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REVIEW: Get Organized HQ Virtual Conference 2022

A couple weeks back was the Get Organized HQ virtual conference hosted by Get Organized HQ. I didn’t know much about this organization, but I saw Erica Lucas, Ashlynne Eaton mention it on their YouTube community tabs. It was free, so I thought I would give it a shot.

About the Conference and Getting a Ticket

The conference was free to attend. But the free ticket only gave you access to that day’s sessions and then you would lose access. For $29 – $49 USD (depending on when you got it), you could get the All-Access Pass that included full access to all the videos, summery notes of the sessions and a few other items.

I’m willing to put myself through from tortuous books for this blog. But until the blog is big enough to get sponsored, I’m not spending money for y’all! So this will only be a review of the free portion of the conference.

Getting the actual ticket was a bit of a mess. I tried using Erica’s link to get mine but none of the buttons on the site worked. I emailed their tech support, which was really responsive. They gave me a different link that also didn’t work. I was able to fix it by accessing the website in Incognito Mode of Chrome. So if you are reading this in 2023 and having the same issue at the next conference, try that.

person holding apple magic mouse
Photo by Vojtech Okenka on Pexels.com

The format

The conference is not the same as going to an IRL one. The sessions are all pre-recorded videos, and in the Facebook group for the conference there’s a thread for each session.

The conference was Monday-Friday and there were over 100 speakers. It seemed like mostly YouTubers and Podcasters. Speakers that you’ve heard of if you follow my blog: Dana K. White (See my reviews of Decluttering at the Speed of Life, and Organizing for the Rest of Us), Diane Boden (see my review of Minimalist Mom).

I didn’t end up attending as many of the sessions as I would have liked for the fullest review. But I was busy with work and general life stuff. But based on the sessions I attended, I think I have enough info to let know you know if it’s worth attending next year.

white and black wooden board
Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

I’ll give mini reviews of each session and give final thoughts at the end.

Kay Patterson (The Organized Soprano) – Organized Work From Home Space

I’ve watched a few of Kay’s YouTube videos before and I like her content. I didn’t mind this session, but I did click out after noticing I wasn’t really paying attention. One thing that kinda bugged me about this sessions is that she would use a lot of stock footage. Which isn’t an issue, but she would use that instead of footage of her desk when she was referring to what she does at home. Despite her referencing her desk throughout the video, you don’t really see it that much.

Turns out she recycled the content for Get Organized HQ and this video below has more of the visuals I was missing:

Mariela Merino – Helping Friends and Family Declutter

Her session was 27 mins long, and I zoned out and clicked out at the 15 min mark. The information in the video wasn’t bad. I just found the video boring, so I upped the speed to 1.5x so I could wrap up the vid.

In general, it’s about being patient and slowly working though the process of helping your loved ones go through their stuff. She mentioned her experience of helping her borderline hoarder parents with decluttering their house, which was nice to have someone that’s done it talk on the process.

I think that the chapter about helping others declutter for Decluttering at the Speed of Life covers the same information if you feel like you’ve missed out.

I also think it’s good to get your parents to read The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. I’ve sent it to my mom when she’s was mentioning her estate planning. I personally didn’t like the style it was written in but it’s got #BoomerHumor, which is maybe best since they’re the generation with all the stuff.

daily chores of a mother
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Shireen Fitzgerald – Developing Minimalist Money Habits

This one I did watch the whole way, the first time I ran through it. It was about 25 minutes. The session can basically be summarized into the following:

  • Have a budget of your fixed expenses and look over your purchases of the past year and really reflect on it.
  • Figure out what you enjoy and what drives you and focus your time/money into that.
  • Find a way to save money on the stuff you get. Either by buying second hand, waiting for a sale, and maybe you won’t want it by the time it’s on sale
  • Get over the fear of missing out (FOMO) about stuff. If you get nice stuff, you get the #lifestylecreep and that will eat your budget very quickly.

The video was pretty meandering, I think if you want really focused tips to develop ‘minimalist’ habits you can watch these two videos in less time than Shireen’s session:

Christine (Frugal Fit Mom) – Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With No Coupons

I think Christine is a good presenter and her video was tightly edited. But these tips are not particularly creative or unheard of. I’ll save you 26 mins by linking a couple random articles I found off of Pinterest that cover the same tips:

assorted vegetable lot
Photo by Matheus Cenali on Pexels.com

Erica Lucas – How to Declutter and Organize Your Books at Home

I’ve been following Erica since Oct. 2019, so maybe I’m biased when I say this was the best session I watched. Maybe because it was ten mins long. She edited it nicely to show B-roll of the things she was taking about and the tips were decent.

Also she was the only person I watched that specifically mentioned Get Organized HQ, which makes me question if everyone else just submitted a random premade video. She did plug her own website and book decluttering resources so if the title of that talk interested you, just click this link.

assorted books on book shelves
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Hailey McAra – Organized Craft Room Tour

I love craft room tour videos. I used to always had craft room tours, soap making videos and planner videos running in the background when I was in university as I was doing homework.

I think she has a good way of organizing her room. I checked her YouTube Channel and she doesn’t seem to have a recent room tour, so that might have been a conference exclusive. She uses soooo much plastic and expensive containers, I cannot imagine someone that isn’t a professional implementing any of her storage methods. But the room is really really pretty.

red office yellow school
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Diane Boden – Sentimental Decluttering

Diane… I’m pretty disappointed in you. This was the worst session I attended. Personally, I don’t think that Diane should have been discussing sentimental clutter. Based on her books and podcasts, she doesn’t come off as a particularly sentimental person.

This video was an interview between her and a conference host, and she took it from her car. I understand that sometimes you do stuff from your car: the acoustics can be decent, and your kids can’t bug you, but this was a planned interview. Why wasn’t she somewhere a touch more professional?

Also her advice was really boiler plate, generic stuff because she didn’t really have much experience with the areas the interviewer was asking about. Like the interviewer was asking about dealing with items that are left behind by a deceased loved one. Diane didn’t really have good advice, because fortunately she’s not had to live through that experience yet.

