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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).

Making My Space

I’ve been very thoughtful lately about making the most of my life and that has developed into what I keep in my life in terms of personal space and possessions. I’ve been working my way through my house and sorting through everything. I’ve gotten rid of books, DVDs, trinkets, paperwork and other stuff I have hoarded for no reason.

I’ve created key spaces in my living room, bed room and spare room, that all feel personal to me. They all have their own feel as I hoped they would. For example my living room is all about the things that make me happy and the focus piece is still my bookshelf and armchair. Each piece of art, each book, each trinket has a story or a memory that goes with it that reminds me of adventures I’ve been on.

The newest space is my reading/office in my spare room where I bought a small bed earlier in the year to make into a day bed and then last week bought a small desk to go next to it. It’s a lovely bright space, but cosy and calm at the same time. I have some postcards I want to put up in the space above it to make me happy and inspire productivity for when I am working at home or working on personal projects.

I have realised over the last few years, probably ever since I moved into my own place, that stuff is not the key to happiness and actually experiences are way more important. I’ve shifted my focus and questioned why I have things in my house. The hard part for me was taking down my medals, I realised they no longer made me happy, but actually made me judge everything I was doing as they don’t motivate me anymore. It’s funny how we all go through stages in our lives and grow as people all the time. I finally feel that my 30’s are going to be what I make them and that is exciting.

My space is an extension of my personality and I want to come home to it and all it contains and be content or what ever mood I want to be in and be completely comfortable there. It doesn’t mean it won’t change, but rather it will grow and evolve with me.

As you can see Merry and Pippin love the space as well!

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Garden Transformation

I am not great at looking after plants. If they can’t tell me they need food and/water I usually end up killing them through over or under watering. Not even grass is safe from my non green fingers.

So this year, after two years of being in my house, I finally transformed my garden into something i will use and that is low maintenance.

This is the before state of affairs. I can’t be held totally responosbile though! Anyone who has bought a new house know that developers aren’t the best at leaving gardens presentable or flat.  My garden is on a slight slope and the ground was not flattened before the turf was laid and that has been a nightmare since with mowing.

I therefore decided to pave the whole thing over!

Extreme yes, but also totally logical. The builders took about 4 days to complete the whole thing, from digging up excess garden, to creating the base to lay the paving on, that is flat!

The end result is a simple, but so much improved outdoor space I will use and can bring the cats out to enjoy.

It feels so much bigger and it is so nice to be able to put my table and chairs out and for them to be flat.  

I have since collected a number of pots and planted some cat friend herbs, that will hopefully survive my lack of green fingers.

I’m pretty sure I have the thumbs up from Merry and Pippin. It took a few attempts for them to come outside due to the changes from last year, but they did and ahve been nibbling at the shrubs since. Pippin got to 3 of my runner bean seedings straight away, so had to get some protection to keep him away until they can survive cat nibbles.

  

They have been running around the space attempting to catch flies and watching the birds fly across the sky. They go and peer under the gate, but have yet to try and get underneath.   

Overall I am so glad I decided to spend some of my savings and get this done. I know I”ll enjoying going out there as the weather gets warmer and know the cats will also love it.

Making it easier for myself

Since admitting I was out of sync with things yesterday I have been thinking of how I can re-align things for myself.

A big part of my struggle right now is my schedule. I like having some evenings in during the week to myself. I do not like coming home and then waiting to go to club, specifically running club, as I feel I can run anytime I want to and am not restricted by getting pool time.

So for running I am going to start going on my own straight from work. I will then go to the club as and when i want. This way I come home from work, feed the cats and go back out from home rather than have to drive anywhere. My other option is to run at lunchtime at work. This is the only thing I can do at that time as I would have to drive to a gym or pool. I would just need to be a bit more organised.

For cycling I need to get into the routine of heading out straight after swimming on a weekend at the moment. Once it is lighter I can mix things up and cycle to and from work or go straight after work. I have got a turbo trainer, but have yet to use it or find a space where I can set it up and leave it. I also need to get into the routine of cleaning my bike on the return from a ride. So having an area set up for this would make it easier.

Swimming isn’t an issue really. I am restricted to club pool times to get the most out of my training. I’m rubbish in public sessions. I am having some 121 sessions for lake swimming and video analysis later this month and am really looking forward to getting to know my Critical Swim Speed and train with that.

