My favorite quote:
“Keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away."
Dunah Mulock Craik
April 1826 - 12 October 1887
Your Clutter Free Journey
Take the first step on your Clutter Free Journey to living a beautiful, clutter free life! On your journey, you will examine your relationship with the stuff in your life and it's impact on your overall well-being. You will learn to make choices over what you invite into your home. The way we feel inside is directly reflected in our living spaces. In turn, our living spaces affect our internal well-being. By making small, steady changes in our living environment, we can change how we feel inside and make our homes a reflection of what is important to us.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
WOW! 100 days of decluttering! Doesn't purging the excess feel great! Look around and notice the difference! If you have just skimmed the top of your personal clutter, start the 100 day challenge over. Go through the daily posts of days 1-100 to motivate you on your way. If you have made a huge dent and can really tell a difference, then set up a system of regular routine decluttering and you will never have to face the mountains of clutter again!
It is by no accident that the 100th day ended on April 15, tax day. I had decided this to be a perfect day to end our Declutter Challenge! perhaps each year as you prepare your taxes you can look around your home and release the clutter!
I am going to take a few weeks off from this blog and assess what I want to do with it, as I look at my schedule and decide how to incorporate it. I hope you have had a very successful 100 days! Thank you for following me and please let me know of your progress and clutter count!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this year, I thought a lot about how blessed we are. When you hear about something like this, it is hard to think about anything of material matter, as most of us have so much and those in Haiti have nothing, not even clean water and food. I have thought about this often and wanted to address in the blog. However, talking about purging all our excess in the midst of such tragedy seemed so superficial.
But the more I thought of it, I realized that getting rid of excess, actually helps us to see how blessed and fortunate we truly are. Most who are reading this are wealthy beyond measure. We are in heated homes, with clean running water and food, and hopefully, surrounded by those we love and hold dear.
Holding on to everything we have (when it is no longer useful to us) actually makes us come from a place of want. Whereas, giving with a grateful heart and letting go with love and kindness, opens are eyes and heart to appreciate all we really have. It gives us perspective on what is truly important in our lives. When you look at and recognize that stuff is stuff, it all seems so silly and irrelevant. Hanging on to an old pair of skis that we will never use again, seems crazy, especially when there are people who don't know when their next meal will be.
With breath of kindness, gratitude and appreciation let the clutter go!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
WOW! I can't believe it has been almost 100 days since I began this blog. Our household certainly has benefited from decluttering and I hope yours has as well! Only 2 days left in the challenge!
As you have probably realized by now, decluttering is and should be an ongoing activity. Hopefully,, you were able to jump start it with the 100 day challenge and it has become a habit. Once you begin to declutter and see and feel the benefits of doing so, you are naturally motivated to continue.
If you have been able to stick to the challenge and have really cleared out a lot of the clutter in your home, after the 100th day, you may want to make a new goal. Perhaps on Saturday mornings you will go around your home and declutter a certain amount of items or for a certain amount of time. Or maybe, each day you will look for one item to declutter as you go about your day. Remember the rule that when you bring something new into your home you will let something go. Finding a routine or activity to tie to your decluttering will make all the difference. It is much more likely that it will happen, if it is around something that you always do.
See how you can be creative with this, making it your own! Be sure to involve all family members as you continue on your Clutter Free Journey!
Monday, April 12, 2010
I am sure many of you have heard of the Broken Window Theory, made popular by Mayor Giuliani. Its basic premise is that by fixing the small things, it keeps them from building up, getting worse and compounding. A building with a broken window, if not repaired is more likely to be vandalized, leading to break ins and further damage and destruction. So by fixing the small things, ie: the broken window, quickly, further damage is avoided.
I really believe this theory to be true when it comes to our clutter. Think about how when you make your bed first thing in the morning, your bedroom automatically stays neater. You are much more likely to hang up and put away clothing, rather than flinging it on the bed.
Or, if you have you have emptied the dishwasher and wiped the kitchen counters,you are much more likely to put the dirty dishes away, rather than them piling in the sink.
Think about how piles seem to be magnets for more stuff of all varieties. If you keep a pile from starting in the first place it prevents clutter from accumulating.
Also, by decluttering the small stuff, it really adds up and prevents a much bigger problem down the road!
So go ahead and apply the broken window theory to your decluttering and transform your home one "window" at a time!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Today I thought I'd share the success I have had in "decluttering" myself of my cell phone while in the driver's seat. As I posted previously, I thought lent to be a good time to start. I have to admit, at first it felt very awkward. Not using it to make a call out was one thing, but not answering it was even more difficult. It made me realize how dependent I was of the constant stimulation, as I could have a conversation with virtually anyone at any time.
Statistics always show the higher rates of accidents but I wonder about how many people get lost, take the wrong turn, forget where they are going or go much longer routes because they are so engaged in conversation. I know some people are proud to be multitaskers and perhaps somethings allow for this. However, when you are operating a 3,500 pound vehicle full of precious cargo, should you really be multitasking?
Because my job requires multiple phone conversations among many people, I wasn't sure what impact it would have when I decided to hang up and not talk while driving. What I discovered instead was that much of these calls were superfluous and that when made during non-driving time, they could be much more to the point.
Occasionally, I have needed to stop to take an important call or make one to say I am running late. But on the whole, the impact has only been positive. I can truly say I do not miss it! I feel like I have bought myself some quiet time each day!
Only a few days left in the challenge...go find some clutter!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
With only 5 days left in the Clutter Challenge, the Simpson Family has been busy! Specifically, Tim has been busy decluttering. Yesterday he sold a coin collection that he had been hanging on to for years. It was something that interested him at one time, but due to multiple hobbies and interests, particularly his reptile collection, it had not been pursued. He sold the collection to a co-worker who was very excited to expand his collection. He will treasure and honor these coins and they will be appreciated! Tim is putting the money from the sale towards an Emerald Tree Boa, a snake he has talked about getting since we began dating, 24 years ago!
He also went to the dump today with a truck load of stuff! He cleaned out his work room and had a ton of trash and wood. In addition, we recently had 5 trees taken down in the back yard and he has been busy cutting up and chopping all the wood. So not only are we decluttering the house but also the yard!
What do you hope to tackle in the nest few days!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Tim can't believe what a huge soccer fan I have become. When we met, I didn't know the difference between a baseball, basketball or football. Well, that may be an exaggeration, but I knew nothing about these sports and could have cared less. I still do not care to watch any of the above listed sports, (I realize that some GA football fans consider this to be a sin) but I have come to love the game of soccer! The love of my children and watching them play was how it started, but it has evolved to something that I truly enjoy. This is good, as we often find ourselves at the soccer fields many an evening. In an 11 day stretch the week before last, we had 9 games, 8 High School and Timothy's first Rec game. This doesn't include practices or any other activities. As much fun as we have had cheering from the stands, we have been so busy and everyone is exhausted! I honestly do not know how my high school-er has done it between all the games, school work and extra curricular activities.
As much as I love soccer, it is a good thing it is a seasonal sport. Two of the boys play in the Fall and Spring. It is intense for a few months and then there is a break. During "off season" they continue to exercise and stay fit, but the intensity is turned down. For them and for our family, this is a good thing. We could not do this year round. Bodies need a break, my house needs to be cleaned, chores need to be done, etc. Like many things in life, you appreciate something when it is not there all the time. How I look forward to the new season after a break!
Are you hanging on to things in your life, that have outlived their purpose, time or season?
Do you have items from when your children were young? Unless they are sentimental, don't kid your self thinking that your kids will be glad you saved their swing, bouncy seat or exersaucer. By the time your child has a child, they will be either antiquated or recalled. The new ones will probably be voice activated and levitate, as they gently lull the baby to sleep. Your old one will not compete.
What about items from a craft/project you had always thought would be fun to begin, but never did. Or perhaps you did and realized it wasn't for you. Preparing to do something can sometimes be part of the fun. However, sometimes we realize after amassing large amounts of materials, we really are not that interested.
How about clothing that has never fit? Or “big” clothes that you are hanging on to “just in case” you gain back the weight. I don't know about you, but this seems like bad Karma to me. Does your clothing match your style of life as it is now? Styles change and what we feel comfortable in and look good in changes as well.
Look at the season you are in NOW and make your home match it, by letting go of the “out of season” items standing in your way!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
After an initial tackle of the basement a while back, I had put it on hold while decluttering other areas of our home. Even though we use it all the time, because I do not see it like the rest of the house, it tends to be neglected. This week with us all being home for Spring Break, we were in the basement a lot watching movies. So, this afternoon, after a busy morning out, we began part 2 of the Basement Declutter.
I was so surprised! It really was not much! The first attack had taken care of the more obvious clutter. Much of what needed to be done centered around sorting and putting things away where they belonged. The younger boys did gather a pile of toys and toy parts to be thrown away and several items hit my Goodwill pile. In addition, we reclaimed some of the space by rearranging some furniture, making the TV room more functional and able to sit more people comfortably. Other than my sewing corner which I am in the process of claiming, we probably need about 30 more minutes and everything will be done!
