I haven’t always been this tidy.

But a small flat makes you put away stuff quick.  At this point in my life I don’t leave things lying around as there aren’t any spare rooms for things to be just dumped. Downsizing certainly makes you face up to how many possessions you have and, critically, where you put them.  But there’s quite a trend at the moment for tidying the Kondo way. This is the quite exquisite Marie Kondo, the Japanese expert in letting things go and putting things away.  Note that there’s a bit of a backlash against her, but actually I’m not having it – she’s lovely and has some great ideas. I got her book when it came out, and you can pick and choose and take from her what you will. Because, some of her advice makes good sense.

Currently, Kondo has a series on Netflix and one day I watched 3 episodes back-to-back. That’s enough – I get what she’s saying.  She’s such a sweet person though, and she’s tackling people who have serious issues around stuff/possessions/things, I mean they’re either very, very dis-organised or near to being horders, although I was totally taken by the lovely family who were crammed into a 2-bed flat. I get that as there’s the two of us in 2-bed flat.

You know why I downsized, don’t you?  I was determined to not be any bother to my kids, so the decision to move to a smaller place with fewer possessions was centred around that, plus, you know, it’s sensible, and finally, for a variety of reasons I won’t go into here, these apartments are cheap. I live in one of the best roads in Brighton yet this flat cost next to nothing.

As far as I’m concerned, this move was such a positive thing to do. And btw, the same goes for Mr F, as I’ve heard several of the very much older residents in this block/condo saying that they couldn’t possibly have moved any earlier because their husband wouldn’t let them move. Actually, I’ve met this response in my younger ‘old’ friends. And an acquaintance said to me, well, I’m not going to worry about my children sorting out my things. I’ll be dead! Gosh, some people….

Anyway, back to tidying. As I said, I don’t follow Kondo to the letter, and interestingly the first 3 episodes showed her folding system, but only t-shirts and jeans. Do have a look, as it’s a revelation, but what about flouncy skirts?  Or blouses? And my dresses? But, I do roll my socks and knickers.  And I love doing that!

I also roll things when I pack a suitcase.

Then there’s paper-work, the detritus of our lives: the letters, the books we can’t let go, the invoices, the receipts, the family history, this list can go on and on. Well, all family history stuff is kept.  My children (in their 40s) are not the least bit interested in family history, but they will be. Letters – nope, receipts – no, invoices – no, old bills – nope, but tax information – yes, absolutely keep what you have to, instructions and manuals – get those online, so chuck.

But photographs and books? This is, by far, the most difficult area, bar one (see below). Photographs are Mr F’s area. As well as being a keen photographer he also loves organising stuff. When he inherited my mother’s biscuit tin of photographs (in those paper envelopes) plus their negatives, he filed the lot!  And all our photographs have been catalogued. The next step was he digitalised all our photographs – don’t ask. It seemed to take forever. But now the photographic collection has entered another stage, which consists of two things. First is, with my input alongside his, we are beginning to throw out photographs that don’t have meaning, as in blurred shots and views without people. Incidentally, we also have all my mother’s family albums including those of my grandmother’s, which, before my mother died I asked for all the names of these Edwardian and Victorian people, otherwise, you’d be saying, who are they?

And then I posed a challenge to Mr F, saying of what use was this digitalised and catalogued collection? How would future generations access this? There’s a really long explanation and answer here about how digital progress is so fast that today’s digital stuff will be unusable in just a few years, forget two generations away. To cut to the chase, he is making a series of photographic books for different occasions and different people. So far, it’s been grandson from birth up to the age of 10, and daughter and son from birth to the age of 40. This is what Mr F does all day now!

But books? This is where there’s quite a backlash against Kondo’s view of clutter. Books?  They are so important, etc, etc. Thing is, I had that usual huge collection of books ranging from childhood favourites, books from uni, novels, and those fat non-fiction books, some of which I read, and some where I said, I simply must read, but often never did.  In one house I had there was a whole room of books. In addition, I always had an office with more and more books. But not now, nope, no.  Absolutely, no.  OK, we do have the 2ndbedroom as an office, and from our last house when we had books in the living-room plus two sets of shelves full of books in my office, and 3 sets of shelves in Mr F’s office, we have gone down to one set of shelves for both of us! I have very, very few novels in my area, it’s mostly non-fiction and still, I admit to having a few of those, I simply-must-read-but-haven’t-yet!  But, I do not decorate my flat with books, end-of. One, there are libraries, two, there are charity shops full of books, which I read and give back, and I still buy the occasional book (at Waterstones) but, you know what, I mostly pass them on. Then there’s the Kindle on my phone – I’ve quite a library there!

Here’s the shot of my books shelves showing you how they’re used now!

