Tag Archives: declutter

A simple wardrobe with chronic illness

02 Feb 16
Megan
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Another week down in the No Buy Challenge and another week of sticking to the goals. I’ve decided that instead of focusing my posts on the challenge each week (I will if there’s anything to update you on) I’d start doing some of the other posts I’ve been planning with just a short update at the beginning for the challenge. So, as promised in earlier posts, today I’m focusing on my simple wardrobe.

Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in reducing ‘clutter’ in our house. With limited energy, my ability to maintain the house to an ‘acceptable’ standard of cleanliness had dropped. All too often there were items lying over every conceivable surface in the house, washing piling up (dirty and clean) and dishes in the sink.

As part of my year of ‘Enough‘ last year, I spent a considerable amount of time removing a lot of the things and stuff that had built up but wasn’t actually needed, useful or loved. I have focused mainly on my own things, hoping to lead by example for E so my wardrobe was one area that got regular attention and I’m quite happy with the result.

There are many, many posts out there about how to create your own minimalist wardrobe, check out:

This is how I’ve modified the guidelines I read to suit my lifestyle and preferences.

An initial culling

When I first began my wardrobe clean out I pulled everything out of the cupboard and tried it all on with Janelle (my trusted friend) to assess what I liked and actually fit well and looked good. Anything that didn’t meet any of these criteria either got donated or thrown out depending on the state they were in.

Chose a colour scheme

I chose two main neutral colours – black and grey (I do still have a few white and brown items but mostly black and grey) – and two spectrums of accent colours blue/green and pink/purple. Anything that didn’t fit these colour schemes were donated, apart from my orange coat (A honeymoon purchase and my favourite winter coat).

Turned my coat hangers backwards

Last year I turned all my coat hangers around and only flipped them when I wore an item, anything not worn at the end of the year was donated. I found that all my short sleeved shirts are now gone, I tend to wear blouse style tops if I wear my suits, and I only have one long sleeved shirt.

Thanks to this process I now have room to hang everything, including jumpers, t-shirts and bottoms (were folded last year) so I’ve turned them all around again this year so I can assess how many of these items are actually worn throughout the year.

Pay attention to how I feel in each item

Throughout the year I donated several more dresses because they just weren’t comfortable, either they were too tight or they had zippers/buttons on them that were just not comfortable against my overly sensitive skin (a symptom of my Fibromyalgia).

Pay attention to what I wear most

A lot of the guides for minimalist wardrobes recommend X number of tops, X pants, X dresses, etc. This idea didn’t work for me.

I’ve found that because my tummy can (and does) bloat daily – going from almost flat to looking 5 months pregnant by the end of the day – I tend to wear dresses more often than any other item of clothing. I hardly ever wear skirts, jeans or pants any more – anything with a waist band that isn’t stretchy really.

As a result I only have one skirt, one pair of jeans (maternity jeans), two pairs of shorts (one stretch cotton), a pair of maternity leggings (worn almost daily in winter). In comparison, I have 9 dresses.

I also get really cold quickly so I have more items that I can layer such as cardigans, jackets, etc.

From 2 drawers + hanging to just hanging...

From 2 drawers + hanging to one row of hanging (shirts in foreground are E’s)

 

This wardrobe suits my life with chronic pain, limited energy, and daily fluctuations in body shape (bloating).

Maintain

To avoid a recurrence of wardrobe ‘clutter’ I’ve established some guidelines to maintain my wardrobe:

  • One in one out (for every new item that comes in an old item needs to leave the wardrobe)
  • Stick to colour scheme (any new items need to fit with my colour scheme)
  • Natural fibres (no wool) – my preference is for cotton or bamboo, I’m allergic to wool so none of that
  • Pockets! (Over half my dresses now have pockets and I’ve made a decision that any new dresses need to have them, this helps dramatically with reducing what comes in because there aren’t that many out there that do)

What items of clothing do you find yourself drawn to most days? Do you think you could live with a minimalist wardrobe?


Simplifying Your Life: Decluttering Your Wardrobe

22 Jan 15
Janelle
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2 comments

[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditors Note: This post has been in our backlog for several months. We apologise for the delay in sharing this part of our journey.

Last year (28 August 2014) Megan talked about taking the first steps towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life and we hope you have taken some of our ideas and been inspired.

This week I’ll be talking to you about decluttering your house and especially your wardrobe, which I have recently undertaken. I’m fully aware not that many people enjoy the idea of cleaning out their wardrobe and I can tell you honestly I have never been the biggest fan myself.

