If you've been a reader for a long time you'll remember that every January I share a new tea towel pattern with everyone, because freshening my kitchen and other living spaces in January sets my year off to a good start.
Along with seasonal decluttering, I find one of my biggest clear-out and refresher motivations comes around like clockwork right after New Year. I look through my home with fresh eyes, walking each room and taking notes on what I'd like to change, tidy, replace, remove or organise.
So far this month I've cleared out our bedroom wardrobe, filled two bags with items which have already been donated, and re-organised the very limited storage space in there so that it functions well for our needs. I also pulled everything out of the linen cupboard and was able to donate another few bags of excess sheets, towels, rugs, unused tea towels, table runners and cushion covers.
Choosing Better Quality
You may be thinking 'why' donate all those items? Maybe one day we'll need them?
The thing is, I have had a big reality check this past year, and accepting that we live in a small home with minimal storage spurred me on to making better choices for what we purchased and ultimately meant I was able to replace old worn items with items of superior quality which will last us for at least a decade or longer.
All through 2021 I slowly took advantage of the seasonal sales for pure linen sheets because they are much cooler in our heat and the quality is superior. Every time there was a 40% discount offer I'd buy a set of sheets and two pillowcases. Linen bedding is very pricey and I couldn't afford to buy a lot at once, so it was slow and steady until by early December we had four sets of lovely linen bedding and all of our cotton pieces could be either donated or put to use in other ways around the house.
In fact, as our couches are wool they are incredibly hot in this tropical heat so I cut two of the old cotton queen bed sheets in half and made them into covers for the single couches - life is far more comfortable sitting on cotton instead of wool now. The rest of the sheets have been donated as they had no holes and were still serviceable.
I also replaced our bath and toilet mats with better quality ones, and then moved on to tea towels.
Tea towels...now you know I simply love them and honestly, I've been collecting them for many many years so half an entire shelf in one side of the linen cupboard was overflowing with tea towels, most of them never used.
But something happened back in November. It occurred to me that washing between 4 and 6 tea towels every day wasn't evidence of good absorbent towels - quite the opposite.
All my pretty kitchen towels are cotton, and all are fairly thin when you come to think of it, so naturally through the course of a day I regularly place one in the washing basket and pull a fresh one from the drawer - over and over and over again.
One day I was watching a homemaker online and she opened her kitchen towel drawer and I saw pretty terry towelling tea towels, rolled and sitting side by side, looking lovely and thick. Light bulb moment for me, I must say! The next day I was out shopping for similar tea towels and found some pink and grey ones, nice and thick, which I can tell you quite honestly have been a game changer for me. I only use one a day now, and they are the best tea towels I have ever owned.
BUT...I do like to have one pretty tea towel hanging over the handle of the oven all the time, because it's part of the overall decoration of a kitchen. So I have kept about eight pretty towels just for decoration (some were delightful gifts from friends) and also made a new one for 2022...which I'm sharing with you today. Use the link below...
We will never be minimalists, but being content with less is very important to our plans moving forward. One thing that matters though, is choosing to buy the best quality we can afford when something needs replacing or if to helps life to run smoother and more efficiently now.
Saving for what we want and watching for the sales in order to take advantage when the opportunity presents itself has become our new normal, and by removing excess, room by room, we've been able to make space for more important things such as pantry items with a long shelf life.
There are still rooms to work with - my sewing room, hubby's study, the kitchen, living/dining room and laundry - but I get so excited thinking about how they will change for the better now that I am taking time, slow time, to consider what's best, what is wise and what is important, before doing anything.
Walk the Room
If you haven't heard of Walking the Room, it's a ritual I do every year and I have a free download sheet you can use. Print one for every room in the house, and even for your outdoor areas.
Just go back to this post from 2020 and you can read how to use them and what inspired me to create them.
Or you can simply download them HERE if you already know about them.
One of the gifts we gave Blossom for Christmas was a jigsaw puzzle. She has loved them all her life, but with three little ones aged 1, 3 and 5, her life is very busy so she'd all but forgotten her childhood hobby - until Christmas night, after tucking her babies into bed.
Off to her sewing room she went, with a mug of hot chocolate and a leftover caramel tart from our lunch that day, and for the next few hours she got lost in the simple delight of bringing tiny pieces together and creating a beautiful picture.
The next night she went hunting through her cupboards for old jigsaws she may have kept and found a few, so each night afterwards she'd settle down for an hour or two and work on one.
When I was dropping off our donations to the op-shop it occurred to me that they might have jigsaws, and in I went to take a look. There were two op-shops right near each other so after scouring both I came home with ten jigsaws at $2 each - bargain! I only chose the ones I knew we'd enjoy because I too decided to spend a little time re-acquainting myself with this childhood pastime.
I dropped seven of the jigsaw puzzles to Blossom (there was a lovely Ravensburger one for the children as well), and kept three for hubby and I. A train one for him as he comes from a long line of railway workers and train drivers, and these two for me...
I'd love to know what you plan to do this year in and around your home, and if there's an old hobby you're keen to take up again?
I intend to keep my heart focused and settled on being content, and being intentionally slower with changes and choices. Somehow I think jigsaws will be good for slowing...after all, you can't rush them.
May the Lord above, who gave us the priceless gift of His Son, watch over you and bring you peace today and every day in the weeks ahead.
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