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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How do you want your space to feel?

Hello and welcome back!

How do you feel in your space today, right now, in this minute?

Check in with your body. Does being in this space create a feeling of peace or chaos? Does it ignite creativity or does it give you a stomach ache? Do you feel clear and inspired or uncertain and unfocused? Unsettled? Overwhelmed? Dissatisfied? Distressed? Uncomfortable? Disgust? Okay, you get the idea. If your space has the ability to create these hectic emotions it is no wonder many disconnect from the disorganization. Many would rather ignore the disarray, justify the mess or deny the clutter is a problem than deal with it. But what if your space could create positive emotions? Would you then do something about your space?

Simply, decide how you want to feel in your space

Create a mental picture of you in a space that is comfortable and offers peace and relaxation. Or picture a fun and creative space that offers passion and inspiration to spring forth. How about a space that feels settled and satisfying with all your items organized in places that are convenient.  How about a space where happiness is a priority and all the things that make you smile surrounds you? Maybe you see yourself in a room with very few items and that provokes the feeling you desire. Perhaps your ideal is to have family treasures gathered to create the emotions you find most appealing. This is your space you get to decide. Have you uncovered the image and the emotions that suit you best?

Now go create it

Constantly refer to the mental image in your mind while you get busy creating a space that will empower you and bring you joy! Keeping the vision will guide you and help you make decisions easier on what stays and what goes.

Best wishes always!

Sandy

Owner of Freedom from Clutter


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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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Distractions are clutter too

Hello and welcome back!

Distractions are clutter too.

We all have busy lives or we’re so bored we fill up on nonessential activities. Either way it is  clutter. We distract ourselves because we are fearful something awful will happen if we don’t fill the void with doing or busy-ness. This has cost all of us the most important value-connection with ourselves and with others.

So, how do you decide what activities clutter your life?

Mine were watching TV and eating when I was not hungry. I did these two activities either when I did not want to do or say something challenging, or scary, or when I would be faced with something that would not let me know the certain or specific results I would get. These, however, are all imagined scenarios I created due to an old belief of, it is better to be safe than sorry, cluttering my mind. It was easier to make a bowl of popcorn and lay on the couch watching nonsense TV shows on any given night than connecting with people or doing something I would actually enjoy. I felt TV and food did not judge me or hurt me. Giving into this behavior however my intuition kept nagging at me, that what I was doing was not in my best interest. This nagging went on until I decided to pay attention.

What I knew, but didn’t apply to my own life.

I knew clearing the clutter from your life, the things that do not serve your life in a positive and nurturing way, opens you up for what does. At first, well, okay for years, I didn’t recognize these two distractions as clutter, but realized anything that does not serve, nurture or benefit me, is clutter.

How I started.

As I contemplated the importance of clearing this clutter I began to receive random articles, blogs, and videos on distractions and how detrimental they are to our wellbeing. Do you find this uncanny too, once you become aware of something, accept something needs to change, or action needs to happen, the synchronicity that shows up is remarkable? Love that, anyway… Some articles talked about slowing down to get more into the present moment to enjoy each act alone without multi tasking, some videos said, get comfortable with the uncomfortable feelings that come up when you no longer distract yourself, and another blogger professed by doing less you gain more. All this information intrigued me.

So began my experiment.

All the articles and books I read and videos I watched on distractions I found to be  all true! But, I won’t sugar coat it, when I chose to do differently my mind baulked, tried to entice me and lure me back to the same old distractions. I held strong and committed to de-cluttering. During the experiment I realized I had acted entitled, “I deserve down time”, I would tell myself along with all the excuses I relied on. And I found a little rebellion in me. Structure, I thought, sucked the life out of me, watching TV had no structure. I had to admit TV and eating when I wasn’t hungry also didn’t hold anything positive or beneficial for me either.  Distractions, I recognized, are what sucked the life out of me and kept me from really living. Eliminating distractions freed up space to find things that would benefit me and I would enjoy doing, activities that would serve and nurture me. I no longer wanted to nurture behavior or activities that do not inspire peace and happiness.

How about you?

What do you do during a typical day that distracts you? Today just notice what and when you use or rely on distractions. Tomorrow don’t allow yourself to use these distractions and see what happens.  Please leave a comment and let me know.

Take the leap your courage will see you through.

All my best to you!

~Sandy


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Life is an inside job

Hello & welcome back! 

Finding your own personal organizing system or style is about taking action. Not to be confused with fixing something that is broken within you, justifying or excusing why you are the way you are, or belittling yourself because you think it is your fault you can’t grasp others organizing systems. Look at the organizing offerings, in periodicals & on television, as someone who found what worked for them & was hoping it would work for others. And some parts may, but usually not everything. Instead of picking & choosing, applying what does work & ditch the rest, we scurry to scrap the whole thing, blame ourselves or their system & hide behind our old habits. We find our time & energy focused on & applying what doesn’t work which keeps us out of balance.

