In a previous post (July 2019), I described minimalism and my beginning progress on that road. To repeat a quote from Joshua Becker of the becomingminimalist.com blog, “minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.” Initially, I wondered what it would look like and how it would feel to declutter the things I did not use. Slow and steady progress has marked my experience. I am hoping to find clarity toward future goals as a result of the decluttering process. (Click on Read More to continue.)
I have wanted to write a post about minimalism for a while now but found the prospect daunting. Minimalism seems like an intriguing lifestyle but I don’t really grasp what it’s all about. In my mind minimalism means painting my walls white, reducing my furniture to half (all white) and having no hobbies or interests (hence none of the supporting stuff). That scenario has seemed unrealistic to me in the past. Curious though, I recently delved deeper into the philosophy of minimalism. Here are my new understanding and personal thoughts. (Click on Read More to continue)
Ready to declutter your computer files? If not, here are some great reasons to decide to get started:
The process can be done piecemeal for manageability and repeated on a regular basis to keep the computer running smoothly. (In an upcoming post, we focus on organizing files.) Click on "Read More" for decluttering steps.
Do you struggle with too much stuff? Are you overwhelmed by too many commitments? Do you feel like your mind is running away with itself? It’s really not difficult to simplify your life. Focus on these seven areas for simplicity and enjoyment.
1. PAPERS Reduce snail mail that comes into the home. Declutter files and boxes of paper. Establish a filing system to eliminate unsightly paper piles.
2. CLOTHES Go through closets, drawers and storage bins. Cull the pieces that have not been worn or are no longer wanted.
3. SHOES Handle each pair of shoes and boots. Be realistic about what you wear or expect to wear some day. Get rid of the rest.
4. ACTIVITIES Re-evaluate why you are involved in each activity. Cut back on those that are no longer enjoyable or do not support personal goals.
5. PURCHASES Delay new purchases for a couple days. Be honest about whether the purchase is a need or a want. Remember, the less you have the less you have to maintain.
6. EMAILS Take time to go through the inbox. Delete unneeded emails. Unsubscribe from email lists. Set up rules that separate emails into folders automatically.
7. EXPECTATIONS Release ideas of perfectionism. Be grateful for what you have.
As we contemplate a new year, who doesn’t dream to make our lives better, eliminate bad habits or just take more responsibility for our lives? As I’ve blogged in the past, the New Year is a wonderfully energetic time to make resolutions. However, this year I’m approaching resolutions from a broader perspective. Simplicity - the state of being uncomplicated. What about intentionally working on simplicity as a way to bring about positive changes? Here’s my thought process:
Simplify > Focus > Achieve goals
(to continue click on Read More)
Do you love the holiday season or do you dread it? No matter how we feel there is simply no option but to make the best of this time of year. We are each responsible for making celebratory choices that minimize stress but still nurture the magic of the season. After all this is truly a special time of year regardless of our religious or spiritual beliefs. Here are two survival tips to follow as we experience the holiday bustle: keep the season simple and give freely (not what you think). (click on Read More)
Embarking on self-improvement? Organization will follow!
In this month of Self-Improvement, we encourage you to think about self-improvement as the foundation for getting organized. Work on these common self-improvement goals: exercise, eat better, change habits, set goals, be mindful, be thankful, learn new skill, stop wasting time, and accept change. Then you will find that organization naturally follows. That’s because disorganization is often rooted in poor time management, lack of goals, living mindlessly and, yes, lack of exercise and poor eating habits. Once the mind is trained and properly nourished then it can function effortlessly to clear the environment. Why not work on self-improvement this month and reap the added benefit of organization?
See the previous post for self-improvement ideas.
Does mental illness cause you clutter stress? Here are nine tips to help overcome inertia and achieve your decluttering dreams.
BECOME AWARE OF YOUR SITUATION – How did this happen? When did it begin? What is the cause? What’s going on? What are you feeling? Are there other things that need to be fixed before decluttering begins?
COMMIT TO GET STARTED – decide today, now, you will begin on your journey to improve your living space.
SET GOALS – if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s hard to know whether you’ve arrived.
START SMALL – expecting large results is a recipe for disappointment, stress, negative feelings. Plan bite sized tasks on your calendar and stick to them.
STAY POSITIVE – celebrate little accomplishments to keep motivated and maintain momentum. A journey begins with just one step. Baby steps ARE progress.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK – when you backslide. Every day is a new beginning, don’t give up.
SHARE YOUR JOURNEY WITH SOMEONE – a friend or relative who will listen to your successes and struggles. You will feel supported and accountable.
GET HELP WITH PHYSICAL LABOR – if you are challenged with energy or strength. Another person can work under your direction to do the heavy lifting.
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP – in a therapist and/or professional organizer. A professional will hold you accountable and motivate you in the initial steps at the very least.
In my work with clients I often see someone using a system that is overly complicated, has too many steps or is extraordinarily time-consuming. As an objective observer I see alternative methods that would be easier and reduce stress in the long run. Do you need to find simpler ways to do things, manage time, or store belongings? Here are some poor systems and ways that they were made easier.
- Problem: I had a client who stored all his office supplies down the hall many steps away from his office. This client believed that his method was logical and well organized. However, it took too much time to access the supplies and he became easily distracted along the way.
- Solution: adequate storage space was introduced by moving a cabinet into the office to hold the larger office supplies. Additional containers were purchased to hold frequently used desk accessories so that they were handy.
- Problem: another client insisted that all her clothes fit in one closet, which they truly did not. It took a herculean, shoulder-wrenching effort to make space on the rod to insert a hanger. Plus, tricky specialty hangers designed to store multiple tops or pants required too much effort to be useful. Thus, most of her clothing accumulated in amorphous piles on the bureaus.
- Solution: the simple solution was to remove some clothes for donation and to seasonal storage. This took time initially but in the long run saved stress by making it easier to put clothes away.
- Problem: I see many clients who retain too much paper. There is a lack of space to store it all and oftentimes important papers become lost. More than one client has saved every paid bill in its respective envelope. Likewise bank statements, utility bills, financial statements and medical benefit are saved in original envelopes. This practice takes up too much space and often these envelopes are stacked on tables and furniture rather than filed appropriately.
- Solution: in these cases we open every envelope and throw away/recycle/shred the unnecessary envelopes, inserts and generic notices. We also discuss the purpose of saving particular papers, filing the current ones in labeled file drawers, archiving the rest in storage boxes.
Do you have a system or habit in your life that is causing stress? Or one that is taking too much time? Or one that you avoid? Ask yourself, “How can I make this simpler?” “What would be the consequences of making a change?” “What would a new way look like?” “How could I streamline this task?” Weigh the alternatives that you brainstorm then choose one and do it. There is no harm in starting over from scratch if the system does not work as expected. As least you would have tried and eliminated that option. Repeat the process again and maybe again until you have figured out a more efficient system. It often helps to read books, research online advice, ask questions, call a friend or hire someone. Find out how other people solve a similar problem. There is no excuse to continue using a complicated system. Invest some time to fix it! You will thank yourself for making your home more simple and your life more calm.
Simple is being organized but not too much.
Simple is easy.
Simple is fast.
Simple is fewer choices.
Simple is open shelving.
Simple is fewer things.
Simple is a schedule.
Simple is being flexible.
Simple is clean.
Simple is slowing down.
Simple is open bins and baskets.
Simple is fewer distractions.
Simple is less often.
Simple is a larger trash can.
Simple is fewer steps.
Simple is no excuses.
Simple is relaxing.
Carol Martin-Ward, encouraging practical ideas for easy organizing