Monday, 5 December 2016

Dino Discovery Camp @ The Little Executive

It has been a busy, busy week at my centre with our holiday camps in full swing. Our mini palaeontologists had so much fun learning about dinosaurs while working alongside their new teammates.

We use themes which interest kids to teach a wide range of skills necessary for school such as cognitive flexibility, creating reasonable hypothesis, conditional reasoning, as well as life skills such as problem-solving, being a team player, and having the ability to communicate their ideas well.
Enthusiastic paleontologists
Several kids who enjoyed our previous Astronaut Training Camp joined us again and were delighted to see their ex-camp mates.

The happiest little kid was Kate, who could jump into the car with me in the mornings instead of hearing me say, "Bye, mummy has to go to work now."
Delighted to be in mummy's school
A wide range of sensory activities are carried out in our camps as these naturally encourage children to explore scientific processes, such as making predictions and observations and developing analytical skills. A further benefit is that children retain the most information when they engage their senses in experiential learning.
Squishy squashy mud
In our Dino grid game, the kids were split into 2 teams, and the carnivores had to catch the herbivores. Similar to a chess game, they have to think ahead and strategize so as not to be 'eaten'. They make decisions as a team, directing their player on the grid. We had several frightened little herbivores, afraid to be 'eaten' by the carnivorous dinos!
Strategy game
We go to great lengths to make learning come alive and everything we do in the classroom has a real world example. For example, by examining the size and shape of the footprints, the children were able to deduce which dinosaur it came from.
Field notes
Our mini palaeontologists learned how fossils were formed over millions of years and had a chance to make fossil imprints in 'mud'. This enabled them to understand how real life paaleontologists deduce information based on incomplete evidence.
Fossil imprints
There were lots of hands-on activities to keep them engaged and it was lovely to see some of the kids move from being fearful of getting their hands dirty with sensory work to enjoying the experience with their friends. Kate does plenty of baking at home with me and she gleefully dugged in with both hands to shape her dino eggs.
Hiding dinos in their eggs
And... viola! Some tails were peeking out!
DIY dino eggs
In our speculation exercise "If I lived with the Dinosaurs..." they were guided on deductive reasoning and encouraged to use their imagination. This is a fun way for a child's executive functioning skills to be challenged (critical thinking, flexibility, planning) because they need to figure out their priorities to survive. 

Scenarios were discussed, and they were prompted to think further - "how would you catch your fish?" or "how would you find food if you are not going to come out of your cave at all?" I loved reading the different answers! Simply adorable, what these kids come up with.
Creative writing
The older kids worked together to consolidate the various activities they have been doing by creating a pre-historic scene. Judging by the laughter coming from the rooms, they seemed to be having a great time with their new friends.
Our P1s
Our N2s created their own dinosaur world which they were all so proud of. Kate was the last to finish her work as she was so meticulous. Look at her serious face.
Their pre-historic world
They were taught the grid system, which is a typical way a fossil grid site is organized. This enables palaeontologists to record the horizontal and vertical positions of the excavated fossils and artifacts.

For children, grid work is important in developing their visual tracking skills, spatial orientation and perspective taking, all of which are important for the classroom and beyond. Most of all, they get all excited when they manage to dig up a bone!
Grid work
Parents were invited for the last 30 minutes on the last day to see what the kids had been up to, and it was a first for many parents to watch their kids do a show-and-tell. We had a lot of shy kids this round, and it was wonderful to see them have the courage to stand up there in front of so many parents, even though some of the N2s could only manage a whisper. Great effort, kids!

It was extremely heartening to see many dads come in during their lunch hour to be involved in their children's lives. The mums relegated the job of cracking the hardened eggs to the dads and you could see the glee on the kids' faces when the eggs finally broke!
Daddies in the house
We had such a great time with these little darlings and everyone was sad that the camp has come to an end.
Our graduating Palaeontologists
It has been an amazing few weeks working alongside my team of passionate teachers, with the common goal of making the camp enjoyable and meaningful for the kids. As exhausting as it was, seeing the kids have fun, open up, and learn so well over the 4 days is the reward in itself. Probably something only educators can relate to!
TLE team
1 camp down, 2 more to go. Our P1 Prep camp starts tomorrow and I'm certain the kids will have a swell time running their mini 'tuck shop' and learning strategies to get them ready for the big transition.