Tim has been out of town all week and surprised us by coming home tonight rather than Friday. He was pleased with how much progress we made!
We are getting close to the end of our Clutter Challenge! Only 7 days left! How are you doing? Is there an area you have been avoiding? Go ahead and tackle it! I bet it isn't as bad as you think it will be and just think of the finished result!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
When visiting families of young children, I often remind the moms how quickly this period of time in their lives will be. I tell them that I know it is hard to comprehend, but one day they will turn around and their children will be teenagers. When you have a colicky baby and a teething two year old and it has been raining for 4 days, your house is turned upside down and your husband is working late again, it is very hard to remember that this! But it is a short season in your and your child's life. Remembering this can help you keep perspective and patience and help you to soak up every minute!
Make what matters first priority. By letting go of the excess in out lives, we can allow more time for what is important NOW!
Only 8 days left in our challenge: Go find 10 or more!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Is there a chore you really dread doing? What about it do you dislike? Can you pinpoint exactly why you don't like doing it? How long do you think it takes you to do it “well enough”?
Really put some thought into this. See if any of the following could be applied to you and your dreaded chore:
*We can choose to think about it differently/re-frame it, approaching it with an attitude of “choosing' to do it rather than having to.
*Use a timer: Once we know exactly how long the job really takes, often we will find that the chore at hand actually takes significantly less time than we thought it does. Knowing this will make it much more bearable. Set a timer and try and beat the clock. Remember when you were a child and your parents would say they would count while you did something you didn't want to do? It worked then and can work now!
*We can figure out a way to do it differently, making it more manageable or enjoyable. ie: Turn on music and dance, listen to a book on tape or learn a foreign language while cleaning. Call an friend on speaker phone or watch a favorite TV program or movie you have taped while ironing.
*Can steps in the chore be eliminated all together? Are we doing something in a way that wastes time or is inefficient just because that is how we always have done it?
*Can it be done smarter? Think smarter, not harder. So often we could make what we do easier if we put some thought into it.
*We can figure out a way not to do it. Is it a necessary chore like grocery shopping or is it something that could be left undone? Decide what is important to you. Everyone's list will be different. We could figure out how to delegate or trade this chore with a family member or could consider paying someone else to do it.
Very rarely is there nothing that can be done. So rather than mope or procrastinate, put your mind to it and see how you can transform that dreaded chore!
Monday, April 5, 2010
When it comes time to pay a bill, respond to an invitation or send a letter, do you have everything together in one place to do so quickly and efficiently? Stamps, return address labels, envelopes, stationary, note cards, etc., if all kept together make this job much more manageable and enjoyable.
You are much more likely to jot a note to a far away relative, if everything is together and organized in one place. Where do you normally pay your bills? Can you make a station: a basket, container, box or drawer, the central location for all this paraphernalia? Make it something attractive, preferably something you already own and love but have not know what to do with? Think out side the box: Do you have a pretty crystal or silver bowl that sits in a cupboard that you almost never use? How about that basket you got on your honeymoon that is on the top closet shelf. Come up with a way to incorporate what you love into a task that must get done. Having everything centrally located, in an attractive container that means something to you, really will make a difference. The next time you pay bills, you may even catch yourself smiling!
10 days left in the Clutter Free Challenge! What are you working on?
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I love all vegetables, particularly, dark green, leafy ones! They are full of vitamins and minerals and a great source of fiber! They also are another way to get calcium. Research studies suggest that dark green vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health! Just this week, I prepared a large batch of both Kale and Collard Greens for my family.
When I met Tim, he ate very few vegetables, raw carrots and corn being the two I remember. But with persistence, he is now a very well rounded vegetable eater and rarely complains. Two of my 3 boys will eat just about any vegetable cooked for them. One continues to resist but I continue to persevere.
Some of my favorite reading literature is centered around nutrition. I find it so interesting. I have learned that the children who eat the most and biggest variety of vegetables are the ones who have parents who purchase the most vegetables. It is simple exposure. These kids are more familiar with them and more likely to taste them. Studies show that food preferences and patterns of what children eat are largely shaped by the food purchased and the parents persistence in presenting foods over and over again, even when the children refuse. I once worked with a nutritionist who told me that some children may have to be "exposed" to a food 25 plus times before trying it and then more before accepting it.
All this talk about vegetables is because I think it is a similar process when it comes to teaching children to be declutter-ers. They must be exposed and taught this skill regularly and consistently, see us doing it and even when they resist, the message/idea must be kept alive by presenting it over and over again. Just like we want our children to have healthy eating habits, a healthy relationship with "stuff" will serve us throughout our lives.
Go find 10 and remember to eat your veges!
Friday, April 2, 2010
I don't know who is more excited, me or the kids! We have had such a busy few months with school, activities and sports. I am really looking forward to some "down time" with the kids next week! I too, am taking the week off and we are going to sleep in, see some movies, eat out at our favorite restaurants and have a "vacation at home"! They are all exhausted, studied out and generally in need of a break!
With only 14 days left in the Clutter Free Challenge, I am also looking forward to finishing a few areas that are need of further decluttering during our break! Our hectic schedule has made me fall behind in my regular decluttering, as well as housework in general. I am looking forward to "getting back on the horse" and making the most of the next 2 weeks of the Clutter Free Challenge!
I will keep you up on my progress as I relax, enjoy my family and declutter!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Out to eat at a nice restaurant recently, at the table next to us sat a young couple expecting a baby. They both were texting on cell phones while waiting to have their order taken. Who knows, maybe they were actually playing video games or doing online trading, I do not know. But I do know they were not looking at or talking to each other. At the table in front of us a couple with a child about two years old, sat with three other adults and there was a portable TV on the table playing Dora the Explorer. Now granted, I remember what it is like to eat out with a tired two year old or for that matter tired teenagers, and I can empathize with their desire to eat a meal in peace. However, the child was completely oblivious to the TV, so it sat playing while she did what most toddlers do in restaurants if allowed, and walked back and forth from parent to parent, trying to get their attention. I am sure there were others is the restaurant as well, on cell phones talking, texting and checking scores of games.
It just really struck me as odd. Maybe it is my heightened awareness of clutter in our lives, or perhaps my desire to escape the hustle and bustle that seems to encompass everyday life but it really bothered me. Not that these people and their actions were intrusive to me. If anything, they made my meal more pleasant and enjoyable, as they were quiet. It just seems to be so much of it now. Like all advances, there are positives and negatives. One drawback of technology may be that although the world is smaller, our connections with those right in front of us, living with us, can unknowingly become further apart.
What do you need to “unplug” to increase the connection with those you love the most?
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
You know the song, that goes, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with." Well, I think we should apply this advice to our homes. If the home you are in isn't the home of your dreams or the one you thought you would live in, embrace where you are now and show it some love! One way you can do this is by decluttering. It is amazing the transformation that occurs when you get all the excess clutter out of the way and allow what is special and precious to shine. Decluttering cost nothing and can transform any space.
Have you ever prepared to sell your home and worked to get it all fixed up and looking its best? Then, you step back and ask yourself, "Why are we moving? This is a great house! I would want to buy this house!" That is what decluttering can do! It can help you fall in love with your home all over again!
So, pick a room that you don't like being in and figure out what needs to go. It is the first step to making it into a room you will love!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A University of Chicago study found that when you live a cluttered life, you are more tired. This in turn, can increase the hormone, Cortisol, which causes a spike in your appetite and your consumption of an extra 200 to 1,000 calories a day! WOW! So by decluttering, you automatically reduce your stress, which reduces your cortisol levels, making you not eat as much!
In general, when I am calm and relaxed, I listen to my body more and make healthier food choices. When my kitchen in decluttered and organized, I have an easier time preparing and cooking healthy foods. When there is less clutter, I am less likely to grab a unhealthy, high fat snack to reduce my stress!
Go declutter and streamline your home and your waist line!
Monday, March 29, 2010
For many of us, especially women, our clothing is a particularly hard area to declutter. We hold memories of when we wore something, the specific occasion, the person we were with, and the size we were then and wish we still were. It makes it very difficult to let go, even when we know we will never wear it again.
If you are struggling in this area, enlist the help of a good friend/family member. Honestly look at and try on each piece. Is it in good shape, not faded, torn, or missing a belt or button? If it needs repair, can this be done easily? If so, can it be done today or at least this week? Do you look good in it? Do you feel good in it?
Once sorted, if there is a pile of “not sure” clothing, make a commitment to wear each item (weather permitting) this week and discover the real reason why you haven't been wearing it. If you don't love how you look and feel it it, if it is a color that saps your energy, it is time to let it go.
Remember,just because you use to love to wear something, doens''t mean you have to keep it when for whatever reason, it isn't "you" anymore. Let it go with love to someone who can use it!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Today's success comes from Dawn, in Georgia:
She recently posted the following to my FB page:
"Yesterday I took over 30 things to the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store(at least 20 of the items being clothes), & I threw away a few things too. And then went to recycling. It felt cleansing getting rid of all of that. I decided that 30 was my goal. And I'm still working on it today."
"I'm trying to stay motivated. Your blog is VERY helpful with that. I'll send some pictures soon."
