Tag Archives: decluttering


26 Apr 16
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Making choices, clearing room

Time to think, to stretch, to value, to love

Being present, living life

Over the last few months I’ve focused on building up my exercise levels to a point that I can maintain a consistent exercise regime including stretches, a relatively consistent step count, and regular bike rides on my electric bike. Moving my body with the aim of reducing pain levels and increasing energy.

I’ve also helped several friends and family members to move house. It’s been interesting to see the different ways people pack, how they prioritise what to keep, add or give away, and who they have to help them move. I am glad that although I physically couldn’t help much with any of the moves, I was there to support my friends and family.

My brain has been less foggy lately as well. Yes, I still have days that I’m crashed and everything is a struggle but in general I’ve had a clearer head. This has let me move forward on my projects, progress my study, and consider taking on new opportunities that fit my values and allow me to grow.

Everyone in life is moving in one way or another. In most cases though we’re all moving in many different ways all at once.

Physically, mentally and emotionally we’re always moving.

In what ways are you moving at the moment?


Finding balance in the ever-changing landscape of chronic illness

14 Jul 14
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Once again I have fallen behind on my schedule for posting here. As my health has improved (ever so slightly) I’m again trying to find balance between actually doing things physically and mentally, and resting.

Over the last few weeks I have had quite a lot of very busy days (for me at least) mixed with a few days of having no energy to do anything at all. The number of crash days – days where I have no energy at all – do seem to be getting less each month according to my records, but I still haven’t hit the right balance and I’m still struggling to do a full day of anything really.

I have decided that in order to do more physical activity I’m going to have to cut back on my online activities for the next few months at least, as such I will be aiming for only one post here and one post over at LiveKen each week (only every second or so post on LiveKen will be written by me, though I am acting as editor for all other posts).

What physical activity am I wanting to increase?

  • Spending more time with family and friends – I’d like to spend at least one day a week actually out doing something with the people I care about. In the past few weeks I have managed dinner at a friends house, a trip to our local open range zoo with my sister and younger cousin, and tomorrow my sister is taking me and my mum out for a winery tour.
  • Housework – I’m slowly working up to be able to keep on top of this myself. Through de-cluttering and setting up routines I’m hoping to be able to maintain the house at a level that we only need the cleaners in once a month to keep on top of it.
  • Exercise – I’m still trying to build up my exercise levels. The housework has helped a lot with that, but I’d also like to be able to walk or ride my bike a lot more than I’m currently able to.

Other offline activities I would like to increase:

  • Drawing – I feel like although I always want to get more of the drawing done for the Foggy Frog picture book, I’m not always managing to fit in any during the week. My aim is to do two of the hand-drawn pictures a week until they are done and then work out the next steps for colouring them.
  • Study – I have an assignment due in 4 weeks for my uni course, and have not made much progress on the Training and Assessment Certificate so I’m going to be prioritising these for the next month or two when my brain is functioning. I can still only manage maybe 1-2 hours a day actually focusing and being productive in any mentally challenging activities.
  • Business Planning – I have begun working with a business advisor to work out the best way to promote the picture book and build on it with the LiveKen brand. I would like to allocate some more time to this.

Overall, I am trying to find a better balance between my online and offline life so that I’ll be better able to work towards returning to work as soon as possible. As I do this I do have to keep in mind that this illness has a mind of its own. I’m trying my hardest not to get my hopes and expectations up too high, but at the same time trying to challenge myself and not resign myself to where I’m at now.

This balancing act is a difficult one for anyone to achieve well, even without a chronic illness, so I will try to remember that rest is still my first and foremost priority and that I need to be gentle on myself. No matter how frustrating it may be my health must come first.

Have you found balance in your life?

What is or isn’t working for you?

Simplifying Life: Getting Organised

24 Jun 14
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As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m currently in the process of decluttering and simplifying my life. I’ve come to realise that a big part of this is getting things organised, finding a home for every item so that it can be put away easily every time, and making sure things are close to where you need them.

I’m also a strong believer in being sustainable. This means that where ever possible I’m trying to reuse or find a new owner for the items we’ve identified as not needed. If possible I want to keep as much of the ‘stuff’ I’m removing through the decluttering process out of the trash can.

At the moment my focus is on decluttering our spare room where all my sewing stuff and our items that to date haven’t had a home are kept. I haven’t quite finished, but I’ve been organising all the secondhand/donated material that I have for my sewing projects. We’ve repurposed an Ikea cupboard from the living room to store my material neatly.

My sewing corner

Repurposed cupboard to neatly store sewing supplies

I’ve still got my suitcase of material from Christmas and a couple of bags of smaller/scrap material to sort through but so far I thing it looks great! Before this process the material was in about 6 different boxes and bags piles messily in the spare room, difficult to see what I actually had, and taking up at least a quarter of the room. When I’m finished the material will only take up as much room as that cupboard and I’ll be able to easily see what I have. The larger pieces of material are visible in the four open  cubes while all the smaller bits are folded neatly, tied with twine into colour groups and stored in the boxes within the other four cubes.

