declutter your mind

Think about your home. How does it make you feel?

Peaceful? Happy? Calm? Restful?

Or stressed out? Frustrated? Depressed?

Why is that?

For me, I have rooms and walls in my house that make me smile and feel calm every time I enter them or look at them. I call them my Happy Places and Happy Walls.

Here’s one such place – my livingroom.

Happy Place-livingroom 1

Happy Place-livingroom 2And another place – my calendar wall.

My Happy WallMore about how I created this calendar wall later.

Why do they invoke these feelings of calm and happiness?

I have other rooms in my house that make me feel crazy just thinking about them. And I mean crazy in a not so good way. They make me want to throw my hands up in the air and give up. They really stress me out.

Here’s one of the downstairs bedrooms:

cluttered room

And another bedroom:daughter trying to clean messy room legos, legos everywhere

Why do they invoke these feelings of frustration and stress?

My friends, the answer is simple.

Clutter. (crazy)

Or the lack of it. (calm)

My happy places and walls in my house are because they are places that are clutter-free. They are spaces where I’ve gotten rid of the excess clutter and things that I didn’t care about. They are clean and simple. They’re not fancy or expensive – just simple.

My stressful places are because they aren’t clean or organized. They’re filled with clutter – too much stuff. They totally stress me out and make me feel unhappy.

And you know what? It stressed out the entire family.

I’m on a mission to make my entire house a happy place. I know it won’t be easy because sometimes getting rid of clutter isn’t easy.

Why is that? I think I may have some answers.

How much of the clutter in our homes is because we’re not willing to part with it?

Think about that for a minute. Or two. Or a day or two.

In fact, I want you to think about that for even longer.

And I don’t care to hear the reasons/excuses why we keep the clutter. “But my aunt gave me that” or “it’s a family heirloom” or “I paid a lot of money for that” or “it’s because I have kids, or a husband, or a roommate, etc” or whatever. Those excuses are just that – excuses.

Our clutter doesn’t grab us when we want to throw it away or get rid of it. It doesn’t scream at us as we toss it into the garbage or the recycle bin. It can’t physically make us keep it in our lives.

No, our mind does all of that for us. And we buy into it.

“Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris

How does that statement make you feel?

It sounds absolutely divine to me. Just divine. It sounds like a haven, a place of rest, a calm place. A happy place.

Let’s take the next few days or a week or so to look at our homes differently. And I’m only talking about our stuff here, folks. I’m not talking about big home remodel or makeovers.

As you walk around your home doing your normal daily stuff, notice what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Make mental notes. If you want to throw something away immediately, go for it. But it’s not necessary yet.

Friends, let’s unclutter our minds. Let’s prepare to let this stuff go. Let’s make our homes places of happiness, only filled with those things that William Morris mentions.

It’s entirely possible.

Think about it.

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Waterproof mattress pad

We have a waterproof mattress pad on our king-sized bed.

quilted soft waterproof mattress pad

No, it’s not because Curtis and I have a bedwetting problem. Although if we did, that would be a little too much information anyway.

Ahem.

It’s because we have children!

You see, some of our children some of the time like to sleep in our bed. And some of the time, some of those children who wear diapers fill those diapers to overflowing. And so some of the time those diapers leak.

So therefore our bed gets wet.

And one of our children still likes his bottle. And some of our other children like water bottles in bed with them, even if they’re not planning on sleeping. They just like to drink water.

And sometimes those water bottles leak. Just like diapers.

So therefore our bed gets wet.

And sometimes people get sick and then they throw up and it gets all over our bed because when you’re sick you want to sleep with mommy and daddy.

So therefore our bed gets wet.

That’s why we have a waterproof mattress pad on our bed. Because somebody needs to protect our mattress. And that somebody is me.

waterproof mattress pad

If you don’t have a waterproof mattress pad, get one. I promise I won’t think you have a bedwetting problem.

Because when your bed gets wet, you just take off the waterproof mattress pad, throw it in the washer and dryer and then put it back on your bed.

No harm done to your mattress. One less thing to worry about.

And that’s a beautiful thing.

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the snow is talking

If you live anywhere near where I live, you’ll hear the groans of men, women and children everywhere wishing the winter would end and spring would begin.

You see, it’s snowing again.

While that’s completely normal for us, add in the fact that our temperatures, until quite recently, have been abnormally low (yes, even negative) and the fact that we live in a valley which means the air gets trapped by our beautiful mountains and turns dangerously yucky, it’s not unexpected that people want the snow and cold to go away.

Snow, snow, go away, come again another day. Or season.

But I’m going to look at it differently. Don’t hate me because of it, or just hate me quietly because I don’t do well with people who hate me. I cry. So if you want to make me cry, hate me publicly. Just know that it’s not a nice thing to do.

