Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: Housework

Kon Maudy

I’ve just had a wee hiatus. A fortuitous alignment of public holidays meant three days of annual leave gave me ten consecutive days off work. I did spend some of the days off doing family things with the family (as one does) but spent the rest of the time doing those pesky little (if you call five fucking hours of filing little) jobs that you blow off because they’re going to take five hours and when do you ever have five hours that you don’t have to spend at least two of them driving people to places and the rest of the time doing washing.

I also managed to watch the entire Kon Mari telly series on the Netflix before I went on leave. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, and I didn’t expect to discover what I did. As you probably remember, I did the half arsed KM business a couple of years ago, and stopped when I decided my house was tidy enough. So, when I watched the show, I think I was expecting everyone to be the full minimalist and super zen at the end of the experience. What I found was a lot more people like me.

The main thing though that I took out of watching the series, was that for the process to be a success, it had to be about “we” and not “she” (or “he”) – a joint process with everyone in the family taking their share of responsibility; and it wasn’t until that moment where responsibility became a “we” thing that something clicked. The other thing was it’s not about choosing what to discard, it’s choosing what to keep. Which is a different thing all together!

And I also discovered that my level of half arsed-ness really is/was enough.

Of course, when the series came out, all these self righteous wankers latched on to the “first world privilege” aspect where chucking stuff is the privilege of those who can afford to replace it with more stuff. While this might be true for some, eh. Not so much for me. I got rid of about a squintygazillion things, and didn’t really replace them. The process made me a much more discerning shopper, not just in relation to clothes, but to just about everything. And Lordy, the faux outrage about only keeping ten books. Now, I am a book lover. I am almost a book hoarder. I love my books. I love patting them and looking at them and reading them. BUT if I didn’t have the space that I have for books, say, I moved into a tiny house in a paddock somewhere away from everything that’s shitting me at the moment… you know, I reckon I would probably keep a couple of cook books, my recipe book, and maybe half a dozen other books that I really couldn’t live without. So, the idea of keeping only ten books is not as outrageous as it seems.

Which leads me back to the start – doing those pesky not so little jobs that I’ve been ignoring. When I did Kon Mari two or three years ago, I did in fact “do” paper, but like when you clean out the pantry and find that mysterious bottle of something that used to be green, and was past its prime five years ago… This time, I did “paper” properly. And decided I could in fact live without my mobile phone contract from 2002. And the one from 2004 and pretty much every second year between then and 2018. Much paper. Many piles. Several trees. Perhaps a forest.

And the pantry, fridge and freezer – only a bag and a half of rubbish – half used bottles of this and that, ingredients for recipes that nobody liked. It was a thing of beauty until I did the groceries. I cracked the shits when I threw out a bag full of meat from the freezer just before I had my week off. I meal plan on Saturday morning, go to the butcher and get meat, things change, meat didn’t get eaten when it was supposed to and got chucked in the freezer. And some of it shouldn’t have gone in the freezer. Nowt quite like defrosting a lump of meat that’s past it and having to re-write dinner plans on the fly. This week, I have delegated responsibility for meals to the other grown up in the family, so he’s had the fun of coming up with a delicious and nutritious meal for four people, none of whom like the same things. I’m loving it. Not sure whether the other grown up is loving it quite so much.

And I looked at clothes again. But that’s a story for another post.


Housekeeping (or Kon Mari 12 months later)

Think I mentioned last time I plopped ma fingers on the keyboard that I would maybe have a wee chat you youse alls about the houseworkings. Now, I am at best, an ordinary house keeper. I have staff to deal with the basics – the ironing disappears on Monday morning and comes back on Wednesday all smooth and delicious. The dog hair and dust disappears in a similar fashion on a Friday. Crinkle free clothes and a clean house – what more can a lassie desire?


A lassie might like a gourmet chef to prepare delicious, nutritious and calorie free meals, someone to hunt and gather free range and organic ingredients for aforementioned meals; and someone who will transform the slightly grubby and well-worn clothing into a suitable state for de-crinkling. Yeah. Like that’s ever going to happen. There are also those rotten little jobs that fall outside the bailiwick of the cleaning fairy and the ironing fairy, like cleaning the oven, and murdering the dust bunnies behind the bed, and washing the fucking shower curtain so it doesn’t go mouldy.  Oh, and cleaning the damn coffee machine. Sour milk and coffee smell so attractive. Not. There’s a whole heap of other little jobs that – while you know the earth won’t fall off its axis if they’re not done – make the earth rotate a lot more smoothly when they are.

Hence my dalliance with the Flylady and the KonMari business – I’ve also dallied with a few other ‘cleaning systems’ in the past as well, with similar amounts of (ahem) success. I keep going back to Flylady because she does keep track of those Little Jobs; and I keep breaking up because the twee and mundane and the fucking hell, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Lordy.

