Fasting For 40 Days?!

These past days I found myself entangled in conversations with friends across the globe about Carnival customs and its origins, about Mardi Gras / Pancake Day, Fat Thursday and everything there is to it. Carnival is quite big in some parts of Switzerland, and I’m always eager to learn about new customs and traditions, be it local or from abroad.

A thing that has always intrigued me was the custom of Lent. Now in modern times I find many people adapting that custom into a form of giving up something / a specific kind of food for the length of 40 days.

Not having luxury items / certain food types for a limited period of time can be truly cleansing and revealing. I loved going on trips abroad into the wilderness to remote places where there was no running / hot water, no proper toilets, no fridges, no electricity, no whatsoever we just so much take for granted in our lives. I always came home much more appreciative of my life and what I have here, and with a wide awareness and understanding of foreign cultures and their lives. It has an energizing and uplifting – yes nearly creative effect on your soul that I always thought it should be mandatory for every person of a modern world to go out there and experience that for at least once in their lifetime.

Since I haven’t been abroad to so called 3rd-world-countries in a while now, I haven’t had the privilege of experiencing such a cleansing trip in a couple of years. The concept of Lent appeals to me as a sort of substitution, to try to give up something for a certain period of time, and also to see how I can cope with it.

Now, by all means, don’t expect too much from me here 😉 I’m no heroine and currently too much involved in certain work duties that my favourite idea (no internet for 40 days) was crushed right away seeing that it would be a logistic catastrophe…

I then proceeded to think about the meaning of Lent and thought I must give up something I truly care about, but life taught me that it’s way too short to be deprived of any of the wonderful arts such as music, literature, and culture… Why should I deprive myself from the things I love most about life? From everything that brings me back into balance after long working hours? I shoved those suggestions aside and  went on to think about doing something every day for 40 days, something I might not be too fond of, but as I’m currently trying to plank or work out every day this wouldn’t really be a new addition…

I thought about food then… Typical food types elected for the fasting season are meat and fish, but as I don’t eat much meat (I suck at preparing it) or fish (too lazy to prepare it) there’s no point really in electing them, right?! The next obvious suggestion that crossed my mind then hit me like a bang…

…Sweets…

Ah, but I couldn’t…^^ I just couldn’t, could I? I usually have a tiny wee little sweet every day. Sometimes the tiny wee little sweet turns out to bring along his many friends to make a party in my stomach…^^ I know there are some family birthdays coming up before Easter so, in a way it was another no-no for me, but it would be an interesting challenge…

Now and this is where I crossed this idea a wee bit with the Konmari Method and the reason for you to see that I’m a total anti-hero here:

I decided not to buy any sweets for 40 days.

Because by doing so I’m using up all the sweets that are lying around my kitchen and which I’m keeping in stock or hidden somewhere, and then it’s another thing I’ve gotten rid of, KM’d or plainly just eaten, however you want to see this…

Mind you – I had no time whatsoever to celebrate Pancake Day, Mardi Gras or the likes, so I didn’t go out shopping for a lot of sweets to keep on stock and keep me going for the next 40 days.

So here’s on what I decided to try out:

* I am not allowed to buy any sweets until Easter.

* I may accept sweets from people as a present, but not eat them until after Easter.

* I may not ask people for sweets. They may not buy any for me.

* I may eat all the sweets I have on stock at home.

* I may eat sweets that lay around at work but am not allowed to have more than I need or take them away from the common room to my office or even home.

Right, a bit lame maybe, eh 😉 ? But I somewhat warmed up to the concept and specially to the feeling of having emptier cupboards afterwards and use up what’s been lying around here for a year or so. I just hope I won’t fall into cravings too soon and then get stuck after like, a week or so!!! That would be horrible but would also become a more interesting kind of challenge then, right 😉 ? Let’s see what happens 🙂

How about you – do you practice the Lent season or do some fasting during the next 40 days? Tell me about it, I’d love to know!