Overall a disappointing and pretty lazy interview.

green scale model car on brown pavement
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tracy Lynn – Gradual Decluttering — Creating a Home You Love

I though this one was alright. Tracy is a good presenter and I liked that she had slides with good before and after shots.

Her method is about the slow declutter process. She mentioned that your clutter didn’t happen overnight, so getting it out shouldn’t either. And, honestly, more people need to hear that. I think that home decorating shows have given us all unrealistic expectations on that department.

Her main steps are the following:

  • Remove the trash
  • Put away stuff that doesn’t belong
  • Get a donation box in all the rooms in your house, and every time you see the box put an item into it. This way you will slowly get rid of stuff as you find them as you are just vibing through life.
  • Actually get rid of the stuff.

Seems straightforward and slightly different from the Slob Come Clean method.

The one part I really didn’t like: how much stuff she puts in her attic. Typically attics are not supposed to be load bearing, so I’m not surprised she was having structural issues before she started decluttering. This is your PSA to not put random crap in your attic. It’s designed to hold your roof and not your shit.

Is the conference worth it?

It’s Free. So yeah sure, it’s worth picking up a ticket to watch a couple sessions, and make sure you unsubscribe from the mailing list after everything’s done.

The real question is, is the All Access Pass worth it? I don’t think so. All the videos are privately listed on YouTube, so if enjoyed a particular video you can download it from there. Pretty much all the topics covered are available for free with a quick search on Google or Pinterest if you want something in a different format.

There is a Facebook group with 18K people that’s really active that you can access if you got a free or paid ticket. So if you need that constant reminder to declutter or sense of community, joining that might be a good option for you.

I didn’t find this particularly life changing, and a lot of the topics don’t apply to me as a childless, non-Catholic, Canadian renter. But the whole thing does mostly fit in with the stereotypical mommy blog style of organizing and decluttering. Which isn’t a bad thing, the size of the Facebook group shows there is a demand for that type of content even if personally it’s not for me.

Will I attend next year? If I remember, probably. It’s free and gives me content for the blog. If Laura and Tasha from Get Organized HQ end up reading this, let me do a session! I have suggestions: Finding Declutter Locations that aren’t Value Village, The Art of Having Your Declutter Box Sit in Your Car for a Year or How to Maximize Storing Seasonal Stuff at Your Parents House Without them Noticing and Ask You to Pay for Your Own Storage Unit.

(I know I’m being facetious, but legit, Laura/Tasha DM me if you are looking for people for next year).

Have you heard of Get Organized HQ? Or gone to any of the sessions that I missed. I would be interested in hearing about it, since I entered this really cold and don’t know anything about them or previous years.

Please share the blog with your friends, and maybe next year I can afford the All Access Pass and review that too.

I Tracked All the Items I brought In and Out of My Life for 2 Years and This is What I Learnt

person writing on a notebook beside macbook

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed the monthly Inbound Vs Outbound series I have going on. This is where I track the items that I have brought in and decluttered from my life and I sometimes add a short reflection on the month.

August was the two year mark of me tracking, so I thought it would be a good time to really look through my previous posts and make one of those cool Sankey graphs I always see on reddit.

brown tote bag on white table
Photo by Vie Studio on Pexels.com

Small Disclaimer:

I am not, and never claimed to be a minimalist. I read a lot of minimalist/decluttering books, which is the main reason I started this blog. We don’t need to examine why I’ve decided this is the style of books I almost exclusively read, even though I don’t really live the teaching.

So the charts below should not be taken as an example of what a minimalist is doing. Take it only as a snapshot of the life of random twenty-something year old.

Methodology:

This whole process was done without any amount of scientific rigor. For tracking, I used the OneNote app on my phone, and would keep a page for each month, that I would update as I got or removed something.

I will fully admit there’s some stuff that I forgot. So take the content of the graphs with a small grain of salt.

If you read my other posts you might know this already, but there are some events worth nothing during the past two years. I had moved into a two bedroom apartment with a roommate two months before I started tracking, and I moved once over the reporting period in with my fiancé (cute).

My parents also sold their house and moved about 4 hours away from me (instead of 30mins). They asked me to take back most of my crap, since they didn’t want to move it (fair enough).

I didn’t count how many things I had before I started this process, which would have been neat to have just to get a % of how much my stuff grew over two years.

carts of stuff
Part of moving day 2021

Defining Terms:

Inbound:

This is items that are entering my life.

Things I excluded were: groceries, my roommates or partners stuff and most toiletries and cleaning supplies. I did include beauty products and toiletries that I would consider more of a upgrade/nice to haves.

Cat sticking head in backpack

So I didn’t count toilet paper, toothpastes, dish soap etc… in this list but I did include eye creams, artisanal body soaps and make-up. The area I labeled as ‘consumables’ is probably the area where there’s the highest level of miscounting. I would capture all the soaps and candles I would buy, but I rarely counted when I used them up.

Once I moved in with my partner, I did count a fair amount of communal items, mostly furniture and linens as items in this list. The main reason, is that I have more of the design eye in our relationship, so I was the driving force behind buying these items and felt that I should count them. I also counted the communal items that are for our cat. I guess mostly because the cat isn’t able to order stuff online by himself.

I broke down the inbound categories as the following:

Consumables: as explained before, consumables are physical items that can be used up. Mostly soaps and nail polishes cause that’s the kind of crap I like to buy.

Kitchen: this includes kitchenware, tableware and small kitchen appliances.

Plants:

Plants and generally anything required to keep them alive.

Clothing: this includes clothing, undergarments, outerwear, work PPE, jewelry and accessories

Furniture/Home Décor: furniture, linens, and home décor pieces (not included plants and pot covers which are counted in the plants section.

Books: I thought I had enough that it was worth separating it out, even if it’s the smallest section.

Candles: I have a junk load of candles.

Cat Stuff: Items needed to keep my cat alive and not bugging me constantly for food.

Other: Random bobs and ends that couldn’t be easily classified into other categories.

Outbound

Things that are leaving my home and life.