Did you know one of our most important functions is to be in balance? And, for the most part, our emotions are the clue AND the answer. Our bodies also alert us when we are out of balance with unexplained aches & pains & even accidents, & illnesses. Even when we’re ecstatic & over joyed we are out of balance. Our bodies will search for balance, it will release the energy through crying or laughing or we’ll feel antsy like we can’t sit still. To help bring harmony or balance to ourselves we must get in touch with our instincts or, if you prefer, our inner selves. Because we are out of touch with our feelings or intuition we have gotten ineffective with our personal lives, some are even suffering. We rarely use our emotions to navigate our world, we either choose to, or have been taught to run from them instead. Our emotions have invaluable information, yet we keep looking away, ignoring or avoiding them. When feelings arise they are nudges, red flags, stop signs, begging for our attention. Unfortunately, we often blame others for causing our feelings to peek through the fog, however no one has the power to do that, no one. Being uncomfortable (with negative feelings) is your inner self, your intuition, alerting you to wake up, pay attention, it is calling you into action. If you do not heed the warning you will continue to experience the same things over & over again until you do. Sometimes it takes a crisis.  

You, your life, your body, your spirit, wants to be in alignment, in balance, & the only way is to find your personal sweet spot, which is inside you & only you can access it. True, it takes work & once you give up your struggles (what doesn’t work) & you find your balance the reward is a satisfied & fulfilling life. Everything that isn’t working isn’t working for a reason, it is so you can find what does work & get on with living, & enjoying your life.

At this point you may be wondering what does being disorganized have to do with being balanced? Anything that doesn’t work in your life, no matter what area, means you are out of balance. With the skills I was born with, seeing order & being efficient, was instrumental in my own discovery of what created my own balance & what caused disharmony. What came naturally to me I saw others struggle with. No matter what subjects, relationships, weight, or financial, I wrote about, the bottom line is everything comes down to learning to get back in touch with ourselves. Listening to your intuition, through feelings, is the only way to find your balance. I focus my business & this blog on helping others get organized because I know being disorganized & having too much clutter (not just in material things) is causing disharmony in your life. Once you find your sweet spot in one area so many other areas open up in miraculous ways!

We can agree you know what doesn’t work &, if you’ve kept up with your homework, what your ideal environment feels & looks like (& we will get there). This week I want you to take inventory of what doesn’t work, all your organizing challenges, & please be specific. For example, an overstuffed bedroom closet, continuously running late, losing my keys, & too many/much ______ (fill in the blank), etc.  For the second part I’d like you to think of what the opposite might be. For “lost” keys, you may write, “find” them a home. Complete your list choosing the opposites. Now, the third part is to imagine what steps could be taken to get to the opposites. Staying with the keys, you may write- place a hook by the door you frequent. Maybe buy a lanyard or hook to attach them to you. Maybe become disciplined to put them in your pocket or purse when not in use. In other words there are many ideas, the trick is to find the one that works for you. Pick one from your list & give it honest effort for, let’s say, a week. If what you picked is easy & effortless then you picked the one that fits you best, carry on. However, if you find it to be a struggle or a hassle your instincts are letting you know that doesn’t work for you, just tweak it or try something different. You want your habits to work for you, instead of being a prisoner to your habits. Continue to work your list exploring & discovering not only your sweet spot, but you too.  One more thing… have fun!

Next week I’ll write about the importance of good tools! 

~Sandy


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Ask Sandy How to…have a successful life!

Hello Sunshine!

We’re here in this life to find our true self, to embrace our one & only uniqueness, we’re also here to find the joy in being this person. We, unfortunately, have been going about it the wrong way. It is astounding how misplaced our thinking has been. We’re searching for outlets outside ourselves (excessive gambling, drinking, eating, etc,) to make us feel better, we’re making people accountable for our happiness, & comparing ourselves against others versus celebrating our individual self. We’ve also been creating our own misery, our suffering has been self-induced, yet we blame everyone else for it. Think about it. Every experience & everyone we meet is to teach us about ourselves. Yet because we haven’t learned what to do when we experience negative emotions & how to cope we resist what is which causes our own self-created misery.

Let’s say you get out of bed & stub your toe on a chair. You don’t have a tantrum & punch the chair, or try to change the chair, or manipulate it (if I give you a dollar you won’t not hurt me again, right?). Nor do you call your friends to piss & moan, or drink or shove down a candy bar. You hold your toe until the pain subsides (allow yourself to feel what you feel). You learn your lesson by either turning on a light, moving the chair, or keep shoes by the bed. And you move on with your life (never to suffer that pain again). If you continue to stub your toe (creating your own misery) your lesson was not learned (resisting what is), you’ll suffer the same consequences until you learn your lesson. Doesn’t it make sense to learn it right from the get-go?

