Freedom From Clutter

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3 Reasons You Hold Onto Clutter

Hello and welcome back!

You have all heard that open areas and spaces allow us to slow down and enjoy the calm and peace. Then why is there still too much stuff?

Reason #1

What to do with all this stuff? You may feel this task will take forever so you keep putting it off. What if I told you by releasing this clutter you will open your life for all the things waiting to come in?

Here’s what to do: Take action. Pick a specific amount of time, let’s say, 15 minutes. Pull out a  draw, desk top, closet, or a collection of whatever you have more than 10 of. Ask, “Do I use you? Do I really, really, really love you? Would I buy you today?” The important part of this exercise is to answer quickly, otherwise you start to get into your head where stories, justifications and ‘yea-but’ live. Repeat this exercise until you have released all your clutter.

Reason #2

You have the I-may-need-it-one-day syndrome.

Even if a product did not work out to your satisfaction you find it difficult to donate or give it away. You want your money’s worth, even if it is taking up space for things that would serve you today. Or you believe you or someone will need ‘it’ one day, this also takes up space that could be better used for what truly benefits your life today. Plus this keeps a belief of lack in place. You don’t trust that you will be provided for in the future.

Here’s what to do: Box the items you don’t use and label the box with the contents. Give the box a date, let’s say one year. After the year is up donate the box knowing you or another needed none of it. If you did take an item or two out, at least you know what was actually needed and what is not.

Reason #3

Fear. You may fear if you discard something you will forget the memories. Or you suffer guilt because someone gave you an item and you fear hurt feelings if you give it away. If an item represents your status, you have your identity tied into an object you fear you are not enough as is. Fear is robbing you of the freedom you will experience once you release the clutter.

Here’s what to do: There are a number of creative things to do with sentimental items (way too many to list). The most important is to honor what you respect. I often go into clients homes who can’t release items that are in storage units, the back of closets or in a heap in the corner. What you honor you display with love. When you have so much it all just becomes junk. Honor what YOU love and release the rest knowing someone else will be blessed with your abundance. Accept your memories are as close as your imagination. By fearing others wrath because you released an item that was given to you, tell them you just didn’t have the room, but they can visit it at Goodwill. <Joking, kinda>.

Much peace to you all!

Your de-cluttering guru ~Sandy

P.S. If you click on the icon <top left> on your email it will open it so you can comment or reply. Thanks!


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The Holidays are coming, Part 2

Hello and welcome back!

Just a reminder….

The last post I asked for a deadline and we are half way there. Have you thought about the holidays and what your needs will be? If not, take 15 minutes now and do it.

Finding what works for you

Perhaps you love lists or you may loath them, whichever is you preference, the mere fact you are preparing for the inevitable upcoming celebrations is a major plus. Maybe your normal style is to procrastinate until the last minute. Or do you work well under pressure with looming deadlines? Do you dread what you assume will be drudgery and end up doing nothing? No matter how you get stuff done you’ll love the assignment I gave you… which is coming to an end on Sunday. Go on. Get going.

Drop the perfectionism

Perfectionism is a killer. Whether you stress to get the right gifts, have the best decorations, or bake the most delicious cookies having a perfectionist attitude kills your spirit. Many are looking for approval or validation, or know they won’t get it anyway so what’s the use in even trying? By planning and preparing now helps remove perfectionism because we are handling the facts only not emotions or stories. This alone will allow the stress to subside, I promise. If traditions are important talk to those who participate and find out what others really feel about them, you may be surprised how many you’ll be able to let go of.

Go ahead and do the assignment

Even just thinking about what YOU want to do with the upcoming celebrations will put you in control. Most importantly create an intention of how you want to feel. For example, My intention is to be calm and enjoy all the festivities over the next couple of months with plenty of great connections and laughter. If you start to feel anxious remember your intention and find ways to bring yourself back to your intention. Keep your intention in mind constantly, what you focus on you bring upon!

