No Mess Monday

Why (And How) I'm Cleaning My Closet Again

Why (And How) I'm Cleaning My Closet Again

February almost turned me into a basket case, friends.

Well, more of one than I already am anyway.

I've been jumping all over the place (two cities in Canada, two cities in the Philippines, and two cities in the United Arab Emirates - oh, the unintentional symmetry and the weirdness of going from -20 to 30-ish °C in one swoop [-4 to 95 °F for my American friends]), my four-year-old laptop decided to die in the middle of traveling, my nine-year-old car also had to go for some repairs, and some work things exploded in my face, among other things.

*deep breath*


I was lying in bed the other night, with all this running through my mind. I couldn't seem to sleep, not really worrying but my focus spread out in different directions and thoughts. Scatterbrained, I believe it's called.

So I did what any (in?)sane person would do when faced with insomnia at 1:30 am on a weeknight.

I got up and took everything out of my closet.

Uh-huh, perfectly logical thing to do.

Everything looks logical when you're desperate for sleep, right?

Insomnia aside, there was a method to my madness.

Where Does All The Decluttered Stuff Go?

Where Does All The Decluttered Stuff Go?

If you walked into my home this month, you'd stumble on boxes.

A box at the door, two boxes in front of my closet, boxes, boxes, boxes.

It almost looks like I'm moving. (I'm not, by the way, though longtime readers know I'm on the road a lot!)

I'm continuing to declutter --- deciding what stays and what goes --- but old stuff has to go somewhere, right?

And I don't want that somewhere to be places that don't need or want my stuff. That would be a waste and with the environment the way it is, I don't want to add to that problem.

So what am I doing with the things I no longer want?

Travel Simply: My All-Season Packing List

Travel Simply: My All-Season Packing List

Traveling with just one bag was my first step to living simply.

Living with so little on the road was freeing; being surrounded by what I'd hoarded back home was draining. The desire to feel just as free at home eventually led to tackling the stuff I'd stockpiled over the years.

And since bringing you all along for the ride helped keep me accountable, I started No Mess Mondays every last Monday of the month: a real honest "No, I do not tidy before I snap these photos." walkthrough as I go from hoarding to minimal living in my home.

It's been ugly. It's been funny. And ultimately, it's been all-around awesome.

Today happens to be the last Monday of November, friends!

But since today finds me in the middle of a 2-week trip down in New Zealand and Australia, let's do something different.

Let's look over what I've packed for this trip, how it's been so far with only these things, plus what I regret bringing/not bringing from home.

The shots below might not be befores and afters of my home, but seeing how little I bring with me without feeling deprived shows us the same thing my home in progress does...

How Minimalism For Real Life Simplified My Beauty Routine

How Minimalism For Real Life Simplified My Beauty Routine

Google minimalism and look at the images that come up, friend.

Seriously, I'll wait while you do.

*hums the Star Wars Imperial March and twiddles thumbs while waiting*

OK, so what did you notice about the photos you scrolled through?

A lot of white, neutrals, and wide open space, right?

And if that's your thing, there's nothing wrong with that. I salute people who've managed to live with less than 100 things; it's a difficult thing to achieve.

But what if you looked at those shots and thought they weren't doable?

Even getting rid of half of your stuff wouldn't get your living room looking like that!

If that's what minimalism's all about, you think. it's way too hard.

It's just not practical to live like that everyday.

And you know what? You're right.

You Get 5 Extra Benefits When You Banish Clutter

You Get 5 Extra Benefits When You Banish Clutter

Another day’s finally over, and you’re home.

You just want to sit on the couch, turn on Netflix, and have the evening to yourself.

But the sink’s full of dishes. The table’s stacked with mail. You have stuff that collects in various places that never seem to get used.

It’s a struggle keeping on top of the house work. It feels like extra things to do on top of everything else happening today.

If you only had a magic wand you could wave to put everything away in a flash. You’re definitely too tired to do it now.

Maybe this weekend. You’ll have more time then.

Well, that’s what you said last weekend, right? And the weekend before that.

Or you might have cleaned up a bit before, and it felt easier just to give up. It’s not like the clutter’s so bad anyway.

But what if I tell you decluttering can change your life for the better? And I’m not only talking about having more space.

Here are 5 great things that naturally happened when I decluttered (that can happen for you too!)

How An Earthquake Made Me A Minimalist

How An Earthquake Made Me A Minimalist

Why's the bed shaking?

That was my first thought when I blearily opened my eyes three years ago.

I stared at the shelf across my bed for a few seconds before I realized everything was shaking.

It was like someone had zapped me fully awake. I whipped around and locked eyes with my sister on the other side of the bed we shared. We were silent, listening to the cracking of the plaster on the ceiling.

The next second found us rolling away from each other and diving on the floor. I pulled my quilt along with stiff fingers and crouched under it.

"Where's the dog?" I yelled. I couldn't see his bed from here.

"I don't know!" My sister's panicked voice was muffled by the loud shaking of the windows.

Suddenly I felt something burrowing under my quilt. I sighed in relief when my shih tzu climbed on my lap.

"He's with me!" The door opened.

"Daisy? Da--"

"MOM, GO HIDE!" my sister shouted.

I huddled and made myself as small as I could. The sounds of falling debris crowded in. My dog shivered against my stomach.

Please stop. God, please make it stop.

Why Clutter Stops You From Focusing On Life

Why Clutter Stops You From Focusing On Life

Someone stuffed my head with straw this week.

Like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, I've spaced out at the wrong times and seem to be looking at the world through a fog.

It's No Mess Monday next week, I thought to myself. How can I write an update when my focus is shot?

I'd made progress with my hoarding habit (*hint hint* my closet) but hadn't done any decluttering in the last few weeks.

I felt stuck. I needed my head unstuffed so I could clean house and write about it.

So I Googled ways to get my act together and guess what I found?

Overwhelmed With Clutter? Get Unstuck With These 8 Hacks

Overwhelmed With Clutter? Get Unstuck With These 8 Hacks

I stood in front of piles of stuff last week and sighed.

It was almost two months after revealing my hoarding habit but there was still a lot to get done. I'd tackled the closet last month but I hadn't done very much since then.

Why did I buy this?

Where will I put that?

Where do I start?

I'd frozen up, overwhelmed by all the things.

Have you ever felt that way?

Somehow you know you have to tidy everything but after a full day, you just want to curl up in bed.

You want a space that feels right but you dread going through it all.

You're getting too tired to keep at it. Stuff will just pile up again anyway.

So you try the same old advice.

You know what I mean...

  • separate stuff in keep, toss, and maybe piles
  • get rid of stuff you haven't used in a year
  • install shelves, hooks, or storage containers for extra space

We all know them because they're proven to work.

But sometimes, these tricks don't seem to solve the overwhelm. You need some new strategies to pull you out of the limbo you're in.

This No Mess Monday, I share the hacks I used to get rid of that nervous feeling and fight back.

You've probably never heard of these tips before. (And if you have, give a shout out in the comments!)

Let's get started...