2014 things

2014 things

So it’s the last day of 2014 and I spent a big chunk of today reflecting on the past year and journalling in my Leonie Dawson 2015 workbook.

It’s certainly been an enormous year for me, particularly these past four months. To be honest, I feel like I need a couple more days of this holiday break to properly reflect on the year – and then I’ll be able to write some sort of wrap up. I know it will be a few days late, but I’m sure you won’t mind.

Today however, I would like to share with you one very awesome goal that I totally smashed out of the park this year.

My “Declutter 2014 things from my home in 2014” challenge.

Yes – 2014 things! At the start of 2014 I was faced with a house full of “stuff” and I decided I needed to take drastic action.

Now, let me assure you that my home wasn’t in Hoarders territory on January 1 this year. It was perfectly respectable. But it was definitely cluttered! After moving home from interstate six months earlier we had tried to cram everything from our 4 bedroom, 2 living area, 2 bathroom Queensland home into our 3 bedroom, one living, one bathroom SA home. With not much success!

We also had a preschooler and a baby – and any parent knows just how much “stuff” you accumulate for the little ones in those early years.

I had this icky feeling that I was being smothered by all this stuff (figuratively, not literally). It was creating some nasty Chi in my life and I wasn’t at all happy with my surroundings. I was also inspired by the gorgeous Denise Duffield-Thomas, who talks a lot about de-cluttering in order to create abundance and wealth. And who doesn’t want more of that!

So I decided enough was enough and because it was the start of 2014 and New Years Resolution time, I set myself the goal to de-clutter 2014 things during the year.

And that’s exactly what I did – my tally of “things” hit 2055 on Monday December 29, when I managed to declutter the girls toy boxes at 3am in the morning, while watching over a poorly toddler snoozing in front of a Minnie Mouse DVD after being a bit spewy earlier that night. True story. #mumsglamorouslife

So what did I de-clutter? Everything!

By far the biggest clutter-culprit was clothing – seriously around 500-600 pieces of clothing. WHAT THE ACTUAL EFF!!! How on earth did I end up with 600 unwanted pieces of clothing? Firstly, our two young girls had sooooooooo many clothes. My youngest moved from a size 0 to a size 2 this year, so we had everything from 00-1 to get rid of. Plus we had been fortunate enough to receive lots of hand-me-downs from people, so we had plenty to get rid of. Also, I was completely ruthless with my and my husband’s wardrobes and got rid of anything that didn’t fit, didn’t suit us, didn’t look nice, was rarely worn, was being kept in the hope of “fitting into again one day”. It’s amazing how many clothes we had that we simply didn’t wear. nb. This tally also includes pairs of shoes, and I counted all socks and shoes individually – so maybe the final number wasn’t really that bad… Of course, most of it went to Vinnies.

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I don’t really want to think about how many Vinnies bins I filled with my 2014 things.


The girls "helped" declutter their shoe drawers.

The girls “helped” declutter their shoe drawers.

There was also lots of toys. So many toys! Seriously my girls simply had so many toys that they didn’t even KNOW what they had. We had a couple of plastic containers of toys stored in the garage that hadn’t been looked at in months. I decluttered most of the toys one long Friday night in the middle of the year when the rest of the family were away. I literally scoured the house for every single toy we had and piled them all up on the living room floor. This was what THAT looked like…. A sea of pink plastic….

Toys. So many toys.

Toys. So many toys.

Then I worked through them – deciding what to keep, what to bin and what to give away. The vast majority went to local SA Charity, Backpacks for Kids. I actually found this task really hard, as most of the toys had been given as gifts to my girls from friends and family. I felt quite bad for decluttering these – like I should hold onto them out of respect for those people, even though my girls didn’t like, didn’t need, or didn’t play with them. The best way for me to deal with that emotionally was to know they were being sent on to other children who were desperately in need and would appreciate them so much more than mine.

What else was there? Books, magazines, paperwork, old business cards, plastic knives and spoons, odd and mismatched kitchenware and plastic containers, pens, broken crayons, used batteries, old toiletries and makeup, craft and sewing supplies, knick knacks, bric-a-brac, old towels and linen. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff. By far, most of it was recycled, sold or passed onto other people or charity organisations. There wasn’t much that was tossed at all. Thankfully. Re-use, re-purpose, re-gift, re-cycle and all that.

Screenshot 2014-12-31 22.28.08Screenshot 2014-12-31 22.27.42

So what have I learned? That I really don’t need that much stuff. That “stuff” doesn’t make me happy. That I now value quality over quantity. That I value presence over presents. That more stuff makes my kids less grateful and less imaginative. That it feels good to let go of the past. That it feels good to know others will make use of things that would otherwise sit at the back of cupboards or the bottom of drawers.

