18 October 2010

How to de-clutter your life ...

Urgh, I hate clutter. Do you? I can't work with it around me so I tend to fold it away, hang it away, vacuum pack, shove under the bed, in the wardrobe, put into storage, the shed, the attic, where ever! Why is it there? There is absolutely no need for 7/8s of it.

Francis Bacon's Studio

I've been slowly throwing away/donating/selling stuff since I graduated from college, but now because of the move to Canada I really had to step it up a notch seeing as everything I own needs to fit into two suitcases by January (not that I'm expecting any of you to go to that extreme) ... and it's worth it. I feel lighter & more productive, my head is clearer, I sleep better and I literally cannot mess up my bedroom (seriously, it's impossible!). So, here are a few of the tips I can pass on from the mass de-clutter of my life to help you sort and possibly sell your unwanted clutter....

Watch shows like 'Gok's Fashion Fix' and 'How Clean Is Your House' while your sorting your stuff. Really! They will honestly make you feel so productive for taking charge and sorting through your junk.
Gok takes people who have overstuffed wardrobes and helps them throw away all their useless, unnecessary clothes, while Kim and Aggie try to straighten out people who are literally sleeping on piles of clutter in their bedrooms. Excellent to give you incentive to de-clutter!

Kim and Aggie from 'How Clean Is Your House?'

*Be hard on yourself. 
You need to be. It's tough getting rid of things you've held on to ... you've held on to them for a reason and that reason comes flooding back when you say "Aw, I remember this".
My sister says "if you haven't missed it or used it in 6 months then you don't need it" ... she's right. If you've forgotten about it once, then you'll forget about it again when it's sold or thrown out. YOU DON'T NEED IT!

*Make a point to use/wear the items.
Remember there's also a reason you put it away and don't use it aswell as a reason for it to stay. In the case of clothes, make a 'maybe' pile and commit yourself everyday to wearing/using something from that pile. You might find that a zip or tag digs into you the wrong way, the straps hurt, you don't feel comfortable in that length of skirt, the material itches, you just can't make that outfit work on you, you have nothing else to wear with it, you've gained/lost weight and it doesn't fit right anymore. Little things that you forget.
"Hmm, this dress is very pretty, but I never wear it. I don't know if I should sell it? Ok, wait, 10 minutes of that zip cutting the skin under my arm has made my decision!" .. you'd be surprised how much that happens with the clothes you think you're going to keep, so test them out. "Yes, this is a very expensive brand of lipstick, I should hold on to it. Oh wait, I remember that colour is horrible on me!  Out it goes."

*Still not sure if you should get rid of something?
When I'm not sure what needs to go I put it in a box under my bed for a week or so and kind of 'pretend' I've sold it. If I've forgotten about it or haven't missed it by the time I go back to the box, it can go.

From here

*Less means MORE.
A very positive side effect about de-cluttering ... amazingly, I found it increases my outfits. Yes, really. I had alot of clothes I adore buried under clothes I only kind of liked. Now that the fat has been trimmed from my wardrobe I'm left with the style I want without any other useless, so-so clothes as distractions. All the clothes hanging in my closet only take up a third of the rail if I push them all together. But I've never had so many outfits work so well together, they were all hidden! (this is also pretty much Gok's mantra in his show 'buy less, wear more')

*Make yourself deal with items.
We all have items we never use, but keep anyway. Books are the worst for this. Don't get me wrong, I love reading, but I honestly forget a book is there if I don't use it and it eventually becomes clutter. I made a point to put the books I never use somewhere in my way. I put them on the floor between my bed and bedroom door so I'd have to step over them everyday. This either made me use the books, or get rid of them. Win, win either way.

From here

*Take things out of their hiding places.
Most of our clutter is there because we can't see it and have forgotten about it. Go through your drawers and shelves one by one. You'd be surprised how much useless clutter is tucked away and how mentally refreshing it is to know that your drawers and presses have alot less junk in them.

