Decluttering do’s and where we’re at on our journey

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I really wish I’d kept a journal of all we’ve cleared out in the last 18 months because I think it would be a pretty long and blog worthy list. Sadly these great ideas are all too clear in hindsight. I didn’t so I am feeding back from memory.

I am pretty amazed at the journey I’ve been on to get to a massively reduced amount of ‘stuff’. I estimate we have cut our belongings by about a half but its not always been plain sailing. We’ve hit the rocks on more than a few occasions. There have been times I have found it really hard to throw clothes that are too small or too big because of memories they evoke, a recent difficulty was school reports from my secondary school. Do I throw away something 25 years old or keep as a record of my not very misspent youth? CDs were another difficulty. Collected lovingly over many years. Do I get rid of a Dr Dre CD that I haven’t listened to for years which reminds me of my 20s and my party lifestyle that I could no longer bring myself to imitate?

If you are on a similar journey and have been hit by declutter-ers block like I did then I have some tips that may help…

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1. Take a break – decluttering is good for the soul but it can take a real emotional toll when you start to examine more of the things you left until last. You don’t have to declutter everything in a specified period of time. If you’re finding it tough then go and take some down time. Do nice things. Forget all about the purge for a bit. When you come back you’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next steps.

2 – Ask yourself simple questions. Do I love it? Do I need it? If the answers to those two are neither, can you reuse, repurpose or upcycle to something you can use or will love? Can you sell or give away?

3. Be at one with at the object – With sentimental items take some time to really look at the object or item. Take some time to feel it and look at it. Ask yourself why you’re keeping it? Is it a reminder of better times? Does it remind you of someone you’ve lost? I have some (clean) pyjamas of my Nans she wore before she died. I have never been able to let them go because they’re very symbolic to me. I have found out that people make memory bears or memory items out of clothing. So it’s not taking the item away but it’s repurposing the item to something you will treasure

4. Look at alternative versions – This is one for music and book fanatics. CDs and books take up a phenomenal amount of space, can collect dust and make a space feel overwhelmed. Make it a project to get everything on digital for your CDs. For books I only use library books. Most libraries have a reservation process and I find I can get 90 per cent of all the books I want this way. Any I love I can buy to read again and again. If you’re a fan of a kindle (I am an old fashioned book over myself ) you can get digital books through the library or buy pretty cheaply through somewhere like Amazon or Google Play.

5. Take one small area at a time – once you’ve done the easy things like clothes that don’t fit, old dried up mascaras, and 10 year old birthday cards it can get a bit harder. I like to tackle one thing at at time. Last year we cut our chest of drawers from 2 to 1. I now have all my stuff that was in a chest of 5 drawers in one draw with dividers. Doing that freed up space in our bedroom. It feels less cluttered, the space is clearer, and I spent time clearing out odd socks, old pyjamas and moving toiletries so I was able to have just one drawer. I feel so much freer having less of those items. But that was a really good declutter as there was a clear goal and we could see a difference and it spurred us on.

So have a go at getting back on the clearing out horse if you’ve fallen off. Let me know how it goes.

To date we have got rid of something like the following;

Chest of drawers
Double bed
Armchair
2 bedside tables
A side table
Juicer
George foreman grill
2 x blenders
Sandwich maker
Bread maker
Ipod speaker
Bike
BBQ
Stereo
Lamp
Clothes airer
Pictures x 6
3 x rugby shirts given to local rugby club
Christmas tree and about 50 per cent of our Christmas decorations
12 boxes of stuff to car boot sale
20 bags to charity shop
10 bin bags of things that couldn’t have been recycled
Numerous bags to our mums who love a rummage through what we’re clearing out.
50 CDS
25 DVDs
50 books

Happy decluttering!

Pass the sweetener? Living the sugar free life

It’s been a month now since myself and my wife went sugar free, or as free as it’s possible to get without cutting 90% of the food of the western world out. For those of you who don’t spend hours scouring the back of cornflake packets or bread bags, we are kicking out processed foods, but not bread because I think we’d spend a lifetime mourning, and all kind of sweet treats such as cakes, biscuits, sweets, desserts, yoghurts, ketchups (yes you hear me right!). I would like to categorically state at this point I will not be giving up alcohol, which yes is full of sugar but I only drink it rarely and it doesn’t have the same effect on me as a bag of Revels so it’s staying!

