Kondo-ed…an update.

It’s been a week since I began my decluttering process the KonMari way. You may remember my mentioning it last week on Little Things Thursday and I promised you an update after reading the entire book and applying what I learned. I found the whole thing life changing in terms of how I view things.

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Last week there were mixed reactions to the book. Most people who left comments were fairly on board with simplifying while a few others were thinking that decluttering was the last thing on their to do lists. There is no judgement either way because the real purpose of the book is not to force you to discard items you really love, but to help you make sure that you are surrounding yourself with things that “spark joy”.

Personally, I was not as joyful with my surroundings as I could be. I knew that we had some excess baggage that felt more like an anchor than a bolster of joy. In an effort to give us space to pursue our true passions, I needed to spend less time managing items. If we can’t steward and store things well, then they must be superfluous to our lives. Storage is just a bandage to the bigger problem of excess.

I spent a full week purging every single room and closet. I took a serious look at each item, as the method suggests, and asked myself if the items “sparked joy”. I did feel a little foolish verbalizing the question, but it was so helpful. Marie suggests starting with categories, not rooms. You begin with clothing, move to books, papers, misc. items, and then on to nostalgia. Never start with nostalgia if you want to make it through the discarding process. You end with it because by the time you get to your nostalgia, you’ve honed the skill of knowing what brings you joy. Nostalgia is the most guilt inducing category, so you want to have your brave pants on before tackling it. This works! The only item I disagree with tossing in this department is photographs, obviously. I mean there may be some you could let go of, if you don’t even know what they are. However, we do need to be better about taking hundreds of nothing shots. And we do need to be better about giving our photographs that spark joy places of honor by displaying them. That’s my high horse.

I also love how Marie gives you permission to just let go of anything you have buyer’s remorse over. So often we hang on to things simply because we feel guilty about wasting money on it, even though we know we secretly hate it and will never use it. Or maybe we just have ambivalence about it and store it simply because it’s not that bad and maybe we will use it “someday”. She redeems those poorly purchased items buy telling us that we were taught that we don’t like shirts with patterns, or plaid doesn’t look good on us. We learned what not to buy next time! Or maybe we can let go of something because it’s purpose was already fulfilled by bringing us joy in the past, so we can let it go now because we are no longer gaining joy from it.

I discarded about 10-15 bags of garbage items and made a couple Goodwill donation trips. Remember, I’ve never been a pack rat. Still, I had that much miscellaneous garbage and unused items stuffed in drawers, closets, and spaces. It has been so freeing to give it up. Some things I just decided I could live without. We weren’t using them and there was no reason to keep them. We reached the place of “enough” and “joyful”. Everything has a designated home. If you discard thoroughly and put everything you keep away, you will stay decluttered. As the theory goes… So far so good in our home.

The tip on folding clothing has been revolutionary. I never knew I had that much available drawer space until I folded the KonMari way. Try it…it’s amazing. If this is all you gain from the book, you won’t be sorry.

Lastly, I truly believe this method will stay with me if I simply ask myself when purchasing, “does this spark joy?” I think I will know immediately if the items are needed, bring me joy, or if I am seeking to soothe some fleeting emotion inside instead. I will teach my kids to ask the same question, even if I gave them the items. No guilt. I don’t want them navigating their adult lives feeling bound to stuff. Sometimes I think we all just need permission to throw stuff away and to have less. It is a bit counter-cultural to think this way. We have to learn to carry memories and experiences without all the tchotchkes. Unless they really spark joy! I have a few items from Thailand that are joyful for me like my Celadon tea set from Chiang Mai. I prefer to buy one really great thing over a 100 little nothings.

If you took a look around my home today, you would not see sparse minimalism. You would see essentialism. Though, I can get on board with both and be happy. The bottom line for me is having freedom to follow passions without the anchor of stuff.  Beautiful essentials are all I need. I love that take away from reading the book.

One thing I am not addressing here are the chapters that touch on some of the Japanese spiritual philosophies regarding things as living beings. This is briefly mentioned and from the perspective of a Japanese author. This subject is beyond the point of the book, in my opinion. If you want to ask me about those from my Christian perspective, I’m happy to share my thoughts with you.

Grab this book if you are serious about decluttering and simplifying your space. You can find the book on Amazon. Link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through this link do bring a few pennies my way and support this blog. Thank you.

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A Pocket Full Of Sunshine Boutique|Review

I’m doing a little something different for Little Things Thursday this week! Over the summer, I was contacted by the super cute children’s clothing company A Pocket Full of Sunshine Boutique to try out a couple of their items for review. My little girl is all grown up, but I’m surrounded by darling little girls in my town.  I put out a model call for one of them to model some dresses for me, and this doll stepped forward!

