Freedom From Clutter

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In The Know

Hello and welcome back!

I wanted to continue the talk today about ineffective habits, explaining why these habits may be difficult to change. Hopefully, you have been succeeding with last weeks assignment, but if not, I will add some more encouragement. If your good, I’ll see you next week. I took on last weeks assignment myself, because I grasp the idea; what we teach we most need to learn. I certainly had something in my life I wanted to change. At the end I’ll tell you if I did …

We all have something in our lives that doesn’t work, support or benefit us. I could get into the details on how an unwanted habit started, but I realized it isn’t necessary. Plus I want to focus on where we are and where we want to go versus why it began or where it originated, as it serves no purpose. You know where you are, you know where you want to go, so now decide how you will get there.

Thinking back to successful changes I’ve created in my life I recognized I couldn’t do it and worry about it at the same time. I needed to remain focused on what was working and what felt right. As you search for ways to change you may find a system, idea, or plan that may have parts that work and parts that don’t. It is up to you to figure out what is best for you. You may pick and choose between several different plans to come up with one specific system for you. Like an eye doctor, ask yourself, “which is better, this one or this one?”

Here’s a simple example; A friend, after the birth of her child, wanted to record all her child’s milestones, but kept forgetting & instead scattered notes throughout the house. She couldn’t quite make it a habit to retrieve the baby book, record according to the books suggestions. She was afraid she’d miss out on something special for her baby. We found a solution that worked, we installed a calendar in her bathroom to record her child’s first year. Plus others could jot down something to the child as well.

If you truly want relief from a habit, or remove one entirely, or change it to benefit you, you have to keep at it. You get to where you want to be by being persistent, taking consistent steps toward what you do want, if you feel your way toward the prize you will be the victor. If you expect to win you will.

I tried to quit smoking 3 times before I was successful. The first time, when I found out I was pregnant, I quit cold turkey. Once the baby was born I began smoking again. The second time someone made a promise to me if I quit smoking. I quit and a year later the reward wore off and I began again. The third and final time my doctor asked me if I would consider quitting. When she asked me it felt right. So, I promised I would quit before my next visit, a year later. This time I prepared and expected a successful outcome. I researched all the different ways to quit, from the gum to meditation. I interviewed people who had been successful at quitting and I recalled all the things that worked in the two years I had been smoke free. After deciding I would use a product (the patch) to help me I picked a date, it was six months after my appointment. I acknowledged my biggest worry, which was I may gain weight, but instead of dwelling on the fear I quickly came up with a plan, again recalling past accomplishments, and put it in place right away, before I quit. I stayed focused on everything that felt good, on what was working, and on May 5, 2013 I celebrated my eleventh year anniversary being smoke free! And the challenge I took on last week changed today!

You can have any habit from losing your keys to continuously running late or needing to shop less, whatever it is if you follow these step you can accomplish anything too!

1. You can’t do it and worry about it at the same time. Decide to release worry.
2. Recall earlier accomplishments and what worked for you in the past.
3. As you are determining your plan to change what doesn’t work feel your way to your sweet spot. If something doesn’t feel right it may not be for you, tweak or adjust it or try something else.
4. Be consistent. Continually checking in with how you are doing and celebrate every step!

You got this!




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3 steps to change inefficient habits?

Hello & welcome back! 

This week we’re going to do the opposite of what isn’t working for you or your life. That’s right folks change is coming to town! This solution can work for disorganization or clutter, & you can use this for any area in your life that isn’t working, I give you permission. These steps are important & you would think the most logical, yet we find ourselves falling back & relying on what doesn’t work; old habits, over & over again. Not anymore!  I’m going to teach you how to find ways to support your efforts & benefit you. You most definitely can & will change the inefficient habits in your life & here’s how… 

1. Take inventory. In column form, on the left side of the paper, make a list of what isn’t working in your life, a problem or issue, or what doesn’t support or benefit you & be specific. You know what you don’t want in your life, what hurts or limits you, now it’s time to discover what you DO want. On the right side write the opposite. Bingo! You have just acknowledged a problem & created the answer. Congratulations! Now, you have to take action, but before you fabricate a plan or steps to get you to your changes, lets explore what it will feel & look like once you are there. Please proceed to step number 2.