Sentimental things, though? Ah, yes, they are the sticking point. I have one box of the ubiquitous family silver, which I saw my mother polish once a week throughout my childhood. They don’t have any meaning to me, apart from, feeling, yes, I must keep these, so they’re archived in my daughter’s loft. But I have kept the silver teapot which we drank tea from every single day of my childhood – it’s not used any more but it is on display.

I haven’t mentioned clothes. I have a one-in-one-out policy and now am pretty good about that, and also I’m aiming to not buying new this year. Also I’ve started taking a couple of things to a dress agency with some success. But I do get how difficult the whole thing is. Let me know how you feel about hanging on to possessions.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

 P.S. The YouTube thing is going well, and there is now an icon at the side (or at the bottom if reading on a phone) which will take you straight to the channel. You now have a choice of 3 videos to watch: a 25-minute video; a 5-minute video and the latest, which is a complete makeover with a lovely beautician who gives me (and everyone else) some great tips! More to come soon, but so much to learn! This is just the beginning. Thank you so much for watching.  And, hey, let me know what you want to see!

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
instagraminstagram

28 thoughts on “Being tidy

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 9:24 am
    Permalink

    What a timely post, Penny. I have been tidying (one shelf at time) for the past couple of weeks and yesterday I went through Mum’s biscuit tin which has been lying for 2 years but I couldn’t face doing. I watched Marie Kondo while I was ironing & I’m going to rearrange my drawer space today. I must also say our husbands have a lot in common as mine has also digitalised all our photos and I like the idea of your special books. Thanks also to your make up video I paid a visit to the Clarins counter & invested in their Skin Illusion Foundation. Keep up the good work.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:17 am
      Permalink

      Ah, those biscuit tins full of photographs and the negatives as well! Marie Kondo is lovely and her ideas although not original, I mean tidying is as old as the hills, but she does make sense and you don’t have to do everything she says.

      And that foundation is amazing – hope it’s good for you 🙂

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 10:47 am
    Permalink

    I live in what is technically called a three-bedroom house but is in fact a one-bedroomed house with a walk-in wardrobe and an “office”. I can’t decide whether to declutter or simply relax and embrace the real me.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:19 am
      Permalink

      I didn’t de-clutter properly until I retired, but I have to say I’ve moved a lot so packing things up and thinking do I need this has been something I’ve been doing for a long time. You will know if it’s right for you 🙂

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 1:18 pm
    Permalink

    I agree we accumulate too much ‘stuff’ and it is good to ask why. I always have periodic clear outs, but downsizing as I did from large Edwardian 5 bed to small interwar 3 bed semi was both traumatic and instructive. At the end of the day we are all dead and I certainly don’t want to leave my children with a load of ‘stuff’ to sort out, having had to do that separately for both my parents. I still have too much but see retirement as the opportunity to a) let go of a lot of work related ‘stuff’ and b) sort out and save key family history, photos and films and do it in a way that will help my children rather than be a burden. I am not good at ‘putting things away’, but as I live on my own I can cope with piles of paper on the floor or dining table. Never heard of Kondo, but will keep an eye open. Always good to be receptive to new ideas.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:23 am
      Permalink

      You’re right about retirement being the time for de-cluttering as who has the time for anything whilst working! The book came out a couple of years ago – the first episode of the Kondo Netflix series gives you a sense of her rolling technique which is useful, but I did wonder about dresses, which no-one seemed to have in the 3 episodes I watched. But rolling for socks, yes!

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 3:16 pm
    Permalink

    Penny, I am setting aside time to your watch your videos; I haven’t forgotten…

    I congratulate you on your downsizing and reduction of stuff. I am in awe of your beautifully organised shelves, but I absolutely love my books and won’t get rid of them. Just looking at them gives me immense pleasure. I have learnt not to hang on to them once they’re read and they’re usually donated or if I loved them and plan to read them again I keep them. I’m quite good at getting rid of stuff; paper is thrown away or filed and every so often I go through the files and throw away.

    Your make up area is very swish and super organised, too. Mine is not all in one place but it is organised.

    Mr FF sounds like a star with his photographic project. I was a bit scared to read our current digitisation of stuff will be obsolete pretty soon – that never occurred to me. I had put most of my digitally taken photos onto USB drives some years ago. I have a big shallow basket full of physical photos which I need to do something about. Many are labelled but I know my children won’t know who the heck half of the people are when I’m gone, so that’s a project I need to get on with!

