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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Taking your first steps to slow living in the real world

slow living, minimalism, busy, ban busy, busy boycott, slow down, productivity, simple living

So, you want to slow down? Where do you start? What does slow living even look like in the real world? You’ve got commitments and responsibilities! Don’t worry, slowing down doesn’t mean you’ve got to ditch everything and park yourself up in a hammock.

My approach is “slow not lazy” – slowing down doesn’t mean doing nothing. In fact, slowing down can help you to achieve more of what really matters.

My commitments and responsibilities used to leave me feeling worn out and overwhelmed, but today, I thrive on them. What changed? A lot, but the most important thing was my mindset.

“Everyone’s rushing around, and look at you – sitting there all calm!”. I was at a women’s networking breakfast in the lead up to Christmas. The meeting was due to start and everyone was rushing in flustered and fussing around as they took their seats. When a colleague leaned in and made this remark to me, little did she know the burst of pride and empowerment I felt.

I was calm. Not because of my schedule, commitments and responsibilities, I was calm despite of them. I’d just dropped my son to preschool. I had to leave the breakfast meeting early to tutor a class for a sick colleague (swinging past home on the way to pick up my husband who needed the car). After finding a ride back to my office, I had an hour to finalise my work for the year before back-to-back meetings until it was time to collect my son. It was one of those crazy days. Days like these used to leave me a frantic, frazzled mess. But there I was – calm, focused and present. Surrounded by a tide of busyness, I felt its presence, but it didn’t sweep me away. This is slow living in the real world. Continue reading “Taking your first steps to slow living in the real world”

Mindfulness and me

Mindfulness is an essential component of what slow living means to me. I’m excited to be featured in the Mindfulness and Me series on Mission: Mindfulness .

Mindfulness, Meditation

I’m no expert, and mindfulness certainly hasn’t come easily to me. Overtime, I’ve developed a set of practices that work well for me that I share.

You can read about:how I suck at meditation (I’ve been a beginner for 10 years!); how I make mindfulness part of my day; how it benefits me; and my tips for anyone trying it out for the first time.

One of the questions Hayley asked me was, “Do you have friends or family who use mindfulness techniques too?”. I realised that I had no idea, but I wish I did. With that in mind …

Do you use mindfulness techniques? What works for you?

5 easy steps to master your to-do list

When things get busy, do you feel like a slave to your to-do list? Are you ticking things off, but don’t feel like you are getting anywhere? Or maybe the list is so long you’ve ditched it completely?

I’ve been there and I’m happy to say it doesn’t have to be that way! You can take control of your to-do list and achieve more of what really matters – without the stress.

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Slow not lazy

slow living, simple living, minimalism, simplicity, simplification, slow down
Slow not lazy – my theme for 2017

New Year resolutions are so last year (phew, I suck at them). Rather, the trend is to set yourself a single word, theme or intention to guide your year. My theme for 2017 is “slow not lazy”. I could have chosen “slow”, but I didn’t. Here’s why.

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How to slow down when you’re busy

No matter how packed your schedule, you have control over the mindset with which you approach each moment.  Even when you can’t slow down, you can slow down.

Busy, slow living, mindfulness, #slownotlazy

Are you feeling rushed and overwhelmed? That used to be my default setting. Nowadays, I live a consciously slower lifestyle. Despite this, I still experience crunch times, times when the heat is on, when I’m under the pump. Slow doesn’t mean lazy. I still want to get things done, and that means that sometimes I’m busy!

What I’ve learnt is that slow and busy don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By bringing a slow mindset, I’ve transformed the way I think, feel and act when I’m busy, and you can too. Continue reading “How to slow down when you’re busy”

Busy is the new fine – why I am fighting back

How many of your casual conversations start something like this:

“How are you?”

“Oh, you know, busy!”

It seems busy is the new fine.

Default answer, default setting
What’s the big deal? It’s just a throw away response to a polite question, which probably doesn’t interest the asker that much anyway.

But it is a big deal – it’s accepting and reinforcing a social norm.

Busyness is no longer a blip, a short burst of extra activity, an exception– it’s the default. Being busy is not just socially acceptable, it’s almost expected.

Busy is not fine
By operating with busyness as the default setting we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are sending out messages like:

  • if you’re not busy, you’re not successful or important
  • it’s not enough to be satisfied with what you have, you should always want to do more and have more
  • quantity is more valuable than quality.

Worse still busyness blinds us. When we’re busy, we’re more concerned with the what than the why. When we’re busy, there’s no room to think, reflect or question. In a world where we’re busy by default, in effect, we put our heads in the sand.

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