Tag Archives: declutter

Let Go & Let Life Reorganize You!

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My husband and will be visited Saturday by a social worker who will evaluate both us and our space to determine our suitability to adopt a child. Wow. Big life transition.

The decision to adopt has given us a chance to take a major inventory, both inside (our motivations, values,  strengths and weaknesses) and outside (do we have room for another growing person in our apartment? What  can be cleared away that we no longer need to make room for another person and a whole new identity as parents?) This inventory told us some changes in our space were in order.

To overhaul our apartment, I gave myself an action plan, a deadline, and I took myself on as a client – and having just been on the receiving end of this decluttering transformation, I reaffirm from knowing, what I tell my clients all the time — having some company for the task is SO rewarding!

When a friend put an offer out to come help me, all kinds of uncertainty popped up – what she would think of my “mess”? would she boss me around in my own home? Would she disrespect items I cherished and judge me for wanting to hold on to them?  All the fears my clients have told me they’ve before having me over, were apparent for me.

I struggled with my ego, which told me I was a professional organizer, I shouldn’t need help. And I decided I didn’t NEED help, I WANTED it. I decided it would be an adventure to bring someone into a process that’s always been solitary, and frankly overwhelming and tedious. I decided I’d be vulnerable and let whatever I wanted to protect all hang out.

Bringing someone into my decluttering efforts brought clarity and a sounding board to my indecision. It brought friendship and joy and permission for letting go.  It brought humor to what I can take way to seriously. Our stuff is just STUFF, for goodness sake, but my, how we get attached.  Our things are not who we are, but we do let them hold aspects of ourselves – feelings, stories, beliefs, worries. Being able to share these feelings, beliefs, stories with someone before we toss an item into the trash or goodwill bag can reassure us that whatever the items represents is either still alive in us, or is ready to be gone. I found this so.
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Life is dynamic. It’s a lot easier to move through it when  when we’re not weighed down by stagnant stuff. The result of my overhaul? My apartment is buzzing with the energy of usefulness and vibrancy. There’s a clear path and I feel abundantly full and alive. I feel like I’ve been to the spa, been exfoliated, lost 10 pounds, had my neighborhood streets repaved and won the lottery all at once. What a great way to prepare to greet a baby into it’s new space.

What new adventures are you pregnant with? What preparation do you need to birth what’s next for you? How can you share the joy and lighten the job by bringing in some help?

Don’t Let Your Values Live at the Bottom of Your Piles

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Wisdom has it, a major key to mastering our lives is to live by our values. 

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Disorganization can place a heavy price-tag on our personal integrity. Dreams go unfulfilled when our stuff takes more energy than our visions. Values go by the wayside when unmanagabiity with time and stuff creates distraction, procrastination and avoidance.
 
In my favorite organizing book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys, Marilyn Paul, Ph.D.,
shares her journey of coming out of denial around her personal disorganization that rendered her best intentions to shape and shift the world moot, becuase she couldn’t get out the front door with the car keys or the documents she needed. When Marilyn took on her disorganization like the worthy project it was, everything shifted. It took time, curiosity, patience, trial and error, discovery and commitment, but through it she gained dignity, integrity, and power. 
 
Organizing One Value At a Time
Our values lie at the shiny center of who we are. They can become distorted, obscured or ignored, but they remain integral. They can be the spark of inspiration for change. They can also give us the motivation we need when our spirits flag from our efforts to change the habitual patterns with stuff and time that may have gotten us stuck.

 Here’s a small practical, personal example:
I learned a few facts a while ago that put me in action. I learned that 28 billion single-serving bottles of water are purchased each year in the United States. It takes 17 million barrels of oil (enough to fuel a million cars for a year) to produce these bottles. Only 20% get recycled and some wind up as ocean debris – those big plastic islands you may have seen pictures of. As a lover of this Earth, and a supporter of peace, this tugs at my core.

So…..I made a commitment last year to stop purchasing plastic bottles.

Sound like an easy commitment, right?