First, you have got to see all the clothing on A Pocket Full of Sunshine’s website. The outfits are adorable.  I love all the unique items that your girls will love this back to school season.  You won’t find these items in the collections in your local stores.  To me, that is a plus! As a photographer, I am also always looking for great companies to recommend to my clients for putting together a wardrobe for portraits. A Pocket Full of Sunshine has so many great, affordable options.

Like this adorable Blue Lace Florence dress:

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I love the lace detail on the neckline and the empire waist!

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Next up is the Cream Crochet Maderia dress. Even my high school daughter said that she wished this came in her size!

APFOS blog post 2This is such a versatile dress! I can see this as an autumn look with a cute pair of tights and some cowgirl boots. It’s a perfect Back to School look! I know you’ll find so many looks to love this fall!

A Pocket Full of Sunshine is graciously offering my readers 25% off orders when you use the code littlebylittle! A little savings this time of year is such a blessing to the back to school budget!

And a parting shot of my darling model, because she was so fun to shoot! APFOS 04-LBLblog

Now come link up for Little Things Thursday with us and show us what you’ve got! Be sure to stop by A Pocket Full of Sunshine Boutique to get 25% off some unique Back to School clothes with my code!


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Boon Suds Bottle Washer| Product Review

The good folks at Boon reached out to me to review one of their new products, the SUDS Bottle Washer.  SUDS was designed for parents who are in that stage of constantly washing baby bottles and sippy cups.  Boy, do I remember those days! In our early years of parenting we did not have a dishwasher as those were not common in the country we were living at the time.  I always felt like it was a chore to really get bottles and sippy cups clean. Even though we are no longer in that stage, we are in the stage of constantly washing sports bottles for our kids.  I hand wash those because dishwashers tend to cause these bottles to expand and that leads to the dreaded leaks. On top of this, I also like to hand wash my coffee travel mugs.

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I could see that a Boon SUDS Bottle Washer could be a boon for me as a soccer mom! 5 water bottles after every game and practice really adds up to time at the sink.

To use, simply fill the basin with warm soapy water, invert your bottle, and push down a few times! Warm sudsy water splashes inside and the bottle scrubber does the rest.  It’s easy peasy to clean your bottles in mere seconds.  The basin fits in your sink and contains all the mess! This is a #ABoon4Bottles!

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I’m trying it with my trusty coffee travel mug!

The Boon SUDS Bottle Washer is now available in Target stores and at Target.com.

Check out the action here with this video!  I hope you will find the SUDS Bottle Washer a boon for your bottles! And hey moms, this totally works on those end of the day wine glasses, too.

*Post sponsored by Boon, Inc.* All opinions are my own.

 

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Bumblebean’s Smart Solutions

As you may know, I have had the privileged of curating for Bumblebean over the last year.  I just love this company that showcases specialty brands for modern moms, kids, and babies! If you haven’t had a look around Bumblebean’s site, you should definitely make a visit soon because you will fall in love with the brands.

Today, I want to introduce you to Bumblebean’s newest help for all you moms and dads out there.  Bumblebean has launched Smart Solutions with all sorts of parenting hacks to share with you straight from the community of moms and dads who visit the site! Smart Solutions was designed with you in mind.

You’ll find tips for raising kids , tricks, advice and everyday ‘life-hacks’ for everyday challenges.   You can upload videos, images or just words of wisdom, share them with our community and with friends.  We select the best of the best and rotate them through our home page for others to see.
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I’d love for you all to stop by and share some of your best hacks with the community.  I know you have great wisdom that will benefit us all as we make our way through this journey of perenthood. Maybe you’ll find a tip to employ while you are there.

And of course you’ll always find great collections curated by Bumblebean’s experts!

Hope to see you there!

 

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Kidecals

Kidecals reached out to me a few weeks ago about trying some of their personalized decals.  The selections were great!  I love the idea of labeling everything because if your kids are like mine, they leave their stuff everywhere.  Summer is definitely a perfect time for using Kidecals durable labels.

I’m usually a Sharpie pen girl.  However, over time even Sharpie pens start to wear off.  You can use Kidecals on any surface…even fabric! They are dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer safe.  You can be confident that these labels will keep your kid’s personal belongings labeled for the long haul.

I will use my labels on all our sporting gear that seems to get “lost”.

Kidecals is offering my readers a 15% off discount so that you can get all those labels you need for summer camps and activities. Simple use the code: fashion at checkout.  Go stock up on Kidecals for your kids!

