Category Archives: simplify

spring cleaning…

It would seem I can not make it through spring without a major overhaul from the nesting instinct of winter. So, I have been spring cleaning bit by bit for weeks now, getting back to the smaller things that slipped through the net the last couple of years. It always makes me feel better, as if a weight has lifted. I thought it would be fun to do an acronym of the process I usually go through.

sort:

:: group like items so you can see what you have

purge:

:: remove everything that does not have relevance and meaning

reduce:

:: reuse (sell to someone else that can use it)                                         

:: recycle (check online where to recycle just about anything)

I improve:

:: repair  or repurpose items that are still of use to you

neaten:

:: organize and simplify what you have so it is easy to find and maintain

give away:

:: donate items to charity shops, post items online as ‘free’

 

C clarify:

:: review your surroundings and be vigilant about what enters your space

lighten:

:: open windows, clean and freshen and clear out corners

E envisage:

:: picture how you would like your space to be and the feeling it evokes

arrange:

:: move things around a bit so they suit the way you live now

nurture:

:: enjoy and share your space with others

It would seem kitty does not need to concern herself with spring cleaning and is most happy finding the perfect napping spot, like in the duvet when the sheets are on the line… x

 

3 simple steps to spring cleaning

With warmer weather approaching, the thought of spring cleaning can not be far from our minds. This is not just an opportunity to refresh our living spaces, but also a time to review what is still relevant to the way we use our rooms in the day to day routine of our lives.

“…to open windows and push the old air of winter out and allow the rush of fresh revitalizing spring air in…”

i. list five functions…

For each space in your home think of five functions that take place.

ii. qualify belongings…

Then as you go about your spring cleaning qualify your belongings and ask if they contribute to the use of that function or not.

Perhaps seasonal items need to be packed away and stored elsewhere. Maybe some items are more suited to be placed in other areas. It is very likely other items will not have a use at all within the context of your life anymore and can be passed on to others to use.

iii. rearrange…

Spring is a great time to move things around a bit.

Rearrange accessories and smaller pieces of furniture to give a new feeling to your rooms. Purge what is not adding to the overall function and beauty of the space. Try to view each area with a fresh perspective and err on the side of less.

Then sit down to a lovely cup of tea once you are all done…

Enjoy the weekend and happy cleaning!  dawn x

the simplicity of relationships and valentines day

Valentines Day is traditionally a time for sweethearts and special someones, a time to express our affections to those that mean a lot to us. So over the course of our lifetimes, how many relationships have each of us entered into and exited from; not just romantic liaisons but friendships, associates or acquaintances? Each one bringing with it an individuals perceptions, expectations and motivations that have developed over the course of that persons life. For whatever the reason, at a certain time and at a certain place two people are drawn to one another and a history begins to build between them. However, in many instances it later breaks down and dissolves over time.

Humanity seems to embrace the idea ‘what I have right now is not as good as what I could have in the future’. This seems to stem from a lack of contentment or perhaps understanding.  I also believe people are drawn to situations that are comfortable, even if they are not desirable.

 

So much of our lives encompass relationships; with parents, children, siblings, co-workers, spouses etc. If it were possible to ‘get it right’ from the beginning; realize how valuable and unique each person is, how valuable we ourselves are and set the boundaries necessary for healthy and whole interaction, this world would be a considerably different place.

The financial ramifications alone would have a huge impact. Think of the lost momentum of a family that endures divorce… parents and children separated, home and savings divided, never to be what it once was. Or people in business transactions, whether in the ‘business world’ or the ‘buddy world’ that have been undermined by trusting those they willingly placed their money with and regrettably never recoup it.

It may sound old-fashioned, but envision a society where parents stay together because they respect themselves and each other and teach their children integrity, honesty and boundaries. Imagine living in community with each other, having the others best interests at heart because that means it is beneficial for everyone. Envision a community where each person is accountable for what is said and done. Where words are honored and promises are kept. This imaginary place is not perfect because none of us are perfect, but the atmosphere is genuine and people’s motives are pure.

Think about all the relationships you have embraced. What were the reasons certain ones did not last? How can you make the remaining ones stronger? Or if they keep your life in bondage, how can you set your boundaries and disengage from them?

ten simple questions…

1. Do I love, value and respect myself?

2. Do I know what I stand for?

3. Do I set boundaries and say ‘no’ when I need to?

4. What attracted me to this relationship?

5. Are these reasons still relevant?

6. Do I value and respect this person?

7. Do they value and respect me?

8. Do I know what they stand for?

9. Can I be true to myself when I am with them?

10. Has the interaction between us deepened?

Life can be lonely and empty at times, but reaching out to the people that have meaning in our life can make all the difference. Reaching out to those that are lonely and empty can make an even bigger difference. Take time really getting to know those dear to you by spending time in each others company, connect without distractions and truly engage in what is being said.

At the end of our lives it will be all those special memories created with those closest to us that will endure; that will touch our heart and fill us with contentment. Share with them why they mean so much to you and know that being vulnerable in the right circumstances grows a deeper relationship.

With that I will wish you a happy valentines day…xo

organizing 101

As many of us remain indoors more-so during winter, we tend to feather our nests with more “stuff” to create a cozy, snug setting. Once spring arrives however, nearly everyone has an inborn desire to clear things out, clean things up and make way for the warm months that follow. With summer just a warm breeze away, perhaps you have done some of your spring evaluating and purging. This may leave you with items you use and love, but may not leave you with an overall order to everything. Now is a great time to get focused and organized.