Well, between forgetting my pretty metal eco-water bottle at home, rushing out without time to refill it, and leaving a series of them on subways and under movie theater seats, I resorted to more plastic purchases than I would have liked.

Finally, with continued determination and refinement, I’ve got a backpack that’s replaced my handbag. It’s got a side holder that perfectly houses my Camel bottle — so the bottle never has a chance to escape under a seat, or park bench. I’ve got two bottles I fill daily, so they’re in rotation – there’s always a backup in the fridge to grab when I’m in a rush, and I always make sure there’s one in my backpack, even at home – so there’s no chance I leave without it. It takes me a few minutes of conscious effort a day to make sure the bottles are filled and nestled into my pack and fridge.  

 
It took almost a year to get this system down. Am I deluding myself that MY re-fillable water bottle is saving the planet? Nope. Do I feel better, keeping my personal commitment to not purchasing more plastic bottles? Absolutely! And by allowing my values to lead my efforts to get organized – I practiced problem-solving skills to find a system that works for me. I can apply these problem-solving skills to other areas of my life that need organizing. And the system I’ve developed has a ripple effect. While I’m filling my water bottles, I’ll often take another 3 minutes to wash up whatever dishes are in the sink, or discard the expired leftovers in the fridge, keeping my space clear, and further enhancing the shiny feeling I’ve cultivated.

The pay-off of esteem I get for living my eco-value gives me mojo I can apply to other areas of my life. I can change my world – and the bigger world – one value at a time. 

I’m a firm believer we can all find the organization we need to live empowered in the world, getting the results we desire for ourselves. If you can trust a process of curiosity, trial and error, and sustained commitment – you will find your own personal organization and you will create the systems you need to thrive.

Baby-stepping with your Stuff

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I had a recent session with a writer who was feeling down….the inkwell of imagination dried up….feeling unaccomplished.

She needed to go to her files, her drawers, her closets to pull out all her printed drafts of all the work she’d done and leave them out for a while to “see” her work.

Gratifying, validating for a time, seeing all the paper piled high, she then felt a need to “see” further – She called me in and we began discerning the drafts – we separated – 1st play: version 1-8, 1st screenplay versions 1-6, etc.

At this point, she began to feel ready to purge the old drafts….a feeling of completion took over the need to see her work. In order to move on, she now needed the clarity of an empty space…a new beginning.

This process of interacting with her drafts was part of her artistic process – She was not sure if she was “done” with her plays yet —

Without throwing them out, the exercise of taking inventory re-positioned her. With clarity, she was in a new space to make decisions.

She stood in a place of readiness to be open to the next “direction” form the muse/god/ psyche….

There’s a notion in feng shui – If you’re feeling stuck with your stuff, move 20 objects…..just shift them slightly – move one pile from the left corner of your desk to the right, shift the angle of objects on a mantle piece, move the soap dish to a shelf. Shake up the energy of your environment. Sometimes it’s enough to shift your internal landscape so you can “see” what’s next

Baby steps are effective. Remember when you were learning to walk? You’ve come a long way, baby. Keep stepping.

Compassionate Workplace #2: Declutter- It’s not just for Oprah!

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Often it’s the “getting started” that’s the hardest barrier to cross in organizing. I love hearing how different people ease there way into the process…

the yoga rebel

It appears that Oprah has made decluttering her mission in every Spring. And why not? It’s a great thing.

photo-5I have discovered (rather too late) that my productivity is directly related to how clean my desk is. (Surprise!)

I think what’s important is not not my realization but why. My productivity equals to my creativity. When I am not being productive, I am not creating anything. I’m not producing anything new, fun, useful or loving. What’s also important is that when I’m not feeling creative, it’s because I often feel anxious. Not all the time. But certainly a lot of the times. I think about unpaid bills, Emails I have not replied, issues I have not dealt with, taxes I have not sorted out etc etc. Cluttering is a way of avoiding and numbing. There are certain things I don’t want to deal with so I pile them up…

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