Now, I gave KonMari’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a red hot go last year. I looked for joy in all the right places, and I culled and I cleaned and I sorted. Bags and bags of stuff got sent to the op shop and the school fete and to friends with needs for random things that I had but didn’t need. Then I got to a point where I a) didn’t want to spend all my free time tidying up and b) reached a level of ‘clutter’ I can more or less live with. I live with three other people and a hairy little dog, and we all have our own level of mess. Obviously, mess times four is not sustainable (the dog also contributes hair and leaves her toys around the house, so it’s really mess times five), but a girl has to have some light in her life. So, I stopped tidying for a bit to see what would happen.

And this is what happened…

Clothes – well. I have gone back in to all our clothes every few months and culled a bit and culled a bit more and culled a bit too much (oops) to the point where I had to replace a few items with “it will do for now” rather than actual joy sparkers, because public nudity is still not an acceptable thing. On the plus side, some joy sparkers I did keep are now in rotation after the diminishing bosom diminished enough I can do up buttons. There’s nowt like shopping the wardrobe for a wee bargain or ten. BUT, in saying that, the last cull was a wee shopping bag between the four of us, rather than 5-6 garbage bags it was the first time and 3-4 the second time; and to the best of my knowledge, nothing was new with tags. Also, in the past, sorting clothes was a FULL day’s job for the four of us. Now, it took me less than an hour to sort Reg and my wardrobes, and maybe 20 minutes each for the kids. Win.  I have become a more discerning shopper – I know that I do not like certain cuts of t-shirt, I don’t like some fabrics, and I prefer dresses with no defined waist lines. I will go shopping for a precise item of clothing and only buy that item. (And if someone knows where I can replace a pair of butt-ugly walking shorts with pockets, I will be eternally grateful) I’m saving a fortune! Even with the kids clothes, I am buying half what I would have bought them in the year.

Oh, and when I fold the clothes, I can’t help but mutter to myself about Ms Kondo’s folding theory being alright for teeny tiny Japanese lady clothes and underpants for teeny tiny Japanese lady bottoms, while I wrangle the suitable for a six foot plus cuddly Anglo Saxon man’s clothes into submission so they’ll fit into the teeny tiny 1950’s style cupboards we have at ours. Mutter grumble. I did re-jig the folding techniques somewhat to accommodate the relative size differential (in comparison to those tiny Japanese Lady Things) of Man sized (and tall lady sized) items of clothing . Sweet folding spots are over-ridden by the gravitational pull exerted by a XXL hoodie.

Books and paper – I did a massive cull of books last year, and while I’ve had to resort to buying the odd paper book again, I’ve not bought *that* many. I’ve even backed away from the cook books. I have actually exchanged cold hard foldings for e-books as well since my previous source sorta dried up, damnit. And I have always been pretty good at paper – I keep what I have to and cull a year’s worth at a time.

Komono – As far as crap goes, that’s even been kept to an acceptable level. And, again with the discerning shopping… Not buying shit because it’s pretty is a good way to save a load of money and not necessitate an endless cycle of pulling out all the things and putting them all back again to squeeze in the new pretty thing that you are 98% sure you’re going to use once. Oops. There’s a couple of places I need to re-visit, and I still need to get an Old Person to sit down with me and name names in the photo albums, but aside from that – all good. When I look into cupboards, stuff is still more or less where I left it a year ago, if it’s been used, it’s gone back, if it hasn’t been used, it’s still Weird Shit you can’t actually throw out, because it’s all stuff that you’ll need it when you need it and not before, and the effort to procure said weird shit outweighs the minor irritation of keeping it in the damn cupboard.

So, at the end of the day, realistically I am not a minimalist and I never will be. I am never going to end up with bare walls and one artfully placed blossom in a gorgeous vase. While it’s nice to look at, it’s totally not my jam. I like to have nice things around me, and the people I live with also like to have their things out where they can be admired and enjoyed. (And where they can reach them, assuming there’s going to be a shortage of zooper dooper wrappers and chip packets in the future. But that’s mess that can be dealt with by the perpetrator in eleven seconds flat).

My house is tidy enough.



How’d 2016 treat you, mate?

Well, well, well. For most of 2016, I really felt like I was lurching from one near catastrophe to another, that I was one small step away from disaster at any moment. But, when I looked back on the year from the safety of 2017, it  wasn’t all Drama! Crisis! Calamity! It was merely a string of mild hiccups interspersed with some actually awesome moments. Pretty standard year, really. I read 35 books, I finished my Harmony blankie, I cooked a heap of new recipes, and I made a conscious decision to lose weight (which I have already banged on about).

I also got well over my “fear” of driving our hot rod. To be honest, I was never actually scared of driving it, just when you have someone in the passenger seat sucking in their breath every time you do anything they disapprove of… Pinched the keys from Reg and drove it like I stole it. Epic. And now, don’t even think twice about stealing the keys from Reg and yeah, Driving is ace. Also, now I have my *own* car, I like driving that, too. Ok, cannot/will not back it out of the driveway, but hey. “Reg, get the XP out, I’m going for a KROOZE”. Hotrodders cannot spell for shit. I also like the term “fat-arming” which is exactly what it sounds… driving around with the windows down with your arm hanging out. Makes you look like you got muscles. Also, truckie tan and sunburn if you forget that your arm is normally inside the vehicle.

