#Decluttering Near Completion


This, 10 more of the paper archive files to scan in, 6 more photo albums to create on Bonusprint, and 2 ‘childhood/schooldays’ boxes in the attic are all that I have left to declutter! After I properly started about 15 years ago (that’s frightening in itself), and recently went at the digital spaces, this feels so close…

Over time, I have learnt to mend lots of things, the bins have taken a hammering, charity shops have (hopefully) enjoyed what has been donated, and Freecycle has been used – there’s an opportunity for you guys – there’s a few more items on Amazon and Ebay – please do have a look, and see if you know anyone who’d like them!


Digital Decluttering & Time Management

I don’t do ‘New Years Resolutions’, choosing rather to change things in small steps throughout the year. The Christmas ‘holidays’ however, can give a chance to do a bit of extra sorting … and with my house near-enough in ‘maintenance’ phase, I turned my attention to my digital spaces, including a  new 2TB hard-drive which rescued 90% of the data from my previous hard drive (which sounded distinctly unhealthy), and allowed reclassification and removal of duplicates, so annual photo albums dating back to 2007 are in progress!

So, when to find time to do this kind of thing – let’s look at the time management tools I’ve developed over the past year to focus my attentions (having managed to largely keep on top of Inbox 0 for 19 months):

1) Google Calendar

Google calendar is so simple to use, accessible on all devices, easy to add new meetings on the move, and easy to share with other users. I have 3 main calendars running, one for CODEC, one for Digital Fingerprint, and one for everything else. Colour-coded, it offers quite an easy way to see if any parts of your life have taken over more of the calendar than they should!

2) Microsoft Word Table

I use a simple 4×4 table, recurring as often as required, which has “the big dates”: top layer for CODEC, purple for Digital Fingerprint, and blue for everything else. I first did this 2 years ago, and a quick check once a month helps to keep on track and see how realistic I’m being:

deadlines3) ToDoIst

I’ve used electronic to-do-lists for 3+ years. When my previous one failed last year, I moved to todoist, and with it’s premium features (especially the ability to add files to to-do items, which means they can be removed from emails!), and finally discovering sub-projects today, this one ‘ticks all my boxes’! I can access the list via the web, on an android phone, and an iPad ..


No need to get overwhelmed as one needs only to look at the project/sub-project that one is working on (and one is advised to keep the tasks ‘small’), or just the next 7 days things ‘to do’.


The only trouble is, if it doesn’t make it onto the list, it may get forgotten! But one can see what one has done (and I’m particularly proud of the fact that there’s several days with nothing done):



As time can fly past whilst one is ‘looking in the other direction’, was great to hear about this piece of software from Dave at work. Decided to try it for a week, just monitoring CODEC time/output, and several weeks later I’m still using it. Stop/start, assign items to particular categories, and see where your time is going. It gives useful data that encourages one to think about where time  is going – as always – use the tool insofar as it helps, don’t let it rule you!


5) Bundlr

Alongside Pinterest (which is more visually focused), I encountered Bundlr whilst I was collecting articles related to Raising Children in a Digital AgeIt can be quite a useful ‘dumping ground’ for articles, etc. – allowing todoist to list “read articles” re a particular topic, rather than an overwhelming number of thing to-do.


Overall, you’ll see that this is about managing focus, and managing overwhelm – leaving more time, space and energy for a more fulfilling life! As each of these have been absorbed as habit, brain space is freed up for more creative thinking…

What works for you?


Inbox 0?

So, I may have been a bit quiet for the past 16 hours … aside from sleep, I’ve been implementing ‘Inbox 0’ … as you can see there are still 200-odd emails to be dealt with, but I can see where those are, rather than in the previous complicated series of rules/folders – which meant I was starting to miss some (as I am using my phone more heavily – and those disappear straight out of sight). So, using a newsletter from Matt Stocker from a week or so ago, in which he recommends 3 folders:

  • Action Required: Do I need to take action? Put it in the folder, then deal with it as soon as possible. Don’t let this folder get out of control.
  • Archive: Things you might want to keep, but unsorted as the search will allow finding
  • Waiting For: Something to which you can’t make further progress until someone responds.

I have found having a folder into which I post all my RSS feeds/newsletters particularly helpful to deal with in a chunk, so I’ve kept that, and a separate project that I also deal with at specific times. And from having around 6000+ emails that I wasn’t sure what to do with – here we are this morning:


Let’s see how it goes! I use it in conjunction with Do.Com – which is started to shout at me less, as I’m becoming VAGUELY more realistic about how long things take, and the cost-benefit/ROI of how much time to spend on different things … all part of the coaching journey!

And that’s the work email, still got others to work out, but as with my house/wardrobe, etc. gradually getting on top of things..


Today on @40Acts: Clear out your Wardrobe


Read the blog post, and the blog post from the original decluttering day!

<edit – as 40 Acts don’t retain old content> here’s the content I submitted:

Clear Out Your Wardrobe

In Narnia (re-read in preparation for #BigRead13) what’s inside the wardrobe is “bigger inside than it looks outside” – we but live in the ‘Shadowlands’, and on death, if we believe, will be taken “further up and further in” to a world of glorious colour. Something to look forward to any day of the week!

Back in the material world, have you managed to squeeze everything into your wardrobe? I used to. Drawing on William Morris’ “Have nothing in your house that you do not believe to be useful or beautiful” thirteen years ago I started de-cluttering my possessions. Last year I finally got around to tackling my wardrobe. I was fortunate that my cousin (@findmystyle) does this for a living, so I asked her to help me with what’s actually quite an emotional process.

