Home and Organisation

Letting Go To Become More Organised

Letting Go To Become More Organised: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might have seen a few posts about my struggles to ‘get organised’. I’ve tried apps, I’ve tried routines, I’ve tried internet challenges. But I miss a day, and I get cranky at myself and feel guilty that I can’t keep at it. And then I give up. And things seem to just fall over again until the next time I’m feeling so frazzled that I’ll do anything to get organised again.

And then I discovered two things which seem to be working for me

  1. A pen and notepad
  2. The understanding that some days things don’t work

The first one was pretty simple. Each day has a page in the notebook. I write down things I want to get done that day and cross them off when they’re done. If they’re not done, they either get transferred to the next day or they are put aside for now. It helps me remember little things like brushing Squirm’s teeth in the morning (we remember nights because we have a firm routine, but mornings are more flexible because our commitments change day to day) or bigger things (buying presents for birthdays, cleaning out the fridge). I have all sorts of strange things on it, and that act of writing it down and then doing it, really seems to keep me motivated.

But it doesn’t work everyday.

It doesn’t work on the days where we’ve had no sleep and I’m a teary mess who should just drink tea in the backyard while Squirm plays. It doesn’t work on the days when Squirm in feeling ‘off’ and is best outside (it’s harder to do the housework out there). It doesn’t work when we’re moving from one event to another with no time to stop and think about what we’re doing next.

And that’s ok.

That’s been the hardest thing for the perfectionist in me to come to terms with. If I miss writing anything down for a day, that’s ok. It’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that writing it down isn’t a good idea. It doesn’t mean I’ll never be organised and I might as well give up now. It doesn’t even mean that the notebook is ruined and can never be used again! It means I missed a day and can start again on any day I chose.

Overcoming my perfectionism to come to terms with that has been such a big thing for me. It lets me know that I have actually found something that works for me, that it’s ok to miss a day or two and it’s ok to go back to it whenever I want to. I can be more organised and I can feel better about it.

And that’s a really wonderful thing to know.

Project 333: Wrapping Up Winter

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Way, way back around the beginning of June, I committed to Project 333 – wearing only 33 pieces of clothing for 3 months. Well my three months is finished with the beginning of Spring, and it’s time to look at how I went

The Positives

  • 33 Items was really doable. Until probably the last week or so, I didn’t feel like I was rewearing outfits. The last week got tricky as layering was less possible
  • I wasn’t digging through big piles of clothing to figure out what to wear
  • I knew everything in my list fit me and looked good (with 2 exceptions – see below)
  • Washing was easier because everything went in one load
  • I didn’t buy any clothes during this time – no compulsive buying!
  • I really thought about clothes – what looked good on me, what my style was, what features I was looking for
  • I had clothes for birthday parties and weddings!

The Negatives

  • I didn’t include a warm casual jumper. I ended up swapping one in
  • I didn’t anticipate a sudden change to summer like conditions (30 degrees Celsius) in the last week of winter – I ended pulling out two pairs of shorts to cope, and found that all my cardigans and almost all my long sleeve shirts were unwearable
  • Two pieces I’d chosen became problematic – my casual jeans became way too loose and one layering piece was unsuitable for breastfeeding.
  • I struggled a bit with the washing – in our house nappies are first priority, then work clothes, baby clothes and then my clothes (then linens etc) I washed some of my clothes with the baby clothes, but sometimes ended up with bits of food encrusted on them.
  • Similarly, I struggled with hanging them up and putting them away. It’s a little job which is fairly low on my priorities at the moment
  • I discovered a lot of my clothes were terribly poor quality and unsuited to being worn and washed repeatedly 😦
Will I Continue Project 333?

Not immediately. Although I felt the positives were extremely positive (and most of the negatives were workable) I realised around the end that I like having a slightly bigger selection of clothes. Also as we come into spring and summer, it’s harder to rewear clothes, or to layer them to get different looks. I might return to Project 333 for another season at some stage, but I will rest it for now.

But What Have I Learned from Project 333?