Reading has been a thing again – I’m reading a book about every ten days. This is ace. I am nowhere near my BC reading rates, but after spending more than a few years barely managing to read 15 or 20 books, you can sense my excitement. I’ve come across a couple of new writers (Charles Stross, Elly Griffiths, Denise Mina) that I really like. I’ve revisited some old favourites, most of whom haven’t disappointed. Most importantly, I AM READING AGAIN. I have even lolled on the couch and read in daylight. Although sometimes I have to decide between crochet and reading. Can’t do both at once. I decided I wasn’t that jazzed with colouring in. It’s nice enough but I get bored *really* quickly, and hey, at the end of the day, I can make something tangible and snuggly warm if I colour in with yarn. (Can’t blog and crochet at the same time either. I am going to work on time jugglement in 2017). I also decided that life’s too short and gave a project I was hating the arse. And started another that I love. That I sort of want to do now, but I want to blog and um, my book’s at a good bit. Two heads are better than one.

And cooking. I love cooking a lot. It’s like chemistry you can eat. Although I srsly need an actual dishpig at mine for cooking extravaganzas. Chaos does do the dishes, but because I have to clean the bench so we can eat dinner, I do my cooking dishes. Snot fair. Chaos is also expressing an interest in learning to cook. He’s requested I teach him how to make muffins. Of course, this means I will have to actually write down the proper recipe for him. I base mine on the Stephanie Alexander muffin recipe from Cook’s Companion, then it goes a bit free-range and if this then that and I double bits and not other bits. However, if he wants to learn, I shall write it down. Another thing I noticed if I cook with my son is that as long as I don’t look at him, we have the most interesting chats about all manner of random things. I also discovered Chaos has maths homework when I creepy stalked his maths teacher to see if I knew him (I didn’t.) I’ve sort of got housework under control ish sort of if you don’t look too hard ish. Ish. But that’s possibly a blog post of its own. (While I haven’t taken Flylady back, I’ve invited her around for coffee. Ditto with KonMari))

I learned something about myself that I probably already knew. For me, the endorphins from exercise stop me from being a psychotic hose beast with a short temper and a snippy tongue. I sort of already knew that, because when I had a Madness after my dad died, it was exercise and sleeping tablets that pulled me through, and once I had one under control, I didn’t so much need the other. But that’s what works for me. Walking is enough, too. I don’t need boot camp or running or endless bloody gym sessions. I am not a team player, I honestly think boot camp is fucked up (hence my not doing it, good for you if that’s what pops your cork). So I walk every day. 11,000 steps because 10% extra is good.

Music is another thing I started to enjoy again. Like, I’ve always enjoyed music and having it on and around, but for some reason, I stopped listening to it. This year, I revisited my yoof (like, I’m talking 14 or 15 angsty teenager yoof here) and I’ve started listening to 3RRR and I subscribed. Sort of payback for all the years of enjoyment I got from RRR in the early 80s. I discovered bluegrass/hip hop fusion and rekindled my love of blues music. ANd digital radio. Crikey. I’ve now worked out how to use my digital receiver and there are quite a lot of interesting stations out there. Like, um. Aussie for indulging the inner bogan, and there’s a couple of stations that just play 80s and 90s music. Tunes and LOUD if you please. Also, can I pls have stereo for XP, ok thx. One with a remote.

OOh, and streaming. I have watched So. Much. Telly. Loads of stuff. Mostly half watched because crochet and writing (and playing silly games), but watched enough to say yeah, watched a lot of telly. Love the Netflix and the Stan and yeah, cannot wait for new episodes of my shows. Give me a good serial killer and I am happy as a clam. Although Netflix, I needs you to pop sub-titles in the blurb because I only half watch and do something else, I really need the talking to be in the englishes. Please?

So yeah, that’s a whole lot of not actually sucking going on in 2016. Dunno what I was complaining about really. Bring on the 2017.



Eh wat?

Apparently, it’s been a good couple of months since my last blog post. Not sure how that happened, I think it was a couple of months between last drinks as well but hey. Life and other shenanigans have a wee habit of getting in the way of well laid plans. I have to say the last couple of months have been a bit fucked really. I usually floof about a bit like a duck, all calm and serene on the surface and pedalling like mad underneath, but always with my head firmly above water and pointing roughly in the right direction. Lately though, bit more waving my arms in the air cos drowning. Lots going on, some in my control, a fair bit not, and something had to give for a while. That thing was this.

But I’m back for a wee bit, and the Cosmos seems to be smiling on me (the credit card company seems to have been infested with polite, friendly and helpful space aliens. This is not a bad thing, but srsly, they answered my questions and FIXED things. That never happens. And the health insurance mob is giving me way more money back in exchange for a relatively small amount of cash in return. Also, never happens). So, you never know, duck like serenity could well return. It would be nice if it did.

