How to declutter toys without the guilt

How to declutter toys without the guilt

Ahhh, the joy of a child playing quietly in his room. I pop my head around the door, only to see tufts of white stuffing poking out from under my son’s bed. Hmmm, it turns out that ‘playing quietly’ was actually disembowelling the large, handmade red velvet bear his aunt had given him.

With my less-than-impressed-mum face, I admonished him for 1) using scissors on anything other than paper, 2) not caring for his toys. On the inside, however, I was beaming. The sweet relief of getting rid of an over-sized, slightly creepy toy your child loves, without having to be the bad guy!

The thing in my home I feel the most torn about decluttering is toys. Fewer toys to trip over and tidy, that’d be fantastic. Plus, too many toys isn’t great for kids, I get that. But, the toys aren’t mine, nearly all of them were gifts, and they all seem so beloved.

Mum guilt about too many toys vs mum guilt over taking toys away – wow, which great option should I choose!

Decluttering toys, a great idea, but in practice, just another emotional minefield for the modern parent. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can make a lot of progress on the toy situation quickly and easily, without having to play the bad guy. Here’s how.

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My top tips for overcoming decluttering inertia

There I was, staring at my 2017 in 2017 decluttering chart, pondering how my progress had stagnated. In January, I decluttered 200 items. Six months later, I’ve only managed a further 500ish items. Telling myself, “I must try harder”, I racked my brain for the ultimate idea to inspire me and reignite my motivation.

Then something struck me. Less than two weeks into June, I’d already decluttered as much as in all of May. Without even trying, I’d already solved my own problem! How?

Something is better than nothing

This stealthy surge in momentum coincided with reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck[i]. Manson discusses what he calls the “Do Something Principle”. Rather than waiting for the inspiration to do something, just start. The principle is based on the premise that action (doing something, anything) is both the cause of motivation, as well as the effect of motivation.

Manson's Do Something Principle - the key to overcoming inertia when decluttering

This resonated with me. Manson gave a name to a principle that I apply in different facets of my life to overcome procrastination. Despite having pretty much zero motivation for decluttering, Manson spurred me to re-engage with some of my tried and true strategies for overcoming inertia. I picked up the pace, got back on track with my goal, and it was painless.

In turn, that inspired me to share my top tips for overcoming your own inertia.

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How to stop drowning in laundry

How to stop drowning in laundry - a guide to simplifying laundry minimalism, decluttering, simple living, slow livingIs there a more satisfactory feeing than having all the laundry done? Cleaned, folded and put away. It lasts all of three seconds, but, wow, it feels good. Unfortunately, laundry is more often associated with frustration and overwhelm.

Before kids, laundry was a weekly chore. In the weekend, I put on a load or two. Done. There was the occasional panic to iron a shirt the morning before a big meeting at work, but generally, laundry didn’t figure too much in the scheme of my life. I never thought that someday I’d find myself writing on the internet about it! Then we welcomed our son into our lives.

I packed my hospital bag with some extra baby clothes­ – I wasn’t an idiot – but I was a novice and in for a shock! The first night he vomited through several changes of clothes. And then there were my clothes – if I wasn’t being spit up on, I was being peed on, or worse. At early catch-ups with my mothers’ group we lamented our respective mountains of laundry, along with sleep deprivation and sore nipples. Nearly five years later, the conversations have changed, but, laundry is a constant!

While laundry is a bigger part of my life than it was in my child-free days, I’ve developed a simple system in our home that makes laundry a non-event that ticks over in the background. If you are feel like your drowning in a sea of laundry, I offer these tips to help you get on top of things. Continue reading “How to stop drowning in laundry”

Avoiding food waste traps – #FoodWasteFriday check in

I’m on a mission to reduce my food waste and I’ll be checking in regularly on how I’m doing as part of #FoodWasteFriday.

How to avoid food waste traps

I want to share with you this TED talk on How to Avoid Food Waste Traps by Selina Juul. Selina founded the Stop Wasting Food movement in Denmark (which is a leading nation when it comes to reducing food waste). Selina goes through common food waste traps and ways to avoid them. I particularly like her tip to take a photo of the inside of your fridge before you go shopping so you can remember what you’ve already got.

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A #foodwastefriday check – 24 Feb 17

I’m on a mission to reduce my foodwaste and I’ll be checking in regularly on how I’m doing as part of #FoodWasteFriday. Since I last checked in on 10 February 2017, here’s my progress:

Demerit: I wasted one peach and four cocktail sausages. We’ve been away on holiday, before we left I grabbed the fruit left in the fruit bowl for travel snacks. The peach didn’t survive the travel. While we were away I over-bought on the cocktail sausages. The boys did a valiant effort at eating them all up over a number days, but the last four were a stretch too far! Continue reading “A #foodwastefriday check – 24 Feb 17”

A frugal shopping challenge dishes up dividends

Confession time: I’m an over-buyer when it comes to food.

I treat grocery shopping like a guilt-free weekly shopping spree rather than gathering essentials. You always need food, right? Who am I fooling? With my weekly food bill creeping up, and my pantry and freezer full, an intervention was needed.

I took the $21 challenge – you choose an aspect of your weekly food shop (or the whole thing!) and put a $21 limit on it. The aim is to get creative with what you already have to meet most of your grocery needs. I chose to set myself a $21 limit for dinners for my family of three for a week.

What I bought and what we ate

I usually spend around $200 a week for my entire grocery shop. I spent $147.16, saving around $50.

$21 challenge, food waste, #foodwastefriday, frugal shopping, budgeting
I spent $17.01 on ingredients for dinners for the week – this is what I brought.

I spent $17.01 on ingredients for dinner for three people for seven days. From these ingredients, and what I already had in the house, I made the following meals:

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The downside of decluttering

Decluttering is not without its drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that I’ve become desensitised to the volume of waste my lifestyle creates.

Haste to waste

When I first started decluttering 18 months ago, I agonised over the number of trash bags that I filled. Sadly, now it’s just par for the course. I give things away, donate them and recycle. Trash is my last resort, but there is still a lot of trash.

Concerns over the impact of my decluttering decisions had largely slipped from my mind, until I read The Use It Up Challenge and Our Nothing New Year on Our Next Life. Our Next Life confronts the issue of decluttering and waste from both an environmental and personal finance perspective. They argue that in a haste to declutter (this trendy thing that if you aren’t doing you think you probably should be) we are not considering waste.

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