Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Review: Spark Joy

9:30 AM 0 Comments
Marie Kondo’s unique KonMari Method of tidying up is nothing short of life-changing—and her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has become a worldwide sensation. In Spark Joy, Kondo presents an in-depth, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections. User-friendly line drawings illustrate Kondo’s patented folding method as it applies to shirts, pants, socks, and jackets, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets. This book is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy.


If you read my post Reclaiming Me, you'll know that one of the things that I'm working on as part of reclaiming me and my life is reclaiming my house. So, it should be no surprise that when this book became available for review, my curiosity got the better of me. I'm a pretty good organizer but nobody is perfect and new ideas are always welcome!

Let me start out by saying that if you haven't read the first book, you may have difficulty with this one. Over all though, I found this one to be handy. I really love her theme of keeping things that only bring you joy. That's one of the things that I've talked to others about and something I truly believe in. Your home should be your sanctuary and if it's filled with things that make you unhappy then you won't be able to relax in it. This book is more in-depth and while it may seem repetitive at times, it does give a lot of great information. Granted, if you're like me, you won't consider your belongings to have human emotions and such, but if you can look past that, there's a lot of good information to be found.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Reclaiming Me

8:02 PM
Early after being diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and all the rest of the mess, I said that I would be as transparent as possible with things. One of the things that I deal with is a combination of ocd and hoarding tendencies. What does that mean? When I get really low, I surround myself with things. I'm poor as all get out so I'm not really buying much, but I also don't get rid of things. I just sit things down and leave them there. I build a protective nest/wall around myself. Then, the ocd kicks in and my brain says if you can't make it perfect right now...with every tiny project finished, you shouldn't even bother. The lower I get, the worse it gets and it doesn't take long before the house becomes a representation of the chaos that's in my head.

As if that's not bad enough, this starts a vicious cycle because as the mess builds, my mood sinks further and further because the voices in my head pipe up telling me how useless I am, what an awful mother I am, etc for letting it get this way to begin with. My mood drops, the mess grows and I get stuck in this awful cycle that feels impossible to break.

It isn't impossible though. It takes a lot ...a lot of emotional energy, a lot of physical energy, a lot of deep breathes and a lot of support... but it isn't impossible to break the cycle. It took every bit of brave that I had, but I posted before photos of my living room to a private group on Facebook. The support that I've received has kept me going on days when I just want to hide. Only a couple of people outside of that group know how I've spent my time offline. I want to share it now with all of you. Maybe it will give hope to someone who is stuck in that same cycle. I know that I'm not alone in it. When I wake up and feel like I'm useless and can't do anything, I look at these pictures and can see that it's just not true. Sometimes there's no better reminder than physical proof.

This is what my living room looked like about 10 days ago. I'd lost all control when it came to doing more than the bare minimum of living. Just looking at this room completely overwhelmed me and made me want to hide. It was Ben that had me taking that first deep breath when he asked me if I could clean the living room as his birthday present since money was so tight. It took me 5 days, but every day I chose an area, took yet another deep breath and grabbed yet another trash bag and at the end of the week, I had this waiting for them when they walked in the door:

Roger got to the door first and all I heard was "Holy shit, mom...are you some kind of wizard?" Ben got to the door and his response was "Oh my god, mom...this is amazing!" They were proud of me and seeing Roger sprawled on the floor doing homework pretty much made my weekend. That helped fuel me to work on the bathroom this week...

It's only been 2 days in there, but progress is happening. This isn't all of the bathroom in photos, but it is the areas that I've worked on so far. I'll take more tomorrow to cover the rest of the room..and maybe I'll continue to share them here.

Things have been wiped down, emptied out, organized, purged, and put back. I have an entire grocery bag full of extra bathroom things that I'll be donating to the Homeless Angels once I also collect up outgrown clothing and spare blankets to go with it.

