How To Do Fall Cleaning….

I will be honest, despite years of growing up and helping with “fall”‘ and “spring” cleaning.. it is not one of my strong points.  When I first had my own apartment, yes I cleaned bi-weekly.  Fast forward to being a crazy busy single mom, and cleaning was not on the top of my list.  The house was always neat but there have been the occasional dust bunny.  Now, when I struggle with days of not being able to move, I can see the dust bunnies and want to clean. YES!  I said I want to clean.  Then when I feel better, I am playing catch up and still don’t get everything done I wanted to do.

So, you are wondering how someone like me, can teach you about “fall cleaning”, right?  Well this is more about “decluttering” which may or may not lead to cleaning.  BUT it will help you get organized which could make cleaning much easier..

Step #1 – Determine if your clutter is, well, clutter.  

I know this may sound like a no-brainer but sometimes clutter is hard to recognize. Yes, it is true!   Seriously, hear me out.  We live in our house day-in and day-out, so clutter really becomes part of the landscape. Maybe you don’t recognize the piles and groupings of stuff because it’s become the norm. You know the pile of mail you are going to get to.  Or the stack of papers to be filed in the office.  Maybe it is the shoes piled by the door and never making their way to the closet.  Whatever your pile looks like, we are pretty good at ignoring clutter, or just plain not realizing when it’s moved in.

So, when do you realize it is clutter?  When you can’t find something you’re looking for, or realize you have bought something you already had – costing time and money. Admit it, you have run to the store to get something only to find it about a week later (after the tags were off and you can’t return it).

Are you wondering if you have clutter?  Try this:  Take a photo of the space in question.  Start small with a drawer, a closet shelf, or a bookcase. Zoom in on the photo. How does the stuff make you feel? Are you horrified what others would think if they saw it?  Does it make your head spin wondering how this happened?  Do you use all of the stuff? If so, how often? How would your life feel if the space was tidy, leaving room to grow?

The answers to these questions are a great indicator there is work to be done.

Step #2 – Accept you probably do need to declutter

Have you recovered from the shock of seeing the pictures of your clutter?  Have you now started to stress over whether or not you can part with ANY of this stuff?

Even with you think you have pruned your closets, drawers and home, you will likely still pick items up and think, “Why did I keep this?”  Life tends to bring new items into our space each day, and we frequently fail to recognize the pace at which we are accumulating things.

I used to clean out closets twice a year.  Donating them to the church rummage sale or Goodwill.  The biggest one was always before the holidays especially when Belinda was younger.  I knew the gift giving season would bring a whole lot more “stuff” while there were many things sitting in the bottom of the toy box which hadn’t see the light of day in years.  Now, as I notice things are no longer used or needed, they go in the box in the garage to be donated.  Slowly, I am decluttering…

Step #3 –  Let yourself let go

How many items do you have which you have only used once a year or maybe once in five years?  It is sitting there taking up space, right?  You wonder how you could live without it.  I have a wok which I have had for years and it hasn’t been used in years…. why?  you never know.

Ownership is overrated. We often feel we need to own something to enjoy it.  How many things do you have which you could have rented or borrowed instead?  The truth is we may get more pleasure out of borrowing or renting something than actually owning it.  Sounds crazy, right?   Well, when we own something, it requires we clean it, move it, store it, maintain it, and maybe even insure it.  It all takes energy. Be open to alternative ways to access and enjoy physical objects.

Step #4 Baby steps when setting organizing goals

Yup, I hit you with a lot in just a short period of time, right?  I know it is overwhelming.  What happens when you get overwhelmed?  If you are like me, you run and hide.  NO, seriously.  Do you avoid the situation?  Most likely, when you are overwhelmed, you lose interest and momentum.  So what if you just took baby steps.  Do a little bit every day.  Continuity is key.  Do small spaces first, as you do small spaces, you will begin to see the difference around you and you will feel energized to do more.

Organizing is not an end destination, it’s a process of acquiring skills, applying them, and being committed to being organized every day.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Let Go of the Old, Make Room for the New

I have been spring cleaning over the last few weeks….Chasing some of the dust bunnies away and attacking the many “junk drawers” around the house.  I am always amazed at the things I find.  WHY?  Because I can’t believe I held on to them “just in case”.

