-938044.jpegThis is my action plan to continue to declutter in April. I am a BIG fan of lists and suggestions on how to declutter, especially lists which will get you through a lot of decluttering in for instance 30 days. However, I’ve come to realise that we rarely manage to carry out lists like this, as we spend a lot of weekends away.

However, I do think that making a plan and having a list to cross off will help me out in the process of decluttering. Part of what I find most difficult is getting rid of furniture and larger items, and in general getting things out of the house.

The picture I have chosen for this blog post, illustrates how I feel about my home these days. Overly stuffed with things, which shouldn’t be here. However, that WILL change.

To get more things out of the house, I will rename Tuesday Trash and Transfer Tuesday. On Tuesdays, I will try to gather clothes, trash and other things that needs to be moved out of the house to recycling points, second hand shops etc and actually take the time to get these things there.

In addition I want to sort out the following:

  1. Give away white shirts and black suit (planned to give to theatre group)
  2. The kids’ clothes: purge / donate
  3. Winter clothes – make a box to go to attic
  4. Get rid of 3 items which I find hard to say goodbye to
  5. Sell black coat and skirt (mine)
  6. Purge toys downstairs
  7. Get rid of dresser upstairs (give away)
  8. Dissemble linen closet and get rid of it
  9. Declutter / remove at least one box under the bed
  10. Start organising hobby cupboard downstairs

Furthermore, I am considering getting rid of more dressers, or wedding china (or parts of it) and I dream of tearing down my kitchen cupboards. However, this is the more challenging tasks, which I don’t think will be realistic to complete in April. But if I manage more than on the list above, that will definitely be a bonus.

Have you got an action plan for your decluttering?

I will try to post some updates on the progress as I start.

Lots of love,

Kari

Clear flat surfaces

To many, it may be obvious that clear flat surfaces, look less cluttered. However, to me, it was a matter of getting these surfaces cleaned easier and making use of the space which was occupied by things that motivated me to uncluttered my kitchen counters, in addition to my changed mindset of wanting more available space. I don’t have a huge kitchen, so the counters that I have, are needed for food preparation.

I have done a bit of reorganising without taking before and after pictures of my kitchen (omg – why, right?). I used to have several things on the counters, such as the toaster, Sodastream, a jar of utensils and my coffee machine. Now I’ve put away most of these things to have clear surfaces. My kitchen already feels so much more spacious. In fact, my father visited me the other day and commented upon it.

So now we will get to the fun part. The pictures. This is scary, because this means showing pictures of our mess. However, I find it very satisfying watching other people’s “before” and “after” pictures, so I thought it would only be fair to give back to those who have already shared. Our kitchen is old and we dream about upgrading it, but that is a different story.

So first, you’ll see pictures of my clear counters.

These are most of my counters – but I got one more. And this is the one where all the things go. It’s just that corner where everything piles up. Magazines, papers, toys, coins and who knows what.

And this is what the neighbours see when passing by. In making this post I decided to do something about it, so I cleared away some of the things.

Now it looks like this (after picture;)):

It should be noted that my counters are not like this always. Especially around meal times, there’s more things on them (and after the rush of getting out in the mornings). However, having few things to begin with, helps me keep it cleaner and less messy.

What’s your tip to keep the kitchen clean and clutter free?

Lots of love,

Kari

Minimalism put into practice

Putting minimalism into practice is a lot of work. When I decided to create this blog, I wanted it to be honest and I wanted to challenge myself to share several parts of the process, and not just the finished “product” (or after pictures).

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In some of the upcoming posts, I thought I would share some of these processes and challenges of decluttering, with illustrating pictures. This is – to be honest – quite scary, because it means I will have to let the world see our clutter. Normally, we’d try to hide this, for instance when we get visitors, but I think this will be an experience I can learn from and which will motivate me to continue the process towards a more minimalist lifestyle, with less clutter in our lives.

Attached to this post is a picture of one of the times I have been going through a closet in my bedroom.

Stay tuned for picture updates 😱

Lots of love,

Kari

How I discovered minimalism and a few tips along the way

After I became a “grown-up”, with a proper job and a house, and especially after having kids, life got more busy and I felt that we never had enough time or space. We have moved a couple of times, and each time I thought that we would finally have enough room for all our things, but I’ve always ended up feeling like we didn’t.

I read loads of articles on organisation, decluttering and “hacks” to get more stuff stored in less space. I bought containers, boxes and started to organise clothes, toys, paper, pens etc. However, the last 4 years, I have been writing a thesis in English didactics which took most of my spare time, so I never managed to get “properly organised”. At times, I felt as if I was drowning in clothes, toys and other things, which I constantly was picking up and moving around the house (or had to ignore because I had to focus on my thesis). Once I handed in my thesis, I thought I would take a weekend to sort my house. A weekend…that was optimistic😜. Needless to say I realised this would take longer.

With kids came clothes and lots of equipment. We got rid of quite a lot, but the accumulation of toys and clothes was constant. I realised that organisation was not the solution, and that it was not necessarily lack of organisation that was our problem, rather an abundance of things.

We started the process of decluttering, first I started with my things before I started to involve other family members as well. I started with my clothes and our bedroom and moved on to other rooms in our house. As we’ve been doing this, we’ve all noticed it has become increasingly easier to put away things for the evening, as there are not so many of these things. My kids seem more drawn to their rooms now that it is easier to find toys, as there are not too many to choose from.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve learnt from this process so far is that striving to be more minimalist has changed me much more than I originally thought it would, especially my ways of thinking about things and possessions. In addition, I want to emphasise that it is a process. My husband and I both work full time jobs, so decluttering comes on top of the normal chores and family time we have in our everyday lives. However, we have started this process and take one step at the time, and only thinking about that we are in this process makes me feel happy and more at ease.

If you want to get more organised and live a more minimalist life, here are some tips from me:

  • Start today – just do it! Even though you only have 10 minutes, find a drawer or some other small area and set your timer on your phone and get started. You’ll feel so good about yourself afterwards!
  • Make a plan! Everything is much easier to do, when you’ve made a plan (or a list). I love crossing of lists, so this is a great motivation for me to get things done.
  • Make it a habit. I have put in my calendar on my phone, declutter 10 minutes, three days a week. Though I can’t get through huge closets in ten minutes, at least I get something done, every week. It is important that this time is not used to picking up toys from the floor, as I see this as part of the “normal” housework which we have to do anyway 😉
  • Be patient! If you have a lot of things, it will take time, especially if you have a job or a family which occupies you time as well. Take one step at the time. You’ll get there!!
  • Read books or articles on minimalism or decluttering. There are lots of people sharing their experiences on the topic. I’ve found this essential and motivational in our work to become more minimalist.
  • Reward yourself and do something nice for yourself or you and your family, when you’ve started the process. This is a nice reminder of why you are doing this! I see that I can spend more time with my loved ones, and less time on stressing over things, which to me has been really deliberating.

How did you start your minimalist journey? Do you have any tips to new beginners in search of minimalism? I’d love to hear from you as this is a continuing process, where I feel I learn something new, every step of the road.

Lots of love,

Kari