I love the snow. In fact I love all kinds of stormy weather as long as it’s not life-threatening (so that would mean I don’t love hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.) Yes, I also love spring, summer and fall. Fall is my favorite season, actually.

But this weather is keeping me focused on getting the inside of my house in order. And that’s a good thing because once the weather turns warm then I’ll want to be outside and the inside of my house won’t get attention. I have so many projects waiting to be done when the weather turns warm. Yes, the inside of my house will get neglected indeed.

And maybe, just maybe, Mother Nature knows that we need to get the insides cleaned out before we can get the outsides cleaned out. (If that means something deeper to you than just cleaning your house, run with it.) And maybe that’s why it’s snowing more.

Indulge me here folks, I know that’s not why it’s snowing. I’m just trying to help you feel better about it.

So take the opportunity, if I dare use that word, of being sort of house-bound and tackle that pile of papers or messy closet or just one shelf or one folder or one room.

I mean, if you’re going to be in your house anyway, you might as well get something done. And I don’t mean getting caught up on all your favorite shows. Improve your situation by getting rid of junk, trash and clutter. Surround the inside of your house with only the things you love and use.

Yesterday Dana and Noah spent some time cleaning the boys’ bedroom downstairs instead of playing. No, I did not bribe or threaten them with certain death if they didn’t. And you know what? They felt so good about themselves at what they had accomplished. They improved their situation and their mother gushed with adoration.

And gratitude. Because I’d been putting off that room.

Win win.

basketball net covered in snow

Thank you, snow. For helping me tackle my inside clutter just a little bit more.

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i spy

I spy…

Cluttered Carport10 milk boxes
3 bags of clothes to donate
1 miter saw
millions of sawdust pieces (I didn’t realize the bag that’s supposed to contain the flying sawdust was missing until after I was done cutting 35 pieces of wood and wondered why in the world there was sawdust covering everything)
1 drop cloth
1 Christmas garland
1 Millennium Falcon snow sled
3 (visible) camping chairs
1 basketball hoop
1 box of wood scraps
2 logs
1 ladder
2 buckets full of tools
1 basketball
1 rake
1 black wood holder
the red handlebars of a scooter
1 Rubbermaid plastic tote
1 blue bookcase
3 large pieces of wood
1 white Astro van
1 blue rolling cart
1 green garbage can
1 black garbage can

Do you see all of that? Extra points if you can find them all.

Yes, my carport is in need of some serious help.

And that’s only part of the view. There’s much more than that which we won’t talk about.

So I thought I should maybe, perhaps, possibly go clean it up.

And then I cleaned the knobs on my stove and called it good.

clean stove knobsThe end.

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drops of awesome

I want to thank my friend, Heather Clark, for sharing this blog post I’m about to tell you about. It has changed many things for me.

But before I share, a few thoughts of my own…

In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t posted in awhile. There are many reasons for this: the holidays, sickness, feelings of being totally and completely overwhelmed with many things in my life that I don’t care to talk about (no offense).

And then there was just the plain old fact that my house was falling apart for all the reasons posted above. And I felt like I couldn’t post things about how to organize your life if I couldn’t even get my own life in control. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

I was feeling pretty down. And then I read the blog post my friend shared.

WOW. How did she know I was doing that? How did she know?

You’ve got to read it. Read it in whatever context of life you want – as it relates to you personally, in your marriage or relationship, at work, with your kids, siblings, if you’re religious or not, etc. It doesn’t matter what phase of life you’re in – this blog post is pure awesomeness.

And yes – it totally applies to being organized. Because it’s about how you think about things. It’s about looking at things differently which can change everything.

Once you read it, I challenge you to ponder it, think about it, find ways for it to enter your life, including getting organized.

Drops of Awesome

It reminds me of my most favorite quote that I obviously don’t really believe about myself – yet:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

Let’s help each other be awesome.

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i heard the bells

This is a hard post to write. And I’ve debated back and forth about whether or not to make my feelings so public or just keep it to myself in my journal. This is an organizing blog, after all. But I feel like I should, so I’m going to. I hope it helps someone out there.

Yesterday I felt nothing but sadness, a lot of anger and heartbreak surrounding the Connecticut events.

Even though I don’t know a single soul in that entire state I felt as if it had happened to me or my best friend. It felt that real. I couldn’t stop crying. My heart hurt for those parents, for their families, for the children who survived, for everyone.

Everyone except the shooter. I hated him. I could not find peace. I went to bed with a very heavy heart.

Then last night I had a dream.

I saw the little children who had been killed yesterday in heaven with our Savior, Jesus Christ. That I expected. Those little children are innocent.