I am a just in case kind of gal.  When we go on a trip, I pack extra “just in case”.  When we go on a road trip, I pack extra snacks “just in case”.  So, finding things I have kept around “just in case” I need them or someone else will want it is what I seem to do.  I have been reading the book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I am slowing looking at things a little differently in our home.

Why is it so hard to let go? Whether it’s old e-mail or a worn-out sweater, outdated files or a toxic friendship, sometimes we hold on to things for too long. They serve no purpose but to clutter our lives unnecessarily. Today, I want to challenge you to face your fear of letting go.

There are a few common fears which appear when it’s time to let go of something. What are you hanging on to even though it’s time to let go? Which of these pesky fears is it time to face?

  • fear you won’t have what you need in the future
  • fear of being wrong
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of regret

Breaking through fear requires one key factor: courage. Courage requires faith and trust  your future will be okay without the thing you are letting go of.  YIKES!  Scary, right?  You can muster up the courage to let go by coaching yourself with questions which will help you get unstuck, such as:

  • What does my intuition tell me about letting go in this situation? Will I follow it?
  • If the thing I fear most happens, what is my plan B?
  • Who could I ask to hold me accountable and encourage me as I let go?

Make a decision. For those of us who are people pleasers, this is tough.  I know, I am one of them.  I second guess myself a million times.  The best thing to do is to carve out some time to do what you need to do. You can do it.  Start with small amounts of time, say 15 minutes, set a timer and when it rings you are done.

The truth is as I have been doing this, I have realized how much time and money has been spent “just in case”.  I see a sale and think “I could use this” then never do.  I see an idea which worked for someone else so I jump in with both feet, only to find out it isn’t me.  May has been full of life reflections for me.  I wonder why it took till the age of 61 to learn some of these lessons.

Toss out the OLD and move on.  You will be surprised several weeks or months later, you never once needed or missed what was tossed, donated or sold. Imagine that!

My challenge to you is this:  Is there something it’s time to let go of?  You know what it is. Muster up the courage and just do it. You’ll feel lighter for it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful-day!

Do You Have an Elephant in the Room?

Hello, world.  Have you ever had the feeling something was following you?  You knoooow something’s there but you were just too afraid to look.  So you ignore it, hoping it would eventually go away… but it doesn’t.  Suddenly, “something” grabs you at your feet!  You jump back in shock, only to slam right into it.  So then, you do what most people would do… RUN!  Or you attempt to run, when only after a few steps, you slip on to the floor, and fall directly into the “thing”.  Finally, you make it to the door.  By now, you’re thinking you at least owe it to yourself to see what it was; this persistent, consuming “thing” determined to drag you down.  So you slooowly turn around… and stare it head on.  Did someone break in?.. Is it an animal?… a ghost or a MONSTER?!  When all of a sudden you realize… it’s just those overstuffed binders on the floor you’ve been “meaning” to organize, the books and customer invoices stacked on the desk, and the world of products from your inventory toppling over the shelves.  Yep, the so-called “Thing” pursuing you is called Clutter… and the truly scary conclusion is, it ain’t goin’ anywhere until you make it.

I saw this in a blog post some time ago and I giggle every time I read it.  As a home-based business owner, the “Thing” called clutter is a common issue.  Being a home-based business owner for many years, I have had the elephant in the room.  Yes, I do help others get organized but not always the best at taking my own advice!

Do we invite clutter in?  Nope!  Do we like to deal with it? Nope!  It just sort of happens.

I was always one for piles – organized piles.  Then when I started working from home full time, I found it wasn’t so easy to get organized.  I struggled with systems. We know we should take time to get organized, but the truth is we either (1) don’t know where to start, (2) adopt the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality (try to work with it as it is), or (3) RUN from it (avoid it all together).

