Fond Travel Memories

Those who have been to our home know about the seemingly random photograph of a man on a horse displayed on our wall. I had such a laugh when I first saw it because it is a little jarring in the midst of all our other personal photographs. I had come back from Malaysia and he had put some framed photos up. I was like WTF is this guy doing on our walls??! My husband argued that he really liked the photo and it reminded him of such a nice day in Argentina!

I must admit that I love that photograph, and today especially so, when we caught this very gaucho on British TV this afternoon! I really squealed when I saw him and other gauchos we spent time with on TV, it truly was such a joy. Ann was packing in the next room and I actually asked her to come out and look at ‘our’ gaucho. (A gaucho is an Argentinian ‘cowboy’, or horse whisperer, which may be an oversimplification really)

That day we spent on that estancia, or ranch, was the most relaxing day we had in Argentina. It was the beautiful outdoors, la pampas. We chatted with locals. We had the best food and we rode horses, and I played with dogs … it was truly a wonderful day. I have only ever written one proper travel review in my life, unprompted, and it was for this estancia – Camino Pampa – on Tripadvisor. We have since recommended it to other friends who may be going to Argentina.

There he is on the right!

Sorry about my foot, haha. But there he is again!

So yeah, a post that has nothing to do with decluttering or non-consumption. It just made us really happy today remembering that day. Reminded us that this is the kind of travel we like, when we interact with locals. But hey, actually, perhaps it also is about the home – we have something on our wall that truly sparks joy. So this is what it means. When we see it, when we explain it, when we even think about it. It’s just good vibes. And I guess that’s just a lovely thing to have in our home. Thank you for putting this photograph up, Anh, that was a good call ūüėČ



Our Clothing Situation

We actually finished our clothing (the very first category to declutter, according to Marie Kondo) about 2-3 weeks ago. I thought I would give an overview of how things are right right now, to show how we have fared aka if the tidiness has persisted.

I know things don’t look sooooo tidy, but to us it really is! It’s not perfect, but hubs and I have talked about how we feel so relaxed about getting ready for work or going out now. We know where everything is and can see everything – it makes a real difference.

You will see that I am not a minimalist (21 pieces of clothing whatever pffffthh) and I am realistic, I don’t plan to become one. I was never a big shopper to begin with –¬†my husband never feels a discomfort of any sort when I enter any shop. I feel I like clothes and have enough to keep cosy and warm through all the seasons. I also have tried to be fair and sensible to myself and keep things necessary through different phases – pregnancy, breastfeeding, and going back to work. That was a bit hard because sometimes you don’t know how big you will get and all. Trousers and other tighter fit-items were particularly tricky, because I did not want to simply discard things – I have a no clothes rule this year after all!

My closet

My scarves and accessories are on special sorting hangers at the front bit on the left. My closet includes all my winter and autumn outer wear too, so it has got a bit of bulk.

Our sliding doors are a little weird so I can only take pictures of the closet like this. Husband’s bit is on the right. The middle section is mine! Mostly dresses, outerwear, sweaters and jeans, which I tend to take in and out a lot. Bags I love are there for me to feast my eyes on happily every day (That’s what she means by make sure everything ‘sparks joy!’)

Left: gloves and hats, things like that. Right: Underwear and socks (I disregarded the Konmari method for socks, I have always rolled them in balls and will continue to do so!)

What I really love about this decluttering system is that somehow or other we really freed up a lot of space. And I mean a lot – we have several drawers now which are still empty. They were just overflowing with crap before. As the Konmari method says all storage space is temporary until you are completely¬†DONE,¬†and we are not, we have left the empty drawers as they are now. Why are we not ‘done’?

Due to recent¬†hosting events in the house, we decided to leave our kitchen aside first, as well as the ‘papers‘ category. They are both substantial categories, so we want to do them right. The ‘papers’ category may not be important to some people, but as husband is a mortgage broker and I am a teacher/writer, you can imagine we have tonnes of paper around, and we need to decide what’s important, what needs to be filed properly, and what needs to be tossed. Our guest/study room is okay but¬†not decluttered yet, as we put things we wanted to give away or discard inside there – we wanted to do this right and not just throw it all away.

Okay, sorry, back to my drawers …

Thermals, pajamas, loungewear. Boring stuff … which explains why I don’t fold them too nicely.

Running and exercise wear, and work trousers on the right.

