Tag Archives: declutter

Intent of the Day: Clean House

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I am never five minutes into stripping the clutter from my life before I start running into
the clutter that is my life.
-Robert Brault

It’s funny how our home space says so much about our brain space. For some, the clutter in their brain is the opposite of their spotless home. For others, the exact opposite. For still others, the clutter they feel is exactly the picture you discover when you enter their living space. Sometimes the overwhelming feeling can feel very debilitating. Sometimes it’s the weight that keeps you from feeling like you can dive into something new. There is something important about the practice of deciding what needs to move forward with you and what needs to be let go that extends beyond just getting rid of stuff.  Either way, cleaning house figuratively and literally is a great task to take on as you prepare for a new year!

Our intent of the day is to clean house! Thinking about it? Here’s why it’s good for you! Continue reading

Getting Past Feeling Overwhelmed and Finding Focus

focusLast week seemed to be Overwhelm Week with my clients. Several were excited for their coaching to work through work and life situations that made them feel completely overwhelmed. And with feeling overwhelmed comes paralysis – they become so aware of how overwhelmed they are, that their energy focuses on them, their problems, the volume and the helplessness, they then have no energy left to get things done (to eliminate the feeling of overwhelm). They are stuck. Nothing happens.

Though getting past overwhelm requires also getting organized and building priorities (what’s urgent, what’s important and what’s both), the key to its undoing is an understanding our personal energy. Here is what I share with my clients about energy and how energy is the gateway to staying organized and getting the important things in work and life done.

Energy is catabolic (diminishing and unproductive) or anabolic (growing and productive). Feeling overwhelmed naturally brings on our lowest level of energy (catabolic) – of feeling like a victim because the situation creating the feeling of being overwhelmed, owns us. We are at the effect of these events – it may be a demanding boss and work schedule; it may be a challenging home situation or a busy kids/household schedule; it may be worn out by caring for someone who is not well or trying to get yourself out of situation that needs changing (relationship, work, etc). The more we focus on how we feel in these events, the more we use our energy to focus on how bad our situation is. We are like a dog chasing its tail – the more we think about it, the worse we feel, so the more we think about it. This now uses up all of the energy needed to make changes – including getting organized, setting priorities and getting things done. We have to free ourselves from this catabolic energy in order to redirect our energy to being productive, or we will find our situation will never change.

People who are masters at getting things done, staying organized and moving things forward are this way because they change how they look at their world. Eckhard Tolle shares in his book, A New Earth, that we should be in only one of these three awakened modalities: acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm. Notice that all of these are positive energies. The reason for this is as energy moves from negative to positive (from victim to acceptance) we start to see how to move past where we are. We now have energy to consider how we might be able to organize our space, our work or our emotions. We have the energy to start to prioritize what is around us to get in it in an order that can make things happen. We become unstuck, unfrozen untrapped, and uncaught (I know I made up a few words, but I liked the rhythm…). We move out of victim and into conscious and powerful performer. All this can happen by seeing that we are stuck and choosing to focus on opportunities to get unstuck instead of staying in victim or helpless mode.

In helping my clients, I find our starting point is reviewing the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are present in victim energy, and the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are in opportunity energy. Many times by seeing that both of these are choices in the same circumstances, those who are stuck can start to visualize a way out. They are encouraged because they can see what success looks like and feel empowered enough to work through the situations that are creating their victim thinking.

We can’t be victim and optimist at the same moment. So the more we shift our thinking out of victim to optimist, the more energy we have available to focus on solutions, opportunities and possibilities. We stop making our discontentment and feeling overwhelmed the center of our energy. We can then find ways to make things happen.

Achieving means getting things done. Go for the fuel source – the energy. It creates the power to wake up like the person in the Lunesta commercials – ready and raring to go – to face the world – to make the to-do list – to organize their space – to create the priorities – and to get things done.

Clean “House” with These Inspiring Quotes

One of the most important skills in maintaining balance and wellness is to de-clutter your life of negative influences. Sometimes that’s easier said than done because we are attached to things that aren’t necessarily good for us (food, people, habits) or we can’t recognize the negative effects they are having on our lives. It’s important to do a regular clean out of the things that are weighing or bringing you down. To help you keep on track with your New Year’s goals we’ve compiled a few inspiring quotes to help you “clean house” and keep yourself motivated!

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What is your favorite inspiring quote for letting go? If you don’t see it here please share it with us in the comments below! 