Buy Nothing: My neighborhood has a really active ‘buy nothing‘ Facebook group. The idea is that items can find second (or more) lives within the community and it reduce congestion to donation centers since the people that want a particular item are getting it directly. It’s a fantastic group and I’ve both given and received a lot of items this way.

I’ve also include returning or donating books to the Little Free Libraries under this section. Mostly due to them being grass roots programs that keep items in the community.

Gifted: I’m a super generous soul! 😛 But over time friends have shown interest in something I’ve looking to declutter, so they get first dibs.

Sold: Item sold either through Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Depop or others.

Recycled: One can argue that most recycling programs are basically ineffective and this should just count as garbage. But where possible, I tried to bring my items to specific recycling centers/organizations to get the best chance at being diverted from landfills.

Garbage: I threw it in the TRASH.

Dead plants: It happened enough that it got it’s own section.

Donated: Similar to recycled where possible I donated to specific organizations before donating to Value Village (which I avoid donating to since a lot of the material goes to landfill and it’s a for-profit corporation, it’s just the closest one to my house).

Used Up: consumables like soap or candles that I’ve finished

Okay now that I’ve put as much text you will scroll over as a recipe for a vegan lasagna, here’s the actual graph:

This graph probably doesn’t surprise anyone that’s ever lived with me. I brought more things in than taken out. More proof that I’m not a very much not a minimalist.

I think if I actually counted more accurately, the numbers would be more or less the same. I donated a lot of clothing and items that were still at my parent’s house when they were moving. I just counted each bag. Although, I might just be deflecting since I want to think that I got rid of a good amount of stuff over the two years.

How many items that came in stuck around?

Over 330 items over two years I brought into my home, what stayed in my life?

Reflections on both graphs in no particular order

  • The main take away from the past two years is that I’m very bad at keeping plants alive
RIP
  • I think the fact that most of the stuff I brought in is still around is a good sign?
  • Since my parents wanting me to take back my crap, I’ve really had to confront the type of person I want to be with regards to my objects. I can’t passively keep random stuff from my childhood or university since I literally don’t have the room to store it. I still have a couple small boxes in a closet of keepsakes that don’t fully make sense to display but I can’t bring myself to get rid of. But there was a couple of months in summer 2021 where I was mostly working on decluttering that stuff.
  • My closet has changed a lot. COVID was a non-trivial factor in that regard. I bought a lot more athleisure items, as I got more comfy with working from home. Additionally, my current company is bit more relaxed compared to the very corporate office culture I used to work in. I’m not saying I got rid of all my office wear as I still have a fair amount. But I parted ways with a lot of items that were older that I was no longer touching or no longer fit. I’m also not in my early twenties and some of the clothes naturally got rotated out.
woman using laptop on the floor
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

What was my best Inbound?

This one is a bit hard. There are items that I use every day, like my furniture, or kitchen stuff. I appreciate these items but it would feel weird calling them my best items, even if they’ve improved my life.

There are some clothes that I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of that I really like.

I have my engagement ring, which is gorgeous and a very meaningful symbol of the love my fiancé and I have for each other. You know, that cheesy stuff. So that would be the best item that came into my life.

What is my worst Inbound?

This is a lot easier. The top three worst items I brought into my life in the past two years:

3. The Rosemary Christmas Tree. It was an impulse purchase, at Farm Boy (basically Canadian Whole Foods). I loved the idea of having a small Christmas tree and that it’s something useful. The thing died within, like, a week of purchase. Later I saw a similar plant at Costco, with a cover pot for ~$3 less. It was just an unfortunate purchase. I’ve killed a lot plants but this one was extra disappointing, since it also killed the holiday spirit of the house.

This caption turned out to be a lie.

2. The Duvet Comforter From Maison Tess. I will spare you the details of my multi month search for a nice duvet comforter. Finally, I bit the bullet, and got one from Maison Tess. I like that it was a Canadian company and the reviews I saw were generally fine., much better than Amazon, Etsy or big box stores. So I placed order while it was on sale (and thus non-refundable 😭).

I liked the colour and it was very soft. But also the thing sheds like a husky in the spring. There were flecks of blue fluff on all the sheets, on me, my pajamas, the cat, everywhere. I made the mistake of doing the first wash with a towel and a couple other linens, and had to rewash everything since it got covered in blue. Not great, and none of the reviews mentioned this! I still have the cover and it’s been relegated to a guest linen, since it looks nice but is too high maintenance for regular use.

1. Skinny Jeans from Frank and Oak. I seriously need to stop buying clothes online and final sale. I measured myself like four times and placed the order for a new pair of black jeans. They arrived and they were nowhere close to the right size. It’s actually upsetting. I tried reselling them to no avail. I offered them to a few close friends and this is the reverse Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, since they fit no one. They eventually found a home with my friend’s sister. I’m happy I was able to find someone that can get use out of them. But they were a frustrating presence before that point, so big regrets. They made me feel bad about my body, and that’s lame as hell.

So what did I learn?

1. Stop buying things final sale.

I like a good deal as much as the next person. But the risk of buying something and not having the option to return it is not great. I’m a strong advocate for buying secondhand, and reviewing this list made me notice that I don’t practice what I preach as much as I would like too. For a while that was due to COVID restrictions since second hand shops were not letting people try stuff on. But after a certain point, I can look at this and see I’m just a hypocrite that is lazy and just impulse buys stuff online. Which is not a very minimalist or eco conscious thing to do.

2. Growing plants is hard.

It took a while and a lot of sacrifice but I can finally say with some confidence that I’m a plant person. I think if I had any suggestions in this area, it’s to built your collection slowly. Also to look at FB Marketplace or Kijiji for plants. The plant community is really active and you can typically get big common plants for a better price than big box stores or nurseries (milage may vary, don’t @ me).

3. Decluttering takes time, especially if there’s no deadline.

My most productive decluttering months were right when I gave notice to my landlords that I was moving. I don’t think I’m original in saying, I hate the idea of moving crap I don’t need. So the deadline is a great motivator. There were long stretches of time where I just had random junk in my trunk since I was waiting for the moment to drop off the stuff. Don’t be like me, please take the time to finish the declutter. I had the chance to do the drop offs, but I wouldn’t organize my life well enough to stop at the charity or recycling center on the way to groceries or something.