2. Define & describe. Define what it looks & feels like, to have this problem behind you, to have what isn’t working in your life functioning happily or removed altogether. Let’s pretend a miracle occurred in the night vanishing or changing your issue & when you awoke what would be different that allowed you to know it transformed or departed? Describe how you would act & behave? How would you talk & what would you think about, what would you do different? Imagining this area. problem or issue, changed or evolved would that free you for other things in your life? Allow yourself to imagine as much as you want to get into that feel good place. Now, let’s proceed to step number 3.  

3. Discipline & action. Discipline is creating an action plan & taking consistent steps for a certain amount of time either until the change occurs, or until the plan becomes your new habit. The plan or steps you take must be tailored & specific to you. What worked for me may not be the right fit for you. One way to find the best plan for you would be to uncover past accomplishments. What in the past worked for you that may work for you in this area? You may have to tweak or adjust a plan until you find the best fit for you, or pick & choose incorporating bits & pieces from several different ideas, or create an entirely new strategy. The important thing to remember is you are taking responsibility by acknowledge what doesn’t work for you or your life, & creating a plan to change it. Bravo! If you allow your ineffective thoughts, excuses or justification to get in the way, it keeps you chained to your inefficient habits. Break free because you are better than that. Get out of your way, make a plan & stick to it!   

You got this! 


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De-clutter time!

Hello & welcome back!

Let’s get down to business! You can’t organize clutter you can only get rid of it. Living in chaos or cluttered surroundings adds to your stress. The reason you have overstuffed and unorganized closets, draws, cabinets, rooms, homes, and offices is because you have too much stuff and perhaps you don’t know what to do with it all. It’s okay, you’re seeking help and with effort and action on your part you’ll have it done soon. Decide you are going deal with it once and for all. You can do this and you will get it done, commit to giving it your best effort. If you truly want to get this done you will, if you don’t you’ll find an excuse. Determine what you are willing to let go of, what no longer works for you, and isn’t loved or needed.

1. Decide what area you’ll work on and get the needed receptacles.

2. Concentrate on 3 category’s- Give away, Throw away, Put away.

3. Determine what amount of time you’ll give your task or area. Set your timer accordingly to keep you focused and on one task. Even if you only have five minutes, go for it, it’s amazing how much you can get done in short bursts of time. 

4. As you go through your things ask yourself; “Do I love it, use it, or need it?” If it doesn’t make you smile, have a function, or you are unwillingly to give up space for it, or it is in disrepair toss it in the trash or donate it.

You must decide how you’ll handle your clutter time wise. Some can only handle small doses spreading it out over a period of time and others find the strength to complete it in one day, weekend, or week. Whatever works for you is what you’ll do, no need for unnecessary pressure. Remember to take mini breaks to asses and celebrate what you accomplished. Success breeds success.

As each receptacle becomes full or you have completed an area disperse the receptacles to their proper places.     

Here are some suggestions to questions that may come up. If you think you may need an item some day place it in a box. When the box is full label the contents on the outside of the box along with that days date and seal it up. Place the box in a storage area that you can access. If you haven’t touched the box in say six months it is a safe bet you didn’t need the items after all! You are free to donate the box. Even if you did retrieve an item or two you can release the rest.

Paper clutter appears to be another hog on space. Handling mail or paperwork the moment it comes through your door is the best way to start dealing with it instead of continuing adding to an already out of control system. Set up a mail center and include a trash can, shredder, box for bills to be paid, a box for things to be filed, and one for things that need your attention. Utilize this center for all paperwork (work, school, doctor, animals, social or sport schedules, catalogs) that enters your space creating proper receptacles for all. A calendar may be useful in this area as well. As you’re efficiently dealing with the new material coming in, you can set up a timer to deal with the rest of your paper clutter, 15 minutes at a time until it’s tamed. Be consistent and eventually it will be under control.