...bye bye sweets! See you soon at the bunny's party ;)
…bye bye sweets! See you soon at the bunny’s party 😉

Friday Flow #58: A Most Lovely Encounter

watermarked-tn_letter-lovely-encounter

As I walked into my (beautiful ❤ ) home today and picked up my mail, my eye immediately caught a letter envelope – a rare find in mailboxes dominated by prospects and bills. As I looked at the stamp, I realized it was sent out from Zürich, and couldn’t believe I had already gotten this letter – mere two days after a lovely encounter I had just made… Let me tell you the story:

I meant to go into the city to pick up a few things and do some errands and sat on the tram after commuting back to Zürich from work. I was indulged in my book and didn’t realize I had missed my tram stop, so I got off and figured that the wee bit of exercise walking back to the initial bus stop would do me good. While walking back I passed a rather newly opened charity shop I had previously often seen when passing by with the tram. Since I’m on my Konmari journey I tend to shield my eyes from charity shops and Brockis and pretend they’re not there – because the outcome of such a visit is just too obvious and I’m trying to save a wee bit of money and declutter my home further. So I only glanced into the shop window but ah, it was beautifully decorated and had a few intriguing pieces on display, that I felt I should give it a go, just to see what sort of things they sold and to compare the quality and prices of them (it’s always good to stay informed about what’s on the market in charity shops, right 😉 ? ).

Inside, I heard a lady asking for mini salt and pepper shakers, but the shop lady couldn’t help her further. Funny enough – I had just bought a few of those for my friend’s Advent Calendar in another Brocki not too far away from there, so I was happy enough instructing the lady where she was most likely to find such items, which made her happy, and therefore made me happy again 🙂 (…see what I mean? It’s always good to stay informed about what’s on the market in charity shops, right 😉 ? )

I kept looking around and found myself sitting on the floor flipping through the vast and nice selection of books and old children’s toys and playing cards, which are always an interesting sight. Speaking of it – one particular set of a “Quartett” game had the theme of historical happenings. There was this one card that pictured the occupation of the country during World War II stating the dates “1939 – “. I noticed someone had neatly added a “45” with a sharp pencil. I pondered about the feelings of the person completing that information on the card and nearly bought the set because it touched me so, but thought about my dear friend Marie Kondo and put it back, keeping the memory of this locked in my heart. (because – what would I do with a Quartett game anyway?)

As I sat there looking at things I found myself enjoying the music that was being played – lovely baroque music, some of the pieces even known to me, and I picked up a conversation about it with the shop lady. We ended up talking all about the classical composers, the differences of harpsichords, the singers and performers, reenactment dancers and church recitals in several churches. I learnt a lot about this person’s interesting life filled with music and how she would choose to do just the exact same thing again if she were to live her life all over again. What a beautiful and lucky thing to be able to say, and I wondered how many people were lucky enough to be able to say so (would you…?). Believe it or not – but I stayed in that shop for over 1,5 hours…! We had the most lovely encounter and conversation, and she kept saying how life is full of surprises, which was exactly what was going through my mind. The conversation with that woman was most inspiring and I got out of the shop fully energized and happy (…and with a little vintage notebook and quizzical picture book as well… *sigh*). I had also left her my address so she could send me a few flyers and programmes of free music concerts in a church in another city, which I was interested to go and listen to.

So, mere two days after I met this lovely woman I got a handwritten letter with the current flyer and an older very interesting program about an old concert that took place. What a lovely and welcome surprise after this hard week of work – who would have thought I’d hear from her so soon? I am now looking forward to have a listen at one of those concerts in the future.

This whole happening was just another reminder that sometimes all you need to do is sit back and go with the flow, go along with things, and see what happens. Funny enough, a few minutes before I missed my tram stop I read a quote in the book I was reading saying:

…good things will happen to you, provided that you truly believe they will.

Oh, and the best thing? I was so touched and moved by the music being played in the shop that all of a sudden she plucked it out of the CD player and handed it to me as a present… Wow…!!! (So I was lying before – I got out the shop with a little vintage notebook, a quizzical picture book AND a classical music CD… 😉 ) I am now listening to the CD and am loving it. In the past few months I realized more and more how I should let music play a bigger part in my life again. I miss it, and I’m opening the doors to it again.

I hope you liked my little story 🙂 Have a lovely weekend!!!

Half Way Through The Minimalism Game – Thoughts After Day 15

I’m half way through the Minimalism Game, a challenge I set to myself to try to reduce my stuff even more after still working on my mess with the Konmari Method as well.

According to the Minimalism Game, I now got rid of 120 items in two weeks. It seems like so much to me already, when I see that number! And I can’t believe it’s not really that much actually, because according to the game, I still have another 345 items to get rid of in order to complete the challenge and complete the 465 items…

I must say, as expected of course, the first week was quite easy and I surely felt very proud after every day I managed 😀 It started to become more and more tricky as the days hit the teens. I am now slowly but surely realizing the dimensions of this game and thinking to myself – gash, what have I done…^^ So far, I’m managing, yes… but I have deep respect for what lies ahead of me!!!

