Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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The Sadness of Soft Toys and The Royal Treatment at Value Village

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Decluttering means saying good-bye to old friends.  I’ll miss Melvin, Pookie and Pink Poodle, but every once you have to let go of something that you love to make room for more peace in your life.  Ok, that was me trying to be deep.  The truth is, Melvin’s sunglasses were falling off, Pookie doesn’t exist and Pink Poodle may be unimaginative, but I’m also the girl that gave her stuffed animals classic names like Teddy, Pink Bunny and Blue Bunny when I was growing up.  Nothing wrong with being literal.  The stuffed animals didn’t seem to mind.  Pink Poodle was given to me by one of my dearest friends to remind me of the time that I gave myself a really bad bang trim.  She also bought me a giggling, burping beanie baby that sounds vaguely like me.

It was more than time for me to give away my soft toys to a loving home.  It was also time to get rid of dishes that weren’t being used, glasses that were collecting dust and knick knacks that were more nicked than knacked.  Where did the 5 cases and one garbage bag of home clutter go?  Value Village.  I have to say – dropping my old dishes and toys off was an amazing experience – they treat you like royalty.  Just stop at the donation drop off entrance and out come a couple of big strong men to take a load off your hands.  All I did was point and I got to have everything carried away.  All of the proceeds from Value Village go to charity and they help keep your worn items out of landfills.  They even take orphan socks – who knew?  Check out https://www.valuevillage.com/donate/what-we-take to see what you can donate.  Best experience at a charity ever.

In addition to the 2 sets of dishes, dozen glasses, 16 stuffed animals, etc. that left my abode, I also noticed that my building was doing a hazardous waste drop off.  I scurried down with 5 cans of old paint.  Remember, as freeing as it is to declutter, you also should be environmentally responsible dear readers.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get this little project finished.  Next on the list is sorting papers and even I can’t make that task fun and interesting.  I may have to combine it with something a little more entertaining…maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest health advice?  Stay tuned to find out more.


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KonFessions

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After reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and learning more about the KonMari method, I have dedicated the next few months to decluttering like I’ve never decluttered before.  Dr. Oz and Marie Kondo are both right – you feel less stress when you have fewer items clogging up your life (and surroundings).

As you can see from the above tower of clothing – this weekend, in between outings, I continued to work on my clothes.  I’m no longer a smugly mcsmuglord like I was last year.  I’ve had to stop saying look how much I’ve gotten rid of you peons and take a really hard took at what I was hanging onto – which Kondo forces you to do.  I had t-shirts from university – granted that was only a couple of years ago, because I’m so young, ok maybe more than a couple of years, but I never wanted to get did of them because they represented some of the best times of my life.  As I read the book, I became aware that even if the sweatshirt and t-shirts go, I’ll still remember everything.  That was also true for some t-shirts that I got on trips when I first started travelling.  I never wore the shirts, even when I was younger I knew that they were Glamour Fashion Don’ts, but I held onto them like a dutiful pack rat.  I’m happy to say they are all gone, along with a whole bunch of other clothes that fit into 4 garbage bags for donation and 1 for actual trash.  For those of you that are curious, and no judgment if you are, here is a tally of my dearly departed clothes:

  • 5 coats
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • 4 purses
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 dress
  • 1 shawl
  • 2 bodysuits
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 13 camis and tank tops
  • 9 pairs of socks
  • 26 sweaters
  • 22 tops
  • 21 t-shirts
  • 6 sweat shirts
  • 1 belly dancing belt

I didn’t talk to my clothes like Kondo suggests in her book, thanking them for their service.  I also played music which she doesn’t recommend.  I did enjoy the process and it’s nice being able to see my colour coded clothes (something that I’ve always done) – don’t laugh, it makes life easier.  I feel like my clothes can breathe, and that because they aren’t jammed together so tightly, maybe I won’t have pilling on my favourite sweaters.  A girl can dream right?  I probably didn’t get rid of enough to pare my wardrobe down to KonMari standards, but I’m very happy with what I kept and don’t miss a single item that I threw out or donated.

The next item on Kondo’s list, and I am going in order, is books.  I got rid of 29 books in total.  Konfession – I still had books from my PR days, a few other text books and a number of books that there was no hope that I’d ever read.  All text books are now disposed of – I realized that I thought, perhaps, that I may refer to them, and guess what?  They’ve never been opened – they sat on my shelf like sad orphans wishing that I’d sold them to another student.