Ironically we chose to start this massive lifestyle change the week the Department of Health launched their sugar smart app.

https://www.nhs.uk/change4life-beta/campaigns/sugar-smart/home

I am pretty cynical of anything the Department of Health do around sugar, because I think they should be hitting the people who put sugar in everything first, before getting all of us to be scanning yoghurt pots and biscuit packets, but it was actually an eye opener, and whoa did it help us through our first week as we realised how much sugar we consume.

sugar addiction

And for those minimalists of you who are looking for decluttering in this post. We’ve started on decluttering our bodies…once you start looking at what sugar does to you, and how much is hidden in things you don’t even expect it to be in, such as bread, pasta sauce and soup, it opens up your eyes to this world of doped up sugar driven zombies we’ve become. Decluttering the body is good for the soul and all that kind of thing.

If you’re interested in how shite sugar is for you, take a look at this which pretty much kept me on track for the first difficult 21 days

http://www.prevention.com/health/what-happens-when-you-stop-eating-sugar?cid=soc_facebook_realsimple_9-7&xid=soc_socialflow_facebook_realsimple

Anyway we’re not going to be getting up on our soapbox any time soon. It’s bloody hard. It’s my third time of doing it – the most I’ve ever been sugar free is a year, and I fell off the wagon spectacularly around the time I met my wife. The first few days this time were some kind of hell; flu symptoms, exhaustion, irritability, aching body, desperate dreams about liquorice allsorts and strawberry laces, but we have got through those, cue next nothing that passes for a treat without making you bloat and giving you wind in the form of a poison called aspartame or sucharin which is most sugar free items. Then we found Stevia chocolate; Oh Stevia chocolate how we love you, your ability to keep us sane, when everyone around us is eating Yorkies.

no-sugar

So has it been worth it? I feel great, in all honesty. Whilst I would like to think I’d dropped to a size 16 overnight that hasn’t happened, there has been a bit of weight loss, but i am not doing it for that, and aside from trying to eat healthier foods, I don’t watch my weight. However the other benefits have been massive; I no longer feel  like I am waking up from a coma, I have more energy, and I no longer salivate at any bit of cake put in front of me.

I hope I can tell you on this blog in six months time, and 12 months, and 2 years that I am still sugar free. That wagon is remarkably rocky and I know I can fall off at any time. All the things that addicts are told to do to avoid the booze and drugs can’t really apply on this one; avoid places where they sell it? A bit of a tough one. Change your friends? Not sure I know anyone who doesn’t eat it? Move away from bad influences? You’re never more than 50 feet from a Tesco these days. No, it’s going to come down to the sheer ability not to put it in my mouth…let’s see how it goes eh?

 

 

The state of the nation

I’m in London today;  a place I lived happily for a couple of years and less happily for a couple more. 

To me London is the  epitomy of maximalism, more shops,  bars, restaurants,  and even sex shows than anywhere else in our fine country. It’s ahead of the game in so many things. However London is also like marmite. You love it or hate it. For a potential minimalist London can choke you with choice and opportunities.

I love it and hate it in equal measures.  For art and culture  it is unrivalled and I miss it terribly. For everything else the call of the north beats louder. Lots of space, unpolluted air and a beer for less than a fiver gets my vote every time.

So why am I wittering  on about London? Because whatever  your view there’s always something thought provoking or inspiring or challenging  on every visit.  Today it is this; the state of our nation epitomised by the repurposing of a good old red phone  box. Once the only kind of mobile  phone available,  call boxes like these were a lifeline for those running late, young lovers who wanted to coo to each other out of the sight of parents and those for whom a phone line was a luxury not a necessity. 

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In South Kensington I came across this phone box-cash machine hybrid. This is  the first I have ever seen of its kind.  Actually it’s  a really innovative use of the old boxes although for the aestheticians of us this is probably akin to gross bodily harm.
But the reason  I stopped to take a photo of this was that to me it sums up  society  today. The emphasis now is on fast and convenience intermingled with wealth. The days of a phone call and face to face communication diminished with an ever increasing  plethora of apps and smartphones.  The latest of these,  apple pay even removes  the need to get your purse out. Quick transactions. Reduced interactions.  All designed  to keep the money coming. So whilst I was slightly amused at this phone box cash machine,  I’m not surprised. To me it sums up London and modern living for so many and what people like me aspiring,  simple  living minimalists struggle with; fast money in a spend to feel  better society.

