TAKING STOCK - January 2017

And just like that, we have reached the end of January! One month down, 11 to go! Is it really going to be one of those years when we blink and it's Christmas again! Eek!

Welcome to the first 'Taking Stock' post for 2017. You can read all of my 'Taking Stock' posts HERE. Pip from Meet Me At Mike is the mastermind behind this series, so be sure to check out her blog. This is something I have done since I started blogging and will continue to do this year - I love looking back at previous months. In a nutshell, it's simply taking a step back and 'taking stock' of what's currently happening in your life. 

Here's what's been happening in the month of JANUARY...

Making: memories with my family. Earlier this month, we had a Mini Family Holiday. We took the kids up to the top of New Zealand, to Cape Reinga. The view was amazing, the weather was gorgeous and the kids had a great time swimming at every beach we went to. 

Drinking: water - lots and lots of water

Reading: Spark Joy - needing some inspiration as I head into my next KonMari series - 'KonMari With Kids' - next week I am kicking it off with CLOTHES...Watch this space. 

Trawling: the internet for kids lunch box ideas - I came across this amazing page with lots of inspiration. 

Wanting: Home & Away to come back! We are going to be a week behind Australia. The suspense is killing me. No spoilers please Australian followers x

Enjoying: meeting blogging friends! After a couple of years of chatting online, I finally got to meet my blogging gal pals, Claire (My Other Name is Mum) & Lydia (Always Made With Love), and their gorgeous babies. 

Looking: forward to getting back into my morning routines. Don't get me wrong, I have LOVED my sleep ins and not having to do school drop off and pick up, however those extra couple of hours of sleep ins have resulted in me being a little less productive with my time. Oops. 

Deciding: what bed to buy Miss B for her birthday. She is getting a mini room makeover for her 12th Birthday this year. 

Cooking: Slow Cooker 'Pulled' Bolar Roast - thanks to my sis-in-law for sharing her recipe with me. It was so good, and the best thing is: we had a bit left over to make a pie for dinner the next night! Winning!

Wishing: everyone who celebrated a birthday this month - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! Hope you had a wonderful day x

Liking: Project 333. I am really glad I started it - this has been my first month. I am no longer stressed in the morning wondering what I am going to wear, because everything that is in my wardrobe I love and feel comfortable in - that's the most important thing, right? 

Wondering: how Miss B's first day is going to go tomorrow. She is quite anxious about new beginnings. Hopefully all will be fine and she will have a fab day. 

Buying: new stationery from KMart and a gorgeous cleaning journal from Warehouse Stationery.

Loving: the #31Days2GetOrganized challenge with Peter Walsh. It's amazing what you can achieve in 10 - 15 minutes. Most of the areas in my home were in pretty good shape since My KonMari Journey, however there were a few things that left my home because they didn't spark joy or I hadn't used them in a while. 

Playing: with Master M! I saw a friend share this idea on her SnapChat and had to give it a go.  All you need to do is freeze some small toys and let your child break the ice to get them out, or wait for the ice to melt. My son loved it - he was determined to get all of his dinosaurs. 

Hoping: to catch up with my Coffee Group next week! It's been ages since we caught up. 

Marvelling: at @an_organized_life 's Instagram feed! Lauren has a stunning home and shares some great tips about how to keep your home organised. She is such an inspiration.

Knowing: how to fold a fitted sheet has been a game changer for me! Love it! 

Needing: a nap.

Wearing: my Havaianas everywhere.

Admiring: these gorgeous flowers my sis-in-law picked for me from their new home! 

Feeling: nervous about my new job.

: Gilmore Girls - I am up to Season 6, Episode 5...It's been awesome watching from the beginning.

Celebrating: ONE YEAR LATER of My KonMari Journey. 

Now it's YOUR turn...

Tell me, what's been happening in YOUR world? How was JANUARY for you?
Choose three (or more) words from the list and 'take stock' in the comments below.


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My KonMari Journey: One Year Later

I can't believe just over a year ago I started 'My KonMari Journey' - it's a surreal feeling, however reading the book 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo and implementing her method in my home has been one of the best things I have done for me, my family and my home . It really has been life-changing! 

