Archive | February 2013

Sleep? Meh!

The tag “sleeping well” for this post is a misnomer. As is the tag “new habits”.

I don’t sleep well. And my attempts to fix this are not really new.

I don’t know why I sabotage myself. Falling asleep on the lounge. Waking up and then going to bed and not being able to sleep. Staying up watching crap on the tele. Surfing the Net which often involves looking at the same blogs again and again, in the hope new posts have been added. Avoiding doing my evening jobs, until I am so tired I can’t get off the lounge to do them and need a nap before I can. Seriously!!!

I have managed to master the drink more water habit. And switching breakfast to a more healthier option has been successful. As has cutting down on biscuits and not eating white bread during the working week. And Pilates every week is going well. And I have been meeting my new challenges from the start of this year: decluttering an item a day and not buying clothes.

So why can’t I improve my sleep?

I am not going to add any new challenges until I have under control.

March will have a new focus. Break the brat that stays up late and avoids evening chores.

I will get ready for bed straight after dinner. I will get to bed by 11pm. I will not lie down on the lounge. I will not mindlessly leave the TV on.

Four weeks to eliminate obstacles; put on place positive triggers; and to exercise a bit of will power for what I know is good for me, enjoyable and restful. Four weeks to a new habit. To turning behaviour into routine.

Today’s decluttered item = bangles. I tidied up my jewellery drawer. I have a small collection of silver and costume jewellery. Time to look at what I like and what I wear! Out went a ring. I like it but I gave it to a friend who admired it. Out went a set of bangles. I liked them too. But they suit a younger person better so I gave them to a younger acquaintance. Opps! I didn’t take any photos. But here’s one solo costume bangle that is going in the bin. I don’t wear it so don’t need the clutter.

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To Keep or not to Keep

The sticky/tricky questions: what to do with pieces you like but aren’t using? What to do with items that you own multiples of?

I don’t subscribe to the view that if you haven’t worn it for 6 or 12 months you should toss or donate. I have found items that come back into fashion, or I get a new top that brings back to life an old skirt, or something I got sick of I like again.

But be strong if you like.

I am not. I will keep these items. That is why I am not buying any new clothes this year. I want to make the most of the clothes I have already bought.

And for the last 2 months I have not bought any clothing items. No shoes, no underwear, no accessories! No cheap tops, no beautiful dresses, no calling me from the rack items on special!

Wardrobe is looking a little leaner.

Way to go me!

Today’s decluttered item = I have had this top for years. I like it and it looks good on me, especially with a black skirt or black pants. But it is problematic. The sleeveless design suggests wearing in warm weather. But the material is quite thick which feels wrong in warm weather. Wear it in cool weather and the lack of sleeves looks silly. A jacket over it doesn’t sit properly. So, although I have said I will keep items I like but haven’t worn for months, this top is not one as I cannot see myself wearing it again.

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A clothing diet

Got enough clothes? Or do you subscribe to the idea that more is better? Do you wear all your clothes? Or do you buy the latest must have and throw away lots of clothes?

For your wallet, your credit card, your wardrobe,your clutter and for the environment and the workers who make your clothes, join me on a clothing diet!

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OK, I’m not American but I love this image, the concept and the site. The diet has finished so you can’t join them (though you can join me) but they have some good stories and suggestions for further reading. Hop over to here for some inspiration.

As well as not buying anything, I have decluttered many things from my wardrobes and clothing cupboards so far this year and not brought in anything new. Feeling decidedly virtuous, if not gorgeous yet.

Today’s decluttered item = 2 T-shirts. One has a little hole on the front and the other just doesn’t suit me. I don’t need to hold onto these. I can afford new ones. Indeed, I have enough Tees and singlet tops. My cupboard is overwhelmed with the number of clothes it has to store for me. I’m at the age that worn out tops don’t look good, just shabby and slobby. I don’t need to keep items for gardening or around the house. Time to go. The one with the hole will be cut up to be used as cleaning cloths and the other will go to the charity bin.