"Last night I cleaned out my file cabinet. It really needed it. Felt good to get that done."
Great job, Dawn! She is showing us that by continuing at a steady pace, we can make huge progress!
Keep up with your daily declutter and watch your home be transformed!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
As you think about each item you own, look at it, and ask yourself:
What feelings or memories does it bring up?
Are these good memories?
Do I love this item?
Would I miss it if it suddenly went missing?
Would I replace it? Do I use it?
When you are in a space you want to declutter, ask yourself:
What feeling do I want to have when in this room/area?
What is the purpose of this space?
What do I want to do while in it?
What if I had a magic wand and could wave it, what would it look like?
Use these questions as a guide if you are having trouble making decisions!
Friday, March 26, 2010
As we near the 100 day mark of our challenge, your home should have a whole new feeling. Go through the main areas of your home, quickly and without hesitating and look around. Is there anything that you did not invite here? Now that you have become skilled it spotting clutter, you may be surprised at items you did not see originally. Each day go to a new room/zone and take a look around. Is it the room you in-vision? Is is comforting, inviting and peaceful? What little thing can you move, declutter or change to make it “Your” space?
Put on those clutter goggles and move fast! Make it a game or challenge. See how quickly you can go around a room. Try not to think or analyze. Just look and let the clutter reveal itself!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
For me, one of life's little pleasures is a long, leisurely lunch with a good friend. Once a month, usually the 4th Thursday, I get to indulge in this ritual. I have just returned home from a 3+ hour meal with a dear friend! This is one of those friends with whom I can be truly myself. She knows my secrets and fears, delights in my success and helps me process my thoughts. It is a loving, non-judgmental,supportive friendship. I always feel so good after we spend time together.
So, what do my long lunches have to do with clutter? Let me explain. This friend and I have know each other for a very long time and always were saying we need to get together, but life, schedules, kids, routines and work always seemed to get in the way. Until we set a date and time and decluttered our schedules to allow for this, it did not happen regularly enough. Now, I get the pleasure of looking forward to this treat all month and know that it will happen!
What do you need to declutter in your schedule to make time for an important relationship?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I saw a quote this week, that really got me thinking. The more I pondered on it, I realized how it applies to our clutter as well. The quote is as follows:
"Security can only be achieved through constant change, through discarding old ideas that have outlived their usefulness and adapting others to current facts."
William O. Douglas
In life, as time passes, circumstances change, children grow, relationships evolve, moves occur, and jobs change, we can not expect that what once worked for us at one point, remains the most appropriate at present time.
Change can be frightening but also exciting. So often, people look at it as interrupting their security. Whereas, I think Douglas is saying the opposite. Through adaptations in how we think and live, based on what is working and by tweaking how we view things based on reality, we actually create security in our lives.
Think of how this applies to the clutter in your life. So much of what we hold on to, we do so for reasons of security. Whereas letting it go of stuff, when it no longer serves us, allows us freedom and room to grow, actuality giving us security.
What do you think?
Have you found your 10?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
OK, all you procrastinators out there, today is day 77! Some people have difficulty with a long deadline and really can throw things together at the last minute. If this is you, it is your time to shine! We have 24 days, counting today, to get a huge chunk of the clutter out of our homes!
Is there an area in particular that you have been avoiding, but you really want it decluttered? Honestly, the thought of a job is often more overwhelming and causes more stress, than the actually job itself. Take the plunge, bite the bullet and dive in! Once you get started, often the "natural high" that comes with purging will take over and you will be on a roll! Think of how proud you will be and how good it will feel! You can do it!
What are you waiting for....make the most of the next 24 days!
At the minimum of 10 things a day, that would be 240 items!
Let me know how you are doing!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Yesterday I tackled my cookbook cupboard in the kitchen. I had been putting this off, as I I knew it would require some time and decisions. When I first got married, (20 years ago) if you wanted to learn how to cook/bake etc., you either asked an experienced cook or looked it up in a cookbook. WOW...things have changed! Now, if I need an idea or recipe, I go online and within an instant have hundreds, if not thousands of recipes available. I don't even have to print them out, as I can bookmark them.
That being said, I still clip recipes that I see in magazines and have ones given to me by family and friends. I particularly love the ones written in the hand writing of the person who gave it to me. This is especially meaningful when they are no longer with you.
Going through my cookbooks was time consuming but liberating! I scanned each cookbook and assessed it for several things: 1. Do I or have I ever used it? 2. Does it have several recipes I have used or plan to use? 3. Is it the type of food I want my fmaily eating? 4. Will I realistically make it, or do exotic, difficult ingredients or steps make this unlikely? If the answer was no to these, I got rid of it. 10 cookbooks to be exact made way to my goodwill pile. For a few, there was only one or two recipes I used so I recorded these and let the cookbook go.
I also went through the hundreds of recipe clippings that I had filed. I threw away at least 2/3 of these based on the above criteria. I neatly filed the ones that I plan to try soon, into separate compartments based on type of recipe. Once I try it, if it makes the cut, I will write it on a recipe card and file it in my cute recipe basket!
My cookbook cupboard looks great now! There is free space and when I take a cookbook out, nothing is going to fall and hit me in the head! I am about to go to the grocery store and will be getting ingredients for a few recipes I discovered while decluttering!
How does your cookbook/recipe collection look? Could it use some decluttering?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Today's success story is from T.J. in North Carolina:
I love your blog and really enjoy keeping up with it. This week, you've inspired me to clean out my Tupperware cupboard (I have no idea how I had so many lids that didn't belong to anything), my daughter's huge basket of sippy cups that she doesn't use anymore (I kept a few for long car rides), and all those little plates we used to use for her when she was tiny. I kept a few nice ones that I just love and will save for the next baby, but we have almost a whole empty kitchen cabinet now! Yay! Thanks for this challenge...my house is so much easier and quicker to clean up now that I am decluttering it little by little. It's made me brave enough to invite people over more often at the last minute. How freeing!
So proud of TJ and all of you who are little by little decluttering your lives! TJ is right, it is liberating and freeing to let go of the excess!
Go fins your 10!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Here in Georgia, Spring has been teasing us the last few days! The sun has been out and feels so good on my skin! I can almost feel my Vitamin D levels rising. The warm weather brings out a unique happiness in all of us. Moods are elevated and everyone migrates outside.
Driving down a long stretch of rural road yesterday afternoon, I was mesmerized by the beauty in nature. Everything had a "new birth" look, the tips of plants were budding with fresh growth, the grass and bushes had that bright green color, and everything looked cleaner, happier and more hopeful! I think the best part about our four seasons is the change. I am always so ready for Spring and Fall, in particular. The change from one extreme to a milder version of the other makes you stop and see things with fresh eyes and enjoy! If the weather were always the same, even if it were beautiful weather, I doubt that we would have the same appreciation that we do, when the change makes the beauty so obvious.
It reminds me of going away on vacation and then upon returning, being so glad to be home. Being away in another setting gives you an appreciation for what you have, which previously may have gone unnoticed. Are you aware of the beauty in your life and home? Do you need to make a change in your daily routine to make you more alert and alive so you can notice what is already around you? Is the hustle and bustle of everyday life putting a damper on your appreciation of your blessings. Step back, take a deep breath, and look. Really see all your blessings. Once you become aware of these and notice what you love, it is much easier to let the excess go!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Today's post is a letter is from Cheryl:
"One of my favorite quotes is by Arts and Crafts artist and interior designer, William Morris (1834-1896): "Have nothing in your homes which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Since I have a Craftsman bungalow here in Pasadena, I try my best to live to that ... but it is hard for me! Paper is the bane of my existence! I am grateful for catalogchoice.org. It's best if the paper just doesn't come in the door! Thanks for the great motivation!"
I LOVE this quote Cheryl! Thank you for sharing!
Do you have catalogs, that you never order from, arriving at your home weekly? Now, with the internet, we hardly need these. Take a step in decreasing the incoming clutter by getting off those mailing lists! When a catalog arrives at your home, scan it and if you know you will not be ordering, immediately put it in your recycling container. If you think you may order something, in the near future, flag the page and put the catalog in a designated spot, ie: file basket and then once a month go through this and toss!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
A few weekends ago, our clutter free journey brought us down to the basement. This space, like the attic and garage is both a blessing and a curse. Our space consists of three rooms plus a bathroom. The largest room being the NFL/Football watching room, which I avoid during NFL season due to the intense levels of testosterone, male sounds and smells. Tim, the boys and his Steelers' friends hang out down there on Sunday afternoons, grilling manly meats, watching football and making prehistoric grunts and noises. Tim's beloved large screen TV is here, along with his football pennants, he collected in childhood. He refers to this space as his “man cave”. In addition, this room houses the varied gaming systems, which I can not even connect to the TV, much less play.
The smaller room, off of this, is the Snake room. Yes, you heard me right SNAKE room. Since we met, Tim has always had at least one pet snake. Currently, the snake nursery consists of 7, although he is attempting to declutter his collection down to 3 or 4 if anyone is interested?!? This room has a lovey aroma only a reptile lover could appreciate. (We also have a gecko, huge Bullfrog brought back from Maine, albino ferret and 95 pound Chocolate lab).