I’ve separated out quite a lot of scrap material that I don’t believe will be suitable for sewing. These I will be cutting into reasonable sized pieces, simply sewing around the edges to make sure they don’t frey, and turning them into cleaning cloths for around the house.

As part of making sure things are where they will be used I’m setting up 3 ‘cleaning sets’ that will have their own colour coded set of cloths and the natural cleaning supplies necessary to do the cleaning jobs in their designated area. There will be one for the kitchen, one for the bathroom/toilets, and one for the rest of the house that will live in the laundry.

Today I purchased the first few supplies.

The three buckets that will be the basis for my cleaning sets

The three buckets that will be the basis for my cleaning sets

Cleaning supplies

Other cleaning supplies for the kits and a new small bin for the bathroom (to throw dirty cleaning cloths in to be washed)… (sorry for the blurry picture!)

I’m looking forward to setting this up in a way that will work for us. Given that we have the cleaners coming in to do the big clean fortnightly, at this stage the cleaning kits will mainly be used for the day to day wipe downs. The spray bottles will contain vinegar and I will be getting small containers of bicarb soda, as these two items combined forms the basis for most cleaning tasks.

Do you have a process in place that has simplified cleaning for you?

How have you organised your house to allow you to live a simplified or manageable lifestyle?

Simplifying Life

19 Jun 14
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Pushing to the limits, constantly in motion, always thinking of the next task… That was what my life was like before chronic illness. Now I need to simplify!

Chronic illness has set extreme limitations for me, as I’m sure it does for many of you out there, and I’ve found that these limitations have led to additional stress and guilt about not being able to do all the things I used to do beforehand.

Since managing to increase my energy levels enough to participate in life in some small way, I have begun looking for ways to live within my limits and manage my symptoms. I’ve shared some of my experiments and techniques with you already but today I want to talk about the overarching principle which is currently guiding my decision process.

Keep it Simple!

There are several steps that need to be worked through when you’re simplifying your life. I’m still in the very early stages but would like to share some of what I’ve learnt already, what I’m currently doing and what I’m hoping to do in the future.

  1. Identify clear priorities. By clarifying for yourself what your priorities are it is easier to eliminate tasks, items, and activities that do not work towards your priorities. As part of this process it’s useful to make yourself a set of guidelines to assist with the next step.
  2. Eliminate the unnecessary. This applies to stressful situations, people, events, items you don’t actually need or use around the house, and activities that aren’t helping you get to your priorities.
  3. Set a flexible routine. Having things that happen regularly means that there are less choices that need to be made, simplifying day to day life. However, it’s important to be able to change plans when necessary so make sure your routine is flexible.
  4. Be true to yourself. The priorities and guidelines you’ve identified should guide all future actions. For example, I’ve made a decision that unless it’s absolutely necessary I’m not purchasing new items any more. So every time I decide I want to get something I stop and ask myself ‘Do I actually need this?’ If the answer is No, I don’t buy it.
  5. Reassess and Repeat. This is not a once of activity. Set a regular time to reassess your priorities and repeat the elimination step regularly to make sure you don’t start complicating things again.

What I’ve done so far

I’ve shared with you the process I’ve gone through to identify what I’m passionate about and have set myself priorities based on the outcomes of that.

My priorities (in no particular order) are:

  • Family and Friends
  • Health
  • Mindfulness
  • Simplify
  • Continual Learning
  • Work

Each day I identify something I can do to work towards goals that fit my priorities. I make sure I do at least one thing towards each of these goals.

For example, today I’ve helped a friend out with a work issue (Family and Friends), done my yoga and exercise physiologist prescribed exercises (Health), did my morning meditation practice and have been mindful of my thoughts while completing my activities (Mindfulness), I have remained focus on single tasks at a time/no multitasking (Simplify), completed my weekly work for uni (Continual Learning), and set up access for two of my contributing bloggers forLiveKen (Work).

I have begun decluttering. I am slowly working my way through the house identifying items we never use or haven’t used in the last 6-12 months. These items are being offered to family and friends, donated to charity, or (only if broken and not fixable) thrown out.

I’ve scheduled daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly reflect and review times. Tomorrow is my first annual review. I will be spending the day identifying my commitments, priorities and targets for the next 12 months.

I’m reading several books and other blogs (my favourite at the moment is Zen Habits) to help guide me and inspire me as I move forward on this journey.

Even though I haven’t got very far yet, it already feels like a weight has been lifted off me. As I reduce the clutter in the house it becomes easier to maintain a tidy area (I still can’t do a lot of household chores and have cleaners come in fortnightly to do the more difficult items such as cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and mopping).

I look forward to sharing this journey with you as I find more and more ways to live a simplified, mindful, fulfilling life with all my chronic illnesses.

Have you taken any steps to simplify your life?

What have you found works for you?