Freedom From Clutter

Get organizing assistance from Sandy


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

What to do with your (too much) stuff

There are so many clever & creative things to do with your stuff to stay organized & on top of clutter that perhaps you haven’t thought of. I’ll share many ideas that I’ve used in my own home.

When you have items you think you may use, but aren’t sure, instead of leaving them to clutter your space or take up valuable real estate pack them in a box. Say you have 8 flower vases, you know you’ll use 2 on a regular basis so box the other 6 & if anymore come in box them as well (when you are done with them, of course). Label the box & put the date on the box when you packed it up. Check stored boxes periodically throughout the year. Let’s say you needed another flower vase on your birthday, but otherwise hadn’t touched the other 5 in a year, you know it is okay to donate the 5. Put the box in your can & drop it off when passing a donation center. Same with all your other items. Box like items up, label the box & date it. Take what you need from them throughout the year & donate the rest. You may have purchased a certain dish for a particular food item (think; spring form pan, trifle bowl, or any other odd item), yet no one liked it or it was too difficult to make or cheaper to buy, & you haven’t used the dish again in a year, instead of it taking up valuable real estate for just in case, box it, label it, & date it. It will be much easier to let things go when you haven’t touched, looked for, or needed an item(s) in 6 months to a year. It gives you a visual clue to what you actually need or use. People hoard because they may need it someday. Trust that if you do need an item you donated all your needs will be taken care of in the future. Needs change. A busy family may need & use certain items, but once kids grow up &/or move out some items are no longer needed & can be passed on to new families (as long as they are in good condition). By using this technique you can see for yourself what is needed or wanted & what is not. 

Kid items are the same, they out grow & change often, yet we keep piling on toy after toy, sporting equipment after sporting equipment, clothing after clothing without purging the old. Ask your children if they had to grab 5, 10 or 20 favorite things in a hurry what would they grab (that will give you great insight). You can also box up, label, & date items & see if anyone asks for a particular item. If so, retrieve it from the stored box & leave the remaining to donate. Some parents hold onto what they consider keepsakes. When the child moves out or has children of their own they don’t want most of the stuff you’ve saved. Take a picture instead of the item that you find precious & make a keepsake album instead & if you are really ambitious write a note about them with/in the item. Shared thoughts & feelings & memories are so much better then a box of worn out, outdated & unwanted things that they now have to take care of & store.

Speaking of children, they bring in a lot of stuff especially art work. There are many ideas to control the amount you keep. One is to string art work along a wall & change it often. Take a long wire or string & use clothes pins to hang. Laminate some special pieces to make as place mats (give as gifts to relatives too). Take pictures of select pieces throughout the year & create a digital calendar of their art (another great gift idea to share with relatives that may not have been able to be a part of). If you have limited space rotate, one in, one out. Roll it up & store in tubing, such as paper towel or wrapping paper tubes. Label them. You can scan art work into your computer & let go of the actual art piece. You can mail art work to relatives or find senior citizen centers or nursing homes in your area & ask if they would like some to display for the residents. Or again take pictures & create a scrap book for them to do with what they want. 

Clothing is a huge space zapper. Periodically go through clothes, toss stained, out dated, & unwearable items. Designate a spot for repairable items & decide to repair them by a certain time  (or they go in the donate pile), or bring to a tailor or dry cleaner by a certain date. Your best bet, if you are bringing them to an outside source, is to place them in your car so they are easily dropped off while you are out.  Also, unaware if you’ll wear an item, place the hanger backwards on the rod, as you choose an item, wear it, wash it & return it, place the hanger the right way, at the end of each season check the hangers that are still backwards & donate those. You can also box clothing & label what the contents are & again record the date. Whatever you haven’t taken out, you aren’t missing, donate. Use this technique for all items as well as shoes & purses. 

Photo’s are another item that don’t seem to find a home. What I did was take a $1.00 box & placed photos according to who was in the picture versus in order of dates or certain events. Much quicker & easier. The ones you have framed change from time to time to update your visual gallery. I made my children their own scrapbooks, for Christmas one year, of their life up to that year. Walking down memory lane made our holiday extra special. 

Use items that come into your home, but may be packaged for food or drink or other grocery items. You may need tissues & throw the box away when done, but they can corral so many things. For instance, you can shove a lot of plastic bags inside the box to use in & as small trash cans. Store the tissue box filled with plastic bags in the room that has a mini trash can, or take a box & put it in your car. You can also store plugs or crayons or any number of items, just remember to label it. Coffee cans or any can get a quick wrapping paper job, glued on sea shells, or painted & be used to store extra kitchen utensils, hair brushes, small toys, make up brushes, art supplies, paint brushes, pencils & pens. Jars can be cleaned out & be used as piggy banks, for flowers, or to collect sea shells, cotton balls, macaroni, or anything that once opened can get stale such as cookies or marshmallows. Use empty  paper towel rolls to store cable cords, label & stick in a draw. Small games such as hand held gadgets or playing cards fit in a shoe box. Puzzles, cut out the picture & place the pieces in a zip lock bag. In other words before going to buy expensive storage containers look at what you already buy with a new eye. 

The most important thing, for me, to have an organized life is to make every thing convenient. Keep a paper towel roll in every bathroom (along with glass cleaner), your car, & even bedrooms (seems we’re always reaching for a paper towel so have them easily accessible). Keep a trash can in every room. Create a landing & launch pad by the door you use regularly. A coat closet may be located by the front door but you use the back door or the door from the garage. So the closet designated by the builder doesn’t necessarily work for you on a daily basis. Get creative hang hooks, use shelves, or furniture by the door you use most often to house the items you need to take to & from. Place anything that needs to go with you, backpacks, purse, keys, library books, coupons, even shoes, on your pad so it is ready when you are. For easier mornings pick out your clothes the night before. And before you go to bed take just 5, 10 or 15 minutes to create a clean kitchen for you to start your day in. If you hit your snooze button either set the alarm 45 minutes earlier or put it across the room. For ideas for dinner look at your weekly grocery store flyer. What’s on sale is what’s for dinner. While you cook dinner fill the sink with hot soapy water for dirty dishes & cooking utensils. As you create your grocery list record on the calendar what is for dinner each night, so you not only know what you are having, but others who are home first can start it (or not). If I use coupons I record my list on an envelop (from junk mail) & keep the coupons inside & place on my launch pad. For mail handle it immediately. Place a shredder, trash can & where you keep your bills as the place to open mail, preferably where your landing & launch pad is located or close by. You’d be amazed when you use the do it now principal on how much you get accomplished & stay up on (& it only took a minute or two). Distribute the magazines & catalogs to their designated home. If magazines are piling up think about canceling your subscription & purchase periodically when you shop & when you have time, or read them online. 

I hope these tips help you create an organized life. Please feel free to use any of these helpful ideas & pass them on. Much peace! ~Sandy