Freedom From Clutter

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5 tips to live the good life

1. Mind your mind. Thoughts are harmless. That is, until you believe them. We are conclusion minded, so we decide the meaning behind all sorts of things whether they hurt us or not, whether they are true or not. If we are negative minded about the world & everyone in it our conclusions will manifest, more likely than not, a story or explanation to support our negative outlook. If we retain a positive outlook our conclusions will lean more toward the bright side.  If we don’t communicate or investigate what the truth is we have no way of knowing, yet we hang onto stories that don’t benefit or enhance us & maybe even hurt relationships. We tell ourselves awful stories & spin terrible tales that are negative & mostly untrue. Even if we find out the truth we react as if our imagination is more true & remain upset. The discomfort or feeling that someone or something scared us is enough to hold onto the negativity our mind created. Our feelings are created not by our circumstances or people, but by believing our thoughts about the people & circumstances. These thoughts become obsessive & habitual & can dis-empower us keeping us stuck in negativity. The key to break free is to observe your thoughts. What do you think about all day? What do you tell yourself? Once you learn to mind your mind you will realize all your discomfort, misery as well as joy is due to your thoughts. For instance; one week it is hot & dry & no rain is predicted. When it finally arrives you are ecstatic & thankful for the rain. Another time you have an outdoor event & the rain comes & now you  feel terrible about the rain. In reality the rain is just rain it was your thoughts that caused you to feel one way or another not the rain. 

2. Feel what you feel. When an uncomfortable feeling lurks about we tend to look outside ourselves to comfort us. Anything from complaining to over indulging in unhealthy activities. We haven’t been taught how to cope when we feel stress or discomfort. The important thing is to feel what you feel & then reward yourself with something soothing that doesn’t cause more stress. When something or someone triggers an upsetting feeling to emerge, instead of resisting it or say no to your feelings allow it the space it needs. Negative feelings are trapped inside of you because they’ve not been allowed to be processed. Don’t react,  take a deep breath & ask yourself if you can let it go. Sometimes the answer will be ‘yes’ & other times it won’t, as long as you know where you stand with your emotions the clearer you will be with who you are. 

3. The next step, once you’ve mastered your thoughts & have learned how to feel your feelings, is peace. Having peace as your main priority will change your life. Whatever causes you distress, stop it, or at least lessen your time, attention & focus to it. Allow yourself to relinquish control over others & events. Learn to rejuvenate your fun side & find what brings you peace.

4. Freedom over identity. Going back to #1 your thoughts. When you identify with your thoughts as though they are who you are it will cause more distress. Let’s just agree each one of us is enough right where we are, you have been perfectly placed right where you are. Honestly, if you believed you were perfect, complete & beautiful (which you are) what would you finally let go of? Perhaps an old conditioned thought pattern that you weren’t good enough. Good. Stop identifying yourself with all that made up stuff you’ve created due to your past experiences. You are fine, everything will be okay, I promise.

5. Laughter is the best medicine & it looks great on everyone. Make it a practice to laugh throughout your day. Laughter & tears produce the same results; release. Wouldn’t you rather be laughing? Good, me too!

I wish you all peace! ~Sandy 


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What to do with your (too much) stuff

There are so many clever & creative things to do with your stuff to stay organized & on top of clutter that perhaps you haven’t thought of. I’ll share many ideas that I’ve used in my own home.

When you have items you think you may use, but aren’t sure, instead of leaving them to clutter your space or take up valuable real estate pack them in a box. Say you have 8 flower vases, you know you’ll use 2 on a regular basis so box the other 6 & if anymore come in box them as well (when you are done with them, of course). Label the box & put the date on the box when you packed it up. Check stored boxes periodically throughout the year. Let’s say you needed another flower vase on your birthday, but otherwise hadn’t touched the other 5 in a year, you know it is okay to donate the 5. Put the box in your can & drop it off when passing a donation center. Same with all your other items. Box like items up, label the box & date it. Take what you need from them throughout the year & donate the rest. You may have purchased a certain dish for a particular food item (think; spring form pan, trifle bowl, or any other odd item), yet no one liked it or it was too difficult to make or cheaper to buy, & you haven’t used the dish again in a year, instead of it taking up valuable real estate for just in case, box it, label it, & date it. It will be much easier to let things go when you haven’t touched, looked for, or needed an item(s) in 6 months to a year. It gives you a visual clue to what you actually need or use. People hoard because they may need it someday. Trust that if you do need an item you donated all your needs will be taken care of in the future. Needs change. A busy family may need & use certain items, but once kids grow up &/or move out some items are no longer needed & can be passed on to new families (as long as they are in good condition). By using this technique you can see for yourself what is needed or wanted & what is not. 