6 House Cleaning Tips to Reduce Stress

springcleaningFor most people stress and mess are unremitting realities in daily life. In fact, the various stressors and disarrays share a common denominator – clutter – both the physical and mental kind.  Why not then kill two birds with one stone? As long as you have to clean your place, why not use it as a targeted method for coping with stress?

Cleaning carries emotional benefits: Catharsis, clarity, control and change. These good feelings lead directly to self-improvement and empowerment. For example, when you clean out your space, you can distinguish between what inspires you and what no longer serves you.  Getting rid of what you no longer need, makes room for positivism and invites good things into your home, including friends, as you are no longer embarrassed by the mess.

Here are 6 cleaning tasks and their emotional/intellectual/spiritual rewards:

* Washing the dishes helps you to wash away the grief. Circular motions correspond to the circle of life.
* Vacuuming gets rid of the dust and the cobwebs, the regrets which cling and keep you stuck, as you inhale stale air and allergens. Vacuuming helps you to move forward and breathe a purer air, a more authentic version of yourself.
* Cleaning the windows lets in the light when you feel sad, unable to step outside. Afterwards, you can sit or stand by the window, relax and watch others. Moreover, when you open a window, you get ready to step outside and join the good energy – first you rehearse it in your mind and then you do it.
* Cleaning the bathroom helps you to get the crap out of your life or neutralize what pisses you off.  You need to move toxins out of your body and your mind.
* Mopping the floor keeps you in the moment, an opportunity not to think about your worries; otherwise, if you are not fully present to what you are doing, you can slip and slide and fall back into an old issue.
* Overall, housecleaning is great exercise to be envied by gym goers. And exercise efficiently alleviates anxiety and moves stress hormones out of the body.

The next time you clean your space, create a specific intention, a stress-reducing mental component corresponding to the physical act. For example, when you are clearing out spoiled fruit in your refrigerator to make room for fresh, new fruit consider if there might be some spoiled, toxic relationship you need to throw away? Or when you are dusting, polishing your furniture to a brilliant shine, consider what might be holding you back from shining?

Can You Downgrade Your Living Space Clutter To Only 100 Personal Possessions?

Thanks to the internet, one brave individual or gutsy family can go through a very challenging lifestyle makeover, publicize their journey on the web, and then inspire others to do the same. Six Items Or Less is a web challenge for men and women to get by with only six items of clothing for at least a whole month. The Great American Apparel Diet challenges people to not buy a single new article of clothing for an entire year. The Uniform Project, which began from one woman’s personal challenge to wear one black dress and spruce it up with different vintage, handmade, reused or donated accessories for an entire year, has now evolved into an internet meme where brave fashionistas all over the net are seeing how much they can do with just one outfit and a whole lot of creative accessorizing for an entire year (no new purchases allowed).

Here is another cool web challenge that falls into the same vein of downsizing and consuming less: The 100 Thing Challenge, started by blogger Dave Bruno. Can you simplify all of your personal possessions to just one hundred items?

Before you balk at the impossibility of this task, some general guidelines to follow: shared items (like your family’s cookware) don’t count. Neither do non-personal items that are there for a strictly utilitarian reason (cleaning supplies, basic tools, an emergency kit, eating utensils). Collections can count as one item, so your library of books, rare baseball cards or extensive snowglobe collection? Safe–for now.

Now how about all the other stuff that you have in your house or living space? All of your T-shirts, jackets, hats, shoes, cell phone, computer, T.V., family heirlooms, tacky Christmas ornaments, old vacation souvenirs, artwork, calendars, notebooks, pens, bike, et. al–is it possible to downgrade to only a mere 100 items? 

A great blog post on zen habits chronicles one man’s challenge to pare down his personal possessions to not just 100 items–but 42! His reasons for decluttering and his process for doing so are both worth the read for anybody interested in doing the same.

So do you think you are ready to undergo a massive downgrade of stuff? Even if you can’t get to 100–or 100 is too easy for you–the point is that all of us really can be just as happy with a whole lot less. 

Reading about other people’s decluttering challenges definitely inspires me to start getting rid of junk that is currently taking up space in my small studio apartment. I am definitely motivated to grab a moving box, fill it with unwanted junk, and get it to the closest Salvation Army so I can enjoy more open space all the time! 

Some general decluttering tips: 
 
– Have a regular decluttering schedule at least a few times a year. At the bare minimum, seasonal decluttering is a good goal to aim for. Cycling unwanted stuff out of your living space at the end of every month is a lot more manageable than every sporadic few years.
 
– If you’re going to have a garage sale or yard sale, see if you can team up with another neighbor or friend. It’ll at least make the day-long chore of strangers shifting through your outdated clothes, thinking about buying them, and then walking away a less depressing process.
 