So, enough of my moaning (I am actually moaning quite a lot about everything because Things is Haaaaaaaaard, man) and what else have I been doing since last I wrote? I have been reading, I have been journaling, I’ve not been tidying up and I’m still broken up with Flylady. In fact, I am so broken up with Flylady that I even snatched housework for the afternoon and went fat-arming in the Early Bird (tr: driving around with the windows down in a 1966 Falcon) and I didn’t even care. Ok, I cared a little tiny weeny bit when I had to go grocery shopping with a hangover on Sunday. That wasn’t fun. I also spent nearly $300 and none of it was on actual food. Oops. Don’t be recommending grocery shopping after a crappy night out. Oh, that was another thing that happened. I went out at night. Ended up in a shitty pub listening to a shitty coverband and fending off middle aged men making goo goo eyes at me and pinching my arse. On the one hand, hey I’ve still got it, but on the other hand, fuck off mate.

Books – Another Ellie Griffiths, but not a Ruth Galloway one. Smoke and Mirrors is about a police detective and a magician. Weird. Sort of works, set in the early 50s with all the mores of that era. I sort of liked it I think.  I dunno. Jury’s out. I also read Bad Debts by Peter Temple. I read it mainly because I’d watched and enjoyed the telly series (as an aside, I don’t particularly like Guy Pearce for myriad reasons, mostly not to do with his acting, but he’s  good in this series) and because my usual source of books has erm been arrested or something, I gave them a whirl. It was good. I’ll read more. And the other one is The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly. It was a bit different and a bit convoluted, but at the end of the day (or weekend, actually) it was a cracking read. I read most of it over one weekend on a road trip.

Now, that’s a story in itself. Proper country, middle of nowhere, spasmodic at best telephone service (unless you’re lucky enough to be with the other carrier who had a tower less than a kilometre away. Nobody was, because they’re generally shit in the country and we were hanging with country people). Anyway, no interwebs meant a lot of lolling about reading when I wasn’t learning about Mallee Fowl and the eating habits of the lesser Bettong. Lot of reading time. Which I did put to good use.

Oh, and I finished my blanket! And gave the other one I’m making not so much the arse as a mild reassessment. The Harmony blanket  is bloody well gorgeous. It took me just over a year to finish (ok, I did do other stuff in between and one cannot crochet in summer due to sweaty paws) and I love it. It looks amazing and it’s super snuggly and warm. I love it. The other blanket – well. Now, this blanket has a lovely story behind it and the pattern was created with love in honour of a regular crocheter. But here’s the thing. While I am not an amazing crocheter, I am not bad. I can’t really read a pattern, which is problematic, but there were videos, so I was getting along ok. BUT I realised that at the end of each square I wasn’t so much yay look what I’ve done and more fuck, I’ve got another three to do. So, yeah. Snatched it. Sort of. I will be making the squares, but doing my own patterns and dancing to the beat of my own slightly recalcitrant drum.

Anyway, that’s about enough for one night.


Still resting…

After what could best be described as a fairly frenetic KonMari attack on a large proportion of my house, I stopped just after Easter and embarked on a brief hiatus to see what would happen if I stopped with the tidying up of all the things… That hiatus has now entered its second month and I don’t seem to be in a rush to tidy up anything else. And you know what, the house is still looking ok.

Now, because I’m not keen on being told what to do, and nor am I keen on doing things the way they’re supposed to be done (just call me Miss Free-Range 2016), my approach to the whole KonMari business was probably a bit scattergun compared to the super orderly super structured purist KM methodology. I should also state up front and out loud that I still do have a fair bit of stuff that I like dotted about the place. This could well be described as crap (or komono) by some people, but I like it (or someone else who lives in my house likes it – looking at you, several butt-ugly paintings in various rooms in my house) and I reckon liking it is enough to meet the definition of joy-sparking. And no, I’m not consigning my teddies to the fucking bin, you heartless moll. Ahem.

I suppose I did start at the start, because I started with clothes, but it appears that I also embarked on the KonMari process before KonMari was a ‘thing’ – two years ago, I did a full kitchen makeover that involved gutting an entire room and remodelling. The method I used to decide what should stay or go was remarkably similar to the KM process. Although I also had to consider whether I used the item, and also whether I had room for the item as I lost a lot of cupboard real estate in the renovation ( I lost the equivalent of a row of cupboards as the old kitchen had cupboards to the ceiling and the new kitchen doesn’t.) I still regret parting with my gorgeous Italian ceramic platters and bowls, but I had nowhere to put them. And they’re the kind of thing I’d a) use once a year and b) had a viable if not as attractive alternative that fit in the damn cupboard. (To be perfectly honest, they didn’t actually fit in a cupboard pre-renovation – they were sort of tucked into a very high up cupboard and threatened to land on unsuspecting cupboard openers.) When I officially reached the kitchen section, I cleaned out the pantry (something that gets done twice a year anyway) and chucked a peeler that shit me and kitchen was done.