Shorts, skirts, swimwear and others (maternity, traditional wear etc)

And that’s it. That’s all my clothes. Honestly it took another cupboard¬†and spaces in Luca’s room to fill all the other crap I had previously, but they are now all here, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The drawer below houses all my cosmetics and hair thingies and what have you. It doesn’t look the best, but my top priority is to ensure I can see everything. I think once you can¬†see everything, as KonMari suggests, you are on safe ground. It doesn’t degenerate into that cavern of messy secrets aka WTF IS THIS GAHHHHH. Unfortunately I had to lay some bottles on their side (not ideal), because of height restrictions. I have a stash of skin creams and lotions tucked away in another cupboard, because … well I’ll tell you about that some other time.

All these drawers use to house loads of crap. Our second and third drawers are now pretty freed up. The bottom drawer houses miscellaneous things of mine aka some things a WOMAN WOULD RATHER YOU NOT SEE.

Hubby’s Update:

Husband’s area. Not as lean as before – the left part is recently dried tops – but everything is still very neat and tidy. When I took the picture though, he said ‘Oh man but there’s already trash in there!’ He is referring to our humidifier on the bottom right, which recently gave up and died on us – hmmmm what shall we do with it husband, will it stay there forever as per¬†previous habits?

‘You are encroaching on my space!’, he says about lower left box with my bags and clutches hee hee hee.

So that is us, all done. Now for the kiddo. It is really hard to keep things together for him because he keeps on outgrowing stuff and we have tonnes of second hand clothes kindly given by friends and mommies from our community Рit was hard to keep things:  a)sorted nicely b) ready for his next phase  c)tucked away and ready for his sibling. But after a while I got things down as nicely as I could. Things for his sibling-to-be have been packed away and labelled according to 3-9 months, 9-12months + and so on.

Tornado’s Things:

His principal/current drawer.

Next drawer below is his ‘next stage’ clothing. Yes, that’s him being nosy.

Drawer below that is the newborn stuff – 3 months clothing ready for his sibling

Keeping this drawer free for miscellaneous items and just-in-case things.

So there you have it. Our clothing situation Рnow done and dusted, thanks to the KonMari method. Honestly if you do only this, it will be such relief already. We had a certain zen when it was all done, and we still have this lovely zen today when it comes to our wardrobes. I know people tidy up all the time, but I think what hubs and I have realised is that if we remember certain principles we have learnt Рthat everything has its place and we should be able to see everything Рwe will not degenerate into a whole shitstorm of mess again.

But hey, ask us again in two or three months?


IKEA nearly got me

We went to IKEA today. Mainly to get some baby/toddler safety latches as the Little Tornado likes to open drawers now, with too much enthusiasm for our liking.

We also went there to get those IKEA meatballs for brunch. Yes we are sad but we don’t care, we are now parents.

Husband got the latches and some more black sorting boxes that have been absolutely integral to our house tidying process, you know, the Drona boxes. We highly recommend them.

Anyway so that’s all we wanted to get right? Okay.

I’m passing the Kitchen market place section and see this frying spatula. It’s a simple kitchen utensil from their cheap but dependable set. I pick it up, because I think: “This will be good because I cook a lot and our one is always dirty when I have to cook a new dish – this way I always have two for easy access.”

Thought processes as follows:

Shit but this means I’m buying something.

But shucks it’s just 50p. 50p is okay, I’ve saved a lot so far.

Shit but it’s not about the budget, it’s about the stuff.

But these new rules mean we cook so much more, can’t we just add to efficiently? Isn’t that part of the process too?

You’re full of shit, you know, lady.

Maybe I can get Anh to buy it somehow.

But that’s bloody cheating!

But it’s just 50p!

You’re so pathetic, you know.

All the while I am holding this frying spatula, walking past all these lovely things, swatting imaginary things here and there all over IKEA.

At the end of it all, I put the spatula next to some random pot in a section far, far away. And we leave.

That was close. But that’s the thought process. It’s hard. Your brain is your best friend and worst enemy.

Anyway, happy Chap Goh Meh. The 15th and final day of Chinese New Year. Our decorations at home come down after this, the year truly starts proper now ūüėČ ¬†Here we are, at the Magic Lantern Festival in Chiswick this evening – thanks to our friends Nadine and Ewan. We nearly froze our asses off but it was still lovely to see all the lights.

Happy rest of the weekend all. May the force be with you in your thought processes. x