Can you believe January has come and gone so quickly? If you’ve recently begun your decluttering journey, I hope you’re feeling like you’re seeing some progress toward those goals! For those of us who have been working on new habits, February can be a make-or-break type of time. If you live up north, the days are still short and often dreary. The urge to snuggle up on the couch with your favorite TV shows or books is strong, believe me - I fight it, too.
When working on a long-term project with someone, a common perception shared with me is “when we’re done, then I can enjoy XYZ.” Waiting for a day that may be a year or more away to enjoy your home can feel overwhelming, and like that day may never come. Instead, I like to suggest focusing on one area or part of the routine at a time that has changed for the better, and continue appreciating the positive changes. While it’s helpful to be clear on what you’d like to work on and diligently check items off that to-do list, it’s also important to take a look at what you have accomplished and enjoy those small victories along the way.
Here are some suggestions for starting to love the space you’re in, and making the best of your situation right now, no matter where you might be on your decluttering and organizing journey!
At the very beginning, it’s helpful for some to shift their mindset a bit. When people reach out for organizing assistance, they’re overwhelmed, don’t know where to begin, and are unsure about how everything is going to pan out. This is a good time to take a minute to appreciate what’s going well: having a home to live in, the courage to call for help, and assembling the support needed to improve your situation.
Just deciding where to begin can feel like a monumental task! I always suggest starting small - a small project or habit change at a time add up to make a big difference. Designating a place for keys and sticking to that new habit takes some stress out of leaving the house. Paring down excess toiletries from the bathroom eliminates extra choices and streamlines wake up and bed time routines. Noticing how these changes are affecting us in a positive way affirms our hard work and provides some momentum to continue making small adjustments.
Carve Out a Space to Relax
In my November 2019 blog, I talked about the concept of hygge (hoo-ga) and carving out a “hyggekrog,” or cozy corner. What’s your go-to relaxation activity? Is it stretching, knitting, snuggling with a book, taking a bath, your favorite TV show, or some other hobby? Designate a space in your home where this activity will occur, and commit to enjoying it 2-3 times a week, or whatever frequency feels most sustainable for you. This reinforces a new perspective, "my home is inviting and enjoyable."
Edit High Traffic Areas
There are places in our homes that we visit each day, such as the bathroom, kitchen, and entryway. You might want to start with editing your closet in order to reduce the stress around getting dressed in the morning. Carving out zones in your entryway that support your lifestyle helps take some of the mental load off arriving/departing your home. Knowing that your keys, shoes, jackets, shopping bags, and mail, etc. have homes provides clarity and streamlines these routines. Think about your situation and adjustments you can make to simplify your day to day life.
Reflect and Celebrate Your Accomplishments
If you’ve been going through the process for any length of time, you might hit a point where it feels like “gosh, there’s still so much left to do!” Think about where you were in the beginning of your journey, and how much easier your day to day life is to manage. Less time looking for things, arriving on time for work and appointments, and refreshed spaces to enjoy.
Have you been working on adjusting spaces in your home or routines in your life? What do you love about your home? I’d love to hear from you, let’s get the conversation going! Leave a comment down below.
Happy New Year! Not only are we starting a new year, we’re at the beginning of a new decade, which feels big and significant. This is a time of reflection and resolutions, and there are as many different resolutions as there are people making them. The most common ones I hear about are home and health related. Being a part of the organizing industry, you can bet I’ve heard from a number of people who are inspired to reduce the clutter in their lives this year! Every January, NAPO (the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) hosts GO (Get Organized) month. GO month is about promoting the benefits of working with an organizing professional, as well as highlighting the educational opportunities for NAPO members.
If you’re feeling like your home and routine could use some decluttering, you aren’t alone. Research shows that people living in cluttered spaces tend to feel more stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, which lead to poor eating and sleep habits. A cluttered space may not be the first thing we think of as a stressor, but it’s true that the clutter affects our feelings of ease at home - I've certainly felt it and seen it in action. It’s important to note that each person has a different threshold for clutter in their home. Some people enjoy more open space while others feel more comfortable surrounded by a larger volume of items.