I had to adapt the rules a slight bit because I can’t manage to get rid of all things every day by midnight. Sometimes, I have to accumulate them. Alas, my next Brocki isn’t less than 300 steps away from my home anymore, which makes it more difficult for me to plan my trips there so I just decided I

won’t go through that hassle. I’m accumulating most of my things in my regular Brocki bags and will deliver it all to charity & the Brocki when time comes.

I also misunderstood a part from the game and didn’t include things I was throwing away anyway. So because of that, I’m turning this into an even more challenging game and exclude all items that land in the trash.

Gash, what have I done…^^

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(What’s this all about? Read more about it here.)

 

How I Survived Buy Nothing Day

I’ve come across that idea a few years ago and loved it from the beginning! This was the first time I was able to mindfully participate in it. And you can’t imagine what I did to survive it…

The answer is simple.

It was so easy…

I wasn’t even tempted to go out and buy anything! Luckily, even without being organized, I had enough food to get by. Enough to take for lunch at work. Something was missing for my small break in between but hey, I improvised and got by.

Of course, commuting to work costs – I’d need a ticket. But I had already bought that, so I didn’t spend any money on transport either.

But the best part of it was to go through the day with that exact thought – not to buy anything – and keep that thought aside you. It’s not that it would be super hard for me now anyway since learning so much with the Konmari Method, but it was still very good to do this challenge mindfully.

I don’t understand all of these “Black Friday” sales that kept coming up all the time as ads all over the internet today (yes, even here in Europe… We don’t even have that!!!). I mean – it must come from across the Big Pond. And that’s something I find pretty strange – to celebrate Thanksgiving and be grateful for what you have – but then what, run out to the store the following day to buy more crap you don’t even need?!

Slow down, everybody, slow down… and please think twice before you buy something: do you really need that? Ask yourself again…

Do.You.Really.Need.That.Now?

If the answer is still yes, well, then by all means, buy it. But trust me: most of the time, after holding it in your hand for a while and asking yourself that same question a few times – you smile and put it back. And the fact that it sparked joy for the time you held it in your hands is enough to keep you happy and satisfied, and even more proud because you didn’t spend money on something that you, if you’re truly honest with yourself, don’t really need…

Did you ever participate in the Buy Nothing Day Challenge? How was it for you? Or are you a Black Friday Sale lover? Tell me all about it, let’s share opinions  ❤

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Or many Samhain Blessings, rather, if you – like me, like it the old traditional way.

I hope you’re enjoying autumn and all the good things it brings with it (yes, let’s keep the good things in mind like the cozy couchpotato-evenings curled up with a good book, candles and tea – lots of tea!). It’s been rather quiet around my messy world. Work has been very demanding and strange lately, and many things currently going on in my life need a bit of thinking. I try to keep track of everything and brace myself for the upcoming load of work usually crushing down on me from mid-November on. But my Konmari journey is on good tracks, as well – there are many new insights I just haven’t gotten time to sit and write down for you, so you’ll have to bear with me. I hope your summer season has been good for you though, and wish you a great start into the winter season!

Take care!

happy halloween jack skellington wash.jpg

Kitchen Towels (Konmari Method)

I keep seeing all these before-after posts about the newly organized kitchen towels with the Konmari method and remembered I had done that as well but never shared it in a post with you. Since that moment made me so happy back then I still feel the urge to share it here, even though I don’t live there anymore 😉 So, here is my personal achievement: ta-daaah!

watermarked-watermarked-kitchen towels before after KM

In hindsight I realized I should’ve taken a picture from the side to show how crammed the towels were piling up in a messy tower on the “before” picture. Meanwhile, I got rid of so many more towels and napkins, have an own spot for napkins (even a separate spot for seasonal napkins not often used) and I can keep my kitchen towel cabinet nice and tidy without anyone not supporting me in my Konmari journey. And again, dear Marie Kondo – it SPARKS JOY!!! Thank you so much for it  ❤ !

watermarked-tn_my messy world new kitchenJoy in my new kitchen ❤

Everything I Got Rid Of – Part One

I finally get to write down everything I got rid of in my last apartment for you as an update here. I’d like to get that done before I start telling you how I’m getting on with my mess in my new home 😉 You wouldn’t believe how much it was… In fact – I didn’t even believe how much it was myself…! While looking for the accurate pictures here to display on this post I feel my chest tightening and an uneasy feeling creeping over me… And then, a massive amount of relief because I know that all that stuff ins just GONE!!!