4. I own too many candles.

I’m not mad, but it’s the truth. I’m slowly making my way through them and gifting them to friends. At the moment I’m on a full candle buying ban, and plant to stay that way until I’ve finished all of them up. so that may be a while.

5. Teamwork makes the dreamwork.

I’m sure you don’t need a random blog post to tell you that friends are cool. They’ve been a great at talking me out of buying random crap. A few items have also been gifted their way. But just calling me on my shit when needed. Thanks guys!

I’ve also benefited immensely from living in a big city with really active communities for reduce waste. The biggest have been the Buy Nothing groups, which has been a great way to bring in and take out items from my life. There’s also more charities in my city where I’ve been able to be really specific with where the items I have are donated.

Sure this takes a bit more time to organize, but I’ve found that taking the time to actually care where my crap is going has made me more conscious of what I bring in. I don’t want to waste the time getting rid of junk in the future.

I know that might not work for every one, I’ve probably sunk a few hours over the past two years between meet ups, researching charities, figuring out drop offs and posting items online to resell that I know not everyone can afford to do that. But I would recommend looking into what your community has in regards to Buy Nothing groups, swaps, community run libraries and charities, just so it’s in the back of your mind if you are decluttering.

6. Nostalgia sells really well on eBay

I didn’t make a huge amount of money selling stuff. That wasn’t the main point for me, it was about getting shit out of my apartment. The exception being selling some of the toys and tech from my childhood on eBay. Even without being tested or graded, and sometimes with parts missing, I was able to sell stuff within minutes or days of posting it. Pokémon cards withstanding, that market is very competitive, and I just didn’t have good quality cards that were worth posting.

This might change with a looming recession, and people discretionary spending on nostalgia gets tighten. But if you have stuff from the 80s – 2000’s, I would definitely recommended trying to sell it online before other methods of decluttering.

Conclusion

If you actually read this all the way to the end, thank you! I believe this is my longest post to date, so I appreciate you taking the time.

I’m going to continue the Inbound vs Outbound series, I’ve gotten a hang of tracking stuff and I find it interesting to look back on it. I’m hoping one day to hit some sort of minimalism/decluttering Nirvana where there’s a month were there’s no items being brought into or out of my life expect for food. I don’t expect that moment will come any time soon, so in the meantime expect more updates on that front.

If you have any thoughts or have tried tracking your household items I would love to hear about it int the comments.

Inbound vs Outbound #24 – August 2022

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the past month. The ultimate goal is to see if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, I’m looking to see if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • One can opener
  • One packing tape
  • Three nail polishes
  • Three various undergarments
  • Two small ceramic jars
  • One big jar
  • One jar candle
  • One new dress
  • One pair of short
  • One sweater
  • Bachelorette party stuff
  • One Ikea greenhouse
  • Party supplies for my cats birthday
  • One mini speaker
  • One book found at the little library near my house
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Aloe plant and pot gifted to my friend
  • Two books returned to the little library near my house

I started August thinking this would be the month I would be able to get some decluttering done. Particularly relating to some plants, and that didn’t completely go according to plan. I want to say September might be the month, since Back to School (even though it doesn’t apply to me anymore) usually makes me want to reset my life. But I don’t want to make any sort of promise in that regard. Especially if you’re reading next months update and you find that nothing has really changed.

You can read the whole inbound and outbound series here.

8 Ways to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

assorted cloth lot

Textile waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. The main factor is due to overproduction of clothing, primarily by fast-fashion clothing brands, who are overproducing because there’s “demand” for it by consumers. One person may not be able to force large corporations to stop creating so much textile waste, but we can reduce our individual impact by using the clothing we have.

This list includes some fairly simple ways that you can extend the life of your clothing and make sure that your favorite sweater lasts for years to come.

1. Wash in cold water

I’m sure you’ve heard that washing in cold water is good for the environment and your energy bill, as it doesn’t require hot water heated by electricity or natural gas to run a cycle.

GE lists on their website that washing in cold water reduces the energy load between 75-90% per cycle. Which can really add up, especially if you are a one load a day type of household.

a man pouring detergent in a washing machine
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Washing in cold water extends the life of your clothes, as it reduces fading of colours and shrinkage compared to washing with hot.

Depending on the material (wool and silk in particular) washing in hot water is a one way ticket to Shrink City.

Cold water is recommended for removing the most common sources of stains (blood, sweat, other stuff that that comes out of the human body) and is typically as good as hot water at removing other common stains, like grass.

If you’re worried about stains, there are many spot treatments products that you can use use before adding the garment into your laundry load.

Washing in cold water is probably the easiest thing you can do to extend the life of your clothing, since you were gonna wash your clothes eventually anyways. Just move the knob to cold and you are rocking!

laundry area with white tiled walls
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

2. Bleach Isn’t Always the Solution to Stains

Bleach is actually rarely the solution to stains. When I read Melissa Maker (aka Clean My Space)’s book a few years back, the main takeaways were:

1) if you use bleach on organic stains (body fluids), it won’t work and will just further stain the product; and

2) don’t ever ever mix bleach and ammonia (that ish will kill you).

The first point is due to the free radical oxygen particles in the bleach. The reason bleach is effective at removing stains is due to its ability to break chemical bonds, since things love bonding with oxygen molecules more than a lot of other elements. The chemical reaction that’s suppose to remove the stain, ends up reacting with the organic compounds in the stain, further setting it in the garment.

The second point is because the chemicals react and create chloramine gas which can be deathly.

Bleach is also bad for the environment, it weakens your clothes over time, and no one likes bleach stains on their clothes when used improperly. It’s best to avoid it altogether. If you want your whites to be whiter, add a bit of white vinegar to your laundry load.

bottles of bleach placed on shelves in supermarket
Photo by Nothing Ahead on Pexels.com

(please don’t hate me on the explanation of the chemistry. I tried my best)

3. Air Dry as Much as Possible

There are many fabrics that don’t do well with heat. Wool as mentioned in Point 1, but also elastic materials, like your yoga pants or bike shorts.