When I read the book, I was instantly mesmerised by the 'KonMari Method' and wondered if it would actually work for a sentimental hoarder like myself. I read other blogs and watched videos on YouTube of people who were sharing their own KonMari journey and it inspired me to share mine. And that is exactly what I did and I am really glad because it has inspired so many of you to start your own journey. 

One of my readers asked/requested...

I'd love for you to diarise a "one year on" from each area you cleared and report back with an update, what worked, what you've subsequently got rid of or wished you'd kept or acquired.

I often get asked - 'Do you regret anything you have decluttered?' - and the simple answer is NO. The items I have purged, no longer served a purpose in my home and in my life - so therefore I was happy to thank them and let them go (yes I thanked a few things - if it felt right, I said it). It's amazing how much stuff I actually had to begin with and often thought 'where did it all come from'. I did say in my Introduction post that I was very good at hiding things...and that was evident in the 'before' photos of each category. I was truly blown away at how much stuff I had accumulated or held on to all these years. 

So? How does my home look 'ONE YEAR LATER'...

Let's quickly go through the categories again and see how 'life changing' this method really is...(Remember: the order of the KonMari method is: Clothes, Books, Paper, Komono (Miscellaneous) and finally Sentimental). If you missed any of the posts from 'My KonMari Journey', you can read them all HERE.


I love clothes, I used to hoard clothes. I kept everything! Since I started the KonMari method, my whole mindset on 'Clothes' has changed a lot, especially in the past year and I never thought I would say that. Read from the beginning: 'My KonMari Journey: Clothes"

One Year Later...
Nowadays, if I don't like something I put it straight in the donate pile. I am also more selective of the clothes I buy, in fact, I hardly ever buy stuff on clearance, just because it's 'on sale' - I have realised that most of the stuff I have bought on clearance - I have discarded. So when I am shopping, I buy things that 'spark joy' when I touch them, even more so, if I try the item on (which I have found I'm doing more of).

Towards the end of last year, I watched The Minimalists documentary 'Minimalism' on Netflix, (which was great), and was inspired by Courtney from Be More with Less - who created 'Project 333' - 'minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months'. 

On the first of January 2017, I started my Project 333 journey, selecting only 33 items to wear for 3 months. My wardrobe is less cluttered, and finding something to wear, in the morning, is a breeze because everything I have in my wardrobe & drawers I love and it 'sparks joy'. All that is in my drawers is my underwear, pyjamas and active wear/lounge wear - these items are not included in 'Project 333'. For someone who, less than 5 years ago, could have opened her own op-shop, this is a good reflection on how far I have come in 'keeping life simple' and putting the KonMari method & principles to good use. I'm coming to the end of my first month of Project 333 and so far I am loving this challenge. The only thing I have bought is some new tights, to replace some old ones. 

If you want to know more about Project 333, click HERE.


One Year Later...
Since I completed 'My KonMari Journey: Books', the only thing that has changed is that I have added two books to my already small library collection. 

1) 'Spark Joy' by Marie Kondo 
2) 'Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life' by Kate James. 

I absolutely love these two books, and have thoroughly enjoyed reading them over the Summer. I refer to them often when I am looking for guidance or motivation. 

Spark Joy is Marie Kondo's second book, a follow up to 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up'. Spark Joy 'is an in-depth, illustrated, room-by-room, guide to decluttering and organising your home' - the KonMari way. I found it very informative as I was nearing the end of my own journey, and as I move into my next series: KonMari With Kids.  I also plan to share how I organise each area of my home later in the year, using Kondo's method & principles. 

Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life is a lovely book with '50 bite-sized tips on how to live a more mindful and stress-free life'. It fully supports my ONE WORD for 2017 too - Balance, which is perfect. (Thanks again Jules for this lovely gift) 


Paper! oh Paper! The biggest category of them all (well, Digital Clutter was up there too) and my most viewed post in 'My KonMari Journey' series. I still can't believe I purged 5 x 60L containers worth of paper, and was left with only 3 poly-pocket folders (yes only 3!). Read my full story HERE & HERE

One Year Later...
That system is still going strong...the files are looking a bit fuller with documents I need to keep, however I no longer feel buried in mountains of paper around my home and that is a great feeling. I deal with paper work as soon as it comes into our home. 

