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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.

Befriend your shredder.

Mail and daily incoming papers present a clutter challenge for most people.
Spending less than two minutes a day with your paper eating buddy will have
an immediate and helpful impact on your piles and disorganization.

Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed and buried in paper
and your shredder is feeling abandoned and ignored. 
Establish a paper sorting routine: ACTION  READ  FILE 
and deal with the papers on a daily basis.

Speaking of filing, and your file draw.
If you’ve taken care of your taxes for 2019,
now would be a great time to purge your file drawer.
(I’m guessing you have a bit of time right now at home to take care of this…)

Most papers that people file never get looked at again.
Really.
Don’t file papers if you could easily get the information again.
IF you needed it.
If you do file, file in broad general categories.
Use the Like with Like guideline.
All insurance papers in one hanging file.
within that a folder for Home, Health, Car, Life, etc.

All paid Bills for 2020 in one folder.
Toss last month’s when you get this month’s
that shows your payments.

One folder for 2020 Taxes.
Next April you can go through that folder and sort by category as necessary.

One hanging file for all your important documents.
When you need to find your birth certificate or car title or key to the safe deposit box, 
you can quickly go through that one file and find what you ned.

As you sort, toss warranties and manuals for things you no longer own.
(Rethink even keeping manuals, most can be found on line now)

The folders of remodel projects, garden ideas, recipes?
Only keep the ones you really think you’ll use-in the next month or so.

The fewer steps you have in your Filing System, 
the more likely you will be to actually File things!
Make it as simple as possible.

The sound of shredding paper is the sound of a less cluttered life.
The sight of a full recycle bin is visual proof of a simpler life.

Befriending your shredder will give you more time to spend with your other real friends.  
(And isn’t that part of the life you truly want to be living?)

Minds and hearts.

“The mind is clever, but the heart is truly intelligent.”  David Montgomery


Our minds can help us figure out where to keep the scissors.
By listening to our hearts,
we will know what we want to use our scissors to create.

Use your brain for sorting, prioritizing and organizing.
Allow your heart to guide your use of the time and space you create.

Do what you can.

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.

Good advice in general, and especially helpful now.

Today, let’s apply it to your pantry.
Most of us have been spending more time cooking at home than we usually do.
And limiting our trips to the grocery store.

For those of you trying to manage working from home, 
home schooling your kids, 
trying to keep the house reasonably clean,
and still reach out to other people in your life:
You may not have time for the following activity.

However, the rest of you can jump right in!
First, instead of looking at this as just another chore, 
perhaps you could reframe it as a treasure hunt?
Or an archeological dig?
Or a chance to bring order and control to one small area of your life.

So, clear the kitchen table, 
set up a bag or box for donations,
open the pantry door, and begin.

The goal of this fun is to get an inventory of what you actually have on those shelves.
By sorting through the boxes, cans, and  packages you will see how much of what you have.
You will  prioritize where it belongs on the shelves; 
know where it is when you want it,
and know what you need to add to your shopping list.

Start on the top shelf, left side.
Take out each item.
Be honest.  Will you ever eat this?
If yes, set it on the table.
If not, and it’s still good, and you know (be honest now) that you’re never going to eat it, 
into the donation container it goes.
Yup, you spent good money on it, and maybe you intended to make a fabulous new recipe with it.
That was then. This is now. Move on.
As you take things off the shelves, group the keepers like with like on the table.
All the soups together.
All the packages of pasta.
All the packets of seasoning mixes.
All the breakfast cereal.
All the snacks.

Work your way across each shelf, left to right.
Top of the pantry to the bottom shelf.
You may need more than the table, use a counter, or the floor.

You may find items that don’t really belong in the pantry.
Set them aside to deal with later.

Once the panty is empty, wipe down all the shelves.
(That probably hasn’t happened in a while!)

Now look at what’s on the table.
Consider how you might consolidate, and contain some of those like items.
Do you have an empty shoe box that could hold all the bags and boxes of pasta?
(A magazine holder laid on its side is a great place to stack packages of spaghetti or linguine noodles)
Another smaller box that could hold the seasoning packets?
A box for all the bags of nuts?
Keeping like with like and containerized keeps things easier to access.
Look around your house, you probably have containers that could be repurposed and work great.