I’ve learned an awful lot about my clothes shopping habits. I’m realising that I can be more deliberate with my shopping, going into the shops with a good idea of what I need or want to buy. I’ve also learned that it’s worth talking to the shop assistants if you’re after something specific – today I was after a certain type of shorts, and I would never have found them without the assistant because they looked different on the hanger to how they look on.

I have learned that it’s ok to follow a classic style and that it’s not necessary to get caught up in the latest fashions or to emulate what others are wearing. I’ve also realised that I need to dress for my job right now – which means lots of playground suitable clothing!

So over the next few weeks, I’m going to look at the clothes which I put away back in June. Some will stay, some will become clothing for Squirm and some will go. I don’t think I’ll ever again have a wardrobe crammed with stuff I never wear – and my wardrobe will definitely be thankful for that!

A More Uncluttered Life: Project 333 – A Week In

A More Uncluttered Life: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

So, I’ve been doing Project 333 for a week now, which really isn’t long at all. I didn’t think I’d have any great insights after such a short amount of time, but it turns out that simplifying my wardrobe has had some immediate effects.

I’m taking more care with my clothes

This is all I have for three months, I’d better look after them. Not that I am particularly hard on clothes, but I’m making sure that I wash regularly (I throw them in with some of Squirm’s clothes to make a full load) and hang my clothes up. This has another bonus because I always know where to find my clothes now!

I actually enjoy getting dressed

I feel kind of excited when it’s time to get dressed for the day. All of the clothes hanging in my wardrobe are favourites and I don’t feel any kind of guilt or regret looking at them. Instead I get the excitement of seeing how I can put enjoyable pieces of clothing together to make a nice ensemble.

I need to shop smarter

When I put together the next three months in September it will be worth spending a little more money and buying some good quality clothes. One of my new long sleeve shirts has a small hole in it, while older (more expensive) shirts are still in fabulous condition after years. Spending that little extra is worth it.

It’s worth considering a reduced wardrobe for Squirm

We’re on the edge of another size up and I’m dreading collecting new clothes in Squirm’s next size. Instead of buying lots and lots of stuff, I think I’ll step back and really think about what he needs. We probably won’t be able to get away with 33 items – we still need to do too many changes when he gets ridiculously dirty – but we could definitely have a less crowded drawer than he has now.

A More Uncluttered Life: Project 333 – The Clothes

A More Uncluttered Life: Project 333

Yesterday I talked about Project 333 in which I’ll be wearing just 33 pieces of clothing for all of the Australian winter. Although I had some clothes to show you, I hadn’t put my list together to share, mostly since most the clothes were in the wash!Β  Today, the majority of the clothes are hanging in my cupboard and I’m pleased to share them with you.

Refresher: How am I approaching Project 333?

For the project I am only counting clothes – not shoes, jewellery (which I rarely wear anyway) or scarves. I’m also not counting underwear, sleep wear, my swimmers which I wear to Squirm’s swimming lessons or ‘lounging around the house’ pieces. I am counting my ‘house jeans’ though, which are too big to wear out of the house, but so comfortable that I wear them a lot at home.

The biggest thing for me to think about is that I need to have a baby friendly wardrobe – easy to clean, easy to move in, enough pieces to change if I get really dirty and breastfeeding friendly. In the end, there actually seems like quite a lot of clothing here. I’m keeping a tally of what I wear over the month and it will be very interesting to see which are the most worn things!

I didn’t have to worry too much about matching. All my ‘bottoms’ are neutrals, so the tops pretty much go with them in any combination. I tend to keep to blues, greens and pinks – though there’s a bit of orange, red and purple in here too πŸ™‚

What have I included?

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

1-5: CardigansΒ (not pictured: the grey cardigan I’m wearing)

Winter in Queensland doesn’t get all that cold. Most of the time I’m warm enough with just a light cardigan over my clothes. I love these colours, which also make up most of my wardrobe. The photo doesn’t do them justice, but there’s blue, green, light pink and dark pink. Five cardigans is probably an overkill, but I do wear them almost everyday all day in winter. The different colours also make up for last year when I was pregnant and only had a daggy grey and a black cardigan which fit!

