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The 29 piece wardrobe challenge was an experiment I tried over 3 years ago. It was the beginning of a journey, and it really changed my life. I thought I was just making space in my wardrobe, but eventually I learned to start making space in my life. So here's my story...

I heard about this challenge on some blog and was really inspired. The challenge was to have only 29 pieces of clothing in your wardrobe. Pyjamas, shoes, accessories and undergarments were excluded. 29 things that you loved, and were choosing to use on a regular basis. It sounded crazy to me, a person who's always had overflowing wardrobes, and loves shopping. But I was tired of clothes everywhere, the mess in the house, and the constant question every single morning- "What shall I Wear!" So I said, let me try something different- there's no harm.

I decided to not go all the way and give away all my clothes. I decided that I would store everything that was not in my wardrobe and then decide on it later. I started by trying on every single piece of clothing and made a pile of things that I felt that I looked nice in. Things that didn't fit, or that were damaged or worn out were easy to put in the "storage" or "get rid of" piles. At the end of the process, only about half were things that fit well and I loved. But that was still more than 29. So I now had to narrow it down further.

Next, I made some fashion decisions. One was that I was not going to keep a whole range of Indian clothing. I was going to pick pieces that would work with both Indian and western clothing. I live in an Indian city- and while I'm most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, there are times when I need Indian clothes. So I picked a dress that works as a kurta too, or a Indian looking top that goes well with Jeans. I picked some pieces that would look Indian and "dressy" if I added some jewelry or accessories. I decided that "fancy Indian clothes" like the kind I would wear for a wedding would just go in storage and not count as part of my 29. I also decided on some complementary colors that I would work with. So I got rid of things that were off color and difficult to match with others (like purple pants). Finally I was left with a set of clothes that perfectly matched each other- almost all tops worked with all bottoms. And the biggest surprise is that I hadn't even hit 29!

After that I had to make some practical decisions. To do my laundry more regularly and to put things away properly. I had to decide that if I ever bought something new, I would have to give away something old.

I loved that wardrobe. I knew I looked good in any item in that wardrobe because I had tried them all. So on a morning, I could just pull out a couple things and they would work great. The color-coordinated themes made sure that my clothes always matched and my assembled outfits looked great together- which is not a very natural thing for someone like me who's not so great with fashion!! That 29 wardrobe challenge gave me so much freedom. From that I went to de-cluttering my accessories, and then my cosmetics.. and so on.

Every 6 months or so, when the season changed, I would pick up a new set of 29 clothes for the next season. Over time I was less attached to things and started to give away clothes that I hadn't worn for a while. Slowly and steadily, the number of clothes I kept in storage reduced too.

I think I have a little more than 29 pieces of clothing in my wardrobe right now, but three years down the line, I continue to learn to keep only what I need. The challenge changed much more than my wardrobe and dressing style. It has made me realize that I don't need so many things. I shop more intentionally, and I'm able to walk through a sale and not buy anything. I give away my things more easily, and take better care of what I have. I value space in the home for the activities we love- over objects and furniture that take up that space. I've come a long way, but there's so much more to learn and grow in.

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Having our kids learn from home can bring with it a bunch of challenges. This series of posts is designed to help any parent who's child is currently learning from home, and I hope to provide ideas that will help make things easier for you!

Homeschooling can easily take over your entire home. Kids will start doing their work in every room of the house, and soon you will find yourself constantly searching for pencils, and pens, papers and books. A rush before every online class to get your child ready. Setting up a space for homeschooling is a great way to help reduce a lot of that stress and chaos. And in my experience it helps the child focus, and also separate their school life from their free time and play time.

Some families set up an entire room to be a study, or a homeschool room. If you have the space to do that, that's great! But I've found that just a dining table works fine as well. Most of the time, school doesn't overlap with family meal time, and adults can find other places to eat if school work is in progress at the dining table. I set up a bookshelf to hold all my school supplies and the dining table itself can be used for working.

The Media Area: My son attends some classes online, and I found that it was important to set up a place for the computer where he can do all his classes from. I have our desktop on a small table near the dining table. It allows him to attend classes, and also use the dining table if he needs to write or keep any extra supplies available during class. Having the computer in the middle of the home also makes it easy for me to monitor and make sure he's really in class and doesn't have any other tabs open- a struggle for all kids learning online in these times!

School Supplies: I want to avoid daily conversations about not having a pencil, or an eraser or paper. So I make sure I stock all the supplies needed. I have a caddy that holds pencils, erasers, sharpeners, scissors, glue and basics like that. I also have another box with extra supplies of all of these things in case he's in the middle of class and suddenly can't find a single eraser! A shelf with all these supplies also holds color pencils, crayons and markers. I keep the supplies basic, and make sure he always has a full set available. I've also been teaching and reinforcing the importance of putting the crayons or markers back in their box when done with them. Fancy coloring supplies, old mismatched markers or paints go in a different place (in his room) for times when he just wants to have fun. In addition to all this, I keep a tray with different types of paper- plain white, colored, lined as well as some card paper for crafts. If your child needs notebooks for school, stock those too.

