Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Month: February, 2016

Scatter-gories or where I mix up KonMari Maudy style

Well, I finished reading the second Marie Kondo book, Spark Joy, (six books in seven weeks, yay me!) and I have to say it was a really quick and easy read – You sort of do need to read the first book first, although you can probably get away with just reading this one (I bought the two of them after skimming through this one in a posh little bookshop. The wench behind the counter was giving me the stare of death because I was woman-handling her books, so I put it back and bought it somewhere else. Take that, you pretentious wanker. Try paying the rent with nowt but bad attitude. Muttergrumble, old woman shouts at clouds.)

Anyway, the two books are like a text book and practical manual really – the philosophy is strong with Life Changing Magic and not so much with Spark Joy – as an aside, I read some of the reviews for Spark Joy – um. Did they not actually pick up the book and look at it before they bought it? Ahem. Someone is whinging because it doesn’t go through every single type of thing in their house, like you know, art… Someone else wants to know how to organise her kitchen because she doesn’t like the KM way. The rules are pretty easy to understand – does it make you happy? Yes, keep it. Does it shit you? Chuck it. Simples. Some people seem to want too much from the books, I think. Me, I’m happy with the inspiration to do something at least about the crap about the place.

I’ve so far gone through my clothes (twice – last time round, I chucked a skirt that I’ve been glaring at every time I look at it, and a frock that I really loved the fabric – but hated every single other aspect of it from the cut onward (it was a fat chick size, and while I am actually a fat chick, I’m not  standard fat chick shaped. Particularly in the arm department.) I kept a few things that may not make the cut next round –  specifically, I still have five items that do not spark anything remotely resembling  joy taking up valuable space in my wardrobe – however, if I discard them now, I will have no winter work pants, no winter coat and only one winter skirt. I live in Victoria. It could be winter next Tuesday. No winter work clothes is not optimal. So, despite their lack of joy sparking, they be staying until I find some replacements. And seeing as I’ve been desperately seeking a new winter coat since um. The winter before last winter. I’m not holding my breath (although I am refusing to get the bloody thing dry cleaned on the off chance I find a new coat before it does get cold. Are you listening, cosmos?! Nice woollen coat, classic style, mid thigh length would be nice. Mid calf would be damn awesome) The work pants are another dire mission (big girls aren’t supposed to have long legs, apparently) – at least replacing my work skirts will be relatively easy.

I did also attack my books and culled ten boxes of books that are headed to the school fete and at the same time, discovered I sort of already keep my stuff in categories. Books are either in the book case, or in the cook book book case, or beside my bed because I am still reading them. I don’t think KM is much of a reader to be honest. She doesn’t get the simple joy that is books and their potential. Anyway, around 300 books gone and I only cleared out two shelves (out of 12) on a 2m x 3.5m book case. My books needed some culling.

I’ve had a crack at paper, too – now, I cannot conceive the idea of collecting every bit of paper in the entire house and looking at it all at once. It strikes me as a bit ridiculous, to be honest. I’d need to keep putting it away to do stuff like, you know, eat, live, fold the damn washing. Plus, family of four, kids who are one step away from an episode of Hoarders, and a couple of hobbies that are either paper based or have a fair bit of paper involved. However – as I do in fact keep shit in loose categories anyway, albeit all about the house, I’ve done the pull out and cull a couple of categories and chucked (you guessed it) copious paper already.

The Paper categories I have are:

  1. Need it now – lives on the fridge, gets gone through whenever I notice something is no longer relevant
  2. Action stuff – bills that are to be paid, or need filing or whatever, miscellaneous stuff I need to do something with. I should deal with this more regularly. It takes fuck all to go through, but I just get swamped by the idea of it. Ok, I pay bills once a week – I’m not completely silly!
  3. Keep for a while but not for ever – warranties and receipts, etc. Old bills, that sort of thing (I keep bills/statements for two years because that’s as far back as I’ve ever needed to go check something) Quite frankly, I prefer a paper instruction book. It’s nigh impossible to print the fuckers out, and hey have you tried to balance a laptop on the stove while you work out how to change the light globe in the range hood? Much easier with the instruction book on top of the coffee machine. This is an annual job. Did it in January (see, I have always had a small, cranky Japanese lady inside me!)
  4. Keep for ever –  important stuff like birth certificates, passports etc. You can’t chuck them

I’ve ‘done’ one and two completely, and did #3 in January. I probably should get into the filing cabinet – but that might have to wait until I can sit on the floor without stressing about how on earth I’m going to get up!

I keep having little dips into other categories in a fairly half arsed and scatty fashion (scatty-gories, get it. I’m here all night) and I am continually surprised about what I can throw out – like that bottle of body wash that smelled weird and stung like a mofo when it came into contact with more delicate regions, half a bottle of hand sanitiser that nobody uses, all the miniatures I’ve acquired from hotels over the years, gone. That was another garbage bag of crap.

