‘Mind Clutter and Meditation’

 

meditation and clutter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you ever think about how a cluttered home or office, and things outside of ourselves in this over stimulating world, are connected to a cluttered mind?

Is your living environment cluttered with an abundance of stuff that you’d really like to get rid of, but you just can’t take that first step because your mind is triggering feelings like anxiety, overwhelm, shame, or uncertainty?

Are your days filled with busy schedules, work and family demands, to-do lists, and many other distractions such as electronic cell phones, laptops, computers, TV, GPS, on-line games, etc.? Thus cramming your mind with too many things to do, too many thoughts to think, and too many things to listen and respond to?

I get caught in this ‘cluttered mind’ trap too. But, I have found a solution that helps (even if temporarily) calm my thoughts, and relax my mind. Meditation. 

You can attend meditation classes, research the subject on-line or in the library, or join a
meditation group. Or, you can simply take time each day to sit quietly on your own, perhaps listen to soothing music, and choose to let go of your ‘mind clutter’. If you haven’t meditated before, begin by sitting quietly for 15 to 30 seconds, (until you can do so for a longer amount of time). Take some slow deep breaths in and out. Listen to your breathing, listen to the sounds around you, and feel the air on your skin. Even this short amount of time can bring you into the moment, free of ‘mind clutter’.

A friend of mine suggested that I try meditating to the on-line website, ‘Insight Timer’. https://insighttimer.com/     (You can also get it as a free APP). People from all over the world can listen to any of the numerous musical and guided meditations of their choice via this site. Now, every day, (once or twice) I take a few minutes to listen to a four minute guided meditation that focuses on breathing, and being in the moment.

Do you have a meditation practice? If not, I highly recommend you give it a try using any method you find works best for you. My blog readers and I would love to hear how meditating helps you clear your mind.

If you live in the Boston area, and would like a
FREE 1/2 hour phone consultation
to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at:
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

 

Moving Trip-Kit Boxes

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Planning is the key to any successful move. I’ve made a number of moves before I moved to the place I’ve been living for many years. For all but one of those journeys, I rented a truck and had friends and family help me pack, load, unload, and unpack.

There is quite a bit of before-move planning, prepping and organizing to do. If you’ve been following my blog posts, my post ‘Tips on Un-cluttering Before a Move’ should have gotten you started.

So you don’t arrive in your new home without the necessary staples needed before you have time to unpack, you will want to have a couple of Trip-Kit boxes available They can be large cardboard, or plastic boxes; but make sure they have lids. Keep these boxes separate from your already labeled and ready-to-move boxes. Label them ‘Do Not Move.’ These will be life saver boxes with all the essentials needed when you actually arrive at your new home/apartment.

Some of the items to put in these boxes are: a change of clothes, bed linens, keys to your new house/apartment, car, and safe, prescriptions, first aid kit, light bulbs, flashlight, batteries and light bulbs, cleaning supplies, paper towels, trash bags, toiletries, towels, radio/alarm clock, tool box , scissors, cell phone charger, credit cards, and check book. If you are a coffee drinker, don’t forget to add the coffee maker and mugs. Put bottled water and non-perishable snacks in the box as well. If you are a pet owner, pack pet supplies too.

Pack personal items of importance and valuables separately from the ready-to-move boxes. Items that may be hard or impossible to replace would include: medical and financial records, insurance policies, tax information, auto titles, house deeds, birth certificates, passports, new home documents, laptops, computer back ups, valuable jewelry and sentimental items, wedding albums, and photos. Don’t have the moving company transport these items. Do it yourself.

Have I left anything off the Trip-Kit Box list, or the Items of Importance check-list?  Please let my blog followers know, so they arrive at their new homes complete with all essentials.  Thank you.

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Tips on Uncluttering Before a Move

Sorting for the move

Are you moving to a smaller home/apartment in the area, or moving out of town or state? If so, I recommend that you begin the coordination and the organization of your moving process well ahead of time. Even if you are very busy with work, family, extracurricular; basically your life, it’s important to make the time.