I’ve heard it many times before that people say that moving is a good excuse or reason to finally declutter your life and get rid of many things you haven’t used in ages. In the end of my stay at the old place, I just didn’t get to go over everything the way I wished – by using the Konmari Method for instance and what else not… That ended up giving me an immense amount of stress because I knew that Moving Day was coming closer and I didn’t want to take all this sh** to my new home, but wanted to go over things first… It happened at times that I would just wander around grabbing things randomly and put them all in my Brocki bags, not going by category or anything anymore because I was just too overwhelmed and there was no time to spare.

Also, for my new home I wanted to renew a few bits of furniture, to make a clear point and new start. I nearly couldn’t believe I’d get rid of my beloved watermarked-purple sofadark purple sofa ❤ It nearly broke my heart… But after all those episodes of weird happenings going on with The Man I had an incredible urge to move into a bright place with light colours. Living in an apartment on the first floor for four years that was really dark might also have helped me with my decision – I was just sick of the darkness and was watermarked-tn_gap of gone sofain desperate need of sunshine and anything light and bright. So I figured the sofa had to go 😦 I loved it and it was the most comfy sofa to nap on but it just wouldn’t fit my new image I had in my mind for my new place.

 

I found someonewatermarked-tn_table full of stuff to give away that would come collect it for the new owner. The new owner told me that this man also regularly traveled to flea markets and would take anything I wouldn’t want to take along anymore. I grabbed this opportunity and ran around the house again to display a few things I thought he could sell well at a flea market. I set them up on the table for him to choose – in the end he took everything 🙂 We were both more than happy, me probably even more because I heard he was a single dad and that way he could get himself some extra cash.watermarked-tn_clear table after giving away stuff

With the table clear again I got on and gave away my closet – well, the big one anyhow. I merged two closets into one but the lady I gave it to didn’t have enough space for both. I was really happy to give it away and so was she, as she was moving to Switzerland from abroad and didn’t have a single piece of furniture with her. It was a lovely encounter and her, her partner and me laughed a lot while helping each other dismantling the closet. In a funny way I was actually really grateful to have met these four persons I gave things away to. They were lovely persons, good-hearted, and just one of those encounters you like remembering 🙂 It was all a nice cheer amongst my rather dull and hard time I was having back then.

watermarked-closet gone 01So here I was, happy to have given away a closet, but crushed down with another problem since everything that was IN and ON the closet was now scattered all around the place… But at least I was able to fill that gap with moving boxes and get on with everything for a bit. Step by step, I was getting everything done…

watermarked-closet gone 02At one point I went up to the attic and nearly lost it… All that clutter smacked me in the face and I could’ve burst into tears right there and then… Most of that stuff on the pictures here below was mine. How on earth could you have so.much.stuff…? With time pressing up against my back, I had to do quick decisions and tried to do them as good as I could. Along with me into my tiny tiny new basement only came some of the travel and sport gear, sewing cloths and the sentimental stuff such as photo albums I just plainly hadn’t had the time to go through before the Big Day, and also wasn’t ready to yet anyhow… So that’s all still with me – everything else went…!!! Either to the charity shop or just on the street – the puppet didn’t last 30min on the street 😉

watermarked-tn_attic full of stuff 01 watermarked-tn_attic full of stuff 02

I am gathering and preparing all the pictures of all of my Brocki bags for you to show you how much more got out my old house 😉 And I will be posting the last of the videos about my Tidy-Up-Challenge and a summary of everything that left my old house but didn’t make it to my new one – including a review about my year with the Konmari method 🙂 You see – lot’s of plans here on my messy world – so stay tuned for more 🙂

Tidy-Up-Challenge Video #5!

Finally, finally, finally… I get to share the fifth video of my Tidy-Up-Challenge, featuring days 251-333, which date right onto the 31st of December 2015… What’s my conclusion of it? I failed to win my own challenge… Do I care? To be honest – no, not really… 😉 My life was just as messy as the room you see pictured, so I clearly had other more important issues to deal with at the time. Funny enough – thinking about it and seeing my new place now, the mess really could represent how I felt on the inside^^…

Here’s what the lot of you thought when following my messy room project – I have no idea how to close the poll so here’s a screen shot for you with all the current relevant info:

poll results my messy roomI am very sorry to disappoint the 62,5% of you… I’d say in my own bubble of dreams I was amongst them 😉 It’s very nice to feel so much support though, and to see that more than half the people voting thought I’d make it… Thank you for that 🙂

Congratulations to the 12,5% that didn’t believe in me – you did well 🙂 !

