On Decluttering and Tidying

I’m lucky in the sense that tidying and decluttering comes pretty naturally to me. I just prefer living in a space that has a sense of order. It helps me to feel calm and helps me to sort through my mental clutter if my physical space is tidy. I thought I’d share some stuff on tidying and decluttering – everything from my own advice to resources I continue to find beneficial.

So, first off, I’m going to write in terms of a clean bedroom because that’s my point of reference, but these ‘rules’ can be applied to any part of your home.

The first step to cleaning your room and making sure it stays clean is to declutter. If you’re a Marie Kondo fangirl like me, then decluttering is nothing new to you. But essentially, it refers to the removal of unnecessary items, be it clothing, papers or anything that has no use to you and just takes up space. I cannot emphasise the importance of this step enough. There is honestly no use in organising and tidying things that serve no purpose to you. Whilst it can seem like a daunting task, especially if you haven’t done it in a while and a lot of things have accumulated, doing it in smaller chunks will feel less overwhelming. Work through your things category by category. I generally split things into a toss/recycle pile and a donate pile.

After deciding what things you need or want to hold onto, it’s time for my favourite part – organising. The reason why many people struggle to keep their spaces tidy is either because they have too much stuff (enter decluttering) or because their things don’t have designated “homes” so everything just ends up lying around until it gets used again. Having a specific place for everything will make keeping your room neat so much easier because when you’re finished using something, you just put it right back, and when you do need to clean up at the end of the day or week, it’ll go quicker too because you don’t have to think about where to put things.

Another thing to try is to keep the same kinds of things together. For example, I have a beauty drawer where I keep all my skincare (that isn’t on my dresser for daily use), unopened products, make-up, hair things, etc. All my jewellery is in one shelf and all my papers and books are together too (well, mostly). I find that this helps immensely too, and you’re also less likely to loose your stuff.

Here are some other quick things you can do every day (or as often as you feel necessary) to keep your room looking and feeling orderly:

  • Make your bed! Honestly, don’t underestimate the difference this can make. It’s always the first thing I do when I’m clearing up. It instantly makes your room feel more put together.
  • Throw papers away immediately when you don’t need them anymore. By doing this, you will avoid the need to sift through huge mounds of papers to see what you need/don’t need.
  • Following on from the last one, put papers that you do need into their respective files/folders as you work to minimise unmanageable piles of paper. I usually have one stack of papers on my desk with stuff I’m using (like assessment rubrics/design briefs/etc.) and need to consult often, but I sort through it every week or so, to avoid having too much stuff pile up.
  • As boring as it sounds, pack away your laundry as soon as you can. Again, this will hopefully prevent a mountain of laundry from piling up, and you’re more likely to pack neatly if you have a more manageable amount to pack away.
  • Try to avoid too much clutter on your surfaces. My surfaces certainly aren’t bare, but every few days or so, I just walk around and put things (that don’t need to be there) away.

I hope you find some of this helpful! Remember, your room doesn’t have to look like something off Pinterest. It’s a space that you’re supposed to live in, so don’t bother if it doesn’t look like a styled photograph. Also, experiment with different tidying and organising methods and create a routine that works for you, and is suitable to your schedule and life. You don’t have to spend all your waking hours trying to keep your room clean! (This took me a while to learn haha). However, you will find that having a tidier space helps to calm your mind. It is often said that the state of your physical space is a manifestation of your mental space and I tend to agree.

Here are some resources you might find helpful.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Honestly, this book is so good. Pretty sure I’ve read it two or three times. It really helps you to get a sense of tidying and understanding that physical stuff shouldn’t weigh you down. Find it here (e-book version).

A Considered Life blog

This blog by Sophie is really well written and has new content on a regular basis. Read it here.

Simple Life Pinterest Board

I’ve linked a bunch of resources that I reference on my Pinterest. Find the board here.

Happy tidying, everyone. I sincerely hope you reap the benefits of having a tidy space. If you have any more questions about this topic, ask away.

Nabeela x

Simplify

I have written many posts about minimalism and living a more simple life. However, every year I realise I’ve learnt new ways to simplify my life as far as possible. I’ve found great reward in creating streamlined routines for myself that allow room for everything that has to be done.

Here are some things I’ve done this year that have helped me immensely that I’ll be carrying with me into 2019.