No matter what, clutter has to eventually be cleared up or it will only get worse and you will be buried under a mass of paper being totally unproductive.  It’s not going anywhere and the biggest hit where it REALLY hurts is…..yep, your profits.  It is so much easier when you tackle it right away because it is easier, less overwhelming and can be a stress-free process.  Otherwise, you not only work harder, you start the day off cranky and frustrated because, “seriously, I can’t find the file!” or you have orders for a product you didn’t realize was out of stock… ouch$$$!  Need more motivation?

The major benefits of putting in the time and effort to get any home-based business space in order:

  1. It promotes efficiency… you can locate your items much quicker because you know exactly where everything is when you need it, which saves you time.  Once organized, it may take a moment to think about where you put it but once you keep putting something back in the same place, it will become a habit!
  2. It increases productivity… an organized workspace helps you accomplish more throughout your workday.  When a system of order is in place, you are more driven and focused on the success of your business; NOT on the added stress of a cluttered space.
  3. It saves you profits… Organization = Great inventory management!  You avoid product loss due to expiration, misplacement, or damage.
  4. It creates an atmosphere which leads to business success!.. when you’ve create an environment which stimulates our brain, you think and feel better which translates into your work.  The passion for your business is reignited!  It also inspires you to want to become organized in other areas of your life.  Imagine that!!!

Helping people get organized is part of the butterfly effect of my vision – to bring a smile to the face of those who are struggling.  When people think of someone struggling, they think of major things like chronic illness, the loss of someone, addiction, etc.  BUT the struggle could be the desire to grow your business.  I’m in the business of helping people.

I LOVE working with home based business owners. Let me help you transform spaces which are a “hot mess” to what seems like a completely different room.   Every time you enter your office space, you’ll instantly become charged about your business day.   I can share with you how I got organized and STAY organized (90% of the time).  But it is your BUSINESS (or your home)!  We need to make it work for YOU.

I want you to feel excited and inspired every day when you enter your work space.  It shouldn’t bring feelings of stress or a “business-as-usual” mentality.  As a home-based business owner, you have the power to change your work environment into something to fuel your success.   It starts by getting organized – office supplies, product inventory, packaging/shipping supplies, photo/video equipment… EVERYTHING needed to run our businesses from home, in a neat and orderly system which fits your unique, individual needs…wheeew!  As a home-based business owner, you can create a positive, inspiring environment to keep you pumped about fulfilling your goals – no matter how big or small the space may be.

It’s time to address the elephant in the room!  Face it head on and be determined to overcome the problem which isn’t going anywhere

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tips on Homemaking

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Do you know what today is?  Yes, it is HUMP Day… half way through the week and halfway to the weekend.

Over the last week, we have been doing some remolding and repairs in the bathroom.  We had a small electrical fire in the lights above the medicine chest which turned into a major project.  So for about a week, the medicine chest was sitting in my living room.  I know what does this all have to do with “homemaking”, right?8133762f897b470f847f2c663562ef7f

It brought back some memories and got me motivated to clean up some of the stuff in the house.  My idea of doing chores for many years – since I have lived on my own – has been keeping things neat, a feather dusting and a quick vacuum or sweep.  Nothing major except for when I had the urge to move the furniture, then watch out.

When did I go from Saturday morning (or my day off) cleaning to just having things passable.  When did I stop paying attention to the details of housework like my mom?  I learned about cleaning and homemaking while living with my parents but the lessons never translated when I moved in on my own.

I went on the hunt for some help with homemaking hints, so I could get a refresher course.  Here are the 5 best tips, I found….

1. Practice.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but things do get better over time. What area do you struggle with – cleaning the bathroom? Practice. Struggling with laundry? Practice.  I never thought of these things as skills but in order to get good at them, you need to do them every day (or often) until you get really good at it.

2. Work on one area.

Or at least one area at a time. As much as you would like to, you don’t have to be on top of everything all the time!  It would be nice but truth is, it’s a juggling act.  Get the bathrooms shipshape, and then the laundry room is overflowing. Then the kitchen gets scary. And so it goes.  So take it one step at a time, one area at a time. Then repeat.  I struggle because our kitchen, dining room and living room all flow together, keeping them separate seems like even more of a struggle.