The third room is a catch all. It is at the bottom of the stairs and has housed action figures, an air hockey table, and once was a playroom, when the boys where smaller. Our piano is in there now and we are considering making it into a music room as Benjamin plays guitar and sings and wants to start up a band.
We made a big impact on this space, throwing away a lot of junk, putting some things in their proper places in other parts of our home and made a pile of items we no longer use/love to donate. It still needs some work but was a really good start!
I love having this space! It allows the boys a place to hang out with their friends, Tim a room to be manly and when decluttered is a great family space to spend time together!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Have you considered all the extra money you spend on conveniences to make life easier because you are so stressed out to due living such a chaotic lifestyle? What the money spent to repurchase the same item over and over, as you can not find what you already own? Or how about the money spent to maintain and or store all the stuff you don't even use? Some people actually rent long term storage to deal with clutter. There are more and more storage sites popping up in every community and commercials on TV for these. People will store items for years, sometimes decades, rather than deal with it. Often, if you ask them what is there, they can't even tell you.
Once you free yourself of the excess, you will begin saving money! You may even make some money letting go of your stuff. Sell it on e-bay, craigslist, garage sale or consignment shop. Or give it to charity and claim a tax deduction. No matter how you choose to let it go, do it with love and kindness and do it now!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Think of the last time you couldn't find your keys. Do you remember the panic, frenzy and bad mood that came along with this. Did you snap at your partner or children as a result? What about when your son needed his band uniform and he tells you this 5 minutes before you are both leaving the house. No one knows where it is because the last time he wore it (6 weeks ago) it was tossed in the “to be ironed” pile after being washed. ARRR...you just want to scream and pull out your hair. The rest of your day can be shot after an episode like this.
However, much of this can be prevented by decluttering! Having clutter in your life makes you late, hurried and rushed. Not knowing where something is and having to frantically search for it, while trying to get out the door, puts a damper on your whole day. Never feeling caught up and always being behind is bad for your cortisol levels and blood pressure. Too much clutter can literally make you dizzy and sick.
Living with all this excess makes our stress levels rise. More people are seeking out ways to cut down on their stress. New medications are being developed to deal with anxiety and depression. We are in a mad rat race but we don't know where we are running. We purchase items to relieve stress, but in actuality we are making it worse.
Now picture looking around your decluttered home and notice how everything in it, is something you love and use and have invited to be there. Gone are the piles and clutter at every turn. You have let go of the excess, so there is able room and space for what is important for the life you are living right now! When you need something, you know exactly where to find it! AHHHHHH! Isn't this a much better feeling!
Go find 10 and cut down on your stress!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Over the next three days, we will look at each of these areas. Today, lets think about how our time is impacted by clutter.
One of the most precious gifts you receive from having a decluttered life is time. Time is the one thing we all want more of. Everyone always says that their family comes first. When you look at how your actual time is spent, are your actions reflecting your words? Having so much excess requires extra time to clean and care for your stuff. I actually read somewhere, that by decluttering your home, you can cut s on cleaning time by 40 %! Just think, if normally your weekly cleaning took you 5 hours, when decluttered it would only take 3! That is a huge chunk of time that could be spent doing something you love, with the people you love. Your daily duties/chores would also be decreased by the same percentage! What about the time you spend looking for what you can't find, replacing what you can't find and then organizing and storing all this excess.
Give your self the gift of time by decluttering what you no longer love, use or need! Go find your daily 10!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Imagine the most peaceful spot you know: maybe the beach, the lake, a mountain stream, perhaps it is a place you have never been. What is it about place that makes you feel relaxed and happy. Wouldn't you love your home to bring you this same tranquil feeling?
Close your eyes, how do you see each room in your home? What do you want to do in each of these spaces? What do you love about them now? What drives you mad and causes stress? If you had a magic wand, what would each look and feel like. When you declutter, you allow this transformation to begin. Get rid of the excess that does not fit you visualization and allow your dream to become a reality.
Have you found your 10 today?
Saturday, March 13, 2010
One morning recently, while cutting up chicken to put in the crock pot for chili, I had a realization. I have a difficult time “being in the moment” when it comes to routine tasks such as this. All the while cutting the chicken, I had to stop myself from leaving this task half fished. I wanted to get the canned beans and salsa out of the pantry and open them. It wouldn't have sped up my process any; in fact, it may have slowed it down, as the counter was full already. Why do I do this? I thought about how not completing the task at hand fully, before moving onto the next, creates clutter.
I have read many books on mindfulness, taken meditation classes and practice this regularly. One thing they teach is not just mindfulness in your mediation practice but throughout the day. I try really hard in my interactions with others to be fully present and in the moment and not let the clutter of my insensate thoughts get in the way of the relationship. However, during, what I consider mundane, repetitive tasks: laundry, cooking, dusting, making beds etc, I let my mind slide into that dangerous abyss. The lists, chores, conversations I need to have, calls I need to make, etc., occupy my mind, taking me away from the present moment.
I decided that I really need to work on doing one thing at a time, rather than constantly multi-tasking. Why do we try and crunch so much into each day? Should we be more realistic in what actually can be done, while maintaining our home and having healthy relationships with our family and friends? Does all this not add to the clutter in our lives?
You'll be proud to know, I made my chili one step at a time, focusing on the task at hand, rather than moving forward, at warp speed on auto pilot, oblivious to what I was doing. I realized that this made it much more enjoyable. I am going to really work hard on trying to find pleasure, or at least awareness in the simplest of tasks and be conscious and in the moment, no matter what I am doing.
Do you ever get so caught up in all that you need to do, that you don't realize where you are? You could be missing a great moment in your life! Let go of the clutter in your mind and enjoy the present!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Don't you love a long weekend? Numerous times during the school year, the boys get a Friday or Monday off. I typically take the day off from work, as well, and we get to play! It is amazing how this extra day makes such a difference. Today, they are off for a teacher planning day. We are going to see a movie this afternoon! It is such a treat for me to get to spend some time with all three of them, at the same time! Due to school work, clubs and commitments, sports, guitar and friends, they are often spread out at multiple places and so busy during the weekdays. The weekends are full of their own agendas and the regular routine that keeps our family running smoothly. Having this “mini break”, where we have no commitments or obligations, is like a tiny, little vacation!
We were talking about the three day weekend and how nice it would be if every weekend were like this. That got me thinking about how quickly we adapt and that after a while, this too, would seem too short and would quickly fill with obligations, schedules and routines. That is the beauty in a day off, we are able to step back, enjoy the free time and relax! Don't let the “to do” lists in your head clutter up this mini break, take a time out and enjoy those you love!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I have always loved to polish silver. I remember when I saw the movie Grease in 1978 and desperately wanted the record album. I had no money, so my mom told me if I worked and did extra chores that Saturday, I could earn the cash I needed to make my purchase. I remember cleaning the oven and polishing every piece of silver we owned. It is such an immediate sense of satisfaction, with just some silver polish and a little elbow grease, a tarnished, darkened piece is magically transformed to a bright, shiny and beautiful object.
Today as I polished silver, I had many on my mind. I thought of my grandmother, Meme, whose baby cup was engraved with her name, my dad's name and mine, my great grandmother, Josie whose dish is engraved with her initials, my mother in law, Charlotte, as I loving polished a tray given to her parents on their 50th wedding anniversary. She gave this to me a month before she died. All these are treasured and cherished items that I love caring for. Just looking at them, brings me joy, as they remind me of my loved ones.
What pieces in your home bring happy memories of those you love? Are you honoring these memories by caring for them and making them a part of your home and life?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I never mow the grass nor do I hard, manual labor, yard work. I plan my grocery shopping excursions for when there are able bodied males at home to help me unload and if we are traveling, there is always some one willing to help me with my luggage. Yes, its good to be queen!
I am quickly being out grown by my boys and in a few years will be the smallest one in the house. I choose to embrace the wonder of boys and the joy of being the only girl in the home! I get doors opened, jar lids unscrewed, bugs captured and hands held when I am scared at a movie.
I've reminded the boys (regularly) that I am “THE QUEEN”. One morning, when Timothy was barely 3, he came into the kitchen where I was having a chocolate brownie with my coffee. He saw this and exclaimed, “Mama, how come you gets a brownie for breakfast, Oh I know, cuz you the Queen!” What a proud moment. I had instilled “my title” into his mind!
Embrace who you are and your unique situation. Capitalize on the positive, get rid of the negative (clutter) and as Oprah says “Make it your best life”.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
When my parents downsized a few years ago and had furniture and items that they would have no room for, my two brothers and I gathered and an auction of sorts occurred to divide up what they no longer needed. Many of my friends asked if I was sad they were leaving my childhood home. I truly was not, as I was so thankful that my parents are healthy and happy and close by. Just a few months before we had lost my mother in law to lung cancer and were trying to figure out how to live without her. Stuff, as valuable or sentimental as some of it may be, is simple stuff, not a person or a relationship. It is sad how sometimes a great loss puts it all in perspective.