I have been living in the same place for over twenty years, and if I ever move elsewhere, I will begin downsizing at least several months beforehand. I once had a housemate who was moving to Brooklyn, NY and was going to move in a month’s time. I encouraged her to begin packing her things right away. She told me there was no rush, and she’d pack during the week of her departure. Well, was she surprised the day before the moving van was to arrive that 1/3 of her belongings were still not packed. Although I was concerned for her, in her rush to complete packing, she left me with a number of useful household kitchen items, including a large wooden cutting board.

Here are some helpful tips to follow for un-cluttering when faced with a major move:

  • At least two months before moving day, come up with a plan to un-clutter before you pack the belongings you will take with you.Take a walk through your home as objectively as possible, and write up a simple list of visible items in each room, including closets. Record items you will Keep, Sell, Throw Out, Recycle, or Give Away.
  • You may have piles of stuff in the closets, on furniture and tables. If this is the case, you will need to sort through the items individually while composing your lists.
  • Before you begin the actual sorting process, collect an assortment of paper grocery bags, large sturdy plastic bags, or boxes to hold the sorted items. Make labels for the Keep, Sell, Throw Out, Recycle, or Give Away categories using a magic marker directly on the containers/bags, or written on pieces of paper you can tape or staple on the surfaces.
  • Give yourself a goal to downsize your stuff in a major way. Having less stuff to move, unpack and re-organize makes it easier for you. Let go of at least 25 to 35 percent, or even more of your belongings. You will find the letting go process to be very freeing.
  • Then mark off three hour increments in your calendar to tackle the sorting, deciding and purging. If you have an overabundance of items, give yourself at least five, three hour sessions to accomplish your tasks. Deciding and sorting can be challenging, exhausting, and sometimes overwhelming. Take frequent breaks to rest and clear your mind.
  • Once everything is sorted, distribute the items to the appropriate sources: selling on eBay, Craig’s list, at local consignment shops, via http://CleanOutYourHouse.com/ or via http://MaxSold.com, trashing the throw-away’s, recycling documents that are generic, shredding documents that contain personal information, and donating items to your local charity. This part of the process can be not only time consuming, but require heavy duty labor. So, ask for help.
  • Once you’ve let go of all this stuff, you are ready to pack for your move. Be sure to contact a reputable moving company at least one month before your move date. If your move will be in the summer, call movers two months in advance to insure availability. Or, if you and friends will be doing the move yourselves, contact a truck rental place with enough time to be sure they will have the size truck you need available.

If you are moving in the near future, I’d love to know how these tips helped you. And, if you have any other ideas on the sorting, and purging and moving process that works well for you, let me and my blog followers know!

Stay tuned for my blog post: ‘A Moving Check-List to Help You Prepare’

To schedule a complimentary 1/2 hour telephone consultation, contact Judy at ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Getting Rid of Clutter: Four Key Questions to Ask Yourself

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Here’s a New Year’s Resolution you might want to make!

To make it easier on yourself in the decision making process to get rid of clutter, ask yourself these Four Key Questions:

  1. 1. When did you last use this item? If you know it’s been more than 12 months, the item may no longer be really useful. Could you borrow or rent this item if you needed it in the future? Would someone else benefit from it? Perhaps you can trade it for something you really need. I have a little pull cart with a canvas insert for holding things that I bought at the Somerville Garden Club plant sale at least 5 years ago, and it’s  been in my attic used only once since I got it. Why am I still holding on to it? I know I’ll never use it again as it wasn’t that useful for my needs. Hmm, maybe I will use it at some point. My good intentions have been; I’ll bring it back to the club’s raffle or annual plant sale, or give it away to a friend for Christmas. Now that’s a great idea – a gift for the holidays! I better practice what I preach, and do this soon! So, if you are holding on to  unused things, get rid of them!
  2.  If you let go of your clutter, how much space and money would you gain? Think of the cost of a shelf that is full of unused books – $35 to over $100? And, think about the square feet this bookshelf takes up. Perhaps you are paying more rent or mortgage payments because you need a bigger space to keep everything. Or, maybe instead of renting storage space units, use the money to invest in your future, or donate it to a good cause. Remember that rental and home insurance costs more for every square foot you live in.
  3. What is the worst possible thing that could happen if you throw, sell or give away your clutter? As I’ve gotten myself organized over the years, I haven’t regretted selling or giving away any items that met these first two questions; has it been more than a year, and how much space and money would I gain. When in doubt, throw it out!
  4. What are you doing to stop acquiring more clutter? I used to collect decorative watering cans of all shapes, colors and sizes. Friends also bought them for me as gifts. Enough already! Finally, one day, I decided to give them to Goodwill instead of displaying them on my shelves to collect dust. I kept a choice few small watering cans, and now enjoy them with relief. If you collect cat or dog memorabilia or any other things, have more than you can manage, and are sick of the care and management of these collections, make that commitment to yourself to sell or give them away. Use the money you’d spend on acquiring them on donations to animal shelters or to another charitable cause. And, most important of all, make a promise to yourself to think about real values instead of just adding more clutter to your life.