Our last camp for the year will be the Astronaut Training Camp from 13-16 December, and there are a few remaining slots for the morning session. Let your little ones join us for a unique space mission they will not forget!




The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
Tel: 69081889
Email: knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Do schools make the PSLE more stressful than it should be?

The 2016 PSLE results are out and something strange is happening. I'm still wondering why a parent's response to her own child's results was picked up by a newspaper, which has gone viral.

Our children, who have increasingly more access to the internet, are picking up on the views of us adults, and that is where they are forming their own opinions of self and success based partly on societal norms.

What should we be talking about, the days following the release of results?

The stories about resilience and students surmounting great obstacles are encouraging, and I would also love to read about the special programmes of various schools which might suit my child's interest and aid in our selection of a secondary school.

#4 had a rough ride this year and did not enjoy her PSLE year like her 3 older sisters did. They were up for the challenge, were motivated, supported well, and fought hard.

For her, the preparations and exams leading up to the PSLE were so daunting that she was overwhelmed. Even more of a pity is that despite the ridiculous amount of work piled on them, with hours of homework every day, there was no correlation to results.

As a parent, what do you do when you see your child cracking under the pressure? Push some more? For her sake or mine?

I shall not disclose her score as I did previously with my other girls as she was uncomfortable with me documenting her P6 year and I respect that.

Suffice to say that her results were as expected and I had already come to terms with that in June as she was not coping well and we had terminated all her tuition which we began in January. Her sanity was more important to me than those 3 digits.

However, what was unexpected was that several of her classmates had low scores too, despite them having a ton of tuition. I can't understand why parents are so caught up with top scorers and the percentage of students scoring above 250. Shouldn't we consider the weakest link in any situation? More so when there are GEP students making up the bulk of that percentage.

I only put her in this school after giving the school in our neighbourhood a shot with my 3 older kids and realizing that the values of the principal did not align with ours. On this note, I have to say that #4's principal is one of the best I have encountered and she was indeed lucky to have the opportunity to be in this school at this time. Her care and concern for each and every student was evident, and her greatest desire seemed to be to imbue in them solid values such as respect for others, service to the community, gratitude and humility.

I clarified with her teachers if she was in the lousiest class in the cohort, but no, I was told that it was a general mixed ability class. So that was quite puzzling. The hubs is disappointed that a seemingly good school is unable to prepare their students adequately for the national exams. It can't be that she is a very weak student because she managed to score an A for her English.

We did not scold her, for she must already be disappointed that she does not have many schools to choose from. We also could not say that as long as she had tried her best, that was enough, because honestly, I don't think she had given of her best in the run up to the exams.

Could we have done things differently? I do not know. Was it the pressure of the system that became too much for some of these 12-year olds to cope with? Likely so.

All I can do is to put things into perspective and tell her that the exams that needed to be taken were taken, and the results are out. This is definitely not the end, and life goes on. She has another opportunity to work hard and to do well and she should seize that chance.

Now it's off to consulting THE GREY HANDBOOK for the 4th time! It almost feels like an old friend.

One sad fact is that because her friends come from all over the island, from as far as Yishun, Pasir Panjang and even Sengkang, most of them are choosing a secondary school near their own home and the group of them will be separated.

That is her greatest worry now, to enter an unknown school, alone.

Whichever school she goes to, we can only hope and pray that she is lucky enough to get passionate teachers who will go the extra mile to teach and encourage them, and that she will find good friends to journey the next 4 years with.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Exciting Holiday Camps

School's out and things are heating up around here! Our team at The Little Executive is going full steam ahead to prepare for 3 weeks of holiday camps.

Join us for an exciting Dino Discovery Camp, where our mini paleontologists will have lots of hands-on opportunities to make their own fossils, do a Dino-dig, crack IQ codes, work together as a team to reconstruct a dinosaur skeleton and create a Dino cave! How cool is that?

Dino Discovery Camp - 4 days
Date: 29 November - 2 December 2016
Time: 9am - 12pm (N2, K1, K2)
2pm - 5pm (K1 - P2)
Fee: $400 per child
Holiday Camp
Our fun and interactive P1 Prep Camp will get your K2 child ready for a big new school! Entering Primary 1 is a very different experience from our time. The demands are much greater and kids today are less classroom ready.

