I honestly am amazed at how many conversations I am having about this book. (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) It seems I am getting texts everyday or an email about it. I guess we are all looking for ways to free ourselves up. There were parts of this books that made me really think about my belongings and other parts I thought were silly. For instance, I can’t imagine speaking and thanking all of my possessions for the job they do on a daily basis- but there have been times I should take better care of what I own. And I am still stumped how you don’t tackle one room at a time.
Here are some of my small changes that I attribute to having read this book:
1. I collected all my coins from around the house as she suggested and took them to Coinstar in my grocery store. I always thought they charged you for correlating your money, but you have an option of donating it to charity or getting a giftcard. I chose a giftcard to Starbucks and took my receipt to the Starbucks store and they put it on a gift card- so easy. I had $35 in coins laying around in all my drawers. Kind of nuts.
2. I have taken a serious look at all our shoes. Just by going through them, I donated at least 10 pairs that the kids had outgrown but we still had in our back door trunk. Everyday we were pushing these aside to find a pair we wear.
3. I went through all my kitchen extras and saw a rice cooker I never use. I decided to use it that night- and when the rice wasn’t any better than what I normally make on my stovetop- I donated. Opened up a whole shelf in my kitchen.
4. I asked my older boys to go through their closets and tell me what they would not wear again. News to me- half the wardrobe was on the floor- donated and I don’t have to keep picking them off the floor when they fall from the hanger.
5. Went through all my makeup and samples. Using what I actually have bought now that I know what I have. Used samples or threw away. Using products I spent money on and forgot about!
6. Went through linen closet- donated half of our sheets- especially king size pillow cases as I have never used them in 10 years and probably had 10 of them.
7. Pictures are everywhere in my house. They are loose, they are in drawers, books, albums. I have decided to lay out some of my random albums on my kitchen table, share them with my kids and then toss them. This author is right that they have served their purpose. I haven’t looked at some of these pictures in 20 years and they aren’t important, just a reminder of a time or event in my life.
I could keep going but I am not trying to bore you! It’s amazing how many things we work around on a daily basis without making a decision about them. I feel great addressing what’s in front of me and taking action. And the whole idea of only keeping what brings you joy was a big one. I have so many shirts and sweaters I may wear one day- but if I didn’t wear them this past winter, then I obviously don’t like the fit or style. Onwards.
I am curious what is resonating with you with this book? Let’s talk.
If a book about cleaning up makes the best seller list, call me intrigued. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is a meaningful read. I love to get rid of stuff. One of my very good friends once said “When I give you a gift, I just hope it doesn’t get donated!” I love to pass things on to people who can use them. So, I first thought that maybe this book didn’t have much to teach me. But, it already has and I am only a few chapters in! It goes against doing one room at a time, or getting rid of a couple things everyday- all the usual things we have heard. I agree that when I have less, I have LESS TO CLEAN UP. Amen!
Easter is around the corner and I am starting to plan. We don’t go big on gifts for our kids at Easter – just a couple fun things. My daughter was EASY! I bought her this rainbow ball and sweet ribbon twirler. For the boys, I am stumped. I am guessing I will be at Sports Authority soon looking for something fun for them.
Years ago, when discussing the Easter bunny, one of my son’s got all worried about him coming into our house. He said “I’m gonna get that bunny!” Since I did not want him to be scared, I decided to tell him that there was no Easter Bunny- it was just made up. I will never forget my other son (older) saying “What mom tells a four year old there is no Easter Bunny??” A funny moment and true! Sometimes I just feel worn out by making up all these stories- tooth fairy… etc! I have to say, I like that I can kick back this holiday and not pretend some bunny is hopping in our house.
Last week we were in Marco Island for Spring Break. It was a great getaway with a week of perfect weather. I wanted to share a couple travel things I picked up for my three year old as they were awesome!! I found all these locally at Learning Express. First, Water Wow!– I found fairies but there are all different scenes. This gave us 2 hours on the airplane and almost every afternoon of her coloring it at meals or in our room. Any Usborne sticker book is a hit in our house- I found a different one than the airport but we enjoyed it! I also brought a small bag of palace pets and an ariel coloring book I found at Target.
Recipes coming soon! I have some good ones to share.