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

6 – 10: Woollen shirts, vests, boleros

I love winter because it’s actually cold enough to wear some of these. There’s a blue and a purple bolero, a grey vest top, a green shirt and a pink and white striped short sleeve cardigan which is great on its own

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

11 – 17: Long Sleeved Shirts (not shown, a red and white striped one I’m wearing)

The more I look at these pictures, the more I feel like I’ve gone overboard with tops. But then they’re the most likely to get dirty, the most likely to need washing and – to be honest – where most of the colour and personality is! I can also layer a lot of these for ‘new looks’. It’s hard to see, but there are actually 4 striped shirts in the picture, plus the one I’m wearing. I really like stripes . . .

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

18 – 26: T-Shirts (not pictured: a black t-shirt which is on the line. It’s the black version of the plain white one in this picture)

I really like funky and nice coloured t-shirts. I have three Threadless shirts in here which I just bought recently, plus one I bought in Melbourne a few years ago. Also a couple of nice neutral shirts. These all have elasticised, buttoned or low and stretchy necklines for feeding

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

27: Dress

This was actually my one maternity dress, but it’s well cut for non maternity use and perfect for feeding. I really like this dress, but I’m not sure how much I’ll wear it. It’s more of a ‘back up dress’ I think.

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

28: Jacket

Another piece which I might not get much use out of, but which I’ll need if we get one of our cold snaps or if the winter winds get really harsh. It’s a bit tatty on the inside, but a really nice looking jacket on the outside

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

29: Red Tunic Top

My ‘good’ shirt. This is so comfortable and looks great with jeans. Since I wear nursing singlets, I won’t need separate tops to go under it

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

30: White Patterned Skirt

Another piece which I might not need, but which gets me through anything. This is a gorgeous skirt from Colorado. It is strong, sits beautifully and looks marvellous for how old it is! This one has survived years of teaching, so I know it’s good for many occasions.

Project 333 Clothes : Adventures of a Subversive Reader

31 – 33: Jeans (not pictured: black skinny jeans on the line, blue relaxed jeans which I’m wearing)

My mainstay! I love jeans and the way they can be dressed up and down so easily. I recently bought two pairs of nice, well fitting jeans and even got the length on one pair properly tailored. The home jeans don’t fit at all well, but nothing beats them for comfort right now (which is good when you’re rolling around with a baby)

What would be on your ‘must wear’ list if you only had a limited number of clothes?

Read more about A More Uncluttered Life Here

A More Uncluttered Life: Project 333 – an introduction

A More Uncluttered Life: Project 333

One of my biggest clutter traps is my wardrobe. I have a tendency to throw my hands up in the air when it comes to fashion, bemoaning the fact that I’m always frumpy, never fashionable, and I never know what to buy! So I end up buying half a dozen trendy things, most of which don’t fit very well, and I find myself reverting back to my ‘frumpy clothes’ before I know it.

Recently I came to a bit of a realisation about my wardrobe – I don’t need to be trendy. I need to be comfortable. I need to be able to keep up with Squirm and dress appropriately for the occasion. But I don’t need to emulate my friends, other bloggers or people I see on TV – I just need to be myself!

Turns out myself is actually pretty comfortable in jeans most the times, particularly in autumn and winter. Myself also loves nice t-shirts, cardigans, scarves and funky shoes. And once I’d bought some well fitting post-pregnancy jeans (my pre-pregnancy ones were falling off me) I realised I liked the way I looked when I left the house – and I was comfortable.

Which is where Project 333 comes in. I’d seen this around before – a friend of mine talked about it recently, and it’s similar to some other clothing organisation challenges I’ve seen before. The idea is simple – wear 33 items or less for 3 months.

At first that seems too limiting – but then you realise that 33 items doesn’t include underwear, sleepwear, exercise clothes or in-home lounge wear. Suddenly the project looks much more accessible and doable. In fact, it almost starts to look exciting.

