Monday, 31 October 2016

KonMari Challenge Week 4: CHILDREN’S CLOTHES

Week 4 is children's clothes. While Kondo Marie advocates allowing children to sort their own things, this isn't always possible. For the purposes of this challenge, if children are under three you sort items for them. They're not ready to understand the concept of what items bring them joy. Then for the over threes, you support them to do it themselves. A good way to do this is to get them to put the items in order from favourite to least favourite and then allowing them to keep their favourite 5-10, depending on space and type of item.

I knew that I would find this category difficult. While my wardrobe has been made up of whatever fit post pregnancy, my daughter's wardrobe, especially past the 6 month point, has been one of the things to bring me joy over the last year. To add to this, I had gotten rid of quite a few items when she had first grown out of sizes. So what was left were things I had already liked Baobao wearing.

I have realised though, that if I want the two of them to share a wardrobe, then Baobao will need to have fewer clothes, as will Xiaobao. For this reason, I needed to go through the clothes again, to only choose the items that truly bring us joy.

All clothes before


Baby Clothes (including those in attic/storage) 

We have chosen not to find out whether Xiaobao is a boy or a girl. While sorting through the clothes that we have in storage for Xiaobao, I was looking for comfortable, unisex clothing that allowed lots of movement. I have kept a few of Baobao's dresses that truly brought me joy.

All baby clothes up to 9-12 months
Newborn (50) clothes before
Newborn (50) clothes folded ready for Xiaobao
Up to 1 month (56) clothes before
Up to 1 month (56) after
Up to 3 months (62) before

Up to 3 months (62) after
3-6 months (68) before
6-9 months (74) before
6-9 months (74) after
9-12 months (80) before
9-12 months (80) before
Children’s Clothes
Baobao really enjoys wearing dresses and skirts. She chooses her own clothes from her wardrobe each morning and without fail, it is a dress or a skirt and top combination. I have also sorted out all of her poppered vests, since the extra time it takes to change her with them on makes her upset. I have managed to reduce her items however.
12-18 (86) before
12-18 (86) folded after
12-18 (86) hanging after
18-24 (92) after
18-24 (92) after
2-3 (98) before
2-3 (98) after
Kid’s Shoes
I sorted my daughter's shoes while sorting her clothes in baby sizes, so they are in the pictures above. As for her sized shoes, since she has started walking, we have chosen to sell the shoes with specific width sizes, as she grows out of them.

Sports Uniforms
At 20 months, Baobao doesn't have any sports uniforms yet

Bags to sell and donate
Clothes to grow in to for Baobao and Xiaobao. We'll donate or sell these as Xiaobao grows out of them.

Are you taking part in the KonMari process? How did you find sorting through your children's clothing? Does their wardrobe now spark joy for them and for you, or have you found that you have to now buy clothes that do spark joy?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Baobao's Favourites: 19 Months

Baobao turned 20 months on Sunday. I'm not sure how I have a toddler who has been walking for 10 months and is closer to 2 than 1. This month has been a little unusual for us. While having our new kitchen installed, Baobao and I have been living out of my bedroom during the day.

It's been a huge learning experience for us, but we've actually found that Baobao is incredibly happy to only have access to very few toys at once. This bodes well for when we declutter her toys, as part of the KonMari Challenge.

Each morning, Baobao would be allowed to choose some toys to bring into my room from hers. Here are some of the toys she chose repeatedly.

Toys

Baobao has really enjoyed puzzles this month. She has gotten very good at matching shapes, so we wanted to try something a little more tricky - matching patterns. After doing this puzzle with her a few times, she now will quite happily work on it on her own.


Another one of Baobao's favourite puzzles. She finds the latches on 1 and 2 quite stiff, but really enjoys the challenge of finding the animals inside. We're mostly working on naming the animals and the sounds they make at the moment, but are also starting to count too.


Baobao really enjoys using Duplo. She likes connecting different pieces together and then taking them apart again, to add different pieces. She currently only has access to about a fifth of the pieces provided in this box. Overall this box has the perfect amount of Duplo for any child.