Hibernation…

You may have noticed I have been quiet of late. No blog posts over the winter. If you followed me on Twitter you will have noticed the posts are rarer than usual. Even the Facebook witticisms are thin on the ground.

So what has caused this communication black out? Busyness? Probably Lethargy? Most definitely. The truth is it’s my annual hibernation period. Like the black bears and prickly hedgehogs as soon as it gets dark and the leaves begin to drop I retreat into my shell, put on my big fluffy jumper and hunker down through the winter months.

I sometimes feel guilty about this self indulgence recharging time and announce this hibernation to the world early on so my refusal of invitations, sofa hugging and winter naps are known by one and all and the boundaries are clear.

 

I didn’t think it would affect my ability to create, but this year it has. I have felt able to do no more than lift a coloured pencil to my mindful colouring book. So no blog. I seemed  not to have the words, the thoughts or the ability to get them on a page, electronic or otherwise. Some people call this SAD or season affected disorder, some the winter blues, but it amounts to the same thing. The need to hibernate for at least 3 months, the fact that as soon as it gets dark the pjs and fluffy socks go on and the dallying in the summer sunshine seems a lifetime away.

So I have been having early nights, reading books, eating good old winter food like soups and stodge and generally enjoying some down time.

That’s the thing you see, I am enjoying my hibernation. The chance for some rest, skin sloughing and moisturising, hot chocolate, reflection on the past year and anticipation for what’s to come, and enjoying lazy afternoon snoozes in the  half light. It’s a winter version of minimalism – simple living in line with the seasons.

But as the first snow drops start to poke through the grass, I am starting to stretch, yawn and come to life. So look out for blogs on being sugar free, some books I’ve been reading and reviewing, and the latest decluttering in the H-G household.

Minimalism in the virtual world…

In my quest for minimalism so far I have focussed on the physical; items that no longer serve a purpose, old books I have no intention of reading, mountain upon mountain of clothes and that’s given me a great sense of purpose and achievement.

Recently though I have a growing sense of need to declutter  in a more virtual, digital way. The increasing use of social media, and cloud software means that nothing needs to be thrown away anymore, and that person you wouldn’t have spoken to twice now has access to all your intimate moments via Facebook or Twitter. Social media can be a really positive connecting tool, linking you to those you love who are far away, recording memorable moments, following your favourite haunts and places to go.

The opposite though which I have found is the creeping virtual dust that drifts over the 4000 people you follow on Twitter, the friend of a friend that you met on a hen do 10 years ago that winds you up with their negative posts on Facebook, the 400 pictures of someone’s cat doing something cute that you sit and look at instead of having a proper conversation ( OK I admit I quite like those).

social-media-signs

I found myself recently becoming really angry with complete strangers on a post on Facebook. I didn’t know these people, I didn’t have any vested interest in the post, yet I had let it get under my skin. It was a real wake up call…I am a social media hoarder…I have followed and liked more pages than I keep up with, I get notifications in the dozens, and I am the equivalent of one of the worst hoarders with the digital equivalent of carrier bag upon carrier bag of posts and pins.

On top of this I probably have about 10,000 photo’s on my Dropbox folder.  This includes the same shot I have taken four or five times over as a throwback from film camera days when you never knew if a photo would come out or not. I also hold all those photos I have taken on my phone of the floor, my thumb and a selfie where I only get half of my head in the shot.

So what can we do to become digital minimalists? Firstly I have de-activated my Facebook account for a couple of weeks to take a step back from what I miss, the people I want to be connected to, and the things I want to follow.

I have removed the app from my phone as well, so the temptation to ‘just have a look at 10 minutes’ which ends up in an hour of gazing at a screen is minimised.

I have started going through my photos and deleting the duplicates, the landscape pictures I  took 10 years ago of places I can’t even remember, the blurry shots of which there are many and those photos which don’t mean anything. It’s a big job, but I feel my head is clearer and I feel more in control.

I am undertaking a promise to myself to only pin onto my Pinterest boards what I really love, and to delete boards I don’t look at again.

Does this ring bells with you? What digital clutter can you lose?

The End of my September Challenge

I’ve been recording all of my spending during September. I’ve done this completely freely and without any editing so that I can review what I truly spend…and it’s pretty interesting reading.

I’ve included everything down to the last penny that’s outside of my normal bills, which includes some money for grocery shopping. Anything above that I have added in here. It was a tough month as we had a car service so that was £600 I wasn’t expecting to pay.

