Category Archives: It’s My Life

Decluttering (my life)

I’ve been itching to declutter and tidy my house since December, but have waited until I could dedicate some solid time to it, to do it properly. I think this has always been about more than just the physical things I want to clear out, but it has only come to light as I’ve been doing the physical decluttering that the mental decluttering is coming to the surface. More on that later.

In terms of physical decluttering, I felt I had so much stuff taking up space that my home was feeling suffocating. Not nice! This has stemmed from a change in mindset I’ve been through in the last year. I’ve switched from wanting all the things, to wanting all the experiences. Many of the things I have bought or been given over the years have not stood the test of time and live up to the memories that are much more valuable. I’ve also bee inspired by a few people out there taking a more minimal approach and it resonated so much.

I decided to buy the hold grail of tidying books – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. This was a really interesting read and it definitely made me think about what I have in my space differently. I’ll admit now that I did not fully follow the method, but I definitely took on the principles, which led to a much more thorough clear out than I would have been able to do otherwise.

My clear out has been so thorough that I now cannot put my car in the garage as there is so much stuff in there that needs to go to the tip of charity shops (I have a plan for the next week or so to get this gone!).

It was an exhausting few days, but it was so therapeutic doing it and seeing the results instantly. This is also when it hit me about the mental decluttering. I turned down a few invite over the weekend as I wanted to concentrate on doing this and I think I was able to process some stuff I’ve been working through in therapy while sorting out the things. I’ve been letting things sit silent rather than face them over the last year and it’s all just under the surface and I am worried I will explode, but now I feel calmer. I want to face some things and deal with them no matter what the outcome as I know that will be better than keeping the issues all within myself. It’s made it very clear to me that some relationships in my life need to change, just as I needed to change how my home felt. It’s made me assess what is important to me and in turn what is therefore not important and has to go.

My home now feels peaceful and welcoming again, which is good timing seeing I’ve had to work from home this last week after hurting my foot (yes caused by tripping over the decluttering). I have space and gaps in cupboard and drawers and I have no desire to fill them up. I’ve moved things around a bit to give the things I value more space. My bedroom is no longer the storage area and my space room is now set up as a work space again. The cats have their space, but do not possess the whole house anymore (to their complete disappointment).

Let’s talk about… mental health part 2


Resentment

It’s a horrible feeling and one we all feel from time to time. It’s something I’ve working through with my therapist and it is very much linked to comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy as they say and it’s true. 

I’ve been trying over the last few months to get better at naming the emotions I am feeling. This is so I actually acknowledge they are there and what ever I am feeling is valid. Resentment has come up a lot recently and it’s been horrible. There are also feelings of guilt and shame associated with feeling resentment. It’s a messy feeling that can really drag you down. I’ve also been told I shouldn’t be resentful as it is frowned upon, which is why all those other feelings get stirred up as soon as it appears. 

But you know what? I’m fucking allowed to feel resentment! 

It is a valid feeling. I don’t like it, but it is okay to feel it. I think actong it would be wrong as often the person or thing you are recentful of is not aware of how you feel. It is one of those feeling that I would think twice about making any decisons. Recognising it, acknowledging it, and then moving forward is my way.

It is however hard feeling to talk about. People get ashamed or defensive when it comes to negative feelings even if it is not really about them. For example I’ve been feeling resentful that all my friends are in relationships and I’m not. That is not their fault and I am truly happy for them, but it doesn’t make it easier to ease the sadness and fear I feel. Also ive been feeling recentful or my parents and sisters because a lot has changed in recent years and I think I preferred it before. Again that is not their fault, but it doesn’t make what I’m feeling any less valid, it is just something I need time to work through.

Emotions are messy, espeically when you’ve spent most of your life repressing feeling because when you shown them the feedback from people has been negative and reenforced the need to hide them away. It’s not easy to start to feel them again, but I’m going to work hard to bring them alive.

Let’s talk about money… part 2

Following on my post earlier in the year I have continued my thinking about how I spend and save my money to be able to do the things I want to do. I want to emphasise the ‘do things’ aspect of my thoughts as that is really a big shift in my mindset over the last few years. Doing things and having amazing experiences goes beyond money, but I find money or the absence of money can get in the way of experiences. The stress money can cause can be horrible, but I truly believe you can have great experiences no matter what your budget it. As I said this is a shift for my own mindset as I have very much lived in the moment with money over the last 7-8 years. I mean I have saved when required, but it’s always been for something specific – my house, a holiday, etc. – rather than having a fun fund or emergency fund to keep life easy. I want to stop living payday to payday as it is so not fun!

