Note to Self #3 – This Is Not The End of the Journey

A Wrong Pathway 2

Dear T,

You’ve only had one calling ever since you remember – to write your way into this world. Living in an imaginative bubble, your best friends growing up were books, paper, a pencil and your sister’s old typewriter. You were always good at languages and the written word in school but did not have a strong affinity toward other subjects. The one dream you had as a young’un was to become a writer/reporter. Continue reading

Take-A-Step Thursday #8 – Get Back On The Horse

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Hello Everyone!

First of all, thank you so much dear fellow bloggers for reading my little blog! I recently hit the 200 followers mark and I am completely over the moon! Never imagined when I started blogging in January that I would hit this milestone. Really thank you from the bottom of my heart. It really motivates me to keep writing! 😀

It’s been too long since I’ve posted something in the Take-A-Step Thursday series. In my previous one, I mentioned that my mother had had a fracture and we were busy figuring out a new routine that included taking care of her and everything else. I’m very happy to say that she is recovering well although it will take her some more time to get back to normal which is to be expected. Meanwhile, we have a workable routine going on too.

I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging and everything else I had set out to do but honestly, I was at a loss for words. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about when I got back and I started procrastinating and becoming lazy. And that was making me feel guilty too. This defied my whole purpose of setting goals because procrastination, laziness and guilt were the biggest enemies I set out to defeat this year.

Anyway, I’ve jumped right  back on to the horse. I restarted my 2015 Reading Challenge (I was in a bit of a challenge slump – I would start a couple of books from the challenge and abandon them a few days later and would just opt for some comfort reading). Hence, I am a few weeks behind on the reading challenge but that’s okay. The point is to read a variety of books throughout the year and read them well. 🙂

I have also somewhat rejoined the 5 AM Club. I say somewhat because it’s still a bit erratic. I have to mention though – the morning routine that I had established for myself earlier was working so well for me that when I abandoned it in April (I was just not feeling up to it) after my mom’s incident, it affected my health to a great extent. It’s amazing what a morning ritual can do for you in all areas of your life especially your health and I for one, can personally vouch for it. I finally decided I certainly didn’t want to let go of all the progress I was making and be another statistical number of the 92% who fail to achieve their new year resolutions. Although this Forbes article is specifically targeted at Americans, I think it can apply to mostly everyone. So this time around, I’ve made a daily goal worksheet where I can track my progress every day and have a better idea of what my problem areas are or what doesn’t work for me and where I need to plan ahead. So far, it’s only been a few days but I think it could work. I got the idea from this video.

Although the routine is still shaky, I feel like I am in charge of my own life again instead of letting my life control me. Getting disciplined and organized is my overall goal for this year and daily planning is becoming my new best friend. I hope I can tip myself into the 8% who do succeed in goal-setting. Here’s a little motivational quote I read somewhere on LifeHack which makes complete sense to me right now:

It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t stay stuck. Do better.

Get back on the horse
Meanwhile, I would love to hear some planning and scheduling tips from you guys! What works for you and any advice you can give me to help plan my day, week, month and year better? I would love to hear from you! 🙂

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Take-A-Step Thursday #5 – Shake it off

I’m in a slump. It’s like quicksand dragging me into slimy waters which I’m struggling to get out of.

All right, so here’s the story. February for me, was all about replacing my old lifestyle with a new improved one – getting up early to exercise, watching inspirational and tutorial videos, being creative and productive, reading and blogging more. I created Take-A-Step Thursday so I could focus on getting inspired to be better by learning from others. It was a great month action-wise too. I was feeling energetic and filled with purpose too because of all the steps I was taking.

March has been acting a bit difficult unfortunately. I am slipping back into my old habits and no matter how strong my resolve is, I am stuck in this weird funk. It’s even getting hard to read and blog more – two activities which I absolutely love and disciplined myself into doing. I’ve been trying not to beat myself up about it and to shake it off and focus on the end result or else, I’ll just end up feeling like a failure and find myself in the same place next year.

It happens. You’ll probably find yourself taking one step forward and two steps back all the time. Take it slow if you must, but don’t stop trying.

Taylor Swift sang it well:

But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”

Have you found yourself in a similar position? How did you ‘shake it off’? Let me know in the comments below. Also, take part in Take-A-Step Thursday, a weekly event created to look for things that inspire you to take-a-step in the right direction.