As time goes on, children grow up, families change, people move, but through it all, the relationships you have can evolve and grow and become even stronger. Don't let stuff stand in your way of happiness!
Monday, March 8, 2010
If I had a magic wand and could give my self gifts I am lacking, these two would be near the top of my list. I love to write, the problem is I am a horrendous speller and nothing ever looks wrong to me. Thank goodness for spell check! I love music and have very musically inclined children; however, I try to muffle my voice while singing happy birthday so as not to scare the birthday child. I guess I could take voice lessons and study words like you do in elementary school, but no matter what I did, I seriously doubt that it would make that big a difference.
I remember once hearing someone speak who said we are a society who wants to be good at everything and that if we are not strong in one subject we feel the need to study up and work hard to learn it. However, this individual believed the opposite. He felt you should work really hard in the areas you are naturally inclined and interested in and you will be far happier and more successful in life.
I agree wholeheartedly. When you look around at the people who really happy and great at what they do, you will see they are following their heart and living their dream. Embracing who you are and your individuality, unique strengths and gifts allows you to grow and shine. Let go of the mind clutter that says you have to be good at everything and focus instead on being the best YOU there is! Are you holding on to something you think you should be good at but really is not an interest or strength? With a breath of kindness, blow it away and be YOU!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Today's success story comes from Abbey, in Georgia
I just wanted to say that I have been reading your blog and I've really enjoyed it! We have been moving and we have a lot less storage at our new house. So, I have been having to get rid of some things. You have really motivated and inspired me to throw all my "junk" away, or give it to Goodwill. I have always been a fan of giving stuff to Goodwill, and boy are they in for a very large load of stuff coming from our house(Thanks to you, haha). Between school and babies it's hard for me to get organized, but I'm taking it one day at a time. Sorting through all of our stuff has been a challenge, and our house is far from being clean and organized, but I'm working on it! I'll probably have my thousand items to throw out in about a week rather than 100 days! Anyway, thanks again for the inspiration!!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Benjamin and I just returned home from the Hardware store with new paint for his bedroom walls! He did an amazing job this morning decluttering! We started at 8:30 and with only one quick food break, we finished at 12:30. I lost count after he had tossed over 200 items! We threw away 2 large, overflowing bags of trash and have 50 plus books and a large bag of items to give to goodwill. His room looks fantastic and he is anxious to start painting! We even went through his dresser drawers and closet and sorted out all that he has recently outgrown. He kept saying how much easier it was than he had thought it would be and how good it felt. He discovered how nice it is to allow the items you love to take center stage. You can already see the Beatles theme shining through, since he decluttered all the excess stuff that was not important or meaningful to him. I can't tell you how far he has come. I can hardly believe that this is the same child who use to keep his chewed gum! It made me so happy and proud to see that something that previously was so difficult for him him, brought him so much pleasure today.
Keep modeling healthy decluttering habits for your children...You've heard the old saying, "Don't worry that your children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching." We are setting an example of behaviors that they will carry for the rest of their lives.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Yeah, its Friday! It is crazy that I am so excited to be tackling Benjamin's room with him this weekend? He has been working up, to being ready, to take the plunge and declutter! His older and younger brother both have commitments on Saturday, so he and I will make a fun day out of it! I told him that if he gets up early (granted...this is highly unlikely, Of all the boys, he loves to sleep in...) but if he does, we will ride up to the local coffee house and get some yummy coffee drinks, (he prefers a Vanilla Chi Latte), to wake us up.
I had told him a while ago, we could paint his room to go with his new Beatles theme, once he decluttered. So, he is ready and I have challenged him to find 200 things. I think this should be easy.....by the looks of all his stuff. His room is actually fairly well organized and neat. There is just LOTS of stuff in it! He, however, has always had great difficulty parting with anything. At one point, when he was quite little, I even found “chewed” chewing gum, he had saved in a little container! So, keep your fingers crossed and I will let you know how it goes!
What area are you going to tackle this weekend?
Thursday, March 4, 2010
OK, so I have to confess.....I have a “hold out” pile that I have not let go of yet. It is made up of things that I want to try and sell on E-bay or Craigs List but have not seemed to find the time to do so. It is comprised of some items that to the appropriate collector/buyer would be worth something but to bring to Goodwill, seems kind of sad, as they would probably go unnoticed and appreciated.
So, I have decided to set a deadline for myself to place these up for auction. By Monday evening, 03/08/10 they will be on line, period. What sells, sells....What does not, is let go with love!
Giving yourself a deadline and making it publicly know can help you move things you are still holding on to. What is in your “hold Out” pile? Can you set a time frame to do what you need to do and let it go?
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I know what I like when it comes to food. There is very little that I do not like, but I have very particular tastes when it comes to my favorites. I like my coffee strong and black, my chocolate dark and bitter and my wine, red and dry. If given a choice, why would I consume milk chocolate, white wine and creamy coffee? To me, these would not be worth the calories or time to consume them.
It is the same with our homes. If you love something, celebrate it, use it, honor it and share it with others. Don't keep it hidden away, wrapped up and protected. Don't use the ugly plates you have never liked because you don't worry about them breaking, while the ones you adore are carefully stored away in boxes. Are they not yours to enjoy? If you don't enjoy them who will? If you think your children will, think again! Are they not watching your example? Will anyone ever use them or will they remain in pristine condition from lack of love?
Do you know what you like/love? Are you enjoying these things or just storing them? Get rid of what you don't love and make room for what you do!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Most of my generation has never knew times of shortage and scarcity that our grandparents did. In fact many of us have grown up in the “Me” generation, where any thing you want, you get. My grandfather never bought anything he didn't pay cash for. Borrowing on credit, not paying for three years, no money down, all these crazy deals just get us into debt. Where has this got us? Well, we all know, into a big recession. What are we teaching our children when everything is instantaneous? Learning to save and really think about a purchase, before making it, are valuable skills and often prevent buyers remorse. Do they see you practicing this? Take the time to really think about something before you buy it: Will you really use it? Are you willing to spend the time caring for it? In 6 months, will you still be pleased you have it? Ask yourself these questions and really think about your answers and prevent adding to your clutter, physically and mentally.
Go find 10 to let go of and prevent excess from coming in!
Monday, March 1, 2010
I previously posted that for a while, I had been seriously considering stopping the use of my cell phone, in any manner, while driving my car. I shared that I took the plunge on Ash Wednesday for Lent and officially “hung up”. I have to share that the first week in the car it felt very awkward, almost uncomfortable...like I was naked. I didn't know how to act, knowing that I would not make any out going calls and would not answer any incoming. It took a few days, but slowly I adjusted. Now, I can honestly say that I love it! It is almost like a little break each time I get in the car.
I have had to pull over a couple of times, into a parking lot and make a call. I tell you my calls are more efficient and to the point. I can't wait to see my cell phone bill, as I am certainly using a significant less number of minutes. I thought I'd be on my phone much more upon arriving home, but it really hasn't made a noticeable difference.
Best of all, I am setting an example to my children. My oldest is 16 and we have told him that he is never to use his cell while driving. Our excuse for our use was that we had been driving for years and years, prior to ever getting a phone and were much more experienced....phoooy! Don't you think my example will make much more of an impact than my words?
It's funny how I now have a heightened awareness of this. You know how when you get a new car and suddenly you notice the same make and model everywhere? That is how it is with my cognizance of how much people are on their phones while driving now. It is almost a game that I unconsciously play, throughout the day, counting the drivers I see talking and texting.
Could you, would you, consider trying the No Phone use while driving? You are decluttering your mind and incessant stream of thoughts and making the roads safer for everyone!
Sunday, February 28, 2010
I was thinking today about the commercials that show the hidden bacteria and germs that find way into our homes. I think some of our clutter is a lot like this. When you look around at your belongings, I bet you don't even know where some they came from or how they got there. It's almost as if they magically appear when we are not looking.
One kind of clutter that sneaks in and can really add up is all the freebies that everyone is always giving away. Whether your local bank, orthodontist office, volunteer or charity organization, many do this to promote their business or organizations and attract customers.But truly, how many visors, baseball hats, logo t-shirts, pencils, pens, magnets and balloons do you need?
The other day Timothy and I were having lunch at Chick-Fil-A. We had a free kids meal coupon and this came with a book. I was so proud when he said, "This isn't the kind of book I read so I don't need it!" Wow...I must be getting through. We brought the unopened book to the manager, so they could use it again and it wouldn't be wasted. He then told us that you can trade in the toy that comes with the kids meal and get a free ice cream! It worked out perfectly.
Even fliers can be excessive. They show up with smiling people handing them to you outside of stores and eating establishments and even on your car. If you need a flier for a phone number, that you can not find in the phone book or on-line, fine, take it. Then immediately when you get home, record it in you address book, planner or Rolodex. Do not hold on to it. This kind of clutter attracts other of its kind and before you know it you will have a big old pile of various sheets of paper you will have to deal with.
The next time you are some where and they are giving out freebies, think, would I buy this and if not, smile and say no thank you. Just because its free doesn't mean you have to take it. More often than not it will take the role of Clutter in your home!
