Silent To Do List

26013859361_d60a4397e9_b.jpg

When we let go of our possessions, our ability to concentrate improves. Why might this be? Things don’t just sit there. They send us silent messages. And the more the item has been neglected, the stronger its message will be. Maybe there’s an English textbook that I gave up on before I even got halfway through it. It might be looking at me now and saying something like: “You look bored. Why don’t you try to study me again?”

Fumio Sasaki from his book “Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism.

I recently read Fumio’s book “Goodbye, Things.” and I thought it was a very interesting take on minimalism. I loved a lot of his viewpoints on our possessions and what they mean in our lives. I particularly think that the silent to-do list that our things give to us is worthy of mentioning.

How many times have you felt overwhelmed by your possessions? Are they silently telling you that you have more things to do, more things to add to your daily list?

I have kept many how-to books like the English book he mentioned in the past. They did call to me to study them, and I have since found that if it isn’t a reference I am either studying right now or one that I have continually come back to, I can let it go.

I think that also as we keep more and more things they silently tell us: “I need dusting" or “I need to be organized” or “Look at me, I’m interesting, aren’t I?” All of this can create so much more mental clutter than we are aware of.

I believe that if we use Joyful Minimalism and truly only keep things that we are using currently or we love to have around in our environment that they silent to do list will go away, or be a very short list.

What are your thoughts on the silent to do list? Are your things calling to you? What are they saying? How can you start to change your relationship to your things?

I would love your comments below or write to me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

-Trista

6 Ways I Disagree with Kon Mari

23885309064_76c956c822_b.jpg

I have personally been through Kon Mari’s 2 books most recent books on tidying and de-cluttering. I can honestly say that I did really value these books and I do find lots of good things about them. I did actually go through the entire book step by step and followed her methods. However, I can attest to the fact that clutter crept back into my home. At first I felt a lot of guilt and shame. Maybe I had not done everything correctly? Where did I go wrong? Did I fail? Why do I continually need to de-clutter/clear my home? What’s really going on here on a deeper level? What problems am I not dealing with? What am I resisting?

These questions really helped me because it really made me see the deeper personal relationship we have with our things and how it connects to our homes and ourselves. Recently I have begun de-cluttering in my home again, but I do it in a completely different way. Here are some thoughts on Kon Mari’s method and ways that I disagree with her through my own experience.

  1. There is no such thing as a rebound: In Kon Mari’s book she claims that if you go through her method you will never need to do a big de-cluttering session again. She calls needing to do a major de-cluttering session a “rebound.” If we happen to have a need to do more de-cluttering it does not mean that we have a disease that came back. It does not mean that we have failed. It does mean that we have more exploring to do in our homes, to discover what our things mean to us and what our relationships with our things represent in our lives. This is a continual process of discovery, letting go and learning. I believe that exploring your home is a habit that you can develop and one that can happen daily or weekly. It is not a “one and done” process.

  2. Most of us don’t have the time to fold our clothes like origami on a regular basis: I will freely admit that when I first went through her method I was in love with trying to fold my clothes very neatly and spent some time rolling things up, trying to get them to look a certain way in the drawers. Although I do think there is beauty in that, it is not a realistic assumption that we will spend the time and effort to do that sort of folding very often, especially if we have laundry for more than 1 person in our household. I believe that we all have a way of organizing our clothes that works for us. As long as we can reasonably find things that are clean and neat to wear every day, that is the most important thing.

  3. I believe that each individual person will know what areas they are ready to de-clutter rather than insisting that we go through categories in a specific order. I know that Kon Mari has her reasoning as to why she feels we must go through clothing, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous/sentimental items, I personally have discovered that sometimes I am not ready to go in that order. I believe you need to have a curiosity about your things and your spaces and really want to explore then before you will be ready to let go of some items in your home. I do agree that sentimental items are often the last ones that we are able to sort, and I freely admit that there are some that I keep going back and forth about getting rid of (like journals and letters). However, I feel that each individual has an intuition that they should trust in relation to what they are ready for.

  4. I feel that we need to ask more questions of ourselves before we de-clutter and during our de-cluttering. I think that asking “Does it spark joy” is helpful, but only to a certain extent. More questions to ask, such as “Will this help my future self?” or “Is this an item I need for my new career path/transition?” I’m not suggesting we need to ask ourselves countless questions about each item, but we can have them in mind before we start. This I believe will help us to truly let go of items that are no longer serving us in our current lives.

  5. There are no “rules.” Kon Mari has many rules and methods in her books about trying to use only built-in storage, ways to store clothes, etc. I think that especially for a creative person such as myself who loves to explore different art mediums and many crafts it can be limiting to have rules and methods.Rules are so very useful, but there are so many situations in our home where we feel guilt and shame because our method of storage doesn’t fit the rules.I know that I tried my best to follow the rules and strategies in her book, but some of those just didn’t work for me. I believe that as a facilitator in helping people clear/de-clutter their homes that my clients have the best intuition of what will work for them and for their families. I can give people some guidelines, questions and ideas, but often they come up with amazing solutions that I never would have thought of. That is the power of co-creation.

  6. There is no be all-end all one-time transformation of your home. Often when we see de-cluttering shows and read de-cluttering books, we see this amazing, life-changing, perfect transformation. Every problem seems to be solved! The magic of TV gives us the illusion of a very simple, easy transformation and that it will stay that way forever, static and perfect, frozen in time. However, our homes are not static. They are ever-changing, they are flowing and fluid. We must be kind to ourselves and realize that daily habits are more powerful than a one-time transformation. If we don’t develop the habit of exploring our home, then a big transformation will soon fade and we will feel as if we have failed, but we have never failed. We have only learned, grown as a person and need to become curious about our relationship to our things on a daily basis.

