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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Do you want to feel freedom in your space? Here’s how…

Hello and welcome back!

Here are key questions to ask if your living or working situation feels chaotic.

Are your spaces or areas cluttered or undefined? Do you have areas that frustrate you? Do you constantly scramble to find things? Have your habits derailed your de-cluttering efforts?  Is it difficult to figure out how to change it to fit your specific needs? The key to feeling freedom where you live and work is to create intentions for areas, objects and spaces. If you want your areas to feel spacious, no matter where you live, peaceful, no matter what is happening in the outside world, convenient, and benefit, serve and nurture your life today then create intentional spaces.

Here is a simple and quick project you could do in as little as 15 minutes, to find freedom, convenience and relief in your spaces.

1. Take an object, space or area, clean and clear it out or off

For example: A night stand, shelf, counter, container, drawer, desk top, box, table, cabinet, or closet.

2. Create an intention for the space, area or object

For example: My intention for this area, spot, or corner is to only keep the things I use regularly. Or, my intention for this space, room or section is to keep only what motivates and inspires me. Or, my intention for this object, box, or container is to hold the things I use, but only need periodically.

3. Now, create your intention. Place only the items that match your intention in or on the space, object or area.

If an item is placed in or on a space you created and does not align with your intention your body will alert you. For instance, let’s say on your desk top you made an intention to only place items you use regularly and an item landed there that does not match your intention, it will create an uncomfortable feeling within your body until you remove it. Creating intentional spaces will allow you get and stay organized! The best part is when you feel in charge of your spaces you gain confidence in other areas of your life too! Yahoo for you!

Best wishes for FREEDOM in all areas of your life!

~Sandy Professional organizer and owner of Freedom for Clutter


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7 Habits of organized people

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1. Plan each day the night before

Planning for the next day allows for a smooth morning. Organized people check their calendar or planner for the next days agenda and pick out their outfit accordingly. They clean the kitchen and prepare lunch and set up for coffee or tea and may even set up for breakfast. Whatever is needed for the next day and can be laid out they do so.

2. Have a landing and launch pad

This is by the door they use. Anything that needs to leave the house is placed in this location. This area is where they leave their keys as well. They do not let mail accumulate so there may be  a mail sorting system in this area, such as a trash can, a shredder and perhaps a container for mail that needs further and future attention. If hanging a coat in this area would work, but if there is no closet install hooks.

3. Set intentions and have clear routines in place

An organizers life is uncomplicated and convenient. They have clear intentions of how a space functions which they rarely veer from they would rather find a new solution. They know the peaceful feeling of tidy spaces and uncluttered areas so they pick up after themselves. They identify what works and what doesn’t. Organized people are creative and solution-minded. Their routines are in place so no matter what is going on around them their home and themselves function well. They have a planned day and  know what they can manage and what they cannot. Their to-do lists are not huge, but they are clear and they carry the list with them so if a moment opens up they can take a quick glance to see what can be taken care of. They manage to get everything done, even with an active lifestyle, because of these routines. For example, if they know a busy day is ahead they may prepare a crockpot meal for that night. Grant it you cannot prepare for everything, but with routines in place the day definitely runs smoother. With routines in place they actually free up time for the important stuff.

4. They adhere to the Do-It-Now principle.

While in the bathroom getting ready for work they take an extra moment and wipe down the area. Once awake they make the bed.  If, for example, they get an invitation they immediately put all the information in their calendar before they even decide if they are going. It takes it from having to remember it to a place they can go back to at a future time. Since they refer to their calendar daily it will not get too far ahead of them, but it frees their mind from having to remember it. They have a pad and paper in the kitchen and bathroom to  record items that need to be added to the grocery list. They have cleaner and rags or towel paper under every sink. They complete the laundry through each stage, I actually use a timer for this chore. What could take hours to clean down the road will only take a moment of your time  now.

5. Prioritize

They know when their life runs efficiently their day tends to run smoother. They create a weekly menu and make a shopping list from the menu, this allows for one trip to the grocery store.  They de-clutter often. They clean as they go so their is not the one day all day cleaning marathon. They know if something would work better by giving a job or chore to someone else they do, or they hire someone. They take action when necessary, but they also know when to recharge and rest. Since relaxation is a priority they know having a space that allows reflects that is the reward.

6. Everything has a place

Often people get cluttered because nothing has a place. An organized person knows before purchasing something where it will go. They know by de-cluttering often what needs to be purchased and are very aware of what space they have. Many organized people have a one-in-one-out rule. I do the opposite one-out-one-in. Doing it this way gives me options. By doing it the other way, if I bring something home and something now has to go I feel put upon, so I de-clutter first and  if something interests me I know if I have room for it or not. When everything has a place it takes less time to find things and when you put it back immediately after using it your space stays tidy and you will be able to find it again.

7. Make it fun and it will get done

Organized people free up time for fun, and while completing chores they make it fun. With a timer you could play beat the clock. Or put away laundry during a commercial and see if you make it back before the program does. When you make any chore fun it no longer feels like drudgery. Let’s face it if you have to do it anyway you may as well make it fun and entertaining! They also shelve perfectionism and go for progress. They find what supports them and then creates it.

Wishing you all a very peaceful and happy holiday!

~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


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The Joy of Choosing Freedom!

Hello and welcome back!

What does your possessions, your time, or your attention bring to your life?  Joy? Suffering? Peace? Drama? Happiness? Stress?

If joy or peace is you priority clutter will withhold it from your experience. I will first distinguish what clutter is. Clutter is anything that does not serve, benefit, or nurture your life today. It is anything that creates negative feelings. Clutter comes in many forms, it could be material items, activities, a schedule, stories, thoughts, beliefs, and people or relationships. Anything you experience that does not create positive feelings is clutter.