3. Give yourself grace.

We all have challenging seasons – maybe a pregnancy, a new baby, illness, job loss, or maybe moving to a new house? These are HUGE so don’t beat yourself up while going through it.  It is during these times, you need to slip into survival mode and just concentrate on the bare basics.  Honestly, I think I gave myself grace for far too long (5 years of challenging seasons).  During these times I have had enough on my hands so I am done heaping more guilt on myself.  What about you?  Do the guilt gremlins invade your space too?

4. Remember Who you are serving.

Cleaning (homemaking) was always all about pride or for my family’s sake but mostly about people pleasing.  When I didn’t do it according to the rules or the script, it was discouraging.   I woke up this morning with an AHA!  What if I am doing this as service to God—and Him only?  It really changes my perspective, the same as my dieting is pleasing to him.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (or family, friends, or neighbors). ~ Col. 3:23

So, with a song in my heart and strength in my hands, I am going to it!

5. Study the craft.

I may not be studying like I did in school BUT I am looking for articles on how to do things quickly, easily and toxic free.  I am not saying the dust bunnies won’t still creep in but they won’t linger as long.  Pinterest and Google have some great tips to help with the skill of homemaking.

Here are some more tidbits of information I picked up along the way:

  • Baking soda gets the smell out of stinky spots.
  • Clean the dirtiest areas of the bathroom first and then work your way up the mirrors last.
  • Run a lemon through the garbage disposal to freshen the sink.

By learning new tricks, homemaking is becoming more manageable and not a dreaded chore.  What are some of your best tips?1342735549209_2735191

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Organize Your Kitchen

our-kitchenHappy Monday!  I don’t know about you but the kitchen seems to be the hardest spot to keep organized.  Mind you, ours is one of those galley type kitchens in the condo so it doesn’t have much counter space to begin with.  Just one thing out of place and it is like chaos.

For most people, the kitchen and pantry are the most used ares of your home.  This is where family gathers, stuff gets dropped and where friends congregate when they come to visit.  Consequently, it quickly falls into chaos and clutter.

Here are some ideas for keeping the kitchen counters clear and the pantry organized. An organized pantry allows you to see what you have which saves trips to the store, money, and time.

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Bananas are a must have fruit in our house.  So this is a simple fix to keep them off the counter.  I also find they don’t bruise as easily as when they are on the counter.  Separating them does keep them from turning brown longer but makes for a cluttered counter.

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Do you love keeping things together? I hate opening the pantry and having to look around to find snacks. Using Thirty One’s cubes and rectangles allows me to keep similar foods together.  Personalizing the standards like snacks, pasta, etc can be done to keep things neat.  Or, you can use the chalk front and write your own label for those combinations which change frequently.  It makes it easier and faster to cook. Makes It easy to take inventory before I head to the store. Here’s a close-up of the bins:

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You can use them for various boxes of pasta or bags.  Since we are gluten free, I have found most of the pasta is in bags so the bins make it easy to keep the cabinets neat. Canned good are no exception to the keeping like items together rule. Canned goods can go into a bin, just like boxed foods. If you want to clean the shelf, it’s much easier to move one bin than all these cans separately.

storageorganizing24-300x214  I believe food storage lids are some how related to socks. They always seem to go missing for no reason and with no trace. Another alternative to keeping them together, and in a place you can see them, is critical to keeping them where you can use them. This can also be used to pot lids.  You can usually pick up stands like this in the dollar store.

double-duty-caddy Another solution to those pesky lids is Thirty One’s Double Duty caddy.  This handy bag works for craft, mail, car or cleaning storage solutions. It’s a great diaper caddy, too.  Approx. 10 1/2″H x 10″L x 8″D

8631800a Thirty One’s new Hang It Pocket Organizer is great for the kitchen as a command center.  Pockets for papers, keys, gloves or whatever else is tossed on your counter.  Get organized in the mudroom, office or playroom with this five-pocket organizer which can be tied on a door or hung on the wall. Extra-roomy pockets are great for craft supplies, file folders or even kids’ toys. Dimensions: 20″H x 24.75″L

What are some of your favorite tips for keeping your kitchen neat and tidy?  Share them with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!