My Costume Jewelry, A Collage, A Laugh… and Two Organizational Tips

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Organizational Tip # 1:

As a formerly messy person who (long ago) decluttered her home and became quite organized, I have learned a lot over the years about how to stay organized.  One simple thing I’ve noticed that really helps me keep my space (at work and at home) looking good is this: wherever little pockets of clutter build up, that’s exactly where there is a storage need that has to be addressed.

Whenever I start to notice that there is an area in the house, or in my workspace, where “stuff” starts to build up, I pay attention.  What kind of stuff is it?  Do I need it?  If yes, what would be the easiest way to keep it organized?

Usually, the place where that clutter builds up is also the most logical place to create the storage solution.  Maybe this is really obvious to some people, but it took me a while to figure this out.  And boy does it have its benefits.

The (Unexpected) Benefits of Organizing My Costume Jewelry:

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Recently, I noticed that my jewelry was collecting messily on top of my dresser.  My old system was clearly not working anymore, so I decided to reorganize it.  I wasn’t particularly creative about my new system, and maybe at some point I will beautify it more, but I will give myself credit – I sure was practical.

I bought an elegant black jewelry tree for 15.00$ (What a deal!  And I wound up buying a second one, too, when I realized just how much jewelry was stored in my boxes on a shelf).  I spent quite a few hours sorting through all of my old jewelry, but when I was done, I had a real sense of satisfaction.


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First, there were the obvious benefits:

– I’ve cleared out more space on my shelves.

– The top of my dresser now feels oh-so-zen.

– It is easy to find the jewelry that I want to wear.  Bonus:  It isn’t tangled up in a big knot!

Usually, I don’t wear much jewelry.  I just have a couple of earrings that I like, a couple of necklaces, and I wear them on shuffle and repeat. But after organizing all of my old jewelry, I discovered the following…

unexpected benefits:

– I found some fun pieces that I had completely forgotten about.

– I found some cool thrift store finds from my university days that I had never even worn.

– Most surprisingly, it is amazing to me how by adding one accessory, I can tie together an outfit that might not have worked without it.  Having all of these forgotten pieces of jewelry out in the open where I can remember I have them has made dressing in the mornings way more fun!

– I’ve saved money!  I have more outfit combinations, and I don’t need to buy much jewelry!

As you can see, organizing something as simple as my jewelry has helped change the way I feel about my bedroom, and it’s helped me get more creative… and not only with my wardrobe.

Another unexpected benefit:

–  There was also a small portion of jewelry that was not wearable (broken in a small way), but still had fun designs and colours. Those pieces went into a plastic ziplock bag, and into my studio.  On the day after I decluttered, I used some of that old, damaged jewelry to make a collage.  It wasn’t the first time I’ve used old jewelry in my art, but it sure was fun.

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By the way, I called my little collage “The Tragic Transformation”.  Can you guess why?  It’s a bit of a statement on our culture of consumption. The comedy stand-up routine by Seinfeld (below) actually explains my thinking behind the piece.  It’s a pretty funny bit, but the message is quite thought-provoking.

Organizational tip # 2: 

Seinfeld says in the stand-up routine linked below, “All things on earth only exist in different stages of becoming garbage.  [Our] homes are a garbage processing centre where [we] buy new things, bring them into our houses, and slowly ‘crappify’ them over time…”.

That is part of the reason why, whenever I declutter and organize, I am reminded of the most important tip for keeping clutter to a minimum:  It’s a good idea to be aware of what I bring into my house in the first place, and buy less stuff to begin with.  

The less stuff we buy, the less resources from nature that we use and the less garbage we create.  

A Laugh…

 

Letting Go

Working in the backyard, I notice again the bike leaning in a corner, up against the large wooden play structure.  It’s starting to look rusty, sitting there all of this time.

My son has outgrown this bike, I think to myself. Somehow I keep it here, waiting to make a decision about it.

Donate it? It’s not in good enough shape at this point.  Sell it on Kijiji?  The amount of effort that would take is hardly worth the 10$ I might get for it.

I roll it over past the front gate, onto the boulevard.  It’s later in the day, the sun is getting lower in the sky.  Using my cell phone, I take a few snapshots.

The neighbours’ daughter stops on her way to get the mail, asks me about the bike.  It’s a special bike, I tell her.  I inwardly notice that she looks more like a young lady now, rather than the girl she was three years ago when we first moved into this home.  She moves on.  I take a few more pictures.

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I turn around, start walking towards the gate, and haven’t even reached it when I hear a car stop on the street behind me.  A woman is already putting the bicycle into her mini-van.  “It’s free?”, she confirms.