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2015 Reading Challenge – Book #11 – Almost Perfect

Book #11 – A trilogy – Almost Perfect by Julie Ortolon (Perfect Trilogy #1)
Succeeded by: Just Perfect and Too Perfect
Genre: Romance/Chick Lit
Published: 2005
Country: USA

Almost Perfect by Julie OrtolonI’ve fallen in a bit of a reading and blogging slump recently. I finished this e-book about two weeks ago but just got around to reviewing it (I blame it on the lazy spell that’s hit me). I also think it’s because I really had no thoughts about this book.

The reason I chose this series was because I felt it was necessary to have some light-hearted reads in between heavy ones. Hence, I chose not to read all three books in succession but reach out to them whenever I fell into a reading slump, much as one reaches out for some chocolate to get a bit of a ‘happy kick’. If you haven’t guessed already, chick lits are my candy.

The premise of this trilogy attracted me. Three best friends – Maddy, Christine and Amy – in their early thirties, get very miffed when they find out that their very successful old college flat mate has used them as examples in her best-selling book How to Have a Perfect Life of people who did not face their fears and settled for less. The three make a pact amongst themselves that they would prove their friend wrong by doing the very things that scare them and complete them in a year’s time.

The first installment of this trilogy, Almost Perfect is about Maddy, a widowed artist who tries to face her fear of rejection by setting out to sell her work to art galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a first step to achieving this goal, she accepts a job offer to be an Arts and Craft Coordinator at a summer camp in New Mexico. The catch? The offer was sent by the matchmaking adoptive mother of her ex-childhood sweetheart who now owns the camp.

But what happens when two exes – a woman who doesn’t trust her own abilities and a man who doesn’t trust anyone else – come together? Fireworks, of course! Maddy doesn’t trust her own talent because her father belittled her as a child and made her lose her self-confidence. Joe doesn’t trust anyone because he had a hard time growing up in foster homes and trusts Maddy even less because she had broken his heart fifteen years ago. Things get very awkward when Joe finds out she is his new staff member and is going to work with him for two whole months. They agree to a truce for the sake of a working relationship and eventually give in to the attraction that never died down even after all these years.

Maddy is a cheerful, free-spirited, gypsy-like woman who wears impractical shoes and colourful clothing whereas Joe is a tough ex-army guy who strives for order and control in his life. The only thing they have in common is their love of art and their battered and bruised souls.

This book is a classic example of the ‘trust issues’ cliché in romance novels that has been done to death. The book was not a terrible read per se, however the theme was nothing new barring the ‘completing a challenge’ aspect of it. There were a few cheesy dialogues, some double entendres, lots of things-said-in the heat-of-the moment and explanations and justifications that had me rolling my eyes each time.

The main reason I was instantly hooked onto the premise of this trilogy was to read the writer’s take on how the three overcome their fears and complete their challenges while having fun and unexpectedly finding love. I didn’t expect it to be anything like a self-help book obviously (and it wasn’t!) but the almost-overnight success of Maddy in the art world was surreal and unbelievable. It all seemed so easy and effortless that the challenge part of it was completely non-existent. Yes, the story focused on the root of the cause – Maddy and Joe’s trust issues – but I just wasn’t convinced.

I also found it silly that Maddy and Joe were able to easily pick up their love life where they left off fifteen years ago only for Maddy to screw it up again towards the end. Those trust issues just kept getting more and more complicated.

However, the only part I sort of liked was that she was in touch with her best friends Christine and Amy via email whenever she needed any advice and the two would virtually dispel her self-doubts. From their brief conversations, I gathered that Amy was the cautious, sensible and staid one and Christine was the slightly more adventurous and reckless kind.

I was bored by this one but am more keen on reading the third installment, Too Perfect when I get to it and hope it lives up to its more exciting synopsis.

Book Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.

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Take-A-Step Thursday #4 – Take-A-Step Back!

First of all, I’m so pleased and thankful to everyone who has written back saying that they have found Take-A-Step Thursday an interesting idea and that they are quite eager to participate. I created this little weekly blogging event exactly a month ago and it is slowly but surely picking up and getting good feedback. Thank you so very much to the event’s participants who have been inspired in different ways – Stu of Snailzpace Daily for creating a group blog, Ashley of The Bookish Obsession for sharing an inspirational quote and Kez of The Little Novice for writing a letter dedicated to her childhood mentor.

