Value: My Grandmothers best fashion advice.

 My Grandmother gave me the best piece of advice for deciding if a purchase is “worth it”. 

She took the total purchase price and divided it by the number of wears, working out the true cost per wear. 

As an example my beloved Dr. Martens. I think I managed to catch them in a rare sale but I would have paid full price for them and they are currently retailing for £150. I wear these almost every day, as a conservative estimate I would say they get 250 outings per year, and my current pair are roughly two years old and still in near perfect condition. This is where buying quality items really counts. 

So this far I have worn my boots 500 times.  

£150 / 500 wears = 30p per wear

I reckon these boots are halfway through their potential life so I have half the cost per wear for their full lifetime to 15p per wear (ppw). That’s a bargain!

My sister on the other heads to the high street and picks up a £30 pair of boots each winter. She maybe wears them 90 times making it a 33ppw. 

Her boots are a bargain in the instant sense, while mine offer better value. 

I am using this ethos a great deal lately while I explore a more intentional lifestyle and try to move away from fast disposable fashion like Primark. 

While sadly my Grandmother is no longer with me, the values she instilled in me are helping me live a happier life every day. 

Me x

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After the de-clutter: Reduce, reuse, recycle and add value other people’s lives. 

Marie Kondo doesn’t talk much about what to do with the items that don’t spark Joy. There are some references to bagging and binning her beloved childhood teddy, but nothing covers what to do with the clothes, books, ornaments that didn’t make the grade. Once you have thanked them for their service they just disappear. Now that would be the magic of tidying up!

This is one of the reasons I couldn’t become a diehard Kondoite! The waste factor of my decluttering really concerns me. The idea that people might take her too literally and hire a skip for all their clutter is horrifying. Marie Kondo talks about being thankful to your possessions for the job they do for you. Now I’m not sure I’m going to feel as deeply for my things as Marie, after all she thanks her socks for cradling her feet! But I do believe that the things in my life should serve a purpose, add value or bring joy. 

The pile of stuff I am choosing to discard has served its purpose; either in the thrill of the purchase or the uses it served me at the time. So I should thank these things and move on guilt free. But if I threw these items out I would feel tremendous guilt.

Thankfully I had done a fair amount of prep for my declutter and reminded myself of a few things I’d learned: The Minimalists had me covered. They are huge advocates of responsible waste and urge anyone purging their clutter to add value to other people’s lives while they do so. 

The minimalists have a different view point from Marie Kondo on possessions. They are just things. If they are not adding value to my life then I should let them go. They go a step farther and suggest that as well as the direct benefit to me of decluttering, lightening the burden a lot of these things have become; mental clutter, physical clutter, emotional drains, that they can go on to fulfil a new purpose and add value to someone else’s life. 

Now like most people I think, I hope! I felt the financial weight of my declutter build as my discard piles grew and grew. Even though I am an avid eBayer, there were still hundreds of pounds worth of clothes I wasn’t planning to keep. Eeep. So it’s natural to want to try and recoup some the perceived loss right?

I have made the conscious decision  to value the letting go above any monetary return I get from selling. The Minimalists urge people not to “nickel and dime” themselves to try and recoup small amounts. Value your time! Is spending 10 hours listing, packing and shipping clothes worth it to net £30? Not for me it isn’t. So I will follow their advice an only sell the big ticket items and happily donate the rest to charity. The idea that my cast offs go to someone who needs or just wants them makes me happy. Knowing that they don’t end up in landfill makes me even happier. I choose to donate my clothes to a children’s charity so it’s a double win. Someone gets a useful bargain and the charity gets some extra money.

When I finished my declutter roughly half of my clothes went to charity, and I have a strict 2 listings and out policy on the clothes on Ebay. If they don’t sell after two listing periods then they go to the charity shop! As a side plea. Please don’t drop and run when you donate. Go in and register with them and for gift aid. I give to Barnardos so they get the tax back on my donations and I get a lovely letter every now and then telling me how much my donations raised. 

One aspect of the KonMari method I loved was reusing things that bring you joy in a different way. Some of my belongings bring me joy but are unused and that drains some of the joy for me. Repurposing them helps me prolong the enjoyment of well loved items. 