However when you can no longer easily fit anything back into your wardrobe without waging a battle with your clothes and are contemplating buying more storage space I think everyone would say it’s probably time.

Now my partner and myself had decided to clean out and simplify our wardrobe a little while ago and being much better than me – he had more than finished doing his stuff before I even started mine. But I make myself feel better by saying that I helped him do his side first – even if my help was minimal.

I find if you are ever dragging your feet to do anything – like I was – I find some music helps you get into the groove- so I suggest putting on anything that makes you want to dance! Two of my favourites at the moment are; “Brave” by Sara Bareilles and “I’m Ready” by AJR and while I know that many people would think my choices are a little lame I can’t help but want to dance and sing along to them like an idiot.

But enough about avoiding. As Megan said last week through decluttering your physical environment you’ll feel calmer, more organised and have made your life simpler. So after convincing myself I had a huge task ahead of me and should wait for a free afternoon or morning to begin – thus putting off staring for longer – I randomly walked into my wardrobe one evening and just started.

And while I thought I would need come back when I had more time, I said to myself why not move out some of the items of clothing I knew I didn’t want to keep while I had a few minutes. Half an hour later I had stormed through more than half my wardrobe and had a significant pile of empty coat hangers and a large pile of clothing that I no longer needed.

I decided to start at one side of my wardrobe and work my way along as I went, meaning I could stop and come back at any stage. However, many people think taking everything out onto your bed is a better way to start. This way you have to go through everything before you put it back into your wardrobe and nothing can be missed or left to another day.

But it doesn’t really matter what way you start just that you’ve started, find a way that works for you. If its everything out at once or different sections at a time.

For us, once we had separated into keeping or not keeping we then further separated into another two different piles for the clothes we no longer needed. One for the bin and one to donate and recycle. Anything that was not really recyclable, broken or about to fall apart ended up in the bin pile and anything that was still good quality but either didn’t fit or was something that would be rarely or never worn again went into the recycling pile.

I think it is also important at this stage to mention that you don’t necessarily need to give away your unwanted clothes. They could be used for other things round the house, you could take them to a clothes swap and potentially pick up some new items yourself, or see if any of your friends or family members would appreciate them – this is especially true for growing children. I remember many times getting hand-me-downs from my cousins that were a few years older than me and it is a good way to save money, recycle and re-use clothes.

At the end of our wardrobe spring clean-up we ended up with four full garbage bags of clothes to donate to our local Salvos store. This is a reasonably large amount but I decided to be brutal with my selection, getting rid of anything that I couldn’t remember wearing recently. You don’t have to do this. Instead, if you are unsure about something pack it away for 3-6 months and see if you need it – if you do use it keep, it if not it might be time to find it a new home.

Another popular way of sorting out what you use and not use is to put all of your coat hangers around backwards and as you use what is hanging on them put them back in your wardrobe the other way round. In six months or so you will find out what you no longer wear and once again it might be time to let some else use and appreciate it.

Another good suggestion to try out is Project 333. This is essentially the idea that you have 33 items of clothing for 3 months of the year and is all about keeping things simple. Even if you don’t give it a full go it’s definitely worth a read.

Decluttering your wardrobe is a great place to start and I am very glad I have finally finished mine, it is very nice to have clothes in your wardrobe that you want and like. Donating clothes also makes you feel like you haven’t wasted anything and your once loved items of clothes can find a new home and help someone else out.

I am now going to move onto other areas of my house and start to declutter them also. Starting with my bathroom cupboard, but not just decluttering the cupboard I want to simplify and cut back on the number of products and chemicals I use on my face and skin and I look forward to sharing it with you all on this journey.

Have you decluttered your wardrobe or any other rooms in your house?

Let us know how you went and if there is anything you suggest we try.

Enough: 2015 year of gratitude and contentment

13 Jan 15
Megan
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one comments

[dropcap color=”orange” background=”green” style=”rounded” size=”small”]E[/dropcap]ditor’s Note: This post was first published on My Chronic Life Journey. As part of making life more sustainable, I will be slowly encouraging followers over at My Chronic Life Journey to join us here at LiveKen and consolidating the two sites.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Let me begin this post of with an apology for being missing in action for the past few months. For those of you who like our Facebook page you’d be aware that I’ve had to take some time off to focus on myself and trying to get things in a way that I can sustain and maintain my lifestyle.

