Archive | May 2013

The Four Agreements – a refresh

I love this diagram, found at this site.


How have you been going with these agreements?

My month in review: excellent on Agreement Number 4, very good on Agreements Number 2 and 3, and needs improvement on Agreement 1.

Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes. Luckily I find humour everywhere.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Yes, lit a candle and dreamed.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, looked out for another . Bought a gift for someone at work. No reason, just because. Well, saw something that I think this colleague would like and she is a lovely person. So will surprise her tomorrow.

    Today’s decluttered items = Paper, paper, paper! Paper products, envelopes, pencils, folders, craft paper, old cards, postcards. Plastic envelopes! Some is destined for the recycling bin, some for the rubbish bin and some to be (possibly) reused at work.


    The Great Wardrobe Diet – Still going strong


    Well, I mean, really, who would have thought it?

    5 months and I haven’t bought any clothes or any shoes.

    One bra. But that is kinda needed to spend the day in comfortable decorum.

    And I bought a necklace and 2 bracelets at a school fete. $10.50 all up.

    People are saying I am strong but the truth is I have become weaker. I can’t bear the thought of going shopping. And at the thought of parting with money, I go weak at the knees.

    Truth be told, I have become extremely tight.

    God give me the strength to actually go shopping and part with my money in 8 months.

    Wearing old stalwarts hasn’t stopped me getting compliments every week.

    “Nice outfit. Thought you weren’t buying anything.” Why thank you. The skirt is about 10 years old and I thought I’d team it with a jacket from last year and a cardigan, worn as a top, from two years ago.

    “Like your jacket, Miss.” It’s ASOS. Cheap as chips. But from last year.

    I don’t feel deprived at all. I don’t feel the need for more, for new, for current fashion. Maybe it is because I have reached a certain age, but I know what suits me and what flatters me, and I don’t need to succumb to the latest iteration in the fashion stakes. I have so much. I have items of beauty and taste (and a fair few tacky and “why-are-you-hanging-onto-that” items). And I love how my skirts now hang with room to move in one section of my newly slimmed down wardrobe.

    I doubt I will ever get my wardrobe to be as spare as Jo’s, as much as I admire her ability to pare clothes down. Still, 5 months of no spend has flown by.

    Now I need to turn to my food diet!!! My June challenge is scary!

    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes, my Liverpudlian masseuse is a funny bugger!

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes. Not my masseuse!!! My darling husband.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Yes, red, red wine. Stay close to me e e.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Listened to some, thanked another, praised another, apologised to another.

    Today’s decluttered item = I have been tackling my junk room. Piles have made it to the recycling bin. No photos but stay tuned!

    I’m not a hoarder but…

    Sarah from live to list in her comment encouraged me to take before and after photos.

    Well, it will be ages before I can take “after” photos. But here are the before photos of my junk room. And not before-before photos, because it was originally a study and I could actually sit at the desk. Now, well the photos speak for themselves.

    Starting from behind the door: 20130528-204612.jpg
    Working around the room:20130528-204716.jpg
    Can we just back to that desk! And have a close-up of the book in the desk. 20130528-204816.jpg

    Is that “Paper Flow”? The book on dealing with paper? How ironic! It is being buried by paper. No flow then?

    Anyway, let’s continue our journey around the room.20130528-205020.jpg
    The bare shelves are the result of recent decluttering.

    And finally, walking out of the room, with a backward glance:20130528-205539.jpg
    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Stared out the window during breakfast. Went to Pilates.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, helped someone with family difficulties.

    Today’s decluttered items = Some craft paper. But as the above photos show, I have a lot to go.


    A misty old morning

    It’s a misty morning. This brings its own beauty.

    Mist is something we don’t see often in these parts. And this is the first one of autumn.

    Here’s the view I stare at as I have my breakfast.

    And from the outside:

    I am feeling very calm. A wonderful start to the day. This definitely counts as my “do a relaxation activity” for today.

    Driving along the West MacDonnell ranges

    Have I mentioned how much I love my iPad? I do all my blogging from it, often while watching TV or in bed, using the WordPress app. Hence my photos are not centred and my font never changes.

    My latest foray into playing with technology is to create a YouTube account (and while I love searching on Google, I hate how Google have to own everything and you have to have a Google account to have a YouTube account), upload a video via the App and allow the video to be accessed from my blog. (What a thoroughly 21st century girl I am? My next play time will involve learning how to embed videos.)