Today was a very emotional day for some reason and I told myself that it was okay to not do anything and to just have a self love kind of day. Instead, I found myself changing over the laundry..folding the dry, hanging the wet (my dryer died), and putting in another load to wash. I told myself that was enough..then when I went into the kitchen or the bathroom, I found myself doing a bit of tidying. I needed a tote for part of the bathroom project..and realized I had one in the laundry room full of fabric I would probably never use. So, I grabbed it..after all, it's not doing much and I could relax on the couch while doing it. Three totes later, I'd purged 3 trash bags full of fabric (already posted and picked up by someone who lives locally) and only kept 1 grocery bag with some crafting things and fabric in it.

This whole thing is important. As I reclaim this house, I'm reclaiming myself and I'm reclaiming my belief that I have control in my world. I'm showing myself that I can do things. I don't have to be stuck. There will be good days and bad days, but like I said before...I'm still here and I'm still fighting...


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Shutting Down...Closing the Door...and Hiding...

12:25 PM
Over the past few weeks, it's been pointed out to me that I've changed...the girl who used to be so open has hidden herself away, she's more careful with what she says and she doesn't really talk to anyone anymore. Sure, she posts on social media, but it's shallow. It's not what's inside her. It's just enough so that people will leave her alone.

Those people are right. Losing Reece changed me. It woke up every feeling of insecurity and worthlessness that I've ever felt. It took me to a place that I never thought I would see again. A few weeks ago, I planned on killing myself. While I'm glad that I didn't, living with these feelings has been incredibly hard. I've shut myself off to most people. People scare me. There. I said it. People scare me.

There are very few people that I trust right now and it's to those people that I turn. They're doing their best to remind me how amazing and awesome I am and while I don't argue with them, it's hard for me to believe them. What happened to the girl who was starting to believe that she could do anything? It's as if she got knocked down and then trampled on until there was nothing of her left but a battered and bruised shell.

The thing about bruises is that they heal. Some take longer than others, but broken bones, broken hearts, and bruises all heal. It's a process and for someone who constantly has a voice in their head that tears them apart, it can be a long process. Yes, I've hidden myself away but I needed to. I needed to focus on myself and deciding if I were worth the effort. I'm not ready to come out yet. I need this time with me so I can try to be okay again. I have doubts that I'll ever find happy again, but right now, okay seems like a pretty good place to be.

Yes, people scare me, but I know that over time I'll slowly start to stick my head out again. I'll find my place and maybe even love again, but right now, I'm going to be quiet. I'm going to protect my heart because it's fragile. The wrong thing said by someone I care about starts the tears flowing. Letting even a few in has been incredibly hard when all I want to do is hide. We're all built with the instinctual fight or flight response. Mine has always been flight. By letting even one person in, I'm trying to fight. I'm trying to silence the awful feelings of worthlessness, of being forgettable, of being a nobody unworthy of anything good.

I'm here...and I'm fighting...but for me, right now, it's a silent fight...


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Friday, January 8, 2016

Book Review: Design the Life You Love

9:30 AM 0 Comments
A joyful, inspirational guide to building the life you've always dreamed of, using the principles and creative process of an award-winning product designer.

     Life, just like a design problem, is full of constraints--time, money, age, location, and circumstances. You cannot have everything, and if you want more out of it, you have to be creative about how to make what you need and what you want co-exist. This requires design thinking. Design the Life You Love uses a simple but proven creative thinking and design process to give ordinary people new tools to think about life differently, and also includes fascinating examples from the world of art and design that relate to each step of the process, plus guided creative exercises. Turn constraints into opportunities with optimism and holistic thinking using four simple steps: taking the whole apart, forming a new point of view, putting it back together, and giving it form. The striking design and Ayse Birsel's hand-drawn art and type set off her brilliant, life-changing design process, empowering and inspiring readers to create a better life.

I've had this book here for ages and am just writing this review. Why? Because I wanted to take my time really going through this book. The author suggests that you spend no more than 20 minutes at a time working through it and I found that to be perfect. It was just enough time to really get into the topic and at the same time not overwhelm myself with it.

As a lot of you know, my life has been pretty chaotic and this book is all about learning about yourself and building the kind of life that you love. The best parts? It's simple without being too simplistic and optimistic without feeling impossible. I love the little drawing throughout the book.

Bottom line? Go and pick this one up. Take your time working through it and I hope you love it as much as I do.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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