Courtesy of: Kidecals

Kidecals provided me with their product to try and review. All opinions are my own.

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Must Haves

I’m taking a deep breath of relief this Monday morning.  We’ve gotten through the first hurried, chaotic weeks of summer and now maybe that slower summer pace will begin.  So far it has felt like the same kind of different.

However, this morning I am willing myself to carve out some time to get caught up to speed! Starting with showing you guys my POPSUGAR Must Have Box for June!

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POPSUGAR Must Have Boxes are a box subscription service that pulls together some great products for you to try!  I was so impressed with the full-sized products! My Must Have Box felt like a present!

June’s box is totally inspired by summer! The box is chock full of things to take along to the beach or a day by the pool.

Of course a fun book is requisite for lounging on the sand or poolside.  Emily Griffin’s The One & Only will be perfect for a fun summer read.  I’m looking forward to carving out time to indulge.

I’m loving that huge bottle of Sachajuan Shiny Citrus Body Lotion.  It smells so, so good!  I just want to drench myself in it.

I was delighted by the Turkish-T Beach Towel.  It’s really luxurious.  You can use it either as a beach towel or you can turn it into a sarong.  You can wrap in so many creative ways to cover up going to and from the beach or pool. I love the color and the stripes!

Lollies hair ties are so cute.  I’m always reaching for a pony tail holder during the summer months.  These ties are made out of swimwear fabric.  You can totally wear them as you play in the water.  They hold their shape, and look so polished!

Did someone at POPSUGAR know of my affinity for kettle style chips?  I can’t wait to dig into this bag of Hawaiian BBQ.  I’m not sharing.

I had to smile at the You Smell Lemon Wet Wipes.  Yep, I’m a germaphobe.  I love having ways to clean my hands on the go.  The lemon fragrance will surely add a little refreshment to the process. I’m going to save these for travel.  They will be perfect for those quick freshen-ups!

Finally, as a bonus, Native Union included a $15 gift card for their fun gadgetry! I’ve already spotted a super fun iPhone cover. If you are geek-fabulous, you will love Native Union’s range of products.

POPSUGAR’S June Must Have Box was incredible!

Because I am a POPSUGAR Select blogger, I get to offer you guys a $10 discount on a 3-month subscription for Must Have Boxes! Sign up by June 30th and use the code JUNESELECT10 for your discount!

POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have Box.  The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

Linking with friends at Good.Random.Fun today!

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Mamoo Kids Giveaway!

Friends, I’m really excited to introduce you to a sweet company called Mamoo Kids! Mamoo Kids reached out to me about sharing a couple of my favorite products with you.  I was first introduced to Mamoo Kids via my partnership with Bumblebean.  Mamoo Kids is a vendor and I just adored their handmade totes, messenger bags, and backpacks.  They are seriously adorable.

As a mom you know how important it is to get your child’s possessions wherever they need to go.  I love the amazing products that Mamoo Kids offers for that task!  I’m so encouraged to learn that Mamoo Kids donates 5% of their net proceeds to reading programs for underprivileged children.  That warms this mother’s heart!

Mamoo Kids sent us the Indy with VW Bug Design messenger bag to try.  I love this bag! I’ve been admiring it for awhile now.

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My almost 13 year old daughter has claimed the Indy for herself. It’s just right for her wallet, lip gloss, and other essentials. It is the perfect size for your tweens!

They also sent me the uber adorable Rover Backpack. WHICH I LOVE! Psst…it comes in red, too!

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The Rover is made of soft corduroy and lined with the cutest coordinating fabric. It’s perfect for your littles headed to a day out and about. They will love carrying this on their backs! It’s great for all their treasures. And it’s perfect for summer travels.

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Mamoo Kids has graciously offered you guys an opportunity to win a $50 store credit so those special kids in your life can rock these sweet bags! Simply enter below for a chance to win!

The winner will be announced June 6th!

The bags shown here were graciously offered to me by Mamoo Kids and all opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sonicare #powertokids

One goal of parenting is to empower your children to become more and more independent as they grow.  Now that my youngest is six, we are seeing our children take on more responsibilities to contribute to their own care and the care of our home.  They love being big enough to do things for themselves.

We are focusing on good health goals in our family in this season of time.  One of those ways is by eating more healthful foods like green smoothies.  I love empowering my children to make sound health choices.   I’ve taught Jasper how to make these green smoothies that we love with some supervision, of course.

#powertokids from Kim Cunningham on Vimeo.