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Throw out the scales

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People, you gotta love Andrew Cate. I have paraphrased him extensively before with his Walk off Weight book.

Now I have more pearls of wisdom from him.

He says scales are for fish, so throw out your bathroom scales.

Why?

Well, they are an inaccurate measure of your health, body fat levels or success. Muscles weigh more than fat so your weight will probably go up as you get fitter and stronger. Also scales don’t measure fat loss so you don’t know if you are losing muscle. And you could be losing weight because you are dehydrated, so there’s another inaccuracy of scales. Or even worse, you could be losing bone density!!!

More problems abound. You don’t know where the weight loss is from. And scales won’t measure fitness nor behaviour. Worse still from a health perspective, because you lose muscle and bone density as you age, you can’t use past weight as a goal. Resistance training to prevent muscle and boneless may make you weigh more on the scales.

Are you celebrating the death of the scales with me, people?

Cate gives you other measures of success. Measuring your waist, hips and thighs. Track your fitness. Track your emotions and don’t think a high reading on the scales should make you feel bad for the day.

He’s won me. I will use other measures, including the measurements of those waist, hips and legs.. In fact, I already have. (But shhh. I am still going to surreptitiously step on the scales. And sing loudly my praises to all and sundry when I get to 62 kilos.)

So how am I doing? I am definitely fitter, being able to power up hills, and stronger, being able to bicep curl 7kgs with almost ease. I feel good. I get compliments and questions asking if I have lost weight, so I must look leaner.

And my measurements comparing when i started in August last year to now are:
Chest: 97cm, now 96cm
Waist: 87cm, now 81cm
Hips: 98cm, now 96cm
Thighs: 57 1/2cm, now 57cm
Weight: 67 kg, now I vary between 65 and 66 kg. Not a lot but re-read the above post. I shouldn’t even be posting my weight.

Today’s decluttered item = a pair of sandals. A friend gave these to me as she thought they matched a skirt I owned. They do, but they are not comfortable for me to wear for a day at work so I have never worn them. I kept them because I kept thinking I might wear them for an occasion that I don’t have to walk so much. But that hasn’t happened and as I only wear the skirt to work, it is unlikely. I suppose I have also kept the shoes out of guilt at my friend’s generosity and guilt at not repaying her by wearing the sandals. Anyway off to the charity shop. Someone may want them.

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Decluttering, donating and doing good

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Charities often get junk “donated” and have to spend significant funds on rubbish removal. Apparently some of our biggest charities are struggling as they have to pay thousands for clean-ups. People have so much stuff that they can’t fit it all in their bins so they use charities as rubbish dumps. Perhaps they kid themselves they are doing good? If so, why dump in the middle of the night?

And then people scavenge through the bags and goods to find something of value, causing more mess.

I have also heard horrific stories of the gross stuff volunteers have to sort through: unwashed underwear, soiled nappies. Gross, people. Just gross.

I used to throw my bras away because, let’s face it, who is likely to buy second hand underwear in Australia? But I always felt guilty. Some of my bras are hardly worn. I bought so many but wore my favourites. I also suffered the effect of breast feeding, gravity, age and weight gain – going from a 10C, to a 10D, to a 10DD, to my current 10E in a matter of less ten years.

So this brings me to link these threads of thought. I want to donate, not overload charities with things their stores couldn’t sell or use in major cities, avoid more landfill, and declutter. Well, there’s an organisation that collects good quality bras for disadvantaged communities in places like the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and NT. They prefer large sizes, so I hope my size 10s will be useful given they have big cup sizes.

Project Uplift, what a great idea!

Today’s decluttered item = bras, of course. Ten, count them, ten!!! Probably about $600 or more. Kept, even though I have grown out of them, because I felt guilt at the money spent (some are quite expensive and were hardly worn), didn’t want to throw them in the in but didn’t know what to do. Now problem is solved.

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Candles

I love scented candles. They have a minor role in my imagined gorgeous life. Their ambiance and scent are part of my adding to a cheering, welcoming home.

