Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, craft, Guest Post, Regarding polly, Tips & How to's

December 23rd – Last minute Christmas wrapping –

Hello and thank you Polly for letting me loose with this guest post on your blog – it’s such an honour. (The honour is mine! – Polly) 

 Polly is like Twitter Royalty in my book!

We thought we would exchange some crafty ideas for you this Christmas, and mine is a last minute gift wrapping idea.

Imagine it is Christmas Eve, you’re wrapping the last few small gifts, the shops have shut and horror of horrors, you have RUN OUT OF WRAPPING PAPER 😳

Don’t panic! Do you have an A4 envelope and a pair of scissors, because that’s all you need for this “hack” (not my favourite word but it seems to be a buzz word) …

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Here are the steps to making a gift bag from an A4 envelope:

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Cut the top off the envelope, making sure you cut below the sticky bit.

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Fold in each side about 2-3 centimetres and do the same at the bottom. Turn the envelope over and fold back the other way along the same lines.

Next, put your hand inside the envelope and push the bottom and sides out, making the gift bag shape. Sharpen the crease lines.

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You will see two triangles form at the bottom corners. Make them flat then fold them underneath. Glue or tape them in position.

Fold the top of the envelope inwards all the way around to make it stronger and neater.

Place your gift inside and either tape the top closed, or punch holes and tie with ribbon. Don’t forget to add a label.

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I hope you have managed to follow my instructions. Do have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Please can we do this guest posting thing again soon Polly? It was so much fun!

Love Craft Owl (Marie)

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More than welcome anytime, Marie!
Don’t forget to check out The Craft Owl site, as well as  Marie’s Main blog, her Instagram and Twitter

And if you want to see my post for Marie, it is here, over on The Craft Owl site.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, craft, Seasonal, Tips & How to's

December 19th: An Easy Christmas Craft

Dec 19th - Blogmas

You were going to make things this Christmas, weren’t you…

You had so many plans; you were going to do so much, but now it is less than a week until Christmas and you haven’t done any of it. There are the cards to write, decorations to put up, presents to wrap – that’s if you have even finished buying them. One thing you definitely don’t have time for now is crafting!

What if I told you…

…that there was a way that you can tick ‘do a craft’ off the Christmas Bucket List, sort some cool, sweet, snacks and get some decorations sorted all in one go, and in less than ten minutes?
Let me show you how.

What you will need:

This is all you will need, and chances are you have this stuff lying around the house right now.

All you need is Candy
Some scissors might also be a useful addition to this lot

*An even number of candy canes
*Sticky tape
*Aesthetic raffia, or string, or that shiny stuff you tie around presents…anything like that.

That’s it.
Now you just need to attach the long ends together with the sticky tape,as per the photo below, and then stick the ‘hooks’ together to form a heart shape. When you stick the top part together, remember to include a loop of your chosen cord.

Making christmas, Making Christmas
Making Christmas, making Christmas, Is so fine… (Wanders off to kidnap Sandy Claws…)

You can then hang these candy cane hearts on the tree, give them as gifts, used as gift tags on presents, or you could just eat them. Either way you have created something very christmassy and you should be very proud of yourself – in fact reward yourself with a swig of something seasonal and a munch on a spare candy cane (yes, that one, the one you broke while trying to stick them together the first time)

How did your candy canes go? If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, tag me in any photos you put up so I can congratulate you on a job well done. Share you link in the comments so I can come see. Maybe we should invent a hashtag? #PPTKOCandyHeart or something…

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle, Savings, Tips & How to's

December 14th – Christmas on a Budget: Part 2

Dec 14th

How can we do Christmas on a budget?

Back in the day…well Wednesday…I wrote a post about gifts on a budget. You can see it here if you fancy it. In it I mention ways you can save on presents, which is always useful as they do form a large percentage of our holiday costs. Another area of big spending, which is ripe for big savings, is the food budget. We all love nibbles and treats at this time of year, but so much is wasted that it is certainly worth looking into ways to either buy less or at least spend less. Household waste studies carried out last year claimed that well over 70 million mince pies and 4 million Turkey dinners were just thrown away, so it is prudent to plan ahead when it comes to festive food.