    Have a great week!
    xxxx

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:34 am
      Permalink

      Re: the digital problem. Some time ago I attended a lecture given by the town’s archivist and he said the digital age will be a black hole to future historians. He showed us parchments that dated back 500 years ago and talked about the longevity of various types of paper, and then he said, how will future generations view our lives in the digital age? He gave an example of school registers that were once handwritten but now are digitalised. For a start, he said, there will have to a warehouse with each town archive for all the hardware that has gone out of date like todays Macs and PCs and the discs and sticks. Because in 100 years time how will people access the hard drives of various types of computers and the software, the floppy discs? USB drives in 200 years? They will all be unknown. Think of the villages and towns in the UK who put something on those huge hard discs in the year 2000 – who can access them now? And on and on he went!!!!!!! So it’s his voice I hear in my head when I do go on about making these ‘books’ from our digitalised photos.

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 3:48 pm
    Permalink

    I think the rolling technique is very good because you can open a drawer ans see what you’ve got straight away. It’s easier to keep it tidy too. I’m always having clear-outs but I’m not very ruthless! Part of the problem is that if I were to give away all my fabrics and yarns I would have to admit to myself that I’m not going to do these things anymore. I still alter & mend things so I won’t part with my sewing machine but all those patterns……….? What I really need is someone to cut out for me as the last time I did it I put my back out.
    I really hate sorting paperwork and have to force myself to do it- I need to look at all the bank statements etc from having POA for my parents and being their executor, I’m sure I don’t need to keep it all! That’s what’s good about moving frequently, for me anyway. My sister still has boxes in her garage that have been taken to 2 houses without even being opened!

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:41 am
      Permalink

      Rolling is great and I do it more than just socks, I do T-shirts as well. Moving certainly helped to get me to a de-cluttering frame of mind. Every time I packed up I said, do I need it? But like most people didn’t have much spare time when I worked so it’s only with retirement that I’ve really tackled ‘stuff’. And then it was this move.

      Ah yes, the boxes you never unpack – had a few of those in my time!!!

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 5:34 pm
    Permalink

    Having listened to You and Yours R4 today, I’ve been sorting my jumper drawer and scarf drawer all afternoon! I wasn’t convinced the sausage thing would work, but it has saved space – plus I filled a bag for donating. Tomorrow the undie drawer! Though, I have noticed that after declutterings in the past, stuff seems to creep back in, so I must adopt your rule – one in, one out.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:42 am
      Permalink

      I do try to keep to that one in, one out, and pretty much keep to it now. Good luck with that 🙂

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 9:31 pm
    Permalink

    That looks very tidy, I need to take a leaf out of your book. I also need to invest in a few hats! I never quite seem to take the jump and buy one! May that change in the next few weeks! Jacqui Mummabstylish

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:44 am
      Permalink

      Well I think the thing is you’ve got to love a hat to buy it – you’ll know! I try on many hats and walk away from them, but then all of a sudden I see one and have to have it. Wait for that feeling!

  • Avatar
    15th January 2019 at 10:23 pm
    Permalink

    I must be your ‘downunder twin’! We downsized 10 years ago to a 2 bedroom unit for all the same reasons you mention. I found it very satisfying getting rid of all the useless clutter that we accumulated in a big house. In 2017, I decided to do the ‘get rid of 365 items’ challenge (one a day for a year) and am happy to say that I could only get to 267. If I bring something in, something must go out. We travel a lot, so it’s nice to be able to just shut the door and go away for any length of time and then come home to a very tidy and uncluttered space.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      16th January 2019 at 8:47 am
      Permalink

      Yes, I don’t think I said in this post that de-cluttering is very freeing and cathartic – it feels good to do it! Great to meet you, twin!

  • Avatar
    16th January 2019 at 9:59 am
    Permalink

    My husband is also a keen photographer and has been producing books of his pics for the last few years. Recently he helped me produce a book of my family from the box of old photos, birth certificates, ration books etc. which inspired me to research my family history – back to 1822. Job finished and feeling very satisfied with it – but can’t dump the photos & docs. Think I’ll take your route: daughter’s loft.
    On to make-up. I’ve loved it since I was about 11 or 12 and spent my pocket money on it; coming up to 73, so that’s a lot of lipstick. I never throw stuff away unless it’s finished, dried up, grainy or I don’t like it. Despite was the experts say, it lasts years. I’m wearing 20 yr old lippy today. Absolutely fine.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      22nd January 2019 at 8:45 am
      Permalink

      The making something of old photos could keep Mr F occupied for ever, but like you, feel it is so worthwhile. Yes, instead of us keeping our kids things in the loft, now we don’t have one our daughter keeps our things in her loft!!!

      Btw, re: makeup, I think old lippy is fine, but I have blepharitis which I have to work hard to keep at bay. On my optician’s advice I wash brushes every week and all eye makeup is thrown after a year or so, which is why ironically (for someone purporting to be a YouTuber on makeup) I don’t have a lot of makeup!