Additionally, the general tumbling action wears down clothing due to friction between clothing and the drum.

Lint traps don’t magically fill up, that’s your roommate’s clothes sitting in the trap because they forgot to clean it out after they did their laundry yesterday.

striped shirt hanging on gray wire between beige painted wall building during daytime
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Air drying does take a bit longer, but I think the process really gets you to know your clothing better. Since you have more time interacting with it: from pulling it out of the washer, putting it on the drying rack/line and then folding it. You can see wear and tear a bit sooner, which makes you want to take better care of your clothes. Or figure out which clothes you really hate and get rid of them since you resent having to deal with it.

If you can’t air dry due to time, weather or other constrains. I suggest running your clothes on the delicate cycle (if your machine has it). It uses lower/no heat, so it’s less likely to shrink your clothes.

Additionally, you can throw a couple dryer balls or clean tennis balls to allow for air to better circulate through your wet lumps of clothes, instead of using dryer sheets.

4. Don’t Use Softener

Years into living on my own and doing my own laundry, I decided to stop using fabric softener. It was something I just bought because it was part of the laundry routine I was taught growing up. I was too lazy to buy a replacement bottle one time, and I noticed absolutely no difference in my clothes. So I just never bought it again. One less thing to keep track of. #AndThatsMinimalismBaby

Fabric softener does have a purpose, it reduces static, and wrinkles. As well it adds a nice smell to the clothes.

It also reduces the absorbency of fabric, which defeats the purpose of towels, microfiber cloths and sports wear.

close up photo of baby wearing gray pants
Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

According to the Whirlpool website, it’s also bad for flame-resistant fabrics. You might be like, “Dude, I’m not a firefighter, why would I have flame resistance clothing?”. Well if you are a child in North America (at the very least, I didn’t fact check beyond Canada and the US), that would be your sleepwear. There’s some pretty strict fabric requirements for children’s pajama. I’m not knowledgeable enough on the subject to comment on if that requirement is a good thing. But I don’t think it’s a advisable to be reduce the efficacy of something that’s designed to protect a child in a fire.

All this to say, it’s an extra step that has limited utility in most people’s laundry systems. I think it’s worth ditching.

Nice smells have been achieved with a scented fabric detergent. And static can be reduced with dryer balls in the dryer (see Point 2).

5. Don’t Wash Your Jeans Every Time 

It takes a lot to really dirty jeans. Just regular wear isn’t likely to do it dirty dirty them. You can freeze them between wears to destroy any odors. Or stick them in the sun, as UV rays do a similar thing.

Not washing your jeans (or other clothes when possible) will extend the life of your clothes since they aren’t being frictioned (I know that isn’t the word) in the washer and dryer.

blue jeans side by side
Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 on Pexels.com

5.5 Same Thing with Wool

Similar idea with wool clothes. Wool is naturally odour resistant (sorta ironic since sheep don’t smell great), so a single wear isn’t going to dirty the garment. Between wears, airing the garment, or setting it out in the sun, where the UV can break down odours will reduce the amount of washing you’re doing and by extension prolong the life of the item.

I remember taking to a fella that sells wool sweaters at a Christmas craft show, and he said that he only needs to wash his sweater about once a year. The sweater looked great on him and he didn’t seem to smell (I didn’t go up and sniff him, but I believe his claim).

(The fella I didn’t smell worked for Anián, which was mentioned in the first article I linked in the intro. What a coincidence)

6. Keep Your Bras out of the Dryer  

If you are an owner of a bra, you likely know this tip. But a reminder doesn’t hurt. The tumbling and heat of a dryer can prematurely stretch out the material, as well as twist the underwire (if applicable).

I was recently at a bra shop, and talking to the clerk. According to her, a bra should only be worn about 100 times. To me, that number seems extremely low. But I will pop that info in here since it’s relevant and I just learnt it #sharingiscaring.

beige bikini top
Photo by THIS IS ZUN on Pexels.com

7. Don’t Hang Your Knits

This has come up in a few books that I’ve read where the author is pro hanging all their clothes (most recently was Christine Platt, my review of her book here) since it’s easier to see it all in one spot.

I don’t approve of this (as if my humble approval matters). You don’t need to go full KonMari folding method for everything, but you really should fold your knits. Having them on hangers stretches out the fabric, particularly at the shoulders. This can lead to the garment looking ill fitted and frumpy. The weight of the garment on the hanger can also stretch the knits, and weaken the fabric.

After you are done washing your knits, it’s best to set them flat on a towel to dry. You can gently stretch the garment to the shape you want, like at the shoulders and sleeves. This process is pretty similar to “blocking” if you are a knitter. It allows for the stitches to sit more evenly.

closeup photography of clothes hanger
Photo by EVG Kowalievska on Pexels.com

8. Get Natural Fiber Fabrics Where You Can

When you do need to purchase new (to you, second hand is dope) clothing avoid polyester and other synthetic fibers since they break down faster than other types of materials, release microplastics into the waterways, and generally aren’t great. Obviously that’s a big ask depending on your location and what’s available to you.

I would recommend by starting with somewhere simple, like when it’s time to replace a shirt or tank top to replace it with 100% cotton since that isn’t as cost prohibitive as other materials. There are many organic T-Shirts that can be purchased for under $30 (which is a lot compared to Shien, but I’ve seen many retailers selling a polyester T-shirt for the same price).

(Yes I know there are issues with cotton, especially if its not organically farmed, heck even if its organically farmed. But that was an example, feel free to work with what’s available in your area and in your budget).  It’s all about the slow process as your wardrobe evolves over time.

abstract black and white cardigan sweater close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m sure there are many other tips out there for keeping your clothes lasting longer. Clothing can be a major part of people’s budgets, so it’s cool if we can make the pieces we already own last longer and keep them out of landfills. If you have a tip that I’m missing, I would love to read about it in the comments.