Go find 10!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
How can something,that you don't even know you are doing while you are doing it, be so wonderful? Nothing beats a nap! Is it the Cozily snuggling up on the couch, the sweet bliss as you go to that in-between state from consciousness to sleep, the wonderful slumber or waking refreshed and renewed? I don't know but awww.. it is a favorite pastime of mine!
Timothy and I just woke from a doubly wonderful nap, as he was snuggled up next to me. He isn't feeling well, so what normally would not have won out over video games, did! As sorry as I am that he is not feeling well, it was a treat for me to have that special time. All the boys napped with me when they were young. I took to heart the “nap when your baby is napping” and loved the luxury of sweet snuggles! Now, it is a rare occasion as they are full of abundant energy and activity and a nap is a torturous idea. They do not understand how luxurious it is for me.
We had a busy morning and did not get in our routine “Family Clean up”. Tim had been gone all week and we multiple evening/nightly activities. I had not been feeling well and the Science Project Tri-fold board, which we intended to start this week, did not happen. So this morning Timothy and I began work on this. We ran out of the sticky letters he was using, so I made a trip to the other side of town to get the same kind. Alexander had injured his foot and knee at soccer on Wednesday, so I told him to stay off of it and not do chores. Benjamin left for a sleepover Birthday party, so he got off as well. What amazes me is that despite not doing our every Saturday family clean up, the house was neat, maybe not clean, but presentable. All my decluttering truly makes a difference in the overall presentation of our home and I was able to do something much more important, take a snuggle nap with my boy!
Yes, I am sure that tomorrow, we will do our Family Clean up, but it is nice to know that by decluttering it allows us to go with the flow without everything falling in shambles!
More on Family Clean up in future posts! Go find your 10 today!
Here are a few I have thought of :
The Clutter Cure, Clutter Rx, Clutter Tx, Clutter Free Living, Clutter Freedom, Klutter Therapy, Klutter Kure, Clutter Work, Declutter for Life, Clutter Magic, Clutterfree Cure, Clutter be Gone, Simply Clutter Free, Muddle Free Life.
What do you think? Vote on your favorite and/or send in another suggestion!
This time around, I will be checking the Federal Registry first!
Friday, February 26, 2010
For someone who loves order and peace, when I am in a creative mode, watch out! When my creative juices start flowing, whether refinishing a piece of furniture, sewing a quilt or painting a room, I get very messy! My brain seems to create under these circumstance. However, I need to have order and harmony in the rest of my life, so that I can easily slip into my zone and create. Then when I come out, I have order once again in my everyday life.
Do you have an activity that you love where you get messy? Does the rest of your life allow you to go there?
Be clutter free and allow your creativity to soar!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
What a fun time I had at the Athens Christian Women's Club today! I really enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making some new ones! I hope that I was able to provide some inspiration to the women present.
I encouraged everyone there to make their intentions to declutter public and to seek the support of their close friends. It has started me thinking about how our friendships and support systems are so important to our lives and well-being. One of the biggest perks of decluttering, is gaining the time to focus on our relationships. Every time you let something go, see the face of someone you love, knowing you are making more time for them!
What stuff in your life is getting in the way of your relationships? Go find 10 and then tell someone special in your life that you love them!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
WOW! I can't believe we are on day 50 of our Clutter Challenge? How are you doing with your personal count? Are you continuing to add 10 a day or have you slacked off? It is never to late to get back on the horse! Look around and see your progress and just think what 50 more days could do. You could transform your home and life! Decluttering costs no money and gives you so much back: space, time and peace of mind!
If you are new to Clutter Therapy, Welcome and go find 10! Just follow the archived posts from day 1 and do your 100 days! Getting started is often the hardest part. Once you get going, you get a natural, internal motivation that is fed by your progress!
What will your home look like in 50 more days?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I remember very distinctly giving my maternal grandmother, whom I adored, a pair of silk Pajamas for Christmas one year. I thought they were just her color and would be so comfortable. She loved them. In fact, so much so, that she put them away to wear “in case she had to go to the hospital”. She had several items in this category. What is so sad is that I don't know if she ever wore them.
Are you using dishes that you really don't like, everyday, because you are saving the ones you love? What are you saving them for? What is more special than your family? If you love something, use it, wear it, play it, delight in it! Let the rest go, with love.
What do you love that you are “saving” for later? What do you need to declutter so you can make room for this?
Monday, February 22, 2010
This weekend was glorious in Georgia! The sun was out, the sky was clear and my mood was great! I finally was able to get into our garage and declutter. Due to all the rain, cold weather and most recently snow, it had been severely neglected. This space houses my minivan, a plethora of bikes, scooters, skate boards, waves, stadium chairs for soccer games, as well as some camping equipment. Our garage sits at the end of a long steep driveway, so all the leaves in our culdesac make their way down and into this space. It did not take very long at all to make a big transformation! It certainly could use a paint job, but it looks so much better now!
The next pretty weekend, tackle your garage/carport or out side space! You'll be so happy to be out in the nice weather, it won't even seem like a chore! It is much easier now than in August!
This weekend was glorious in Georgia! The sun was out, the sky was clear and my mood was great! I finally was able to get into our garage and declutter. Due to all the rain, cold weather and most recently snow, it had been severely neglected. This space houses my minivan, a plethora of bikes, scooters, skate boards, waves, stadium chairs for soccer games, as well as some camping equipment. Our garage sits at the end of a long steep driveway, so all the leaves in our culdesac make their way down and into this space. It did not take very long at all to make a big transformation! It certainly could use a paint job, but it looks so much better now!
The next pretty weekend, tackle your garage/carport or out side space! You'll be so happy to be out in the nice weather, it won't even seem like a chore! It is much easier now than in August!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Amy, in NC sent in pictures of her successful decluttering! She reports this area had really been bugging her and so she finally decided to tackle it! She decluttered tons of paper items and found some new space!
Great Job Amy!
What success are you having?
Have you found your 10?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Do you ever have those dreams where you realize you forgot to get dressed and you are in front of a group of people? What an awful, vulnerable feeling this is! Dream interpretation might tell you that it is your unconscious telling you that you are insecure about yourself or worried about the real you being exposed.
Sometimes our “stuff “can provide us with a false sense of security. Much like someone who overeats to mask their feelings, holding on to excess can be symptom of other issues in our lives. Not wanting to let go of something that is completely useless and meaningless to us is related to our own insecurities. Figuring out “why” we want to keep something and what need we are trying to fill is vital to being able to really declutter and move forward.
Do you see any pattens with your clutter? Are certain objects harder to part with even though you don't really like them? Does clutter serve a useful purpose in your life? Can you think of a healthier alternative to get these needs met?
Friday, February 19, 2010
Since beginning this Blog, I have been thinking a lot about the clutter that is related to our time, routines and schedules. I have decided to focus the 100 Day Challenge on the decluttering of our physical environment. Yet, I have become keenly aware of how "clutter" has infiltrated all areas of our lives. We will look at this in more depth once we have made a dent in the physical clutter.
This brings me to this post and Lent. For the last year for safety reasons, I have only used my speaker on my cell phone while driving. This December, I read some statistics on driving while talking on the phone, even hands free, that showed a dramatic increase in your accident risk. I decided that I wanted to stop talking on my cell phone while driving, altogether. I have been slowly working on this. However, old habits die hard. Even though I was not using it to call out, the phone would ring, and I automatically would reach for it. Then in January, Oprah had a special on this exact subject, where she encouraged everyone to take the "No texting/talking while driving" challenge. (Personally, I could no more text while sitting in a non-moving chair, much less while driving. However, I see it at least a dozen times a day.) So after seeing this show, I decided that Lent was the perfect time to fully embrace this challenge and begin! Hopefully, it will be the beginning of a permanent change for me.
Like many modern conveniences, the cell phone certainly has its advantages. I love that my family can reach me at any time. When I am out working, the school can contact me easily, if one of the children gets sick. I love that when I get lost or confused, which is more often than I would like, I can call and get directions. However, like antibiotics, which have saved millions of lives but have also created super bugs, cell phones have their downside. Since when did we have to be available instantaneously, 100% of the time? What happened to down time/free time? Like much clutter, cell phone time has a way of sneakily moving in and taking over, without our realizing it. Before we know it, we are talking more to other people in the periphery of our lives, than our own family members. Have you noticed that you get in the car and think who can I call?
Yes,this will require scheduling phone time at home and returning calls when I stop. But perhaps, I will be more efficient in these. When you are driving, you "shoot the bull" to fill the time. How much of what you are discussing could be done in a quicker, more time conscious fashion? So, I am putting this out there for all to know, I will not be using my cell phone at all while in a moving car! If you see me on it, call me out, tattle, respond to my post and keep me honest! Help me declutter this area of my life and make the roads safer for everyone at the same time!
Do you want to join me in decluttering your cell phone use?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Whether you enjoy this activity or not, chances are you still have to do it, particularly if you have children living at home. Look at your kitchen and analyze it: Are the dishes, you use daily, close to the dishwasher to allow for easy unloading? When you open the drawer/cupboard full of plastic containers, do they come flying out and can you find the matching lids? If you love to bake, do you have to run all over your kitchen gathering your supplies, or are they all in one central area making this a more efficient and enjoyable activity? Do you own numerous large appliances that you have never used or only used once and do not plan to use again?
