The first step for some can be the inability to ask for help because they've been taught they should be able to do it all on their own. The first step for others can be feeling helplessness, hopelessness, or shame, too scared to ask for help. The first step for the clients I work with are mostly the first two examples above and they've also experienced a type of loss or trauma and they realize that their physical surroundings may be causing some of the grief or contributing to the obstacles they are facing.
Your first step can be in the not knowing or in the fear. They both can become so heavy that you have no alternative but to jump outside of your comfort zone and that's why I'm here to help. Maybe you have all of your ducks in a row and are just too busy to ask for help, I can help you too! It'll be like two friends getting together, like old times, having a chat, and then, voilà, the clutter will be gone and you won't care to remember the old way because the new way will feel so good.
It's more than OK to ask for help, and for some of you it will not only be life-changing, it will be life-saving. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing your home is meant to be your sanctuary, your safe place, the place where you go to seek refuge from the days events to find peace and solace. Once you start tidying you might even look back and realize the obstacle to getting tidy was bigger in your mind than in reality.
Remember, you can only change the things you are doing if you change the things you are doing. So, find that bright shiny version of yourself that's been patiently waiting underneath all of that clutter and you do this by starting with your clothes. See how you feel, you’ll either be inspired and energized to keep moving forward or you won’t, and either way, you’ll discover what’s best for you. <3 <3 <3
In the beginning, it isn’t what you do or how you do something, it’s in the recognition that you want to make a change. Taking the leap and trying something new is most important and making the attempt to be or do something new will make room for the whats and the hows to evolve. No, I’m not the best painter but I love to paint and I will probably do it until I can’t do it anymore. No, I’m not a perfect mom but every day I do my best to teach my child through love and discipline how to be a good person and responsible member of society. No, I’m not the best at relationships but I am working on myself in every way a human can self develop and it’s my belief in the end result that keeps me moving forward.
A friend recently told me this year a good goal for me would be to focus on all of my strengths and to keep my weaknesses in the periphery. I’ve mastered focusing on all the things where I miss the mark and now it’s time to see where I hit the bullseye. I’ve recently had to cut out some areas of my life that are no longer serving me and they’re all attached to the old beliefs that have been with me since I was a child. All I can say is beliefs are powerful! I see it as inhabiting a geographical location and memorizing all the landmarks and street names and now it’s time to move to the next location so I can continue my mission of self-discovery and self-mastery.
One very empowering thing I’ve learned is that what can keep me stuck in my old habits and beliefs is pointing the finger at another. When I’m upset with someone or if my feelings have been hurt it's actually me viewing my old beliefs and habits within myself that I’ve grown tired of and it’s being reflected back to me through that persons behavior. Recognizing the strengths and positive attributes in others is a sign of where your higher self wants to be. Keep your eyes open and see what messages are delivered by the ones you surround yourself with. Do they represent the worn-out and outdated beliefs or do they represent who you want to be? You can only be the one you believe in so make sure to keep company with the ones (people & thoughts) that support your new belief system.
Don’t be afraid to broaden your lens and shed some light on the things you’ve been avoiding. They can only change if you acknowledge their presence and then take action toward their replacement. For me, this means taking a walk or going for a hike when I’ve hit a rough patch instead of eating chocolate and hiding under the covers. This is the beauty about belief, whatever you choose to believe about yourself then that’s what you get to be.
The painting above is of my uncle’s dog, Charley. He actually watches animal videos on Instagram and he has a very kind soul. Today I believe I’m a good painter because I like how this one turned out.
Happy New Year, Everyone!
It’s that time of year again, the time where we want to show the ones we care for that we are truly grateful for them. Lucky for me balance is my new mantra because I know not everything will be perfect. I may not find the perfect gift and I may even lose my center once or twice.
I have to keep telling myself everything is perfect and I’m doing my best. Mom gets this, Julien my son gets that, Dad gets this and etc. etc.
Lists and more lists of things that have to be done before going out of town.
Will I make it?
Balance. Ah yes, everything is ok.
My mind wants to focus on all the imperfections and balance wants my attention too. From time to time I think about a client I helped a few years ago, her closet is in the photos above. When she hired me she told me her husband and her mother had both died within 6 months of each other and every time she walked into the closet she felt paralyzed by the sadness because it is the closet she and her husband shared.
Can you imagine losing 2 people that you are so very close with? Some of you reading this can say Yes. Some of you, like me until a few months ago, can’t identify with this magnitude of loss. A young woman I spoke with last week said she lost both of her parents and her uncle during COVID. When I mentioned letting some material items go to make room for this new version of herself that she was wanting I could hear the recoiling in her voice and the fear stopped her from moving forward in tidying with me.