I hate the ones with overpowering, artificial scent, especially the sickly sweet strawberry ones. You know, the cheap, made in China, el-cheapo shop ones. Just as I hate those awful plugins.

I love candles with a more natural, soft scent. There is a brand from the US that I adore. The Village candle. Their cake-scented candles smell as if you have a cake baking in the kitchen.

The problem is buying them and not using them. Favoured things made to be used and not used, simply become clutter. The candles on their own right are not decorative or ornamental. They need to be lit.

So I vow to use and enjoy my candles. Regularly. Not save them for some indeterminate time.

Today’s decluttered item = a candle I finally used up. I bought these two about three years ago. The full one has finally migrated out of the cupboard and will be the next to be used.

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My favourite book on organising

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My favourite book on organising is Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing from the Inside Out. I love her approach. I could read it again and again. In fact, I’d much rather read her book and dream about how organised my house could be than get off my butt and act. Actually, that is what I do.

But as Morgenstern has you analyse why you are disorganised before you start organising, I actually have to read. See! I’m not lazy, just organising myself from the inside out!

Firstly, you have to see if you have technical errors: simple mistakes that apparently can be easily resolved.

Oh goody. I love self-diagnosis.

Error #1: items have no home, so they end up piled everywhere, and even if you want to put things away, you don’t know where to put them. Yep, got this error.

Error #2: your storage is inconvenient, eg too far from where things are used, so it is too hard to put things away. No, this isn’t really a problem for me.

Error #3: you have too much stuff; more stuff than you can fit in existing storage. Oh yeah! Putting both hands up for this one!

Error #4: your systems are too complex so you give up. I think this is mainly for filing paperwork. I don’t file, so my system isn’t very complex: just put things in piles!

Error #5: leaving things out so they are a visual reminder of what has to become, but then you end up with too many things out. That’s me to a T. The bills to be paid, the notes to be signed and returned to school, the books to go back to the library, the insurance company to contact… I not only lose sight of the item and then forget it, but I create mess while I go.

Error #6: you think organising is boring and there are a million more fun things to do. I’m nodding vigorously. (But apparently you can buy storage things with pizzazz which will make it fun! Who’d have thought? Still, while the finished product of a neat and tidy house would be satisfying, I know doing the organising can’t beat reading a book, or watching a favourite show on TV, or going out for dinner, now can it? And all those things are much more fun.)

Oh, what a shame! Too tired out from analysing myself to do any decluttering.

Today’s decluttered item = still more rubbish from my bedside cupboard, but this time from the bottom drawer. Surprisingly there is much less in it. This is all the rubbish from the bottom drawer. Less than half than was in the top. Speak softy laziness – that I dump everything in the top drawer because I don’t have to reach an extra 5 centimetres. Speaks of error 1, 3 and 6.

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My muscles are aching

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My legs are sore, especially my glutes, my quads and my calfs. OK, my whole legs.

And I know why.

Yoga.

The class is really intense. It’s not one of those soft, sit around and do a little stretch here and there and then end with a long meditation.

So we all know we have to mixup our exercise; challenge our body by doing different things. I’ve been doing Pilates for over two years and I was finding it a little easy. Well, a new teacher changed that. She is stricter and pushes me and has me doing different exercises with fewer breaks for a chat with my friend. All of which is good because the class is expensive and I don’t want to be paying to talk but somehow always self-sabotage myself.

And walking is my favourite exercise. It is easy and relaxing. No thinking about the next move, or keeping to a beat, or having hand-eye coordination and hitting a ball, or being worried about letting down a team. And I have been challenging myself by adding hills and going faster and keeping the pace up hills and for the whole walk.

So my soreness could be due to both of those things. But I doubt it because my body is used to them.

No, it is the yoga. And it may be a good sign. I am challenging muscles that haven’t been challenged in that way for a long time. And I have noticed, after only three classes, my upper legs are feeling more toned.

But I just want to say, I hate the down dog. Really. With a passion.