01. / Email

I don’t work yet so I don’t have a huge amount of emails coming into my inbox every day like some people do, but I do know that having a full inbox can be stressful and distracting. Try to stay on top of your emails and try the one-touch rule, whereby you only open emails at a time when you are available to carry out the task (or whatever is necessary) required before you respond. Also, guard your email address. Try to avoid throwing it into every online shop’s mailing list, to avoid getting spammed with hundreds of emails a day that are irrelevant to you. (Some people have recommended this site to manage your subscriptions, but I haven’t personally tried it).

02. / Papers

Papers are the easiest thing to hoard. It’s only too easy to hang onto something, “just in case”. For papers that are important, file them away in a space-saving way. For less important ones that you may need at some point, take a photo and save it into a folder on your phone or Cloud. And for those other pesky ones, TOSS THEM. We are ruthless. I clean off my desk (almost) every night before bed and make a point of throwing away papers that are no longer needed.

03. / Planning and organising

I’ve found that keeping all my planning in one book is highly beneficial because everything is in one place, so you’re less likely to forget something important. Whether you’re a paper planner and list-maker like me or if you prefer your phone calendar, try to avoid having important plans in too many places and work on streamlining your planning and organising systems so they work for you. I’ll be bullet-journalling in 2019, so watch this space…

04. / Time-blocking

I’ve found this really useful. Set aside certain “blocks” of time for certain tasks. You’ll find that you’ll be more productive if you know you’re only working for a short amount of time, plus you’re less likely to procrastinate then. It’ll leave you with more time to relax and do things you enjoy.

Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones and rest well.

Nabeela x

On Keeping Your Room Calm and Tidy

Your environment can have a big effect on your mood without you even knowing. It has been said that a clear room equals a clear mind. Sound far-fetched? Try it. I have definitely found that the state of my room has a direct effect on how calm I feel. I can’t work (or sleep well, for that matter) in an over-cluttered, messy room- I simply find it too distracting and overwhelming. I’d like to think that I’m finally reaching a point where I’ve figured out a few ways to keep my room in a general state of orderliness without it feeling stiff. I’ve also been working towards having a calming space that is easy to unwind in. This can be difficult to achieve as a student, because chances are that you study in your room too, so it is important that you allocate certain spaces for certain activities, no matter how small your room is – but more on that another time.

Here are some things that I find help me in keeping my room clutter-free and calming. It also helps me to ensure that my room doesn’t turn into a complete mess within a few days of life’s general crazy busyness.

01. / Clear daily 

Although this might seem annoying, by doing a quick 5-minute tidy-up daily, you can keep the clutter at bay. I usually just spend a few minutes picking up dirty clothes, packing away anything that belongs in cupboards or drawers and throwing away unwanted papers. I usually do this in the evenings before bed (it can be quite therapeutic actually – or is that just me?! LOL) but pick a time that suits you and run with it.

02. /  Keep your surfaces clear

This is just about the easiest way to instantly make your room look and feel clearer. Cut back on the excess (be flexible though. Your room doesn’t always have to look Pinterest-perfect. You live there, remember?). Best advice I’ve ever been given. Best advice I can give.

03. / Give it a home

You might find that there’s always that one object that kind of just floats around because you don’t really know where it goes. To avoid having any of your things just floating around, ensure that everything, no matter how small, has a home. This way,  when the time comes to pack it away, there is an actual place to put it.

Here are some things you can do to create calm vibes in your room.

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01. / Candles

Candles don’t only create a calm mood, but they also leave your room smelling positively delicious. I currently only burn candles that don’t have any whack ingredients – don’t want any nasties floating around in the air. My current faavourite is this lemongrass one from Wellness Warehouse. It’s made from soybean wax, so it can be used as massage oil when it melts – double whammy. My other favourite candle is from Rain, but it’s quite old (as in, I found it in a chest somewhere in our house), so I don’t think it can be bought anymore.

02. / Colours

I’m the kind of person who actually really adores colour, but chooses not to show it in my dress or decor choices all that often. The only place in my room that is really colourful is my workspace, but that’s just what I like. Find a colour story that works for you, and try and stick with it. It’ll make your space feel less crazy. I find that having a more cohesive colour palette in my room makes for a more relaxing space, and is easier on the eye.

