Ten Questions to Help You Let Go

give away bags

This person is letting go of lots of stuff!

Are you having trouble letting go and uncluttering?

At some point, I may want or have to move from my present home, and will need to ask myself some questions regarding what to do with all of my possessions. Whether you are moving or staying put, answering the following ten questions honestly will help you decide what to keep and what to let go of:

1. Do I use this item regularly?  YES  NO

2. If not, do I love the item?  YES  NO

3. Am I keeping this because I think I should love it?  YES  NO

4. Do I feel obligated to hold on to it?   YES  NO

5. If I let go of it, will it really hurt someone else feelings?  YES  NO

6. Am I holding on to this item because someday I will repair it?  YES  NO

7. Am I saving this ‘just in case’ I may need or use it some day?  YES  NO

8. Do I have extras (I never use) of the same thing?  YES  NO

9. Can I use another item that will work just as well?  YES  NO

10. Can I store something more useful in this space?   YES  NO

If, when answering these questions you found that you don’t like, will never use, will never repair, or feel guilty letting go of something, you’ll know that the item doesn’t mean that much to you. And, that it’s time to get rid of it, or give it away.

If you notice that you have a hard time deciding, or saying NO to particular items, put them aside and look at them in a couple of days. Then, ask yourself these same 10 questions, and you may be surprised that you change your answer from NO to YES. 

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

‘A Solution to the Never Ending Clothes Pile’

xcluttered-rocker        cleared-rocker

Are your clothes strewn in piles all over your bedroom with barely a square inch of floor showing? Do you tell yourself that you will put them away, but never do because you just don’t have time to deal with this process? And, do you live out of your laundry baskets, but get confused as to what clothes are clean or dirty?

I have to admit that as a very busy person myself, I don’t always put my clothes in the dresser drawers, or the clothes closet each evening when I get ready for bed.  Sometimes, they pile up on my bedroom rocking chair, and a few items can creep on to the floor as a mess of pants, sweaters, shirts, pajamas, etc.  If the pile stays like this for more than two days, I feel disgusted with myself.  At this point, I put everything where it belongs, and am happy to see my lovely clothing free rocking chair once again.

One solution to the ‘clothes pile problem’ is to choose a storage system that will serve your limited tolerance for spending time ‘managing your clothes’. First, eliminate visual barriers by removing furniture with drawers. Replace with floor to ceiling open shelving, or better yet, with cubbies, an easier system to use.

You can create areas in the cubby for each person sharing the bedroom. Use separate cubbies for shirts, pants, underwear, socks, etc… And, label each section. Cubbies towards the top can be used for clothing and accessories used less frequently. Install hooks on the wall to hang clothes that don’t need to be washed each time you wear them. This will keep these clothes separate from the dirty laundry. And, label the laundry baskets or bins CLEAN & DIRTY ONLY.

Folding, or just putting the clothes into the cubbies is quick and easy. Your bedroom will be more open and spacious, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

I’d love to know the system you use to store your clothing and accessories.

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

Manage Your Magazine Clutter

IMG_4597

March is certainly coming in and staying ‘Like a Lion!’ And it’s already spring. Do you have an excess of magazines or store catalogs? Are they stacked in piles, filling up shelves you could use for something else, or overflowing bags or boxes?

With the crummy weather forecast for this weekend, why not take some time and sort through those magazines and catalogs. And, while you are at it, also deal with those alumni college magazines you’ve been holding on to for years.

A couple of years ago on a cold and rainy day, I set aside a couple of hours to deal with my many magazines. On that day, while gathering my magazines, I looked under the table next to my couch, and in addition to the full magazine rack that was there, I noticed another full magazine rack I’d forgotten about just behind the front rack!  So, I looked through all of the magazines I had held on to, recycled most of them, and chose some to give to the garden club raffle.  I made the decision to keep just a few of the most relevant magazines and up-to-date catalogs. Since then, I only receive one garden magazine in the mail, and do research on-line for any gardening information I need.

You can do the same on any bad weather day. Gather up all the magazine subscriptions, catalogs and other periodicals you have saved that are taking up space. Do you truly enjoy all of them? Are they a good use of your time or space? Or, do you let them pile up thinking you’ll read them when you have the time, but never do. This is the time to purge, recycle and give them away. Keep only the most recent subscriptions that you truly love, and know you will read within the next couple of months. Libraries, doctor, dentist and therapist offices are good places to give your magazines to.

If you want to terminate any magazine subscriptions, call their company office to cancel any magazines you no longer want.

To cancel your catalogs: http://www.catalogchoice.org/

For each current issue you receive in the mail, toss the previous months if you haven’t read it yet.

I think you’ll feel a bit lighter when you do this. Let me know the progress you’ve made on letting go.

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

A Former Client’s Success Story

cluttered table

H.M.’s cluttered table four and 1/2 years ago

Yesterday, I received an email from a former organizing client of mine who was quite happy, and proud to have been able to stay organized since our last organizing session four years ago. This client, who I will refer to as H.M., is a wonderful person, very creative, compassionate, and generous. Having ADD though, she found it difficult to get organized, was easily distracted, and was a chronic procrastinator. There were always huge piles of clothing on her bedroom floor, lots of papers and other stuff on her dining room table, too many books on her many shelves, and too much clutter around her home.

