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Showing posts from February, 2014

My year of less is more: my new schedule a month on

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Almost a month ago I wrote a post about decluttering my schedule as part of my year of less is more.  I wanted to have less busyness so we could have more time together and so I could be more of a nice mum!

It has been one of my most popular posts ever and I'm sure it's because I'm not alone in feeling like life's all a bit crazy.  I think many of us are searching for some balance in our family lives and are questioning what we're doing driving kids around from pillar to post, getting more and more frantic.

I have to say it has been fantastic.  I'm so pleased I bit the bullet on this one.

Here's what has been great about it:

1.  We have two afternoons a week with nothing we have to attend or get kids to.  Four mornings a week are free before school.  If you need to be reminded what our schedule was like previously check it out here.  I've said that if they want to do anything new, it has to be in school time or something else has to go.  Now the olde…

My year of less is more: the impact of a 'possession-lite' childhood

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One of the fun aspects of my year of less is more are the emails, texts, Facebook messages I've received from people sharing with me their de-cluttering efforts.  It's also been stimulating discussing with people their reactions to my posts.  Some of you are excited and motivated by them.  Others are feeling uncomfortable but in a positive way.  Some just haven't liked them.  That's OK.  It's all part of the joy of sharing life online.

It is fascinating to me as I talk to people how different we all are.  I spent a lot of my childhood in a third world country where the life I lived was an abundance of richness in comparison with my local friends.  But as I've raised my own kids in Australia I've realised how simple it really was.  I remember having the same style of brown sandals for four years in a row because there weren't any other options.

Sometimes how hard (or easy) it is for us to let go of possessions can tie in with our experiences of growin…

My year of less is more: how to be more content with less space

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How can you be more content with less space? Chuck some stuff OUT!  The answer is to not create more space.

OK, sure, if you can't actually fit in a bed for the children and you've maxed out the triple bunk bed shop, it might be time to get some more space.  I guess you can't really chuck the kids out on the footpath for the next council clean-up ;).  But if you need more space for your non-people stuff, then I'm afraid you may need to get rid of some of your stuff.

At the end of the day, you can actually live in a small space.  Have you ever been on holidays, stayed in small accommodation and like actually, kind of, you know, SURVIVED?  Well, you can do it in normal life too.

What's your life about?  Mine's about the people I share it with.  Eating together.  Talking.  Laughing.  Crying. You don't need heaps of space to do that together.  Keep the stuff that will enable you to do the great, important stuff in your life.

But the rest of it.  The 'jus…

My year of less is more: decluttering toys

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When our eldest child was two we had one small plastic box of toys.  By the time he was three years old and we had our second child we had a small shelf of books and toys.  By the time we had three kids we had a cupboard of toys.  By the time we had four we had a family room full of toys and by the time we had five we had toys in the playroom, the hallway cupboard and in their bedrooms.

For years I have had to work hard to not end up with literally mountains of toys through our house. Every Christmas we'd kind of stumble home with a boot load of gifts.  And we have an extended family that is on the extremely conservative end of the spectrum.  I can't even conceive what we would have ended up with if we had family that over-gave.

And that's sometimes what is tricky about decluttering toys.  A large percentage of them are probably gifts.  Or they're presents that you carefully chose for your kids.  Or it's a set of trains that you spend years gradually collecting. …

My year of less is more: 10 reasons why doing less feels strange

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As you well know by now I'm aiming to slow down this year.  And am particularly aiming to start the year off slowly to leave room for the unknowns.  But after going fast for so long, I have to confess it is truly strange!

Here's what I'm finding strange about not being madly busy:

1.  I feel like there is something a bit wrong with me for not being really busy.

2.  You don't get a lot of admiring comments when you do less!  You get lots of that when you're super busy.

3.  I'm actually saying yes to one-offs more often than no.  To spontaneous things like having a friend for a meal or inviting in unexpected visitors for a chat and a cup of tea.

4.  I don't feel exhausted all the time

5.  Cooking dinner doesn't feel like a mountain too high to climb

6.  I have time to text a friend and see how they're going instead of just being consumed by ME, me, me!

7.  I'll actually pray for people when I say I will - more than once sometimes.

8.  I didn…

My year of less is more: 10 tips for getting your kids de-cluttering

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I had a query from a reader who wanted to know how to get teenage kids on board with the whole de-cluttering process.  The question came because the book I recommended does have a chapter on this but doesn't really address the issue of older kids very satisfactorily.

I'm far from a guru on this but here are some of my thoughts (and I would love any of your own experiences on getting your kids on board).

1. Think about why YOU want to do it.  Consider and reflect on your motivations.  For me, I believe that we can live with less and I'd like my kids to learn to be thankful for what we do have, rather than hankering for what we don't have.

2. A lot of what we do in parenting is driven by this set of values that we want to pass onto our kids.  This is one of those opportunities to teach your kids something that's important to you.

3.  Admit your own weaknesses but explain what you're aiming to do.  Try and highlight the positives (eg. you'll have more space, …

My year of less is more: Living at 80%

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After reflecting on the year that was, I've realised that I was running life at 100%.  On paper it all fitted.  I could logistically keep it going.  Sure it was juggle but it was possible and mostly achievable.  If we had a smooth week, I felt that it was totally doable.  It was pretty rare to feel like that though.

The schedule was just so packed that there was no flex.  No flex for just the ordinary extras like a concert.  No flex for thinking about anyone else much other than ourselves.  No flex to remember to  ask other people how their lives are going. No flex for cooking a meal for a sick friend.  It was hard enough to cook a meal for our own family.  No flex for having people over spontaneously for a meal (hey, they couldn't have even come for breakfast there was so much on).

I've been thinking a lot about older women I've admired over the years.  My favourites are the ones who I always felt were happy to see to me.  They weren't in a rush to finish our co…

My year of less is more: baby steps

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Not everything much I write on this blog is very exciting and today is going to be one of those days.  Since this is my YEAR of less is more, it's a long road ahead as I think through de-cluttering life.

One of the hard things about this process is that when you read the book, get all excited, manage to pull off one big job like the books, you then lie there in bed at night boring your husband to death with statements like:  'Yes, I need to work through that hallway cupboard' (big job) and 'And that cupboard in the kid's room with all my craft stuff ' (scary, scary job) and 'Yes, there's that cupboard of random sporting stuff - and that old broom that I never use - in the laundry' (mind numbingly boring job).  It's all very clear what needs to happen, but when the choice is 'Do something about that cupboard' or 'Anything else' it appears that even housework is winning.

This week I'm putting the principle of starting with ba…