*What to sell on ebay and what to throw away?
If a top has a hole in it, but it's a good label, list it on ebay anyway .. you'd be surprised what will still sell, but be honest and mention the hole in the description and show a close up picture of the fault.
If there are too many defects to describe (hole, rip, thread missing, discolouration or stain) and you find yourself going 'urgh' at the thought of describing all those faults then don't bother, off to the charity bin it goes! As long as it's still wearable, just not sellable.
Selling on ebay is great! So far selling my useless clutter on My Ebay has paid for my flights to Vancouver and visa programme fee. Yes, that's a lot of money for stuff I would have just thrown away!

From here

*Use the Free Listing Weekends on ebay.
Obviously, good clothes/shoes with big labels will sell very well on ebay. Save the big ones for the free weekends. Ebay charges a fee to list if you start the auction over 1.49 euro (other countries vary) but the free weekends mean you can insert your item at any price for free!
Set it at a good price, if your happy to get 5 euro for the dress start the auction at 5, if it goes any higher that's great, but if not atleast you're happy with your 5 euro. Don't get greedy or it mightn't sell. Remember, if you're selling 80 things and they all sell for 1 euro, that's 80 euro for stuff you don't want anymore! If half that sells for 5, 10, even 15 euro ..well, you get my point.
List the items you don't mind selling for 1.49 any old time. Remember, there might only be one person interested, so that could mean only one bid. Save your good labels for when you can list them with a fair price for free.


*Car boot sales...
...are also a great way of getting some cash for your clutter (though I wouldn't recommend trying to sell your genuine labels, as people are only there to spend a few euro on things) . Selling at car boot sales has paid for alot of my Canada stuff too, including my first weeks hostel stay.
Plain t-shirts and sweat-pants will sell great at car boot sales, but not so great on ebay. Remember, the person also has to pay for the postage & packaging, why would they spend an extra 3 euro for postage on a plain, worn t-shirt? Books, dvds, games, cds, so-so jewelery, plain clothes, figurines & very tacky shoes will go down really well.
I needed to get rid of them in bulk so I offered everything for 1 euro each or 10 items for 5 euro at my stall and I made a fortune! People were handing me 5 euro notes every few minutes and taking away giant clumps of my clutter aswell. Other weeks when I didn't need to get rid of so much stuff I sold everything for about 3 euro which resulted in not making as much and coming home with alot of my clutter still in the car.

Sarah from The Licentiate and Lorna from Lola Dee selling at a carboot sale in Cork
(Hope ye don't mind, I lost all my photos of Dawn and myself)

So, that's all the tips I can think of right now. If you have any questions feel free to ask! Or if you have other tips you found useful that would be great too. Hope this has been helpful? I will never, ever, EVER let myself accumulate this much clutter ever again :p

Aoife x

P.S. PurlsofColour tweeted this to me: "@KimDot_Handmade Loved your article on decluttering. A move is a great incentive to declutter -I keep pretending I move to sort out my mess!" ... What a great tip! Thank you.

Also, my friend Mia left this comment on my personal facebook page: "Your de-cluttering blog/posts have made me kick my own arse (was kinda awkward, lucky I flexible ;-)) So I am now in the middle of selling off all my stuff too - moved 3 times last year, too much stuff, I love it all so much, but I feeling flooded under it all.. so I would like to say Thank You Aoife.. for showing me the light (under all the stuff) ;-) x"  
Mia sold her stuff on facebook to her friends. She put up an album of photographs with the price of the item and the first person to comment on the photo bought the item. 

Selling on facebook! How clever!

Big huge thank you to all the responses from this post. I've received a number of e-mails, messages, tweets, even phone calls from people who have proudly told me how much they've de-cluttered because of my tips. So proud of all of you! And thanks for taking an interest. Feels great, doesn't it? :)

08 October 2010

Photography on KimDot

Today I thought I would share a quick post about some of the photos available to buy from the photography section on my Etsy Store, KimDot.
You can click on the images for their location in my shop.

The image above was taken in Waterford City. The coloured floors no longer exist as Waterford Crystal have now taken over the building. I'm really glad I have snaps of it before it was gone. 