Speaking of letters, I was a big letter-writer back in the day. In fact, it’s one of the things I miss the most before internet and mobile phones took over. I was introduced to this activity at a very young age by my father who would send letters regularly to our relatives and to my sister who was studying in India. In my childish handwriting, I would write silly jokes and riddles that I’d read somewhere and enthusiastically share the meagre happenings of my life as a seven or eight year old with my sister and cousins.

In my pre-teen years, the screeching and groaning dial-up internet connection had already made its way into our home but I was quite wary of using it as a way of making new friends through chat-rooms because you never knew who was on the other side.

I don’t remember when, how or where I heard about pen-paling but the whole concept of writing a letter to someone whom you’ve never met before in a different part of the world was very intriguing. Finding a legitimate way of acquiring a pen pal was not easy back then so my little world consisted of writing letters only to my family. I then roped in a school classmate to be my pen pal. The funny thing is, we would see each other in class everyday but would still get excited on receiving letters in our mailboxes that contained silly secrets and gossip about our other classmates and more commonly, boys.

In my mid-teens, I shifted to India for about a year and continued writing to my parents and sister (who were in Dubai), pouring my grievances and troubles onto paper and basically just being a complaining brat. I would also write letters to a bunch of faithful school best friends who had also relocated to different parts of India. Of course, I would also occasionally chat with friends and family on Yahoo and MSN Messenger in cyber cafés (remember those good ol’ days?) but the real thrill was waiting for the postman to arrive and tearing open the envelope to read familiar handwriting that would put a huge grin on my face. 😀

And then along came broadband and shifted everyone’s attention to full time emailing and chatting. Mobile phones and messaging became cheaper. Social media, instant messaging and smart phones swept us off our feet. Letter writing was sadly, a forgotten thing of the past.

Those days contain some of my best childhood memories. I have saved each and every letter and birthday card that was sent to me with so much love and every now and then, I take them out and read words that still speak to me with so much character. Those were happy and simple times where you would only stay in touch with the people you genuinely liked and not have to worry about interpreting what people said or didn’t say online.

I was reminded of my unfulfilled dream of having a pen pal from another part of the world when I saw it as a goal on DayZero Project, and I did not hesitate for a second to put it on my 101 in 1001 list! Of course, I still had no idea how to find a real pen pal. I know there are many websites that cater exclusively to finding pen pals but I am very iffy about putting up my personal details online.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across Kate’s 101 in 1001 list and saw that she too had the same goal. I commented on her post, things took off from there, and we are now international pen pals!

I have to confess. I hadn’t written a letter in several years and had no clue how to begin! What would I write to a person who I’d never met before? How would I introduce myself? How would I address her? What stationery would I use? So many of these questions ran through my mind. I was so excited at the prospect of pen-paling that I didn’t want to mess it up. The words that so easily flowed from my thoughts onto paper as a young girl were now failing me. Eventually, I got over my momentary ‘paper fright’ and wrote my first introductory letter.

It’s funny how the things that seemed so normal before were now such a big deal! My handwriting was no longer tidy and my fingers were stiff because I hadn’t actually written anything so lengthy in a very long time. Words struggled to come out with confidence so I typed out a list of things on my computer before actually writing them on paper. Even the nondescript acts of going to the post office, weighing and sealing the envelope, buying postage stamps, sticking them on and lastly, opening the squeaky mouth of the red letter box and watching the envelope being engulfed into its big cast iron belly were all things that I had done so many times before and yet it felt like I was doing them for the very first time. But the whole process brought back so many lovely memories which I thoroughly loved revisiting.

Finally my little letter was now on its around-the-world journey across several seas and an ocean to make its way into Kate’s hands! I’m now looking forward to the day when I open my mail box and find an actual letter inside and not just a bill or a bank statement. Oh, for life’s simple pleasures! 🙂

What has inspired you this week and caused you to take a step in the direction of your choice? Participate in Take-A-Step Thursday by following the steps mentioned in this post.

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
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2015 Reading Challenge – Book #10 – The Diary of a Young Girl

Book #10 – A book originally written in another language – The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Genre: Autobiography
Published: 1947 as Het Achterbuis Dagboekbrieven 14 Juni 1942 – 1 Augustus 1944
Originally written in: Dutch
Country: Netherlands
Book to TV/Movie Adaptation: Adapted for theater in 1955 and for film in 1959. Also dramatized for television in 2001.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 2This is a real life epistolary novel of Anne Frank, a 13 year old Jewish girl living in Amsterdam who went into hiding with her family in 1942, two years after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands.