Completed Work Basket: I found that dealing with all the artwork, notes, handwriting worksheets etc. from class everyday was a job in itself. So I set up a box/basket where my son can put all of his completed work in. Once in a few months, I go through this, trash what I don't want and file what I want to keep as a record of his progress.

School Books: One area in the bookshelf is dedicated to the specific school books of this year. Just the books, workbooks and notebooks that he needs for his daily work. I try to make sure that every day after his school work is finished, all his school books come back to this place, and they always "live" there. I also have another shelf for extra-school books. These are mainly things that are related to school but not a strict part of the curriculum. Things like extra practice workbooks, atlases, encyclopedias or other things that you might have to support school work, but are not part of the main requirement. I like to keep these separate from the school work, but still close, so that the main school things are always easy to find, but we also don't forget about these extra books.

Trash Can: The dedicated trash can for the homeschool area helps provide a space for sharpening pencils, and also helps my son clear up any bits of paper from crafts or arts every day.

Schedule: I also have a schedule posted somewhere in the homeschool area. This helps my son keep track of classes through the week.

Some random things: A clock with a timer helps see time or do timed activities. A whiteboard and markers helps me teach or explain stuff easily if I ever need to clarify something. Or just provides a change if we are working on a difficult concept. A way to play music if your child likes to listen to music while doing math or something like that. Ensure that the space is not too hot or too loud or too distracting.

Ideas for Younger Kids: My son is about 8 and these ideas work best for that age group. If your child is younger, you might want to also have a section with craft supplies like ribbons and sequins and stickers that you use for your daily activities. You can add a calendar to track and learn dates. You can put up alphabet charts, number charts and such to quickly reinforce facts that you want them to learn. You may also want to create some sort of reading space where you can cuddle and read with them (your couch is fine), and a set of books that they can reach easily. Games that help learn to read or do math can also be part of your homeschool school area.

Ideas for Older Kids: As your kids grow, they need to spend more hours a day studying, and they may need a space to study that's not in the middle of the house. All the same ideas apply, but make sure their space is free of distractions and allows them to study. You might want to monitor use of devices more closely so that they don't spend all of their study time on social media! A planning whiteboard can be a great tool to teach them to plan their study times and keep track of assignments. Don't underestimate the value of school libraries and labs, and see if you can invest in science supplies or books to support their curriculum. If physical activities outdoors are not an option, explore workouts, dance classes or other physical activities to help them stay energetic and healthy!

I really hope these ideas are helpful. Having our kids at home is a gift, and it's important to remember that- especially on the days it's hard! As I mentioned before, most of these ideas are just things that I'm doing right now with my 8 yr old son. If you have specific questions, get in touch with me and maybe I can help!

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Whether it's a birthday party, a big anniversary, a conference or a wedding- event planning is complex and is filled with details. The venue, the decor, the food, and entertainment... there is so much to think about and a person like me would spend hours planning every little thing. But at the end of the day, we want to create events that are unforgettable, memorable and stay in people's hearts and minds. How do we do that?

This last week I was watching my wedding video as a part of celebrating our 10th Anniversary, and it surprised me that the part I enjoyed and relished the most was not the fabulous dress, or the color coordinated decor, or the church and the music. These were all details that were so important to me while planning the wedding, but 10 years down the line they didn't matter so much. But what mattered were the people. I saw so many precious friends at my wedding video who came and celebrated the day with me. They stayed with my family and helped out with all the logistics. There were aunts and uncles and family that came from across the world and other parts of my country. As I watched the video I remembered how loved I was, the fun moments around the wedding, and was reminded of these beautiful relationships.

And then I realized. This is what makes events memorable. The people. Friendships, relationships, conversations, networking. The sharing, encouragement and building of dreams. When someone finds their partner for life, or connects with someone who shares a business idea. And if we want events to be memorable, we need to plan around that. Creating space for people to connect. Safe spaces for people to share and be honest. Space for old friends to reconnect and hang out without feeling like they are supposed to be listening to a speaker on the stage or watch an entertainer who's performing. As hosts, we need to focus less on making sure that the food is just right, and focus more on appreciating people for who they are to us. At the end of the day, the food, entertainment and decor are just a stage for what's important. It's the people that matter most.

So when you plan a business event next, make sure there's plenty of space for the participants to share their ideas and dreams and network. When you plan a birthday party, make space for guests to leave a personal note or say something they appreciate about the person. If it's a team event for work, make space for individuality and for people to show their personalities. Think through your invitations and be intentional about who you invite. And then people will remember. Because your event would not be just another event. It would be their first date with the person they got married to, the day they started their business, the day they were encouraged by their friends and decided not to give up, the day they discovered a new talent, and therefore, unforgettable.

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