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.
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?
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Do you have any “old boots” that you no longer see? If so, declutter them!
p.s. The only piles we find now belong to Timothy's pet ferret! :)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Get the clutter out! Your bedroom, of all rooms, should be the most restful, tranquil and peaceful room in your house! It should be a get away from everything else. But how can you escape, if in the corner you have exercise equipment, draped with clothing, stacks of magazines and catalogs all over your bed side tables, a laptop and work files on the bed, a pile of returns you need to make on your chair, not to mention all the clothing in and out of your dresser and closet, that doesn't fit or you do not like. Does any of this sound familiar? Just imagine how nice it would be to walk into this room and breath a sigh of relief... You deserve this! Once you experience this peaceful escape, you will not want to ever go back!
Make your bedroom a sanctuary and have a place to get away and rejuvenate. You will have a better quality of sleep, as well.
What do you need to declutter from your bedroom to make it a haven?
Go find 10 and make it so!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I don't know exactly when it started. It was around the time of last years Masters Tournament in Augusta,Ga. My oldest son, Alexander, had an opportunity to go with my parents and their friends, who had an extra ticket. He had a wonderful time and came home talking about how amazing, clean, and organized the event was and how delicious the pimento cheese sandwiches were. I had a few pimento cheese recipes that I had made from time to time and that prompted me to make some.
Well, I got hooked! I mean truly hooked. Everyday for Breakfast since then, almost 9 months now, I have had pimento cheese on gluten free toast. On days, that I am home for lunch, ditto. On the weekend, I consume it numerous times. I have a couple of recipes that I use, depending on my mood. I also have one store brand that I keep in stock, for when I am too lazy to whip up my own. There is only one brand and one style of this particular brand that I like. It has been on sale at my grocery store this month, (BOGO) so each week, I have bought 4-6 tubs of it. Alexander also likes it for school lunches, as well. (The expiration date is far out).
The point of all this being, that you know when you like something and you know when you don't. If you like it ...KEEP it! If you don't ...let it go!
I am sure my pimento cheese addiction, will, at some point, come to an end. For now, I am getting my calcium and loving it! One day, I may wake up and it may no longer sound appealing (although at this time, I can not imagine it). Should this happen, I will stop buying large quantities of sharp cheddar and move on to whatever foods appeal to me. If my tastes change, I don't have to eat pimento cheese for b-fast the rest of my life. We can embrace what works for us and then when it no longer holds its appeal, let it go.
What are you holding on to because you use to love it? You are allowed to change your mind, tastes and opinions and do not have to keep everything you ever used or like. If it is not serving your taste now, let it go with love. Someone will love it now!
(Update on gum surgery: The Valium and IV sedative were wonderful and did the job...I barely remember a thing! The pain medicine is working, however, makes me sleepy and loopy. Other than hurting, the worst part it not being able to eat. I have been able to swallow some mashed potatoes, pudding and a milk shake. However, I miss my daily dose of Pimento Cheese!)
Have you found your daily 10?
Monday, January 25, 2010
Today, as you are reading this, I will be having gum surgery. For whatever reason, whether it be heredity, autoimmune or my brushing technique, my gums are in need of repair. Due to extreme claustrophobia, (I once almost kicked my dentist in the head during a routine teeth cleaning) I was prescribed Valium last night and again this morning to “take the edge off”. During the procedure, I will be given an IV sedative and they swear, I will not remember a thing! Lets hope so!
There are just some things, that even though unpleasant, must be done. However, the way you think about these makes all the difference. We all know someone who sees the glass half empty and they are not always so much fun to be around. Looking at it from the half full perspective makes all the difference. Rather than, I have horrible teeth and have to have gum surgery; how about, I want to have a healthy smile for life, therefore, I am having gum surgery! There, doesn't that sound better.
As you declutter your home, try and look at it from the perspective of the great gift you will receive and as a choice you are making to transform your space and life! When you set something free, see this as helping and benefiting others, rather than you losing something. Give this as a gift to yourself!
Day 20 is here! Have you found your 10?
Please sign is as a Follower!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Each Sunday, I will post a success story from one of you! It may be a letter, e-mail, response to a post or a message on Clutter Therapy's Face Book fan page. Thank you so much for all of you responses! Please, keep them coming!