What I didn’t expect was that they were surrounding the shooter, hugging him, crying.

They were forgiving him.

Wow. I was shocked. And yet should I be shocked?

I know that the shooter will have to pay for his sins one way or another, but that’s not up to me to decide.

It’s up to me to love and to forgive. I know it will be hard at times, but that’s my job.

This morning I looked at my little children and realized how forgiving they really are. I mean, I’ve always known it. But it was different somehow.

I don’t know if it’s even possible for little children to hold grudges or stay mad for very long. I’m not an expert, by any means, but what I’ve witnessed as I’ve raised my children is that the older we get, the easier it is to stay mad; to hold grudges, to want revenge.

Yesterday I wanted the shooter to burn in hell forever. I really did.

Today I know he will pay for his sins, but I want to forgive.

Because of that simple dream, I feel peace. I’m still sad. Very sad. But I feel a peace I didn’t feel yesterday.

I know these families will continue to suffer, grieve, question, wonder; they’ll feel anger because they were unjustly jipped out of the chance they should’ve had to raise their precious children. And I will feel some of these same feelings; not to the same degree obviously, but I will grieve with them in my own way.

But what I hope ultimately comes of this is peace and love. Isn’t that what this Christmas season is all about? We celebrate the birth of the Savior, who is The Prince of Peace.

A song comes to my mind:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day,
Their old familiar carols play…

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then peeled the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Join me, won’t you?

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thanksgiving is here

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some of you are traveling. Some of you are already at your holiday destination and some of you are celebrating either at your own home or locally somewhere else.

Or, if you live outside the US, you’re probably having a normal weekend. But what do I know of other country’s holidays?

Not much.

I know this post won’t benefit the majority of you because I didn’t get it out earlier, but even if you can’t take advantage of it this year, you can read it and store the ideas away for next year.

source: wikipedia.org

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving Dinner or going to someone else’s house doesn’t matter. But what does matter is what kind of hostess or guest you are.

Are you the kind that is so busy doing everything and cleaning everything that by the time you leave or your guests leave you’re just frazzled and upset?

Or are you the type that takes a vacation from all responsibility during a holiday event, leaving the clean-up for someone else and making the hostess annoyed that you came?

Or are you somewhere in the middle?

Whatever you are, things can change. They don’t have to be that way anymore. And this is why…

{ expect things to change }
Things won’t change if you first don’t expect them to change. If you’ve always done it this way and it’ll always be done this way then of course nothing will be different. But if you want things to be different, that’s a great step in the right direction.

{ voice your expectations }
This is crucial. People can’t read your mind.

No, really. They can’t. So stop making them try. It’s just not very nice.

If you are hosting people at your house, let them know what they can and can’t do. Send an email around listing your expectations – even if you think they should be common sense. Oftentimes they’re not.

For example, it should be common sense that parents take care of their own children. Not so in our family. For some reason, when we all gather at my Mom’s house, it’s my mom who ends up taking care of the kids while the adults play games, etc.

Not good. Especially when you remember that she has 21 grandchildren and all of them will be at her house tomorrow except for three!

So my Mom voiced that expectation this year that she’s not the babysitter. She had me put it in an email and send it to the entire family. We’re all being held accountable for something that we may or may not have realized was happening.

Way to go Mom!

Another thing that should be common sense is the clean-up. If you ate, you should help clean-up. Pretty simple, right?

Nope. Again, it’s another one of those things that can easily be forgotten about if you don’t voice your expectations.

So make a list and check it twice! Oops – that’s Santa’s job.

I sort of forced my mom to make a list this year of chores she wants done when everyone is finished eating and before the tryptophan kicks in and the games begin. I sent this list to everyone that’s coming and had them sign up for what chore they wanted to do.

Easy and done. My Mom won’t be stuck in the kitchen cleaning up after everyone this year. Should’ve been a no-brainer years ago.

{ print the list }
There’s nothing wrong with having the list of chores and other expectations out where everyone can see them. In fact, it’ll be easier to remember what you signed up to do and less threatening if you have to remind someone to do something because it’s written there, in black and white, hanging on the fridge or cupboard door.

{ enforce the expectations }
Now you need to be nice here. Don’t blame me if you come across as a militant cleaning nazi or something like that! Don’t tell your friends that this organizer lady said you had to enforce the expectations.

All you need to do is ask nicely.

Now if you’re not hosting but are going to be a guest at someone else’s house, take the initiative and call the hostess. Ask her what she would like/love to be done while everyone is at her house. Offer to type up a list and email everyone who’s invited. The hostess has enough to worry about without worrying about this.

I hope these ideas are helpful for you not only for this holiday but for any and all large gatherings.

So on that note, have a fabulous holiday and enjoy this time with family and friends.

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