We don't get a lot of mail, most of it is sent electronically, so our mail system is pretty simple. Mail is opened in the kitchen - envelope discarded straight away, bills are put on my desk (see below). 

• Junk mail - we have a basket in the lounge where our junk mail goes (I'm actually one of those people who love reading the catalogues). Every Tuesday it is then put out with the rubbish & recycling.

• Bills (snail mail & email) - dates and amount are put on to our family calendar and then once paid, it is filed away with the other important documents. Same thing applies to Electronic bills. They are filed under the folder 'BILLS'. 

• Happy mail - Opened and enjoyed by all x

Having a system like this has prevented the piles from stacking up and our kitchen bench clear of stuff. 

Komono (Miscellaneous):

This category took the longest because it had so many sub-categories. You can read about my Komono journey HERE.

One Year Later...

I am pleased to report that I have kept on top of the Komono items in my home, only replacing things we use regularly, and only buying items that 'spark joy'. If I find something I no longer want, need or sparks joy it's out of my home (either binned or donated).

My parents bought me a cake mixer for Christmas - it was the one thing I really wanted and the fact that it's red, (which matches our kitchen theme) brings me so much joy. I also recently replaced our kettle - both appliances look so good.


One Year Later...
One sub-category that has had a big change would have to be my Linen cupboard. I haven't had my 'click' moment yet but I know I am very close to it, and that makes me happy. I also learnt how to fold a fitted sheet and that for me was a complete game changer in how I organised my Linen cupboard (I even showed my 84 year old Nana - she was very impressed). Up until recently, I had been putting our sheets in the matching pillowcase - which works a treat - now I have the containers to keep my nicely folded sheets in. 


One of the categories I added as an extra was 'Teacher Resources' - it was actually a huge one for me, because I had so much stuff I had kept over the years. 

One Year Later...
I have managed to store all of my teacher resources in ONE cupboard in the external office (sorry about the poor quality photo). I don't have my own class, hence why I have my resources at home. I do a bit of relieving throughout the year, so it's nice having a bank of activities to use on those days. I also have a container (not pictured) for my Te Reo Māori resources that I keep inside the house or in my car during the term  (this is my current job) - it's kind of like my portable office. 

I would like to go through the resources again, especially now that I have completed the method and I am getting pretty good at discarding items. I will pass on the resources I don't need to beginning teachers, who are wanting to build a bank of resources for themselves. 


One Year Later...
No big changes for the sentimental category because the systems I have in place are working really well. Read full Sentimental posts. I have the three boxes for my sentimental keepsakes, cards & letters, and I just add to it when applicable (e.g. I added my Mother's Day cards from the kids, my birthday cards and some of my favourite Christmas cards). I'm really looking forward getting stuck into my kids Sentimental items. 

Photos: I am getting better at deleting the duds before they are transferred to my laptop, and I am keeping on top of the organisation of the photos (and my digital clutter too). I even made my first Photo Book and have a couple in my cart ready to print. 

- The Office -

I never shared the before photos of my 'office' - because I was too embarrassed. I didn't want anyone seeing my 'Monica' cupboard (referring to Monica from Friends). However, looking back I wish I did show you, so you could see what I was really dealing with and why I was feeling so overwhelmed and anxious.

Well, today you get to see the BEFORE, DURING and AFTER photos showing the true 'magic' of the KonMari method. 

One of my main reasons for starting this journey:
"I don't plan on moving anytime soon, so there is no reason for me to keep stuff in boxes, and letting it take up valuable space in my home, my life and in my mind!"

This is 'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up'!

When I started this journey I could barely open the door to my external office and now I can see the floor, about 90% of the floor actually - and it's all thanks to the KonMari method. 