Over the 4 days, we aim to equip them with our 5-Step Learning cycle to excel academically, a Growth Mindset to be unafraid of failure and become resilient students and Executive Functioning Skills which form the foundations of independent learning.

The kids will have fun running a mini 'tuck shop' and take turns buying and selling snack items while learning to handle money. They will also have ample opportunities to practice speaking up and communicating their needs.

More details of P1 Prep curriculum.

P1 Preparatory Camp
Date: 6-9 December 2016
Age: K2 only
Time: 2-5pm
Fee: $400 per child
P1 Prep Camp
Our popular Astronaut Training Camp is back this December holidays! Let us take your child on a unique mission to Outer Space where they will hone their problem-solving skills to complete Space Missions and enhance their teamwork and communication skills as they work together as a crew to build the ultimate space shuttle!

Many of our Astro cadets said it was the best holiday camp they have ever attended!

Astronaut Training Camp
Date: 13 - 16 December 2016
Age: K1 - P2
Time: 9am-12pm or 2-5pm
Fee: $400 per child
The Little Executive

  • 10% off camp fees with 2 or more sign ups
  • Parents are invited for the last 30 minutes on Friday for a presentation by our campers
  • Location: 144 Bukit Timah Road Singapore 229844 (5 min walk from KK Hospital)
  • Email: knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia to register
  • Tel: 6908 1889
  • Website: www.thelittleexecutive.asia

www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore 

Friday, 11 November 2016

Kate turns 4!

This is the first time we had a low key birthday.

I mean, really, really, low key.

After 6 kids, I've had enough of OTT birthdays. Of inviting the whole kampung, hiring magicians, jumping castles, and game hosts. That was before Instagram and extravagant dessert tables.

It didn't help that we used to live in a condo and that became the norm and our kids expected it. I had a whole cupboard filled with presents which I could whip out when an invite came from one of the neighbours, which happened every weekend or so.

With Kate, I have stopped doing things just because and now I think through why we do what we do, so much so that one of my teens remarked recently, "Mum, Kate has such a different childhood experience from us!"

Last year, I tried to keep her birthday cosy, but I guess it wasn't small enough. When too many guests arrived, she was overwhelmed and burst into tears. We thought inviting 10 kids was a small number, but add to that the accompanying adults, and it was all too much for a 3-year old.

This year, I decided to go old school and keep it simple. Nothing fancy, nothing lavish.

Thankfully, Kate seemed to have the same thoughts.

I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she counted off her closest friends from school whom she wanted to invite home.

Each time I asked her (just to be sure), she mentioned the same 4 names, and she was very firm about it.

I was amused, because after 16 years of elaborate parties with 30-40 kids, with unhappy kids at the end of every party, I finally read that the number of guests should correspond to the child's age.

So 4 years = 4 friends.

Perfect.

After handing out the 4 invites, I was slightly nervous. What if only 2 could make it? What a strange, boring party it would be.

Luckily, all 4 accepted our lunch invitation.
Birthday in school
The day before her party, she celebrated her birthday in school and was overjoyed that I turned up to celebrate it with her and her friends.

She was clearly excited that her best friends were coming to her party and she tidied up the living room without me asking.

I have been extremely busy the past 3 weeks, and couldn't put one more thing on my plate. The night before her party, with nothing planned, I asked myself, how hard is it to keep 5 little kids entertained for 2 hours? It took me just 30 minutes to get everything ready for her party, compared to previous years where it took us a full day to cook and prep the house and activities!
Kate turns 4!
Just look at this photo.

I love how old school it is. Reminds me of the photos we had of our childhood!

Normally, I would be busy flitting around, keeping guests entertained and seeing to everyone's needs.

This time, I could actually sit down and have decent conversations with the other mums.
Clay fun
#3 cooked up a batch of clay and they had fun adorning their creations with sparkly bits.

I came up with the brilliant idea to get the girls to make their very own DIY party bags! Ok, with a lot of guidance from the mummies.

I filled some baskets with snacks and little knickknacks such as stationery and girlie craft items.

After they were done making their bags, they chose what they wanted from the baskets to fill their party bags.

It was nice to see the girls give in to one another and no one fought for the same items.
DIY party bags
And of course, after lunch, the real fun began when the girls ran off from the adults' prying eyes and made up their own games.