My biggest surprises aren’t what I thought they’d be. i actually thought coffee would be higher. Eating out isn’t very high because we can’t do much of it at the moment. The biggest surprises were pet supplies (most of our pet stuff is covered in our groceries bill, such as food etc.) so I am totally over indulging these little fluffballs! I also spent lots on birthday presents this month, which isn’t a usual spend. So below is my spend, how does this sit with yours? I’m still recording Octobers, and currently I am not putting a caveat on spending apart from what I think I can afford…I am planning to set a budget next year so this is a good habit to get into! What do you spend most on?

£24.60   – Coffees and office tea kitty

£69.50- Eating Out

£74.96 – Extra Groceries (e.g. for packed lunches, extra dog and cat food, treats etc.)

£13.98 – Books and Magazines

£46.26- Pet items

£14.13- Snacks on the run

£19.00 home and garden stuff

£60-  birthday  presents and cards

£ 90  clothing

£ 35  – haircut

£604 Car and Travel

£11.71 – Donations

TOTAL – 1063.14

The gentle of art of balance

You might have noticed it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Whilst I would love to say it’s because I’ve been making my own cheese, decluttering, sipping coffee on a veranda whilst living a simple and minimal life, I sadly cannot claim any of these things.

I have spent the last few weeks hospital visiting, working two jobs, trying to be a good wife, good daughter, sister, auntie, friend, volunteer, part of the community etc. etc. The list goes on. You know how it goes. Goodness knows how Mums cope. I only have to deal with two over excited dogs, and two rather superior cats.  Each day blends into the next…wake…shower…eat..work…home…TV…sleep. This is not mindful living, simple living or minimalism. In fact I feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

So I need to re-set my seesaw and get some balance back. What does that even mean? I guess balance means different things to different people. To me it’s feeling calm, having enough time to achieve what I want to , feeling a sense of peace and a sense of achievement

I am thinking about this a lot…I think sometimes when we get to busy parts of our life e.g. working two jobs to pay extra bills, working hard, having a difficult time with health etc…the balance is tipped as you desperately tread the water trying to restore balance, and actually perhaps we’re working too hard to restore the balance to equal measures. As someone who practices mindfulness it is remarkably easy to forget all the tools I can use to help. So I am going to bring some of them in, and maybe they will help you too.

Mindful walking – I have to walk the dogs everyday, so I am going to aim for a bit of mindful walking. Mindful walking means different things to different people, but to me, its about taking in all the surroundings, bird song, the crisp smell of autumn, feeling the ground beneath my feet, taking some deep breaths, and it helps bring me some perspective on life. Even that half an hour a day makes life feel less rushed and gives me that peace that I find in balance.

Being compassionate to yourself – One of the things I’m really bad at, and pretty much many of us struggle with is being kind to ourselves and doing nice things for ourselves; a bath, a sneaky hours read, curled up with our pets, or our kids, a trip to the cinema, a face mask, a massage, a quiet coffee…anything that makes you feel good and feel that you’re being kind to yourself.

The final one I can recommend that I also need to use is acceptance. Acceptance is a wonderful thing, and should be easy but find it hard to accept things as they are sometimes. So what is there to accept in the case of balance? I need to accept life is tough this year. I have family and good friends who are seriously unwell and I want to be there for them.  I have to work two jobs to pay for two sets of house bills until we have sold one of them and moved into our new place. So I accept life it tough, but that it’s hopefully short term. Actually saying to you I accept it’s tough makes me feel better already. Like I am giving myself a bit of a permit to sit in my PJs and eat ice cream some days, or not to have to accept every invitation that’s offered me, or that it’s OK we can’t go on holidays or have big nights out right now. (Can you feel the deep sigh I’ve just exhaled – feeling calmer already)

So that’s it…three simple solutions, mindful walking, being kind to myself and accepting things as it is…Who’s going to try it with me? I’ll let you know how I get on

The beauty of a building full of books…

I admit it. My name’s Jo and I’m a bookaholic. I suppose my Latin name is a bibliophile. Hell I just love books. As a minimalist this can be a problem. Books take up space, you need storage to put them in or on and they cost money.

