jennasday

Health, fitness, communications, and everything in between!


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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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From No Side Bar: 10 things minimalists don’t do.

The website No Side Bar recently came to my attention. I’ve become interested in minimalism and having less, so this is right up my alley.

I liked their Facebook page, and this article came up in my feed today: 10 Things Minimalists Don’t Do.

I enjoyed reading the entire list, but for some reason #2 stuck out for me. If you have less stuff, you don’t have to make as many decisions. Love it! Another good reason to have fewer things: it’s less taxing for your amazing (but not invincible) brain.

Enjoy, and if it strikes you, get rid of something. Maybe even three things.


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It’s a new year: resolutions 2016

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
-Abraham Lincoln
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Ahhhh! I know December 31 and January 1 are just one day apart, and I know that technically the new year is just another day, another week. But I can’t shake this awesome feeling of optimism: this is going to be a good one.
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How did I do on last year’s resolutions?
  • Read one book per month – Did not read a non-fiction book each month as planned. I’m sure I read 12 books total but that wasn’t the idea. This one is rolling over to next year.
  • Exercise an average of three times a week – Didn’t keep great track of this. I’m sure I was doing very well, until I fractured my ankle in September. Then it kind of got derailed. Injuries were my exception to this resolution so I still feel pretty good about it.
  • Get myself into a routine – Kind of? Far fewer late nights for no reason.
  • Don’t diet, but eat more vegetables. – Gonna say yes, this happened.
  • Revive my French skills to the point of being conversationally fluent – When I visited Cuba at the end of 2015 I had the opportunity to practice French quite a lot. There are lots of French Canadians who go there! It was great. I’m gonna say this one was a success.
  • Start doing yoga – I did yoga MAYBE five times throughout the year. This one is rolling over to 2016 also.
  • Find a way to eat oatmeal that I enjoy – I never did this, and I don’t think I really want to. This one is off the list.
  • Be able to do a handstand – I worked on this throughout the year and it’s really hard! Haven’t quite gotten there yet. Still on my list.
  • Be physically prepared to be a hero – I never explained this one, and have not achieved it. Both of those things are rolling over to this year.

Okay so now that that’s done, here are my 2016 resolutions. Please note: this list is not done! But I’m too excited not to get it all organized in one place. And yes, I’ve already started. (I’m not beating myself up over not achieving all of my resolutions. I’m happy with the goals I set and my progress, and this year will be even better.)

2016 New Year’s Resolutions
  • Write 2 blog posts a week
  • Eliminate 3 items per day
  • Learn how to cook a few dishes well
  • Start doing yoga. Be able to touch my toes easily!
  • Lower my impact on the environment
  • Celebrate. Do extraordinary things (more on this later)
  • Read one non-fiction book per month. Read one fiction book per month.
  • Exercise an average of five times per week.
  • Level up in French (significantly increase vocabulary knowledge, ability to converse)
  • Learn to do a handstand. And work toward walking on my hands.
  • Be physically prepared to be a hero

Bring it on, 2016. bring it on.