If you are interested in other content relating to clothing and fashion, you can check out the following reviews:

Consumed by Aja Barber

Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas

Project 333 by Courtney Carver

BOOK REVIEW: The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less by Christine Platt

red and orange petal flowers

I found out about this book while scrolling through Shira Gill’s website when I was writing the review for Minimalista (review here) and in the sea of basic white lady testimonials, I saw someone new; Christine Platt, the author of The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less.

The audiobook was available at the library, so here we are. The book is narrated by the author and overall I think she has a good voice for it. My biggest gripe of the audiobook is you can really tell that Platt is a children’s book author, since some of her narration was a little overdone. Great if you’re reading an adventure book for a child, but a bit odd as an adult trying to learn about owning the right amount of clothes.

At the end of each chapter, there was a portion that was a story of one of Platt’s friends. It’s written in the third-person, and was narrated by that person for the audio. So you can kind of tell a few moments when listening to the book when the person was struggling with pronouncing their own name. So that’s something that you will miss out on if you read the book instead of listening. This doesn’t really fit into this review, but it was fun to notice.

Now on to the actual contents of the book…

The book is spilt up into three main parts if you look at the Table of Contents, although I think it’s more like four, since the Introduction is pretty long.

The introduction covers Christine’s story of how she found minimalism. I think she’s so interesting. She has a Masters in African studies, and was a corporate lawyer all while raising her daughter. Then, she was the environmental policy advisor for Obama and now is a children’s book author. This is in addition to being the Afrominmalist online. She seems cool as heck.

This section contextualizes why she wanted to find minimalism, as well as how the general aesthetic of minimalism never works for her and working through how owning colorful things can still make you a minimalist.

It was nice to hear her talk about trying to declutter on weekends while balancing her job. She didn’t go that deep on that point, but I still appreciate a more realistic declutter process.

After that is Part One, which focuses on the mental shift you should do before you start decluttering your crap. This included some overviews of the psychology behind why people buy, and why they might find it hard to let go. It’s more detailed than most books I have read about this area of the pre-minimalism process, which is a definitive Plus. Also she provides scientific studies, which is dope, we don’t stand for solely anecdotal evidence on this blog.

Part Two is about the process of decluttering and finding the right amount of stuff to own. There’s some good info in this section, but my eyes (ears I guess since I was listening) glazed over some of the information. But that’s more of a criticism of me, a person that only reads books about minimalism.

A spot where the process differs from other books, was exploring how your upbringing and cultural expectations can impact this process. As well as forgiving yourself and the people that raised you for how that could have negatively impacted you in the long run.

Part Three is about the practice of living the life and living your authentic life after going through the initial declutter. A similar comment as Part Two, some info I had heard before but it’s well delivered.

man standing beside his wife teaching their child how to ride bicycle
Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on Pexels.com

As mentioned a few times at this point. I liked the book and I think the information is solid. The process allows for a lot of grace and is pretty upfront that it’s not an instant process.

In each chapter, where was also a portion that’s “for the culture” which is specifically for people of the African diaspora. I found this area interesting and informative as a white lady that has a very different lived experience than Platt.

I think there’s something in this book for anyone that’s interested in living with less. But if you are BIPOC, there’s information in here that you will not get in the current best sellers of the genre. One review that was shared on Platt’s Instagram puts its really well “Highly recommend to anyone whose cultural identity never quite felt seen in Western minimalism.”

This book has been out about a year and I wished I had heard about it sooner. It’s a much better reading experience than a lot of books that I’ve rotted my brain reading for this blog. I think that she brings a unique point of view, not only as a black women in a space that filled with a crap ton of white people, but also having had a corporate job, been a single mother and been divorced. All of these things are not that represented in this minimalism scene, although the space would be must more interesting if it was.

I think I will place this book on the “Def Relatable” tier of the tier list. It’s good, but this book is not “Popular for a Reason”, partially since it’s not as popular as it could/should be. But also some of the information, particularly in Part Two is a bit basic. If you’ve read other decluttering/minimalism books before you’ve probably heard the big takeaways before.

To wrap up, I found another book I enjoyed. This is three in a row, which is blowing my mind, but in a good way. I can guarantee that the streak is breaking at this point, since the book I’m currently working through is a bit of a dud.

If you are curious about the other books I’ve reviewed, you can check my Tier list of books HERE.

Inbound vs Outbound #23 – July 2022

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • One candle
  • One orchid
  • One sink plunger
  • One plastic pot for my avocado plant
  • One ceramic planter for my snake plant
  • One duvet cover
  • One black tee shirt
  • One ring
  • One necklace
  • One cocktail shaker
  • Two glass containers
  • One lunch box
plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Eight socks (textile recycling)
  • One basil (toss, too much effort)
  • One LED bunny (Buy Nothing Group)
  • Cat tree thing (tossed, since it was damaged)

July was a good, but busy month. A few of the things that came in were gifts, which is lovely.

If you read my June Update, you may notice that I already purchased a duvet cover. And it suckssss. I have regrets about it, but unfortunately I got it on Final Sale. So that one will become the guest duvet cover and hopefully the new one will do the job. Other than that, a pretty chill month.

You can read the whole inbound and outbound series here.

5 Rules that Minimalism Books Tell Me is a Good Idea that I Ignore

living room set - mid century green fireplace

If you’ve been here a while, you know I’ve read a lot of minimalism books. Although there are some differences from book to book, let’s be honest, the same tips come up a lot.

I’m not a minimalist, so that’s one of the reasons why I don’t follow these tips/rules. The another big reason is that I’m lazy and don’t feel like taking any amount of time to do anything that may improve my life in the long run.

1. Making my Bed

This tip doesn’t show up in every book. But the idea of making your bed first thing in the morning is very common. From an aesthetic standpoint, a room with a made bed looks way nicer than not.

I’m sure there are some sort of psychological benefits linked to making your bed every day. But I’ve never been the type of person to make my bed (much to my mom’s chagrin), and my fiancé doesn’t seem to care. We also have different blanket requirements so not making the bed means our blankets stay in the right spots everyday.

