Decluttering – September 2019

I think it’s pretty obvious that I moved from one room to a completely different one this month. I don’t really like putting things in the bin (oh, the environment!) so once I work out how to dispose of one thing in a way I find acceptable, I follow the pattern.

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An October Scare

focus photography of woman's fist

When October rolls around, most people start thinking in appropriate colours: amber, ruby, gold for the high point of Autumn; or purple, orange and green for spooky season.

Me? I think about pink.

So it was with this in mind that I decided I should actually carry out a breast check for the first time in however long.

Veronica Mars asking if she should check herself before she wrecks herself.
Yes Veronica, for that is the whole point of this post,

Over the tops…under the bottom…under the armpit….oh, hello. What’s this?

A lady in an office rolls back on her chair, declaring "I may have found something."

I pause for a moment. My husband hears the silence and turns to look at me.
“What is it?”
“Er….I found a lump.”

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Decluttering: August 2019

assorted-brand product lot near window

In my hoarding confession post, I mentioned reaching a season where you feel it’s time to let go.

My lovely husband and I have been discussing this regarding the fact that we moved some things from our old house to our current house and yet have never opened/touched in the entire time we’ve been married.

They are still in their original packing boxes.

In August, with some free time on our hands, we started releasing some of them:

  • 3 matte lip glosses: Made my lips feel like they were covered in dried clay. I sent some pictures of me wearing them to my sister and she basically responded with “What were you thinking with that hideous third shade?!😂 ”
    Er, that I am a fancy woman who looks as glamourous as that Youtube influencer?
    She was right – it didn’t suit me at all! 🤣
  • 2 dresses: No more fancy outings for me now I’m an adult!
    Also, they didn’t fit anymore.
  • 2 pairs of shoes: Beautiful shoes with heels I can’t walk in anymore: adios!
  • 5 baby food pouches: we were passed these on but the Hatchling absolutely refuses to eat ‘lumpy’ textured food (we’ve thrown out about 5 before we officially gave up) so I took them to our local community fridge, hoping they could be of use to someone before they expired.
  • 2 tins of green lentils: again, passed on to us (sigh) but I don’t like them and neither does my other half. Community fridge (they were already some green lentil tins in there!)
  • 1 fan: I bought this during ye old heatwave of late July and it promptly stopped working and then lumped around the house like an insoucient squatter. Despite the receipt somehow disappearing into thin air (I highly suspect that the Hatchling ate it), they allowed me to exhange it.
    I went for fudge and Dutch caramel waffles and have absolutely no regrets.
  • 1 Baby swimsuit: Again, a panic purchase during the heatwave for the Hatchling only to realise 1) I’d bought two of the same size; why? Children grow so fast and 2) I didn’t really like this one anyway. Back it went before the time in the receipt ran out and I was stuck with reselling it.
  • New summer dress: bought online and thought (hoped) I might like it. I did not and neither did anyone else, but it spent a frighteningly long time in my cupboard before I remembered to return it so I’m calling it a win.
  • Guitar & case: Although these weren’t originally mine, I’d been hoarding it in case, I/the Hatchling/an epheremal being decided to take up the guitar. It went within the hour of my posting it on a local Facebook group.
  • 20 Baby items: We have a new addition to the family and so were really excited to pass on (and back) some muslins, blankets and bits.
  • Some cladding pieces: we’re (continually) in the process of refurbishing our house and had some left over. I didn’t want it putting in the bin or taking to the tip because it was brand new, unused and seemed like such a waste and so bad for the environment! Fortunately, my father-in-law happily took it off our hands.
  • 3 books: The library I wanted for myself as an adult when I was 13 is no longer the actual library I want now that I’m an adult. I decided I’d outgrown two books and someone else could have them. One of the other books has been passed on to another family member for information purposes…
  • 2 tops: I bought them for an event (from a charity shop) and ended up wearing neither. Back to a charity shop they go…
  • A games console and a stack of games (about 20): Another “but we might want to….in the future!” hoard. Having played vintage games in gaming cafés, I think this is unlikely.
    What can I say – I like good graphics, no glitches and an engaging story line. Just like with the book, my tastes will evolve and change and I need to leave space for that.

Use it Up Club:

These are things that would be hard for me to sell or give away (mainly things that have been used, like beauty products). So far, nothing to report so far but I have a few things that I’m working on at the moment…

Image result for use it or lose it gif

Around 71-75 items decluttered this month! I didn’t really think of August as a declutter heavy month but that feels like a lot of stuff – is that just me that feels that way?

£87.57 made altogether from that lot up there: £52.07 was made from selling some (though that includs the postage costs paid) and £35.50 from returns. The returns definitely felt more satisfying than the selling – far less effort!

Image result for easy gif

…but it also makes me think that summer really reduces my impulse control (“I need it now because it’s so hot/summer might end in a day!”) and that’s why I had as many returns to do as I did.

When I get really focused on something, I rarely look back.

This is great for motivation and perseverance purposes but rubbish for allowing me to take stock of how far I – and we – have come.

I’m already writing my list of things I want to get rid of this month because priorities.

