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What I know:

It isn't about our stuff.
It's about our connections.

Bigger. Better. More.
Rarely is.

Our best lives create space
in our homes and hearts
for the people and activities
that make us genuinely happy.

You must be present to win.

Focus on what you want

I found this quote on the Tiny Buddha site,

“Turn your focus from something don’t want to something you do want. This allows you to shift your energy from complaining to taking action.”

This suggestion can apply in many areas of our lives and especially when it comes to dealing with clutter.

Stop getting caught in the endless and berating stories of
My house is such a disaster,
I’m so disorganized,
the kid’s rooms are a mess.
By focusing on:
Find my keys when I need them,
sit at the table and have dinner as a family,
have the kid’s rooms be reasonably tidy;
we begin to articulate what it is we do want.

Stop using your thoughts and energy to complain,
and start taking action.

Bemoaning your lack of organization isn’t helpful-to you or the situation.
Designating a specific place for your keys to live and
putting them there every time you come home,
is a positive action, and good use of your energy.

Setting up a place to deal with the mail,
instead of piling it on the table,
is a specific action that will leave the table clear for family dining.

Spending ten minutes before bed helping your kids put away their toys is an action that will lead to their rooms being reasonably tidy.

Choose one spot in our house that you feel is ‘cluttered’.
Focus on three things you could do,
actions you could take that would clear the space.

Small, easy actions: Toss a paper into recycle,
take something to the other room where it has a home,
throw something away. 

Focus on what you do want.
End the complaining and take some active steps.

 

Abundance or excess?

Abundance is different than excess.

Sharing in warm loving relationships is abundance.
Having subscriptions to five magazines you never read is excess.

Choosing to spend time on activities that feed your head and heart is abundance.
Holding on to equipment and supplies for hobbies that no longer interest or delight you is excess.

Choosing quality over quantity is abundance.
Purchasing duplicates of items you already own, but can’t find, is excess.

Knowing your limits creates abundance.
Ignoring your physical, financial, and emotional situation leads to excess.

Abundance lives in your heart.
Excess dominates your surroundings.

By letting go of the excess you choose abundance.

 

 

 

 

 

Time flies.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
Annie Dillard

Decide how you want to spend those days.
Shopping?
Scurrying to catch up?
Bent over your phone?
Obsessing over the past?
Overwhelmed by your stuff?
Searching for things you own but can’t find?
Hoping things will change, but never changing your behaviors?

This is your one, true, and amazing life.
Live your life so it reflects what’s important to you.
Spend your time engaged in activities that are meaningful to you.
(You get to define what those things are)
Spend time with the people you love and cherish.

The days are long, but the years are short…

Bugs you lots

Where is that one space in your house that really bugs you?
Which pile makes you the most annoyed?
What area takes the most effort to keep under control and clutter free?

Take a moment and just look at what’s piled up there.
Do the things not have homes?
Are they items you’re doing to get right back to (but haven’t)?
Did they get left there on the way to somewhere else?
Are they decisions you’ve been unwilling to make?

Once you have an idea of the why of the clutter, 
it will be easier to take care of what’s there in an appropriate way.
Figure out if the items are worth keeping and if so, find them a home.
If they are things that never get put away, perhaps they need a new home closer to where they are used or needed.
Make a decision about the item.  
Move forward.  
Live with the results.

Trade annoyance for action.
A pile for a clean surface.

Small changes.
Big results.

What I’d take.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current events, both the hurricane in Texas and the wildfires in the West, have necessitated people leaving their homes with little or no notice.  
Quickly being forced to choose which things they will save
and what will be left to fate or Mother Nature.

Talk about the ultimate Decluttering situation.

I am very grateful that my house isn’t flooding and
the nearest wildfire is 90 miles away.
However, the  situation has given me a chance to think about what would I take?
What means home to me?
If I had to start again, which things have meaning?
Which things reflect the life I want to be leading?