So today I started looking through my clothes and I started counting. I realised that I mostly wore three pairs of jeans – my two new pairs and an old pair (which I don’t wear out of home, but I wear to ‘work’ at home, therefore should be counted. I pulled some cardigans aside, as well as a black dress, a skirt and my jacket. A handful of t-shirts and I still hadn’t made 33 items.

This is where it got tricky for me. I’d already decided I wasn’t going to include scarves into my ’33’ – I’ve spent too much time crocheting nice ones not to wear them! But would I include shoes or not? In the end, I decided not to – I really like my shoes, and I do rotate my way through them pretty consistently. I made a deal with myself, instead, that I could only include shoes which fit into my wardrobe shoe organiser – and I had to declutter that first. (I ended up throwing a pile and donating another pile.) I’ll keep an eye on that though to decide whether more of them will go.

So, 33 items. The rest of my clothing was packaged up or put into the washing basket to be tackled this week (I’ll go through them soon to find a few bags to donate, because even packed up they won’t fit in the space I have.) The dirty clothes in my 33 were washed today, the rest hung on the 33 coathangers in my wardrobe.

My shoe organiser - I even managed to fit my slippers in!

My shoe organiser – I even managed to fit my slippers in!

Project 333 Introduction: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

33 Coat hangers ready for 33 items. A lot of my chosen clothes needed to be washed, so I got onto that today πŸ™‚

What am I trying to achieve with Project 333?

  • To see if I can enjoy the clothes I have more
  • To look for different ways of putting an outfit together
  • To keep up to date with my washing
  • To look for more things to declutter
  • To make life easier when I’m getting dressed

Could you only wear 33 different items for 3 months? Or could you do less?

Living a More Uncluttered Life

Last post, I told you about how I’d been uncluttering my study. I’m nearly finished with it, especially since the garbage will be picked up tomorrow, but I’m already noticing a few differences. In fact, one of the first things I did was pick up my crochet hook and begin making some little crocheted characters – something I hadn’t done in ages.

Living a More Uncluttered Life

Why did I return to crocheting creatures? Because it was easy. Because everything was right there where I needed it – I could easily lay my hands on the right hook, the right yarn and even the eyes. And then I had space to work.

A little decluttering is a powerful thing.

So, I wondered, what would happen if I consciously chose to unclutter my life in other ways. If I chose to do more with less, chose to spend less time on inconsequential things? If I created a house that makes me truly happy. And how can I go about doing this?

Well, it turns out there are lots of books and websites on being more uncluttered. So I plan to peruse them, to find things that some something to me and to try them out. Then I will, of course, share the results with you. Because if decluttering one room feels so good, what would it me like if more and more of my life was in the same state?

What would you like to declutter in your life?

How I Decluttered My Study

Do you remember this?

Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Last November, I wrote about my study and the problem I was having getting it tidied.Β  Since then, I’ve been able to do very little – the study was just too close to Squirm’s room to get anything done during nap times – and the mess just kept piling up and up and up.

Finally I decided enough was enough. I don’t need a study, so much, but I want a studio to work in. I want a place to keep my crochet things safe and a place which will inspire me. And I want a room which is welcoming for Squirm. As it was, this room was far from welcoming.

So with the help of baby wearing and a pile of empty cardboard boxes to keep Squirm amused, I’ve set out decluttering and cleaning. I started with the books, setting targets and going through my bookshelves again and again, to remove any books I didn’t truly love or need. I gave 6 bags of books to a teacher friend, 3 bags to my cousin, 8 bags to op shops. Slowly I opened up shelf space, not to mention being able to find books I wanted to find!

The next step was organising craft items. Some of them were so old that they really needed to be thrown out. Others I’ve put aside for a friend. Some of the new shelf space was repurposed to hold yarn.

The hardest part – old ‘stuff’ I’d collected over the years and things from my parent’s house – was next. Suddenly I was throwing out invitations to Year 9 speech nights and Year 9 graphics assignments (I sucked at graphics; why on earth did I keep those?) Suddenly I was having to ask myself if I really needed things, if I really loved things, what might happen if I threw things away.

And slowly, I moved past my need to hold on to everything, and started throwing away. And slowly the room started clearing up and seemed bigger. And I felt lighter.