How can you make this space as functional and beautiful as possible. A well organized kitchen makes for much more enjoyable cooking, eating and family time!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Last year, while perusing a local bookstore, I remember looking through a book whose basic premise was around asking yourself three questions when face with a dilemma or making a decision: What will the consequences be in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years? I have since thought about this several times when faced with a choice or decision. It really does help put things in perspective when you look at a situation this way.
I started thinking how this could be a great tool to use when decluttering your home and life. Ten years from now, will you remember the ceramic cat you won at the fair? What about the yellowing, lace curtains that came with the house when you purchased it? What will the consequences be in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years if you let them go? As you declutter, ask yourself, "Will I miss this object, will I even remember it in 10 years?"
See if asking yourself the 10/10/10 question may help you to say goodbye to the excess in your life.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Is there an area of your home, a drawer, room, closet or cupboard that has been heavy on your mind but you have been unable to approach it to declutter? Whether emotional reasons or fear that it will be such a huge job, the thought of what it entails is probably so much worse than actual job itself. Anxiety can build and make something minor into a much bigger deal.
Close you eyes and see this area transformed and then figure out the best way to do this. Make a plan and get started! Do you need to invite a friend over to give you moral support? For women and our clothing, this is sometimes best. A good girl friend can safely and lovingly tell you that “yes”, it is time to let the pants you wore in the 90's good bye. She can also help you see what you look good in. (More on clothing in future posts!)
Break down an overwhelming job into sections and complete one per day. You can do it! The stress that comes form procrastination is exhausting and time consuming. Bite the bullet and go tackle that area...you know what it is!
Send me a message of the area you have been putting off and then go get started!
Monday, February 15, 2010
Remember as a child, the feeling of the few days leading up to Christmas? What about the hope of a big snowfall and missing school? Or how about your grandparents visiting from out of town? I can feel the butterflys now, just thinking about it!
As adults, our minds tend to focus on the anxieties and stresses of daily life. When was the last time you got really excited about something? Saturday, in the middle of a “Georgia snowstorm”, I was anxiously waiting to see if the roads were clear enough for safe travels to Atlanta. My brother, John, is turning 40 and his wife had planned a party to celebrate! Luckily, the sun was out and the snow melted enough and we were able to make it and have returned home, safe, tired and happy!
Have you noticed how decluttering can really open you to the excitement and joys of daily life, helping you to recognize what is really important to you.
Say good bye to the excess stuff that ties you down and make room for what is important in life, spending time with those you love!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Happy Valentine's Day!
In a random drawing, the winner of the Dymo Electronic Label Maker has picked and notified by e-mail to get permission to publish their name! As soon as I get this it will be announced! Check your e-mail to see if it is you!
Go hug someone you love!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
What a rare site to be looking out the window at our snow covered yard! What a difference blanket of pure, white snow can make. Everything looks so peaceful and beautiful! The snow covers the imperfections of our lawn, weeds and fallen trees disappear and all you see is the beauty of nature. Decluttering has the same affect on our homes. By getting rid of the excess we see the beauty that lies beneath all our clutter.
Let nature inspire you to transform your home into a place of beauty and peace!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Today begins a 4 day Winter Break weekend! How fitting that the weather is calling for snow! It was great to sleep in this morning, not having to rush and go to work. As the children were eating a very, late breakfast at 10ish, I was in the kitchen piddling around. I began, unconsciously decluttering the front and sides of my fridge. This wonderful “magnetic wall” is a great collector of recipes, pictures, school notes, notices, phone numbers, invitations, a huge family calendar and “to do” lists. I took all the items off and wiped down the exterior. It is usually so packed, that this is impossible. I then carefully selected what would stay, the boys Square Art magnets, some family photos and our calendar, which we could not function without. I filed the recipes I wanted to keep and would realistically cook and threw the rest away. What a difference a tidy refrigerator makes in my whole kitchen!
I, for one, like this “canvas” and don't want it totally empty; however, what had collected there was ridiculous. You may feel comfortable with more or less “stuff” on your fridge.
What does you refrigerator exterior look like? How do you want it to look?
Do you have any spaces that you look at so often, you don't even notice the clutter that is amassing before your eyes?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Isn't it funny how the music of our youth can transport us back in time? You can almost smell the gym of your high school, when you hear a song from your Senior Prom.
Nostalgia is one reason it is hard to let of some items. We attach memories to “things” and give “stuff” power, based on this. A dried up, molded corsage from 1985 isn't going to make a memory of a special night, any more special.
If you hold onto everything that reminds you of the past, where will your future go? What about your present?
Keep the memories, let go of the excess! If there is something you really want to keep, give it a place of importance in your home.
Are you holding on to stuff because it reminds you of a happy time? Let go, embrace today and create happy times NOW!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
For young children, this is very easy. It is all they know. They are who they are, warts, dimples and all. They don't try and hide or pretend to be anyone, other than whom they were meant to be. Somewhere, somehow, this all changes and others' opinions about you become far more important to you than your own. With age, comes wisdom and confidence in being, doing, liking, dressing etc, the way you want!
The way your home looks only has to reflect you, no one else. You do not have to keep up with the Joneses. If you love the latest home fashion/decorating trend...great. However, if you don't, DO NOT DO IT, no matter how popular it becomes. You want to come home to a haven, made just for you. The only way you crate this is by making choices about what comes in, what stays and what goes! If you love it...keep it! The rest.....say goodbye with love and watch your space transform into the home of your dreams.
Are you being true to yourself and what you love? Does your home reflect this?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
This is the mentality that maintains much of our clutter. I once read that by keeping/hording/holding onto excess you actually perpetuate this and bring it into reality. I know that sounds kind of “hocus pocus” , but think about it, will you ever really use that (fill in the blank)? I mean, you've had it for years and there is an inch of dust covering it. Perhaps, by holding onto it, along with hundreds of other similar items, you find something to do with it, that if you had let it go, you never would have needed it in the first place. Finding a way to use something, just because you have it is very different from loving something and honoring it.
Are you finding uses for your clutter, just to enable it to hang around?
Go find 10!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Nicole, from North Carolina sent me this, as she thought it might prove beneficial to my Clutter Therapy readers. I agree. Each day, as you spend time decluttering your 10 items, you are creating a habit that will change your life and how you look at your stuff.
HOW TO CREATE A HABIT
HABIT: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: No better time than the present!
1. Only one habit.
2. Start small. Just commit to 10 minutes a day. This might sound too easy, but you will almost guarantee success if you do this. You can increase later.
3. Commit publicly.
4. Write your plan. Write out exactly what habit you'll be forming, when you start, what time during the day you'll be doing it, rewards you might give yourself, how you'll overcome any potential obstacles. Write it down to succeed!
5. Find a trigger. Find something you already do consistently every day -- wake up, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, shower, arrive at work, have lunch, have dinner, anything -- and tie your new habit to this trigger. Do it every day RIGHT AFTER this trigger.
6. Be consistent. Do not miss a day. Try to get a streak going -- 30 straight days! If you miss a day, keep going, but the more consistent you are, the more likely the habit will stick.
7. Report progress. Every day, report your progress.
8. Motivate. Give yourself rewards each week. In fact, give yourself a reward each of the first few days, and then weekly after that.
9 Be positive. Keep a positive attitude throughout the entire challenge to be successful. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, squash them like a bug! And replace them with positive thoughts. It really works.
Thank you Nicole!
Is decluttering becoming a habit for you?
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Today's success story is different than previous ones, as it is written by me about my 10 year old son, Timothy. I am so proud of the amazing decluttering he did yesterday. You know how sometimes, suddenly, you realize that all you have been saying and modeling has actually been heard. Not only heard, but understood and advice taken! Awwww...a golden moment for any parent!
Yesterday, Timothy spent the majority of his free time doing a major declutter of his room! He yielded a huge, over flowing garbage bag of trash, 9 baseball hats, about 50 books, and tons of toys he has outgrown. This is not to mention all the clothing that we have been weeding out as well. His room looks amazing and he is very pleased with himself! It took me back several times, when I would ask about an item and he would hesitate, then think and reply, "Throw it away, it will just clutter up my room!" Music to my ears!
I share this success to encourage all of you who have written in about children and how to motivate/encourage them in decluttering their spaces. I write this because this was no easy task for Timothy nor did I expect him to do such an amazing job!
It all started last week, when he was telling me about these "really cool", mechanical pencils that he saw and really wanted. I responded, "I tell you what, when you totally declutter your room, I'll bring you to the office store and you can pick out any mechanical pencils you want". So, Friday evening, I casually said, "Do you want to do your decluttering tomorrow, because I have time and can help you?" He responded that, sure we could do that. So Saturday morning, after breakfast, we got to work!
This morning, as I told him again how proud I was of his efforts and that every time I passed his room, it made me smile, he said, "It's kind of funny, I did all that for some pencils. But really, I was tired of you talking about me decluttering every day and wanted to just get it done, all at once!"