After her friends left, the rest of our extended family streamed in and I allowed Kate to skip her nap. She opened her presents and continued playing into the evening with her cousin.
Look what I made!
I am a convert.

No more big parties if I can help it.

My recent decluttering of our house using the minimalist KonMarie method might have something to do with my desire for simplicity.

Such an eye-opener. Less is indeed more. In many areas, with less frills, we can go deeper and enjoy better, the things which matter and bring happiness.

Happy birthday to my littlest!

May you always know where to find real joy and happiness.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~




Sunday, 6 November 2016

Dream Cruises - Media Invite

I attended the launch of Genting Dream, Dream Cruises' inaugural cruise ship, which is amongst the largest and most spacious cruise ships in Asia. Having not sailed on a cruise ship in more than 15 years, I was unsure just how spectacular a family cruise holiday could be.

Needless to say, I stepped off the luxurious 18-deck ship a convert.
Genting Dream
With 6 kids spanning the ages of 4 to 18, I was on the look-out for activities to suit my toddler and my teens. I was delighted to discover that they were not short on entertainment for kids.

A big hit will be the waterslide park. They have a total of 6 slides, ranging from gravity-defying ones for adults and older teens, to gentler ones for the younger kids.
Waterslide park
I'm sure my teenagers would love spending hours careening through the wild slides. A waterpark on a ship! How cool is that?
Main Pool Deck
For the daredevils, there is a 35m zip line situated 18 decks above the sea, over the side of the ship. Definitely not for the faint hearted! I was surprised to hear my 18-year old say, "Mummy, can we go?!"

Not forgetting the younger kids, this is probably the most scenic 'walk the plank' I have come across. Perfect for photos!

In addition, they have a plethora of family-friendly activities such as a rock climbing wall, mini-golf, rope course, basketball court and 3D cinema screening the latest blockbusters.
Mini Golf
Of course, there is a kids' club where the staff are all certified child care professionals. The Little Pandas Club offers activities such as arts & craft, themed costumes, movies, toys, and the venue is also available for rent for birthday parties (minimal charges apply).
Kids' Club
Video Game Centre
As guests cruise the sea, they will be entertained and enthralled by "China's Got Talent" in a 999 seat state-of-the-art live performance venue. A transcendental dreamy production Voyage of a Lover's Dream, conceived by pop-artist Jacky Tsai will be also be screened (no charge, but pre-booking required).
Voyage of a Lover's Dream
I thought I heard wrong when they mentioned they have Zouk on board. Jiak Kim Street's Zouk has also been imported?! With the Zouk concept, besides an indoor dance club, LIVE guest artistes and DJ performances, they also have DJ open deck workshops, an outdoor day and night party deck, movie nights under the stars, a glow in the dark bowling alley and fireworks on the last day!

They also have two state-of-the-art submersibles, where guests can explore spectacular sights and encounter a dazzling array of fish and sea creatures deep under the ocean.

I'm impressed.
Media Interview hosted by Diana Ser
The rooms are a pretty decent size, and with a private balcony, you don't feel claustrophobic. More than 70% of staterooms feature private balconies and there are 100 staterooms with connecting rooms to cater to bigger families (perfect for us!). I was looking at the pictures of the Garden Penthouse and Palace Suites and those look exceptional.
Balcony Deluxe Stateroom
With more than 35 restaurants and bar concepts, guests can indulge in the very best of Chinese regional, Asian and international cuisine. From healthy eating to fine dining, both adults and kids will be spoilt for choice. If the standard of our lunch on board was anything to go buy, I can say meal times would be highly enjoyable for the entire family.
Quality & authentic cuisine
Umi Uma Sushi Bar
Genting Dining room
Wine connoisseurs on board Genting Dream can indulge in an array of rare Australian wines and fine vintages from one of the world's leading wineries at the Penfolds Wine Vault as special wine tasting events form part of the ship's overall experience. Ah, perfect for the hubs.

To round off this exceptional voyage, a visit to the Crystal Life Asian Spa must be in order. Being the largest Asian Spa at sea spanning over 1,000 sq.m, this relaxation hub features more than 70 treatment thrones. I'm sure I will step out feeling like a queen!
Sun deck
Truly, a spectacular cruise ship suitable for the entire family. I know where I will be spending most of my time, while the kids are happily occupied somewhere around this massive ship.

