We are in the heart of birthday season!
very possibly my favorite time of year…
nephews, sisters, Pops and friends all turning a year older…
me trying to keep surprise secrets…
Cheers to the little black star blanket and bow that has wrapped our surprises for a decade
Cheers to keeping a ton of plastic coated paper out of the landfill
Cheers to celebrating the days and years we get to share together
A clean organized bathroom puts the day into a rhythm.
This room starts your day and ends your day.
But we still tend to let piles grow here.
You have drawers in your bathroom.
Put like stuff together.
Medicine can be placed in one drawer.
Girl week stuff can go in another.
Hair stuff can live together.
Stuff you use every single day (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, comb) can go together in a drawer.
They do not need to sit by the sink.
You are allowed to have a clean surface.
Same thing with the bathroom closet or cabinet under the sink; washcloths on one shelf, towels on another.
Do you really need more towels than can fit on one shelf?
I bet not.
Pick your favorite color.
Keep those, give away the rest.
Do not keep stuff just because you have the room to keep it. Let your stuff breath.
Your morning will be calmer, your evenings will be sweeter.
…and that is a gift you can give yourself,
This is a hard one.
This is a super hard one for me.
I create everyday.
Creators tend to be pack rats.
It must be in our DNA.
Oh I get it. It is hard to let go of things you might use later on, but I have found that having to much creative making materials around me actually stifles my energy. If I have to spend 10 minutes cleaning my art table in order to start a project, I have lost the best 10 minutes of motivation I own.
Since dramatically downsizing my art supplies I have actually found I create more regularly and am far more productive with my time.
I have reached this conclusion gradually.
Here is what worked for me.
I started by designating a specific area of my home to hold and store all my supplies.
I chose the guest room closet. My table and easel sat in the corner of the room but every paper, canvas and brush had to fit into the closet and the closet door had to close.
The problem came when it was time to find a specific item to get started. Slowly, I began parting with the unneeded items in order for the favorite items to be more readily available, thus not wasting the precious first 10 minutes of creative energy.
When we downsized to a smaller apartment, all my art supplies had to fit on the floor of my clothes closet. Downsizing my clothing and shoes was easy compared to letting go of all but 3 of my favorite paintbrushes.
Major soul searching…for sure…but I have not regretted it for even a moment. I now own exactly what I like and use what I love, every single day.
In conjunction with the downsizing of supplies, I was also under the pressure of a super tight budget. I chose to stop buying art supplies as my way of providing more money at the end of each month.
I was afraid, setting this boundary of not buying supplies would stifle my art production. But it has, in fact, done the complete opposite.
I have found I start faster because I have less to choose from.
I do not make the excuse that I can not start because I do not have this…
or because I need to run to the store for that…
or because I am waiting on the next paycheck to buy this…
Also, when I ran out of a color, I could not go and buy more. Instead I had to change the colors on my palette thus pushing myself to grow. Now my work is driven by the items I have immediately on hand, not what I have shopped for and stored for years.
So today, take some time to look into your collection of hobby stuff.
I am an extreme and you absolutely do not have to do what I have chosen to do. But you might benefit from lightening your load in this area.
You might grow.
You might bloom.
I only wish I had fallen upon this mindset earlier.
I love mailbox surprises.I despise mail.
This does make sense.
It really does.
Surprises are cards and packages, sometimes a jar of cookies.
Mail is everything else.
Mail shows up more then surprises.
The mailbox can be a constant source of clutter and an sneaky source of stress.
One October, I spent a portion of my lunchtime calling yesterday’s mail to get off their list and unsubscribe to junk. I was on hold for several minutes with each one so I could eat at the same time, making this process a little less painful.
I remember it being October because several customer service representatives informed me that I would be off the list today, but that it would take 60-90 days to completely stop receiving mail from them.
I looked at it as a Christmas present to myself.
There are apps now to help with this task. If you know of a good one, please share in the comments below if you have found a good one!
It is some work, but it is worth it.
You will greatly minimize your paper clutter,
It will also allow more room to be available in your box for surprises.
And that is super awesomeness.
This is my sister’s genius idea.She has a superhero power that enables her to stretch a dollar and make it two, while at the same time, spring cleaning her kitchen.
She is onto something.
Here is one of her tricks…
For the month of February, she does not grocery shop.
Let me explain…
She still makes her growing family almost every meal they eat but only uses what she has in her pantry to do so.