BIG KONFESSION (spelling intended-it’s a play on KonMari)!  I finally realized that I wasn’t going to ever read “The English Patient”.  Bigger KONFESSION – I hated the movie.  I can admit it now, but way back when it came out, it was frowned upon to not rave about the snore-fest, I mean film.  So as a dutiful snob, I went out and bought the book thinking of how sophisticated I’d look reading the book as the weirdo next to me on the subway clips his nails (yes, it happens).  More books than I can write about are being donated to my condo’s library and Value Village.  I thank them for taking space up on my shelf, but now it’s time to set them free.  I feel very KonMari saying that.  See below for what is affectionately known as “the pile”.

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Until next time, happy decluttering!


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Driving Miss Daisy, KonMari and Other Things to be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

This weekend was a very busy one with Frousin time, Family Thanksgiving on Sunday and Thanksgiving with friends that are like family today.  In between, I also had my fifth and sixth driving lessons and have started to take the advice of Marie Kondo – author of “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Conquering fears, trying to de-stress and decluttering is really what my Dr. Oz journey has been about this year.  Driving is another fear that I am conquering – especially driving in a big city.  It’s an adjustment driving again, but every time I get behind the wheel, I feel a little less Miss Daisy, and a little more like I can do this – I can drive faster than 60 kilometres an hour!  I can do a 3-point turn!  I can drive without running anyone over!  I still have a ways to go and need a little more confidence – don’t we all – but I believe I’ll be ready for my road test in December.  Wish me luck – or wish yourselves luck if you happen to be a Toronto driver.

In addition to driving, I also have spent a good deal of time starting my next round of decluttering.  I know that I wrote many a post about this last year.  Like a Smugly McSmug Lady, I bragged about all of the things that I was getting rid of…then I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and realized that my work has just begun.  The book divides your home into different categories (part of the KonMari method) and suggests that you tackle one category before you move on to another.  You don’t purge rooms – you purge categories.  I’ve started with tops, as Marie Kondo suggests starting with clothing and even tells you down to the item, what order you should do this in.  Some of her suggestions are hooey – I’m not going to say hi to my home or thank my clothes for serving me, but I do see her point about getting rid of things that you no longer love or have no use for.  I also understand her advice about getting rid of things that you may have an emotional attachment to  – the memory will still be there, but the item of clothing or knick knack no longer needs to take up space.  So far, I have a mouton of clothes, literally, that I’m either going to donate or toss.  It’s a lot more than I expected after last year…but it’s been cleansing in more ways than one.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, with photos.  Dr. Oz will be very proud of me, and in a weird way, it is relaxing.

As it’s Thanksgiving, I should express some sort of gratitude…but I have to say, it’s been a bit of a challenge this year.  I’m always grateful for family and friends, but I think that right now, I’m the most thankful for the life lessons that I’ve learned this year.  Right now, the lesson that I’m learning is that it’s ok to get rid of possessions but it’s also ok to keep what you really love.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal, until you are in the process of it yourself.


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Slurpy McSlurplord, The Art of Not Procrastinating, Kelly Clarkson and Phoning it In

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I was coming home today on the subway, not always my happy place, when I found myself trapped next to an unusually tall man eating an unusually large meal RIGHT NEXT TO ME.  I shall call him Slurpy McSlurplord.  On the long journey home, I got to enjoy a meal – his – mostly because I felt that I was eating right along with him.  All I heard was SLUUUURRPPPP, SWIIIISHHHHH, PHHHHHTTTTTT, YUMMMM, UM, UGH, OOOGA CHAKA, OOGA Chaka…so I’ve created a little song for the disgust that I felt to “Hooked on a Feeling”:

I can’t stop this feeling
Deep inside of me
Boy, you just don’t realize
What your slurping noises do to me…

When you hold your dinner
In your arms so tight
You let me know
That your food is all right

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing
That you’re disgusting to me

Chicken and Ribs and Fries as sweet as candy (POETIC LICENSE)
Its stench is on my mind
Boy, you got me thirsty
For another cup o’ wine or Coke or whatever it is you are drinking in my EARRRRR…

Got a bug from you boy
And I’d like a cure
I’ll just stay a victim
Of your germs I’m sure

All the good stuff
In your carry out tray
I feel like I’m in there with you
The stench from your fingers makes me go boo hoo

I’m hooked on a feeling
I’m high on believing
That good subway manners are a possibility

All the good food
In your take out tray
With your greasy fingers
As shiny as a sunny day

I said I’m hooked on a feeling
And I’m high on believing
That you’ll act politely
I’m hooked on a feeling