Cheers to you all!

~Sandy


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The Holidays are Coming!

Hello and Welcome Back!

The holidays are coming!

You may be thinking, but it’s only October, not even Halloween yet! Hear me out…

If you take the following week to plan for the upcoming holidays you will alleviate the stress you normally feel during this time of year greatly. Let’s make a deadline to have this plan completed by Sunday the 26th.

Get a pad and pen and begin.

Start with Halloween. Will you need costumes, candy, or decorations? Record what you will need along with the dates or deadlines you will have these purchased or done by. Next make a separate list of everything you want to purchase and keep this with you. You now have an action plan and all you have to do is follow it.

Next will be Thanksgiving

Are you hosting or are you traveling? What, if anything, will you need for this holiday? When will you do the things you need to do? If you are hosting create your menu and all the details that go along with the celebration. Make a list of what will need to be purchased, who you’ll ask for help, and what needs taken care of, and carry it with you.

Next will be Christmas or what you celebrate.

Over the next week, as you are planning for the holidays you celebrate, throw away the perfectionism and focus on progress. Just because you are planning several weeks in advance doesn’t mean you have the time to remodel. Remember people are coming to celebrate not inspect. If you do have a guest or two who appear judgmental remember what others think about you is none of your business, you’ll be happier knowing that!

How I handle Christmas

I hosted Christmas for many years. I pretended I would be on vacation the second and third week of December. This allowed me to relax and enjoy the magic of Christmas prior to the most hectic week of all. Plus I was able to enjoy a cookie swap (if there were none in the freezer to take I would decline) and holiday parties along with evening drives to pick out the best decorated homes and playing games with my children. That meant by the first week of December I had to have all my decorations up, the cards mailed, anything I could make ahead in the freezer and all the gifts bought and wrapped. The only thing I had to do the week of our holiday feast was shop for the food, cook, bake and set the table. When anything is done with a plan, doing a little at a time, while throwing out the need for perfection, it can all come together effortlessly and enjoyably.

Gift tips

Clutter free gifts are the best. After a child is in their teens I give money in clever and creative ways. Sometimes I’ll conduct a scavenger hunt, children really enjoy this. A tip I gave in the blog post about calendars, I said take notes throughout the year of others likes, this makes gift giving a breeze.  Even grab bags with gift certificates that are universal, movie tickets in a big can of popcorn or coffee gift certificates placed in a mug for example, will be appreciated. The one gift I love to give and have become known for is personalized calendars with pictures of my family along with photos of beautiful scenery and flowers I have taken. Photography is a hobby I enjoy and get to share with my family while giving a useful gift. Throughout the year I take pictures of celebrations and special events and then put them in calendar form at my local box store. It is like a scrap book they enjoy of the previous year. Each family member looks forward to this gift. We enjoy spending time passing them around and reminiscing.

I wish you all a peaceful holiday season!

~Sandy


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Closet Clean Out Time!

Hello and welcome back!

Yes folks it is that time of year to change our wardrobes to the winter clothes.

But before you do….

Gather receptacles, this could be garbage bags, laundry baskets, boxes, whatever you have on hand. Label, or at least know, which container will hold what. For example, donate, repair/dry clean, and throw away. The items you will keep won’t need a container just a holding spot as these will go back in your closet.

