Decluttering in Progress: Study

Finally I’m getting somewhere with decluttering our study! A few days ago I cleaned up my messy art supply cupboard. In that process I filled a bag with big bottles of old,  coloured wall paint and some other art stuff; this bag will go to church tomorrow for Sunday school.
Some old pairs of jeans that didn’t fit into my fabric box went into another bag, which I filled with other ugly old clothes from the “get rid of this” box in our study today and took it to a fabric recycling container. As this container is grouped together with other recycling containers I decided to finally get rid of an old scanner and an equally old pair of small computer loudspeakers (container for small electronical devices), as well as two bags of clear glass trash from the kitchen I had to take there anyway. So I walked up that hill with a load of trash and came home feeling much lighter.
In addition I put a “free stuff” shoebox of smaller random items on the outside window sill as I sometimes do.
Finally tonight I found someone from church who will take the bag of better clothes to a donation point by car.
Still a lot to get rid of before my birthday party!


Make-up use review: August

August 5th: Concealer, worn for job training.

I covered some red spots.


August 27th: Concealer, job interview.

Same as above.


In September I’ll start teaching language classes, so I think I’ll wear concealer more often in the future. I might add a dash of colour every now and then, but as I won’t always go home between work and capoeira class I don’t want too much stuff on my face that could end up on my white clothes later. And I plan to eat even less processed foods in the future, so my skin should look fine without powder and paint. For one week in August I ate sugary stuff and comfort food again, which totally showed on my face.


The “project”





Make-up use review: June

After two months of no make-up at all I have something to report, finally.

June 6th: Lipstick, the occasion was the wedding of our friends. I applied the lipstick before they picked me up for the photo shooting (I was the co-photographer), so there wasn’t a lot of it left when we arrived at church afterwards; I didn’t re-apply it for the evening either. No specific reason, I just felt like using it and then I thought it wouldn’t make a difference whether I re-applied it or not. Okay, I thought it would be stupid to re-apply it when there will be food shortly afterwards, and in the dim light no one would notice it anyway. I’m also glad I didn’t use any of the other make-up stuff, because once we started dancing it escalated quickly to the point where some of us were soaked in sweat.

June 25th: Concealer, for a job interview. I had planned to use a blend&cover stick I had purchased just for this occasion, but while it had looked okay on my skin in the shop it turned out to be way too dark for my skin tone when seen under natural light. So I had to use my default for covering red spots – a very, very light liquid concealer. I like the idea of having a solid concealer/cover stick to carry with me for important appointments, though, and might buy the lightest possible shade of said stick to replace the liquid concealer (which can be a little messy when applied in a hurry).

The “project”




Benefits of Bad Mood: Decluttering!

Due to a headache I’ve been in a rather bad mood since yesterday. While this is not very pleasurable for me and my immediate environment, I’ve noticed that in this state it is easier for me to part with things – a cluttered apartment amplifies my bad mood, because I feel trapped and crushed. So I want to be able to breathe again, making me more willing to “sacrifice” a few things.

So far I’ve prepared a few items for departure:

– An old pair of running shoes my parents had brought me on their last visit: I had forgotten their existence for several years and they aren’t even comfortable, so they’ll end up in a donation bin.

– A plushy that had been waiting in the give-away-box in our study for some months will be picked up by the co-owner when they come to this city in a week or two.

– Body lotion sample I bought but don’t like, a book I don’t think I’ll read again, cardboard mask base, butterfly hair stick: A friend might like these, so I’ll take them with me the next time I meet them.

– Hair dye, assorted samples of skin care products, metal hair clip and hair fork that won’t hold in my hair: I’ll soon be meeting up with some girls to talk and trade stuff like this, therefore these items went into a bag, ready to come with me next Saturday.

– A scarf I stopped wearing two or three years ago: A friend really liked it when I bought this one and when I asked her today she said she still would be glad to have it, so I squeezed it into an old envelope and to the post office it will go on Monday!

Not today but a few days ago I already sent an old hair conditioner sample to someone I met on the internet. Finally I got rid of this weird smelling piece of solid conditioner without throwing it in the trash!

Creation of a retreat

Over the course of the weekend (which for me included headaches, panic-mode, and generally feeling stressed out and tired) I decided to convert the stuffed corner behind my desk into a place for contemplation/prayer/calm-down. I need a place without chaos, without technology, without distraction.