There was stuff everywhere! Before I started my journey, one of the best things I did was go through and sort the items into categories (see 'During' photo). Doing this made it a lot easier than pulling EVERYTHING out. When it came to KonMari'ing a category I would just grab the containers belonging to that particular category and got stuck in... 'Sort by category' not by location'. 

Moving forward, this room is going to be converted into a gym for my partner (bench press and punching bag). I am hoping to hang a curtain of some sort about half a metre, on a beam, in front of my cupboards and bookshelf to separate the two spaces, so they are not exposed, and then it will feel like my partner's space. My job is too keep it like this so my stuff doesn't end up like the before photo, however I pretty positive that's not going to happen. 

The four stacked containers (pictured on the right) contain my kid's Komono and Sentimental items, so they will be taken inside to sort and stored inside too. There will be no sentimental items in this space, mostly work and holiday related items.

***Edited to Add***
For those wondering what happened to my desk? Here it is...

Moving my office desk into our living area was the best decision I made. Everything I need is at my fingertips and every night I make sure it's clean and tidy, ready for the next day. It's nice having my own little space - it makes me feel more productive and the colour 'sparks joy'.


What's next?

 "Parents can encourage children to begin the process, but they need to complete 


tidying before working with their kids." 

Now that I have fully completed the KonMari method with my own belongings, I will be starting my new series 'KonMari With Kids' next month (February) - documenting their journey as I go through (with them) the five categories (Clothes, Books, Paper, Komono & Sentimental).

My daughter (Miss B) is 11 years old (turning 12 in March) and my son (Master M) is 2 (turning 3, also in March), so they will be involved in the decision making. 

"Children as young as three years old can decide what gives them joy and the key principle is that each person should be making the decisions for themselves." 

Just like my own journey, I am super excited about my new series 'KonMari With Kids' and I would love for you to follow along in this process, better yet, join us - Subscribe to my Blog, so you don't miss a post. I will also be sharing my Kids journey on my Facebook page, and Instagram, so be sure to follow me there too.

Happy KonMari'ing,

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My KonMari Journey: Questions and Answers

Before I move on to my next KonMari series - 'KonMari With Kids', I wanted to do a quick 
Q&A post, answering questions my readers from Facebook & Instagram had relating to the KonMari Method or my personal KonMari Journey.

You asked...I answered. 

1. My question is more about time. I see you go to Playcentre, work, up keep this wonderful blog and look after your family! How do you manage all of that? Thanks from a fellow Playcentre and blogging mummy of three. 
When I started 'My KonMari Journey' in January 2016, my son was having day naps (up to 2 1/2 hours long), so I dedicated that time to KonMari - sorting, purging, taking photos, blogging etc. Other times I did what I could when my son was happy playing in the playroom, or when he was having his lunch. As the year went on, I put my son in home-based care for an extra day, so I could have time to get things done, like housework, KonMari, planning, blogging and Playcentre work. I also used that day to get a bit of extra relieving work too. I did what I could, when I could. I would spend a couple hours each night writing the KonMari posts for my blog, which was actually more time consuming than the purge itself, however looking back, I'm really glad I shared my journey. Right from the beginning, I was fully committed to completing this KonMari method and my determination and dedication to the method got me through. 

2. How can I get all my kids to sleep thru every night so I can get the energy to do this??? I do find your posts motivating tho. 
I can't help you with the kids sleeping sorry. All I can do is continue to motivate you in the hope you have the energy to make a start. I'm happy to work with you as a support person, if you think it would help. Send me an email teacherbytrademotherbynature (at) gmail (dot) com or PM me via Facebook. 

3. When it comes to the bits and pieces (I can't remember what she called it! {KOMONO}), how did you know where to start!? 
Komono (Miscellaneous) was a huge category! It had so many sub-categories attached to it. I simply followed the structure Marie Kondo mentions in the book. A lot of my 'Komono' was scattered in containers out in the external office, so before I even started this category, I actually spent a couple of hours sorting through the chaos first, corralling like things together according to her list, and worked my way through each one.
  1. CDs, DVDs 
  2. Skincare products 
  3. Make-Up 
  4. Accessories 
  5. Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc)
  6. Electrical equipment and appliances (digital cameras, electric cords, anything that seems vaguely 'electric')
  7. Household Equipment: Stationery & Crafts
  8. Household supplies (expendables like medicine, detergents, tissues, etc) 
  9. Kitchen goods/food supplies - EATING - COOKING TOOLS - FOOD - FOOD STORAGE
  10. Other - 
Komono - Miscellaneous Items 2

I added Teacher Resources as an extra category.