Once you’ve consolidated like with like items.
Now we’re going to put things back into the pantry in a way that makes sense to you,
and gives the things you use most often the best access.
Keeping in mind that light things should live on the higher shelves and heavy things low.

Decide what food you use most often.
Put those in the center of the middle shelf.
What next?
Arrange things with accessibility and frequency of use as your priorities.
Also keep in mind the idea that you’re creating your own ‘store’ at home.
Pasta near the pasta sauce.
Soups on a shelf together.
Baking supplies close to each other.
Etc.

This isn’t rocket science, no need to over think this.
Use logic.
Make the arrangement work for you.

Once the shelves are restocked, here’s a chance to look at your inventory.
Maybe add some things to your shopping list.
And pause to think about what you put in the donate bag.
Is there a theme there?
How can you use that information about impulse buying, 
or sale things that didn’t save you money because you never ate them, 
food habits you no longer have, 
or your tendency to not write down what you really need and instead buy duplicates of things you already had but couldn’t find?
No beating yourself up.
Just use this as a chance to pay better attention in the future.

One last idea.
My favorite pantry organizing products are:
Clear shoe box size bins-hold the pasta, envelopes, misc. bags of nuts, fruits, etc.
And, if your pantry door will accommodate it-
a clear over the door shoe organizer for the inside of the door.
Great storage for easily accessible snacks, 
places to store those odd sized little cans of things that tend to disappear on the shelves,
packets of dry mixes, small jars, etc.
It takes advantage of vertical space you might not be using,
and makes frequently grabbed items readily accessible.

Now that your pantry is organized, you can see what food you have.
Meal planning should be easier.
You can use up what you have at home, 
you can better track what you need to buy,
and you can find the snacks!!!!

So much of life seems out of control right now.
Managing your physical spaces will go a long way
in helping you manage the other areas of your life.

Be safe.
Be kind.
Be well.

Two Minute Rule

Now, more than ever, having a home that is uncluttered and organized will make life less stressful
and the mechanics of daily living easier.

Between working from home, managing the kids, prepping meals, trying to fit in exercise,
or creating a quiet moment or two alone-things are challenging.

You could tackle your closet, reorganize the pantry, sort your sock drawer,
clear out under the bathroom sink, or finally deal with the junk drawer.
All great projects.

But hey, let’s be realistic and start small and manageable.
Let’s try just one slight change in behavior.

Although right now it seems time is stretching out endlessly before us, we still need to manage that time.
A simple approach to that, and a basic of an Organized Life is:
The Two Minute Rule.
If you can do something in Two Minutes or Less: Do it now.
Put the dirty dish into the dishwasher.
Hang up your coat when you come in from walking the dog.
Put the folded laundry away.
Sort the mail.
Send a text to let someone know you’re thinking about them.

Get into the habit of dealing with things right now.
If it’s an unpleasant chore, you’ll be done with it in less than two minutes.
Instead of it hanging over your head all day.

One small change.
One big difference.

Oh, and don’t worry, I have lots of ideas to share about tackling the closet
and rearranging the pantry!

During this time of uncertainly, please be gentle with yourself
and kind to others.

(and keep washing those hands!)

What if…

I received this from a friend and thought I would share it.

There is so much fear, and perhaps rightfully so about COVID-19.

And what if..

If we subscribe to the philosophy that life is always working out for us, 

That there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work…

That all is interconnected.

What if the virus is here to help us.

To reset.

To remember.

What is truly important.

Reconnecting with family and community.

Reducing travel so that the environment, the skies, the air, our lungs all get a break.

Parts of China are seeing blue skies and clouds for the first time in forever with the factories being shut down.

Working from home rather than commuting to work (less pollution, more personal time)>

Reconnecting with family as there is more time at home.

An invitation to turn inwards-a deep meditation-rather than the usual extroverted going out to self soothe.

To reconnect to self, what is really important to me?

A reset economically.

The working poor.

The lack of healthcare access for over 30 million people in the US.

How hard does one need to work to be able to live, and have a life outside of work?

And washing our hands, how did that become a ‘new’ thing that we needed to remember.

But, yes, we did.

The presence of Grace for all.

There is a shift underway in our society-what if it is one that is favorable for us?

What if this virus is an ally in our evolution?

