Why do this?

Decluttering and organizing is not an end in and of itself. It is a path to enriching your life by being able to do the things that matter most to you. When your physical “things”, when your home, office, car, garage, etc. are decluttered and organized, you make better decisions as to what comes into your life, your home, your office. You get clear on what is most important so that only those things that you love and that serve your highest purpose get that important real-estate. I live my life that way and I want to spread a message of hope and support. The hope is that you will see how it is possible to live a more peaceful, less stressful, less overwhelmed life. My goal is to help you spend your time doing what matters most instead of decluttering and organizing all of the things that aren’t getting you anywhere in life.

Looking for Simplicity in Life

I was told about this book by an acquaintance of mine so I read it….in about 30 minutes. And then I did the activities. It was simple!

The reason I am writing about this book is that I’m finding life to be overwhelming for a lot of people (I include myself in this group). And sometimes I think people need to get back to basics in order to re-set and get things back on track. This book is good for that.

In the introduction, the author – Brooke McAlary – says, “For most people, the journey towards simplicity starts with decluttering their stuff clearing out wardrobes, or sorting through books, photos and decades of sentimental items. As they look around their home in frustration, they declare, ‘That’s it! I’m buying fewer shoes/clothes/tennis racquets/toys/books/CDs. I’m sick of clearing this stuff out!’ But fast-forward twelve months and you’ll find many of them are back at it, grumbling about how they would prefer to be watching TV, relaxing, drinking a beer or playing with their kids. Instead, they’re clearing out the garage again.”

The chapters in the book deal with single-tasking, getting down morning and evening rhythms (not routines), brain dumping, three things, gratitude and tilting. I explain these below:

  • Single-tasking – immersing yourself in a task you do regularly and not doing anything or thinking about anything else
  • Rhythms – identify needs and wants for mornings and evenings which sets the tone for the day in terms of things that should be done
  • Brain dumping – writing out all kinds of things that are swirling around in your head, possibly keeping you up at night, that you get out on paper
  • Three things – if you get nothing else done in a day, write out three things that are most important and get those done. If you get more done, awesome.
  • Gratitude – while you’re writing down the brain dump and three things, you might as well write down things you are grateful for. It helps to re-wire your brain for looking at the positive in life.
  • Tilting – the opposite of  work/lifebalance. When there are things that come up or take more of your time, deal with them and don’t beat yourself up about the other things that you can’t get to. For example, your child is sick. Take care of your child and don’t worry so much about the dishes. It’s kind of like three things – if you get more done, great, but there is only so much time in a day so priorities trump balance.

The book is an easy and quick read. It’s a good place to start if you are looking for small steps to get where you need to be. Here’s a link to the book: Destination Simple

 

Present Over Perfect – part 2

 

If you haven’t read my last post (part 1), read that first.

Another chapter that the author, Shauna Niequist, writes about is called Simplicity. I am all about simplicity whenever possible so I was eager to read this chapter. To sum it up, she discusses how simplifying her material possessions gives her great joy, helps her make better decisions and she sees only things she loves. Her energy is free to do other things rather than decide which one of thirty outfits to wear or to buy meaningful gifts for others instead of just picking out something because it’s on sale.

“As I’ve been aching for simplicity inside myself – in my heart, in my spirit – I’ve been surprised to find how much simplifying my material world has created space not just around me, but inside me.”

“For some people, getting dressed is a delight, a way to tell the world who they are, a creative and inspiring process. Some people get a little charge of energy from the pure variety of what they buy and put together and wear. I’m finding that I get a little charge of energy from knowing exactly what I love and what I don’t, and being clear about the two. I’m more inspired by a near-uniform, a narrow set of parameters that make me feel most like myself.  I love wearing black, white, gray, and blue. I love classic shapes, stripes, jeans. And I love the flash of metallics, like gold sandals and jewelry. I find such delight and energy in this newly simple way of dressing – that actually I”d been practicing for a long time, only now my closet reflected it.”

“In the kitchen, in the closet, and throughout the rest of the house, I kept finding that the more I let go of, the happier I was. It almost seemed like the less stuff there was in our home, the more freely I could breathe, the more deeply I was able to think.”

“The other benefit I’m finding in these newer, narrower parameters about what I wear and what fills my cabinets is that I’m finding I make better decisions when I make fewer decisions. When I open my closet and see only things I love, and relatively few of them, when I open my cabinets and see nothing but white plates, those are just that many fewer decisions to make in a day that always, invariably, make that day just a couple ticks easier, and I’ll take it.”

“I find myself filling my cart and my shopping bag differently these days, too – do I want to manage this? Clean this? Find a place for this? Will this bring me ongoing joy, or will it be just another thing to store, just another thing to clutter up my mind and home? I’m bringing fewer and fewer things into our home, and I’m shopping for other people in new ways, too – what are timeless, useful gifts, instead of easy-to-pick-up knickknacks? Or even better, what experiences can we share, instead of what items can I fill their home with?”

“How we live matters, and what you choose to own will shape your life, whether you choose to admit it or not. Let’s live lightly, freely, courageously, surrounded only by what brings joy, simplicity, and beauty.”

If you are interested in the book, here’s an Amazon link.

Present Over Perfect – part 1

 

I was told to read this book by a friend who is also my client and I’m glad she told me about it. (Disclaimer: the author of this book talks a lot about how Christianity is a big part of her life. I am not trying to convert or push or judge as far as religion goes and that is not my purpose for this post. The parts of this book I will discuss here are about decluttering and organizing.)

The author, Shauna Niequist, uses stories, poems, everyday language to describe what has changed in her life. She was basically a go-getter, type A, nonstop action type of person. She worked hard, played hard and had little time to stop and think about where her life was going. When she did stop, she realized many things she was unhappy with that made her slow down and take stock of her life.

One of the stories left an impression on me. The chapter is called The Man in the Tuxedo. It is about a man who was dying of cancer and left a video of himself to his family and friends. The video of this man wearing a tuxedo and giving a toast would be played at his adult children’s weddings as his way to toast them even if he wasn’t alive. At the same time, the author herself, Shauna, was going through a situation in which she had to make a big decision regarding taking on an opportunity through work. Shauna had asked for advice from a friend about whether she should take the opportunity or not. The friend then showed her the video of the man in the tuxedo. Shauna then realized that the “opportunity” she had worked for for so long was just more work in disguise. She declined the opportunity and was told graciously that another project was waiting for her if and when she wanted it. Her relief at knowing that she hadn’t obliterated her career as well as knowing she could be home more with her family was something of a turning-around of her life and priorities. The man in the tuxedo taught her that, in the end, her family and people closest to her were more important than working more and harder.

I almost feel like I need to make another disclaimer – this book isn’t about everyone quitting their jobs or not saying yes to opportunities in life. It is about knowing what you really want out of life and making sure you’re on track with it. It goes along with my tagline and motto – Make Room in Your Life for What Really Matters.

And that is why I not only declutter and organize people’s homes, cars, offices, etc. but I want to know what matters to my clients because those are the things that they should hold on to. Everything else is just shiny or new or fun-for-the-moment or a gift you can’t bring yourself to get rid of. Everything else really isn’t important when all is said and done. We can’t LOVE everything. That is reserved for only the few truly special things in life.

If you are interested in the book, here’s an Amazon link.