I’ve been caught a couple times, where a service person from my landlord has had to go into our room to check something and that’s mildly embarrassing. But let me tell you a little secret as someone that’s been in hundreds of peoples homes as part of my job. Short of a biohazard, like dog poop on the ground, I legitimately don’t care what your house looks like and will forget it by the time I leave. So keep that in mind the next time you do or don’t make your bed.

black and beige book on white bed sheet
Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

2. Unsubscribing from Mailing Lists

I see why this tip is a good idea. You can’t shop the sales that you don’t know about.

I have a bit of a habit of joining mailing lists because I want that welcome discount but I don’t always unsub afterwards. For the most part, I will unsubscribe when the next e-mail comes in, but it’s not perfect and there are a few brands because I want I know when their next sale is. Or because they offer cute phone backgrounds every month (I’m looking at you Simplified). One way I’ve tried to reduce this is by just googling if there are any promo codes. I’ve also had some luck with Honey, but it rarely works with smaller brands.

Then number of mailing lists I’m on pales in comparison to the number of brands I follow on Instagram. I follow so many small businesses. I think if you are going to buy something, supporting a small business is the way to go. But also I get tempted a lot. An e-mail I can delete without looking, a post or a story is a lot harder to ignore. It’s also not even brands that I follow, the Instagram algorithm has me pretty well figured out and the ads work. I’ve made a fair number of purchases based on seeing the Instagram ad enough times.

macbook pro on brown wooden table
Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

3. Making Lists/Waiting to Make Purchases

This one builds off my previous point. I have fairly bad impulse control when it comes to online purchases. That’s part of the reason I started the Inbound vs Outbound series so I can keep an eye on what I’m buying and look for trends or whatever.

So many of the books I’ve read recommend makings lists or just waiting to buy something. Like in The Year of Less, Cait Flanders made a list of things that were acceptable to purchase at the start of the year and stuck with it. I literally could never.

I think the only list I respect is for my groceries and I go rogue in that department as well. This happens less when I’m shopping with someone. Ironically, I’m pretty good at talking my friends out of purchases when I’m out shopping with them (if they ask me to). For the most part, I can go to the mall and leave empty handed. A craft show or a small business that is having a sale, that’s a whole different story.

Most of my online shopping habits could be solved if I changed my PayPal password. But I don’t, and that is one of the many reasons I’m not a minimalist.

notebook
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

4. The One In/ One Out Rule

Again, if you read my Inbound vs Outbound series you will know that I don’t follow the One In/One Out rule. I also generally don’t think it’s that good of a rule.

There are times in your life when you need to bring in things into your life, and I don’t think you need to force yourself to part with something at as result. An example is buying a bike and bike accessories. Unless you already have an old bike and this is an upgrade, I don’t really see how the rule can apply. Why get rid of stuff you use, just because you got something new.

I think ownership of stuff goes in seasons, or waves or something else equally cheesy. There are time when you will bring in more, and times when you are getting rid of more. Like at the end of a season or prepping for a move.

I can see how the one in/one out might be helpful for someone trying to get a hold of their shopping habits, but I also think there are better rules out there. (like list or waiting periods, ironic I know)

activity bicycle bike biker
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5. The Two Minute Rule

This is one rule I probably should do. I’ve tried it in the past and it’s pretty helpfully. The idea is if a task (ex: putting something away) can be done in two minutes or less. It should be done immediately.

The idea is pretty solid. And that’s why I’m bad at it. I’m a die hard procrastinator, so my brain has a hard time wanting to do The Thing, even it is pretty easy and will ultimately help me. Like my To-Do lists are filled with tasks that would take 2-15 mins to do, and I let them fester for months!!!

One example is the cabin filter of my car. I took my car into service, I think, September of 2021. They mentioned my cabin filter needs to be replaced for like $50-$60.

I did what any reasonable person would do. And called my dad asking for his advice, since he knows more about cars than me. He said that cabin filters are easy to replace and that he’s pretty confident I can do that one myself.

So I declined the service, ordered a filter online. And…..

Did nothing for 3 months. It became a joke amongst my friends. They would see the filter on the table and joke about how I still didn’t do it. (Why was it sitting on the table? idk)

It wasn’t until January 2022, when my partner and a friend of ours were doing a new years resolution goal setting, where I put replacing the filter down. My friend asked were the filter was, and to grab it.

The three of us when down to my car and guess how long it took to replace the fucking filter? 20 mins tops and that includes looking up youtube tutorials and just generally cleaning out my car (thanks for helping guys!).

I waited, and was going to continue wait months to do a task that took less to do time than a Simpson’s episode. Why? Cause I was lazy and didn’t want to go to my parking garage and do it.

All of this to say, I approve of the 2 minute rule even if I don’t live it. The little moments it takes to put something away, rise something, fold something, toss something out etc… All build up and can reduce the likelihood of your friends making fun of you when they visit.

yellow mini cooper parked beside white concrete building
Photo by Jacob Morch on Pexels.com

That’s pretty much it for now. I probably could add more. The odds are, if it’s recommended by the Minimalists I probably don’t do it. I eventually want to write a post about the things that I do do (haha dodo). But I still need some time with that one.

Are there any rules or general life advice that you ignore? I would love to hear about it.

BOOK Review: Minimalista by Shira Gill

cheugy kitchen

Minimalista is the first book by Shira Gill, an organizing expect who’s been featured pretty much anywhere fancy, Opera, Goop, Vogue and even one of my Dad’s favorite magazines, Dwell.

I didn’t know that she was that well known. I saw this book in Libby as a recommended title for the spring cleaning and put it on hold. I’m glad I read it, it’s probably one of the best minimalism books I’ve read this year.

I vibed with the way it was written, even if it’s sorta cheugy, girlbossy. I though Gill’s writing was funny and the information was clear and concise.

Part One is an overview of minimalism and how to declutter. This book is definitely more about the aesthetics of the minimalism rather than the lifestyle, as Part Two of the book is all about decluttering your space and how to style it.

Her vibe is very Pinterest-y and I hate to say it again, cheugy. Not the Minion memes part of the cheugy, but the hanging your wide brimmed hat on your wall as a statement piece part of cheugy.