I’d love to know the impact these four questions have on you as answer them ‘one at a time’.

Summer to Winter Clothing Switch-Over

Spring clothes in laundry basket      Spring clothes in plastic container

It’s that time of year again – summer’s over; fall has begun, and it’s time to bring out your winter clothes!  Do you, like me, procrastinate over completing this task?

I started my sorting in mid September just before my housemate and I held our annual ‘Women’s Clothing Swap and Afternoon Tea’. Going through my closets, (I’d already gone through the clothes in the attic while fighting the moth infestation) I pulled out spring and summer clothing that I either didn’t care for anymore, looked awful on me, and hadn’t worn in a year. I donated these items, including scarves, jewelry and other accessories to the swap.

Now it was time to pack away the remaining warm weather clothing to make way for those cold harsh days and nights of winter. So, I pulled out the summer shirts, shorts and dresses, and piled them on my bedroom rocking chair with intentions of bringing them up to the attic the next day to store in plastic containers . I think I might be the Queen of Procrastination. I may be an organized person, and a good Organizing Coach, but do I procrastinate!

About five days ago, I rolled up all of the clothes piled on my rocker and stacked them in a laundry basket to bring to the attic. You guessed it!  The laundry basket was still sitting on my bedroom floor waiting to go upstairs while I began to write this blog post. Full speed ahead, before publishing the post, I transferred the spring wardrobe from the basket to a container in the attic. (see photos above) And then brought my winter clothing to my closet.

We have busy lives and not a lot of time to get things done. Give yourself a break; don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been putting off the clothing switch-over. Just make a commitment to set aside enough scheduled time soon to sort and store your clothes, so you will be prepared for cold and snow.

Seven Tips for Clothing Switch-Overs:

1. Discard items that are torn, stained, stretched out, really old. Let go of clothing you haven’t worn for a year, because you will most likely never wear it. Donate the clothes you don’t want that are in good shape, or not in style any more.

2. If you have lost weight during the past year, and have bought new smaller sized clothing, don’t hold onto the bigger sizes. Letting go of those larger sizes gives you incentive to keep the weight off.

3. If any of your clothing needs to be washed or dry cleaned, do this before putting it in storage. Dirt or odors can affect clean clothing that is packed away.

4.  Pack silks, wool, and leather fabrics (protein-type) together in containers such as canvas or mesh which allow access to some air flow to prevent cracking or drying out. Pack fabrics such as cotton, linen, and rayon (plant-type) separately.

5. Pack clothing in tightly covered plastic storage containers, Spacebags, or waterproof hanging zip-up-bags to protect them from moisture, mildew, mold and moths. If possible, put these containers in a cool dry place such as a closet, under a bed, or up in the attic

6.  When switching over, use your winter clothing storage containers to hold the spring/summer things. A good way to save money!

7. Have a family member, or good friend help you make the switch. Make the switch into a fun task and not a chore.

Follow these helpful tips for a successful seasonal clothing switch-over.

And, let me and my blog followers know any switch-over tips you have to share!

Small Tasks – Small Projects – Get Them Done!

Clear sink

Our clean, empty sink!