Jasper was pretty chuffed to be able to make smoothies for the family!  We love putting all those micronutrients into our bodies for health and energy!

Another way to encourage healthful habits is to empower our children to take on more of their personal hygeine. One of the first things that most kids want to do to gain independence is toothbrushing.  I mean, sometimes helping kids brush is akin to wrestling alligators.  It’s a big relief when kids start brushing on their own.  The downside is the fear that their efforts aren’t enough.  Sonicare For Kids is a great tool for helping our kids develop this independence.  I love the great design of this toothbrush.   Sonicare toothbrushes come equipped with a two minute timer that helps kids monitor the amount of time spent in brushing teeth.  If your kids are like mine  you know that they are probably not brushing nearly the recommended time.  Sonicare For Kids will help make sure your kids brush long enough to cover all those areas including the hard to reach ones.  We absolutely love rechargeable electric toothbrushes for ensuring the most effective means of cleaning those pearly whites. Kids love them for their fun designs and power.  Give #powertokids with a Sonicare For Kids toothbrush.  Parents can rest easier knowing that those precious teeth are getting clean!

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Want a chance to win a Sonicare For Kids unit to try?  Visit Philips Sonicare’s Facebook page for an opportunity to win!  Just snap an Instagram photo of your child taking on new independence with the hashtag #powertokids to enter.  Two winners will be announced between now and April 11 every Friday! Happy Brushing!

This post is sponsored by Philips Sonicare.

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Boohoo

I was recently contacted by Boohoo, one of the UK’s biggest online retailers about reviewing one of their products.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love all things UK.   And, who doesn’t love clothes?

I chose the Adelle Aztec Marl Tassle Cardigan, because I love cardigans.  I would seriously wear a cardigan everyday during the colder seasons of the year.  I really enjoyed the fun Aztec print on this one.

Boohoo’s clothing is really affordable.  There are so many cute things offered on the site for every style.  Word on the street is that celebs have been spotted wearing Boohoo, too!

Boo Hoo Clothing

Boo Hoo Clothing

This cardigan is so warm and the perfect item for wrapping up on a blustery day. I love that it can be worn open or belted like I have here. Excuse the iPhone image, but no one was here to help me get an image of myself. I need a second shooter!

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And yeah, excuse the bathroom, too. *ahem*

Boohoo has some styling videos that they would love to share with you.  Check out this seasons upcoming styles and how to wear them.  Have a Boohoo outfit?  Upload a photo of yourself on Boohoo Official  and use the hashtag #ownit  for a chance to win a new Boohoo wardrobe.

Disclosure: Thank you to Boohoo for providing this cardigan for me to review.  All opinions are my own.
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Camera Coats Giveaway

Have you all heard of Camera Coats yet? I have seen Camera Coats around the blogosphere and have been intrigued by them.  Camera Coats are waterproof protective “coats” for your camera body and a lens. The idea is that you can put your camera with a lens inside the coat and sling your camera strap over your shoulder, or you could place your camera safely in say a purse or diaper bag.  I know there are times when I get tired of carrying a heavy camera bag.

Sometimes you just want to “Ditch Your Camera Bag“.

Emily, the creator of Camera Coats, contacted me last month to see if I would like to try a Camera Coat.  Of course I did! You know, on my trip to Peru in September I had to put my camera in my purse without any protection while we were out and about. I just did not want to carry a purse and a camera bag.  I was really worried that something would happen to my gear in my purse.  Having a one of these coats would have given me the security of knowing that my camera was protected from all the junk in my purse.

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They are really cute too! I chose the Yellow Damask, but there are so many styles to choose.  They also come in sizes for your specific camera series.  I can’t help but think that this product is perfect for the mom who carries a diaper bag, but also wants to carry her camera.  She wouldn’t have to miss a shot due to not wanting to carry a heavy camera bag.  For me, it’s perfect for those outings where I know I’m just going to need my camera, and one lens for the day.  I love that Camera Coats are waterproof, because you just never know!

Camera Coats would make a perfect gift for yourself or any photography loving person on your Christmas list this year! You should totally check out the variety of styles.  Camera Coats are the perfect alternative to a camera bag.  Did I mention they have coordinating camera straps? They do.

I’m really happy with my Camera Coat, but to make a little more happy…I get to give one away to a reader!  You can enter via Rafflecopter below.

Additionally, you can order one of these awesome Camera Coats or other Camera Coat products for your camera with my $10 off discount code. (Not good with other offers)  Just enter Little10 at check out! The code expires November 15, 2013, so hurry to have a look at the products.  But don’t forget to enter to win below first!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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