This delicious idea saves them a bunch of money.
This fabulous idea prevents a lot of packaged food from expiring.
This crazy idea pushes her to experiment and tryout a bunch of Pinterest ideas.
This genius idea sneakily cleans a part of her house that a majority of us would like to close the door and not think about.
From what I understand she “shops” from her pantry weekly and takes the stuff she wants to focus on and work with, over to a cabinet by the stove. From there she picks and chooses what she will create today, making soups and casseroles, snacks and treats.
Her Pinterest boards are pretty amazing.
She admits to one loophole. She can buy something from the grocery store in order to make a dish but the bulk ingredients have to come from her pantry.
She does the same thing with her freezer.
Then BOOM she is already ahead of the game when it comes to spring cleaning.
Now, if I ever figure out how she is able to buy 27 large bags of M&M’s for a total of 27 cents with all these coupons and code words and secret handshakes…
I’ll let you know.
I have form a group on Facebook called Decluttering for a Cause. It is open to the public and you are welcome to join.
I will be sharing a helpful tip every day in Febuary on simplifying your home. Some of the big posts I will also share on this blog.
Here is one strategy I shared last week…
Is your closet ready to barf? No really…is it so full that you can’t see the floor? Does it cause constant anxiety in the morning?I am guessing you are nodding your head right now. I can’t see you, but I bet you are agreeing with me.
So I think we found a good place to start.
Trust me on this one, it will improve your whole day by beginning with a clean and organized closet.
My closet use to look like it could barf at any moment.
I had so much clothing, I had to pack it into seasonal tubs and spend an entire afternoon at the beginning of the season unpacking and repacking my closet. Even with half of my clothing in storage at all times, I still had to push and pull things out of the way every time I did laundry to get my clean, wrinkle free, clothes into the closet again. It never failed, every time I pulled something out of the overflowing closet it needed to be ironed, again.
I was pretty fed up with my closet not being able to breath and even more so when we moved all of our belongings 3 times in one summer. In other words, I totally understand where you might be coming from right now.
So here is what helped me pare down.
It is the most time efficient decluttering method I have come up with for cleaning out closets and minimizes having to make a bunch of decisions right now.
I put 3 boxes on the floor of my closet marked, Donate-Ask Someone-Keep.
Then I turned all the hangers backwards so they hooked from the back to the front. Then everyday I wore whatever I felt like wearing. During the day I had to decide if I really looooved the outfit I was wearing.
Did it scream, “MAGGIE!!”
Did it fit right? No really, does it fit right, RIGHT now or did it fit right 10 years ago?
Does it fit my lifestyle right now? …meaning does it work with my current job and how I like to spend my weekends…right now.
I had to decide before lunch and depending upon that decision, I knew if it was going into the Donate or Keep box when I took it off in the evening. I left the Ask Someone box for clothing I wanted to give away but knew someone specific who might like it.
In the beginning I tried to sell clothing at an consignment shop and did make a little money, but honestly it was not worth my time and energy.
Once each box was full I washed them in their own load and either took them directly to Goodwill, photographed them and sent it to the person I thought might want it, or in the case of the keepers, I hung them in my closet. The clean keepers were hung back up facing the right way. I forced myself not to wear anything turned around the correct way until everything else in the closet was worn once.
By the last few days of the month, I just took everything that was on a hanger still turned around and put it in the Donate box. I was really dying to re wear some of my favorites by then.
So let us start with the closet today.
Happy February Folks! It’s going to be a lovely one!!
I wanted to invite you too! It is open to the public and will last for the 29 days we have in February. I am going to do my best to share a bunch of tips and strategies for simplifying the clutter in your home.
I have had several people email or message me on where to start simplifying the physical clutter in their home, so I am wrapping this up as a little gift to you, to help you on your journey.
Obviously, I have taken minimalism and simplifying to an extreme in my own life but my intent is not to make you a mini me.
I am not going to make you give up your tv or your microwave but I will challenge you to clear some space so you can fully live in the rooms of your home.
The locals joining the group can donate items to the rummage sale at the end of be month to benefit a family who lost everything in a fire. If you are not a local you could pass your treasures on to a thrift store in your area.
So if you are looking for an extra push this month to declutter some troubling areas of your home, join us on Decluttering for a Cause on Facebook.
Cheers to taking control over your stuff.
Cheers to not letting your stuff control you!