From her website. Confirms she loves wide brimmed hats
From google but to show the vibe of the book

Part One of Minimalista is the better part in my opinion. She covers the steps of decluttering as well as how to get the stuff out of your house pretty well.

I thought Part Two was a tad long since it was a room by room breakdown. As someone who only really has three rooms in their apartment, most of that section didn’t apply to me.

The last comment I had about Minimalista, is something I liked, but makes me sound petty. I liked that this book has two very obvious digs at The Home Edit. I tried reading that book after trying to watch The Home Edit show on Netflix until my partner asked me to shut it off because of the yelling.

Gill comments on how her organizing system isn’t about making everything a rainbow, the staple of The Home Edit system. Gill also comments on how jars filled with spiral Oreos are really silly. Which are valid criticisms, since The Home Edit is definitely too focus on the visual aspect of home decor to the point where it seems like a hard system to actually live with.

I quickly Googled to see if there was any beef between the two brands and I didn’t find anything. It’s probably just that they are direct competition in the niche of “Female lead, home organizing brands which have been featured on Goop”.

Shira Gill would never…

To wrap up, I would recommend the book. If you were active on Pinterest at the height of its popularity, I think you would enjoy the vibe of this book the most.

The information is solid, and I found it still current, despite my dated references throughout this post suggesting otherwise. If you see it at the library, I would say give it a flip through. It’s probably worth looking at the physical copy over the digital. I read the book on my phone and I think some of the photos and layouts were lost in the digitization process, based on the pics of physical book I’ve seen online.

Two books I didn’t hate in a row? Is that even allowed? You can read my most recent book review of Minimal Mom by Diane Boden here, and see all my book reviews here. If you’ve heard of Shira Gill or this book before I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Inbound vs Outbound #22 – June 2022

The point of this article is to see what I’ve purchased versus what I’ve decluttered in the month. The ultimate goal is to see, if over time, I’m bringing more into my life than taking out. Also, if the things I do bring in are adding more value into my life in the long run since I’m documenting when it’s arriving.

plane landing
Photo by Shoval Zonnis on Pexels.com

Inbound: 

  • One pair of yoga shorts
  • One summer dress
  • One rain jacket
  • One cat harness
  • One iron on patch
  • Two hydroponics nutrients for the plants
  • Two cover pots
One of the cover pots and proof that my cat is the worst
  • A pack of Thank You cards
  • Bug spray (for me)
  • Bug spray (for my plants)
  • One duvet cover
  • One Sleeping bag
  • Two tomato plants my friend found on the side of the road.

plane taking off
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Outbound:

  • Six Crochet cacti (Sold)
  • Watermelon peperomia (Died)
  • Alocasia red imperial (Died)
  • Colocasia Pharaoh’s Mask (Died)
  • Peperomia frost (didn’t die, it just had bugs and I didn’t want to deal with it’s drama anymore)
  • One baseball hat from my previous company (gifted/pawned off to a friend that still works there)
  • Two pepper seedlings (Buy Nothing Group)

Something I haven’t figured out how to talk about on the blog yet is that I have a small business where I sell crochet plants and home decor items. It feels like something that should have been mentioned on here sooner.

I have some drafted posts about how its weird to read this many minimalism books but also make physical items. At the same time, Marie Kondo sells home decor items, so I can too!

It’s also not been a great month for my plants. I’ve been finding them a bit overwhelming lately, so I decided it was time to call the time of death on some of my plants. Although I’m like 30% I could revive with time and more experience. It was good to get some plant stuff out of the way. I have more planned on that front, so keep an eye out for that in the near-ish future.

You can see May’s post here. Or the rest of the series here.

BOOK REVIEW: Minimalist Moms by Diane Boden

Another book I’m not qualified to review since I’m not a parent!

Minimalist Moms: Living and Parenting with Simplicity is the debut book by Diane Boden, the host of the Minimalist Moms Podcast. (Not to be confused with Dawn (or her twin sister Diane) who is The Minimal Mom and will pop up when you Google this book title).

I listened to the audiobook (which wasn’t narrated by the author which was a surprise given her job), and I enjoyed it. The book tackles a bit more the lifestyle of minimalism instead of physical ownership of items. Sure, she gives you tips on how to declutter your house. As well as standard comments on how minimalism isn’t about owning nothing and only wearing black. After that, the book does touch more on the day to day of living a #minimalistlife.

Boden mentioned that there are other books that cover the step by steps of decluttering in greater detail. She mentions Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And disagrees with the idea of only keeping items that spark joy, since there’s stuff that doesn’t spark joy but are still useful. And one might end up keeping stuff only because it sparks joy without really exploring why it sparks that joy. Which I don’t fully disagree with, but I also think that she was taking Kondo’s main point a bit too literally in her criticism. But that part was like one paragraph that for some reason stood out.

woman holding sparkler
Photo by Edgar Colomba on Pexels.com

The main takeaway and only thing that I will remember from this book: she tier lists her friends. Like take everyone that you are currently friends with and figure out if they are BFFL, BFF, just a F or acquaintance. She said to cut everyone that isn’t a BFFL.

It’s a power move that she talked about this so openly in her book. She’s really only going to bother being friends with her sister and sister in law. But it probably feels bad for anyone that thought they were her friend and bought the book to support her, only to find out they aren’t worth the emotional labour.

woman s hand using a pen noting on notepad
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

In general, I don’t have much to say about the book. A lot of the things covered are pretty standard stuff about minimalism. I think it was presented well, and I liked the voice of the audiobook narrator.

If a mother was standing at a book store trying to decide between this book or Declutter Like a Mother (my review here), I would 120% tell them to pick this one.

wooden dinosaur in white backgroud
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Boden may tier list her friends, but I tier list minimalism books. And in my tier list, this book will comfortably sit in the “Do Not Remember Reading” tier. Right in the middle.

P.s. I’ve given Minimalist Moms Podcast a bit of a listen (like 2 episodes). There isn’t much to report back, yet. Pretty standard interviews with the guests. There’s a couple of podcast episodes that I’m interested in listening to, so I might update this portion if I hear anything of note.