I actually hated sitting next to him more than I hate sitting on a warm seat…and I really hate warm seats.  Not only did he eat like a cave man, he actually opened his little sauce container with his teeth…yes, it’s nice to know that Cro Magnon Man  exists.  I kept thinking he was going to drop his meal on me.  He ended up just losing his sauce.  In an enlightened moment, I felt grateful that he didn’t lose his cookies, because it would be aimed in my direction.  Trying to get to my happy place, I yelled Kelly Clarkson the way that I do sometimes – in my inside voice (and the way 40 Year Old Virgin did when he was getting waxed…actually so do I, it helps me cope with the pain).
Seriously – are manners really dead?  And seriously, I love Kelly Clarkson – she’s just talented and herself – and in this day and age that’s a rarity.  I went to see her in concert a few weeks ago and she was fun and completely genuine.  Love her – she’s a lesson on why being yourself is a good thing.  She could get rid of the half shaved head, but that’s her choice.  Go see her if you have a chance.  She doesn’t phone it in…
Speaking of phoning it in – did any of you do Deepak and Oprah’s 21 Day Meditation Experience on Gratitude?  You know I love DOPRAH too, but this was completely phoned in and disingenuous, if I may be so bold.  I’ve done several, and admittedly, I’m not the deepest person, and I’ll NEVER be able to meditate properly, but I’ve always liked Deepak’s message.  This time, meh.  He may have had a couple of messages where I felt he was back to himself, but can’t say that I feel that this was time well spent.  I’ll keep doing them, but totally not grateful for this one.  I just hope that they haven’t jumped the shark, so to speak – or is that just a TV term?
I’m also going away shortly – which I’m so excited about, but I did something scary on Monday.  I packed for my trip…yes, all of my clothes and shoes for two weeks are neatly packed and I don’t leave until Thursday.  Does this mean that I’ve learned the art of not procrastinating or am I just getting old?  I don’t know what’s come over me lately!!! I miss the good old days when I’d run around two hours before my plane left throwing things in a suitcase and hoping for the best.  Times have certainly changed.  I’ll be writing about my little adventure when I get back.
Until then, I remain gratefully yours…
Jill


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A Small Smattering of Things

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Did you really think I wouldn’t declutter this weekend?  My project for the week was two shelves with boxes of memories – cards, maps, programs letters, etc.  I went through them and while I didn’t toss everything I did get rid of 82 cards (you heard me), 8 theatre programs, one menu and assorted other things that I had no clue why I was keeping.  Was it hard to ditch these precious memories?  Um..no – especially the thank you card from my grade 6 teacher Mrs. Melanson.  She was a real 5 letter word that rhymes with hitch.  Never liked her, and frankly, I don’t think she liked me either.  Good thing I don’t hold a grudge huh?  I realized as I was going through these items that there wasn’t one thing in that whole pile that I had an attachment to.  I still have a huge amount of cards that people have given to me – they are the things that I’m sentimental about and I’m ok with that but if I can’t remember who the person is why hang on to it?

In other news, I took Dr. Oz’s Breast Cancer Awareness Quiz – try it for yourself http://www.doctoroz.com/quiz/breast-cancer-awareness-quiz  I’m humiliated to say I only got 70% on the quiz.  You know which question stumped me?

How many minutes should you spend on each breast in order to correctly perform a breast self-exam?  I won’t ruin it by telling you the answer, but it’s WAAAYYYY longer than I ever assumed or could imagine myself examining one of the girls.  I know that it’s a serious matter, but I don’t know how you spend that much time on just one boob.  I’m glad I took the test, because it reminded me that I have to schedule my second annual trip to the doctor and to schedule my mammogram.

Last, but not least, on my list, it’s time for my moment of gratitude.  Today, I’m grateful that I had an ok day.  It was nothing special, but it was just fine and sometimes, that’s absolutely enough to make me happy.


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Revisiting My Cupboard – Part 2

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Another week, another cupboard to clean out.  Today, in between getting ready to go out and coming home, I’ve prepared another donation bag in my quest to declutter my life and transform my health.  If Dr. Oz is wrong about the health benefits of paring down my goods (sounds so retail when I say that)…I’ll be one upset blogger.  I do think he is on to something though.  I think that it’s good for me to do this project for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s therapeutic to do something repetitive and mindless.  
  • It’s giving me a chance to see what I really need to buy for the fall.  I think I got into a rut of buying “basics”.  You can always use an extra black cardigan – right?  Wrong…I have 6 – but that’s not counting the multitude of colours and styles of cardigans that I have.  I have some nice things and more basics than I really need.  It’s time to find a few things that I really love in limited quantities of course
  • The emotional part (or what should be emotional) is that it’s forcing me to get rid of things that I’ve been hanging on to.  The fact is that I’m not going to miss any of these items and once they leave my house, I’ll never think of them again.  I guess that makes me fickle or cold?
  • One person’s trash is somebody else’s treasure.  I purge annually, so this isn’t a new thing for me.  What is new, is how ruthless I am being.  Every item is being considered and things that used to mindlessly make the cut, are now on their way to somebody else’s closet.  I was at a party this weekend, and I bumped into someone that I was thrilled to see.  What made me even happier, was to see her wearing one of my old tops.  I loved that top, but she loved it more, so 6 years ago, I gave it to her along with a few other items.  Usually, I give my clothes to charity, but she asked, to go through my bag, and it’s nice to see something that I used to like wearing make somebody else so happy.