Festive Food

Magazines and Social Media feeds would have you believe that if you haven’t spent

dinner

hundreds of pounds or you haven’t got a metric ton of chocolates in your house ‘have you even Christmas-ed , bro’. TV adverts show tables laden with such tempting goodies, to the extent that food appears in all of the top results for surveys about what people like most about Christmas. While none of us want to skimp at this time of year, a bit of planning will help you get more for your money.

Plan ahead and make a list

Lists are very important if you are trying to keep to a budget and want to ensure you are only buying what you need. Be sure to remember to add the essentials to your list; while treating yourself to Pringles and Twiglets you will also need milk for your coffee, and bread for your left over turkey sandwiches. Don’t get so carried away with Christmas food that you forget the ‘proper’ food. Christmas is more than one day, so stock up; you don’t want to be constantly popping out to the shops to top up on butter or teabags. Also take into account the opening hours of your local stores so you are not left without.

Making a list will keep you focused and will help you organise your budget, just be sure to stick to it!

Look for offers

Plenty of stores are offering deals, but be sure they are for things you intended buying in the first place, or at the least make a good enough replacement for something you intended getting so as to be worth it. Remember it is not a bargain if you end up throwing it away because nobody ate it. Be sure and check those dates too, it’s not a lot of good getting a Salted Caramel Cheese Cake for Christmas Eve if the use by date is December 15th. I mean, who wants to go through the stress of having to eat an entire cake to themselves, just so it doesn’t go to waste… It would be terrible, I imagine.. Not that I have ever done that.. I was just saying, it would probably be really hard work…

Check the internet for voucher codes, and remember to cash in any points you may have been saving on club cards. The Money Saving Expert website offers loads – as the name suggests! – of money saving advice, tips,and printable coupons to help you on your cash crunching quest, while if you look on the Voucher codes website, there are – again, the clue is in the site name! – voucher codes, that you can use for discounts for a variety of things.

If this is you first ever attempt at cooking the Christmas Dinner it would be worth a look at the Save the Student website which provides a useful guide.

New Traditions

Do you remember that list of things people hate about Christmas from Wednesday? Sprouts appeared on it. They seem to be a very unpopular vegetable! So why do we buy them? Because it is Christmas – think about it, do you have them any other time of the year?

Just because something is traditional, it does not mean you have to have it. I can’t remember ever having turkey for Christmas. We always had chicken and pork because it was what we liked and it got ate rather than wasted. If no one is a fan of mince pies or Christmas pudding don’t buy them in just because tradition dictates.

If you still want turkey, consider a crown rather than a whole bird. It will cook a lot quicker and will be a great deal cheaper. We have bought the pre-prepared frozen joints before now and they have cooked up a treat. In fact frozen food is a boon this time of year; no worries about waste as you only cook what you need and no one can go in the freezer and graze on things like they do with the fridge.

Make your own

While I fully appreciate it is a busy time of the year, setting aside time to bake a few biscuits or to make mini quiches is time well spent. If you get the family involved it can become a new tradition to get you all in the holiday mood.

This recipe for tiffin claims to take about 10 minutes, it can be frozen and kept for 3 months – if it lasts that long! If it turns out okay it may make a nice present for someone too.

Be realistic – if something requires obscure ingredients or appears well beyond your skill set, give it a miss and buy it in. No-one is expecting you to press and make your own cranberry sauce, and now is not the time to risk poisoning the family if you get if terribly wrong (ask me about the sausage plait incident some time… Don’t ask my bloke though; NEVER mention sausage plait to him, he is still traumatised… )

If you are a risk taker, you could always wait until Christmas Eve in the hopes of getting some last minute bargains. Not that I recommend this if you have the entire family coming over, but if it is just a few of you and you are not too particular about your festive spread, it could potentially lead to some huge savings.

What are your must have Christmas foods? What do you buy in that usually gets wasted? Where do you think you can make savings in your food budget?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle, minimalism, Savings, Tips & How to's

December 12th – Christmas on a Budget: Part 1

Dec 12th
Because Christmas can be expensive!

How can we do Christmas on a budget?

As someone who spent a number of years struggling financially I know how stressful Christmas can be when you are skint. Even now we are a bit better off (i.e I am not an impoverished student anymore!) Christmas can be an expensive time. But once a frugal tightwad, always a frugal tightwad; I am not going to let my newfound wealth (!!!!) spoil my money saving ways, so I thought I would offer some realistic suggestions to help you out this Christmas.