Image result for engrossed gif

But lately, we’ve had family over to stay and even they’ve commented on how much clearer and breezier our house feels.

It feels good to know our efforts are making a difference.

Things are starting to feel more efficient in general and I think this is spurring us on to keep going, as well as notice the areas that we’ll need to focus on next (drawers, urgh).

Decluttering not only allows us to make space but also to find space for what we already have.

It also minimises the amount of things a very mobile Hatchling can potentially shove in their mouth O_O

Image result for nibble gif

Image credit: Unsplash

Cinderella Shock Syndrome

A person (possibly Victor Hernandez, the photographer) holding pair of turquoise sneakers with thick white soles by their laces as iridescent bubbles float around. Blurred in the background is what seems to be a bridge of a similar rurquoise colour to the shoes.

I looked up the term ‘Cinderella syndrome’ and found a theory from a 1981 book that claims that the Cinderella complex is ‘a fear some women have of being independent that causes an unconscious desire to be taken care of by others.’

I sniff my nose at this idea being applied specifically to Cinderella: the theme of being cared for by someone else is a theme that runs through almost all fairy tales across the world that include a young woman and a wealthy man and a happily ever after.  

Yet, of all the fairy tales, it’s Cinderella’s that raises the most questions for me, money-wise.*

She went from sitting in cinders, ashes and rags to the royal splendour of a palace and I can’t help but wonder – how did she cope?

Image result for cinderella gif

Did she struggle when food went to waste or if she was served an overly large portion, guilt-stricken by the memories of her former poverty?

Did she miff off the maids when they caught her cleaning her own clothes?

Did she embarrass by insisting that every part of a pumpkin could be used, for curries, casseroles and coaches?

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Hoarder of Hope

Dozens shiny gold stars that look like sequins...

“Where does this go?” asks my mum, waving some trinket at me.

I shrug: “I dunno.” Then I frown. “I just find it really hard to get rid of stuff, even if I know I don’t need it now.”

My mother sighs deeply, acknowledging our similarities. “It’s that poverty mindset.”

And I remember being impressed, because my mum is not someone prone to any sort of deep or constant reflection. And she absolutely hit the nail on the head concerning the reason for my inability to let go of certain things.

It’s definitely something that runs in the family – my mum is a notorious stasher. One of my favourite memories was when my sister and I got sick of not being able to see her vanity table and started clearing it.

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The No Spend Year by Michelle McGagh.

I picked this book up in my local library because the bright green cover stood out to me and I’m really glad I did. I don’t really know what I was expecting but based on the title and the supposed emphasis on ‘no spend’ I guess I assumed it would be like the lead protagonist of the Shopaholic series going cold turkey for a year.

Au contraire, my problematic biases!

Michelle is a financial journalist and decided that, for one year, apart from absolute necessities, she is not going to spend any money. She initially wrote it as part of a column for the Guardian before it was a book, so you can get a bit of a peep there if you like.

Something that struck me was that, because she has a bike and cycles most places, she decided to not allow herself the ‘luxury’ of the bus or cabs.

Now think about that for a minute – trying to visit your friends or family or constantly commuting and even going on holiday (yes she does, for free, seriously) purely by bike. What the heck! Only by bike?! I thought as I read. Never mind Man vs Food, this is like Woman vs Life.

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Wedding Guest Shenanigans

This year, we’ve had ten wedding events between us, most of them weddings. And like I’ve said, I frigging love weddings.

I also read an article that said that the average cost of being a wedding guest in 2019 was £391, so the maths says we should have spend over £3,000 on attending other people’s weddings this year.

Unsurprisingly, the maths is wrong and not just because it didn’t occur to me to not take my chipped nails to someone else’s event and my make up is older than my first born.

Speaking of which, attending a wedding with a baby makes things…interesting financially.

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My favourite thrifty fitness activities

A person wearing red athletic shoes and a yellow and black striped tracksuit.

As a teacher, I happily put my hands up and admit that summer is my off season. I can put my feet up and relaaaax. Quite often this involves ice cream and cake and a table but sometimes, I relax by…well, working out.

I find it gives me more energy (to do less), my mood is lifted and I generally tend to have more patience with other human beings.
A sedentary Draig is a pretty miserable Draig indeed. Plus, there are a whole load of preventable diseases that run in my family for which exercise seems to be the number 1 solution.

But I resist the siren call of leisure centres and gyms trying to lure me with summer deals and an impressive puns on the word ‘sizzling’. Nope, unless it’s for a swimming pool, I’m not going in.

Rather, I’m trying to make the most of the sunshine, warmth and free Vitamin D I have access to before winter comes a-knocking to stay for what seems like forever…

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Money After Marriage: Lessons I learnt from my Aunties

My mum was (is?) a social butterfly in her community. She was the friend her friends called when life got messy because she’s sympathetic and supportive without being abrasive. As the daughter of such a woman, this meant I got to have a peek into the lives of many of my ‘Aunties’ and – unwittingly – how they navigated their money and lives. What I’ve saw definitely impacted my money moves.

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