4. I'd love for you to diarise a "one year on" from each area you cleared and report back with an update, what worked, what you've subsequently got rid of or wished you'd kept or acquired... 
Great idea! It's actually a year this week since I started My KonMari Journey .I am hoping to do a ONE YEAR LATER post soon. Watch this space.

5. I'm thinking about purchasing this book, do you find it useful? 2017 I'm aiming for a more meaningful, clutter-free life. Watched the 'Minimalism' doco, loved it!!
I love the book, and refer to it often. I do recommend reading the book first, so you can fully get the gist of Marie Kondo's method, however I have heard people have done the method based on blogs and YouTube video tutorials - there is a lot of inspiration out there (You can read all of my KonMari posts HERE (including checklists for each category).  The Minimalist documentary definitely gives you something to think about. 

6. How can I start Konmari, what are the basic principles.... Basically everything!
Like I said above, I do recommend reading the book first, however if this isn't an option for you - you can always read my KonMari series (HERE), and there are plenty of blogs and YouTube videos & tutorials available to provide inspiration. Janine from A Young Mum is one of my favourites.

In a nutshell, Marie Kondo has four rules she recommends people follow when doing the KonMari Method:

1. Tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible
2. Sort by category, not by location
3. Selection Criterion: Does it 'spark joy?'
4. Order of tidying: Clothes, Books, Documents (Paper), Miscellaneous items (Komono), and Mementos (Sentimental)

Good luck! Let me know if you need any support - I would be more than happy to help you through your KonMari journey.

7. How did you sort old photos? This is the one thing I have boxes of, unsure what to do. Thanks for your help. 
Photos can definitely be overwhelming. Read all about how I sorted mine, and hopefully it will inspire you to start yours >>> My KonMari Journey: Sentimental - Photos

8. What to do with partner's stuff? Especially when he doesn't get the whole spark joy concept.
My partner doesn't get the whole 'Spark Joy' concept like I do and that is totally okay. That being said, I have encouraged him to go through a few of his things - clothes, paper etc.  Most of his stuff is in his garage, which is a no-go zone for me, and I respect that. I don't have to see it, so it's all good with me. I do KonMari fold his clothes, which he likes, so I'm happy with that and I get him to sort through his paper work regularly so I can file it away properly. He won't be reading the book any time soon, so all I can do is continue to encourage and motivate him to discard things he no longer needs, wants or likes, especially if it's taking up space in our home.

9. I have a question! And afraid it sounds silly, but do you miss anything you have thrown out? I keep thinking, what if it sparks joy next year... Do you keep things you are unsure on? Also, this question is mostly related to my wardrobe! 
There are a few things that I do miss, however at the time it didn't spark joy so it was discarded. I have to move on and not dwell on the things I have purged. I admit, I did 'thank' quite a few things of mine and this actually helped with letting go - Marie Kondo suggests you 'thank' your possessions before discarding. It may sound a bit crazy, but it does help. If an item spark joy - keep it. If it doesn't - let it go. Be honest with yourself. Good luck! 

10. Aside from wondering the same as above, I got the book last year when you started your journey but I am so overwhelmed by the thought of sorting my stuff out that I have put the book in a drawer. How did you get started? Is it a bite the bullet kinda deal?
What you are feeling is totally normal. I felt overwhelmed every time I walked in to my external office, which was home to numerous containers full of stuff. I was nervous and excited about getting started. Sharing my journey here on my blog made me accountable and I couldn't wait to start my journey. You can read about how I got started HERE

When you are ready, you will start. It took me a while to get started, however once I did - I didn't want to stop. This method is truly life-changing. Good luck! I will be your Number 1 Cheerleader.