Organizing is a popular theme today, because it helps us save our valuable time, allows us to easily access what we have, and ensures all similar products are in the same place. This also lends itself to saving money, as duplicate purchases are not made and we use what we have before getting more.

Ask Three Simple Questions…

The basic principles of organizing are similar for many areas of our home and are as relevant for large items as small ones.

Does it cost or contribute?

The first step is confirming that those things you want to organize are items you value and will be used now and in the future. Be diligent when going through your existing possessions. If you have not used it, worn it or looked at it for a year ask yourself if it is really contributing to making your life better or is it costing your time and energy by holding on to it. Be very honest with yourself. What you choose not to keep can be resold, given away or recycled. The process will most likely be time consuming, but will have great rewards, lighten your load and feel very freeing.

Is it in the best location?

Once you have the items that you really want to keep, you are better equipped to deal with how to store them. Look at how each space you live in is used, and store relevant items within that space. Take into account built-ins (cupboards and closets) and free-standing pieces as places to initially use. Locate towels near the bathroom, sheets near the bedrooms, magazines where you read them, photos where you look at them, board games where they are played, stamps and envelopes where bills are paid, keys near the door, remotes near the television and so on. The fewer steps required to gain access to what is needed, the better.

Does it have a home?

Group similar items together and find a “home” for them; some place that they are always stored and retrieved from. There are a multitude of baskets, racks, files and boxes on the market to help contain what you want to organize. By using containers within larger spaces, this enables you to group items very specifically. In a bathroom you would perhaps have small baskets in the vanity for haircare, nailcare, oral hygiene, make-up and shaving supplies etc. It is best to have each “home” with some breathing space, so you do not become frustrated putting things away in a confined area.

Children of any age can grasp these same principles as well and feel a sense of accomplishment when they know where their toys/books/clothes are to be put away. These are skills they will keep with them into adulthood and it fosters responsibility and respect.

Organizing your possessions can clarify what you value and ultimately creates more time to do what you enjoy.

simplify your home…renew your spirit

In a world of ever-increasing speed and information, where what happens tomorrow is not as predictable as it once was; we need an oasis to return to. A calm, grounding space that renews our spirit, refreshes our mind, relaxes our body and restores us to whole. A space that reflects our aspirations and dreams, wants and desires.

It is, however, unfortunate that so many homes are as chaotic as the world we live in. Places to pass through as opposed to live in. We need to readdress our priorities and clarify what we feel is truly important in our lives. The key to achieving this ultimate goal is to simplify our lives. This is a theme we see again and again, but all too often it is wrapped in pretty and expensive paper. Ultimately simplicity begins with our own mind-set; how we view what affords our time and what we choose to disregard.

What does your home say to you?

When looking around the home you live in, do you feel there is room for improvement? Not necessarily in the way it is furnished, but in the way it reflects the type of values you want to personify. Is it moving you toward your specific goals? Part of the simplification process is the view that “less is more”. This one idea relates to so much more than just our interiors. To have more for the sake of more, leaves an insatiable feeling of wanting to fill the void. By the same token, the idea of having less does not mean deprivation. Clearing out and paring down makes room for new thoughts, experiences and dreams to enter your life.

Be Discerning

When furnishing your home, be discerning. By choosing well made pieces that bring you joy, you set the tone for what will transpire in the space. Having each piece showcased requires a more thoughtful approach, but creates a much more dramatic effect. Choose pieces that contribute to your life, make your daily routine easier and work in harmony with your style of living. Measure the upkeep of a piece, large and small. If an item continually needs hand-prints wiped off it, is it really the best choice to live with?

Ask 3 Questions

Simplicity does require a lack of clutter, whether it be in our mind, home or workplace. To help sort through possessions, ask yourself three vital questions. Do I use it? Is it beautiful? Does it have sentimental attachment? Take note of your pieces on a day to day basis.

Do I use this piece?

Is each piece useful? Does the piece work well for its intended purpose? Do you have multiples of the piece, yet always use your ‘favorite’? Is the piece easy to maintain? Does the piece feel good (to sit or lay down on, hold in your hand, have underfoot or wrap yourself in)?

Do I find beauty in this piece?

Some pieces may not be particularly useful, but they are beautiful and bring happiness each time they are viewed. Certain pieces will create much more happiness than others, and this will help qualify what you keep and integrate into your space.

Do I have an attachment?

Other pieces are neither useful nor beautiful, but have such strong sentimental attachment that they would be very hard to part with. Bear in mind that the quantity of sentimental pieces you have or keep is not a direct reflection of how much you love or loved the person it is attached to. It is the living relationship that is most important, not the treasures we receive along the way or after the fact.

It is a triple victory if the pieces we have in our homes are visually engaging, have an intended purpose and were collected with a sentemental story attached. The more fully we can enjoy each piece, large or small, the more comforting our homes become. This three part process is an on-going one. Our homes are ever-changing, just like the lives we lead. Be ever mindful of what you surround yourself with and how it relates to where you are in your life.

Keeping these principles in mind will help you achieve a home that is your sanctuary from the world, somewhere to inspire your dreams.