So all my modeling, especially these last 34 days and incessant conversations about freeing your self of excess, worked. It sunk in or perhaps it annoyed, but whatever the case it worked! So keep the faith, all you parents. Keep modeling good decluttering behaviors, have conversaitons about why you are decluttering and if you hear about something they are wanting, perhaps, a little bribery is in order.....
Are you modeling good decluttering behaviors for your children and discussing on a regular basis the importance of letting go?
p.s. Benjamin has decided he wants to paint his room pale gray to coordinate with "The Beetles" theme he wants in his room. Guess, what I said, " I tell you what...."
After our 100 Decluttering Challenge is over, we are going to focus on motivating/encouraging others. I want all of your input on what has worked well for you and your family!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Do you have your great grandmother's china (insert any inherited family item) tucked away in an old, mildewing, cardboard box at the back of a closet, covered with an inch of dust?
Is this honoring her? Is it honoring the china? Or, does it actually, stress you out whenever you see it, because you feel guilty for where it is and the condition it is in?
If you love something from the past, love how it makes you feel from the memories it evokes, then take it out of the box/storage, etc. and use it, display it, honor it! Make it a part of your daily life!
If you do not love it or how it makes you feel, particularly if it brings painful memories, release it and release the pain you feel each time you look at it.
If it is neutral to you, you don't love it but it doesn't make you sad, let it go with love to find a home where it can be appreciated and treasured. Perhaps your niece would love this for her first apartment or maybe you could make some extra money on e-bay. However you choose, with a breath of kindness blow it away.
If you worry that by releasing it, you will hurt the one who has passed, think about it...Do you really think that in the spiritual world "things" matter? Wouldn't your late, great grandmother want you happy and peaceful, rather than guilt ridden and stressed? Clutter is very stressful and letting go of it can be extremly liberating!
What do you have packed/hidden away that is causing you stress and anxiety ....release it with love and honor your past.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Today's post is a question from Dawn, from FB:
"I don't feel like I am doing very well. It feels like it takes all of the time I have just to maintain the place. Even if I throw away 10 things, it seems like so much stuff comes in. It seems like I'm not really getting ahead. But I did a little bit last night. Then I get so tired or one thing or another hurts, etc. I will do better though. I'm determined."
You can do it! Remember, new habits take time to develop and you are sorting through 40 years of stuff! That is a lot of catch up! Look to a place where you have made progress and keep that area up! In fact, go to an area that you have decluttered, whether a counter top, dresser, pantry or room and give it another look. Is there anything else you can declutter to make it "just right"? Declutter, then dust, polish and refine this area and keep it like this. Do not allow ANY clutter in and use this as your example of what you want in all areas of your life. When you feel overwhelmed, look at this area and know you can do it! As far as stuff coming in, did you read yesterday's post on shopping? Please keep me updated on your progress
How are you progressing? Remember, excess stuff/clutter can be exhausting.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
One great thing about decluttering is making room for beauty to enter your life. You'll see, you get rid of your torn, tattered underwear and new comfortable, pretty ones will make their way into your home. It is OK to buy something, but only if you LOVE it, it makes you smile and you need it!
That being said, during the rest of your 100 day challenge, try to curtail any spending or purchases. It will make it easier to stay on track. If you do buy something during this time, however, the number of items you bring in need to be added to your daily 10, so as not to upset the outflow.
If shopping is an addictive behavior for you, it is important to figure out what is causing this, in order for it to stop. Often it is a symptom of something else. When working with a young child, who is behaving in an inappropriate way, it is important to figure out what happens before the unwanted behavior occurs. Often, with observation you will discover a pattern. This is an important clue into changing any behavior. Perhaps you shop when you are sad or unhappy, or when you are bored or to celebrate. Once you know why you are doing something, you have a better chance to make a change in an unwanted behavior.
Then it is vital that you replace the behavior you are taking away with a healthier one. With a child, you might say, when you are mad you can hit a pillow, stomp or make a mad face (replacing the behavior of hitting others). So, if you recognize that stress makes you go shopping, you have to come up with some other behaviors to replace this with. Perhaps you will call a friend, go for a walk, meditate or read a book. Everyone will come up with what will be their best options to allow for change.
Do you shop to fulfill another need?
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Today I dropped off some items to a new children's consignment shop, A Child's Closet, in downtown Watkinsville. What a great experience I had! I ran into Benjamin's parapro teacher, from when he was in first grade! (He turned 14 today.) We had fun catching up with one another. Another woman in the shop, purchased my Brio Train set right then and there for her three year old grandson, Will, who loves trains! The owner of the shop was as nice as she could be and took many of my items to consign! She even purchased one outright, for kids who come in the store to play with!
It is such a wonderful feeling to know that what you no longer need, will be useful to someone else. A friend who has bought and sold items through this shop, told me how her stroller/car seat combo was bought by a grandmother who needed this to care for her grandchild.
In today's economy, consignment particularly makes so much sense. It benefits many: You, as you free yourself of excess and make a little money, the shop owner, as you are adding to their inventory and business, and the purchaser who obtains what they needed at a discounted price! It is a win-win situation for everyone involved!
Consider your local consignment shop, as you weed out your excess and remember them the next time you are in the market for a particular item. You might as well start there...perhaps you'll come away with a bargain!
Have you found your 10 today? Do you have some items you could bring to a consignment shop?
p.s. I love that at A Child's Closet you can sign a waiver that says what doesn't sell is donated to a local charity!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Have you ever noticed that no matter how bad something seems at night, after a good nights rest, in the light of day, it seems so much better. In fact, you often wonder what exactly had you so worked up to begin with.
If you have an area of your home that is really giving you fits and you are having difficulty making the decisions you need to, let it sit, let it stew, move to another area and then come back with fresh perspective and vision. Often, you are just overwhelming and need a breather in order to think clearly.
Don't let a block in one area stop you or slow you down! Go find 10!
Monday, February 1, 2010
One beautiful, spring day I was shopping with my mom at a favorite antique market. I spotted an old, rather beat-up cupboard/armoire that I fell in love with immediately. It was not in great shape, but something about it spoke to me and I knew it belonged in my home. I told the gentleman who was selling it that my husband would kill me, if I came home with another piece of “old” furniture. He looked me square in the eye and boldly said, “Your husband should be thanking Jesus everyday to be married to you!” Well, that sold it! He knew what he was doing!
Mom and I barely fit it into my minivan. I truly had no clue where it would go in my home but I loved the shape of it and knew how great it would look with a little love! A year passes and it is restored, fitted with new shelves, (Thank you Grampa Steve), painted and stained. Last spring, our Television, which was 20 years old, died instantly. The armoire that we had it in was narrow and deep, like the televisions of that era. When Tim went out, the very next morning, to purchase a new one, we realized it would not fit in the original cupboard. But, guess what? It was a perfect fit for my newly restored, bargain, ($65.00) armoire! It is perfect in my room and makes me smile when I think of how it came to me!
You see, I did not know where it would go, but I new it was meant to be mine. Knowing what you love opens you up to wonderful possibilities!
What do you LOVE in your home? What do you need to declutter to make room for it?
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Today's success story is from Sherrie:
I have just started clutter therapy and it's awesome! Thanks, Dianne, for giving me that extra push to get organized and clutter-free! I started with the medicine cabinet, which is literally a whole cabinet in my kitchen. With three kids, we have collected lots of meds (most of which were expired)! I threw away 35 items in that cabinet alone and now I'm moving on to the "junk" drawer...
Keep up the steady pace Sherrie and keep us all informed on your progress!
Send in your success story! Have you found your 10 today?
Saturday, January 30, 2010
If you have been doing the Clutter Challenge you are ¼ through and at least 250 item lighter! Some of you may have moved beyond this amount and some may have fewer items. No matter where you are, you are closer to a decluttered home and life than you were 25 days ago! Congratulations! If you have slacked off, jump up back on the horse! You can do it , slow and steady! This brings us to today's post:
While waiting at the hospital for my routine mammogram (future posts to follow) I was leafing through a magazine. I love having to wait for say 15-20 minutes at a doctor/appointment. It is free, uninterrupted time, no phone ringing, no chores, no work to do and no one needing anything from me. I get to enjoy some “trashy” magazines and relax. During this “down time” I read a wonderful German Proverb that really spoke to me: “ Who begins too much, accomplishes little.”
Isn't this what we are trying to avoid, getting overwhelmed with too large a task and quitting! We have been decluttering, steady, daily, (with occasional inspirational days when you get on a decluttering high), but always returning and plugging on. Look at what you have accomplished the last 25 day! Think of the transformation over the next 75 that you will make in your life!
Keep on plugging on!
Have you found your daily 10?
Send me your success stories!
Friday, January 29, 2010
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do with out”. Although a great motto for not being wasteful, I feel it encourages hoarding and holding on to everything, just in case. It is important not to throw away items that could be used by someone else. I am also a huge fan of using up leftovers and being frugal with my money and spending practices. However, I feel too often we hang on to things that serve no useful purpose for us. Find someone who can use them and give them new life.
What are you holding on to but are not using? Is it time to let it go?