Today's letter is from Jeff:
I just wanted to thank you for your blog and your helpful tips and ideas for decluttering our home. My wife Kim and I accepted your 100 day challenge but we were so motivated that we each agreed to find our 10 each day. So far, we have.
It's also fun reading about you and Tim in your blog. I can just see the joy in his eyes as he's spending time on a 3 day weekend decluttering. Although, I'm sure he squeezed in time to watch football. There has to be give and take, right?
Anyway, thanks again for your blog. It has and continues to be helpful. My kids may disagree but they are coming around.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I know I keep coming back to this, but ultimately by making choices and inviting each thing in your life and home, based on loving it, you are creating a beautiful life. Not your neighbor's, or mother's or best friend's life, but yours. When you go into a home like this, as a guest, you feel welcomed and comforted. It is obvious to the visitor when you are in harmony in your home. You feel relaxed and your home is inviting.
What do you need to let go of because it isn't “you”?
Have you found your 10 today?
Friday, January 22, 2010
Yesterday afternoon, while waiting at the dentist office, I had a realization...
I was standing at the reception desk, answering the routine questions, "Any aspirin in the last 24 hours? Any changes in medications? Any allergies?" My younger two sons where in the adjacent waiting room and I did not hear a sound from them at all, for like 10 minutes! Silence....and it wasn't the kind of silence when you knew they were up to no good. It was the "we are entertaining ourselves and doing what we are suppose to" kind! It was at that point that it hit me, I don't have little kids any more!
Timothy, the baby, is 10. Benjamin will be 14 in less than 2 weeks and Alexander at 16 1/2, has been driving for 6 months! When did all this happen? I flash back to this same dental office, to where I refereed fights and arguments over who would go first, read the same books over and over to break the boredom and calmed fears. It is a bittersweet feeling. What happened to my babies? Time is a funny thing.
Yes, sometimes my arms ache for a baby and yearn to be needed by someone completely. However, most of the time I am perfectly happy, right where I am: as a mother of children who are on their way to becoming independent, responsible adults. I love being able to talk to them as people, who have their own thoughts, ideas, dreams and opinions. Letting go of a previous stage is so much easier when you are enjoying where you are and excited to be moving on to the next one!
So, as the 2 younger boys each had his teeth cleaned, the other sat quietly, listening to music on his iPod and I read a magazine, geared to women over 40...and I liked it!
Embrace where you are and where you are going, rather than clinging to the past! Let go with love, that which no longer fits your life.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I am so excited! I am going to see Willie Nelson tonight with both of my brothers and dad! (Mom is not a fan.) John and Patrick have seen him numerous times, but for me and dad, it's our first time! I am really looking forward to the concert and seeing live, what I have only heard. However, I am even more excited to be spending time with all these special men in my life. With all of our crazy, busy schedules of family life, work and living in separate towns and cities, it is sometimes difficult to find the time to spend together. I feel so blessed to live close enough to my family to allow for these unique opportunities!
How can we declutter the unimportant commitments and busyness in our lives, to make time for those we love?
Go find 10!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Every few months, we have a week of crazy mixed up meals. I do this because the pantry and fridge have a funny way of getting filled up. Food gets lost in the back, wasted and unused. So every couple of months, do an inventory of what you have on hand before you do your weekly shopping. Use up what you have as much as possible and see how little you can buy at the store that week. Yes, your meals may be a bit odd and not as nutritionally balanced; however, a week won't hurt anyone. Your kids will think it is funny when you combine unusual items. Use up all the cans/boxes/mixes that keep getting pushed to the back. Make it a goal to free up much of the space in these areas. If while eating this excess, you discover something that wasn't that good, no one really enjoyed it or wasn't good for you in the first place, make a commitment, not to buy it again. Any items that you know will not be consumed give to a local food bank.
p.s. At the end of the week, take a few minutes to wipe down your pantry shelves and clean you refrigerator. It will be easier because it will be decluttered!
Have you found your 10?
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
These are things I love and have collected over the years! They make me happy and are used in my daily life. To some, they may seem like clutter, but to me they are like old friends, comforting and inviting. They make me happy! They are not up on shelves, rather a part of my everyday life, functional and beautiful. I have room for these and have invited them into my home, by making choices and letting go.
What do you love? Do you have clutter getting in the way of your enjoyment of the things you find beautiful? Go find 10 and make room for what you love!