For now, the vessel will depart from Hong Kong or Guangzhou and make stops in Danang and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. A second ship is expected to be ready in November next year, and Singapore is under consideration as a port of call in the company's new itineraries.

Currently, they have FlyCruise promotions to Hong Kong or Guangzhou, which can be found on their website.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Preparing for Primary 1: Setting them on the right path

Reading about the Primary 5 boy who committed suicide over his results and the two students from a top JC who ended their lives a few months ago, discussions about our highly stressful education system have been raging. I feel heavy hearted, because for every case we hear about, there are many more suicide attempts and distress signals which go unheard.

We all want the best for our children, and as parents with pre-school children, what can we do to give them a headstart without giving them unnecessary stress?

The solution is not pumping them with tuition. Amidst the proliferation of Primary 1 prep classes, experts warn against pre-teaching content and concepts which will be covered in Primary 1.

Dr Nimala Karuppiah, an early childhood and special needs education lecturer at the National Institute of Education, said that these classes may "over-prepare" young children for primary school. They may become bored and uninterested in learning. Once that happens, it is difficult to make them love learning again," she says.

However, we recognise that the transition from pre-school to primary school is significant, and there are many areas we do need to prepare our children in, to ensure a smooth transition.
Getting ready for P1
Ask any parent with a primary school kid (or 5, like me) and he or she will be able to tell you that navigating primary school requires more than just being able to sit down with your books.

In a normal school day, they need to be able to pack their school bags according to the timetable, copy down homework in their homework diaries, start on their homework at the right time, communicate important information, remember to ask parents to sign consent forms, learn their spelling, pay attention in class, follow instructions, obey rules, wait their turn, adapt to change, buy food from the canteen, make new friends, handle disappointments, and so much more.

These are categorised as Executive Functioning skills. Instead of hoping that they will somehow 'get it', these skills can be improved with direct teaching. We had an interesting conversation amongst a group of teachers. The secondary school teachers assumed these skills were taught at the primary levels, while the primary school teachers expected P1 kids to come equipped with these "common sense" traits.

The fact is, during our generation, we picked these skills up via incidental learning. These days, children are receiving less face-to-face contact, supervision and support from both parents and teachers. Coupled with more demands placed on them, that is where the breakdown happens and many of these skills are not developed in children by the time they enter formal schooling at age 7.

Before they embark on their primary school journey, teaching children How to learn in a What to learn culture will go a long way towards helping them achieve their potential.

In our Primary 1 Prep camps, we cover the basics of Executive Functioning skills such as task initiation, organisation, planning and prioritising, flexibility, strengthening sustained attention, problem-solving, improving working memory and impulse control, amongst others.

By equipping them with skills and strategies which they can harness for all subjects, they will be able to handle the demands of our curriculum and forge ahead over the years. We want to give them that learning edge.

At each age level, students are expected to cope with an increase in workload and independence, and without a firm foundation and proper system, we may see a drop in performance, which usually becomes apparent at Primary 3 or 4.

Recent studies show that all children stand to benefit from developing these executive functioning skills, and school becomes less overwhelming and more manageable. We teach them how to plan their activities, make schedules, get started, and see them through. The goal is to gradually fade supervision and increase self-reliance.
#5's homework (P3)
In our fast-changing world, it is not enough to be book-smart. On top of these practical strategies, we hope to inculcate in them a growth mindset, where they are not afraid of challenges, see failure as a learning experience and have the resilience to keep persevering.

Whether they are eager or anxious in moving to a big school, this is the best time to frame primary school in a positive light. The role of an educator or parent as a mediator is very powerful, but often overlooked. Our teachers stand as a mediator to frame, interpret and draw attention to what the child is about to learn or experience, benefiting a lifetime of learning.

As we equip them with the necessary skills, we want our K2s to be excited about embarking on this new phase of their lives, taking pride in their work and taking ownership of their learning.

The gift we wish to give every child who comes through our doors is the knowledge that they are able. That they have it in them and can succeed in what they set their minds on, no matter how many times they may fail.

They will keep going. They will never give up.