Basic ideas

  • the corner should feel airy, but separate form the surrounding space
  • keyword: sensory deprivation. I even joked about getting myself a huge cardboard box from the attic to climb into when the world is too full of sounds and visual input; but I decided to go with white and just keep it simple.
  • no additional purchases (in the beginning I had planned to get things from Ikea, bad me) – I want a place to get away from hoarded stuff, so buying new things would be counterproductive
  • working title of the project: “warrior’s retreat” – I want to become stronger in mind, soul, and body, while learning to relax, to focus, to relearn stillness and mindfulness, and to be angry or stressed out less often
  • I’d like to spend at least ten minutes each day in my tiny retreat and allow my mind to wander a little, maybe read a bit … ideal would be ten minutes in the morning plus ten minutes before going to bed, but I’ll take small steps for now

Current concept

  • I turned around my art supply shelf to add a third wall (not very high, but high enough for when sitting close to the floor, see next item) and to keep the area closer to the empty stretch of wall and away from my desk at the opposite wall
  • a surplus palette (left over from replacing our sofa with palettes and beanbag chairs) is stored in the attic and will become a slightly elevated, airy “floor” – we have a slight problems with cold drafts here and a bit of elevation will make it feel more like a proper separate sitting area while retaining the feeling of being close to the ground by sitting on a flat surface
  • to provide a softer ceiling and the illusion of a fourth wall I salvaged my old bed canopy aka cheap mosquito net from of the get-rid-of-this-stuff box (instead some other items ended up in that box) and hung it from the overhead wall shelf by digging up one of the adhesive hooks I had bought for the bathroom some time ago
  • our old sofa throw (something between off-white, beige, and pastel yellow) will become the first layer on top of the palette
  • an old woven rug (mostly red, white, and a little black) my mother gave me for my first apartment will be either folded as a cushion or just run across the whole palette, depends on what I like better in the end
  • one of the Ikea “Skurar” plant pots which had served as a candle holders on our wedding day will be repurposed to hold a pen, a small notepad, and maybe a feather plus some fragrance (e.g. a single star anise from my stash in the kitchen)
  • one or two books; currently I think I’ll put my study bible and a capoeira book inside
  • a glass tumbler of fresh, cold water
  • maybe one of our small white or grey metal lanterns (also wedding decoration) will be added for soothing light and to focus on to calm down

Do you have a place in your home for contemplation and/or calming down? I’d like to hear about it and maybe see pictures :)

Favourite Friday: skincare remedies found in the kitchen

Sorry for being one day late again! But as for some of my readers it’s Friday still, here we go.

I like using natural skincare products and even more making my own from ingredients I wouldn’t mind in my food. These are some of my favourites:

  • vinegar (or lemon juice): not exactly skincare, but very useful diluted with water for an acidic hair rinse after using a shampoo bar or other shampoo substitutes
  • coconut oil: facial care at the moment coconut oil is the only thing I use daily on my face for softening and moisturising, works on other body parts as well (but is not rich enough for my dry skin, so I have to mix in shea butter or other stuff); also good on its own or mixed with olive oil to soften cuticles.
  • olive oil and sugar: mixed these make a wonderful scrub for face and body! You can add some salt, essential oils, and witch hazel extract for extra skin care and fragrance, but it works fine without these.
  • milk and honey: something I discovered just this week – I just dilute a teaspoon of honey in a little milk and use it to soften my skin. (Apply to legs, arms, face, or wherever you want it, wait until most of it has been absorbed by the skin, apply again, repeat a few times, then rinse off. Voilà, soft skin after just two days.)
  • baking soda: no minimalist/natural/hippie skincare list would be complete without baking soda. I don’t use it daily anymore, but especially when travelling with little luggage I use it instead of toothpaste (and at home sometimes for whitening my teeth), face wash/scrub (makes super soft skin and feels cleaner than after washing with just water), deodorant (both body and laundry), and occasionally also for washing my hair (only if vinegar or lemon juice is within reach, see above).
  • cornstarch, baking soda, and coconut oil: together these make a simple deodorising cream, works even better when mixing in tea tree oil and some other essential oils.
  • (cornstarch: matting face powder, especially for light skin, but for me it doesn’t work very well because it feels a little itchy. Or maybe I’m just allergic to the powder brush I use? Still a favourite for the simple yet ingenious idea some other blogger had.)

Do you have any simple beauty secrets including nothing but things found in the kitchen?