Today’s decluttered item = more junk from my top bedside drawer. One of the problems with shopping is you end up with lots of receipts which you keep “just in case”. And the pile grows. And other junk is shoved in so it is out of sight for more “just in case”. Painkillers out of their box (& who knows the expiry date?), string, business cards and a little key ring that I kept because it was a gift from someone who went overseas and, while I knew I would never use it, I couldn’t throw it away because someone, somewhere, had carved it from wood. But as mess, and junk, and clutter like this stops you seeing your treasures or even the possessions you may wish to declutter, it all has to go first.

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Best way to start decluttering

Decluttering is the new black.

Every second person seems to have decluttering as their New Year’s resolution. Google and you will find heaps of sites. I often wonder how so many own so much of so little value that they want to throw away! (And do they realise that they have to stop bringing things into the house?)

And there are hundreds of books. I should know. I own many of them. Funny thing, owning the books doesn’t seem to make things more organised. Ironically, they just add to the clutter!!!

And then there’s the TV shows. Have you seen Hoarders? Although the people clearly have serious physiological illnesses, the show lets you feel your own house is not too bad.

Anyway, there are as many different approaches to decluttering as there books on the subject. So how to start?

Most say to ask three questions of an object:
1. Do I love it? (If you do and the object adds value to your life, then why are you not displaying it or treating it with respect and care?)
2. Do I use it? (Be honest. Have you used it in the last 12 months?)
3. Do I need it? (The amazing thing here is when you are on the path to decluttering you tend to review objects and give a different answer than you did the first or second time you looked at an object.)

But that’s all well and good. Just how should you progress through all your stuff?

1. You could do it slowly – one object at a time, day by day, working randomly around the house OR
2. You could tackle one room, spending 15 to 30 minutes a day with three boxes – keep, donate, trash, and moving to a new room each week. (Be warned. If you start big and pull things out without moving them on or organising the spaces, the house will look worse.) OR
3. You could tackle “hot spots”, places where clutter accumulate, like the dining table, the home office desk, the linen press, the wardrobe OR
4. You could move everything out of a room or cupboard into a spare or junk room. As you use it, return it to the original room or cupboard. After one year, toss whatever is left. You clearly don’t need it.

As I work full-time, I am doing “the one thing a day” way. I am not worrying about possessions that belong to other family members. Why should I nag them and fret about their stuff when I can’t keep my stuff in order? When my glass house is gorgeous, then I will throw stones or pebbles their way.

It might be slow but I have all year. This journey is a long one.

Today’s decluttered item = a collection of what is rubbish from my bedside cabinet drawer. Now I know I said I was doing one thing a day but sometimes when you open a drawer to find something to declutter, a whole bunch of stuff jumps out at you without any effort. Such is this collection: a card with security details of a car I sold over 2 years ago; a card to suck you into a gym; empty packaging for a nail file; old, hair elastic without any elastic left; string to put on glasses so they can hang around your neck (which I would never do, glasses are not jewellery and hanging them on a string is so aging); a piece of plastic packaging from I don’t know what and a piece of ribbon from who knows where. Sometimes I cannot even explain to myself why I put some things away and not straight in the bin.

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The Great Me Makeover

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This blog is an account of my journey to become gorgeous, organised and healthy.

So how will I know when I have arrived?

When I am three kilos lighter.

When I have lost a few more centimetres from my waist.

When my exercise activities are a must, a priority on my diary.

When I have good sleep hygiene.

When I make sure I book regular back treatments.

When I have an organised wardrobe.

When my taxes are done.

When my finances and associated paperwork are in order.

When my cholesterol and Vitamin D levels are better.

When my linen cupboards are ordered.

When my photos are put in albums.

When my spare room is clear of junk.

Then I will be halfway there!!!

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Today’s decluttered item = junk! Sometimes we put something in a drawer and we have no idea why. This was a key ring with a big fake diamond ring. The diamond fell out so I put the key ring in my jewellery drawer. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Have to say, sadly I know there is more stuff that has to go from my bedside drawers!

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