Next… Take action

Take everything out of your closet, yes, everything. As you remove each item, ask, “Do I love it? Do I wear it? Would I buy it today?” Then place it in the designated area or receptacle. Look over each item, if stained, stretched out or torn throw it away. Make quick decisions, the more you linger the more stories about an item will come to mind, and the harder it will be to make a  judgment. Keeping  items you don’t wear  limits the possibility for new things to come into your life. Trust me, you will be provided for once you eliminate what stands between you and new. Make sure each item fits the body you have today. If you have pregnancy clothes and you aren’t pregnant, but may be plan to be again you can box these to free up valuable space. If you have old high school clothes and you haven’t been in the halls for over ten years it is time for an update. If you have clothes that are too small it is time to release them. When or if you get back to that size you will want a current and stylish wardrobe. Plus you will create guilt or worse beat yourself up for not being that size. And if you have larger size clothes donate them so you aren’t tempted to gain weight. The importance is to embrace and dress the size you are right now. If you aren’t happy where you are than do something about it, but keeping clothes that do not fit is not the answer.  Also make sure the clothes suit your lifestyle today. Most importantly while handling this task keep in mind you are looking for progress not perfection. Another good tip for future purchases is if you bring something new in something old must go.

What to do with the maybe or I’m not really sure clothes?

Every time I switch my wardrobe I place all the hangers facing the ‘right’ way. As I wear an item I place it backwards on the rod. I wear only the clothes that face the ‘right’ way, until I have worn them all. If I notice I’m going to the hangers facing the opposite way, and still have a few items facing the ‘right’ way I know I will not wear those items and  donate them.

What about drawers and shelves?

Rotate.  After wearing an item or laundering, as  you put clothing away, put them on the bottom of the pile. What is in your drawers or on a shelf gets moved to the top. If you keep reaching for items at the bottom of the pile you can donate the ones on the top knowing you aren’t wearing those.

What about occasional items?

It depends on how occasional it is. I have a raincoat I wear probably twenty times a year. It is very thin and takes up little room, I not only love it, but I would buy it again, so it stays.  The other rule I adhere to is if I did not wear it for two seasons I give it  away.  Freeing your space allows for the new to enter. Learn to bless others with your abundance.

The final step…  

Clean up immediately. Once everything is back in your closet and drawers it is time to bring the containers to their designated locations, trash, dry cleaner or tailor, and donation center. Job complete! You are organized! Hooray time to celebrate!   

Much peace and freedom to you!   

~Sandy   

 


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Are you calendar challeneged?

Hello and welcome back!

There are many uses for a calendar

A calendar is usually used for specific days, such as birthdays and anniversaries. They are used for appointments; doctor’s, hair, pets, and invitations to weddings, showers, graduations and the like. You may also use them to keep track of a work schedule or when you have lessons of some sort. But, they can be used for so much more.

I use it as a journal.

The thing I use it for that I love the most is when I hear someone mention something in casual conversation about what they love. As soon as I come home I place what they love where there birthday or anniversary is located on the calendar. This makes gift giving so easy! And you know what you’re giving will be used and loved. I use it for my jobs and clients phone numbers. I also use it for when I need to R.S.V.P. or if I have a deadline, or when a book or DVD is due back to the library. Make-up usually goes bad quickly so I record when I purchased each new item. I use it to record when I need to pay a bill or send a payment, I record automated payments as well. I also use it for when I purchased a pair of glasses, a piece of furniture or an appliance, this cuts down on guessing. Sometimes I record the weather. I will record when someone is due for a procedure so I can give them my best wishes before it, and call them after. The one I use has an open margin along the side that I record things I need to remember for the following year. It could be when to schedule a yearly check-up, what I want to ask or tell a doctor, when I need to order or mail a package, when tickets for a concert will be available, or even how a recipe failed or succeeded. Or what someone loved or maybe something that I want to try in the following year. This works great as I update my new and next years calendar I go through the past year  and notice each note I wrote in each month.  I will even record when a symptom first began too, this is quiet helpful if something were to develop, for the doctor to know about. Since I am sensitive to caffeine I’ll record when I may need to abstain, such as Novocain (the day of none) or a mammogram (2 days prior) or when to fast for blood work. It can be used for milestones from an infant’s new abilities, weight or food intake, to how old someone is, to what anniversary a couple is celebrating. A calendar can keep track of vitamins or medicines, to see if they are working, are helpful, or are useful. A calendar can be used as a reminder to get invites out by a specific day or when to send out holiday cards. It can record balances you have saved for specific wants such as vacations, holiday’s or a purchase. It can keep track of your weight or inches. I record upcoming events, such as fairs, when a movie is coming out, or even when someone has a baby due. At the end of each year I get to look through it and see all the things I experienced! It gives me a fresh perspective for the upcoming year. Plus this frees me from any guesswork that may be off.