In recent years the beauty of digital means storage is not so much an issue although it doesn’t aid minimalist buying tendancies. Also it’s not the same as an actual physical book. I admit it , I sniff books. I like looking at the covers and then turning them  over and reading the backs. I like feeling how far I am through a book and finding cool free postcards to use as my bookmark. Books are a massive part of my life and so this was an issue for me until I discovered something fairly radical a few years ago; my local library. Yes a place where you can take a book from free of charge, read it, take it back and its still free. This seems a fairly radical proposal in the modern world where everything costs money. You get to read it, you don’t have to own it and you don’t have pay for it. In our local library you can even rent out digital books both in e-book and audio book version. On top of this there’s a shocking discovery to be had. Libraries have cool stuff in them now, like nice cafés and archives and digital hubs and even gardens. Libraries are actually nice places to hang out these days.

So if there’s such an amazing resource available why don’t more people use them? It’s a mystery to me, an avid library user who visits more often than I go to a supermarket. Linked to http://www.goodreads.com I can reserve books online and pick them up at my nearest library. Is it because people don’t know about libraries? That they’re seen as stuffy institutions where you can’t talk that smell slightly of charity shops and old newspapers. Is it that books are so cheap now they’ve become throwaway? With significant discounts in supermarkets and online retailers books are cheaper to purchase than ever.

Library-Books

As a minimalist I have a recommendation for purchasing books. ALWAYS get books from the library first. If its a book you particularly want or a reference book and its something you can’t get you can easily get second hand books for a fraction of the price on EBay or Amazon. Occasionally a book makes such an impression on me that I will buy it to read again and again; try reading the Cellist of Sarajevo. Amazing book. Here I come across a conflict. As a financial minimalist and an eco champion its against my principles to buy brand new when I can get second hand but I also keenly feel the need to support writers. See its not easy being a minimalist at times?

So do you use libraries? How do you find yours? If not try getting down to yours and seeing if it surprises you…

To be vegan or not to be vegan: Cookery class inspiration

My minimalist journey is more than a decluttering experience and as a long standing vegetarian since the age of 12, I am also looking to simplify my food, and live a healthier lifestyle through the choice of 10 key meals that I will learn off by heart, that we will love to eat and that will use healthy, clean ingredients (obviously mixed with the odd dirty as hell takeaway).

Veganism is something I’ve been interested in for a while, from an animal welfare perspective but also as someone whose body seems to have a disliking for dairy (cue rashes and sinus issues). However until this weekend it’s seemed a bit of a far off goal. It sounds fussy, difficult and a lot like hard work, and I am more in the ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’ camp. Then I met Debbie Daly, and took one of her cookery classes. Debbie is the ultimate vegan enthusiast, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Check out her page here Vegan at Heart https://www.facebook.com/v3ganatheart?fref=ts for dates of her cookery classes and information.

Her cookery classes are homely, inspiring and what’s more delicious…and sooo easy. I was expecting complicated mixing, spicing, and simmering, but actually she taught us to make a bread and two cheeses, all in the space of an hour. Who would have thought you could put courgette in a bread and not use yeast? Who would think you can use cashew nuts to make a parmesan cheese replacement? My eyes have been opened, and widened.

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The thing I loved about the cooking is that it was something I could do. The bread; courgette, carrot and walnut was literally chuck some ingredients in a bowl and a mixer, knead together and cook for 30 minutes…

From this

Bread before

To This

Bread on plate cropped Bread close up Bread extra close up

OK so we did have it with butter on at home, which felt slightly wrong, but it was so good, the moisture from the vegetables and the crunch of the walnuts goes really well together. Debbie also gave recommendations for other suggestions so you could make it with chilli, other herbs…I am definitely under orders to make it again.

We also made a parmesan cheese alternative from cashew nuts, salt and garlic powder.

I was completely new to this nut making dairy produce idea (although I have sampled almond milk and am not keen). A taste of this was a little bit frightening, it had a really similar taste to parmesan, a lovely saltiness, and a garlic kick. Perfect for pasta, moussaka (vegan of course), and anything else you can think of to throw parmesan cheese on. We also made a soft cheese. For me it was a little like houmous, but I thought it was a perfect accompaniment to the bread. Using cashew nuts, garlic, a bit of seasoning, some water…it’s really simple stuff and that’s what got me. Being vegan doesn’t have to be complicated. You can find these ingredients at home or at a local supermarket. You don’t have to be off to your local wholefood store with a hessian bag every day looking for a battered turnip.