And that, is the hallmark of a Little Executive.
P1 Prep Class
This year-end school holidays, we are bringing back our extremely well-received Astronaut camp, for K1 to P4 children. More details about the activities we did in a review by Debra, mum of Ryan (N2), about Astro Daryl's great adventure by A Pancake Princess, A P2 child -Dana's experience of learning Executive Functioning skills, and how we incorporate the Growth Mindset while the kids are having fun! The kids said it was the best camp ever, and some wished the camp lasted the whole year and they could come here every day.

Astronaut Training Camp: 13-16 December 2016
9am - 12pm: K1 - P2
2pm - 5pm: P1 - P4

Astronaut Training Camp
The kids who have enjoyed Astronaut Training camp are looking forward to our Dinosaur camp which promises to be just as exciting, as we trace how dinosaurs lived through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceons periods, while learning about evolution. This camp also highlights inductive and deductive reasoning skills, sequencing and problem-solving abilities, and is suitable for N2 - P4 children.

Dino Discovery Camp: 29 November - 2 December 2016
9am - 12pm: N2 - K2
2pm - 5pm: P1 - P4
Dino Discovery Camp
{GIVEAWAY} ONE HOLIDAY CAMP (WORTH $400)

To thank my readers for encouraging me as I embarked on this new passionI would be delighted to invite ONE K2 child to The Little Executive for our upcoming 4-day P1, Here I Come Prep Camp.

Date: 6-9 December 2016. Timing: 9am-12pm or 2pm-5pm.

In addition, I'll be extending 15% discount for all our year-end holiday camps.

Please email knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia with the code "mummywee15" and details of your child or call 69801889.

For the GIVEAWAY, all you have to do is to:
  • Like Mummy Wee's Facebook page
  • Leave your name and email on this post in Facebook (you can choose to leave your email privately at mummyweedotcom@gmail.com)
  • Tell us how your child feels about entering Primary 1 - Excited? Anxious? Fearful? Happy?
  • AM or PM session
Giveaway ends midnight on 7 November 2016, and Kate will draw the name of one lucky winner, to be announced on our Facebook page on 9 November 2016.

Good luck!

The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
Tel: 69081889
(located near KK Hospital)




~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~





Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Decluttering the KonMarie way - It works!

I've been trying to declutter for months.

No, more like years.

I tell my kids not to horde their stuff, and we spring clean every year-end. They don't have a problem with letting go and pass on their clothes, bags, toys and whatnots to their younger siblings or cousins.

For me, I allocate time to clear out 1 cupboard or shelf at a time but end up getting rid of a miserable 10% and repacking (more like reshuffling) the rest. Of course, everything falls into a huge mess almost as quickly as it took me to put them in order and I feel so defeated I give up soon after, and leave it till the next year.

After hearing so much about the KonMarie method, I was skeptical but decided to give it a go without much expectations of success.

And the verdict is, it works!
Hang some, fold some
Start with clothes. As instructed, I attacked my wardrobe first. The big difference is, instead of clearing by location, we are supposed to clear by category.

This meant taking every single piece of clothing from all parts of your house and dumping it in one place. By the time I finished emptying out my 3 closets and giving it a nice wipe, I was ready to head down for some ice-cream and call it quits.

But the rules read: Do it as quickly and completely as possible.

No turning back. I mustered up all my energy and set my mind to tackle the mountain of clothes on the floor.

Yup, the declutter guru is right. It does give your system a shock to see how much clothes you have, and how much you don't actually wear because it's shoved so deep in the depths of your closet that it has almost disappeared into a black hole.

Showing the ugly side of things...
Embarrassing reality
That's what happens when the mess starts, and you are too busy to maintain anything in order and it goes downhill from there.

Excuses, excuses!


When we moved to our new place, I asked the hubs for ample closets which he acceded to. What I found out however, was that no matter how much storage you have, your possessions will increase to fill all that extra space!


Does it spark joy? One main criteria that Marie Kondo proposed, was asking ourselves if the item sparked joy.

What kind of packing criteria was that even? However, it does make so much sense. To be surrounded only by things which make you happy and bring delight to your days. The only exception she makes is if the item is a necessity, you can keep it even though it may not spark joy.

Well, I cheated a bit and did not run my hands over every single piece of clothing as much as I was supposed to do.

What I did was to take every piece in my hands, make a quick decision and either tossed it to the keep or remove pile, all the while bearing in mind if it sparked joy.
No space? Just pile
Guess what?