Well, life is exactly the same way! Someone says something that irks you. It stings, gives you an ouch inside, now you can either lash back, which will result in nothing good, nothing. Or remove yourself knowing that person was a messenger to wake you up to something inside that needs your attention. Take a deep breath & just allow the feeling to be, perhaps seeing what it is teaching you, if you don’t know that is okay, at least you honored your feelings. Then ask yourself if you can let it go. If you answer yes, then say lovingly “I release you.” If not, give yourself a few more minutes & breathe deeply. The next & most important step is to reward yourself with something soothing & comforting to you, but nothing outside yourself. Something safe.

All too often we want things & people to be different then what & who they are & that’s okay, not everything is going to be to your liking, but it is not your responsibility nor your business to change anyone. Instead of getting attached to outcomes you can not control you learn how to cope with what is. I’m not saying let someone punch you, you are responsible for you & your safety. Honoring yourself means you love all of you & that means even the yucky feelings you experience, otherwise you love yourself with conditions. Plus once you commit to honoring you you’ll notice the things that once bothered you don’t anymore. The real upside to coping is you don’t seem to attract disappointment or frustration. The trick is to go within when things & people aren’t what you want, not look to outside outlets to distract you. To feel what you feel, see if something is there to learn, let go & reward with inner joyful things. Once you have the skill down the reward could be to leave an unhealthy relationship or job or to learn a new skill or loving you. By working on your inside world versus trying to change your outside world you gain more clarity then you could ever imagine. New ideas flourish because you are removing old stuck energy allowing room to move & groove.

No one has control over anything or anyone nor does anything or anyone have control over you. So why we continue to search outside ourselves to find us is baffling. You have been right here all along waiting patiently for your return. Welcome home you. Peace to you all.


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Ask Sandy How to…Cope

Hello again!
So many of us have not learned the right way to cope. Instead we look outside ourselves to find that thing we think will make us feel better. Learning to cope folks is an inside job, no candy bar, or Mr. Right now, or drink is going to make you any different then who you are. We deny or ignore what we are feeling & instead of looking within we indulge in or distract with some negative behavior. When we do this we set ourselves up for disappointment, because when we get or do the behavior we thought would make it all better & it doesn’t we find ourselves even more perplexed, displeased & dis-empowered then if we just dealt with our emotions in the first place.

“But that is what everyone else is doing”, we argue, “so why shouldn’t I?” Even the doctors, instead of teaching us wellness & ways to cope, they label us with some dis-empowering term & write prescription after prescription. My response to that is; how’s it working for ya? Have you noticed all the support groups for every kind of addiction there is, for people who suffer because they think an outside something will make them feel better. Once they wake up to the damage they’ve created there is a chance to recover only if they learn how to cope in the future instead of learning to switch from one outside outlet to another. Then you are just the hamster on the wheel, going in circles searching in vain for that something. I think we’d all be better off having one support group for everyone titled: Learn how to cope with your life. That is what it all boils down to anyway, many do not know how to cope on their own, they need support & the know how.

What I’ve come to discover if we continually rely on outside “things” to soothe or relax us we set ourselves up to fail, every single time. If I am upset & shove my upset-ness down with a cupcake or two I haven’t solved a thing I’ve just piled on guilt, & maybe a pound or two, to my already upsetting situation versus respecting & honoring what I feel. I’m not talking about reacting or lashing out or blaming others, instead just allow yourself the space to be upset. Sometimes life isn’t fair or agreeable & sometimes what happens just outright sucks, I know I’ve been there. By allowing yourself to feel it- not judge it or reason with it- just observe you with what you are feeling, honors all of you, and when you’re ready, finding the ability to let it go. Emotions don’t want to stay stuck in our bodies or be recycled, they want the space to flow through you, to teach us something, but when we don’t give them our attention they just get pushed to the back burner to show up again & again. This is not coping, it is delaying, but have no fear it will resurface again & again until you finally blow.

When you give yourself the luxury of inner attention, you observe the emotion, & then celebrate the release &/or lesson with a reward. Treat yourself to a scrumptious bath or hot shower, or entertain yourself with a book or magazine, go for a walk in nature, pamper your nails, or call a special someone, something other than behavior that does not enhance or empower you.

By ignoring or denying your feelings you are not learning how to cope with life’s up’s & down’s. We all know how to celebrate the good things, we don’t know how to soothe ourselves or what to do with negative feelings. Life is what it is, without contrast we wouldn’t grow. If we didn’t know sadness we wouldn’t appreciate happiness. Life is not meant to be a battle or a struggle, however we make it much harder by not embracing all of who we are & at times that means we have to deal with some crappy stuff. The more we grow the easier it becomes. We create our misery by denying & ignoring our emotions, the outside circumstances have nothing to do with how we feel on the inside. Like I said coping is an inside job & so is our happiness. Peace to you all!