1. We haven’t been away together for more than 2 nights since 2009
2. We were ALONE!
3. We celebrated our 15th anniversary even though we’ve been friends since 4th grade.
4. We were in Barcelona!
In case you are Barcelona bound, I thought I would share some of our favorite things. First, I am a small hotel kind-of-girl. After many hours of tripadvisor.com research, I chose the Mercer Hotel In the Gothic Quarter. After reading so many positive reviews, I decided to add a breakfast to our reservation each day and print out directions from their site to help any taxis find it. Thank goodness because both times we used a taxi, they needed my map! It was an awesome location and hidden down a narrow alleyway- here is what really made me excited- “The hotel occupies a collection of buildings with great architectural significance on Calle Lledó, built on top of a section of the walls of Barcino, the ancient Roman city. It retains features from a variety of historical periods stretching from the 1st century AD up to the 19th century, all of which have been restored not only to display but also to encourage a genuine feel for the history of Barcelona. ” We stayed in a Superior Room that was in the old clock tower. The breakfast was divine- and I don’t throw that word around often. It was like a pastry shop with an a la carte menu to order from as well. We loved it.
Some of our favorite things that we did- The bar at Boca Chica is a must! Barcelona is known for their tonics and you really should have a gin and tonic here. My husband is not a G & T fan, but he changed his tune when we were there. The decor is indescribable. (For all the Chicagoans who read this- one of my favorite interiors is the upstairs bar at Le Colonial– so imagine that times 5.) When I read the reviews about Boca Chica, everyone kept going on and on about the bathrooms. Well, they were right. They are straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film.
In addition to eating, we did a ton of walking. We laughed how far we walked without kids in tow- the first day, Tom’s iPhone health app said we walked over 25,000 steps- equivalent to 11 miles. We continued this type of touring everyday and saw everything we hoped.
We also loved the Boqueria. It’s not to be missed. How I wish we could shop this way here. All the colors and choices of meat, eggs, fruit, dried fruit, juices… wow. We went back more than once. Our favorite restaurant inside was Bar Pinotxo– we really couldn’t stop eating Iberican ham, pan tomate and tortilla espanola. We also took a cooking class together at Barcelona Cooking. A couple of friends raved about their classes there before and we chose a day that was raining and enjoyed it so much. One of the big upsides of traveling in the low season is that you can stay for less at nice hotels and get a private cooking class as no one else was enrolled! My mom and dad treated us to this class as a Christmas present- love experience gifts like this- something Tom and I will always remember.
As for other places, we had wonderful meals and saw so much of the city. I am not adding them as they weren’t unmissable in the future- and there are so many places to discover!
First off, my wake clock is STILL WORKING. What a game changer to have… sleep!!
I keep thinking I need to tell you all about the gloves I bought in January. Frankly, I only wore them on a trip in January as it’s been warm here- but this weekend the forecast calls for LOTS OF SNOW! My Echo Touch Gloves will be worn again!
Also, as many of you know I like to cook. But I also do cheat a couple times of week by supplementing our meals with something I can pick up quickly to shorten my prep. For instance, guacamole from Chipotle (often cheaper than me buying avos and making myself) and Chicken Noodle Soup (I buy a group soup for my kids) from Panera. My latest like is the Raisin Swirl loaf at Panera for weekend french toast. They do have a recipe card but I don’t add all that stuff. It’s great bread on it’s own and we just throw it in an egg and fry it up. This was a nice way to have something different for breakfast.
Our cousins from NYC sent our kids Hotel Tycoon and then came here to play it!! Our boys have really liked it and can play with no adult- pretty cool! I guess it’s just like Monopoly but only 40 minutes- I love the sound of that. I am guessing we will be playing lots of it this weekend when it’s cold out.
PS. I received our first ebates giftcard for over $80 to Target. It’s legit.
Our three year old has been coming out of her bed for so long, we were losing our minds. She wasn’t necessarily interested in climbing in our bed, but she thought she was done sleeping and it was time to get up. We tried everything, sticker charts, rewards, being tough on her- etc. I finally remembered this little clock I blogged about many years ago- of course this is the latest version- but it’s the Onaroo- Ok to Wake clock. With so many positive reviews, we ordered it and have been singing it’s praises this week. She totally gets it and loves to see the green light come on to tell her it’s okay to leave her room. They also have a nap setting, but sadly— no need for that anymore!