What I use

The calendar I use is approximately 8 x10 when closed. It is a thin book and I purchase it at the dollar store. It also has plastic sleeves inside the front and back cover. I use these to keep passwords, packing lists whether for an emergency or vacation, and business cards of people I may need to contact in the future, but don’t necessarily want in my phone contacts. Because my calendar is always with me I keep in the sleeve information to credit cards in case they were stolen such as the phone number in order to report it. I absolutely love my calendar & take it with me in a book bag. And because I record so much I look at it daily and that is what a calendar is for. If you don’t look at it, it is useless. Journals are great as well, but I use my calendar daily so I know the important things will be recorded there.

I hope this is helpful!

~Sandy


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Do you have mental clutter?

Hello and welcome back!

Is there such a thing as mental clutter?

Yes. Clutter, in any form, can be a burden to the life you are creating today. Whether it is many ideas that clutter your mind or negative thoughts, if it does not benefit, serve or nurture you it is clutter.

What to do with negative thoughts

There is no donation center I know of that will take this kind of clutter. But you can still apply a process for de-cluttering. When you sort through your material clutter you usually have a story that goes along with the  items. You may know when you bought an item, how much it cost or who and when someone gave it to you. Images and memories  about the item may provoke certain feelings and the reason it can be challenging to release it.  Mental clutter is the same.  Negative thoughts get justified why they are taking up space in your mind and will even demand you need them. You may even state, “Well, how will I know when something is good or bad if I de-clutter these thoughts?” You will know by how you feel not by what you judge. Sometimes you aren’t even aware the thought is there, it becomes background noise, yet will still provoke feelings usually negative ones. Ask yourself this one question throughout your day whenever you catch yourself in thought, “Would I choose this thought I am thinking right now and give it to my dearest friend or would I be willing to say it out loud?” If the answer comes back, “No” then it is clutter. Now because no donation center will take these thoughts you will have a different strategy to put in place. Challenge the thoughts that you catch, and become familiar with what you think. After you catch a thought the phrase to use is, “so what” to whatever you think, this brings the emotions the thoughts provoked down a notch. “So what” allows you to think of what you can do about it. It takes you out of victimhood. Here’s an example; “I just bought another item when my place is already overcrowded.” “So what. What if I call Freedom from Clutter for help?” Or “I just ate a muffin and I’m on a diet.” “So what. What if I start again at the next meal?” Our thoughts can make an event or situation  scary, tragic, or a disaster when in reality it is not. You are still here, breathing and making choices, are you not? Then nothing is a catastrophe, nothing. After so many “So what” you’ll become calm enough to know what your next move will be. When you become aware and accept what does not serve or nurture you, you will do something about it. I promise. Becoming aware of your thoughts is enough to de-clutter the ones that do not serve you. So when your mind starts acting up tonight when you want to sleep say, “So what” to whatever comes your way. Sweet dreams!

What to do with all those ideas

An immediate image or story comes to mind with each idea that comes through.  Usually followed by your thoughts. My suggestion is to write the ideas down. Keep a pad and pen with you at all times. Daily or weekly look at these ideas you have recorded and recognize if any of them are opportunities to take advantage of. If so, take action. Writing things down will help clear your mind. Another trick is to give your complete attention and focus to one task at a time.  This is very freeing to a person with an overactive mind. For example, when you get in the shower feel the entire process. If you notice your mind wandering just bring it back into focus. Notice how the water feels on your body, how the soap smells, what the floor feels like under your feet, what do you hear, and notice your breathing.

Wishes of freedom from clutter to you all!

~Sandy