Charity Shop Tuesday: Buying the Same Thing Twice

About nine years ago, I bought the shirt in the photo below, new. It's jewel-purple, comfortable, and flattering. I loved this shirt so much I wore it for my BA graduation.

I did not love it as much as that pink bag, but both were to meet a sad fate:
  • The pink bag, being made out of cheapy fake leather, eventually disintegrated. The only part of it that's still intact is the pocket, which I cut out of the lining with a view to reusing it elsewhere.
  • The purple shirt, being made out of polyester, melted one day as my mum was ironing it for me. The collar was left with a weird blackened and twisted patch. My mum suggested we remove the collar off. I suggested I cover it up with something. Cue literal years of procrastination.
In the meantime, when I found a bright pink version of the same shirt in an Oxfam shop, I had to pick it up.

They are identical, except that I still have the belt that came with the purple shirt, and the pink shirt's belt is missing.

You'll note that the purple shirt now has a sequinned collar - that's how, after the years of procrastination, I decided to cover up the melted bit. I finished sewing on the last of the sequins a couple of days ago and I'm very happy with the result. It's not perfect, but it's wearable once more.

The sequins are also recycled - they're from an old top of my mum's that was unwearable after the elastic stopped working.

This isn't the only item I've bought in two different colours, but it is the only one where I bought the first new and the second from a charity shop. In every other case, I bought both items from a charity shop, but never at the same time.

Have you ever bought the same thing twice? I love that I can find items I loved again in charity shops!


How a Messy Creative Learned to Love Advanced Planning

I have always thought of myself as a creative person.

I was a kid who was very proud of the fact that she could write acrostic poems that rhymed. Whenever my parents dragged me to a DIY store I would go around collecting samples of wallpaper and paint chips to use in collages. As I grew up I discovered other crafts, and started writing more and more, and my idea of myself as a creative person solidified.

For a long time I believed that creative = messy and disorganised. Creative people don't do routines, I thought. Creative people love things to be spontaneous and unpredictable! I didn't challenge these beliefs, even when my responsibilities threatened to overwhelm me. I love being busy, so I said yes to everything. My life got chaotic and I frequently forgot social events and meetings at university.  Once I double-booked myself and then slept in and didn't go to either meeting! It was embarrassing, but more than that, I hated that I'd been so unreliable - having prided myself on being resolutely reliable. I always turned up and got things done when I said I would - until I didn't.

There was no way I could remember everything I was supposed to do, when I'd decided to do so much! I didn't want to cut back on my commitments, so I got a diary, and everything changed forever.

I'm still a massive fan of the Mslexia Writer's Diary after seven years!
Being organised was wonderful. I knew exactly where I was supposed to be when. I put all my events and activities in my diary, and I never double-booked myself again. My brain was suddenly free to devote itself to a higher purpose - I found that I was more creative now I wasn't struggling to remember dates and times. I could see upcoming deadlines, and I started to plan for them, rather than letting them catch me by surprise.

Over the years, I've gone from just having a diary to having a range of systems I use for different purposes. I have routines to make everyday life simpler, and processes for planning elements of my life to make them easier.

Sometimes people comment that the way I live seems very rigid and controlled - but it's exactly the opposite! With routines and scheduling and careful planning, I have actually set myself free to do more of all the things I want to do! I can think critically about how I use my time and make adjustments so that I can focus on particular projects or spend more time with loved ones.

I'm not perfect - I cannot keep my desk tidy and have to clear it out and rearrange everything every few weeks - but I am more productive and happy than I've ever been. I frequently find myself advising other people on organisation, and I'm happy to share my tips. I've found that advanced planning brings advanced peace of mind, and isn't that something everyone could benefit from?

I've decided to write more about organisation, as it's benefited me so much. This post is the first step, and my second is my first ever ecourse: Planning Your Work Wardrobe, which goes in-depth into the system I use to plan my outfits for work when I'm going through a busy time or just want to give myself more brain-space in the morning. I'm using it right now, because the temperature in London is below zero and planning all those layers first thing in the morning is too much!

Today is the official launch day, and if you enrol in the first month, you'll receive a free bonus PDF, 5 Things You Should Do Every Morning Before Work. To celebrate I am also running a giveaway. Ten lucky people will receive a free pass to the complete course. To enter, see the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and Conditions
1. Julianne Benford is the sole promoter of this prize draw.
2. The closing date is 22nd December 2016 at 23:59 GMT.
3. Ten winners will receive a code to enrol on the ecourse Planning Your Work Wardrobe for free. The code will expire 28 days after issue and cannot be exchanged or transferred.
4. This giveaway is open worldwide and all entrants must be over the age of 18.
5. Entrants must log in via Rafflecopter and answer the question in the widget – this is the only mandatory task. You can gain extra entries to the draw as shown in the Rafflecopter widget.
6. The winners will be chosen at random from all correct entries.
7. The winners will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date, and must respond within 28 days to claim their prize.
8. Winners' names will be available on request after the closing date.
9. This prize draw is governed by English law and the courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising in connection with it.

If you're not lucky enough to win, or need a Christmas gift for a friend who loves organisation, I'm also currently running a promotion where you can enrol for 50% off using this link. I have planned updates for the upcoming months, so if you enrol now you will get to see example outfit plans for the new seasons as I produce them.

Let me know in the comments how you feel about being organised - is it something you've embraced already, or do you feel like you need more guidance?

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