What are your choices?

If you choose to keep the clutter in your life, you continue to clutch to what does not benefit you. You know it is clutter, because it does not create enjoyment or peace. Life offers us a playground, we choose how to experience  it.  On this playground there will be chores and mandatory tasks. When you clutter your mind with stories about how a task is dreadful that will be your experience. However by releasing clutter, in this case the story, a switch occurs. Perhaps you accept a chore as something you do to keep your intention of a tidy home in tact. Now you find satisfaction in, or at least become  neutral about, the chore. Once you experience the freedom that releasing clutter brings, the momentum will take hold.  You may have chosen to ignore, deny, or push the clutter aside for another day. With that choice understand you will continue to experience the negativity  until you make a different decision.

What matters

The clue to the clutter in your life is how you feel. If you feel positive, happy and content mostly, the chance of clutter may be nonexistent. If you feel negatively, your inner guide is alerting you to what does not benefit you. Pay attention.

You can choose, at any time, to live with freedom, in joy and in peace by becoming aware of how you feel. Make feeling positive more important than your clutter. In reality whether you have clutter in your life or not is not really what matters. What matters is if you get lost in the story about the clutter by letting it entice or seduce you to keep it or get more, if you ignore your negative feelings, or you become dependent on your clutter as though it represents who you are. Any of those are harmful and do not nurture your life today. Let go and feel the joy, even if that means finding a new playground!

Much love and peace to you all!

~Sandy

 

 


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Get out of your own way

Hello and welcome back!

When we believe our negative thoughts and attach our identity to them there is a ripple effect that stretches far and wide. By taking the negative thoughts and believing that what they say is the truth of who we are we bolster the energy behind it which is toxic to ourselves and others. Whenever you feel anything but love, joy, and peace you are living from these thoughts, from a false sense of self. To understand the warning signs we need to recognize when we form any kind of negative judgment, feel strong emotions, and use the words, should, shouldn’t, must, mustn’t, never and always we are building a dam and stopping life’s flow. Labels are another tell tale sign we are in life’s way. The labels we either assign to ourselves or heard from others and believe they are the truth about who we are leads us on a downward spiral and further away from our true selves. When we believe these labels and negative thoughts or the stories our minds spew we doubt our abilities, we second guess our decisions, we make excuses out of fear, we suffer, and feel powerless. These negative thoughts make everything so complicated that we eventually disconnect completely from the truth. Instead of questioning or not believing this insane mind chatter we support this false identity by using emotions to emphasize the truth behind these negative thoughts. “It’s raining, now my picnic is ruined.” Feeding this inner thought pattern means you believe the rain is somehow your or someone else’s fault and lash out. Allowing our thoughts to immobilize us of having a loving and peaceful life permits the cycle to continue going round and round creating more and more inner and outer dysfunction.

For an even better understanding I’ll go back to when the thoughts began. The ego needed conclusions, answers and reasons, to our experiences that we tied strong emotions to. Due to these reactionary conclusions the ego designated a self-image, believe it or not, to keep us safe. What causes us to get in our way of who we really are is when we believe we are this false self and that we need saving. We’ve been brainwashed by our own thoughts. If we all knew the simplicity of life, and how we are here to cooperate and help each other there wouldn’t be all the drama that people have gotten addicted to. We are love, peace, and joy. That is the truth, everything else was made up to somehow protect us, but caused destruction instead.   

The way to get us back to our true selves and release the chaos and stress these thoughts created is to deal with facts only. Leaving off the verbs, the second half of sentences. For example with the above sentence, “It’s raining,” by leaving off the judgment, “now my picnic is ruined”, leaves a gap, it allows an openness, a space for solutions. By not tying a story, verbs, or emotions to the truth allows only the truth to emerge. “It’s raining.” You lessen the hold these thoughts have on you by simply not believing “now it’s ruined” just see it as a story, a judgment, your mind created. The true self accepts the rain and finds a solution or makes the best of the situation. The false self gets in its way with emotions, negative thoughts, and a story. 

Here is a formula for any thing you want to be better prepared for or whatever you find undesirable and want to change without using a story or emotions. By using the five “W” words; why, what, when, where and who to your planning or desires. Use it, apply it, practice it until you simply plan without excuses, or self-doubt, or second guessing yourself or getting wrapped up in stories and emotions.

I’ll give you a general example. Let’s say I want to plan Thanksgiving. Why am I planning? I am planning for the Thanksgiving holiday. When? Two months from now on Thanksgiving Day. Where? At my daughters house one hour away. What? I will bring dessert, I’d like a new outfit, and would like to bring small gifts or plan activities for the children. Who? There will be eight adults and four children. And since I’m bringing dessert I know one loves pumpkin pie and another likes apple. No emotions involved, just a simple plan. I can now get out my calendar mark the date and make a list for the needed purchases I can pick up over the next couple of months.

 

Let’s say your planning for a new job. Why am I planning? I am in the process of getting a new job. When? My desire is to have a new job within the months. Where? Anywhere that is fifteen to thirty minutes travel time, one way.  What? I will spend one hour or less today updating my resume and print off several. I will search the area for possible employment opportunities until I find one. Who? I will let others know of my search. I will use a hiring agency if necessary.   

Notice how emotions don’t play a role when  you use this formula. There is no talking yourself out of anything. It is action oriented versus emotionally driven. Give it a try. What do you have to lose, except the stress those negative thoughts create! Hooray! 

Peace ~ Sandy

Copyright 2013 by Sandy Lucas