So inspired was I in fact that I made Debbie’s suggested oat milk that night. I admit it I’m struggling with a milk replacement for my dearly beloved cup of tea…the oat milk is so easy to make. Will blog a recipe for it and tell you more on that in another post…

A Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism…Part 1

I’ve been trying to live a minimalist lifestyle for a while now, upping the ante in the last six months to remove lots of our belongings that aren’t important, loved or needed, as well as thinking more about how we live and aiming to live with a more simple, minimalist lifestyle; based on having an experiential lifestyle, using memories, experiences and family rather than things such as reaching for the ever bigger house in the most expensive area, and upgrading our ‘stuff’ as money allows.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m prepared to pay for things that I really need, and I’d rather have a smartphone that helps me manage my life and all the things I need it to do; camera, apps so I can use to write on the go, and an interactive calendar because it means I don’t need seperate items, but I want to have a life of a few meaningful, important or loved items, rather than wading through stacks of books, collectibles and piles of ‘home decor’.

But if you fancy starting a minimalist journey, or living a more minimalist lifestyle it can be overwhelming. Where do you start? What do you do? If you’re someone who like me had lots of physical ‘stuff’ it can be really difficult to know where to start. There are some great blogs out there to inspire you , but my recommendation as well if you’re a social media fan is to set up a Pinterest board. Pinterest is great because it’s like a virtual scrapbook. All the ideas without painstakingly cutting out magazine after magazine and sticking in a book.

Pinterest can inspire you in two ways; one – there’s loads of great pins on articles for minimalist living which will help you, and give you ideas, but I would also suggest setting up boards to pin pictures of what you want to achieve. So images of clean , clutter free interiors, pictures of what you’d rather spend your money on (Holidays? Weekends away? Time with friends and family?) Hopefully that will help inspire you through the first difficult times.

If you’re planning on a physical de-clutter, which is often the easiest way to start on your journey to minimalism, I’ve got a few ideas you can use to get started. They’re well tried and tested by other minimalistas so hopefully will work for you too!

Getting Started

  1. – Find one drawer (perhaps the one where you crush everything into, with the thought that it might be useful one day, or  ‘come in handy’) . Take everything out, and I mean everything and pick each item up. Ask yourself ‘Do I love this?’, if it’s a no, don’t panic. No breaking out in a cold sweat yet. Ask yourself ‘Do I need this?’ and before you say yes and put it back in the drawer, ask yourself again ‘Do I really need this? Will I use it?’  If it’s a no (i.e. that leaky ballpen, the 10 takeaway leaflets, an old tupperware pot, bits of plastics that might come in handy, old, grey tea-towels) there are a number of things you can do;
    1. Think can it be repurposed? For example old tea towels we cut up and use as cloths.
    2. Can it be recycled? If you’ve got paper, glass or plastics that aren’t of use can you recycle them for a new item?
    3. Can it be sold? If you’re sorting out items of value e.g. old jewellery, clothes or CDs etc can you sell on an site like Ebay, or Magpie for CDs and DVDs?
    4. Will it need to go in landfill? If you really can’t find an alternative, can it go into landfill?

At the end of your first drawer – hopefully you’ll have a clean drawer with perhaps a few loved or needed items in and be feeling rather pleased with yourself. Now you can try and tackle something else, or set yourself a goal to pick another area next time.

2. If you’re someone who has to push back a tidal wave of clothes every time you try to close the wardrobe, you could try starting with a wardrobe clear-out and  finding a few items to start with so it feels like you’re not parting with your right leg. Have a look through piece by piece, and ask yourself ‘Do I love this?’ Unless you’re a vet or a police officer, it’s unlikely you have clothing you ‘need’. So your next question is ‘Have I worn this in six months?’ if not why not? Now comes the painful bit…as a plus size woman I know that theory of buying something ‘to fit into’ , or something that’s a bit tight that you will ‘slim into’, and I’m definitely guilty of buying purchases that I think I look great in which actually make me look like a shiny sausage. It can’t just be me surely? So be brave, chin up, and take out anything that doesn’t fit, you don’t like or that has a hole in where it shouldn’t. Well done…a first sweep of the wardrobe. Again, think repurpose, recycle, sell bin.

3. Final suggestion for today to get started – Get a box and put it somewhere out the way. Each day do a general sweep of your home, and find one thing you can’t say you truly love and need, put it in the box. The box should be out of your general line of sight so you don’t think about it all the time. If you find yourself really missing the item, bring it back out. Chances are after a few weeks you won’t remember what’s in the box and you definitely won’t have missed it. If a daily sweep feels too much try alternate days or a weekly sweep.

If you have a go, let me know how you get on, or if you have any other good ideas for beginners let me know…