So I’ve continued with my goals from January (paying of my credit card and setting up my emergency fund), but I also want to get rid of some hindering spending habits. Lent is the perfect time to do this as a lot of people are giving things up and having a set amount of time to work with is something I have found useful in the past. Although I am not religious I appreciate aspects that have transferred into mainstream society. So for lent I have set up a no spend list!

There are several habits I have formed over the last few years that I feel have gotten a bit out of control, or that I definitely spend money on without fully thinking it through. So I have created a short list of things I will not spend money on for lent:

  • Buying takeaways, including lunch at work and food at the cinema
  • Buying non-necessities – books, candles, accessories, makeup, stationary and other stuff that falls into this category

Basically I want to question myself every time I need to spend money. I want to be become more mindful of my spending and where I choose to give my money. I already have a lot of stuff and I know I do not need more stuff. Along side this I am thinking about decluttering my entire house (I’m actually itching to do it, but would like a block of time to start with) and also think about giving and receiving gifts differently. I want to be generous, but mindful. I suppose I really want to get to a place where I do not worry about money as I know the choices I will  make will support the life I am leading.

Let’s talk about money

This year I have made a few deals with myself that I know will pay off in the long term and a few of them revolve around money.

I do find it quite weird how in general people do not talk about money openly. It is a subject we find emotive and personal. Everyone is in a different situation and has different priorities in the their life that mean different spending habits. It’s too easy to compare to external views of people’s lives though as we only see part of the story. I admit I am the same and very people know an detail about my incoming and outgoings. I also know I can be really judgmental about other peoples spending habits when I only know limited this information (this is family related, not friends). But for the most part I think it doesn’t matter what other people do as long as they are happy with their lives and how they are living. I want the same in return, as I can probably seem quite selfish when it comes to some of habits, for example I will budget socialising so I can save for a holiday and that works for me.

So the last few months I have been reading the blog The Financial Diet and have become obsessed in making my money work differently in ways that will be less stressful and more fulfilling. It has made me set a few goals for this year to get myself in a better position financially and set myself for a future I want to live.

Firstly I am paying off my credit card!

I’m not a big credit card spending, but when I bought my house and had a few years of lower salary than before I ended up with £2k on credit cards. Ever since I have been paying the minimum and moving it round for the 0% balance transfers. This is more annoying than anything else. I am frustrated at myself for keeping it hanging around for so long. So this year I am going to get rid of it! I’ve budgeted it out and any additional income I get will go towards getting this gone. I will then seriously consider how I take credit cards forward. I would like to earn air miles so I am tempted to get a card that will allow me to do that, but I need this gone first.

Secondly I am creating an emergency fund!

This is one I have specifically taken from The Financial Diet and it makes so much sense. Next year I will have been in my house 5 years and all my warranties will be ending and so having a fund that will cover anything going wrong will be a lot less stressful than relying on emergency credit cards.  I am going to start by building up to £1000 in a completely separate account to everything else by the end of the year. Then I will continue to build up a nice amount that could cover me for a period of time if the worst happens with a job or illness. It feels extremely important to me that I am set up to be self-sufficient. I’ve always had my parents as a safety net, but they are getting older and I want to be fully able to take care of my own life going forward without that net. I also don’t want to be like some family who continue to depend on others to supplement income. It makes me angry to see it and I don’t want to be that person. So this makes good sense, but is also a personal value/belief I hold.

Thirdly I’m focusing on travel!

Being able to go to Japan last year was amazing and reminded me how much fun and experience you get from visiting completely different parts of the world. I feel in a place financially where this will be possible as long as live within my means and spend my money efficiently and effectively. This means making short term sacrifices for long term gains. This has to be a big part of my life and as I want to go away for Christmas this year the timing works out well. I can get my credit card paid off and save up an emergency fund and plan a nice trip for the end of the year.

What does this mean for daily life?