– See how giving away your unwanted junk can benefit others. I love it when my unwanted junk becomes useful for another person. Host a clothing and accessories swap with friends. See if your old printer will be of use to a non-profit organization. And then there’s always the Salvation Army, where your donated stuff can be purchased for cheap by a family in need.
 
– Think of how much lighter you will feel when you clear up more space. When we own a lot of stuff, the stuff starts to own us: our happiness, our attention, and our sense of identity. Imagine how wonderful you will feel when you’ve reduced your personal possessions by 50 percent and you can enjoy a simple bouquet of freshly cut flowers on the kitchen table instead of five magazines, old vacation souvenirs and useless electronics. The spiritual cliche proves itself to be true again and again: the more we let go of our earthly possessions, the greater opportunity we have to expand in spirit.
 
– You can cherish and honor the memory without cherishing the stuff, which is just stuff. Sentimentality and nostalgia–the two kill-joys of efficient decluttering. Worried that donating family Christmas ornaments to a thrift store is akin to throwing away your family memories in the garbage? In the words of decluttering and organizing expert Julie Morgenstern, remember to SHED: "separate the treasures, heave the trash, embrace your identity from within and drive yourself forward."
 
– Once you’ve gotten rid of your unwanted stuff, be extremely conscious about future purchases that will take up space. Decluttering defeats its purpose if a few months later you are going to buy more stuff that will take up the newly opened space, which will get trashed in next year’s massive possession purge. Keep up the simplified life, and always challenge yourself to simplify more.
 
 

 

Clearing Your Mind: Allowing Spirit In

Set aside time each day to unclutter and settle your mind. Whether through yoga, dance, walking or journaling.

After a full day out in the world, stories, words, images, and songs from any number of sources continue to play in our heads hours after we encounter them. Even as we lie in bed, in the quiet dark, our minds continue noisily processing all the input from our day. This can leave us feeling unsettled and harassed. It also makes it difficult to take in any new information or inspiration. Like a cluttered house that needs to be cleared if it is to have room for movement and new life, our minds need clearing if they are to be open to new information, ideas, and inspiration.

Too often, the activities we choose to help us relax only add to the clutter. Watching television, seeing a movie, reading a book, or talking to a friend all involve taking in more information. In order to really clear our minds, we need a break from mental stimulation. Activities like yoga, dancing, or taking a long walk help to draw our attention to our bodies, slowing our mental activity enough that our minds begin to settle. Deep breathing is an even simpler way to draw attention away from our mental activities. Once we are mentally relaxed, we can begin the process of clearing our minds. Most of us instinctively know what allows our minds to relax and release any unnecessary clutter. It may be meditation or time spent staring at the stars. Whatever it is, these exercises feel like a cool, cleansing bath for the brain and leave our minds feeling clear and open.

Setting aside time to clear our minds once a day creates a ritual that becomes second nature over time. Our minds will begin to settle with less effort the more we practice. Ultimately, the practice of clearing our minds allows us to be increasingly more open so that we can perceive the world as the fresh offering it is, free of yesterday’s mental clutter.

 

Spring Cleaning: Declutter your home, your mind, and your life!

The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. So too does your spring-cleaning. It may seem like a big chore and a burden, but I have some tips to help you tackle this task so that you can clear the clutter from your home, your mind, and your life. Clearing out the clutter in your home is a great way to energize yourself and bring in the fresh new energy of spring. 

If spring-cleaning seems too daunting and you find yourself procrastinating, then you need to break the task into smaller more manageable steps. Rather than thinking about the whole house/apartment focus on one room at a time… or even one drawer at a time. Put on your headphones, play your favorite music, and start cleaning! Remember, one step at a time.    
 
It is important to clear out the old so that you can make room for the new – figuratively and literally. There is something almost magical about the effect that clearing out the clutter from your physical space can have on your mental space. As you sort through and organize your belongings, you often notice a mental clarity developing as well. Imagine yourself clearing away the mental cobwebs as you clean and organize your home.   
 
As you sort through your belongings decide what you really need and want, then donate the rest to charity. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it or used it in a year, then it is time to get rid of it. It is time to let go of the past and move forward. Focus on your gratitude for the way that these items have contributed to your life. Imagine filling the item with love, gratitude, and positive energy. You can then feel good about letting the item go, knowing it can help make a difference in someone else’s life.
 
What are you waiting for? Start now and take it one step at a time. Begin your spring cleaning and set your intention to do a little mental spring-cleaning at the same time. You will feel a little lighter and brighter as you jump into spring. 
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