Friday, 16 August 2013

Challenge - Declutter 100 things in a month

Lots and lots of blogs out there with posts about decluttering 100 things.
Some are for 100 items a month:
Others suggest doing it in a weekend
(love the idea of a ‘diet’ for the house).
As you all know I’ve been gradually decluttering, sorting out the wardrobe, trying to stick to one-in, one-out and reducing shopping and keeping an eye on the amounts of overall ‘stuff’ coming into the house.
But even with this focus, it felt as if the house was just too full.  It wasn’t messy, and everything had a home, but there were too many cupboards where things only just fitted in, and others where items had an annoying tendency to jump out and land on my toes. 
So for August I’ve committed to reducing the number of things in our house by at least 100.  The total can include anything from the smallest items (baby bottles that are no longer needed), through to larger/more expensive things (such as that ridiculously expensive high chair that she only used for about 6 months).
I set myself just 2 rules for the challenge. 
1)      For an item to count, it has to leave the house by the end of the month.  Just putting it on the ‘to eBay at some point in the future’ pile doesn’t work.
2)      Items that enter the house during the month and are then thrown away or recycled (such as magazines), don’t count toward the total.
I’m currently at 87 items, which I think is pretty good for half way through the month, don’t you?  And my cupboards are definitely looking less cluttered as a result. 
Here is the list so far.  Apologies if my maths is wrong and it’s not 87 items – feel free to point it out!
1.        7 jars of various jams, preserves etc that were lurking at the back of the kitchen cupboard and well out of date.  I’m not usually too precious about use by dates, but I think 5 years may be pushing it a little.
2.       1 plastic baby toiletries gift box.
3.       1 tube muscle rub
4.       7 books
5.       1 pile of papers
6.       1 pile of bills etc no longer required (counted this as one)
7.       2 handbags – eBayed one and gave the other to my mum
8.       1 plate
9.       3 dresses
10.   2 cardigans
11.   1 pair sandals
12.   Kit for making an owl doorstep, which I got free with a magazine and which there is very little chance of me making
13.   3 pairs shoes
14.   1 slightly mouldy jar of gherkins
15.   10 magazines
16.   1 hair spray
17.   Bundle of baby coathangers
18.   1 bra
19.   1 pair knickers
20.   1 bottle bubble bath
21.   1 out of date bottle of sun lotion
22.   9 pens (I know – this sounds like a slight cheat!)
23.   1 linen shirt
24.   1 wooden coat hanger
25.   Tub of earbuds
26.   1 bottle of baby lotion
27.   2 pairs of potty training knickers
28.   2 baby gros
29.   2 toys
30.   1 money box
31.   1 cot bumper
32.   3 pairs trainers
33.   1 tote bag
34.   1 packet of seaweed flakes
35.   1 pair jeans
36.   3 travel adaptors
37.   1 bottle room spray
38.   Various little ‘free’ bottles of shampoo etc (counted as 1 – makes up for the slight cheat with the pens, no?)
39.   Bath mat
40.   White vest top
41.   Black slip
42.   Bottle of Clinique lotion
43.   2 baby bottles
44.   1 small blackboard
Still to go are the high chair and a set of Chinese bowls, but as these haven’t yet left the house they don’t count.
Have you ever done anything similar?  Did it make a difference?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Project 333 July

Project 333 July
So - here it is - better late than never.  This is my 33 item wardrobe for July.  I did much better this month, staying within the 33 items, however it was much easier because the weather was consistently warm rather than varying between freezing cold and boiling hot.  I also had a week long business trip for which I took 2 tops, 1 pair of trousers, 1 jacket and 1 dress and only 1 pair of shoes.  Go me!  My luggage was almost empty.
The one thing that surprises me looking at this is the subdued colour palette.  Lots of navy and stripes.  I did have one week at the coast when I lived in t-shirts and shorts, and my summer dresses, which do tend towards the navy spectrum, have had lots of wear.  Couldn't have managed without my red ballet pumps though.
Progress on overall wardrobe simplification has also been good.  I've reduced the total number of items in my closet by a further 25 in the last 3 months, to 225 in total.  I know that still sounds a lot, but I'm getting towards the stage where most things have been worn more than once, and where things that don't make me feel good are gone.  I'm starting to think that further simplification would lead to getting rid of things for the sake of getting rid of them, rather than because I don't have space, don't use them, don't like them etc.
I love my clothes, and I'm learning that however organised I like things, and however much I dislike overstuffed closets, I also very much like having choices and being able to play around with my look.   I love 'shopping my closet' and making new outfits from things I already have.  

Thursday, 8 August 2013

How to be gracious in the office

1)      Treat others as you would wish to be treated – from the most junior member of staff, to the boss
2)      Never shout or raise your voice.
3)      Dress appropriately whatever your working environment
4)      Accept criticism and feedback with equanimity.  Seek to do better.  Don’t be defensive
5)      Be on time
6)      Don’t hog the floor in meetings
7)      Be aware of your personal hygiene.  Do not wear strong perfume.
8)      Deliver what you’ve been asked to deliver.  Don’t delegate at the last minute unless it is absolutely necessary.
9)      Make the working environment pleasant – talk to people and express an interest
10)   Praise in public, criticise in private.
11)   Don’t use e-mail instead of picking up the phone, or better, visiting the person at their desk
12)   Do not avoid work social events.  Conversely, try not to be the one left partying at the end of the evening (at least, not all the time)
13)   Never burn bridges
14)   Always act professionally, even when others do not
15)   Avoid using inappropriate language
16)   Get to know those you work with, and make use of their strengths and particular talents
17)   Deliver difficult messages without procrastination or hesitation, but also with empathy
18)   Always do the right thing
19)   Remain calm under pressure, even when everyone else is losing their cool.
20)   Stay away from office gossip
21)   Don’t take yourself too seriously
22)   Be loyal, be engaged, be genuine
23)   Be happy to give credit where credit is due, be happy for other’s success
24)   It’s not usually what you say, but how you say it that matters
25)   Never underestimate the value of good manners
26)   Apologise, don’t make excuses.  Put things right.
27)   Support your team.  Don’t ask them to do things you wouldn’t do yourself
28)   Acknowledge effort as well as output
29)   Stay in contact with people.  Don’t just connect when you need something
30)   Find ways to enjoy your work