Basically, I’ve been eyeing off areas of my house (ZOMG, MAUDY. YOU DOING IT WRONG! Categories not rooms. Eh, shaddup.), and diving into what shits me the most, and when I have the time – combo Fly-Mari here, although I consider an hour a suitable amount of time to do a wee tidy mission, rather than 15 minutes. My laundry is shitting me at the moment. I think it’s days in its current state are severely numbered.

Essentially, I think the main message I’ve taken from both books is “hey, it’s ok to get rid of shit you don’t like or want” and just because someone you love gave it to you, you don’t have to keep it.  But the thing is, you don’t *have* to do all the things in the book to end up with a less cluttered life. I have a lot of stuff I like a lot that I don’t want to get rid of, but if I get rid of some of (if not all) the crap like clothes I hate, appliances that don’t work, books I can live without, that sort of thing, I will have somewhere to keep the stuff I do love. Which is most of my stuff really! But hey, work in progress right? And if the manly wardrobes can stay more or less tidy for six months without much intervention from me, I am so far ahead even if I go no further.

Do or do not. Tidy or don’t. Don’t whinge about it. Keep it if you love it, chuck it if you don’t. And keep your damn screwdrivers. And (I totes stole this from somewhere else, but it’s awesome) if you can’t decide whether something is useful and should be kept or not – if you can replace it in 20 minutes for less than $20, chuck the fucking thing out.

Miss Maudy v KonMari

When I was reading Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I came to a very strange realisation – the fundamental philosophy behind tidying KonMari style was the basic philosophy I utilised when I renovated my kitchen. Now, that was an epic epic job – the entire kitchen was being gutted to empty shell, and not only that, while the new kitchen was going to have more space, it was going to have less storage. When we first moved into this house, I was pregnant (and a little bit cray cray) and we were moving the contents of two kitchens worth of stuff into one. Shit got shoved in cupboards, never to be seen again until the day we did the giant clean out. Anyway, with assistance from mum, we pulled every single thing out of every single cupboard and every single item was handled by me and a decision made about whether it should stay or go – first run through, I probably got rid of 40% of the crap in the kitchen – most of which ended at the op shop, some at mum’s place. Fast forward two weeks and I’m ready to move everything back in, and I revisited each item again and got rid of another third of what was left. Every single thing left in the kitchen has a purpose and a place, including the Kitchen Witch (ye olde Scandinavian or even ye olderer European tradition – I’ve had her for years, and she lives in the cupboard).

Two years later… seriously, the damn kitchen is the easiest room in the house to clean because it NEVER gets untidy. Ok, occasionally there’s crap all over the bench, but it goes away really quickly to where it belongs. In two years, the sum total of ‘tidying’ I’ve done in the kitchen is sorting the pantry every six months, and  occasionally tidying the plastics drawer. That’s it. One room in my house is always tidy and almost always clean. (Ok, two – our bathroom is so minimalist anyway, that it stays tidy by default. I probably spend twenty minutes a year in there, tidying up and that’s when I go through the medicine cabinet to chuck out of date shit). And therein lies the proof in the slightly underdone puddin’. Getting rid of most of your crap means it’s easier to keep the rest of it under submission. In fact, it almost does it by itself. Who. Would. Have Thought.

It appears I have test-KonMaried a room and it worked.

Now, I know declutter THEN clean is the underlying message of the Flylady, however, KonMari is more flat out like a lizard drinking go at the decluttering ’til your head explodes or it’s done; and Flylady is pissing around, picking at the edges for 15 minutes at a time. I’m more of a boots and all type, so yeah. Singing my song. Loudly, albeit slightly out of tune.

Before I bit the bullet and read the book, I’d already gone through my clothes and culled three or four bags of clothes and shoes. After I read the clothes section though, I went through them again and whadderyou know – there was a whole bundle of stuff that barely sparked ‘meh’ so out they went. When I was a callow yoof, I used to drive my mum insane (it’s in my contract, I still do) because, while I was a scatty, lazy teenager (and a scatty lazy twenty something and maybe thirty something, if I am completely being honest here) with a propensity to fling shit from one end of the house to the other, and store things in precarious piles, my wardrobe was always immaculate. Shirts hung in sleeve lengths and colour coordinated and everything. So, when Ms Kondo was talking about how to organise and how to hang your stuff once you’d culled it – man, I was humming her tune. I rearranged three t-shirts in the drawer, pulled out two more for the ‘meh’ pile and I could feel the damn joy in that drawer. It was singing. Weird, hey.