For example I bought a set of coloured ramekins with matching spoons in Rome airport. I saw them through the window and had to go in. I walked out. I didn’t NEED ramekins. Our flight was delayed, so I periodically visited them. My Husband (then fiancé of 24 hours, we got engaged in Rome) urged me to buy them. I resisted. I didn’t need them, they would break in transit. I didn’t NEED them! In the end Husband persuaded me they would make a nice and practical momento of our trip. I caved. I bought them. But I did use them and I do love them. They bring me so much joy. But 5 years later we are down a few matching spoons, and I have used them less and less in order to preserve them. Thanks to reading Spark Joy I know I need to use them or lose them so they now sit in my make up drawer and hold cotton buds, Kirkby grips etc. They are a gorgeous pop of colour in my drawer and remind me of my engagement, my husband and all the delicious desserts I’ve made in them. 

Joy all round x

March: Mimimalist Window Shopping and The One that got away

So my mission is still to pare back my wardrobe, reducing the volume but increasing the quality. Creating a well curated wardrobe full of timeless, wearable pieces. 

While I have a very different view of shopping now; a more intentional, thoughtful choosing of things I need. I am not immune to the lure of the shop window or a well placed Facebook ad and don’t get me started on Pinterest. Lucky for me I have an uncanny ability to lust after things beyond my means so I can lust away without too much danger to my bank balance or to buying something against my values. 

Keep on reading!

How Spark Joy is helping me make decisions

I love it when little things align and help you make decisions. 

I’ve been reading my Spark Joy book and I’ve cleared out all of my clothes and next comes accessories, make up etc. eventually you get to the kitchen. But I now look at everything in my home or potential purchases with the spark joy ethos in mind. Cooking one day I realised I have a kitchen almost exclusively of hand me downs or gifts. If I don’t bake with it, I didn’t choose it and it’s all a bit mismatched and sad looking. It doesn’t bring me joy, and as a result I don’t care for it, some of it is chipped, there are three different sets blended into one and I have been blind to it before. Post Marie Kondo I have decided to replace them and I have been debating over which Ikea dining set to pick. Ikeas 365+ range is the smart choice; its clean, simple, stackable and I can replace breakages. However I liked another one, Dinera, which came in a lovely grey colour, as a complete co-incidence my parents bought the Dinera set in white and it does feel lovely ( My Mum has since commented that the bowls are very deep and can’t be cleaned in the bottom of the dishwasher).

I’ve been eating my porridge out of this beautiful little bowl at work every day, it’s the only one of its kind in the kitchen and I always hunt it out. It’s the silliest little thing but it gives me so much pleasure. Today I finally managed to scrape the label off of the bottom of the bowl and its Ikea 365+. What are the chances!

I am now even more excited about getting to my kitchen declutter and replacing the pieces that no longer spark joy.

 

Tips for avoiding purchase guilt: Shop for the life you live.

Purchase guilt, we’ve all been there. The candy coloured kitchen aid, the cream wool coat, the designer shoes or even just the perfect shade of red lipstick. I happen to think that a little bit of wanting something is good for you. It gives you something to work towards and, if you are anything like me, you get a little flurry of excitement just from imagining owning. But what happens when you get that coveted item and instead of sparking joy, it fills you with a sense of guilt?

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KonMari part 1: Tidying my clothes. 

Working with my goal of a clutter free and stylish home in mind, I set to work pulling everything out of my wardrobe and sorted it into three piles; Tops, bottoms and full length items such as dresses and coats.

First thought, I have a lot of clothes. Second thought, I don’t wear most of them! Some of them still had labels on them. Here’s a glimpse of the pile before the sorting got under way.

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Spark Joy: The KonMari method

KonMari Method: Spark Joy
Step one of the KonMari method is to imagine your life after you have tidied. So I trotted off to Pinterest and chose an image from my house and home boards that really sparked joy. It was important to me that the image I selected was achievable. There was little point dreaming of achieving a space twice the size with additional windows and en suite if that wasn’t already under the clutter. I hope the KonMari method will be life changing but it is not going to magically increase my square footage or give me a dual aspect bedroom with country views. So the picture I choose was a fair sized room with immaculate styling, no clutter in sight. The kind of effect I could achieve and would absolutely love to come home to. 

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