“Yes.  Just needs some oil.”

She nods confidently, “Oh, we’ll be able to fix it.” Adding, “My son is 8”.  We smile at each other.

“Enjoy.”  I wave and slowly start walking toward the gate again.

That bike looked so big when we first got it.  I am astounded at how quickly and permanently time has passed to change my perspective.  Today, that same bike looks small.

And now, another eight year old boy will be excited to get it, excited to ride it through the neighbourhood and park.

Much better than watching those memories rust in the backyard.

 

 

My Favorite Clutter

Several years ago, I de-cluttered my home. I discovered that the process was more about celebrating what you choose to keep than mourning what you decide to discard.

It turned out to be an exciting undertaking with joyful results. Our home felt relaxing, spacious and revived by a new energy.

I was so glad that others could benefit from the many items that we no longer needed, and thrilled to have re-discovered items that I had abandoned in my own basement.

My home was transformed. One treasure at a time, one change inspiring the next.  Our house became a place that celebrated our life and nourished us in new ways.

We have moved to a different house since then, and the experience of decluttering my previous home has profoundly affected how I am setting up my current home.

It has also inspired the new series I am introducing at home…hurrah!  It’s called My Favourite Clutter!  This series is about celebrating those special items – the ones that share our stories and express something unique about who we are.  The clutter that we love for whatever reason!

 

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My Favourite Clutter 

A Mysterious Lakeside Treasure

When my son was about six years old, my husband and I took him on a drive out in the country, along a lake-side road.  Stopping here and there to explore,  we wound up finding a quiet, narrow, little beach, lined on one side with trees and bush. We stayed for a while, enjoying the air and peaceful view, while our son played in the rocky sand.  At one point, he stopped and ran excitedly toward us holding this object he’d found in the shoreline, where the water meets the rocky sand.

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It was made of a heavy metal, and had clearly been around for a long time – deeply encrusted with rocks, and so rusted that it had an organic appearance.

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On our way home, we had fun guessing what this object might be, and imagining what unusual circumstances could have brought it to its current state.

How long would it have taken for rocks to become so deeply embedded into the metal?

Any ideas?

My son was so proud to have found such a unique souvenir.   Now it happily adorns my studio, on a shelf amongst my plants, reminding me of a beautiful afternoon that is suddenly 5 years away; reminding me to pay attention to life as it happens.

 

 

 

Shelter That You Take With You.

Post by Carina Spring.

Recently, my eldest brother scanned big boxes full of old family pictures and shared the files with us.  It was a labour of love for him, taking hours and hours of work.  I was so grateful he’d done it, as those pictures are part of our family history.  It was amazing to see all of these captured moments in places that have represented home not only to us, but also to some of our ancestors. And what really struck me was how much it is the people and the love that make home; the rich, shifting tapestry of relationships that accompany us through life.

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map.  It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together.  Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye?

Living Arrangements – Unique Ideas on What Home Can Be – CBC

Home is What You Make It!

Photo by Ponsulak, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Check out this interesting series that I just discovered on CBC.  In it, people share stories about their unique choices around their living arrangements. From urban nomads, to a tree planter who finds ever-changing shelter, to creative living arrangement for seniors.  Click on the link below, then pick the story that interests you.

What are your living arrangements?  Traditional?  Big ? Small? Minimalist? Alternative? We would love to hear your story here at homehurrah.com, so feel free to leave a comment!  Likewise, please let us know if you decide to share your story on the CBC. I will add a link directly to your story.

Pop by soon for more interesting links, music, ideas, articles and all things home! Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com and can’t wait to share my next post with you!

http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/livingarrangements/index.html

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 Comfort ~ Inspiration ~ Ideas

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Ways to Declutter, Organize, and Celebrate Your Home! Part 1

“At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.”

–Dame Rose Macaulay

A Great Read!

Today’s quote is from one of my favourite books on the subject of home: “A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life”, by Mary Randolph Carter.  It’s a great book filled with wonderful photographs and interesting ideas on “how to live creatively with collections, clutter, work, kids, pets, art, etc… and stop worrying about everything being perfectly in its place”.

Reconsidering Clutter: An Opportunity to Share and Express!

It’s true that an uncluttered space has a certain appeal – it can be calming and efficient. But it’s also important to recognize that purposeful “clutter” can express our personality and our history,  and can create warmth and visual appeal.

When I first found  Carter’s book, it was a great source of inspiration for me. It was a period in my life when, more than ever before, I started to focus on how to set up my home in a way that celebrated our life and nourished our interests.