The wardrobe – I realised that some of my skirts would rather be hung by the waist than over a hanger, and I got rid of *another* bag of stuff from one tiny section of my wardrobe that I’d already been through twice before. I do have a wee selection of clothes that I do like but I don’t fit into – BUT as I am losing weight, albeit slowly, they can stay until a) they fit or b) I change my mind. This includes a truly gorgeous frock that I adore (it sparks lerve, baby) BUT the fucker is a wee bit tight across my bum and across my bosom (which became formidable). If I don’t lose enough weight to fit in it without feeling like Jessica fucking Rabbit, I will sell it at the end of the year.So there. Said it in public. That means I have to, doesn’t it!?

I’m not one for a heap of accessories – I wear the same pieces of jewellery every day, I use the same handbag every day, and the odd bits and bobs of jewellery I have that I don’t wear all the time, I still like so it’s all stayed; I ditched a couple of unsuccessful handbags and that was that bit done. Our room is still a work in progress, I have the entire top shelf of my side of the wardrobe to go – there’s a LOAD of crap up there, but it all belongs to non-clothing related categories, so it can wait for the time being or until the siren call of that damn shelf becomes too hard to resist.

All my books are in one place (ok, two places. Cook books are in the dining room, and I went through them at the same time as the kitchen. Everything else is in a 2m by 3m book case. I’m onto the book case at the moment – this is epic. The Knee will not allow me to kneel, and it’s too fucking hard to stand up from ground level without using my knees at any point. So, I’ve dragged in a bench from outside, and I’m sorting fiction into the boxes. Non-fiction can wait until I can kneel!  Now, I’m not looking for books to spark joy, because quite frankly, ALL books spark joy. I’m using a much more pragmatic sense – “Do I love this author enough to buy their books in paper?” and “Am I ever going to read this again?” Nope goes in a box, yep and maybe goes back on the shelf for now. I figure when I go through what’s left on the shelf, a few more will end up in a box. So far, six boxes and 190 books are heading to the school fete in a couple of months. Wins all round.

 

Reading about zombies and cleaning. Ahem.

Yep. Actually have been reading. And yes, zombies and cleaning. And magicians. I finished The Magician King – which was pretty cool. I still think Quentin is a whiny brat, and he should learn to be grateful for what he has –  and maybe once I read the third one, he will have learned his lesson and will be a more balanced individual instead of a petulant brat.

Next, I read a wee snip of a story by John Birmingham called Here be Monsters. It features a delightful Lt Watkin Trench, who is in charge of a bevy of convicts en route to Sydney in 1788. There’s a squall, a zombie apocalypse and some srs shootings. It’s only short, and it just begs to be read aloud to a pack of scruffy year eights. Complete with accents.

So, that’s technically Book #5 in six weeks. Although, it’s really four books and a short story.

In light of my other current obsession, I bit the bullet and actually bought the Marie Kondo books – the life changing magic of tidying up and Spark Joy. I picked up Spark Joy in a seriously pretentious coastal bookshop (as an aside, I have NEVER seen so many books about narcissistic personality disorder in one place. I’d never even heard of it six months ago, and now there’s an entire self help industry. Who would have thought…)

Anyway, I read it in less than a week (yay me, six books in seven weeks!) and I really enjoyed it – which is weird. It’s a book about tidying up and I am so shit at that. It’s also a bit fluffy bunny/hippy dippy, which I also hate with a strange passion. However, it’s tolerable , particularly if you consider the whole translation from another completely different language thing, sparking joy could be a bizarre translation of something else that’s much more sweary and less fluffy. (Although, I think Ms Kondo leans toward girlie and fluffy and not so much of the swears.)

Any book that has this as one of it’s ‘recommendations’ though…

‘Your course taught me to see what I really need and what I don’t. So I got a divorce. Now I feel much happier.’

My kind of book. (Not that I’m planning to tidy up Reg or anything. He’s quite nice.) Ms Kondo talks about the difference between cleaning and tidying. One is in your control and one isn’t. You cannot control dirt. It’s inevitable like tides or something. But tidying – the less crap you’ve got laying about, the less tidying you have to do. Easy peasy. And so fucking OBVIOUS. Ahem.

So far, I’ve KonMari-ed the fuck out of my clothes, accessories (such as they are) and I’m having a red hot go at my books. This has involved some lateral thinking because I still cannot kneel and cleaning out a six foot tall book case does actually involve getting down on ones hands and knees. I brought in one of the benches from the out door setting and I’m using that to rest things on. You seriously CANNOT cull books on the shelf. They need to come off and get groped.

