Freedom From Clutter

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Why you have too much stuff and what to do about it

Hello and welcome back!

Do you have too much stuff?

First, let me tell you why you hold onto your stuff even when you don’t use it, it is broken, or you don’t like it very much. It is because you have created a story, an imagine, or a mental picture and attached emotions to the item(s) you are unwilling to part with.

What to do about it

Create a memory album or scrapbook of the items you do not use, are broken or you don’t really, really, really love.Take a picture of the item and attach the story about it in this album and toss or donate the actual item. You have created a personal keepsake and freed up a bunch of space!

Why do you continue to buy more stuff when you have no more room?

When you shop whether at an actual store, online or at 2am from an infomercial you (or the person selling the item) have painted an imaginary picture and attached emotions to it.  For example, you enter a store to buy a wedding card when you see a shirt you think is adorable. A picture of you wearing it comes to mind, everyone is complimenting you on how great you look, suddenly you are the life of the party. You buy the thing and once home you realize you have nothing to wear it with. So now the shirt you had to have has become a burden and no longer fits into your mental picture. Welcome to reality. However, you will hold onto that story for dear life and usually refuse to return the item. You think the item is your story, but in reality you made it up the shirt was just your excuse for how you really want to feel or be. In reality the story is greater than the shirt and is a valuable lesson. Back to the purchase- now it either goes to the back of an already overstuffed closet or you need to make another trip to the store. Let’s say you choose to go to the store for something to go with the shirt when you notice a pretty hat on a mannequin. You ask yourself, “hat’s are back in style right?” You then picture yourself surrounded by relatives at your cousins wedding wanting to know where you bought such a pretty hat. Once home you realize it looks horrible with the dress you were planning on wearing and it flattens your hair in an unattractive way. Okay, okay I’m sure you get the picture. But that’s what happens when we make emotional purchases. We believe the thing we buy is going to bring us happiness, luck, approval, adoration or love. No material item has the power to transform you. Let’ s say you honestly believed you would use it, read it, give it as a gift, unfortunately, these made up pictures and stories have nothing to do with reality. So once the purchase is made and we snap back to reality we find  our space is taken over with even more stuff.

What to do about it

Get real and remain honest. Stay out of the fantasy world when you open your wallet. Never, ever go shopping anywhere without a list of actual needs and stick to that list. I tell my clients before you go shopping de-clutter first then shop. This way you know exactly what you need. Impulse or fantasy buying has gotten you in this predicament. But let’s say you haven’t had an opportunity to make a list or de-clutter and you find yourself in a store. As you pick up each items picture where you will keep it, store it or what you will wear with it or when you will actually eat, read or use it.  If it is clothes get in the habit of trying it on at the store. If you don’t have time put it back and wait for another time when you can. Look in the mirror from as many angles as you can and ask yourself do I really, really, really love it? If you do not get an immediate and enthusiastic ‘YES’ leave it at the store it isn’t worth the  space it will take up. If you do get a ‘Yes’ ask yourself what you’ll wear it with or exactly when you will wear it. Just leave the fantasy out of the purchase. This is the only way to be practical and wise about future purchases and hopefully get a handle on your precious space.

Best wishes always!

Sandy- Professional organizer

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Don’t Wait to Get Started

Hello and welcome back!

Don’t wait to get started

Have you ever said, “I’ll be happy once I am organized.” Or, “I’ll be at peace once this junk is gone.” What about being happy or at peace NOW? No matter what first decide to be happy right now. Smile. Bigger. Okay, good. Keep smiling.

Next, create your intention

Decide what your intention is for a room, drawer, counter, corner or space. Decide the function and how you want to feel. For example, I want this drawer to hold things I need on a regular basis so I can find things quickly and easily and feel calm. Or, another example, I want this space to be where I come to relax and feel comforted. Another, I want this piece of furniture to hold only things I need periodically so I know where they are even though I do not need them daily and feel relief knowing they are safe. Another, I want this room to be inspiring and only contain items that make me smile or motivate me.

Now, create it

Always keep the intention in mind, the function and how you want to feel, while you create it. This makes it extremely easy to decide what stays and what goes. Just ask yourself, does it match my intention? Sometimes we don’t get started because we do not have a mental picture of how it will look, feel or be. Our fear of the unknown stops us dead in our tracks before we even get started. There are just too many questions that causes your fear to halt your efforts. Out smart your fear by deciding on a function and how you want to feel, create that mental picture and tie emotions to it. Now, you can move forward with what you want.