In our remembrance of what it means to be connected, humane, living a simpler life, to be less impactful, more kind to our environment.

An offering from my hear this morning.

Offered as an another perspective.

Another way of relating to this virus, this unfolding, this evolution.

It was a time for change, we all knew that.

And change has arrived.

What if…

Gutpreet Gill

Dig a little deeper

We’re all pretty aware of what’s in the first three inches of our cupboards or cabinets, a drawer or a stack of papers.
But what’s in the next three inches?
When we move past the items in the front, those things we use most often, wear most frequently and left so we’d be sure to find them; what would we find?
Food we’ll never prepare, expired medications or supplies, a sweater with padded shoulders, ​an over due bill or over looked check?

This week, try digging a bit deeper.
Choose a cabinet, drawer, or pile of papers and sort through it.
What really needs to live in that place?
What needs to be donated or tossed?
What paperwork needs a few minutes of your time and attention?

Spend a few minutes digging a bit deeper personally too.
Are there activities you might be willing to step away from?
Judgments about yourself or others that you’d be willing to let go?
Kind thoughts you’d be willing to articulate in a note to someone special?

It’s good to have important things up front and accessible,
and it’s wise to be aware of what we’re holding onto a bit deeper too…..

You make all the choices.
Choose people, activities and things that support the life you really want to be living.
Consider what’s possible. 

Change

“Things do not change, we change.” Henry David Thoreau

How often do we wish situations in our lives different than they are?
How often do we want someone else to act or respond in ways that we believe would be easier for us 
and ‘better’ for them?
How many times have we thought when this happens
or that changes then I’ll do _________?

Waiting for things to change is just that, waiting.
How much of life do you want to spend waiting instead of being?
Waiting for everything to be perfectly lined up before you move forward?
Waiting for someone else to do the work so you won’t have to?

Only you have the power to change your own behaviors and habits. 
You get to choose what’s important in your life; which things have meaning,
what activities to spend your time engaged in,
and which relationships feed you head and heart.

Take one small step in the direction you want o move.
Trying taking one small dream off ‘hold’ and see what might unfold.

“They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol

That was then. This is now.

 “That was then. This is now” is one of the things I say to my clients.  
(In my least Bossy voice, of course)

One source of clutter comes from holding on to items connected to a life we no longer live. 
(Or ever did for that matter)
Supplies for a hobby we stopped engaging in years ago. Sports equipment from an activity we abandoned. Clothes from a different body or life style.  Supplies for a Do It Yourself project that will never happen.

We want to believe that our lives, tastes and commitments haven’t changed. 
That we have the same bodies, abilities and interests we had two, five, or ten years ago.
What’s true is that isn’t the case. 
If those hobbies and activities were important to us, we would be making time and room in our current lives to do them.

Take an objective look at what’s living in your closets, 
stacked on your shelves,  
or piled in the garage that no longer has use or meaning in your life.  
Get rid of the unused, excess, nagging, guilt inducing stuff.

If you’re not quite ready to let go of things (or is it what they represent that has the hold on you?); 
set yourself a deadline. 
If you haven’t pulled out the yarn, played tennis, or refinished the chair by X date, 
be willing to admit it and let the items go.

I invite you to take look at what you’ve been holding on to 
that no longer serves the life you want to be living now.
Admit that yes, you’re done with that hobby, activity or project.
It’s okay, really.
Give the supplies, equipment and clothes to people who will use them, right now, 
for the lives they are presently living.

Your letting go will create space in your house and life; physically, mentally and emotionally. 
You’ll have more room for this life, the one you’re engaged in right now.
Make that life a reflection of the people and activities that feed your soul and fill your heart.

More storage?

You didn’t need more storage.
You need less stuff.

(Oh.  And organized clutter, is still clutter…….)

Do you need it?
Use it?
Value it?
Does it help you live the life you say you want?

Be grateful.

Nowhere to go.
No need to sit cross legged for twenty minutes, or make a list of blessings.
Not even anything to say.

Just be with a feeling of gratitude.  
For everything you already have.
The people you love.

Act grateful, right now.
And in the car later.
And when you’re getting ready tomorrow morning.
(And when you’re tempted to complain.)

Consider the good, the true and the beautiful in your life.
Hold that thought.

If you’re not grateful for all that you currently have,
how will adding one more thing make a difference?