Ms Kondo says that tidying up will transform your life… I know that when I had a massive clean out of my house, I managed to lose 20kg at the same time. And I also know that since I started on this Fly-Mari kick, I’ve stopped eating chocolate, lost four kilograms and ditched about eight bags of stuff to the oppy or elsewhere. Maybe it will transform my life, maybe it will just mean I give more of a shit about what I stick in my face, and stick in my house… Can’t be a bad thing, anyway.

 

 

 

 

It’s the Fly-Way or um. My way.

Ok, last time I posted, I wasn’t sure if my half-arsed success with Flylady was down to not having kids at home for half the week every week in January, or whether progress was actually being made toward my year of getting shit done and no longer living in a cesspit. Ok, it’s not that bad – there’s no pools of raw sewage dotted around the joint. But this last couple of weeks, I’ve been living in chaos. I’m talking *actual* chaos, as distinct from the Fly-definition of chaos which is “Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome” – people could come over, 85% chance of a chair, just there was just a  fair chance I’d gibber at them.

So yeah, still not sure whether I’m having any success with the Flying palaver – last week’s Zone was the entrance and dining room. Now, the entrance to my house consists of an area rug and a box of shoes behind the door. I’ve been looking for a nice console table for oh, thirteen years. Or a nice cupboard to keep shoes in. But it takes a whole thirty seconds to put into order. Mainly by picking up the shoes next to the box and putting them back in!

The Dining Room has been a designated No-Fly Zone for the last month with Reg using it to run his bit of an epic event he’s been involved with for the last six months. Said event was last weekend, and he’s pinky promised that will be his last one for a couple of years. Of course, come August, he’ll most likely get suckered back into the vortex again. I will not be well pleased if this happens.

So we’ve had stuff and that left, right and centre culminating in us being out of the house for the vast majority of the last two weekends – Yay for having a social life but bloody hell, I actually do a lot of shit on the weekends. And when I’m not home to do it – that leads to delegating a metric fuckload of stuff to the week. That same week where I work every day and get home at six and attempt to cook a nutritious and delicious meal for the family from my carefully constructed meal plan and spend some time on my delightful craft work. Ahem. We’re drifting off into Fantasy Land territory. You’ve seen what my meal planning looks like. And we all know when I’m tired, it’s Candy Crush all the way.

I digress. As always. Anyways, I did take on board the Flylady do a load of washing a day thang last week. Can I just say I have NEVER had so many odd socks in my entire life. Ever. Normally, I have three odd socks, never the same three so I just chuck them back in and they meet their pair (or similar. I am not a sock purist. As an aside – in the early days of our relationship, Mrs Reg very helpfully suggested that I pop a wee bit of coloured cotton on each pair Reg’s virtually identical socks so I knew which ones belonged together. After I collected myself from the floor and ceased the very literal rolling about laughing, I told her that Reg was suitably grateful he got two socks of roughly the same length more or less folded and put in his sock drawer. If we have two more or less the same socks – eh, they a pair). I was heading for the same this week as well, however, Mayhem was poorly yesterday morning so I stayed home and did the fucking washing instead. And did the really have to do this or the world as we know it will in fact come to an end type stuff (like planning and bill paying and minimalist food shopping.)

As you can probably imagine, last week’s meal planning didn’t so much involve planning as pinning someone to the ground with a firmly placed knee to discover approximate locations and meal requirements for the week, so at least the kids were fed. Throw in kids being back at school and sport starting again, and I just threw my hands in the air and hoped for the best.

Dieting has gone a bit to the shitter as well, however on the positive side, I still weigh less than I did when I started. I’m back to calorie counting and exercising again from tomorrow (chiro treatment last night means the back v knee battle is loud and proud –  if the back is great, the knee hurts like hell and vice versa. By the way,  while my knee is better than it was, it was six months on Friday and it’s NOT BETTER YET. Apparently cumulative injuries have cumulative recovery periods, and it will be another three months. And drugs. Drugs are good, m’kay. And yes it was the sore knee firmly placed on Reg’s chest whilst determining his movements for the week. Mistake.) I’m planning to slip in a massage later on in the week to sort out the excesses of the weekend. Bit too much waterslides and driving in circles for one weekend.

Anyway, this week’s meal planning (such as it is) is straight from the freezer – determined by what’s on top. Last night, we had lasagne. Tonight, crumbed chicken and vegies and tomorrow night will be (insert fanfare whilst I quickly get some meat out of the freezer) something to do with mince and a bone for the doggie. I’m thinking potato pie, and the kids can suck it up. Looking forward to Thursday – I see bacon and eggs in our eating futures, and Friday is possibly going to involve more dog bones. I may have to dig more deeply.

I’m planning to give the Flylady a half arsed crack for the next four weeks, and see what happens – using my Zones rather than hers because seriously, I can’t wait another month to sort out the damn dining room!