  • Avatar
    16th January 2019 at 2:34 pm
    Permalink

    I love your posts and the comments! I haven’t heard of the ‘get rid of 365 items’ challenge but it sounds brilliant. I’m going to check that one out. We haven’t downsized yet but I don’t think it will be that long before we do and I must admit I’m not into stuff and clutter. However, Mr FF is not quite the same. The garage is his workshop and I break out in hives every time I go in there! However, we are working together to recycle or donate some of the contents…Wish us luck!

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      22nd January 2019 at 8:50 am
      Permalink

      Ah yes, we had a garage once which was full of everything bar a car!!!! But part of our downsizing is that we moved from a large house to a smaller one before we moved from a small house to a flat. It is perhaps easier if you do it that way. Mr F found it difficult to get rid of things but right at the last minute (actually the last month) he got down to it and got rid of masses of stuff. He also has found the whole experience very positive. Yes, the very best of luck with your decluttering – I’m sure you’ll find it a good thing to do.

  • Avatar
    16th January 2019 at 3:01 pm
    Permalink

    We downsized recently too, and it’s nice to get rid of those things that are just there. We don’t use them, and what good are they doing us??
    My downfall is clothes, not books. I gave up the books long ago, when I realized I only read a book once. So after I read it I give it to a friend.
    But clothes are my passion, and my closet isn’t quite as tidy as I wish. I do take some pieces to the consignment store, but I need to get better about this part of my life!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      22nd January 2019 at 8:57 am
      Permalink

      Clothes, yes, I feel what you feel about clothes, but I have got to grips with having an overfull closet/wardrobe. I do my utmost to buy 2nd hand and therefore have no worries about dealing with those ‘well, I never wear this but I should keep it because….. as that often ended, because it cost a lot of money! I do have one part of the closet full of dresses that are only worn on cruises but every one of them is worn when I go on a cruise. And the rest? I am really hard on clothes that are not worn very often or are not quite right – out they go! Have a great rest of the week xxx

  • Avatar
    16th January 2019 at 10:13 pm
    Permalink

    I have been reading about the Kondo effect in several news columns lately here , both supportive and critical. The series is on Netflix here , so I wont see it and not of much interest as I m more of a maximilist than a minimalist any way. That said I do have a good de-clutter from time to time. I have a several inherited family things, EPNS silver tea sets and china that are just sitting in a dresser unused so maybe its time for them to go .
    I was very interested about the digital photo area as this is something I have always said that families will loose their photographic history.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      22nd January 2019 at 9:01 am
      Permalink

      I love you’re a maximalist because I was once like that and enjoyed it very much!

      And that lecture stays in my mind: with our phones being updated every year and the hardware changing all the time how will our descendants access our lives. Family history and any history has to be on paper of some kind.

  • Avatar
    19th January 2019 at 3:31 pm
    Permalink

    I must admit I have a bit of shiver about the Kondo style tidying, and I’ll write about it soon. We are fairly tidy but Mr M has a habit of accumulating various bike and electrical detritus which he can never get rid of. So in my office, the shelves of the very practical IKEA unit house boxes of cables and Microsoft disks and goodness knows what. I know I should just chuck it out but…..

    On books, I had LOTs. Then we bought a new bookcase that held far fewer, so sadly I had to let some go. I mostly read on a tablet now, but I still like to keep my favourite books and recipe books in “original format.”

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      22nd January 2019 at 9:05 am
      Permalink

      Although Mr F has downsized and decluttered admirably, he still has those drawers filled with leads and bits and I have no idea of their use or usefulness, but as they all fit very neatly under a tidy Ikea desk I leave them alone. Personally I think these electrical bits in drawers are the equivalent of our makeup drawers!!!!!

      I still have books but like you not the number I had.

  • Avatar
    20th January 2019 at 1:52 pm
    Permalink

    Having just undertaken the task of getting rid of a relative’s paperwork, I can relate to much of what you say, Penny. I have thrown away letters dating back to the late 1970s! I am downsizing bit by bit but we are not ready to move yet – just making it easier for when we do. I am allowing myself one small box of ‘memories’ (mainly children’s drawings etc) and apart from that it has to go. I am not aware of Marie Kondo but intend looking her up. I also roll clothes when packing a suitcase – far less creases.

    • the frugal fashion shopper
      22nd January 2019 at 9:10 am
      Permalink

      Just read your blog and blasted WordPress didn’t let me like – will try again! Marie Kondo has had a lot of stick lately but within all the hype around her system are some good ideas. She’s on Netflix and her folding is a bit different to rolling but it appears to make a huge difference to people who cram things in wardrobes. Everything you’re doing is positive and will help when you do move 🙂

Comments are closed.