STREAMLINE – Modules

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Today I want to share the next step in the ‘Streamline’ process that is outlined the book, “The Joy of Less”.

Make-up module

The concept of modules is that like things are kept together but more than that, it is about creating a group of items required for a particular task or activity.  It could be keeping your knitting needles, wool and pattern all together in one basket so that you can pick up your knitting at any time and know that it is all there.  Perhaps, creating a bill-paying station where you have all of the items required such as pens, stapler, filing box etc.

By keeping like items together this method helps you to identify where you have an unnecessary duplication of items.  An example is pens:  If you have them lying around on various desks, drawers, kitchen bench, side tables etc it is difficult to understand just how many there are.  Gather them up, check to see which ones don’t work (there will be some),and place them all together.  So, do you really need 57 pens?  They last for ages and you probably have more than a lifetime’s supply!  Choose the best 10, keep them together in a convenient and confined spot.  47 pens that have been lying around the house as clutter are gone!!

Once you start thinking in terms of modules you can apply the principle to almost anything in and around your home.

On the weekend, The Duke and I spent quite a bit of time decluttering, sorting and organising the workshop.  It is definitely a work in progress but now we can actually see some of the half-finished projects that had been buried under other things, completely forgotten or simply unable to be worked on due to the clutter on the workbench.  Much of what we did was putting like with like.  There were pieces of baling twine which we keep for various odd jobs.  It seemed like everywhere I turned there was another bit of baling twine but they are now all together in one plastic bag and easy to find when we need a piece.

We have almost finished demolishing the old chicken run and this has entailed removing the side of the woodshed which was adjacent to the run.  The woodshed will remain and a new side panel built to keep the weather out and the wood dry.  This has prompted us to look critically at all of the various piles of wood – everything from tree branches to leftover material from previous building projects.  We are attempting to get all of the suitable firewood in one place in the woodshed so that we can easily access it when needed in the winter months.  One day the firewood ‘module’ will be complete!

The wood is currently in piles to be cut for firewood, stored for future projects or simply of no use and needs to be re-homed or dumped.

Modules create efficiency and also limits.  Whilst the STREAMLINE process is most definitely NOT about rushing out and buying a whole lot of pretty boxes to stash your stuff in, it does help to be able to physically contain your identified ‘modules’.

Stationery module

You probably have ‘modules’ that work for you but that you have not even described as such.  Please share your idea and what works for you.

LIMITS is the next in the series and follows on very neatly from today’s topic.

Dinner Module

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I have previously mentioned the concept of having modules to contain items fore a particular purpose.  It helps to set limits so that you cannot begin to store more of a group of items than what will fit in the container.

Modules are also a useful concept to keep all of the things that will be used for a project in one place.  It is this theory that I applied this morning in my kitchen.

Before I left for work I began the preparation for dinner.  We will be having stuffed capsicums (red peppers) so the peppers are de-seeded and washed.  I also thawed some rice which I will use when I make one for The Duke and there is grated sweet potato for the stuffing of mine.  I have not finalised exactly what else I will use but there will definitely be mushrooms in the mix.

So, I grabbed a large plastic container (and lid), put all of the partly prepared ingredients in the tub and popped it in the fridge.  Now it is all ready to go when I get home so I can quickly finish the preparation.

2013-01-24 01

Decluttering Mindset

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It seems that once you actively engage in decluttering a part of your life, regardless of whether it is physical or mental clutter, there is always more that you can find to do.

My home is far from totally decluttered but I have increasingly found myself applying the same principles to my space in the office.  I work in an open-plan office in a 5 star ‘green’ building.  Many people are resistant to the ‘rules’ attached to this standard, however, I am pleased that we have initiatives such as separate waste and recycling bins in the kitchen areas.  Compared to some others, my work-station is positively spartan.

2012-03-15 01Nevertheless, there are always bits of paper and other junk gathering so each day I check to see what else I can clear away.  It is much easier to work when everything has a home and you have only ‘enough’ of things like stationery supplies.

2012-03-15 02Neither of these desks are mine but I definitely am closer to the tidy than untidy one, thank goodness.  One day I will take a photo so you can see what it is really like.

On another note, Joanna asked what is in my make-up module.  Here is a list.

Liquid foundation
Blush + brush
Mascara
Lipsticks x 3
Eyebrow pencil
Lip pencil
Pencil sharpener
Compact mirror
Tweezers x 2

Apart from that I have a bottle of organic foaming face wash which lives on the shelf in the shower. There is a jar of moisturiser and rose hip oil which I use around my eyes in a different container in the drawer.  I do not use an fancy make-up remover – just the face-wash and water.  So, it is not only the physical stuff that is streamlined.  My beauty and make routine is about as simple as you can get.

What routines have you streamlined to make your life simpler?

Module and Launch

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No , it is not the space shuttle!

I do not wear make-up every day but this afternoon I was going out and planned to put some on, so it was a simple matter of retrieving the module containing my make-up from the drawer of the bathroom cabinet.  Here it is.

Make-up module

Yes, this is my entire make-up collection.

In her book on minimalism, ‘The Joy of Less’, Francine Jay talks about setting limits on the amount of stuff you have and one way of doing this is to create modules.  My make-up module was simply a matter of putting my current streamlined supplies into a container, however, it will help me to maintain a small collection now that it is contained.

Since we do not yet have a bathroom mirror I was able to easily pick up the container and take the whole lot into my bedroom to use the mirror there and then return the module to where it belongs in the bathroom.  No fuss, no searching and no time wasted which suits me perfectly.

Now to the second part of the title – Launch.

I went to the Queensland launch of Rhonda Hetzel’s simple living book, ‘Down to Earth’ at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre this evening.  I had bought my book about 3 weeks ago and it is well on the way to being a much-loved reference book in my home.  You can read my review in a previous post here.  There was a good crowd of interested and enthusastic people and I really hope that this is just the beginning of more people making a real effort to simplify their lives and reap the benefits.