And as for sentimental stuff – a bit over a year ago, Chaos moved into his own room after sharing with his little brother for nine years (and us living in the house for 13 or so years at that point. You can imagine.). In order for him to be able to move, I had to clean my very important stuff out of the wardrobe and under the bed and in the corners of what was the spare room. This took me a week, I picked up and looked at every single box and item of stuff that was crammed into that wardrobe and got rid of a lot of stuff – goodbye uni texts and notes, nine years after I graduated is long enough to keep them (I had vague ideas of doing honours, but got a job instead). Goodbye 1988 tax assessment notice. And goodbye pictures of people I didn’t recognise. We filled a skip bin twice over. Not just out of that room, other stuff was being culled at the same time, but I had a red hot go. All my sentimental stuff that I wanted to keep is in a chest of drawers under the house. Three drawers instead of an entire wardrobe and ALL the drawers, several boxes under the bed and a whole lot of other seekrit locations.

But I did tidy my clothes ‘properly’, and, with permission and some assistance, the clothes of the Gentlemen. The win for me is that despite actively removing at least half of my clothes, I have more clothes to wear. And a couple of things I didn’t feel the love for any more are now back in the rotation of clothes I wear (it appears I didn’t have issue with the skirts themselves, just the shirts I used to wear with them. I’ve culled the shirts and wear the skirts with different tops. I still need new trousers, but I’m looking at how I can mend the hook on one pair because the fact they don’t stay done up is what causes the lack of love). After discarding a HEAP of clothes I’d worn once, and some that still had tags, I am so much more discerning in my purchases. Even if something is sparking hot pink electric neon ‘buymebuymebuyme’ joy – like a pair of 8-hole cherry red Doc Martens on proper sale ($90 off) and in my size that stayed right where they were for someone else to love because you know what, they weren’t that comfortable and I really do get hot feet.

The most astonishing thing though is how damn easy it is to keep the wardrobes under control. It took me just over 15 minutes in total(!!!!!!!!) to tidy our wardrobes, including refolding Reg’s jumpers and actually folding my t-shirts (eh, I am lay-zeee. They come back from the ironing fairy on hangers and um. Sometimes they don’t make it to the drawer. But because I only have eleventy bazillion shirts instead of a gazillion, there’s room, so it’s ok.) I was dreading tidying Mayhem’s wardrobe – there was shit everywhere. And seven and a half minutes later. What mess? Yes, I timed it. I’m a dork. Chaos sorted his wardrobe on his own (he’s 13) in under five minutes.

The paper situation at ours has also stayed relatively under control, and the discernment in grocery shopping has continued. Most weeks, I’m under budget; last week, we went to the pub and spent the grocery money on beer and steaks. Oops.  Nobody starved. All good. Nothin’ to see here…

I suppose I will go back to it eventually, because there’s still stuff that needs dealing with (probably. Ok, definitely. We have about a million DVDs. Or two million. And Netflix). But after a solid three months of tidying and sorting and rearranging and finding more sensible storage solutions, I’m done enough for now. The house feels lighter, and I can now “see” the maintenance that need doing – like changing light fittings so we can have some task lighting in the dining room, getting some art for the kitchen, cleaning or replacing the carpet in the lounge room…And painting. We’ve been here 14 years, and it needs doing. Not having clutter to ignore means I can see the work that has to be done.

I’ve read some srsly negative shit about the process and how “first world” it is, and how only people who can replace the shit they cull can afford to do it, and people who can’t afford it will be throwing out stuff they need. And the poor people and the war refugees and the hoarders, it makes them seem bad for holding on.Except it’s not like that. Well, not for me, anyway – I’ve not replaced stuff I’ve got rid off, except for a vegetable peeler and a couple of t-shirts. I repaired my coat, and I’m looking at fixing (or, most likely, getting someone else to fix) my pants. Yes, the Jobs that need doing are going to add up, but hello. Actually live in the first world, so the having of a house that needs maintenance is a problem that I have. It’s more about living better with less crap. I’ve not got rid of sentimental stuff, or stuff from my grandmother… I hate to think what will happen when I have to deal with my mum’s stuff, but hopefully, she’ll continue to go through her own KM process in the mean time (and keep giving me things she knows I will appreciate and look after.)



Mindfulness (or how KonMari turned me into a discerning shopper* and I stopped eating chocolate)

Since I climbed aboard the KonMari train, my house is definitely starting to show the effects. There’s still crap everywhere, but it’s more orderly crap (and mostly belongs to other people. The stuff that’s mine is totally not crap, ok. It’s my hobbies.) Stuff goes back where it’s come from, and the areas I have sorted out seem to have stayed sorted. It’s been about six months since I watched a couple of vids on the YouTube and about ten weeks since I read the books and started to take the whole business a bit more seriously. I am a lot more aware of what I own and I strongly suspect I’m more aware of *why* I own it.

Being mindful is basically all about being aware of your surroundings and paying attention to your thoughts on a moment by moment basis. Picking up everything I own, looking at it and considering its place in my life is being mindful. BUT (and this is a bit strange) I’ve noticed some peculiar side effects creeping into my life.