I liked Carter’s take on clutter:

“Embrace it, make peace with it, take control of it, share it, reorganize it, and when the time seems right, bid it farewell.”

“Clutter is the grand parade that follows us all our days from a playpen of toys… to the places we call home.”

“Find solace and a little beauty in the clutter of the things we cherish in our everyday lives at home and at work.”

A Home Is For Living!

Part of the reason that I connected with this book, I think, is  that I was raised in an unpretentious home where living life was the priority.   What was surprising, though, is that this book about embracing clutter inspired me to  start a process of decluttering. 

It was a big job. I began to go through all of our stuff, starting with our basement, which we basically used for storage.  I got rid of countless things: I donated tonnes of stuff, and threw out or recycled what was not fit for giving.

In the process, I rediscovered mementos that were real treasures; imperfect, and full of personal history and interesting stories.  These items didn’t belong in storage. It was time for them to add some character to my home!

It was during this period of time that my personal philosophy of home “organization” really started to evolve.

ClutterFree With a Twist!

In some ways, my philosophy is somewhat minimalist. I enjoy living in a space that is not overly or needlessly cluttered.   At the same time, I find it joyful to be surrounded by the things that I love – books, pictures, and keepsakes.  My home is lived in, not perfect;  but it’s bright, clean, and welcoming

So my home has become a  combination of an uncluttered calm space, mixed with meaningful, useful and comforting objects that enhance my life.  It is all about about enjoying the things that you love, in a functional space that enables you to do the things that you love!

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Part 2:

How I Transformed My Home Without Spending (almost any) Money!

 

The above image is by Adam, courtesy of freerangestock.com

 

 

Ideas on How to Simplify Christmas

So Many Reasons to Love  December

I love December! The charmed month that brings the longest night of the year, and the promise of longer days ahead. It brings twinkling lights and sparkling snow, walks in the fresh northern air, the smell of pine, the brilliant blue winter skies. It means time spent with friends and family, the wonderful aromas of delicious food and tasty wine.   When I assess what it is that I find so magical about December, I realize it has very little to do with shopping, or receiving material gifts. The things that make this month magical for me have everything to do with spending time with loved ones, and savouring life.

How to Enjoy the Holidays… Your Way.

With all of the pressure to buy, spend, out-do and out-decorate, though, we sometimes wind up feeling more stress than joy.  It is important to remember that we have the choice to make changes, and create a simpler season for ourselves.  The key is to make decisions that are right for you and your family, based on what you want your Christmas to be, not the expectations dictated by a commercially driven holiday.  

Simple Ideas for a Simpler Christmas

Our family tries to keep things pretty simple at Christmas, but we enjoy celebrating together and doing some sort of gift exchange. Everyone always buys presents for the children, though we try not to over do it.  However, we tend to be quite minimalist with the adult gift exchange.  Some years, we pick names and only buy for that one person.  This means that we can put more thought into the gift.  Also, my husband and I don’t always buy each other presents, or we keep the gifts small, fun, or really wanted (Example: I love books, but rarely spurge on them for myself – I just use the library.  So, at Christmas, my husband will often buy me a book he knows I love).   When deciding on gifts, remember that unique and creative gifts are often way better than the latest and greatest piece of plastic.    Another way we simplify is that we reuse gift bags and decorations… I am still using the artificial tree and the ornaments from my childhood!  My son loves it, and putting up that old tree has become  quite a family tradition.

How Would You Like to Spend This Christmas?

Early in December is a good time to reflect on how we’d like to see the season unfold. Ask yourself: How would you like to spend your time this December? What makes this month special for you?   Make a list, and prioratize – identify which activities are most important to you.  Then, remember the list when planning your engagements and gift exchanges for the season.  You can’t say yes to everything, so use the list to help guide your choices.  If necessary, consider making a few changes to how you’ll approach the holidays this year.  As my mom always says, “There are a lot of stops between everything and nothing.”  Small changes can make a difference.

Enjoy Christmas and December, too.

Celebrating a simpler Christmas keeps December from becoming a frantic month, and it gives you the opportunity to really enjoy the activities of the season.    It has been a win-win for us:  less packaging, less shopping, less pressure, less waste, more time to do the things that matter, more time to spend with the people who we love, more money in the bank or contributed to a charity, more contemplation and more health.

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Home, Life, and Living.

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So here’s to December.  In an imperfect world, and with all it’s challenges, may it still sparkle with some sincere joy.  Thanks for stopping by homehurrah.com.  I can’t wait to share my next post with you!