If you’re curious about Feng Shui or interested in the Law of Attraction your surroundings are to resemble your goals, dreams, and desires. If your areas are cluttered it doesn’t allow for new things to come in. Make room! 

There are so many ideas for children’s art work I won’t begin to list the number of ways I’ve handled it, however in this day and age there is no need to over stuff yourself with it. 

Saving things for your child. Do you really think your child, as a grown adult, will want it or have room for it or feel the same way about it you do? Except for a few, a very teeny-tiny amount to save, pass along the rest and allow others to enjoy the things now. Create a memory book or box (small) instead. Take a picture of special items and write a small blurb about it. This, I’m sure, will go over much better than a box full of old soiled, broken or unwanted objects, it is so much more personal too.

As far as your clutter goes remember some day other’s may have to deal with it. So do them a favor and take care of it now …15 minutes at a time. You can do it!  

If you have any questions about specific items I did not touch upon please reply and I’ll help with suggestions and ideas.

~ Sandy

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The most important tools

Hello & welcome back!

Disorganization, clutter, & a long to-do list all creates stress. Clutter can be whatever is taking up space. Knowing what the right tools are supports your efforts in getting organized.   Having, what I consider, the most important tools on hand will help you in all your organizing endeavors.

1. A timer is an extremely useful & important tool. Any timer will do. What works for me is the 15 minute rule. I can do anything for 15 minutes. Even if you only have 7 or 5 minutes, but you want to tackle something, use whatever time works for you. The timer is instrumental with procrastination, because with a timer you have a beginning & an end. Plus it is amazing when the task didn’t take as long as you thought it would. You can also play beat the timer. If you make it fun it will get done. Since multitasking, for some, including me,  doesn’t appear to get any tasks completed the timer keeps me focused on the task at hand. Again, because it has a beginning & will alert me when the time is done I stay focused. Seeing a task completed just may boost your confidence & by seeing something done will inspire you to keep going. Set your timer & begin.

2. A uniform. Some businesses require a uniform or have a required dress code. The point is when you have this uniform on you know what is expected of you. I have an apron, with pockets, & a pair of tennis shoes, along with an elastic band for my hair. Simple yes, but most importantly my body & mind are on the same page with my uniform in place, I’m focused versus scattered or not getting things done. My apron isn’t just for cooking, I put it on whenever I am completing a physical task. The pockets on my apron are for my cell phone, just in case of emergencies or if I’m in the middle of a task I don’t have to search for my phone. Others in my home also know what my agenda is when they see me with my apron on. They also know when I’m in my pj’s it is popcorn & movie time! Your uniform can be anything you desire as long as you know what is expected of you while wearing it.

3. Glass or an all purpose cleaner under every sink along with a roll of paper towel. This allows for a quick wipe down when you’ve completed your daily bathroom routine. And while you’re in the shower scrub a wall. Chores are kept to a minimum when you have the proper tools on hand. If you keep this up daily it will become a positive habit that supports your efforts to be organized & efficient. If you add a mere 30 seconds to your routine, by wiping down your bathroom, you’ll save tons of time scrubbing on your day off. Plus you won’t be embarrassed if someone unexpectedly needs to use your restroom.  

4. Receptacles are important for de-cluttering & organizing. There are so many options, boxes, garbage bags, laundry baskets, & even collapsible hampers to name a few. If you make piles without some sort of receptacle to place your items in they just get shoved into an awaiting corner or chair to be resorted again & again. As you sort through your things keep in mind 3 category’s- Throw away, Give away, Put away.  Once you de-clutter the area bring the receptacle where it belongs. If you are donating things place the receptacle in your vehicle so the next time you pass the donation center you can drop it off. Toss the throw away & set your timer for your put away & play beat the timer. All this can be done 15 minutes at a time.

There are many more examples of what tools work, however these are what you’ll need to get started & are the most important to begin to see change happen. 

See you next week!