03. / Plants

Anyone who knows me well enough in real life (or even online) will know that I adore plants. Not going to lie, if I could, I’d pack up my room and move into someone’s greenhouse in a heartbeat. But seeing as that’s not exactly realistic (yet – some day maybe), I bring greenery into my space by keeping houseplants. They’re air-purifying, beautiful and quite literally add life to the space. Not a very good plant parent? Don’t despair. Just pick up a cactus. The only way I’ve ever killed one is by drowning the poor thing from too much water. (Oops).

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So there you have it, folks. My best zen room tips and tricks. (How am I not a Hygge spokesperson yet?) Hope you found this helpful. Until next time x

Nabeela x

On Being Organised

Although those who know me now would never say, I was an extremely untidy child. Upon entering senior primary, I made a complete three-sixty turn. I guess you could say that I went from zero to one hundred real quick. As I grew older, I quickly saw the immense value in being organised and planning my days out properly. It made my life a hundred times easier, and still does.

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I often get asked how I stay organised, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite methods for organizing my life, and keeping it that way.

01. / Write it down

Although I love the digital world (I am a blogger after all), I find immense value in analogue tasks such as writing my to-do lists down on paper. It may seem like extra effort, but by writing down lists instead of typing them, you’re also calming yourself down by making your tasks seem finite and not just a pool of thoughts floating around your head and phone. The very act of writing a physical list is useful. Everyday, when I get in from school, I take ten minutes or so to write a list and prioritize my tasks for the afternoon and evening ahead. This helps me to feel less overwhelmed too, and makes everything feel a bit more doable.

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02. / Sort daily 

It may sound laborious, but by spending a few minutes each day sorting through papers I have and filing them or tossing them, I never end up with piles of filing or papers I no longer need. I have honestly found it the most streamlined way to keep up to date with filing my school notes and other papers.

03. / Prioritize

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when six tasks are handed out on the same day, even if the due dates are staggered (I’m looking at you, Grade 11). I find that working back from the due date is the easiest way to make sure everything is done on time, without feeling as if everything has to be done at once. Break down each task into smaller, daily tasks you can do so you don’t have to slave away for hours the night before its due. Chances are it’ll also be done more thoroughly if you don’t feel rushed.

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04. / Don’t hoard

I mentioned something about this in point two, but just by having too many papers, one’s head and space can feel cluttered and unorganised. If there’s one thing I’ve seen people do often, it’s hoard old papers they don’t need. As soon as I no longer need a paper from school or anywhere else, I put it in recycling immediately. Again, it keeps things so much more streamlined. If you think you may need to information at some point, scanning it in or taking a photo of it and putting it in your Drive or Cloud also works well.

Something else I’ve found that helps me generally to get tasks done in a productive manner is by setting a timer for 25 minutes and working flat out and then taking a break. I find that when I know exactly how long I’m going to be working for before my next rest, I get a lot more done in a short space of time. Having a tidy, clutter-free space to work in makes me feel a lot calmer and more focused too.

Lastly, some wise words on organizing…

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” – Anonymous

I hope you find these tips helpful! I’ve created a fun printable to-do list for you here.

(Enjoy it, and tag me in your pictures on Instagram if you use it! I’d love to see x It is my own creation, and to be used for personal use only, please). 

Nabeela x

Minimal

Hello

Over the last two years, the minimalist trend seems to be everywhere. Naturally, I fell in love. The monochrome clothes, home décor pins on Pinterest and let’s not forget those pretty, well-curated Instagram feeds that make you want to delete all your photos off your feed and only wear black tee-shirts. I have to admit, I did go through a phase for a few days where I was all into the monochrome buzz and I took all the typical minimal photos and tried to only wear grey and pack all the most colourful things in my room away. Sometimes I still have ‘minimalist’ days. But, it got too hard as a lot of my room décor has colour in it and so do my clothes. Thus, I gave up on minimalism.

Recently, a minimalism ‘cheat-sheet’ caught my eye on Pinterest. When I started reading up a bit about minimalism as a lifestyle (and not just a clothing and décor style), I was surprised to find that I already do many things that ‘minimalists’ live by. That’s when it hit me. It minimalism really a style or it is a lifestyle? The answer (to me, at least) is the latter. I decided to share some insight into minimalism through my eyes. Here it goes!