Books

Baobao has really enjoyed Handa's Surprise by Eileen Browne this month. She tries to name all of the different fruits and animals, as well as Handa and her friend Akeyo. After each read-through, she will 'read' the book herself. Her love for this book has coincided with her beginning to speak in sentences, meaning that part of her second read-through will include sentences such as "Elephant eat mango." and "Zebra eat orange.".




So here are some of Baobao's favourites in the last month. What toys and books did your children enjoy at 19 months? What toys and books do you recommend we try out?


Monday, 17 October 2016

Konmari Challenge Week 2 & 3: CLOTHES

Week 2 and 3 covers clothes. I found sorting through and throwing out clothing quite easy. This is the second time that I have tackled clothing, having attempted the KonMari process once before in January 2016.

In 'The life-changing magic of tidying', KonMari says that it's easier to throw away off-season clothing that doesn't spark joy, because you don't feel like you have recently worn it. The same has been true for me and my non-maternity clothing. Most of the clothes I sorted through today, do not fit me. Most of them are unlikely to fit me for a while post birth and would be unsuitable for breastfeeding. They are, perhaps, the most extreme form of off-season. This made it easy to throw out over half of my clothing.

Looking at the joy sparking element, I realise looking back that I am happiest when wearing dresses. Most of my tops and bottoms did not spark joy. Instead I chose to keep almost all of my dresses and then leggings to wear with them.

I had items in most of the categories listed here. If I didn't have items in that category, or felt it was inappropriate to take pictures (hello there underwear) there are no pictures. I have kept the categories on the list, however, so that anyone reading this can use them too.

All of my clean clothing combined
Tops 
Before
Keep Pile
Bottoms 
Before
Keep Pile
Dresses
Before
Keep Piles - Maternity wear on left/Post birth on right
Outerwear 
Keep Pile
Sleep Wear
Before
Keep Pile
Socks 
Underwear
Bags/Purses 

I kept all of my current bags, not because all of them spark joy, but because for now I find joy in their use. As and when I find bags that replace these bags in their purpose and spark a greater joy for me, I will replace them.
Keep Pile
Accessories (scarves/hats/gloves/belts/etc.) 
Before
Keep Pile
Jewellery 
Gym 
Keep Pile
Swim
Costumes
Shoes
 
Before
Keep Pile 
Maternity
The majority of my maternity clothing was in the laundry during the initial sort through. I sorted through some of the items while sorting through the rest of my clothes and then sorted through the rest as they were washed.

Donate/Sell bags
Keep but unsuitable for pregnancy box
Keep maternity clothes hung up
Some dresses still in the laundry
Are you taking part in the KonMari process? How did you find sorting through your clothing? Does your wardrobe now spark joy for you, or have you found that you have to now buy clothes that do spark joy?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Mummy Cloth: Cloth Sanitary Pads, Sponge Tampons and Menstrual Cups

This week (10-16/10/2016) is Real Menstrual Products Week, so I thought I would add to the fun, by doing a quick guide to different types of reusable menstrual products. I don't use sponges or menstrual cups, but researched quite a bit before deciding to go for CSP. So here are the basics on each type of RMP.

Sponge Tampons
Sponge tampons are natural sponges, that can be used as tampons. You dampen them and then insert them and they are good for a few hours. Then, once they are full, you can rinse them and reinsert. Practically, it means you only really need two or three. They last a year and can even be composted at the end of the year. This makes them zero waste and so don't contribute to landfill at all.


Cloth Sanitary Pads
These are the option I use. They look very similar to disposable sanitary pads, but aren't sticky and do not have all of the different chemicals in them. Most have poppers which can be used to fasten them around your underwear. You store and wash them similarly to cloth nappies. They normally have three layers a waterproof layer, an absorbent middle and the part that sits next to your skin.

Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are egg cup shaped, silicone cups, designed to be inserted and catch your monthly flow. You remove it regularly to empty it and then just reinsert it. Then at the beginning and end of your period, you sterilise it. Many women who previously used tampons now use these cups and have never looked back. Aside from being more environmentally friendly (they can be used for up to ten years) there is also little known risk of toxic shock syndrome when using menstrual cups, making them better for us to.

I hope this guide has helped you make a decision about what RMP you might be interested in. With many retailers having offers this week, now is an excellent time to try something new.

Pictures curtesy of Go Real - Reusable Menstrual Products Information

Monday, 10 October 2016

KonMari Challenge Week 1: PREPARATION WEEK

In preparation for Xiaobao's arrival and as part of my ongoing quest to have a home that actually suits and reflects our family, I have recently decided to restart the KonMari process. I originally read Kondo Marie's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying" in December 2015, followed by "Spark Joy" in January 2016. Although I made a good start, discarding clothes, papers and books readily, I unfortunately stalled on komono, as life with a 1 year old and various DIY projects got in the way. 

As fate would have it, just as I was thinking of restarting the process, a 26 week challenge group was started on one of the KonMari groups on Facebook. This was the kick I clearly needed. A quick way to do the whole KonMari process, with support from other enthusiasts around the world, who are at exactly the same stage as me. It seemed perfect for me.

The challenge involves breaking down the different categories into weekly chunks and so doing one category per week, with added weeks for things belonging to your children, especially if they are too young to do the process on their own. I have reorganised a couple of the categories, where I feel that items would better fit into other categories, but will be following the process fairly quickly.

So here I am at week 1 - preparation week. This week is designed for you to prepare yourself mentally and to prepare a space physically for the journey ahead. This process begins with reading the book - I bought my copy, but you could rent it from your local library - and writing your vision statement, a process that is covered in the book. Next, you prepare your physical space setting up a space to sort through your items, a staging area if you will, and your system for disposing of discarded items.

  • Read the Books
    - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying
    - Spark Joy
  • Write your personal or family vision statement
    - Personal Vision Statement
    I need some me time. I want to be able to have some time for a hobby and this blog at the end of the day, when Baobao and later Xiaobao have gone to bed. Something to recharge my batteries for the day ahead. I try to practise gentle parenting. Currently, Baobao is at an age where she has lots of big emotions that she finds difficult to manage. In order to support her in learning to manage her emotions and to act as a cup to contain her overflowing emotions, I have to be an empty vessel. I can't do that without some way to recharge my batteries. Without some me time, I won't be able to support my children in the way that they need at this age. So I need to declutter and have a house that I can return to perfect at the end of the day in minimal time.
    - Family Vision Statement
    As a family, we try to spend at least one day a week doing something together. Having our kitchen redone has forced us to go out together to do Autumn hunts in the woods or spending the day with family. It's allowed us to bond more closely as a family and has meant that my other half and I have argued less. Prior to the building work, I would constantly feel guilty about the amount of housework I could be doing when we went out on trips as a family. I would end up stressed and we would end up arguing. By having fewer useless or unloved objects, I hope that my housework routine will take much less time, allowing me to enjoy these experiences and take part in more daily experiences for Baobao and later Xiaobao, which in time will create a much calmer and happier family life.
  • Set up your donation system
    - Broken items to be thrown straight out
    - Saleable items to go on a local Facebook group for 1 week
    - Anything not sold to be donated to charity on the Saturday
  • Set up staging area
    Once my kitchen has finished being renovated, I will use the back half of my living room as a staging area. Its a lovely bright area, that offers lots of space for sorting, as well as being fairly free from major distractions.
    - Items that have yet to be sorted to be stored in a bag/basket behind the armchair in the living room
    - Items that have been sorted and are being kept, to be put away straight away
    - Items that have been sorted and are being thrown out, to be put in the bin straight away
    - Items that have been sorted and are being sold/donated, to be kept in the bench until collected/donated
Are you planning on following the KonMari process? Check back here every Monday for progress updates as I take my home from cluttered to joy sparking.