For example, the family grocery bill was always around $300-350 a week. Sometimes a little more, and rarely a little less. There’s four of us, one teenager, one ten year old and a couple of alleged grown ups. On top of that $300+, we’d either eat out or get take away once or twice a fortnight. That’s a LOT of money on food. However, in the last ten weeks or so, I’ve spent an average of $260 a week on groceries, and we’re eating out/getting take away less (probably once every two-three weeks instead of once every 1-2 weeks). That is a minimum of $400 we haven’t spent in the last ten weeks.

Now, my ‘meal planning’ (such as it is) continues to be as half arsed as it ever was. It’s still a vague list of protein and suggested cooking methods that’s subject to change without notice. I still buy crap I don’t need (why do they sell stationery at the supermarket, hrrm?) and I don’t think I’m throwing out any less than I did before (I’m perpetually chucking 1/4 of a container of cream, a handful of spinach leaves and half a manky tomato). Groceries have certainly not gone down in price in the last two and a bit months, so I really don’t know how the fuck I am managing to not spend $40 a week minimum.

It appears I’m just buying less stuff. My shopping list is shorter – it used to cover the entire page, and now – maybe half. I still go off piste and buy the odd thing or two that’s not on the list (Stabilo pens and cool boxes to keep stationery in. I am not obsessed), I think I am just more aware of what we have in the cupboard, the likelihood of using it all up between this week and next, and only putting stuff on the list when the answer to that question is yes, it will get used up. I’ve also stopped buying shit because that’s what I always buy (hello, looking at you seven bottles of mouthwash) and sticking to the list. Weird.

This shopping discernment is also applying to buying other stuff as well. I took Chaos and Mayhem clothes shopping after a quicky KM of their respective wardrobes (I have to say, even if you don’t go any further than sorting out your (and your family’s) clothes, it’s so worth it – I culled stuff the kids had grown out of really quickly, went through the biggest one’s discard pile with the little one, he’s picked out what he likes, and the rest have gone to the oppy. In the space of an hour. Do your clothes, do the kids clothes, even do the significant other’s clothes. It’s worth it. Future You will thank you so much.)

Anyway, digressing as always – Chaos needed clothes, Mayhem was well stocked up.  In the past, shopping for Chaos would involve me buying stuff, bringing it home, Chaos would vary from yay to meh about the purchases, but they’d all end up in his wardrobe with the items classified meh to be ignored for all eternity or he grew out of it. Or I’d take them both shopping and feel the parental urge to be Fair and buy them exactly the same number of things. This time, we had a list and we stuck to it. Chaos needed two pairs of chinos, a pair of trackies and a couple of t-shirts to replace the 10 or so he culled the other day. He also needed a dress shirt big enough to wear a t-shirt under. We came home with one pair of pants, one pair of trackies and three t-shirts because that’s what we found that he liked. And Mayhem came home with no clothes because that kid has enough clothing to last him ’til the end of the year.

Chaos looked at things. He tried things on. He discarded things he didn’t like. He discerned. And I am trying to do the same thing – while I’m on leave I’m wearing stuff I’m not sure about, and determining whether they’re going to stay or go. So far, two shirts are staying and two are going. I’m going to have nothing left the rate I’m heading!

The chocolate thing is even more weird. And mindful. It started when I was standing over the charity chocolates at work, internally debating the relative merits of a plain Freddo or a double strawberry one or both. I decided on both, but at the same time, realised that I didn’t particularly like the charity chocolates because maybe a bit stale, a bit room temperature and squishy and generally not very nice. I took the chocolates back to my desk and returned to the task at hand while I ate the unappealing chocolate and set my mind to the question:

“If I don’t actually enjoy this, why on earth am I doing it?”

I am stuffing my face with slightly squishy and not very nice chocolate because I want a break from my desk. Because the chocolate is in another part of the office, I have to get up and walk there. So, instead of chocolate, I have been having a cup of “pretend” tea (fruit flavoured tissane – best described as hot cordial – while I like the idea of tea, the reality is somewhat lacking in appeal). The really weird part of the not eating chocolate thing is that it extended to not eating it at home either (no, I wasn’t eating $40 a week of chocolate, that’s not why the grocery bill has declined), and I simultaneously stopped stuffing my face with half a block of fruit and nut every second night. A few days turned into a few weeks which turned into Easter’s around the corner, I’m not going to eat chocolate til Easter. Easter’s been and gone – and while I have in fact eaten chocolate, I’ve probably had 2-3 little eggies each day. When I think back to last year (and every year preceding), and the chocolate stuffing fiesta that took place… well. I think I’ve broken the habit.

I’ve also lost four kilograms. I think that is certainly related.

*Except, well, stationery supplies. I’m still buying stationery supplies. But they have less calories than chocolate and my kids can’t grow out of them.