It’s not completely finished yet, but I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I feel like it could be a beautiful room to enjoy.

Just Getting Started Photos

Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

There’s a desk under there somewhere

Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

My bookshelf

Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Study declutter05Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Halfway Through Photos

Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

I see floor!

Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Getting rid of those cardboard boxes was actually harder than getting rid of some of my other ‘stuff’ – I kept telling myself that I ‘needed’ them

Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader


Nearly There . . .

Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Study declutter: Adventures of a Subversive Reader


Have you ever taken on a big decluttering mission? What was the hardest part for you?

I Have Too Many Books . . .

Not my actual book pile, but very similar . . .

Not my actual book pile, but very similar . . .

This is a tough post to write. As an avowed book lover, I like to think that there’s no such thing as too many books. But the sad truth is, that we have limited space and too many books.

Sure, I could get rid of other things. But apparently, it’s kind of important to keep baby related things, and Mr Pilot won’t let me keep books in the shower. (I just did a Google image search for books in the shower and was sadly disappointed by the internet. Sure book shaped tiles and book shower curtains are nice, but where are the innovative storage ideas?)

So, it’s time to start getting rid of book. Or more accurately, packing them up and giving them away to other people.

Some books are easy to get rid of. You’ve picked them up for cheap, never got into them (or never opened them) and don’t really care where they end up. Others are harder because you paid good money for them and you really wanted to like them, but you’ve never gotten past the first page.

Then there’s the books you bought and liked, but haven’t read in years and years. You need to find a good home for those ones; you need to know they’ll be in good hands.

Then there’s some books that will never leave my hands, no matter how good the home or how long its been since I’ve read them. Those are the books that have stories other than the stories held in the pages. Those are the special books.

So how am I going so far? Well my plan was to find 50 books to give away today. It’s 9.21 am and I’ve found 52 . . . I’m doing better than I thought I would πŸ™‚


Do you have too many books? How do you deal with that?

Not Quite Pinterest Cupcakes

So recently, I’ve become a little obsessed with cupcakes – to the point where my sister wants to take me off her Pinterest because all I do is pin cupcakes. Of course, this obsession came to a natural point and I actually made cupcakes.

I used this recipe for vanilla cupcakes

I did enjoy mixing it all together, especially since I got to use the food processor I haven’t actually used much in the last 4 years. The only problem was our ancient, send the heat wherever it likes, oven.

There was a slight sinking feeling . . .

With some of the cupcakes displaying a definite dint in the top of them, it was time for a ‘make-it-up-as-you-go’ rescue. With jam!

Then onto icing. I decided to be really advanced and try a cream cheese ‘frosting’ using this recipe. Then I set about decorating the cupcakes – with a different, jam flavoured frosting for the ‘sunken’ cupcakes.

What did I learn from the experience?

Well, I learned that this really is a good recipe, as long as I do the old rotate and switch shelves part way through baking. I learned that I need to slow down when I’m baking to make sure everything is done properly. I learned that cream cheese frosting is delicious, but maybe not the best choice for a Brisbane summer. And I learned that just because they may not look like the cupcakes on Pinterest, doesn’t mean they don’t taste delicious πŸ™‚

Do you enjoy baking? Have you ever used a recipe you found online?

Home Organisation 101: The Living Room Before

So, Home Organisation 101 moved into the Living Room this week. This is The Room in our house. The room we’re in most of the time, and the one where we do the most things. We watch things, read things, listen to things, play, drink tea and craft in this area. So it often contains all the detritus of life.

Here’s some before photos:

Adventures of a Subversive Reader

The arm chair and worst of the crafting area

Adventures of a Subversive Reader

The living room. Now with bonus baby!

Adventures of a Subversive Reader

The couch and coffee table

Adventures of a Subversive Reader

TV, DVDs, books etc

So, what to do here? Well, I’ve started by throwing out tonnes of old video tapes, which freed up room for DVDs that were taking up room in my study. Now I need to organise everything just a little bit neater. And then dust everything a million times πŸ™‚