Monday, January 18, 2010
We just finished the last (third) attic space! WOW, we had sure squirreled away a lot of excess! It's funny because the side I thought would have had the least clutter, actually produced quite a bit. Things had been put in front of other things. We had stuff stored, that we didn't even realize we still had! We packed up three bags of trash, more items for the consignment shop and much for Goodwill! I even went through tax documents and work records, that I am required to keep for a certain amount of years and decluttered the ones I could.
Unlike a squirrel, who consumes over the winter months what they have put away, much of the clutter in our storage spaces will never be used again.
Do you have an area like this? Go get 10!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Now that you have developed the habit of decluttering each day, I want you to think about focusing on a room or area for the upcoming week. Daily work in one zone will quickly add up to a transformed room! Don't push yourself. Do your daily 10 and if so inspired to do more, keep going!
Have you found your 10?
Saturday, January 16, 2010
With our oldest son on a youth retreat this weekend, we decided to conquer the two huge attic spaces off each side of his bedroom, the bonus room. These are great, as far as they allow relatively easy access to holiday items, out of season clothing and clothes for the boys to grow into. However, as this space is “out of sight, out of mind” it seems to breed clutter!
We decided to begin on the right side today and decluttered a multitude of children's toys, books and clothing. We have a big pile for Goodwill, a pile of items for the local consignment shop and a very large bag of trash! This was only one side!
Tomorrow we will tackle the second side and perhaps the over head space in the hallway on Monday! I love three day weekends! I will keep you up to date and may even include pics!
Where has your clutter been breeding?
Now is about the time that the excitement over a new undertaking can slowly start to dwindle. It is easy to slack off slowly, without realizing it. Make a commitment to yourself to keep going! Look around your home at the areas where you have decluttered. Notice how peaceful they are and how you naturally gravitate towards these during the day. Your whole home and life can be like this all the time! You can do this! Don't let an opportunity slip by! The weekend it a perfect time to move ahead! Pick and area and get decluttering! Then plan a fun or relaxing activity to reward yourself for persevering. Make it fun and go find 10 !
Friday, January 15, 2010
Last summer at my office, we kept tuning down the air conditioner because it was so hot! We could not get cooled off. Finally, the repair man was called to service it, as it obviously was not working properly. He went out into the scorching sun and quickly came back in to report: “They done took it!” The entire air conditioning unit had been stolen! Thieves had cut the copper lines and somehow carted it off!! No wonder we were so hot! Now, this was summer in Georgia, 100 degree temperature, 100 percent humidity. We missed it!
As you declutter, look at each item and ask yourself, “ If this went missing, would I notice, would I miss it, and would I go out and replace it if possible?” If you do not answer yes to at least one and better yet all three, it is an item you need to set free.
Today is day 10! Have you decluttered at least 100 items?!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Nesting is nature's way of ensuring that when a baby is born, we can put our focus purely on him/her. We desire before hand to have everything "just so". This allows us to put all of our attention on the most important thing, our new child. Shouldn't everyday allow us to focus on who and what is most important to us? Decluttering our lives and homes allows us to do just this. Get rid of the clutter and make room for those you love.
GO find your 10!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Yesterday, while hanging upside down drying my hair, I opened up the cabinet under my bathroom sink to see if any items jumped out at me to be decluttered. Then I saw them: My HOT ROLLERS! Now, being a teenager in the 80's, in high school from '82-'86 and college '86-'90, you know I had some BIG HAIR. I can't count the perms that I endured, spiral wrap, piggy back, root waves.....what were we all thinking! I laughed out loud as I pulled them out and decided it was time to let my velvet covered, hot rollers go!
What are you holding on to from another life? Do you have a closet full of business suits, even though for the last 10 years you have been a professional artist? Do you have multiple, very complex, fancy, cooking gadgets from a first marriage that you never knew how to use? Do you have to climb over children's toys in your guest bedroom, even though your kids are in their thirties?
Examine where you are now and where you want to go. Let go of what is holding you in the past and make room for the present.
GO FIND 10!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Clutter is different for everyone. You may look at a chipped, worn vase and think it is clutter, but to me, it may be a prized possession, a heirloom passed on from a beloved grandmother.