I have a love/hate relationship with money saving tips; while I am all for saving some cash I hate those patronising suggestions like ‘cancel your gym memberships’ or ‘don’t buy a latte in Starbucks every morning’ – like we can afford to do those things anyway! What I really wanted, when I was ‘poor people’ were tips I could use, not to be told to buy my food ‘a brand cheaper’ – it doesn’t get cheaper than 9 pence noodles!

With that in mind, here are some ways we try to keep on budget for Christmas. Part one is going to look at presents and the associated stress of giving!

Gift Giving

How many people do you buy presents for?

Now how many people do you really need to buy presents for?

While trimming up the house, consider trimming down your present list. I go into this in one of my Pondering’s, but chatting to family and friends about not buying things is a conversation worth having when you are feeling the pinch. If you don’t have the option of not buying certain people presents – I remember suggesting it to my Mum one year and she was singularly unimpressed- then maybe temper their expectations. Tell them you have a budget and that is all you will be spending. And don’t feel guilty if they then choose to spend more and buy you a bigger present, despite you explaining to them. That was their choice and you shouldn’t be manipulated into giving what you don’t have.

Maybe you can get the whole family involved in a mass Secret Santa? That way you just buy one present, but you can set a slighter higher budget. I have been involved in a twitter based one this year and as I write this the present I have been sent by my Blogger Secret Santa is sat under my tree, eyeing me up, begging to be opened. We used an App called Elfster to organise the whole thing (I say we, the whole thing was sorted out by Casey), which is free to use and makes organising secret gift giving easier.

If you have children to buy for, whether your own or someone else’s – tell them what your budget is. Explain how much you have to spend and let them select presents that fit it. One year, when we were particularly poor, all of our kids agreed to having their presents after Christmas and we went out in the sales and they got almost twice as much as they would have had, had we had to pay full price for stuff! In the same vein, if you know you won’t be seeing the person until after Christmas, maybe hold off buying their present until the sales start and pick up a bargain.

Remember that there are plenty of cheaper options available. The Pound Shop – who I may have mentioned before!– have an amazing range of toys, home ware and chocolates, while Charity shops and church sales can also be a great source of gift sets and toiletries. If you have a very limited budget, you could even consider IOU’s or vouchers for babysitting, gardening or cleaning. Maybe you have art or crafty skills and could make presents, or bake cookies.

Never Ever …

I know we all want to buy our loved ones everything they want – especially our children, and it is tempting to go into debt or use credit cards to pay for it, but you must try to never do this. One day of the year is not worth the stress of having to pay off loans for months to come. Much of the stuff you will buy will be cheaper after Christmas – as I mentioned above – and a lot of the other things that people claim they just have to have are often forgotten about in a few months. Try to remember the point of the holiday : quality time with family and friends, repeats of films on TV and copious amounts of sherry…but mainly that first one about family and stuff.

If being, what you feel is a bit stingy this Christmas makes you feel a bit guilty, resolve to save in advance for next year; While I appreciate that this tip is of no benefit to you now -unless you happen to have a time machine that is- from the beginning of next year, look to start putting some money away each month for Christmas and look forward to a less financially stressful season.

What are your top gift buying budget tips? What limits do you set?

Posted in Bucket List, featured, Japan, Regarding polly, Tips & How to's, Uncategorized

#40 Make 1000 Cranes: Why an epic origami quest is on the Kettle List.

1000 cranes blog canva

 

Not everything on the Kettle List is an exciting outdoorsy adventure, or designed to snap me in half.  Some of them are craft based and have a bit more substance, like my task of making 1000 origami cranes

I have therefore started on my epic paper folding journey as I hope to create 1000 cranes by 2027.  If you go check out this vlog, you’ll notice that I didn’t do a tutorial, but included links to videos I have used, which will make folding your own cranes that bit easier. My favourite ones are Lelya Torres & Tavin’s Origami Instructions.  So what’s the deal with cranes then? And why am I making 1000 of the things! (That’s like 8 a month, every month, for the next 10 years!)

Continue reading “#40 Make 1000 Cranes: Why an epic origami quest is on the Kettle List.”

Posted in Lifestyle, Savings, Tips & How to's, Uncategorized

So you want to be a homeowner? Why buying a house is not all that.