Now, it appears the Fearless Purple Flylady is giving me the shits again – I am getting between 15 and 20 fly-posts a day (today was 30 I think) and in all seriousness, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone who’s been around as long as she has would have more than about 20 ‘stock’ posts that get regurgitated on a pretty much weekly basis. If I have to see one more post about how awesome those purple rags are or that fucking water bottle…

Yes. I have fallen into the aggressive phase of my passive-aggressive relationship with the Flylady. Maybe its the simplicity and minimalism of KonMari that’s completely turning me against her, and maybe it’s because Easter and she’s on the Jesus-train. Nowt wrong with that, just not down my throat tyvm. However, I will say easier to ignore on the Farcebook than her palaver cluttering up my inbox. I suspect that KM is not the only thing I can’t do ‘properly’ whilst working full time (or with childrens). I do have routines, but they’re pretty damn flexible. I do meal plan – if you consider writing a list of protein sources, proposed cooking methods and suggested days on a scrap of paper and sticking it on the fridge to be meal planning (there were two Thursdays this week. Interesting.) I also have a ‘shiny sink’ (tr: clear, wiped benches in the entire kitchen – who wants one wee oasis of clean in the middle of a schemozzle. The entire bench is clear before I go to bed); and whilst I do dress to shoes as soon as I get up because I walk the dog, that doesn’t count because they come off the millisecond after I walk in the door. However, my ‘dress to shoes’ is drying my hair properly and popping a face on, even if it’s just tinted moisturiser and mascara.

I’m not abandoning the KM train either – still wombling about in the crap carriage – two weeks of annual leave and I have two KM missions – the damn filing cabinet and the fucking laundry (it’s been shitting me for thirteen and a half years, so yeah. Something.) But more on that later. At least it’s getting cool enough for Reg to crank up the pot belly stove to burn all the crap when I deal with the filing cabinet. Definitely a win there.

Now, about 18 months ago, I had a dabble with Bullet Journaling. I stuck at it for about six months, then totally lost the book I was using. When I KM’d the crap out of my cupboard – whadderyouknow, found the wee fucker. I didn’t go find an alternative partly because the book I was using was NQR. It was a medium sized Moleskine square journal, and it was sort of too small but not for any real reason I can put my finger on (aside from my gigantic hand writing and equally gigantic man hands. They’re not that big, but yeah. I like a decent spread.) Bullet journaling is just a fancypants version of what I do on random bits of paper; and is pretty much how I operate at work (except that I use an A4 notebook, write on one side, and use the other side of the spread for notes etc). I started doing proper Bullet Journal stylie last week and fuck it’s good. I’m seriously tempted to do it hardcore when I go back to work – I’m managing two big projects with various deadlines, along with a couple of smaller ones. The two smaller projects I’m not even starting til May, but they’re on the list because oops, forgot. They’ve been off and on the list since oh – February. Anyway, I consulted Mr Google to refresh the whole bullet journal thing again.

Fuck. Me. Swinging.

When I first investigated bullet journaling, it was pretty low key – write a list in a book and index your lists so that you can find stuff you want to know about later, tailored to suit your needs, and no waste paper because just the days you use. Simples. In the last 18 months or so, it appears to have evolved. A lot. People have embraced the #bujo (it’s even got a fucking hashtag. Seriously.) and the Google is full of these beautiful and creative masterpieces that are enough to turn an inveterate list maker such as myself into a bit of a squeamish wussy-girl. (I am allowed to call myself a wussy-girl because yes. Both. Specially when it comes to flowers and stickers and shit. And Washi tape. Although that’s sorta fancy). There’s this whole community of “planner-addicts” who do these elaborate (and slightly insane) decorated planner pages (I double dare you to Google Erin Condren Planners and look at the images.

Now, rest assured I am not totally bagging you if you’re a fan of that sort of thing. What ever pops your cork. But I still think it’s nutty as. There’s also a whole lot of people who do this in their bullet journal. They have lists and list and lists and challenges (and still have get up, go to work, come home and play with journal as their entire to-do lists for the day. Sorry, I suspect I actually *am* bagging the journal/planner enthusiast. I really am sorry. I don’t like to bag people for their passions, no matter how weird. I don’t even bag bronies. Actually, I definitely bag bronies. Google them.)

Ok, now I’ve confused myself and made myself feel all guilty for picking on people for decorating their diaries…  I’m not only doing a bullet journal again, I am using the duck’s guts of journals… the legendary Leuchtterm1917 in red. My dad always told me to use the best tools I could afford – the paper in this shits all over the Moleskine, so I should be able to use a gel ink pen. I do prefer to write with gel ink. And I may or may not have an interesting and extensive collection of colourful gel pens. This is why I should not bag people for doing fancy arse journals. I have colourful pens. MANY colourful pens.  I am slavishly following the set-up instructions then I am going to go fully sick. And I can write down my “to read” lists, and a list of meals the fussy buggers I live with will eat, and pretty much anything I can think of, as well as keeping track of the gigantic to-do list that I have rolling about in my head. But I’m not doing stickers. Probably. They’d have to be super cool. And not pictures of dinner.



Still tidying up

I’m beginning to realise that for someone such as my good self, I am not going to reach a point with KonMari Method where I can sit back and say “Yep. Done now.” any tine soonly. In fact, possibly ever. For starters, I live with three other people, and I work full time, so it’s not just *my* crap, it’s four people’s crap; and time is something I don’t have a lot of. I still have to do all the housework stuff that’s not cleaning and ironing (I outsource that bit) and buy food and all that palaver. We don’t have the space for putting everything in a giant pile for however long it will take me to go through it, either, so I am forced to do things in smaller chunks than is probably optimal.

