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Lighting review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

All done! Marie Kondo‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is now on my ‘completed’ list. I know we’re a week into February so technically I’m behind, but this counts as the first of my non-fiction books for 2016.

This book ties nicely into my recent posts about decluttering and minimalism, and contains some tips that will help.

Highlights of the book include:

  • Specific recommendations for how to go about tidying, including method (category rather than location), criteria (only keep things you love), and storage (keep things where you can see them)
  • Suggestions for clothing; books; papers; and even that beast of decluttering, sentimental items.
  • Valuable insights on why we keep things (this part, in the last portion of the book, was one of the most important sections for me)

Some portions felt a little hokey for my tastes, including instructions to:

  • Ask your items where they wish to be stored
  • Thank your purse at the end of the day
  • Greet your house when you get home.

But even this, which I am unlikely to carry through to the extent she describes, can be useful. Store items in a place that suits them; don’t stuff your purse full and leave it like that 24/7; be grateful for your home and don’t take it for granted.

But, even if you don’t feel the need to go to the extreme end of greeting your possessions, it’s still a valuable insight to realize that each item in your home should have its own place and purpose. And (for me at least) the practical suggestions, combined with the “why we keep things” paragraphs, make the book well-worth reading.

When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.

You’ll begin to see a pattern in your ownership of things, a pattern that falls into one of three categories: an attachment to the past, desire for stability in the future, or a combination.

It’s important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life.

Other people’s thoughts* on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:

*Although there are more positive reviews here, I find them valuable because they are more thoughtful and reasonable; the last author seems to think there are no lessons to be learned because she doesn’t agree with EVERYTHING Kondo writes)

Got any thoughts? I’d love to hear them.


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Guitar chords

Here are some songs I enjoy playing/would like to learn on guitar:

What’s the common thread tying these songs together? The chords. They’re easy enough for me to play.

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I am an artist

IMG_6430If we had spoken last week*, I would have told you I’m not an artist.

I actually did tell someone that. We were talking about Paint Nite and I said I was going to check it out with a friend.

He said, “You strike me as artsy so right up your alley!”

“I am artsy,” I replied, “but not fine arts. I use words and cameras, not paints and pencils.”

Was I ever wrong!


“Drink creatively!” – best tagline ever.

For those who don’t know, Paint Nite is essentially a group painting lesson, but in a relaxed and non-judgemental setting. You’re especially set up against judging yourself. I would recommend it for a winning date, a girls’ night out, a solo artistic evening, or even a family activity, as long as there’s no young children – the tag line, after all, is “Drink creatively.”

As a group, you’re walked through the steps to creating the painting of the night (or day). Everyone makes a variation of the same painting. As you progress through the event, you can order drinks or food from the host venue, which will likely be a bar or pub. (Winnipeg venues include the King’s Head, Barley Brothers, and Saffrons.)

Two and a half hours after we started – with a blank canvas – I found myself staring (shocked) at the painting I’d just created myself, wondering where it had come from. Although I’d watched it emerge from beneath my brushes, it still seemed crazy that I could have created such a thing.

So now, people, I’m pleased to tell you that I paint. Present tense. We went straight from Paint Nite to Michaels and bought some brushes, the basic colours, and a couple of canvases each.

The coolest part for me is how it only took two hours to totally destroy my previous conceptions of my skills in this area. It’s not like I’ve been sitting around for the past 15 years, wishing I could paint a picture. No, it’s simply that, since I was a kid, I never believed I could do this – so I didn’t even try.

I dare you to get out there and try something new. Even if you’re not that interested in the new activity. Even if you’re positive you’ll be terrible at it. Maybe it won’t be your cup of tea, and maybe you won’t be great. But it never hurts to expand your horizons, and who knows? Maybe you’ll discover that you’re a painter, or a dancer, or a sculptor, or whatever it is.

Don’t let anyone paint you into a corner, especially not you.

Here’s my painting as it progressed:

Background work - very forgiving and fun.

Background work – very forgiving and fun.

Love the branches! This may have been my favourite part of the whole process.

Love the branches! This may have been my favourite part of the whole process.


Added the flowers!

Why, yes, I did paint that picture that's now HANGING IN MY ROOM. No big deal.

Why, yes, I did paint that picture that’s now HANGING IN MY ROOM. No big deal.

*It’s been a couple of weeks now – I didn’t publish this post right away (had trouble uploading the photos!) so the timing is a little off.