Art, color, and things I’ve created by hand say Home to me.
Living in bright spaces, surrounded by paintings, photographs,
and hand crafted items is meaningful to me.

Take a moment today:
Be grateful your house isn’t under two feet of water, or
fire isn’t threatening to torch your house.

Then try the exercise of “What would I take?”
Consider the stories behind your choices.
See how the choices reflect what’s important to you.

May disaster never force us to have to grab and go,
and may we live each day in gratitude for the abundance which surrounds us.

 

Painting is by Dawn Winters.
I sewed the quilted wall hanging.
Mixed media sculpture by Kathy Ross.

 

 

 

Not why? What.

Forget about asking why things are disorganized or cluttered.
The why answers usually lead backwards (and you’re not going that way),
or they involve  opportunities to beat yourself up about your past behaviors.
(Put down that stick)

Instead ask what?
What are the results I’m looking to achieve?
What can I do differently so the mail doesn’t pile up?
The clothes get put away?
The dishes end up in the dishwasher?

What questions give you a chance to think in terms of actions and results.
You are still taking responsibility for making changes and 
initiating different behaviors,
but you are doing it from a place of looking ahead and moving forward.

As they say, “There is a reason windshields are larger than rear view mirrors.”

 

What we do

It is what we do,
not what we own,
that makes life memorable.

Spending time with friends.
Savoring time for ourselves.
Making relationships a priority.
Taking time out to play.
Being absorbed in a good book.
Appreciating a work of art, or a piece of music.

Choose to do things that warm your heart.
Spend time with the people who matter to you.
Trying owning less and see if your life is richer………

 

 

What’s the benefit?

Often what keeps us stuck or procrastinating is
our focus is on how hard something is going to be,
or why we don’t want to do it.  (Whine, whine)

Instead, try focusing on the benefits of doing the work.

What opportunities might be created?
Remember why you wanted to take on the project.
Remind yourself of the changes your actions will produce.

Procrastination and stalling take energy.  
Why not put that effort into achieving the goal?

Weigh the long term benefits against the short time needed to do the actual work.

If you switch your focus from the mechanics of the doingness part,
to the positive outcome and changes having done the work will create; 
you can change how you feel.

Place your attention where you want your results to be.
Inviting a shift in perspective makes it easier to get things done.

What are the benefits of a less cluttered life?

Make that your focus.

 

What’s the use?

 

Everything has a use and a purpose.

Hobby supplies are meant to create things.
Clothes are meant to cover our bodies.
Dishes are for dining.
Pots and pans for cooking.
Sports equipment gets you out and moving.
Books are meant to be read.
(I think you know where this is going…….)

If you’re not knitting a sweater, 
wearing the pants,
drinking from the mug,
baking a souffle,
using your tennis racket,
reading or rereading that novel:
Let it go.
Let the stuff serve its purpose.

Quit wasting the stuff’s potential and usefulness
while you wait around to find the time,
lose the ten pounds, or
keep it for Justin Case.

Clearing out your excess, unused, under valued and unloved stuff
will create more room for you to find and live your purpose. 
And I’m willing to bet your purpose has more to do with people and relationships
than it does to things.

Know what you need.

You can’t know what you need if you don’t know what you have.

Much shopping, impulsive and otherwise, comes from thinking you need _________.

So you toss __________ into your cart,
you get home and discover you already have two boxes of __________ on the shelf.
Or three pair of ____________ hanging in the closet.
Or four bags of _____________ in the freezer.

Having items organized, grouped like with like,
and stored where you use them creates a visual inventory.
When you can see and are aware of what you already have,
and you’ve decided how many is enough, you’ll know if you really ‘need’
more of something and your shopping habits will change.

Use lists (a great use of your smart phone) so you can note when
you need to make a purchase.
If you write it down you don’t have to try to remember how many
you have left or if you emptied the container.

(Oh, and just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean you need it)

Know your limits.
Shop accordingly.