In 2014, I focused my efforts on being the Best ME I could be. I focused on working out what my limits are and (more importantly) what I’m still capable of physically, mentally and spiritually.

It was a busy year and with your help and support I was able to raise the funds necessary to publish the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang picture book (to happen this year). I also identified my physical boundaries and worked on pacing myself to maintain and even slightly improve my health throughout the year.

In the last few months, while I’ve been missing in action I’ve been focused on simplifying my home and my lifestyle so that I can focus on what is important to me.

This year, 2015, I will be continuing my journey on simplifying and creating a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t impact negatively on my health. I will be sharing this journey with you through this site and our sister site My Chronic Life Journey. I’d love to have all of you join me on this journey.

I have realised that in my home and in my life I have enough, if not too much, of many things. I have enough people around me who love and support me. I have enough health to appreciate what happens around me in my life and can do enough to keep me happy. I have enough physical items and would actually like to reduce the amount dramatically as less clutter means more time and energy to focus on what is important. Most importantly, I am enough! I would like my health to improve (I’d love a complete recovery) but realistically I am enough and I don’t need to try and change who I am to make others happy.

My focus this year is on being grateful for what I have and doing what I can to help others have enough and be enough to be happy with their lives.

Do you have a focus for 2015?

Are you ready to join me on a journey of gratitude and reflection? 

First step on the journey to a simple, sustainable, meaningful life

First step towards a simple, sustainable life

28 Aug 14
Megan
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one comments

What’s the first step to move towards a simple, sustainable, meaningful life?

Know where you are now and know where you want to be.

How do you do that?

By taking time out to reflect on your life and considering what is going well and what areas you’re struggling with. This allows you to actually consider whether what you are doing actually fits in with your passions, and can help to guide you in the areas where you will be able to improve.

When reflecting on your life you’ll most likely find that there are things you are doing that you’d really like to increase doing and other things that you don’t really know why you are doing it at all.

Reflecting on my life I’ve been able to see that for me, my family and friends, my health, and being able to help others are three of the big things that are important to me. Since starting on this journey I try to combine these three into most of my daily activities.

Celebrating with my family and friends earlier this year when we launched the Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign

Celebrating with my family and friends earlier this year when we launched the Foggy Frog Kickstarter campaign

Once you have an idea of where you are and where you want to be. It’s time to get started and take the first step towards your goal (where you want to be).

This step will be different for everyone because it will be based on where you are and where you want to go, but we’ve shared a few ideas below to help get you started.

Simple ideas to use as a first step towards a simple, sustainable, meaningful life…

 

Depending on where you are and where you’re heading you may decide to focus on simplifying your physical environment, your timetable, or your spiritual/emotional wellbeing.

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  • Declutter your wardrobe (or your medicine cabinet, bathroom or laundry). Start with a small area in your house and physically clear it out keeping only what you’ll need. If you’re worried about throwing out something you’ll need later, pack them away and if you haven’t used them in 3 – 6 months get rid of it by donating, recycling or other means. You’ll find when your physical environment is more open you”ll feel calmer and more organised.
  • Declutter your timetable by modifying, cutting back or removing activities you don’t like doing or don’t really need to do. Say ‘No’ to all new commitments that don’t fit with your definition of what you want your life to be.
  • Meditate for 1o minutes each day. This will help you clear your mind and help you to realise what is most important to you.
  • Plant some herbs. Growing your own food can be very satisfying but also very time consuming. Herbs can easily be grown in pots inside if you don’t have room, are not too expensive, and are great for encouraging you to cook simple homemade meals.

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Fresh veggies cut from our veggie patch.

Fresh veggies cut from our veggie patch.

As we start our journey we’ve begun with a bit of each of these.

Personally, I have added meditation into my daily routine, I’ve begun decluttering our house, and have a veggie patch and some fruit trees in the garden. Thanks to my illness I have had to cut back on a lot of my activities and I’m very careful about adding new activities to my schedule without considering my values and my life goals.

Janelle has begun decluttering her wardrobe, and will be sharing this journey with you next week. She is adding fruit trees to their garden and sharing responsibility of looking after our veggie patch.

We’d love to hear about your journey and what first steps you are considering taking towards your dream lifestyle.

Let us know in the comments below or contact us directly.

Which area of your life do you most want to change?

What’s one small step you could take today to start moving towards the change you want in your life?