So what’s the tally this week?  Here you go voyeurs:

Garbage

1 sweater (very pill-y)

1 pair of jeans

2 items in total

Donate

1 blouse

1 purse

10 sweaters

12 items in total

Total for the week – 14 items + 1 smelly lipstick that should have made the cut three weeks ago. It STINKS and it was brown.  I was wearing a brown outfit so thought I’d go all matchy-matchy.  It looked like I had dirt on my lips – not a good look for anyone.  It’s now exactly where it belongs – in the trash.  My overall clothing total for the past two weeks is 43 items out of the closet and I still have more to go.  Really, life can’t get any better than this!

Today, I am eternally grateful that I had the ability to let go of a smelly lipstick and the wisdom to know that walking around looking like you just ate a mud-pie is never a good look for anyone.  I’m also grateful that I’ll have the chance to share more wisdom that I learned from the Kardashian’s with you this week so stay tuned!

 


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To Clutter is Human – To De-Clutter is Divine

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This whole month is about re-evaluation of my year of living the Dr. Oz way.  It doesn’t just mean that I’m going to revisit everything that I have done to date, but I have to revisit everything down to my belongings both in my home, office and yes, even in cyber-space.  So why the picture of Grimace?  It’s not just shades of blog entries past, it’s something that I have to remove from my hard drive.  I realized that I don’t need to “hoard” Grimace anymore.  If I need him again, I can find him right where I found him before – Google!  Until then, he needs to be deleted.

Everyone has clutter.  I don’t care how organized you are – we all get attached to different things or hang on to things long past when we should.  I thought of decluttering today when I FINALLY threw out a lipstick that I’ve been hanging onto for an embarrassing number of years.  That’s right, years.  Never mind that I have two other lipsticks almost identical in colour…never mind that it had that gross, past its prime lipstick smell…never mind that I rarely wear it (probably because it stinks).  I was going to use that sucker until it was finished.  Today, as I reached to put it on for the first time in a year, I said, “What are you?  An idiot?  Do you want your lips to stink?  Put on a nice, fresh lipstick and toss this.”  I listened to my inner voice, and now that lipstick is exactly where it belongs.  In a landfill somewhere.  Just joking environmentalists.  Seriously, it got me thinking about what else I am hanging onto, and it made me realize that I need to purge – weekly – everything from my clothing, to my make up to my email and social media accounts.  OK, and, a few photos from my Greek sister from another mister helped inspire me.  She is in the process of decluttering too.

Today, I purged my Twitter account.  I hate Twitter, but for now, it’s a necessary evil.  I don’t need to follow so many different people, places and things, so today, I un-followed a whopping 30 accounts.  You stopped following me, well, I stopped following you.  I don’t remember why I followed you in the first place, well, bye-bye.  I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a start.  I can’t touch facebook – who wants the nasty note – “Why did you un-friend me?” I can, however, spend a little time on my Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail accounts (yes, I need all of them) and delete some emails there too.  Cyber clutter is just as taxing.

According to an April episode of The Dr. Oz Show, if you declutter your life, you can transform your health.  Plus, if you are physically cluttered, you are emotionally cluttered.  Since this year is all about my health, it’s time for me to say out with the old.  The expert in the show said to do this slowly – so I will.  It’s not a race.  My goal, though, is by the end of this year, to have my physical space at home, in the office and yes, even in cyber-space free of the things that I no longer need.  Check out the video from the show to find out more http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/new-rules-declutter-your-life-and-transform-your-health?video_id=3449815213001

Today, I am grateful that I chose to blog instead of watching “Dating Naked”.  I’ve admitted to you before that I’m the lowest common denominator when it comes to TV.  It was a hard-fought battle, but I chose quality over the ridiculous.  In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever watch it.  Thanks to you, my standards are improving.  Until next time, I remain,

Gratefully yours,

Jill