Kid items are the same, they out grow & change often, yet we keep piling on toy after toy, sporting equipment after sporting equipment, clothing after clothing without purging the old. Ask your children if they had to grab 5, 10 or 20 favorite things in a hurry what would they grab (that will give you great insight). You can also box up, label, & date items & see if anyone asks for a particular item. If so, retrieve it from the stored box & leave the remaining to donate. Some parents hold onto what they consider keepsakes. When the child moves out or has children of their own they don’t want most of the stuff you’ve saved. Take a picture instead of the item that you find precious & make a keepsake album instead & if you are really ambitious write a note about them with/in the item. Shared thoughts & feelings & memories are so much better then a box of worn out, outdated & unwanted things that they now have to take care of & store.

Speaking of children, they bring in a lot of stuff especially art work. There are many ideas to control the amount you keep. One is to string art work along a wall & change it often. Take a long wire or string & use clothes pins to hang. Laminate some special pieces to make as place mats (give as gifts to relatives too). Take pictures of select pieces throughout the year & create a digital calendar of their art (another great gift idea to share with relatives that may not have been able to be a part of). If you have limited space rotate, one in, one out. Roll it up & store in tubing, such as paper towel or wrapping paper tubes. Label them. You can scan art work into your computer & let go of the actual art piece. You can mail art work to relatives or find senior citizen centers or nursing homes in your area & ask if they would like some to display for the residents. Or again take pictures & create a scrap book for them to do with what they want. 

Clothing is a huge space zapper. Periodically go through clothes, toss stained, out dated, & unwearable items. Designate a spot for repairable items & decide to repair them by a certain time  (or they go in the donate pile), or bring to a tailor or dry cleaner by a certain date. Your best bet, if you are bringing them to an outside source, is to place them in your car so they are easily dropped off while you are out.  Also, unaware if you’ll wear an item, place the hanger backwards on the rod, as you choose an item, wear it, wash it & return it, place the hanger the right way, at the end of each season check the hangers that are still backwards & donate those. You can also box clothing & label what the contents are & again record the date. Whatever you haven’t taken out, you aren’t missing, donate. Use this technique for all items as well as shoes & purses. 

Photo’s are another item that don’t seem to find a home. What I did was take a $1.00 box & placed photos according to who was in the picture versus in order of dates or certain events. Much quicker & easier. The ones you have framed change from time to time to update your visual gallery. I made my children their own scrapbooks, for Christmas one year, of their life up to that year. Walking down memory lane made our holiday extra special. 

Use items that come into your home, but may be packaged for food or drink or other grocery items. You may need tissues & throw the box away when done, but they can corral so many things. For instance, you can shove a lot of plastic bags inside the box to use in & as small trash cans. Store the tissue box filled with plastic bags in the room that has a mini trash can, or take a box & put it in your car. You can also store plugs or crayons or any number of items, just remember to label it. Coffee cans or any can get a quick wrapping paper job, glued on sea shells, or painted & be used to store extra kitchen utensils, hair brushes, small toys, make up brushes, art supplies, paint brushes, pencils & pens. Jars can be cleaned out & be used as piggy banks, for flowers, or to collect sea shells, cotton balls, macaroni, or anything that once opened can get stale such as cookies or marshmallows. Use empty  paper towel rolls to store cable cords, label & stick in a draw. Small games such as hand held gadgets or playing cards fit in a shoe box. Puzzles, cut out the picture & place the pieces in a zip lock bag. In other words before going to buy expensive storage containers look at what you already buy with a new eye. 

The most important thing, for me, to have an organized life is to make every thing convenient. Keep a paper towel roll in every bathroom (along with glass cleaner), your car, & even bedrooms (seems we’re always reaching for a paper towel so have them easily accessible). Keep a trash can in every room. Create a landing & launch pad by the door you use regularly. A coat closet may be located by the front door but you use the back door or the door from the garage. So the closet designated by the builder doesn’t necessarily work for you on a daily basis. Get creative hang hooks, use shelves, or furniture by the door you use most often to house the items you need to take to & from. Place anything that needs to go with you, backpacks, purse, keys, library books, coupons, even shoes, on your pad so it is ready when you are. For easier mornings pick out your clothes the night before. And before you go to bed take just 5, 10 or 15 minutes to create a clean kitchen for you to start your day in. If you hit your snooze button either set the alarm 45 minutes earlier or put it across the room. For ideas for dinner look at your weekly grocery store flyer. What’s on sale is what’s for dinner. While you cook dinner fill the sink with hot soapy water for dirty dishes & cooking utensils. As you create your grocery list record on the calendar what is for dinner each night, so you not only know what you are having, but others who are home first can start it (or not). If I use coupons I record my list on an envelop (from junk mail) & keep the coupons inside & place on my launch pad. For mail handle it immediately. Place a shredder, trash can & where you keep your bills as the place to open mail, preferably where your landing & launch pad is located or close by. You’d be amazed when you use the do it now principal on how much you get accomplished & stay up on (& it only took a minute or two). Distribute the magazines & catalogs to their designated home. If magazines are piling up think about canceling your subscription & purchase periodically when you shop & when you have time, or read them online. 

I hope these tips help you create an organized life. Please feel free to use any of these helpful ideas & pass them on. Much peace! ~Sandy