For several years from just January through June (for financial reasons), we tackled her untidy home, getting rid of clothes, shoes, books and other things that she no longer loved or needed. Final decisions on what to keep, give away, toss or recycle were left up to H.M. We also worked together to address and resolve her feelings of overwhelm, shame, and anxiety about all of her stuff. Her ADD behavioural habits were put to the test. For her ‘homework’ between organizing sessions, she practiced putting things away after using them (into storage areas we designated for each item’s category), refraining from purchasing unneeded items, and keeping her dining room table clear, etc.. And, she was successful!

H.M. had a vision for herself. She wanted to feel lighter and happier, with a neat and clear home. She especially wanted to hold a dinner party for friends, but was embarrassed to have people over (very typical of people who live with clutter). She wished for a long term relationship, but knew with her home in the state it was, she wasn’t ready to be in one.

Since our organizing sessions came to a closure in 2014,  H.M. held her desired  dinner party, and met the love of her life. (Letting go of excess clutter opens a door for new changes to occur in your life.) She has continued to keep her home uncluttered and tidy. In reply to her email to me yesterday, I noted that I was quite impressed, and mentioned that a number of people who have ADD tend to backslide (resorting back to old habits).

H.M. wrote back: “As to ADD, that’s a helpful insight. What helps is having systems: a drop file box AT MY FEET for all expenses, tax-related house receipts, etc.., and making decisions immediately (rather than putting them off, procrastinating) on what notices I get in the mail that I want to act on. Of course — the portable file used to be a foot away, in a closet, and I would build up a ‘to be filed’ pile ON THAT gorgeous, cherry wood dining table, and would put off filing for too long, after the pile sloshed around, and then some — now, I open the mail daily, and drop it into its relevant file folder, a joy!”

h-m-dining-table-4-years-after-organizing-sessions-ended

1/20/17 – H.M wrote: “My dining table TEN days after a gathering
I had here for my writing group women!!!”

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

 

What’s Working, and What’s Not Working for You?

Old blender

When I talk to my clients about their disorganization issues, I first ask them what’s not working. Answers vary from “I’m overwhelmed by my clutter, I can’t find a thing, I’ve no place to put stuff, my files are a mess, I forgot where I put my things,  I’m embarrassed to invite anyone over, and nothing’s working”.

What’s not working for me is my memory and my ‘Imperial Osterizer Blender’.  “I have been unable to let go of my old blender”.  I inherited this wonderful blender in 1980 when my siblings and I were wrapping up our parents’ estate. I think the blender is at least 45 years old. For sentimental reasons I’ve held on to it, even though it’s pretty yucky looking. The glass receptacle has had a slow leak from the bottom for the past few months and the blender’s speed buttons are not all working. Today, I totally forgot that I had kale and soy milk ready to be blended as the first two ingredients of a smoothie. I got side-tracked writing a blog post (not this one), and the slow leak got faster and dripped onto the pantry floor. While wiping up the mess, I knew I had to dispose of this cherished object and buy a new one. So sad.

So…. What is Not Working for You?

Fill in the blanks below, or compose your own statements on what isn’t working:

My clutter ……………………………

I am unable to ………………………..

There is nowhere to put………………………………………….

I can’t……………………………….

I feel………………………………..

Then I ask clients what is working for them in their home, office, lives.

Most of my clients are surprised to discover that there are some systems of order they have created that do work for them.

And….What is Working for You? ………………………………

Now that you’ve thought about this, let me know what is and isn’t working for you.

 

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

Excuses for Holding on to Stuff

old receipts

Is it easy to get rid of outdated receipts?

 

It’s easy for some people to let go of unneeded items. But, you may feel reluctant or guilty getting rid of sentimental items, as well as everyday mundane stuff, knowing these things bring no value to you anymore. Could this be you?  What are some of your best excuses, including guilt, for holding onto sentimental items, or just any old clutter?

• I’d feel guilty if I got rid of it
• I might need it someday
• I might read it someday
• I might fit into this again
• It was a gift I can’t give away
• I’m saving it to give as a gift

Below is a list of some of the things that
some people feel fine about parting with:

• Old notes on small pieces of paper
• Old shopping receipts and unneeded invoices
• Recipes cut from magazines but never used
• Cookbooks, other books no longer in use
• Outdated cosmetics and toiletry items
• Saved pieces of wrapping paper for re-use
• School notes and school books from the past
• Letters and birthday cards not meaning much
• Gifts you’ve kept from guilt rather than pleasure
• Scrapbooking supplies you’ll never use
• Desk clutter; too many pens, highlighters
• Clothing that doesn’t fit, or has gone out of fashion
• Old extension cords, outdated electronic gadgets
• Broken lamps, used light bulbs

Yes, other folks may have an easier time letting go. But, it really is OK to get rid of stuff. If it’s ‘guilt’ or some other reason that keeps you from doing this, give yourself permission to let go of your stuff ‘guilt-free’. 

What are your excuses for holding on?  Can you feel good about yourself if you let something go?

 

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

‘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