    The video is not the most exciting piece of footage. And I haven’t add background music. OK, there is no drama, no narration, no structure. And the camera work is pretty dodgy.

    But it gives you a sense of the blueness and vastness of the sky in central Australia. Photos do not show how majestic and strange the ranges are. Long, flat and rising sharply out of flat desert.


    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes. “Get out of my way. I’m fabulous.”

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes. And received some in return.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Opening a bottle of bubbles to celebrate my birthday, as we speak and dancing around the lounge room. (Somewhat restrained due to bad back, so it more of a waddle.)

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, and when I retire I will write a book. A boring book. But a book nonetheless.

    Today’s decluttered items = unopened aftershave. Given as a gift to my husband and now donated onto charity shop.


    On a roll

    I am amazed at my emotional journey of decluttering. You might have felt the same? Or if you haven’t started decluttering you might go through these stages.

    At the start, there are a few things that are easy things to declutter. Clothes you have grown out of, books that will not be re-read, sheets with holes, kitchen utensils that never really worked. As you deal with these things, you feel slightly virtuous but doubtful that such decluttering such a small number of things will make a difference.

    Then it becomes a little harder. What can go? Surely everything else has a use or fulfils a need in you? Now you have to question your emotional connection to things and the reasons for acquiring and holding onto things. You um and ah about a few items. Think you need to look in different areas to actually find anything that needs to go. Realise you invest more emotion into stuff than is warranted. Now is the time you can waver. It may be all too hard. You may feel that things cannot go. Or looking at yourself can cause great angst.

    But then, while not quite on the road to Damascus, you have some clarity. You can look at your possessions in a clearer light. Returning to areas you thought you previously decluttered, you see other items that can go. The kitchen utensil used once or twice and hung onto because you might want to use it in the future, although it has not been used for years. The gift that you put on the top shelf where it languished, forgotten and allowed to remain because it doesn’t take up much room. The stuff to which you are blind as you don’t notice that which you look at everyday. These things are either covered by other things in a drawer or mixed up with items of daily use and seem to be in the right spot. The latter include glasses and plastic cups among the items in constant use. Everyone reaches for a favourite, leaving the unused to look new and pristine so why would they go?

    I have also had bursts of energy, focusing on one areas and taking bag loads to the charity shop and putting some in the recycling or the bin. I can revisit areas already decluttered and see more clearly other items that can go.

    This is where I am up to. I know that I am still too cluttered and have much to go. But I am feeling lighter.

    I wonder what my next feelings will be in the next stage?

    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes. Love my neighbour!

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Lit a candle, read a few chapters, daydreamed looking out at my trees, had a chat with my mother and my sister, had a nap under my heated throw.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, gave one of the items below to a mother with a child with diabetes with a recipe for sugar free ice-blocks.

    Today’s decluttered items = I have been on a roll in the kitchen, inspired by Colleen who left a comment here that here kitchen drawer is a delight to use as it is not cluttered. (Also my mission is to have everything in a cupboard or shelf and nothing on table or kitchen tops.)

    Some of these things are just rubbish, some used once, some not at all. Any items that that make you go, “What on earth is that?” Ask away.






    Why store so much junk?

    I revealed the horror that is my clutter – resulting in the room you cannot enter.

    I find myself asking why I have kept such junk. Was it laziness? I don’t believe it was totally so. At the time of putting things in the study, I know I thought they would be useful – for my sons’ school assignments (one left school over two years ago!); for work; for ideas to holiday, to cook, to decorate; for craft. And sometimes I thought things would be useful for children in the extended family.

    Really, what I am tossing, excepting those very rare cases which I am donating, is worthless rubbish.

    Again and again, I ask myself: why have you bloody well kept that?

    Here’s some more rubbish from my junk room:

    How much paper can one family collect? When there are teachers in the family, the answer is too much.20130519-192408.jpg

    And with the paper comes broken folders and lanyards. The latter also seem to breed in our house. You may notice an X-ray envelope here too.
    These magazines came in the reusable bags. They were extras from a careers expo. I thought the bags would be useful. But I have so many. These languished on the floordrobe of the junk room so clearly weren’t needed. And of course, more paper is in this lot.
    More stationery. Bored yet? What about the little tile? Can you find that? I think I kept that as a reminder of the colour I want. And can you spy the little Matchbox car? My sons stopped playing with them years ago, perhaps a decade ago.