You can’t force yourself to do anything even when it could help your situation. If you aren’t ready, honoring that lack of readiness is the best step to take above anything else. You will eventually become ready. You will purge the feelings of loss and it will become a new part of you. You will feel stronger and you will feel wiser.
These two women remind me why choosing what’s most important for me is the best thing I can do in any moment. I can fret over the tiny details or I can grab a bigger paint brush and make broader strokes and be happy with the outcome. Today is one of those days where my mind wants to fret and I’m sure you can relate.
This is just a short blog I wanted to share in hopes of helping anyone reading that may be feeling the pains of loss or may be living in a home they feel is just too full of clutter to get started. The first step is the most difficult but it is also the most rewarding.
The client from the photos above was visibly changed from the inside out after we finished her closet. She began with a low quiet tone in her voice, shoulders slumped forward. At the end she had joy in her eyes and was ready to pack for her trip to Spain, she even said she loved her newly tidied closet.
Reach out and ask for help, you may be surprised how good it can feel, or don’t. Making the choice that’s best for you is what’s most important.
I’ll keep my mantra of balance close by, it’s the best choice for me.
Remember: Pointing the finger at another is actually you viewing old beliefs and habits within yourself that you’ve grown tired of. Recognizing the strengths and positive attributes in others is a sign of where your higher self wants to be. Keep your lens broad and see what messages are delivered by the ones you surround yourself with. Do they represent the worn-out and outdated beliefs or do they represent who you want to be? You can only be the one you believe in so make sure to keep company with the ones (people & thoughts) that support your new belief. <3 <3
Mornings before today, the day of my 45th birthday, I asked myself what will this the day bring?
Over the last year I’ve realized that I like to be more in control of things so I’ve decided to pose the question differently…
How do I get to make this day the best day ever?
Don’t you know it’s all about you?
So, what do you want?
Every morning when I wake up, I now understand I can paint my day on a blank canvas to look and feel the way I want.
Having trouble visualizing yourself within this concept?
Tidying can get you there and I can help!
There are four steps to getting started -
Step 1: LISTEN TO THE AUDIBLE VERSION OF SPARK JOY BY MARIE KONDO
Step 2: WRITE 2 LISTS, ONE OF WHAT SPARKS JOY FOR YOU AND ONE THAT DESCRIBES YOUR IDEAL LIFE AND LIVING SPACE.
Step 3: VISUALIZE YOURSELF AS IF YOU ARE ALREADY LIVING THIS NEW LIFE. (DON’T LEAVE OUT ANY DETAILS)
Step 4: CONTACT ME AND LET’S GET STARTED!!
Happy Tidying, Everyone!
📷 via Pinterest
This post comes immediately after having a virtual session with a very special client. “N” and I have been doing virtual lessons since August and initially she said she hated walking into her closet, there were certain things she just wouldn’t touch, and she actually wanted to give up after our first 2 sessions.
She pushed through and today she actually hung up an article of clothing that had negative emotions attached to it. She said it was the number one best part of our time together. She faced a fear and decided to honor the piece of clothing by taking off the plastic and hanging it up in the closet.
This experience serves as a reminder that we get to choose what we want to keep and what we get to let go of. What we keep must make us feel supported and loved. What we let go of are things that no longer serve who are today going forward.
Tidying up isn’t just about removing clutter, it’s about making your home a place you love and cherish. All the steps from the very beginning of your life, the bumps, the bruises, the successes and achievements are all what make you you. To honor them all is to be grateful for all that you are.
I think the nature of this season is to slow down and prepare to be inside. What a wonderful time to make your home a place where you can relax and enjoy quiet time alone, with family, and/or with pets.
I recently updated my workspace. My desk was too small and I had things in drawers that no longer served a purpose. Ikea is a wonderful and inexpensive place to find minimal and efficient furniture items to help you store your belongings. I’m tickled pink that I finally found my new desk and chair and I love them both. I downsized from 4 drawers that didn’t open and close efficiently to 2 drawers that function with ease.
I sold my old desk and a few other items online to compensate for my new purchases and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE sitting at my new desk. It has brought new inspiration and vision for my business, writing projects, and painting hobby.
If you’re feeling stagnant in any space in your home, you don’t necessarily need to buy anything new. You can repurpose old furniture with paint, knobs, contact paper, etc. It will re-enliven your creativity and overall sense of joy in your space. Pinterest is a wonderful website to get your creative juices flowing. Just type in “home office inspiration” or “home office organization” and see what pops up.