11. I read both books and completed the Kon Mari method up to photos. Mine are out of control. They are in boxes, tubs, on my phone, on CD/DVD's, on the computer, in frames and in albums. Some have dates on the back, some don't. Some are somewhat divided into photo boxes, some are not. I'm not sure how to start or where to start. I was going to make each daughter (I have 3) scrapbooks or photo albums but that isn't anything they are interested in. If I give them photos they said they would like to decide which photos to hang and would choose their own type of photo album. They would like the photos sorted and given to them all at one time if possible. I was thinking because of the time and money involved to develop and copy that I would give photos to them at Christmas. It will take me every bit of 2017 to complete this project but I don't know where to start. Any suggestions?

My advice is to split it into two sub-categories: Printed Photos & Digital Photos. Start with collecting all of your printed photos and putting them in one place. Decide how you want to sort them - by person, by year, by event etc and start sorting through your photos. Sort your photos in the way you want to - what works for YOU first, then you can reassess how you are going to sort them for your daughters. Good luck! 

Remember Kondo's rules: 
1. Tidy in one shot, as quickly and completely as possible

2. Selection Criterion: Does it 'spark joy?'

Once you have finished the printed photos, do the same for the digital photos. Remember to only keep the photos that SPARK JOY. 

If you haven't already done so, read how I KonMari'd my Printed Photos and Digital Photos, hopefully it will inspire you to sort through yours. It is a massive job, emotionally, physically and mentally - however once it's done - you will feel amazing! 


Thank you all for your questions regarding the KonMari method, and My KonMari Journey. I do hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me HERE.

Until next time, have a wonderful week, 



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Hello 2017: ONE WORD

Happy New Year!

For the past few years I have stopped writing New Year resolutions because at the start of the year I had good intentions and came up with some really awesome goals for myself, however by mid-year I had completely forgotten about them and then on the 31st December I would gtt into a panic because I haven't achieved anything and it's not a good way to head into a new year.

So I decided to join many others around the world, including Bron from Maxabella Loves to come up with ONE WORD that will be your focus word for the year ahead. (I am loving Bron's word this year...you can read about it HERE

In 2016 my 'One Word' was ENJOY - enjoy the little things, enjoy my home, enjoy my family etc...and that is exactly what I did, I enjoyed 2016. Twenty-Sixteen was also a year for me to KEEP LIFE SIMPLE - that was my motto, especially as I was working through the KonMari method - if you missed my journey, you can read all about it HERE.

This journey of mine - to 'keep life simple' - has helped me in so many ways. It has helped with my anxiety and depression, I no longer feel bogged down by 'stuff', thanks to clearing out the clutter and I am slowly taking more time out for myself and my family.

That being said, my ONE WORD for 2017 is...B A L A N C E.

I actually had 2017 narrowed down to two words S I M P L I F Y & B A L A N C E, but the more I thought about it, and with a lot happening this year...'Balance' is what I need most. I will continue to simplify my home & keep life simple...however having the right 'balance' is going to take some time.

My ONE WORD is actually inspired by the lovely Leanne from Organising the Four of Us and her 'Project 14 & Project 14 2.0'. Since completing both projects, and recently KonMari'ing my home...I am on a new path to live a more productive life, and find the right 'balance' for my family, home, work, Playcentre, and life (including self care). I have systems and routines in place at home, and picked up a few tricks and tips to get through the more complicated aspects of my life, so 2017 is going to be the year I put all of that into practice, and find the right 'balance' for me. 

My year in a nutshell will include: working 2-3 days a week (one of which is a new teaching position and an incredible opportunity), my role as President at Playcentre, being a Mum of a two (soon to be 12 year old daughter & soon to be 3 year old son), Blogging (something I am very passionate about), making time for myself, friends, family and my partner (we will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary in April). I also want to keep my home clean and organised - something I have worked hard to maintain over the past few years.

As you can see, my ONE WORD - B A L A N C E is the perfect word for me to have in 2017. 

What is your ONE WORD going to be for 2017?

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