Like myself, I bet you have some tasks or projects that you’d like to complete, but you tend to get busy or procrastinate so they don’t get done. For instance; I tend to get so busy with both of my businesses – gardening & organizing – that I let the dishes pile up in the sink. It’s summer, and without central air, the kitchen can get hot even with a room fan running. Not a good idea to let the dishes pile up.

Last week, I made a decision (commitment) to wash the dishes as soon as I am done either preparing the meal and/or eating the meal. I’ve been doing this for over a week now, and I am so pleased with myself that I have stuck to this commitment. Several days ago, I mentioned my commitment to my housemate, (who also manages two businesses’ and also tends to leave her dishes) and told her that I was trying it as an experiment. She decided to make the commitment too. We’ve both been washing the dishes regularly now and the sink remains clean and empty!

What little tasks or projects do you have to do that have started to add up?

Such as Clearing your:
– desktop surface
– shredding papers
– putting away your clothes
– changing a lightbulb
– doing laundry
– filling the ice tray
– taking out the trash & recycling
– taking the giveaway bag to Goodwill
– etc…….

These chores begin to weigh on us and pile up in our minds as well as in our homes, offices and even our cars. There’s always something to be replaced, fixed, changed, thrown away or given away.

Many of these projects can be completed in a short amount of time.

Make that commitment to yourself that you will tackle one small task per day for a month. Upon completing each task, you will free up a lot of that mental energy that comes with thinking (obsessing) about doing it but not doing it. Like my roommate and myself, I bet you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment!

What’s on your “have to do” list?  What will you take care of each day for the next month?

To learn more about how Judy can help you de-clutter your home or office,
email her at
ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net

Six Things to Throw Out Now!

Hazardous waste containers

Like myself, you most likely have some or a lot of items you can throw out or recycle now.

Here is a list of six of these things.

1. Empty Boxes: So many of us hold on to boxes once we take out the items inside. And, where do we put these empty boxes? In a closet, spare room, the basement, the attic, the garage where they pile up and take up space, plus become a fire hazard. After the item is opened and you’ve used it for a month, you probably won’t be returning it. Recently, I was going through my attic attacking clothing moths that had never been a problem before, and while moving stuff around, I found an empty computer box from a computer that I no longer have! I tell my clients to recycle these types of empty boxes rather than keep them. I am guilty as charged! Time for me to put it in the recycle bin.

2. Reusable Shopping Bags: The environmentally correct thing to do these days is to use reusable shopping bags. Your local supermarket, hardware store, big box store either sell them or give them away. But, how many of these bags do we really need? And, are they cluttering up your space? I have two bags full of plastic & canvas bags from various charity’s and stores that I am taking to Good Will for a client who was willing to let go of them. She kept only about ten bags that she liked the most.

3. Magazines and Newspapers: Old magazines & newspapers! I save garden magazines and catalogs thinking I will use some of their information someday. I usually don’t do this, so periodically, I sort and recycle most of them.

4. Electronic Cords and Attachments: So many of the cables from old electronics (land lines, Smart phones, ipads, computers, etc,) we purchased in the past have been stored away in our drawers, boxes, closets because we might need them someday. Take a look, and you will probably find some that you don’t even remember what they were for!

5. Outdated Electronics: Old computers, ancient cell phones, broken paper shredders, toasters, hair dryers, you name it, pile up. Your town’s DPW usually has a dumping area for this kind of electronic stuff, or a couple of recycling days a year when they do a pick up at your home. I have an old Dell printer (doesn’t have a scan feature) that has been in my attic for a long time as backup if my newer printer breaks. I am going to put it out on the street as a Freebee, and if no one takes it, I’ll bring it to the local DPW.

6. Old paint and Hazardous Waste: Once the paint in latex paint cans has dried completely, you can throw it in your trash because it is not considered hazardous waste. But, how many empty or partially full cans of paint thinner, bug spray, cleaning products, shellac, and more… pile up because you don’t know what to do with them. Your town should have a couple days a year where you can drop off hazardous waste to the DPW grounds.

Do you have things on this list that you need to get rid of, or recycle? Let me know how you are doing with your letting go.

To learn more about how Judy can help you de-clutter your home, email her at:

ClutterClearerCoach@comcast.net