As much as I love blogging, it does not pay the bills -yet- and as such I have a proper grown-up day job: I am a Mortgage Case Manager.  I know, right!  In my privileged position as both a homeowner and as someone who gets to help other people become homeowners, I am able to let you in on a little secret … owning your own home is not all that.

homeowner

There I said it.  It is an intrinsically British phenomenon to want to burden yourself with hundreds of thousands of pounds of debt for your entire working life, and I know that no amount of me telling you will convince you otherwise, but hopefully the following points will be of comfort to those who think they are failing in life because they aren’t mortgaged up to the hilt yet.

An average first time buyer borrows almost 4 times their annual income, meaning that someone who is earning the average wage in Bristol, where I live, of approximately £18K a year would only be able to borrow £72,000. The average price of a house in the city is £255,000.  For those who don’t have a £183K deposit saved up, it would appear that home owning is near impossible!  But take heart.  There are many plus sides to not being burdened with homeownership.

 
Home ‘owning’ – there is something particularly galling about watching You tubers, or seeing Instagram posts of beautiful interiors that belong to people half your age (I am a bitter old woman, what can I say)  How can someone that age possibly own a house! But take heart – technically, most of them don’t either; The bank does. This means that they are effectively renting too, just without a landlord to fix the boiler for them. And what if you had taken out an interest free mortgage? These are all but unavailable to new borrowers now, but back in the day they were all the rage.  They meant you only paid back the interest that had been incurred on your loan, but that you still owed the full amount you borrowed at the end of the term.  Mortgage companies are working with people to help those stuck in the ‘interest trap’ but if you cannot rearrange your finances, you will probably have to sell your home to repay it – that is unless you were preternaturally lucky with your endowment and you have managed to find the one repayment investment vehicle that is actually making good on its promises. (Totally not bitter about my crappy endowment that wasn’t worth the paper it was written on… deep breaths)

Mortgage debt per household is at the highest level recorded; in the ‘Money Charity’ report produced in the last quarter on 2017, the figure for the average outstanding mortgage was over £120,000. This has come about due to the high house prices which have in turn resulted in higher loan amounts and longer loan terms; the number of people with 35-year mortgages has effectively quintupled since 2005.

Therefore many owners are tied into the ultimate long term lease; they have the major downside of renting – potential homelessness if they don’t pay up, but none of the bonuses.

Hidden costs – My house is… let us be generous and say ‘in need of a bit of TLC’; okay it is a dump.  The flush just snapped off the toilet, we have no hot water and the double glazing is shocking.  Here’s the thing though. All those repairs cost money.  If I had a landlord I could get them done for me, but as it is the cost of upkeep for my money pit falls squarely on my impoverished shoulders.  It turns out that homeownership comes with loads of hidden costs that no-one thinks about until the bills roll in. While those who have rented for a while will know what to expect in terms of utilities, anyone moving from a parents home will be surprised at all of the costs they hadn’t taken into consideration once they become homeowners.

Planning on buying a flat? :
When I bought my first property, back in the heady days of 1995, all we could afford was a flat.  This was fine by us, we were a young couple, starting out and it would be plenty big enough for us.  I mean, okay, it was on the second floor, and completely the other side of town to my entire family, but it was ours! We were property owners…Weren’t we?
The flat we purchased was one of a block of six.  While our flat, and the one belonging to couple opposite was owned, the four flats below us were ‘council’, this meant when all of the flats had their windows and heating upgraded, we went without.  It also appeared that they were paying a heavily reduced ‘service charge’.  We were not made aware of the service charge until we moved 5 years later.

It was at this point we were advised that we should have been paying monthly charge towards the communal gardens (that had we never used), the staff who ‘cleaned’ the stairwells and common areas (whom we had never seen the whole time we lived there), and we had to pay towards a window that had been broken on the main entrance door, that had occurred during a rather loud party of the lad in number 23 on the ground floor.  Our flat was held hostage; we could not move until we had forked over a few thousand pounds in charges.