Making easier for myself will mean getting organised. I would like to make it easier to head out the door so I will take a look at my fitness bags and have they set up and ready to just add clothes.  Looking at where and how I store my clothes and changing things up to make things more accessible (and easier to put away after washing!) would be another thing.

I might have a rethink of how my house is set out:

  • Is there a way I can have my turbo and bike indoors during the week?
  • Where can I keep my fitness bags for easy grab and go?
  • Can I store my fitness clothes and accessories in specific boxes?
  • Can I make room in the spare room by getting rid of crap?

This is turning into a slightly bigger task than I thought when I started writing this post, but I like the way it is heading. I want my life to be focused around health and fitness and my home doesn’t currently support what I need, so I need to make some changes.  However I will not try to do this all at once. I will start with the actual fitness scheduling and over the next few weeks start making changes at home to support it. I need to figure what I have when it comes to storage and where I can put things and therefore if things need to be moved.

I feel so much better for getting yesterday’s post out there as it has helped me move onto the problem solving rather than be stuck in the problem.

I also do want to do the 70.3 this year. I’m just scared at the moment.

All About Cats

I am learning all the time what cats need and how I can make sure they have a happy and healthy life with me.  So I thought I would share some things I’ve been learning recently (yes my blog might become cat focused for the foreseeable future, but it is all part of my adventures in life).

Diet

I have decided to use the food recommended by the vets I take Merry and Pippin to and that is Hill’s Vets Essentials Kitten Food. Both of them seem to enjoy it and I gradually moved them over from Whiskas (what they were being fed by the family I got them from) and on to this dry food only on the advice of the vet.

Treats

This is where I give myself some flexibility with what I give them. I like to make sure they are good for cats, but I also want them to enjoy them and know they are different from the everyday food. I use a mix of Dreamies, M&S chewy treats, and any other chewy/soft sticks or shapes I can find and are reputable. I keep them in a jar and the kittens know where it is and what it sounds like. I use it to call them to me a lot (and reward them for it). I also give them tuna and fish I cook every so often – always on their own plate, never from mine – as a very special treat.

Toys

I am just starting to rotate their toys as I am aware that they will become bored of the same ones around after a few weeks. I also buy some new toys every month as Merry has a tendency to chew the feathers off the toys and I know that is the part they enjoy the most. I have also found that simple things such as boxes and the inside cardboard of toilet rolls can be just as much fun as anything I buy specifically for them as they are lights and can be chewed and thrown around. I keep a couple of stick toys out of sight as they tend to go a bit crazy for these and only bring them out for special treats or when guests are around and want to play without the risk of getting scratched.

Water

One of the first things I bought after I got them was a water fountain as it was very hot and I didn’t think they were drinking enough. I have also positioned it so they can watch the room while they drink. Pippin has taken to dipping a paw in and then cleaning his face (he also likes the bath tub for some reason).  I want to keep them off the kitchen counters so do not encourage drinking from the taps.

Outside

I’ve been taking them outside every so often as they enjoy eating grass and catching spiders. I’m keeping them as indoor cats, but I need to be more consistent with taking them into the garden on the leads so they know it is a regular thing. I am going to up my training and start taking them through the garage, rather than the front door, so if I ever decide get cat flaps installed they would already know the route to the garden. I need to get another litter tray as now they are getting bigger, so is their business, and find occasionally if I have been out longer than normal one of them will have dirty and smelly paw. So as they are extremely clean creatures I need to make sure I provide them the space so they do not get put off using the trays.

Sleeping

They like to sleep a lot. I have bought them beds that are on either side of my bed as they like to be up high or under the bed out of sight. I also keep the carriers in the front room, without the doors on, for them to hide in. I don’t think my house has that many hiding places, so I am trying to provide these for them. However they will also fall asleep in the middle of the room on the carpet or on the sofa arm, so I think they are okay.

I’m a bit paranoid at the moment about learning everything I can about how to make Merry and Pippin have happy, healthy lives. I worry that keeping them indoors or restricting the outside time is not a good thing to door, but everyone I talk to seems to have a different opinion. I’m happy if I know I can make the time to take them outside every day for 15 minutes. It would cause me a lot of stress and worry to let them roam freely.

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