Ask yourself as you examine an object: DO I LOVE THIS? DOES IT MAKE ME HAPPY? DOES IT MAKE ME SMILE? DO I USE/DISPLAY THIS? IT IS BEAUTIFUL TO ME? If you can not answer yes to at least one of these questions, preferably more, IT IS CLUTTER. DO NOT KEEP IT. Now, this does not mean it is junk or trash, although a lot of it may be. It is clutter to you because it is not serving you. You are serving it by giving it space in your home
If it has monetary value, sell it, donate it for a tax deduction or release it with love to someone who will treasure and appreciate it. Let it go to a home where it will be honored and valued and loved. We are not all meant to have the same taste and opinions and that is what makes us special. Allow yourself to make choices about what you surround yourself with, rather than just accepting castoffs and inherited items.
Have you found your 10?
My 16 year old son repaired my crashed computer this fall. He somehow saved all my files and did some "voodoo magic"...and poof...a working computer! It is amazing to me how technological advanced our children are. They are growing up in totally different world, with a whole set of skills we never imagined. Never the less, we are all capable of learning new skills. I never thought I would be able to create and write a Blog! You are never too old to make improvements, learn new skills and grow! Being Clutterfree and organized is something you can do! Just like any new skill there is a learning curve but with support you can do it!
Keep plugging away!
Have you found your 10?
Monday, January 11, 2010
Does your shower you have three, opened shampoo bottles? Does your pantry have multiple, partially empty containers of oatmeal. In your laundry room, do you have several detergents and fabric softeners all in use? Whenever possible, consolidate these to rid the excess. Practice the principle taught when paying off debt. Use up the one with the least amount first and then move to the next and so on. Remember, each time you empty one and recycle or throw away the container it counts as one item decluttered!
What area are you going to declutter today? Go find 10!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Yesterday, we noticed a small but distinct leak under our master bathroom sink. Tim took everything out in order to repair the problem. The bathroom floor was scattered with the kind of supplies that find themselves assigned to this area. Before jumping into the shower, I quickly decluttered 20 items in less than 3 minutes. Somehow, empty containers and bottles had managed to set up house in there. I put the loose band aids in their box, dumped the empty containers in the trash and wiped out the larger container that housed some of the items. What a difference it made! I had not planned on decluttering this area but the opportunity arose and I took it.
Look around during the day and see what Natural Opportunities may be presenting themselves. Remember, it doesn't have to take big chunks of time, every little bit counts!
Have you found your 10?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
I loved how the spoon felt heavy in my hand when I ate my cereal and how the fork heated up when we ate dinner, due to the temperature of the food. At MeMe's house we always used the silver when we ate. I don't think she even had other flat wear. This taught me so much about valuing what you love.
When I first was married, my grandmother's example had rubbed off on me and I decided that we would use our beautiful new wedding gifts. In fact, we had no stainless flatware for many years. (I did get a set when the children were young and I was finding good silver spoons in the yard, being used as shovels.) However, even during this time, we continued to use these gifts. Over the last 20 years, one spoon had a spin in the garbage disposal and a knife was inadvertently thrown away. All the enjoyment and pleasure from using these beautiful objects over the years outweighs any damage or monetary loss. The patina that develops on well loved items is more beautiful than objects in unused, perfect condition.
Is your China/Crystal/silver packed up in storage boxes/bags or tucked away and only used for the rarest occasion? What are you saving it for? Do you love it? If so, use it. So a piece gets broken, better used and loved than pristine and packed away. If you never use it and are saving it for your children, do you really think they will use it? It will be passed on and on for generations, until someone decides to get rid of it. Hey, your kids might not even like you pattern. But, if you do, USE IT! Appreciate the beauty in your life. You are creating your own ever-changing mural in your home and life. Fill it with beauty.
Let go of all you are holding on to that you do not love and that doesn't reflect beauty in your eyes! Begin using/honoring/displaying your treasures! Throw out what isn't special and take out of storage the items you love!
Happy decluttering! Have you found your 10?
Friday, January 8, 2010
When you live in a sea of clutter and disharmony, it is difficult to appreciate what you do have. It is ironic, but getting rid of the excess, allows us to see all that we do have and appreciate it on a much higher level. I am going to be talking a lot about honoring and appreciating those things we hold as special. This starts first with sifting through our possessions and decluttering that which is not special, meaningful and beautiful to us. Show gratitude for what you love by making room for it in your home!
Have you found your 10?
(p.s. 100 more items decluttered from my files, desk drawers and supply storage. Lots of small stuff but remember, every little bit counts!)