Problems often occur when purchasing leasehold properties. This essentially means that while you own your home, you are ‘leasing’ the land on which it stands – this is very common in flats as the leaseholder will own the whole building but rent or sell the flats as separate units.  It can also apply to some houses. In this instance you may be charged ground rent.  Mortgage companies ideally expect there to be at least 85 years remaining on your lease, and they can be next to impossible to sell on once this lease gets closer to running out, so ALWAYS confirm the length of the lease on a property before even thinking about buying it!

Fine then, I’ll get a house – a freehold one! – Instead.
You’ve jumped through all the hoops, starved yourself and gone without new clothes and holidays to save a deposit, you got your mortgage and now you are a homeowner…of a house, you’re not falling into that ‘leasehold flat’ trap! The first thing you will need is lots of insurance:
You’ll need Life insurance – don’t think dying will get you out of paying back that mortgage! You will need a policy that covers your mortgage term as a bare minimum, with a sum insured that will cover your loan amount, and possibly enough to bury you if you want to be sensible about it.
Public Liability Insurance – just in case the postman trips on your pathway, bangs his head, and tries to sue you.  Don’t worry though, this is often included in your…
Building insurance which you will now need as a condition of your mortgage.  You may have had contents insurance if you previously rented, and this is the same…except for boring stuff, like the wind taking your roof off, or your pipes bursting and flooding your bathroom.  To be fair, the insurance itself is not that expensive…it’s the excesses that can by pricey.  Many insurers will not pay the first £1,000 of any claims relating to subsidence, and if a large crack starts appearing across the front of your house it will be something you want to get sorted pretty quickly! No landlord to sort it – it is all on you now!

It’s not just insurance, there are all the other bills which will suddenly seem really expensive – you will certainly realise why your Mum was constantly telling you to turn the lights off once you start paying for a whole house worth of electricity! And maybe your new house has a water meter… goodbye long showers! Don’t forget council tax; what band is your new house in?  And as for neighbours, fences and trees…

Negative Equity:  You’ve invested all you have and are now diligently making your mortgage payments every month.  But what if the market crashes! Or, slightly less melodramatically, the council decides to open a quarry down the road, or a massive out of town shopping centre means a massive bypass will be built outside your house.  All of these are going to have an impact on the value of your property, and you could now find yourself in negative equity.  All his means is that the amount you still owe on your mortgage is now more than what your house is worth.  In everyday terms, this isn’t a huge problem.  This is your home and it doesn’t matter what it is worth…unless you want to move that is. It will only take a 10% drop in house prices for one in every ten borrowers to fall into negative equity, and as most of these people will then choose to stay put rather than move there will be a knock on effect on the housing market as less properties will become available to buy. This links to our next homeowner problem…

Lack of change: You are now stuck in one place.  With renting comes flexibility; you can swap homes, cities, counties if needs be or if employers request it, and all you have to do is wait for your rental lease to expire and pack up your stuff.  If your place had been furnished, you don’t even have the stress of dealing with lugging wardrobes! There is a reason why moving appears in the top five most stressful life events. Suffering the pain of paying out for a survey, only for the chain to break and the house you thought you were going to move into slipping from your grasp is something few people want to repeat. However, staying still is not for everyone, and the idea of living in one place for the next 35 years may be enough to put someone off the idea of owning a house entirely.

I had planned to write a positive takeaway for those still determined to be homeowners; there are plenty of tips to share, but this piece is a bit longer than I had intended.  It also means I can do some more research and I can go off and work on a piece with (totally non legally binding) advice for improving your chances of getting on the housing market if this piece hasn’t put you off.

Obviously all housey based comments are my own, and your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments…bla bla bla.. please talk to your lenders/brokers/read reliable sources, before committing to long term borrowing.

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Posted in Declutter, Lifestyle, minimalism, Tips & How to's, Uncategorized

5 things you can declutter today to get started on the path to minimalism

Tucked away on my Bucket List / Kettle List at number 41 is the simple, but by no means small, desire to ‘Be Happy With My House’.  This is no mean feat; I have lived in my 1920’s mid terrace for 16 years and have pretty much done nothing to it, apart from fill it with children.

Happiness, in this context, will mean it is redecorated, has functioning heating, and will have 80% less stuff in it than it currently does.  This is precisely why I have been feverously reading anything and everything that will teach me the ways of those Zen Masters that are known as minimalists.  I have read so much that I have even started a book on the subject (Yes, write a book is on the Bucket list!). From all of this extensive research I have picked up a few tips so here are 5 things you can get rid of TODAY, that may just set you on the road to a Minimalist life   – or may just clear a bit of space, but hey, every little helps.