    More stationery, packaging from stationery and toy money.

    Oh I give up describing this stuff. It is bits and bobs, odds and sods, this and that. Some is off to a charity shop and some to the bin.





    Enough for today. I will persevere another day.

    I think I don’t need before and after photos of this room. Your imagination can fit all this junk into one room. Not pretty is it?

    Procrastination? Distraction?

    So, I have to ask myself: has focusing on emotional well-being and coping skills really been so I don’t have to address my poor, and sometimes atrocious, eating habits?

    It has been good to remind myself to treat my family well. And to take time to do little things I enjoy.

    But, you know, I do see beauty everywhere. Here’s a photo from my back door. The ever changing colours always give me pleasure.

    And I am an optimistic, glass-is-looking-quite-full kinda gal.

    Here’s another gratuitous shot of beauty from my front yard.

    20130524-171744.jpg Love looking at this tree!

    My back has been what is strangely called “out” for nearly 4 weeks. Osteopath and massage therapy have given intermittent relief. Some drugs have relieved the pain, others have done next to nothing. As a result, I have not been doing any exercise. I was already getting slack with the Strong Women routine, but did Pilates and yoga every week last term, and at least 4 walks a week. Now nothing is possible. And I can feel the difference in my waist.

    Ironically, stress is probably a major contributing factor to my back pain. That and prolonged sitting, poor posture and not doing my hip stretches.

    So for all my pronouncements, written as if I am a paragon and guru to be followed, these coping skills haven’t helped my back. Or maybe they have, and I’d be an unbearable grump if I wasn’t addressing them?

    Anyway, Friday night. No time for more blithering. I’m joining my back and going out. Out for a drink and nibbles. Alcohol purely for medicinal purposes, don’t you know!

    Today’s coping activities log = Laugh, Hugs, something nice for self and something nice for someone else? Yes, yes, yes and yes.

    Today’s decluttered item = children’s book. Given to a colleague who has a new grandchild.


    The fourth agreement: Always do your best.

    This agreement is similar to Dr John’s Ace of Spades – learning and working and getting better at something.

    And know that your best won’t always be the same – you may be tired, sick, upset and cannot do the same as when you are refreshed and alert. Doing your best means that it is the action, not the reward, that you focus in. So at work, it is not payday that you focus on, suffering the other days and trying to escape. You focus on the work.

    Ruiz says the first three agreements will only work with this agreement. You have to know you will not always be impeccable with your word, you will sometimes take things personally and you will sometimes make assumptions. But you are doing your best! So don’t judge yourself, punish yourself, or feel guilty.

    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes, at myself.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes, my sons.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Read the first chapter of a new book in a bubble bath.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, nice and supportive.

    Thursday’s mini mission

    Today’s mini mission from 356 Less Things is baking goods.

    Colleen sets these daily mini missions on a Monday for the whole week.

    Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering.

    Before I get to today’s mission on baking goods, I am going to look at some of my woks and fry pans. They are in the same cupboard but on a higher shelf so easier to look at.

    We have 5 woks, with one lid that we never use. So I decluttered the lid and one fry pan.

    Why hang onto 5 woks? I was asked this on a forum this morning.

    I’m trying to imagine a situation in which you would need 5 woks. Do they wear out quickly? Do you host big dinner parties? Do you have children who are moving out soon?

    No. No. And no.

    But as all hoarders can, I can justify holding onto 5 woks. At this stage.

    Mr Sans bought several of the cheap ones from Asian shops until he fond one he liked that didn’t burn food and heated well. But he kept them all. And as they are really his and he hates throwing anything away, they have all stayed. And all declutterers know, you can’t toss other people’s stuff without them agreeing. I have also promised to myself I won’t nag about his stuff, until I deal with my own which I’m sure annoys him as much as his annoys me.

    So we have OH’s favourite wok (a thin Asian one) with 2 spares.

    Then more recently we bought my favourite wok (a thick non-stick one from Bessemer), then OH thought he liked my little one but it was too little so he bought a big Bessemer one.

    I can’t use the big one as it is too heavy and I won’t use his favourite one as I don’t like the way it moves around on the stove.

    QED: 5 woks.