As June 30th approaches (goal update)

The deadline for one of my January goals is fast approaching, so I felt it was a good time to update you and, in turn, keep myself on track.

1. I would like to reduce the stuff in our house by 1000 more items by Jan 1st 2015.

  • By our last update I had removed 191 items and added 55. We’re faring a lot better now, but I have been a bit slack in keeping track. Let’s call these numbers approximate.
  • Our outgoing stuff, helped along by the Minimalist Game, is at 635 items. I still have a lot of items in the out-going pile that just haven’t been moved on yet. I hope to focus on that a little these school holidays.
  • Our incoming stuff is at 101 items. This has been added to a lot due to Little Fearse’s birthday and, also, me losing focus a little. I’m getting less good at saying ‘no thanks’. I need to continually remind myself that we don’t need stuff. 
  • So, really, this brings our total for removed items (if I’m going to be strict) back to 534 items.
  • A little over half way at a little under the half way point. Not bad! Of course getting rid of 500 more items is going to be more challenging given the depths we have already gone to in our decluttering. I’ll let you know how I go.

2. I would like to further reduce the number of tubs in the storeroom by at least one 60 litre tub by Jan 1st 2015.

  • I have reduced the stuff in these tubs by half a tub. So, I guess, that puts me at the half way point, too.

3. I would like to maintain a clear dining room surface, permanently. (With the exception of times of high volumes of at home work, such as report writing time, when it doubles as my desk and some clutter is necessary.)

  • Here, you be the judge. Not toooooo bad.Image

4. I would like to sell (or, failing that, donate) all of the items that I currently have set aside for eBay by June 30th this year.

  • I have stopped selling things in eBay due to ludicrous fees and postage costs. I’m thinking about opening an Etsy store for my vintage dresses and BP’s vintage cup cake stands, but this is something I need to investigate further these holidays. I won’t be meeting this goal by June 30th, but will probably reassess and set a new goal once I know what I’m doing.

5. I would like to read 5 books on my to-read shelves by 1st Jan 2015.

  • This is the goal I am doing the best with. I have really prioritised reading lately, especially since BP’s new job means less reading time in the mornings. I use every free opportunity, including getting to school a little earlier to read in the car, reading in the bath, reading instead of watching movies or TV shows, going to bed earlier to read…reading, reading, reading.
  • I have read, since the last update, two more books from the shelves Last Words by George Carlin and Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro. This brings my total to four already!
  • My to-read shelves are now down to 99 books! I can’t remember the last time I had less than 100 books on this shelf. BP asked if I wanted some books for my birthday and it was so hard saying no, but I really want to get down to a less overwhelming number of unread books.
  • I have been borrowing a lot of books from friends and the library, and have been gifted some recent blockbusters which I raced through and passed on. None of these made it onto my to-read shelves, so I need to, perhaps, focus a little more on reading from the shelves and less on borrowing yet more books!
  • With my recent focus on reading perhaps I can set a goal within a goal and see if I can double it – 10 books by January 1st? You’re on!

Mama xo

Great literary holiday reads.

My school holidays are coming up and I’m looking forward to some extra reading time. Those of you who have been reading along will remember that I’m ‘self educating’ with the classics of last century through three book lists.

I’ve read a good number of the books on these lists already, as I started reading from them in 2001, just a year after they were published. Here is a list of ten books from these lists that I would recommend as engaging and quick holiday reads for any other lucky people who are about to embark on a few weeks break.

1. The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald

I really love F. Scott Fitzgerald and enjoy all his books, but The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favourites. This really is a short and engaging read. The best thing about reading this now is that you can then indulge in seeing the film at the cinema straight away.

2. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

One of my friends, upon finishing this book, declared that if it had been 100 pages longer she would have given up men for good. I tend to agree. This book is compelling – I think it took me a day to read.

3. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This book was a lovely lyrical read and only took me a day or two to finish while on holidays in New York.

4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

You think you know this story, but then… there are a few details in the original story that were altered for the film. Reading this really surprised me. It’s an enjoyable read and a good one to share with the kids.

5. 1984 by George Orwell

This is certainly not a heartening story (it gave me nightmares when I first read it), but it doesn’t take long to get through. The synopsis is pretty well known these days, but the details are really intense.

6. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

I read this in the last couple of weeks, while writing school reports. I raced through it fairly rapidly considering. Hemingway really is a sensational writer and this story is a wonderful read.

7. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This really is a slender volume and I have to admit that although it is on my shelves I still haven’t read it! I might get stuck into it these holidays myself.

8. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

What an awesome book. You will read this quickly because I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down.

9. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

This is a beautiful story that I also read very quickly because I couldn’t put it down. I read this pre-Little Fearse so I was able to read until all hours of the night. I’d like to read it again some day (and I never re-read books).

10. Slaughterhouse-Five  by Kurt Vonnegut

This book is a little macabre with a steady vein of humour. It’s a very short, bizarre book. I remember enjoying it thoroughly.

Which literary books have you enjoyed during your holidays?

Happy (nearly) holidays and happy reading,

Mama xo

The Book Embargo

Books.  Ahh books. Ironically, I find it hard to put into words exactly how I feel about books. Well, succinctly, at least…

When I was 7 I finally got through my first chapter book all by myself. The book was called The Secret Valley. It was set in the American prairies and my Nana had bought it for me at an op shop. I can still visualise scenes from that book today, though I’ve never read it again. From then on I spent many afternoons and weekends lying in bed reading story after story. I read any Enid Blyton adventure I could get my hands on. I kept Selby’s Secret a secret. I picked a path in Choose My Own Adventure books. I was grossed out by Paul Jennings. If you put it in my hands, I read it. If you left it anywhere in my vicinity, I read it.

Even as a young child I remember hoping I’d have a reading daughter one day that I could share all these tales and adventures with. And this is where the problem began. I’ve always found it very difficult to get rid of a book I’ve enjoyed. Sometimes even books I haven’t enjoyed. Just in case someone wants to borrow it one day, or just in case I decide I need to read it again, or just in case my imagined reading daughter wants to read it one day. You might have worked out from reading this blog that I’m a real ‘just in case’ person. I have a lot of things just in case.

This year, already, I’ve managed to part with a small pile of books, but I don’t like my chances of making a significant dent. A book is also one of my favourite op shop scores. Especially if it’s a book from one of my self-imposed reading lists.

Books are easy to get second hand and they’re often very cheap, too. Even fairly recent books can often be found dotting the shelves of op shops. I’ve never been overly concerned about the possibility of not being able to find that book that I want right now during our BNN adventure.

I am making an agreement with you from right now. I am not going to buy any more books for the rest of the year. It actually hurt me typing that. And hopefully in that time I will make a dent in my three shelves of unread books. (I secretly have a lot of other unread books on the other bookshelves, too.) I’m sure I’ll find this harder than the idea of not buying anything else this year, but it’s really time I got a handle on my book buying.


This is my expansive pile of books waiting to be read. This whole baby business has sure slowed down my reading.


With nerves a chattering,

Mama xo