Maybe you’ve been living in a home that you feel is cluttered and would like to change your situation. It’s possible that you’ve made the attempt to fix it on your own and just can’t seem to “get it right.” Not to worry, everyone needs a little help sometimes! It’s a great first step to acknowledge the desire for change, and even more brave to try and fix it. Someone looking to get healthier might start working with a personal trainer or nutritionist in order to get expert advice and coaching. We hire accountants, lawyers, plumbers, and other experts to help us in different areas of our lives. Along those same lines, someone looking to declutter and organize their home and/or routine might look to an organizing professional for guidance with their organizational goals.
If you’d like some outside help, be assured there are likely a few professionals in the area to reach out to! I would recommend seeking out a member of NAPO. NAPO members are bound by a code of ethics, participate in ongoing education, network with their colleagues to find the best fit for you, and are tapped into a bounty of resources. It’s important to consider their experience with your particular problem, areas of specialty, and how comfortable you feel when talking to them on the phone.
A professional organizer takes the time to get to know you, understand your needs, and has the skills to work with you to achieve your goals. They’ll have a good idea on where to begin with helping you problem solve and provide encouraging support along the way. And with someone by your side, you’ll be likely to meet your goal much faster than if working alone.
If you’re ready to reach out to an organizing professional near you, feel free to contact me or visit the NAPO Find a Pro Directory.
Would you like to read more about preparing for change? Check out my blog post: Developing a Healthy Mindset and Preparing for Change
Feel like giving it a go on your own? Check out 3 Simple Organizing Projects to Jumpstart Your Spring Cleaning and 7 Tips for Paring Down Your Wardrobe
Psychology Today, "5 Reasons to Clear the Clutter Out of Your Life," https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201705/5-reasons-clear-the-clutter-out-your-life
NAPO GO Month: https://www.napo.net/page/GOMonth2020
Do any of these phrases sound familiar?
“I just can’t figure out what to get for so-and-so! It’s driving me nuts!”
“Shopping is just so stressful. The parking, the crowds…ugh!”
“What do I do with all this STUFF now? I’m so exhausted!”
Every year, it seems like there are more people fed up with the excess of the holidays, ready for a change. This time of year can be overwhelming for some, and not enjoyable at all. A recent post on becomingminimalist.com has me inspired to keep the conversation going and encourage others to take those steps to embrace experiences instead of stuff we don’t need. I definitely recommend giving that one a read - there are some eye-opening statistics and helpful tips. If more than half of us are receiving gifts we don’t need, and also wasting money on things other people don’t need, then it’s time to take a look at our current situation and work toward new habits that will reduce the stress and waste. It’s never too late to change your own outlook on gift giving and encourage your loved ones to do the same.
Earlier this week, I attended a meeting with local organizers, and we discussed clutter-free, organizer-friendly gift ideas. If gift-giving is a tradition your family members insist on, then suggest gifts of experience or things you can consume. My friend Janine Cavanaugh, the Helpful Organizer, put together a comprehensive list of clutter-free gifts. Check out Janine's blog post for some excellent gift ideas!
In last month’s post, I talked about the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). I’m really sold on the idea that quality time and fun traditions bring on those warm fuzzy feelings we chase this time of year, and the stuff just brings stress. One thing worth mentioning - many people over schedule this time of year and get worn out. These ideas are not meant to burden you, but instead inspire new habits to replace the old ones. If you and your friends/family want to start dropping the gift-giving all together, here are some activities and traditions you can incorporate into not just the holidays, but all winter long:
Quality time indoors:
Get out around town:
Help family members decorate and/or declutter:
Are you working on changing your narrative around gift giving? What are your favorite yearly activities and traditions? I’d love to hear from you, feel free to comment down below.