Anne recounts all her experiences of living in the “Secret Annexe”, the hiding place in Anne’s father’s office building with her parents, elder sister and four others that included a family of three and a dentist. Living a secret existence for two years until 1944 was by no means the easiest thing to do but the eight fugitives had the constant support of a handful of close friends and co-workers who would risk their own lives and supply them with food, news and books from outside.

Like any young girl of a similar age, Anne goes through many several first-time experiences including reaching puberty, discovering her life’s purpose and surprisingly, even falling in love during these two years of being cooped up in the secret quarters. In this unabridged version, she even touches upon a few adult subjects which pique her interest. Her conflict with her mother is also described in great detail, where Anne claims that her parent does not understand her at all. She also ends up saying some very foolish and hurtful things to her father which she regrets later on. Having gone through similar troubled teen years myself, I could relate and sympathize with her parents for bearing with her and loving her unconditionally at the same time.

Despite the turbulent times, Anne was quite mature and wise beyond her thirteen or fourteen years. She was a deep thinker and keen observer of human behaviour,  painting such a vivid picture of all the different members of the house that it was easy to see their individual personalities through her eyes. Anne was a voracious reader whose interests lay in history, Greek and Roman mythology, art, poetry and searching for family trees. She also was a huge fan of film stars, the photos of whom she pasted all over her room’s walls.

I found Anne a very colourful and interesting personality – a girl with a great sense of humour, someone who maintained her ideals, had lots of opinions about everything and who could carry out deep conversations at great length. Towards the end of the book, she herself mentioned that although she sometimes acted superficially with her school peers and friends, she badly wanted someone with whom she could talk about subjects that hadn’t seen the daylight.

Only one thing was going through my mind when I read this surprisingly easy and funny book. It was how bold and fearless Anne was for a girl her age in those unstable times. She had a zest for life and an inimitable spirit that many would have lost in such a precarious situation. Despite the dismal circumstances, Anne talked of only hope, positivity and a beautiful life that was meant to be enjoyed. Anne also described in great detail, the goings on of the shared household from the conflicts that arose from living under the same roof with another family to almost being discovered by burglars and other workers in the building as well as the plight of the Jews who were not so fortunate and were caught by the Nazis.

There comes about a vast change from the thirteen year old Anne in 1942 to the almost fifteen year old in 1944. She becomes more sensible and less prone to acting out which results in some very quotable quotes. Her last entry spoke of how everyone called her a ‘little bundle of contradictions’ and how she was fighting to bring out the real Anne in her which everyone was trying to suppress. All in all, this book was a wonderful read. It took me on a roller coaster journey of happiness, misery, helplessness, fear and hope and I was left with a heavy sadness in my heart after I read the epilogue. The diary was retrieved from the Secret Annexe and given to Otto Frank, Anne’s father and the only surviving member of the family, after her death in a Nazi concentration camp. Otto edited the diary and got it published in 1947, thus fulfilling her wish of  ‘going on living after her death’.

Anne was a treasure trove of wisdom. I had a really hard time deciding which of her passages to include in this post but after much deletion, I selected the below:

1. Riches can all be lost, but that happiness in your own heart can only be veiled, and it will still bring you happiness again, as long as you live. As long as you can look fearlessly up into the heavens, as long as you know that you are pure within and that you will still find happiness.

2. And in the evening, when I lie in bed and end my prayers with the words, “I thank you God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful,” I am filled with joy. I don’t think then of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains. My advice is: “Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and God. Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!” And whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!

3. Keep your courage up! Like I do. Although it’s not always easy, your time may come sooner than you think.

4. I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me.

5. How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the whole day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then, without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn’t know it must learn and find experience that: ‘A quiet conscience, makes one strong!’

6. Because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are good at heart. I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.

Book Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Have you read a translated book originally written in another language that you highly recommend? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

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Take-A-Step Thursday #2 – Going Solo

TakeAStepThursday 2“One ticket for Kingsman: The Secret Service please.” I nervously but excitedly ask a bored-looking box office agent at the mall’s multiplex cinema on a Monday afternoon.

He nods and asks, “The show is at 12:30pm. You want a ticket for 4D or 2D?”