Any day that you find it difficult to decide where/what to declutter, consider the following: pantry, fridge, freezer, laundry room, bedroom(s), linen closet, bathroom cupboards, kitchen cupboards, under kitchen or bathroom sinks, car(s), garage, basement, attic, coat closet, dining room storage, family room shelves/cuboards, magazines/catalogs, medicine cabinet/storage or purse.
While brushing your teeth today, open the drawers around your bathroom sink and see what you can declutter. I bet you find 10 things very quickly.
What area are you going to declutter today? Go find 10!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
What random clutter do you have hanging around your home?
Have you done your 10?
We do not allow just anyone entry into our homes. We have doors and locks and even security systems to ensure our control over this. Even the best of friends and family will typically knock when they arrive or call to see if it is a good time to come over. However, with stuff, it seems we have a open door policy, allowing things into our home uninvited that stay on and on. Like my grandmother use to say, “fish and company start to smell after a few days”. Don't allow your home to stink with uninvited clutter. Make a choice to exercise your ability to close the door, to say no to what you don't love and to ask unwanted items to leave. Make room for what is important to you!
GO FIND 10!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Do what is easy at first. A great place to begin is your medicine cabinet/area. Dispose of expired medication/empty containers/broken dispensers etc. You will be amazed at how much you find and how much space you will clear up. Often this area is so congested with bottles, that it is very difficult to find what you need. Typically, this is not an area that would stir up emotions and should be fairly straightforward.
Each day as you make decisions on what area to work on, base this on your mood, energy level and schedule. Tackle areas you know are more difficult for you when you have the time and motivation to do so. For women, this is often clothing, shoes, and kitchen items. Save the easy areas that are less emotional and require less thought, under the kitchen sink, the coat closet, a spare bathroom, for when you know that it will be more difficult for you.
Always remember, it is only 10 items. It can truly take less than 5 minutes depending on the area you are working on. Make it easy on yourself, this is not a punishment, rather a present you are giving yourself!
I don't care what the clutter is or how you count it. If you toss an old file full of papers you decide how to count it: 1 item or 20. These details to do not matter. What is important is that you are consistent and are doing it! Remember, slow and steady wins the race! Don't let the big picture overwhelm you. You will be amazed at how great you feel once you get started!
You are on your way to a peaceful, decluttered home that reflects who you are and how you want to live!
p.s. My medicine cabinet yielded 29 items decluttered! Even though I went through this area a few months ago, we had a lot of expired, over the counter and prescription medication. (Including ones I missed last time) I also tossed out about 10 little plastic measuring cups and syringes that you use to take your meds. Many were faded and you couldn't read the numbers.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The 100 day/1,000 item Challenge Begins TOMORROW!
I am constantly decluttering. So, when I told my husband of the 100 day/1000 item challenge, he wondered if we actually had that much to get rid of. Well, we are in there with you and I will keep you up on our progress as we go along! Good luck and happy decluttering!
p.s. To help motivate and keep track, keep a list with tallies so you can document all you have done!
This doesn't mean that you have to stop at 10 items. If one day, you are on a roll and in the mode, go for it! Just remember, and this is very important, you still have to do 10 tomorrow. It is like compounding of interest, each little bit, added each day, makes a much bigger impact in the long run.
If you travel regularly or have the kind of schedule that makes it difficult to do this daily, pick a day of the week that you can do the amount of items for the week (7 days x 10 items day= 70 items/week). The biggest concern with this method is burnout and not following through. If you have to do this, try and at least find one or two small items each day to declutter to keep you in the mode.
Tell your friends, family and co-workers. Make it a real challenge! When you tell others what you are doing, it motivates you and makes you more accountable! Spread the word!
Monday, January 4, 2010
I know it may sound crazy or even impossible to declutter 1000 items in 100 days. For some (the minority) this may be true. Example: If you are a young, struggling student or newly wed, with minimal disposable income, just starting off, who hasn't “inherited” stuff from allover, maybe you do not have that much stuff to declutter. If so, congratulations! You can keep your home in this condition by following the advice in this blog. However, for most of us, we have ample excess!
Don't feel overwhelmed. Remember, I am talking about anything, no matter how big or small, that you do not love/use and does not make you happy. That means cleaning out the chewing gum wrappers in your purse, the loose trash in the car, the lids in your storage cupboard that have no container, the torn t-shirt you never wear, the jar of food in the fridge that is covered with mold. Start small. If you do, the clutter will come!