  • Duplicates:
    This will appear on every list you will come across regarding ‘easy decluttering’ purely because it is a bit of a no brainer.  How many of each thing in your house do you actually need?  I used to have to go out every December and buy in more sticky tape and a pair of scissors ready for Christmas, because I couldn’t find any in the house.  I called a ‘present wrapping tools’ amnesty to discover where all of my stuff had gone…turns out we have about 9 pairs of scissors… That’s 1.8 pairs per person!  And I know for a fact that at least 3 people in my house never wrap presents (3 is also the number of males in my house, but correlation does not imply causation).  If all of your stuff has a specific place to be, AND (the important bit!) it is put back after it is used, you will only need 1 or 2 of an item.
  • Books: Admit it, you have some books on your shelf you have no intention of reading but they look good. Or you may have ones you have read, and won’t read again, but for some reason people have a huge problem with discarding books. Go through them. Are they on a subject you are not interested in, or out of date? This is especially relevant for science type books, or ones telling you how to use computer programs that are older than you are.  Is your shelf so stuffed with books that you cannot even realistically get to them?
    Consider why you are keeping hold of them; if it’s your aesthetic and you are trying to create a ‘brainy’ vibe, then by all means keep them.  But how many books are you realistically going to read over the next year or two? If you bought it months ago, actually think about why you haven’t made the time to read it yet.
  • Old photos: Don’t worry! I am not about to suggest you bin your precious baby or graduation pics! But, if you are as old as me then you will remember the days when you took 36 pictures, took them to be developed and hoped 50% were passable. Much like with books, there seems to be an unwritten law about throwing away photos, no matter how blurry and bad they are.photo_envelopes_feature_0604 I have photos of people from holidays past, whose names I cannot recall, sat in a Kodak envelope in a drawer that I have not even looked at for 20 or more years…why keep them?  There are so many online options; you could potentially scan all of your pictures and store them in multiple places. This way they would be safer than just relying on the ‘hard’ copy that could be lost in a flood/Fire/Alien attack.  Actually consider how often you look at those old pictures you couldn’t possibly part with…
  • Clothes: Clothes often appear on the ‘easy to declutter’ lists, but I am not even going to suggest to you that you get rid of half your wardrobe and try to manage on the sartorial equivalent of rationing. How about you have a look, and find things you know you don’t wear because they are stained, or buttons are missing, or there is a tear in it, or it needs taking up/down/in…you brush over these clothes every day; never wearing them, yet still allowing them to take up space in your life and wardrobe.  They constantly remind you that: you haven’t cleaned the stain, or replaced the button, or repaired the tear, or taken it up/down/in…  Are you going let a piece of material have that power over you (you will never know the reserve it took to not type ‘make you it’s bitch’, but I am above that…) If you are not going to wear it, get rid.
  • Unwanted gifts and tat:  This seems to be a recurring theme, but guilt can make you keep things you don’t want such as photos, or clothes that you paid a lot of money for but never wear. Another example of this is gifts, or ‘heirlooms’. Have you ever been given a terrible present and have kept it – maybe displaying it or wearing when the person visits so as not to look ungrateful? Maybe you have the ugliest ornament in the world, but you can’t part with it because it belonged to Great Auntie Ethel, and she is dead now?  Bestowing emotions on to your possessions is one thing, becoming buried in other people’s crap because you don’t want to offend people is another.  If you meekly accept things you don’t want the ‘gifter’ will assume that you like them and continue to give you things you don’t want.  Have a word, politely, that you are trying to create a different, more minimalist vibe and that, while you are very grateful, you don’t need any more candles/sequined cushions/penguin ornaments.  Then purge your home of any of the things you were keeping for the wrong reasons and make it YOUR home, filled with stuff YOU have chosen.

Decluttering is a marathon, not a sprint, especially when the amount of stuff involved is an entire house full, as in my case.  So look on this exercise as a ‘warm up’ – you may not want to sign up for a full race, but you could have a go at getting rid of just a few things and then see how that makes you feel – I am willing to bet, slightly better and a bit freer (especially if it means you don’t have great aunt Ethel’s ugly painting staring you anymore)