Good luck and I’d love for you to submit your before and after photos to my email firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, I know summer is still here for another 3 weeks but the leaves are already starting to change here in Colorado. Marie Kondo has just launched her latest Netflix series on 8/31 and if you haven’t watched it yet I highly recommend that you do. It will be nice to cozy up on the sofa when the weather gets cooler and watch her inspire you to spark more joy in your life and living space.
How was your summer, did you do all of the things that you wanted to do? Were you able to get into nature and enjoy the sunshine? Are you wishing you had spent more time in your garden or taken more evening walks? What things that are left on your summer wishlist can you make some time for between now and the end of the month?
For me, I didn’t make enough time for self-care. I worked a lot and didn’t do evening and morning walks like I love to do in the warm weather. I woke up too late in the morning and got home too late in the evening. Today I’ve decided I am going to walk at least once a day from now until it starts to snow.
Fall is a very short season. The beauty of the leaves don’t last nearly long enough and it seems in one moment they’ll all be on the ground, naked and bare, waiting for winter. I hope you can make some rounds through your neighborhood, take a walk in Washington Park, or maybe enjoy a hike in the mountains. The smell of the leaves changing is indescribably sweet.
I've been a professional organizer since 2005, and until my grandmother’s recent passing, I didn’t hang on to things. Before her passing, I let most sentimental items go and couldn’t personally understand why people hung to so much stuff that belonged to past relatives. I understood it on a surface level and it’s my job to support my client’s in keeping what they feel they need and want. But for me, I’ve always had a strong belief that things are just things and having too many things is a burden.
I was one of the lucky ones, I guess. I hadn’t lost anyone close to me before. Yes, it’s true, I cried for weeks when my childhood dog died. But I was 19 and I never even thought to keep anything of his. When my Oma passed, things had changed, I found myself desperately clinging to the few things that I had of left hers.
When my mother and I were helping her move out of her apartment recently, I was panicked and sick over letting go of her furniture, the keepsakes, and the other knick-knacks that slowly accumulate around a life. But at the same time I also knew that keeping these things in storage, wasn’t going to bring her, or us, any joy. A lot of difficult decisions had to be made then, and it wasn’t an experience that I’d ever fathomed being a part of.
Now that she is gone, I can’t help but wonder if I should have kept more of the things that she cherished. The dining room furniture that’d she’d had since I was a young girl, the wooden hutch that had held all of her mementos from her life in Holland, and the queen brass bed frame that she had slept on for decades. One by one I sold all of her cherished belongings. I will say that every single recipient had the same loving nature that she did so I was glad to be a part of re-homing what was hers. After all of that, the experience has me looking around my own home and asking myself why I’m keeping certain things.
I’ve always understood we want to hold onto some small fragment of our loved ones. We think that, maybe, by keeping their belongings, it will somehow draw us nearer to them in times of grief, and when we’re missing them, we can hold something of theirs and it will fill the empty spot in our hearts. Like what a child does with a blankie or a stuffed animal that brings them comfort and support. A child will keep that object near and dear, and may even hold onto it well into their adult years. Being in the business of helping homes represent the ones that dwell within them, now more than ever I realize we can be attached to both the ones and the things that we love, and most importantly, to the times when we felt this love the most.
Life’s challenges grow in complexity as we get older. Our parents age, our siblings and close cousins grow up and apart, and there are no blankies or stuffies, no matter how treasured, that can ever fill that gap. When a grandparent or parent dies, the power of that loss can be more than difficult, and its force, and the grief that it entails, may bring families back together. When that happens, remembrances are shared, tears are shed, and sometimes, most importantly, mementos are found and given new meaning and purpose as reminders of our loved ones.
Which brings us full circle back to our own homes. Some of us rarely consider the things that we have, rarely wonder at the meaning, and almost all of us, astutely resist the urge to ask the question…why? Why are we keeping these things?
As a true believer in the KonMari method I have a different relationship with the things in my home. I still have items of sentiment, a handful of toys and clothing from my boys’ childhood, some jewelry from my mother, and now, a few things of my grandmother’s. I don’t have collections of any kind, or hobbies that entail gathering, and my home, for all intents and purposes, is mostly minimal.
Truth be told though, as I begin navigating a world without the love and laughter of my Oma, so viscerally present, I’ve found myself wishing that I had kept more of her things…perhaps, so that I can hang onto her a bit longer. This is natural.