After comparing the prices of 4D and 2D, I opt for the latter. The agent asks me to choose my seat on the screen and I observe that only a handful of seats have been taken. This is to be expected since it’s almost lunch time on a work day. I choose a seat in the right hand corner of the last row at the back and part with my money. He hands me the ticket and I place it carefully in my wallet. Phew. He didn’t say anything.

I have some time to kill so I head to the shops. An hour passes away quickly and it’s almost time for the movie to start. As I climb up the few stairs to the cinemas and hand my ticket to the usher, I feel nervous again. He merely tears a portion of the ticket and hands the other back saying, “Kingsman. Cinema 3. Enjoy the movie ma’am.” I smile and say, “Thank you.” Phew. he didn’t comment either.

The movie theater is silent and the overhead orange lights are dim but enough to lead the way. I climb up the right aisle staircase and notice that a couple of solo movie patrons are already seated here and there. I head towards the back row, locate my seat and breathe a sigh of relief again. Phew. I’m not the only one.

As I settle down and fidget with my phone to silence it, I notice a few more people entering the theater. Some are on their own while some are in pairs. My heart speeds up as a pair of giggly ladies squeeze past me and settle down just a few seats away. I relax when I realize they are too engrossed in their tub of popcorn to notice anything. The lights go dark and the screen lights up with the first advertisement. I pray to God no one else has tickets to the back row. Suddenly, I stiffen up as two gentlemen, obviously playing hooky from work seat themselves right next to me and start talking. I begin to wonder what their line of work is. Probably something to do with outdoor sales so they can leave the office whenever they want? One of them receives a phone call and my earlier suspicion is confirmed when he says, “I am busy right now. Can I call you later?” Aha! So he is clearly avoiding work-related stuff today. He silences the phone and continues talking to his friend. The ads are still playing and I contemplate moving to the row below to avoid their chitter-chatter. God is on my side when the two men suddenly get up and move to the row below just as the movie is about to start. I thank my lucky stars and shift one seat closer to the aisle, distancing myself some more from the popcorn-crunching ladies and settle down to watch the movie in peace hugging my rucksack against me like a pillow. Phew, let’s get the fun started.

Maybe watching a movie alone isn’t such a weird thing after all.

“Go to a movie by myself.” I was starting to wonder if setting this DayZero goal was a hasty decision on my part or something that I would actually accomplish one day. I had never gone to the movies alone. Actually I had. I’d been alone to the movies a couple of times before, but that was during my several years working at a film festival where watching foreign films or a big film premiere after a work shift was how we would sometimes unwind, be it alone or in the company of another. I never considered it as a special ‘me time’ activity since I knew everybody at the festival and would run into one colleague or the other who was also there to enjoy a film.

But watching a movie alone in an actual theater? Now that was something outside my comfort zone. I knew a few people who did it all the time and I used to find it strange. Like the only reason they were going alone was because they had no friends or family who would go with them. I am sure that it’s not true but somehow I had that wrong impression in my mind.

Come Monday morning, a couple of days ago, I was Googling “solo activities to do” (no kidding) because I wanted to read about people’s experiences of doing something by themselves. I came across some great stuff like this blog. As I read more and more experiences, I began to feel confident and inspired. I immediately took out the daily tabloid and scanned the movie page. I got excited when I saw that Kingsman was playing because this was Colin Firth’s first proper action film and I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

I acted on impulse and went to the mall a couple of hours later. It was now or never and I am so glad I didn’t let my mind talk me out of it. Yes, I was a bit intimidated and felt vulnerable. Yes, I was worried about what the box office agent and the usher were thinking. I was also worried about the giggly ladies and the chatty men but when I saw that there were so many people who had just come on their own, I realized it wasn’t such a big deal after all. I’ve done bigger, scarier things alone in my life and this was just going to the movies.

I thoroughly enjoyed a movie for once without talking to anyone and just being in the moment. It was great fun and I can see why more people are tempted to engage in solitary activities. I learned an important lesson too – not to wait around for someone to tag along with you wherever you want to go and then feel disappointed when they don’t want to. If you can’t find a friend, you be your own partner in crime.

What have you been inspired by to do this week? Write about it on your blog and tag it TakeAStepThursday and link back to the original post on my blog. 🙂

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Take-A-Step Thursday #1 – Clean up your act

TakeAStepThursday 2
My very first Take-A-Step Thursday! Well, technically it’s my second because last week I was inspired to create the Take-A-Step Thursday event.