Here’s a question I’d love to hear the answer to from you on in the comments below:

Have you tried de-cluttering methods/rules before? How did they work /not work for you?

You can comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Thank you so much!

—Trista

Junk Drawer

drawer-junk-74905.jpg

“I think that a junk drawer is a thing that happens when we’re adults. We get a junk drawer. If you go home, we all have the same stuff in our junk drawer. We all have— for some reason we won’t throw a rubber band away. There are tons of rubber bands, like 24 rubber bands in there, like…a case a bunch of little girls come over for pigtails one day. I don’t know. There’s a red ink pen in there, just in case you have to grade papers or something. I don’t know, just like.. There’s a roll of scotch tape that’s out of the container, just the roll, and it’s , you can’t get it started because it’s halfway broken anyway, and you just keep it. There’ a AA battery. Does it work? I don’t know, I just don’t. I put it in there. There’s a key and you don’t know what it’s to. You won’t throw it away because what if someone finds it and opens something? What do they…like walk around opening. I heard from someone that a junk drawer is like a metaphor for life, like we’re holding on to things that we don’t need to hold on to.”

Ellen DeGeneres from her comedy special “Relatable”

A friend of mine sent me a clip of Ellen's new comedy special on Netflix the other day containing the quote above about junk drawers. How true is that? Wow! She is so right that all of us have a junk drawer of all of these items that for some reason we can’t let go of for fear of needing them someday. I have lots of rubber bands that I never use and plenty of old keys and batteries too. Why are we holding on to these things? It may be a fear of letting go, of some future time where we’ll have a need for these things, or a fear that we won’t be able to replace them. Whatever it is, this shows us how funny and ridiculous it is to hang on to so many things that are no longer serving us. I’m thinking of that small box of rubber bands in my junk drawer as I write this.

I believe that there is a new way of looking at our homes and the lives we live in them. I look at a home as an organic, living being. We bring things in and out of our homes on a daily basis, we live joyful moments and sad moments, our home sees us through it all. For this reason our home as a living being sometimes needs to be cared for in a unique way. We can all become explorers and caretakers in our own homes in our own unique ways.

I have found that with each big life transition comes a reevaluation of possessions and they way that they are stored in our homes. Now that I am making a major change in my life’s work I find a deep calling to look at what I am holding on to and why. I am now exploring my home for a few minutes each day in a process I call “clearing.” This is bringing me more peace each day as I transition to being of more service to others. With fewer physical and mental objects in my way I will be able to achieve my quest to help everyone find a path to joy in their lives.

Check out my Patreon page for ways you can sign up for monthly companion videos, workbooks and more to help you on your journey:

https://www.patreon.com/expansive

Feel free to share about your junk drawer or how you see your things in your home in the comments below. Thank you and with lots of love,

Trista

How to Menu Plan & Grocery Shop

How to Menu Plan and Grocery Shop

In this post I will share with you the step by step process I go through each week as I plan out my menu and make out my grocery list. I like to menu plan on Saturday or Sunday, then grocery shop later on that day. I find the process really fun and creative. I like to try to come up with lots of new, exciting and healthy meals we can all enjoy! I usually go through this process on a Saturday or a Sunday. I like to start Monday fresh with all of the ingredients that I need to create recipes for the blog and for our dinners and other meals. This is one of my favorite things to do. I sit down with a nice cup of tea, take out a notebook, my recipes books or binders and come up with tweaks to recipes that I think might work. Then, I get to work on creating my list. This is a fun and creative process. I hope that you enjoy it too. Feel free to comment on how you make up your meal plans/grocery lists as well. Do you use paper? Do you use an app? 

The first step: 

I look in the following places for food we already have: 

The freezer: proteins, veggies, fruits.

The fridge: veggies, fruits, eggs, sauces. milks.

The pantry: rice, beans, condiments, canned goods, spices, extracts. 

The second step:

I get out  recipes/ideas for  meals based on some items we already have. I make sure the recipes is using the maximum number of items we already have. I write down those meal ideas on a piece of paper and post it on the fridge. That way I already have my meal plan. I usually have 3-5 meal ideas ready to go since some dishes make enough to last 2-3 days. Also, plan for breakfasts, lunches and snacks. 

The third step: 

I write down the ingredients that I need to purchase in order to make those meals. I keep in mind items that I have not used up in the fridge, pantry and freezer when I am planning out my meals as well. This way we make maximum use of our food and don't waste as much. 

The fourth step: 

I write my grocery list. I keep in mind items that are needed for breakfasts at home, at the office, my son's lunches and snacks. I like to make only 1 trip to the store per week, so I try hard to think of everything we might need. I also ask my husband and son about things that they need or would like from the store. 

I usually put items in categories like: 

 

produce/fruit/vegetables

natural section

canned foods/dry goods

baking section

fresh items/deli (eggs, etc.) 

meats

non-grocery items

 

I list those in sections and put squares around each section so that I can see clearly what I need to look for in each area. I love this system because I am able to plan out our meals, have all of the ingredients on hand and go through the store in an organized way. I prefer to actually write down my list because it helps me remember the items better, and I don't have to try to hold my phone with a list-app open while I am shopping. 

I hope that this process helped you. Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with when it comes to meal planning, grocery shopping or recipes.