As I was about to move flats soon after the ending of the messy room project (well, it was what I had hoped for anyhow^^) I had decided to keep it up until the very end which was the big move on April 1st 2016. So I got picture material of three more months to share with you which shall be interesting with it coming to an end. I also plan to post an overview of everything that has gone out the door of the old flat. I need time to prepare these things, so bear with me…

I must say, only by putting together the video I felt dread towards the mess in my room and completely uncomfortable… I’m sure it has also to do with how I felt in that flat towards the end of my stay there, but the whole mess there… I can’t believe how I could deal with it and I am so utterly grateful and happy I’m out of there and my new place is SO much nicer and makes me feel SO much better… I can’t believe how much stuff I got rid of since starting my Tidy-Up-Challenge or even my Konmari journey! I must say this whole procedure was truly life-changing…

Stay tuned for more! Now enjoy the messy video 😀

Find the other videos of the project here:

Video # 1

Video #2

Video #3

Video #4

The Story With The Compost Bin

Moving houses after splitting households always means you need to buy a few things for your new home. I was very eager to go find myself a compost bin (yes, I’m a recycling freak! Read more about it here) and happily collected one a few days ago on a big shopping day.

watermarked-tn_compost bin 1
no room for the green compost bin 😦

The disappointment that crashed upon me when I realized it was actually too big for it to fit in the cupboard next to my trash bin was immense… I thought the Swiss were so well organized that there was a regular standard size in compost bins because in all the stores I went to I only ever saw the one size… I tried to squeeze it in but there was no way it would get to the big enough space behind the narrow hole. Whoever designed the kitchen had clearly no clue about recycling compost bins…^^ I then tried to leave the bright green bin underneath the kitchen table, wanting it to vanish and hide but catching a glimpse of it every time I sat down to eat, which didn’t make me happy either…

It really unnerved me – this was not my vision I had when I started with the Konmari method. My goal and vision was to have empty floors and nothing cluttering them. I don’t mind the paper recycling container as it sparks joy in a very weird way (maybe reminding me that I’m so glad I can be recycling all these papers? *lol*) but there’s only one corner underneath the kitchen table that can hide things, anything else behind it slowly makes its way to your visible space and it’s just not sparking joy. I also thought about leaving the container bin out on my balcony but then I though about me sitting in the balcony and relaxing in the sun… and catching an eye of the rather unfancy green compost bin, in worst case, even smelling it…

No, that’s not how I want to spend my sunny days out it my new balcony. That’s not my vision of a nice uncluttered space. So I needed to get rid of the bin – best to take it back since it was only a few days back that I had bought it and brought home.watermarked-tn_my new balcony

I then went back to the store with the receipt and straight onto the information desk. A rather unfriendly and very local woman attended to me and I explained her the issue. She wasn’t really paying attention anymore and started to look at the ticket and proceeding the action of taking back the bin. I was happy. Until she asked me for some sticker that was on the bin when sold…^^ Yes, that sticker who is always the first one to be ripped off and thrown away after you buy something new… I hadn’t been using the bin, but I did not think of the sticker anymore and explained it to her and in a distant tone she told me that she couldn’t take it back because that darn sticker was missing (in other words…). I pointed out that the bin was in a perfect condition and only bought a few days before that, which she could see in the receipt. She kept on ranting about it in a distantly polite way and proceeded to work on something on the computer with my receipt… After a while she had it figured out and handed me my cash back.

What was the fuss all about? – I thought to myself, since she clearly was able to take it back anyhow. I was happy, once more, and thanked her for helping me out when she let out another (polite!) rant about how she now had to discard the bin because they can’t sell it anymore. I was flabbergasted at the whole situation… Surely they could get another sticker from their storage areas or use another one when selling? I mean, how many times have I bought something without a darn sticker / bar code on it and therefore just another same item was scanned in order to proceed the sale? It’s not as it is an impossible issue… I tried to explain that to her but she wouldn’t listen and kept repeating that she can’t do anything about it. I then said she could at least give it to someone for free but she wouldn’t have any of it…

I left the store feeling utterly bad and guilty… Now I  was the cause of some unnecessary waste – me, that always tries to avoid that… Me, that always brings things you can still use to a Brocki / Charity Shop in order for them to be re-used, specially if the items are new and in perfect condition… Would it not have been better to not get the money back and bring it to the Brocki instead? On the other hand, why do I have to feel guilty if a store isn’t able to manage such things in another way?

I felt absolutely torn about this whole issue and wonder – what do you think about it? How would you have reacted?