This image was taken on the River Suir at a dock near Granny Castle. The green hue on the logs comes from a spot light on the shore. There is also a darker version of this shot taken later in the evening in my store.

This seagull was snapped while I was on an adventurous few days in Dingle, Co.Kerry. I was supposed to be taking pictures of The Dead Man island for someone but was far more interested in this seagull. Much to the annoyance of the person I was with ;p

This image was taken when my friend came visiting from Scotland last new years. I brought him to see the Rock of Cashel, which is a very well known tourist attraction in Co. Tipperary. The abbey is lit up at night and myself and Dave played around with his shadow. So much fun.

I took this image on top of Auguille du Midi on the French/Italian border. My cousin works as an engineer for Ryan Air and is placed in different cities all over Europe every 6 months. We were driving his car from Clonmel, Tipperary to where he was living in Rome at the time. We passed through Chamonix and loved it so much we stayed there an extra day on our roadtrip and explored some of the summits.
If you look closely (or zoom in on the image in my shop) you can see mountaineers climbing the mountain in the top right corner.

I found this little fellow while I was in Poland. I went with my mum when she was speaking about accessibility and awareness for disability at the E.U. Charter in Strzyzow, Poland. I think he was playing dead because he completely froze no matter how close I got to him, which was great for me!

This is a shot of my Mother's hands with rosary beads. I know that this isn't traditionally how rosary beads are held, but for the shot I prefer them this way. I'm not religious in the slightest, but for some reason I'm obsessed with human behaviour towards religions and it sometimes reflects in my work. Like my photos of the statues I blogged about here.

Aoife x

06 October 2010

Things I can't wait for in Vancouver!

(Click on images for source and further info)

The Snow

I think this goes without saying. Snowboarding, c'mon, it's a must!

(you will NOT be seeing images like this of me!)

Kayaking and White Water Rafting

Oh gosh, my delusions of Lara Croft grandeur are going to kick in with all this adventuring. Thankfully, it's all covered by my insurance!

The Markets.

I'm a sucker for markets and Vancouver seems to have every market under the sun. Fish markets, farmers markets, gypsy markets, bakers markets, vintage/flea markets, the list goes on and on.

The Summer Night market above (formerly known as the Chinese Night Market) apparently has great food, great bargains and even performances.

Just imagine the things you could create with all the material in the photo above. The Punjabi Market, located in Little India, is the one I'm really keen to get to explore. I'm very, very curious about it. Full of silks, cottons, sari jewelery and has an Indian Sweets and Food restaurant. Click the image above for a link to more images.

The Public Library

I know, I know ... I'm a complete book worm, but who wouldn't want to spend hours flicking through the books in this building? I'd call myself a Nerd if I was more intelligent.

(The image above is currently my desktop background)

Vintage Shopping

I've had to sell most of my wardrobe, including alot of my vintage items, so I can't wait to re-fill my collection. I've kept the ones I really just can't live without, including my Alfred Hitchcock dress and the dress below.

(photo was taken 2 years ago in my college sculpture studio)

The photos of the shops have gotten me all goosepimply and according to shopmain.ca;

"Although Main Street, Vancouver was once known as “Antique Row” it has evolved over the years into a vibrant and eclectic shopping district. Today, Main Street continues to offer a fine selection of antique stores but it has also grown to include some of Vancouver’s favourite vintage and consignment stores along with some of the hottest new designers and artists in town. Here you will also find several stores offering books, clothing, and toys for children, sports equipment and clothing, galleries and one of the city’s largest selection of used records and CDs."

These are only a handful of things I can't wait to do. I have so much more like Comicon and Film Festivals, not to mention China Town, the theaters and all the restaurants I want to try, but I could be here blogging all night. 
So, I'll leave you with a beautiful time lapse video of Vancouver. I'm not a huge fan of the music, but it's an amazing time lapse piece. Enjoy!

InnerLife Project - Vancouver City from Serge Chubinsky - Orlov on Vimeo.

Aoife x