While I am definitely on the KonMari Train, I’m not taking the Bullet Train. I’m on the stopping all stations go back to go forward definitely taking the scenic route train, which has the odd trip down into a siding for a bit of a detour.  So far, I have dealt with my clothes (twice through properly, plus odd picking), books and probably 50% of paper. I have now entered the carriage on the Slow Train that’s clearly labelled  “Crap” (technically, it’s called ‘komono’, which I am pretty sure is actually Japanese for crap.) Now, Crap at my house is the shit that’s shoved in every single fucking corner of every room of the house. Some of it is even mine (looking at you, side table with my journaling stuff and my crochet and hey there’s “Spark Joy”). There is rather a lot of it. I’m glad I started on the other shit first, because hello – Crap is fucking daunting (and making me very fucking SWEARY!!!!) Rather than working by category like I am supposed to (I am SUCH a rebel – and honestly, I find crap is something that needs to be dealt with in small small doses), I’ve got a bit of a list of crap locations based on what shits me the most and I am working through it. The list keeps growing, but things are getting crossed off – and Other People have noticed that one can just put ones hand into the drawer where all the pens live and {gasp} find a fucking pen when you want it.

This is quite the miracle, because I swear that before I tidied that drawer, we had NO pens, NO pencils, NO calculators, NO rubbers and definitely NO rulers.  Prior to going through it and removing  toy cars, nerf gun bullets, several marbles, assorted lanyards, eleventy bazillion glue sticks and who knows what else, I bought a packet of ten ballpoint pens and a packet of pencils and a couple more erasers because homework cannot be done without them. I could have saved myself $10 at Officeworks because yeah – underneath all the Crap that was shoved in the damn drawer – more pens,pencils, rubbers, calculators and rulers than you can poke a stick at. It’s all nicely sorted into appropriately sized boxes (Reject Shop gift boxes for the win – under $6 and I used the box lids in another cupboard!) I also need to back away from the Kikki.K pens. Bag of rubbish from two drawers. Ahem.

Then I embarked on the top of my wardrobe – there are three main categories of stuff in my wardrobe (aside from clothes – der):

  1. General crap I’ve shoved in the wardrobe to deal with later
  2. Archive-y stuff
  3. Sentimental hoo-ha

Now, the archive-y stuff is things like a 150+ year old photo album full of pictures of Ye Olde Dead Uns. Some of whom I’ve identified, most of whom… not so much. Hence my desire to go through some slightly more recent (like, you know, 50 – 70 year old pictures) with people who were alive when they were taken. And a clock. It’s old. It’s been painted poo brown and needs restoring. I need to find someone to do it (while it don’t do much for me, it does spark joy for other members of the household). Also, there may or may not be a couple of old journals that I’ve filed under the category “archive”. (They funny as fuck. Teenage and twenty-something girls are weird. It’s all dating pre-mobile phone. Lordy. The angst level is positively baronial. And I’ve actually toned down with the swears. No. I have. I don’t pepper my prose with c words any more.)

As I mentioned well above, there’s not a chance in hell that this train will ever reach its destination – because seriously, Joy is transient, and stuff you love right now will undoubtedly shit you later on (just look at old pictures of yourself – the really old ones when you’re feeling hip and totes funky and all in your best outfit. While the picture will spark joy (of the tears of laughter kind), the outfit itself? Eh, not so much. And if you think about it – you get yourself all minimalist now, and never go through anything again – up to your armpits in komono again before you know it. And nerf gun bullets.

Prime example of transient joy inducing clothing – I’ve just released the last FOUR out of four t-shirts I bought.

  1. Shirt #1 – A case of Needs Must – I desperately needed a white top to wear to a meeting because I forgot the ironing fairy wouldn’t get back in time for me to use one I already had. I bought one, and I was suss on it from the start. I was right, it didn’t wash well, and even being nice to it, it lost its shape by the third wash. Gone.
  2. Shirt #2 and #3 – This time, it was a case of inappropriate packing. I packed for the weather at home, not at my destination. I needed short sleeves. I grabbed two t-shirts in my size, tried them on and eh, they’ll do. Except I loathed the cut of both of them and spent the entire time I wore them picking at them. Gone.
  3. Shirt #4. I know not what I was thinking. It was a cranky purchase, I think. The fabric is shit, it has the same cut as #2 and#3 (which I loathe) and the colour is not flattering. It’s a beige-y pale blue. Permission granted to evict.

So, yeah – still need two white t-shirts. And I am going to make damn sure that whatever I buy fucking well sparks something that’s not “it’ll do” before I buy anything new. We’re embarking on some kind of epic budget shit thing starting April and I don’t reckon spending $100 on shirts to donate to the op shop three months later is really going to be an awesome line item. I tell you what, that winter coat I need will be a very discerning purchase.

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.