With body image a growing field of interest for many, we talked through a collection of words and images in order to identify a look that’s right, comfortable and uniquely appropriate to me. We then turned to the wardrobe, which was to be returned solely to its original function: removing all non-clothing items.

There were a number of decisions to be made about the clothing itself. If it fits, I like it, and it’s ready to wear, it’s hung in the wardrobe grouped by function, with the sizes removed from the hangers. Jewellery and shoes were untangled, polished and left ready to wear. A posterity bag was allowed for clothing that was ‘loved’ but wasn’t wearable, but only the best could be kept from my huge pile of t-shirts.

With each choice I had to face guilt over things that had been expensive, or were gifts from others, but if it’s uncomfortable, doesn’t feel good, or doesn’t ‘work’ with the rest of your wardrobe, pass it onto the clothes bank, charity shop or Freecycle allow someone else to enjoy it.

Months later, I’ve a clearer head, get ready more quickly in the morning, spend less on clothes, and find it easier to pass more items on for the enjoyment of others.


Clearing out the clutter with @findmystyle

Yesterday was a pretty full on day. If you’ve seen recent posts, you know that I’m starting to emerge from a pretty tough time, helped by Linda at Release Counselling, and transitioning back to ‘life back on track’, which has included decluttering my bookcases, desk, things in storage, etc., and taking time to get life into a better balance, e.g. through guided retreat.

Yesterday was detox the wardrobe day with Hannah Jean of Find My Style. In my quest for transparency/authenticity, we will note that Hannah is my cousin (we lost touch for years, and got back in touch via Facebook), but this was a paid gig. One of the blog posts that convinced me to go for it was:

In image consulting, body shape is interpreted through the line that your shoulders and hips create. Ultimately this means that your body shape is based on your bone structure and alignment not on your weight. It does not matter how much you exercise to tone your muscle or how much weight you put on/take off: the basic frame of your body will remain the same. Read full blog post.

Post Beyond-Chocolate I have also been working on only having things in the wardrobe that I (kind-of) liked, but I was feeling I was getting stuck. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the day – was it going to be Trinny & Susannah, or a bit more Gok Wan? I’ve stayed with Hannah a few times recently, and we’ve talked about her work with Diva-Licious and Dove Self-Esteem, so I knew about her work with those who need to build up confidence in what they’re wearing.

It was quite an emotional experience, and I think took us about 6 hours in total (Hannah totally earnt her money, but we had fun too!). Over the past few weeks I’ve collected a few images relating to colour, etc. onto Pinterest, so we started by talking about those, with Hannah noting down the kind of words that were emerging as to what I want to see in my style, e.g. professional but not corporate, take me seriously, etc., with comfort still underlying it (otherwise I won’t bother wearing it, except for special occasions!).

We then went through my wardrobe, coats, then trousers, then skirts, then tops, then cardigans, etc. Hannah very much believes that wardrobes should work as wardrobes, so a load of stuff I had stored in the shelf above I have to find another home for. Occasionally we’d take a picture of something to see if there’s was an outfit in something I otherwise hadn’t worn much:

We then moved onto the stored stuff in the cupboard that doesn’t fit (I was keeping it for when/if I lose weight, but once we actually looked at it, it’s not great quality, or was suitable for a time in my past, but not now). It was, however, OK to keep some things that had memories attached to them ‘the posterity bag’. By that stage it was much easier to chuck things out. We came back to belts, bags, etc. and yes, I had a lot of cotton/hemp bags, scarves and all sorts, and as we’d done with t-shirts, could only keep enough that they would fit OK in the storage space I have (otherwise I don’t use them). A number of things have gone into storage cupboards, so that everything that’s accessible is ready to wear now. We then ensured that all the hangers were ‘size free’ – doesn’t matter what size it is – does it fit?! See here Hannah with the pile of stuff we moved out (sorry if you see anything you gave me, but we had to be tough!)

After 4.5 hours we’d had enough so decided to head into town, for a meal & the 45 minutes that the shops were still open for. Hannah’s a big believer in getting rid of things from the flat asap, in case you’re overcome by temptation to go back through and take things out (believe me – no – I’ve paid someone to come & do this, it’s taken ages, I don’t want to take it back out again… but apparently I’m unusual in that), so here you see – 4 bags into the clothes bin (they can make someone else happy) – there was also another bag of useless clothes into the rubbish bin:

Image by @findmystyle

Having bought a new top, cardigan, and some underwear (it’s important!), we zoomed off to  40th birthday party, where Hannah got to remind herself of how to Tango. We got back about 11ish, with my shoes/jewellery still to do! Whilst I uploaded final content for the new version of The Big Bible Project, Hannah lined all my footwear up (about 35), and we assessed which I wear. Anything that causes discomfort, or that I don’t really like (“but they were expensive”), went into another clothing bank bag, 4 went into a ‘wear them in with socks & see how you get on with them’, whilst all the rest were polished up, and lined up ready to wear!

The jewellery box that was rammed full of lots of “big” jewellery, tarnished stuff, things that people have given me that aren’t really me, mixed in with the bits that I like! We were pretty ruthless by this point (it was pretty late!), but I was introduced to the silver polishing cloth that I didn’t know I had… and suddenly things are back to life. Anything that looks past it, or is something that I no longer wear… off it went – someone else can enjoy it!

SO: now all I have left to do is sew back together a couple of things, ensure I keep things hung up, iron some stuff (IRONING?!), and make a collage of stuff I like to look out for future shopping trips!