In essence not much will change as I have just divided up how I was saving for Japan last year into different pots. I have a spread sheet with this all in and I am going make sure I open it everyday, just as a reminder, to keep myself accountable. I have reduced my monthly budget a bit to ensure I think my purchases through more than last year. I know this will mean saying no for money reasons more often, but I know the long term pay off will be worth it. This is also goes hand in hand with another aspect of my life I want to focus on, which is having people round my house a bit more instead of going out. I am also debating going to a cash based system for a while as it seems with contactless I have become a bit loose with my spending and I do not like it, I’ll let you know how that goes!

So I have set myself a few rules for the next year:

  • Books – no new books until I have read the ones I have (I have 30 unread!)
  • Eating out – reduce eating out and when I do it has to be with others
  • General spending- do not buy replacements until the previous one has run out

Money makes life easier, but it can also make things very difficult. I don’t want my life to be about things and so I will be getting rid of more stuff over the next year. I doubt I’ll ever be minimalist, but I would like to reduce the clutter and only keep the things that hold meaning or purpose. I want my life to be about the simple things that make me happy and feel peaceful – travel to new place, reading great book, fluffy cats, restful space, and knowing good people.

I’m not setting new year resolutions

It’s coming to that time of year again, the time to look back and look forward. There have been lots of comparison trends popping up on Twitter and Instagram and I cringe every time I see one. I think it because I’m working so hard on not comparing myself to to other people and also comparing to the ways things used to be, including my self. Looking back can help you grow and shape your future, but right now I that does not work for me I’m afraid. That just means I pass those posts by and continue on my own journey. However I do like this time of year for thinking about the things I want for the upcoming year. However I want to do it differently this year. I don’t want to set resolutions or goals, but rather make sure I am focused on the things that matter to me and each little bit adds up to a better whole.

Travel –  I would like to travel more in the future and need to plan for that. That means looking at my spending habits and looking at ways to book last minute or budget friendly deals. I also want to ask people to join me on trips and not assume I have to do it all on my own, although I will still go if no one else can make it. I get a lot from travel and always feel amazing experiencing new places that I want to make this a regular part of my life. It doesn’t have to be exotic, as being able to grab a hotel on a weekend to explore somewhere a bit further from home would be amazing!

Finances – I did really well this year saving up for Japan, but I did not tackle my credit card beyond the minimum required. I don’t like that I’m left with debt this year and I would like to get rid of it. I also want to create an emergency fund going forward as I am aware I am coming up to 4 years in my house and all my warranties run out at 5 years and therefore if anything goes wrong I need a fund to use, rather than emergency credit cards. I mainly want to be less stressed about money and know I am leaving fully within my means and have a buffer as well.

Health – my physical and mental health are also super important to me. I’ve been working hard on the mental side of things this year and know I have lost fitness and I would like to re-balance my efforts. I want working out to be fun and at the moment love going to the lake with that group of friends and also love circuits classes with a different friend. I would like to get walking more and heal my plantar fasciitis. I’m continuing with therapy and have made great progress on the ditching the diet mentality, but I still have deeper embedded issues to deal with. I’ve also been cooking more and would like to continue that with the weekly boxes and upping my Japanese repartee.

Work – I’ve had a fantastic year at work and have thrived in my new role. I am getting the freedom, responsibility and experience I have wanted for a while and am making the most of it. I know want to progress in the next couple of years so am going to keep working hard and seizing the opportunities as they come along. I need to make sure I keep a sustainable work/life balance and that is something I will keep thinking about. I want to be flexible and acknowledge I enjoy my work and so do not mind working long hours when required, but also I want to make sure I have enough energy to enjoy my down time.

Home – I love having my own space and am very protective about it. My cats are also super important to me and I want to spoil them. I’ve created a space that suits my needs, but I also fancy a change. I have thought about moving, but I am not sure about doing it just because I want a change, but would prefer to move for a job. It’s something I will keep thinking about. I think there are smaller things I could do to make my home feel refreshed. I might change up the curtains or add some colour to the walls or move furniture around. I’m quite excited to think about, but I do wonder if I’ll actually change things!

This feels like a nice way to approach 2017. I have things that are important to me, but none of which have to to reach a destination. I can’t really fail any of them and there is room to change things up if something becomes more or less important with time. I want to create a life that allows me to grow, learn and change over time. I don’t want to stay the same as I am today!

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