Most importantly – I learned that I really value a clean, light, uncluttered home. I feel more comfortable. I work better. I’m more relaxed.

I need my spaces to be light, bright and airy. Free from clutter and mess and stuff.

The older I get the more drawn I am to Eastern principles such as Chi and Feng Shui – perhaps it’s because I’m better at getting inside my own head these days. But it feels good to be more in control of my environment, because it’s a big part of being in control of my life.

So what about 2015? Well I’m not about to declutter another 2015 things – I’m not sure I have that much stuff left! So my goal for this coming year is to really CREATE my home. Sure, it’s already a physical structure – but thus far I haven’t really created it as our HOME. We moved back in here 18 months ago, and have been somewhat living in limbo. I avoided hanging pictures because I wanted to paint first, we haven’t planted gardens because we’ve had limited time, we haven’t replaced the carpets because we haven’t had the budget. We still have our hodge-podge furniture, a cobbled collection of hand-me-downs and Ikea flat-packs. Nothing really matches and there’s no discernable style. There’s not much in our home that tells the story of US, our family, me.

So that’s my plan for 2015. To turn my house into my home. To create our sanctuary. To make it our happy place. Wish me luck!

PMS – (not so) welcome back!!

Confession time. I was an out-and-out cow this weekend. Completely, and for no apparent reason.

All weekend I was cranky, picking at my husband, yelling at my kids, calling myself fat and doubting my own ability to do absolutely everything. I felt like I could barely cook breakfast successfully, let alone run a household, build my business and raise two daughters. Everything was just SO. FREAKING. HARD!

Of course I knew what the problem was. PMS. The monthly nemesis of so many women. My old frienemy!

I knew my period was coming. Intellectually, I knew what the problem was, all weekend I kept telling myself – “chill honey, it’s just PMS!” but that wasn’t enough to break me out of my funk. “Shut your stupid face!”, my old frienemy would spit back. “I’m allowed to be grumpy and I’m going to be grumpy dammit!”. It’s amazing how all notion of common sense and the best intentions of mindfulness and gratitude are no match for a wildly out of control hormone disruption!

This little bout of pre-menstrual funk took me by surprise to be honest. I actually haven’t had PMS for probably the past year, not since I really started cleaning up my act, lifestyle and nutrition-wise. But there was a time, not that long ago, when hormonal fluctuations were a regular problem in my life. Not only at that time of month, but also around ovulation. So every fortnight I was riding an emotional roller coaster for four of five days at a time.

What it boiled down to was, that for every 28 days, I felt like shit for about 10 of them. On those 10 days I was, quite frankly, a moody cow and a not very nice person to be around. It didn’t meld well for a harmonious household, it put an awful strain on my relationships with my hubby and daughters, and it certainly was’t the fun, carefree life I was used to living. Needless to say, I was pretty concerned and knew I had to do something about it – and pretty fast.

So I cleaned up my act. I took a good hard look at my lifestyle and here’s what I found:

* I was eating crap – way too much sugar in particular- hello insulin spikes and the resultant hormonal interplay.

* I wasn’t moving enough – movement is a huge stress reliever for me, plus less movement meant I wasn’t getting outdoors as much.

* I had a terrible sleep routine – late nights and not enough hours of sleep in general.

* I had a shitty mindset – oh woe is me, poor me, nothing goes right, blah, blah, blah.

This is all the stuff I worked ridiculously hard on back then to turn it all around. And it really worked, because pretty much since that time I haven’t had a single bout of PMS – until this month.

Why now? Well, when I look back on the past couple of months, guess what I realised? Yep. I’d let all of the things slip again. It’s been a rough few months, my beautiful Pa passed away, we’ve had teething, sick and eczema-ridden kidlets and several work stresses – plus – it’s winter (read: lack of Vitamin D!). I’m not listing those as excuses, I’m listing them as background. I’m taking full responsibility for dropping the ball in terms of my own health and wellbeing.

And this bout of PMS? Well it’s been a good wake up call. Because I don’t want to be PMS-Sarah for even two days out of the month, and I’m certainly not planning on letting her take hold and be in control of 10 days per month again!

So many of us just write our PMS off as something we have no control over, it’s just another thing adding stress to our lives. But I now know that my PMS is actually a symptom of stress, not a cause. It’s one of my body’s warning signals that something isn’t quite right. I’ve also learned I need to pay attention to my body when it talks to me! Before it starts screaming and throwing hissy fits!

So it’s time to re-group, re-focus and take control of my wellbeing again. How so?? Stay tuned and I’ll explain my action plan in the next few blog posts.

Until next time,

Be well.

Sarah xx