‘Stuff’ Declutter / Detox

This is really important. This year, I’ve found that I’ve matured quite a bit when it comes to my possessions and clothing. I’ve had this urge to clean, clear and ‘detox’ my possessions and my living space. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve basically worked through most of the spaces in my room, and decided what to toss, what to keep and what to donate. What also really helps is if you allow yourself to have one junk drawer that you keep all the things you are unsure about. The only thing you mustn’t do is just leave it! You MUST sort through that drawer at the end, and tidy it up.

It’s a surprisingly fulfilling process and it will give you new insight on your stuff. Don’t feel guilty if you bought something you’ve never used. Everyone’s done it. But by keeping it, its not doing anyone any good. You may as well donate it to someone who will put it to good use. I’ve also read in a few places that physical clutter can contribute to mental stress. Try to keep your sleeping and working spaces especially tidy and display the items that make you happy and spark joy. This will make your space feel like your own and it’ll be calming too.

(A good book to read to inspire some cleaning is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Although I don’t agree fully with everything in the book, it’s a good read) .

Social Declutter

No, I don’t mean getting rid of friends, so don’t worry. I’m talking social media here. Do you sometimes find that you follow so many accounts on Instagram that you hardly see the things you actually want to see and it takes forever to get through your feed? We’re all in that boat with you.  Do an audit of who you follow every so often and unfollow accounts that don’t excite you. Its alright, you don’t have to feel guilty! Instagram isn’t real life. Its also vital to your own inspiration that you don’t see the only a certain kind of thing over and over, as this can stagnate your own creativity in the long run. I make this a habit and find it fun to find new things that inspire me. Also, unsubscribe to all those email lists you joined spontaneously. I went through a stage where I subscribed to EVERY email list I came across just so I had pretty-looking emails in my mailbox (What was I thinking?!). I went on what I fondly refer to as an ‘unfollowing spree’. I am now only subscribed to a handful of blogs and newsletters that I really enjoy reading and find inspiring. Another thing to try is have a day of the week when you have a ‘social media detox’. You don’t engage in any form of social media for the whole day – its refreshing. You’ll be surprised how free you’ll feel and its good for those creative juices to have only your own ideas in your head for a day and not have them bombarded by all the others we see online. (Its something I’m definitely looking forward to doing next year – its not possible for me to do this year because of my daily project).

Buy Less

This is much easier said than done, I know. We have to be mentally conscious when we shop because we’ve gotten so used to buying things because they’re pretty and on sale. We eventually end up with a closet full of clothes we hardly wear. I experienced this last summer. I found so many tops I loved and bought that I only realised how much I actually had when I did an audit of what was in my cupboard. Because I’m still at school, it means that I only wear my clothes in the holidays and on weekends – I wear uniform the rest of the week. I ended up wearing each of my tops once or twice the whole summer. I forced myself not to buy any new things for the rest of the summer and wear all the clothing in my cupboard.

Experience over material

The thing that first set the ball in motion in my head about experience over material was a concept relating to this that I read about in a magazine. The way I understand, it goes as such. For a month, you spend the same of money that you normally would, but you don’t have anything to show it at the end of the month. (Naturally, food wouldn’t count because, well, its food and it wouldn’t be there at the end of the month anyways, but you get my point). It fascinates me and I always think about how I’d love to do something like this when I earn my own income some day. Instead of spending your money on buying stuff, you spend it on doing stuff instead. Imagine how much you could do if you knew you weren’t going to be buying anything except the necessities for a month!  I definitely know what I’d do. You don’t have to go all out, but maybe do something where every time you are tempted to buy something you really love but don’t need, you put the money aside to do something fun and enjoyable instead. It’s a good incentive to stop buying excess too.

Quality over Quantity

The phrase itself says it all. Instead of buying many things that are of unsatisfactory quality, buy fewer things that are good quality and well-made. It applies to many aspects of life, too. I’ve been trying my hardest to implement this and its been making me really appreciate the things I own.

I really hope you enjoyed reading about my take on minimalism and that it inspires you to down-size your possessions. You don’t have to do everything in one go, but you’ll find that once you start, you won’t stop!

Happy decluttering!

Miss Artsy-Crafty xxx