I managed to pare it down to about 60% of the original volume! Achievement.

The trick for me seems to be not allowing myself to dwell on each piece. My past attempts have proved futile because with every item, I would try to decide if I would wear it again, lament about how much I spent buying it, or perhaps one of my teenagers would want to take it over soon, and most ended up in the keep pile.

This time, with this take and toss method, with "Does it spark joy?" running repeatedly in my head, I managed to go through the giant pile in less than 2 hours!

I decided what needed to be hung (jackets and work blouses) and folded the rest in the extraordinary KonMarie way, where they were supposed to stand, once folded properly.

Interestingly, this way of displaying a portion of my clothes allowed me to see at one glance every single item I owned, which made getting ready in the mornings a breeze.

Kate was eyeing my wardrobe, wondering why it looks different. I asked her if she would like her clothes folded in this special way and she said yes.

This was her drawer before, which was full, and I invited her to go through her clothes and decide if she was ready to hand any down to her younger cousins.

She flipped through them one by one and got rid of 70% of her clothes in less than 10 minutes! I was astounded how kids have a natural ability to declutter! I asked her a few times if she was sure, and she firmly said Yes. I didn't dare open her dress closet for fear she would throw out most everything as well, which would leave her with barely enough to wear when we needed to go out!

I quietly hid the clothes she discarded in another cupboard (just in case she kicked up a fuss for a favourite piece later on) but it's been more than a week and she seems to have totally put them out of her mind.

So much to learn from kids. It's me who's been having attachment issues!
Kate's minimalist drawer
The next day, I was so inspired by my brand new ultra tidy wardrobe, I moved on to my shawls. Previously, I stacked them in 2 piles on the shelf but it becomes untidy really quickly even if I lift them carefully to retrieve those from the bottom of the pile.

I decided to fold them and tried fitting them into a drawer and this idea worked perfectly! Not only can I quickly choose the right one to match my outfit, pulling one out does not mess the others in the pack.

Surprisingly, folding them this way also did not result in creases. As Marie Kondo explains in her book, it is not the folding which cause creases, but the weight which is put on it.
Shawl drawer
The last bit to tackle under my clothing category were my accessories and make-up. Again, I told myself not to dwell on it, and simply picked the items up one by one, make a quick decision if it was going to serve me well (or spark joy), and place under the keep or remove pile.

I threw out a whole lot of make-up that I hardly use (which is probably close to expiring) and decided not to buy anymore on impulse.

These see through pull-out boxes are from Muji and I love them because I can see everything in clear sight without pulling out every drawer to check what I wanted.

The fact that I can get dressed and ready to go in under 10 minutes keeps me motivated to maintain everything in order.
Accessories/Make-up
Finally, the bathroom. Kate showers in our bathroom and the counter gets over-run with odds and ends really quickly. The hubs empties his pockets before showering, and between the both of them, you can find anything between toys to receipts on our vanity counter.

Following the rules, I removed every single item onto the floor, gave it a good clean, and only replaced the necessities.
Our bathroom
After such success, I finally have the courage to attack Kate's toys. She had acquired the older girls' toys and I've been trying to give them some semblance of order by storing them in see-through boxes.

The last time I decluttered her toys was during our Chinese New Year spring clean, but I have to be more ruthless this time.
Toy storeroom
Over the past few years, I have been quite diligent in only keeping 'good' toys. These include construction toys such as blocks, open-ended toys, craft materials and games.

This time, I tried to abide by the "Does it spark Joy" method, and managed to put 30% to the 'give away' pile.

This has been my most successful declutter operation to date, and I shall take a break and tackle the other half of the house another time!
Toy shelf
There's something else very interesting I discovered from the book. She mentioned that some of us have an urge to declutter when we are faced with deadlines. I have been doing that since I was a teenager! When faced with exams or assignments, I feel the need to de-clutter, but couldn't understand why.

That's what I have been experiencing these past few weeks. The more I'm feeling like I have so much to do with so little time, the more I feel I need to declutter my space.

I do feel calmer and more in control now that my environment is less cluttered.

Additionally, I have been able to practice more restraint when I'm out, and before buying an item, I will think of all the stuff I have thrown out and the piles on the floor, and will think twice about even buying a book.

Hope things stay this way.

Try it! Declutter and experience the magic.


~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

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