I’ve become pretty much OBSESSED with organizing. This might come naturally to many but I think I missed the day when God was handing out this important basic skill and for the most part of my life, a messy room, wardrobe and desk space was what I was famously known for.

Of course, I would occasionally spring clean but it usually wasn’t easy for me to let go. I always told myself that the big fat blue folder full of yellowed article clippings from 15 years ago was worth holding on to, that the pants from 5 years ago were still wearable and that I would read those travel brochures one day. Well, that day never came, things kept piling up and I was labelled a ‘hoarder’ and a ‘pack rat’ in my work and family circles.

Thankfully, that part of my life is behind me. I don’t know how or when it happened, but about a year or two ago, my mind just couldn’t take the overwhelming chaos anymore. I went through everything I owned, item by item and threw or recycled the things I didn’t need. Not being able to find anything useful and a serious lack of storage space were big motivators for me to throw out the old and bring in the new.

I can now say this truthfully. Seeing my old junk leave the house is the best feeling I’ve ever had. It makes room for so many good things in life, two of them being a better peace of mind and a sharper level of focus. Creativity does flow freely in a clean home and I am now able to be more inspired to take on different challenges, like for example giving more attention to this blog.

This week, I was inspired to detoxify my email clutter. This was also one of the items that I gleefully checked off on my DayZero Project list (I haven’t posted all my goals on the blog yet).

It’s amazing the amount of storage space we take up both physically and virtually! I went through the arduous task of clearing out my 7 email addresses two days ago. YES, SEVEN. I know, I’m very excessive.

Anyway, I took two straight days this week to delete all spam, Facebook and Twitter comments and messages, unsubscribe to countless subscriptions to newsletters and updates which I never read, uncheck email notification boxes in all my social networks which are checked by default and went through emails from 2005 (!!!) including folders and sent items and deleted everything before 2012. After deleting more than 10,000+ emails combined (!!!!) and moving the important ones to their respective folders, my fingers were sore and my mind numb.

But man, oh man, it was the BEST time investment ever. Reading some of those emails from all of those years ago was not fun but it was interesting to see how much I have changed since then. It feels incredibly good to let go of the past. I now have a squeaky clean inbox and the important stuff is neatly tucked away where it’s supposed to be. Such a relief!

My next big clean-up tasks include cleaning my Facebook messages from several years ago which is a bit of a pain because you have to individually delete each message. Also up is decluttering my laptop because randomly downloaded stuff and personal photographs have gotten a bit out of hand. I also plan to go through my external hard drive to see if I can maximise space.

Clearing out clutter is such a liberating experience. I learned some pretty valuable lessons along the way to my home detox journey, inspired by so many Youtubers and websites:

1. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, start by making your bed. You’ll automatically feel so much better! If it’s already made, then great! You’ve accomplished a big task already. I don’t know where I heard or read this great tip but I’ve been following it pretty consistently for some months. Admiral William McRaven also instills the same disciplinary habit in his Navy SEAL students the moment they enroll :

Make your bed

2. I discovered Terri a couple of days ago and absolutely love her motivational videos. She also has some great videos on clutter clear outs where she suggests starting with the most important room in the house and then spending just 20 minutes each day cleaning the mess that is visible on the outside and then moving on to out-of-sight items gradually.

3. Alejandra, a home organizing guru, is my original inspiration from two years ago and I really aspire to have a completely organized home like hers. She has a place for anything and everything!

4. Of course, Pinterest is just lovely. I could spend years and years on it and still wouldn’t be able to tap its wonderful potential. It’s a great inspiration tool for DIY projects and to make the best of what you already have.

5. Regina Brett, one of my favourite authors who has written this famous book, also wrote a great article about decluttering which I came across recently. Her inspiration is a Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo who lives by one rule – Only keep the things that spark joy in you and let go of the rest after thanking them for fulfilling their purpose in your life. Pretty powerful advice.

6. The biggest tip I would give is, do it periodically – maybe once every six months. Take a couple of weekends and go through all your things again. You’ll not only relive good memories but you’ll probably wonder why you still have a bunch of receipts and those worn out pair of shoes lying around. Remember, less is more.

I have by no means reached the level of organization that I want to but I am pretty happy that I have gotten so far. I hope this post inspired you in some way to accomplish a challenge that you’ve been wanting to do since forever.

So what have you been inspired by this week? Share your inspirations on your blog every Thursday with a link back to the original post and the tag TakeAStepThursday. 🙂

You can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com
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