The final step, use the Do It Now rule

Would like to know the trick on keeping your spaces organized and clutter-free? Whatever you take out, put back as soon as you are done with it. If you spill it, immediately wipe it up. If you have no room for it, don’t buy or keep it. If you do not have time to deal with it, don’t bring it in or do it (mail, grocery’s, laundry). Create a launch pad by the door you use most frequently whatever needs to go with you the next time you leave put it there. Make any chore or task fun and it will get done quickly and easily. Set a timer and play beat the clock for example.  And the final, look before you leave. If you are leaving a room ask, does anything need to come with me, be turned off or need to be straightened? When leaving your vehicle, ask, does anything in here need to stay in here? If not, remove it as you exit. Speaking of vehicles, take advantage of the trash cans at stores, gas stations, and at your place. If there is trash in your vehicle throw it out as you see these reciprocals. These are all steps people who are organized take, follow them and you too could be organized now.

Peace to you all!

Sandy


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Welcome 2015!

Hello and welcome back!

Thankful!

We have  welcomed in a new year and said good-bye to the last. Hopefully you feel a bit more relaxed  knowing there is a reprieve from presents to buy, relatives to see or special places to be. The winter is upon us, and for some of us that means enduring frigid temperatures and being stuck indoors or it could mean enjoying what the outdoors has to offer this time of year. I find it to be a great time for reflection. The perfect time to be thankful for what you do have. To reflect on what is positive and going right in your life, instead of hammering away at what you want to change. What if this is the best time of year, New Years Day, to seek a fresh start by building upon the foundation of what is already good.

Turn it around!

Frustration about not being organized, frazzled at having mismanaged time, and unhappy with how unfocused you feel can be a thing of the past. Shifting your focus is the best way for it to happen. Just reading these words has the ability to empower you and impact you in a positive way! So, hurray for having the courage to recognize what is working and figuring out what you want, and ultimately will, do differently. Frustration can turn to freedom. Frazzled can turn to refocus and redirection toward your priorities. And unhappiness can turn to either happiness or calmness no matter your situation. How you decide to deal with your situation will make all the difference. Placing your focus only on what you do not like will only continue the negative feelings you may have experienced in the past when reflecting on the prior year. The method I suggest could be your turning point!

Take action!

Taking action always comes first and then everything else will follow. Some popular self-help gurus refer to changing your belief or thinking first, or figuring out why you behave as you do. I disagree wholeheartedly. To create motivation, and a confident you, you must first decide what is going well and positively for you right now. What are the areas that you have full control over? Of course it is always you, not others or circumstances. If you are not used to this way of thinking it can feel awkward at first, but be honest with what is going well for you, what you like, and perhaps what would be beneficial to let go of. Now that you know what is working for you, decide what you would like to expand on, perhaps shift and what would you like to learn. In order to get the best bang from your upcoming research and future decisions stay focused during this process. It is wise to take small steps when learning a new way, shifting unhealthy behavior and expanding what is already good in order to savor and enjoy the entire thing. Remember you do not eat an entire sandwich in one gulp you, hopefully, take bites. Decide what one action step you could take today, this minute or hour, toward what you desire or what you would like to learn, transform, or expand on.

Keep it going until…

To claim your desires every day ask yourself, “What can I do today to bring me closer to what I desire?” And then do whatever you decide on no matter what else shows up.  Every time  you veer of course, and you will, as soon as you recognize the slip simply redirect yourself back to what you chose as a priority. When you focus on what you want one day at a time, one action step at a time, the rest, your beliefs, your thinking and attitude will follow.

Happy New Year! May you have all the peace and happiness you desire in 2015!

~Sandy

Professional organizer


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Get Organized

Hello and welcome back!

There are two kinds of clutter: one that binds us to the past through emotional attachments and one that prevents our future.

Clutter are objects that have no beneficial place in our life, rooms, or home. And when these items have no place to call home our space becomes disorganized and we feel overwhelmed.

Since we have become  a supersized society it is no wonder we have become overrun with too much stuff, and gained an “If one is good than two must be better” mentality. Our constant acquiring with infrequent purging takes its toll on our living and working spaces.

One of the quickest ways I found to get a desk, closet, or room under control is to set an intention.

Enter the space, object, or room and decide what to use it for. For example, do you want a desk to only hold items that you use daily or regularly? Or maybe you want an end table to only hold objects that inspire you. Or you want a room to be energetic and uplifting. Once you choose your intention clean the space. Next put the items you chose in the room or space while always keeping your intention in mind.

With the leftover items decide if you’ll donate, purge or place in another area.

If you discover objects that need your attention make a plan, commitment, or give a date when you will. There is a difference between “I should take care of this,” and “I’ll will take care of this by 5p.m. today.” Items become clutter due to delayed decisions and putting it off to some day. “Some day” isn’t a commitment it is a tactic to hold what would benefit or serve your life hostage. If you persist on holding onto what isn’t helpful or useful you will continue on being overwhelmed and disorganized.

When you remove or release the clutter you invite positive and immediate change into your life. And that is exactly what I want for you!

I wish you a very Happy and Peaceful Thanksgiving!

~Sandy


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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