Now for you the reader, as a KonMari consultant, If you have experienced loss I suggest that you allow yourself at least one year to make the decision about what to keep. Take that time to carefully consider each item, and your relationship to it before making a choice, unless you absolutely cannot wait.
Once you’ve grieved, and been present with that grief, you will find the right space in your head and heart to “go through the things,” and that will be the perfect time to do it. If you find yourself dreading it or avoiding it, it may be a sign that you’re not ready. You might want to call on a friend to help you go through a box or two. Or maybe just hold some of the objects in your hands that belonged to your loved ones, and see if you can clearly make decisions. You’ll know you’re doing the right thing by the calm and peaceful feeling you will get by engaging in this task. If it feels heavy and too much to bear then try again at a later date. If you decide to tidy, please make sure to save the sentimental category for the very end. Making hasty decisions will later lead to regret and there will be things you'll wish you’d kept.
Keep in mind that storing things in a shed, basement, or storage unit isn’t honoring your loved ones or the memories you have of them. You might want to take some of their things and display them around your home. This will be beneficial for your grieving process because you will see your loved ones things on a daily basis and it will help you to accept the loss. After a while, you might be ready to go through the rest.
In the meantime, squeeze your loved ones, and visit with them often. We want to honor the ones we love while they’re alive so they know just how much they mean to us while we can still show them.
The above photo is of my grandmother’s scarf, a purse that she knitted and a tiny pair of wooden shoes that she kept in her china cabinet.
Dear Oma, you are my favorite person and I can’t imagine my life without you. All the days that you picked me up from school and fed me sugar-covered strawberries while I watched my favorite cartoon. All the weekends I stayed with you, cooking, and playing with the dogs, making Oma soup, and eating tons of toast with strawberry Smuckers. The summers at the lake and your dark, almost black, tan. Teaching me to drive in your little white Honda. Your laugh and beautiful, sweet, round, cheeks. Your favorite colors of lime green and pink. Laying in bed at Opa’s house and teaching me multiplication and division. The terrible taste of black licorice. Your ironed jeans. The love in your voice. Your blue and white china and your love for sour candy. The familiar smell of your face cream like linden trees in the summer and your gold necklace of the Mother Mary that hung right next to two freckles on your chest. Your home, always tidy and clean. The sound of the second hand spinning on the clock next to your bed. All your knitting needles, your two special fingers, and all of your dirty jokes. Your perfect timing during a conversation when only the “f” word would suffice. Everyone said you had a Dutch accent, but you always just sounded like my Oma to me. The way you were with my boys and how much they love you. The way you counted out loud in Dutch on your fingers één, twee, drie, and how, to me, you knew everything.
How many knitted dish cloths, scarves, and gloves does one girl need?
Your laugh. Your laugh. Your laugh. What will I do without your laugh? I’m so happy for you that you get to go home to see Bob and Jim, your parents, and siblings, and all the pets that you loved so gently. You loved all of us so gently. Your body has done its job and now it’s time to lay it to rest. I promise to take Julien to Holland to see where his Great-Oma rode her bike and made memories as a young girl. I promise to laugh every day from my belly just like you. I promise to fill my hands with a love as deep as yours so that everything and everyone I touch knows they are loved. I promise to take all of the good that I have learned from you and pass it on to whomever will take it. No, you were not perfect but you were perfectly my Oma, and when I am an Oma I want to be just like you.
I want to hang on, I want to go back, I want a million do-overs. I want a cigarette and a stiff drink and maybe even more than a few. I can see why so many cling to their vices because this is a pain that wants to be shut off. But I can’t forget you, so I will welcome the tears and the pain will turn to joy. The clouds will clear and the tulips will greet me with wooden shoes and windmills. There will never be another Oma like you.
“What do you get when a man mixes cement with a fork? A mortar forker!” I’m not sure if this was her favorite joke or if it was the only one she could remember. Nonetheless, we all acted like every time she told it it was the first time we heard it.
We love you, Oma, and we will all see you again someday.
Spring cleaning has begun and my clients are feeling the inner nudge. Closets, kitchens, book collections, and their dreaded linen closets, they’re all getting a make-over. This spring has been a lot wetter than normal and it feels like winter doesn’t want to move on. But, I am hopeful that the warm sun and long days will soon be upon us. There’s nothing like a newly tidied space. For me, when winter leaves and spring arrives, I feel so grateful to see the snow melting and the tulips and crocus peeking up their heads. All the brown dirt and mud are magically washed away and the earth is new once again.
The last two months have been a wonderful experience. I’ve been writing and painting a lot and some things have materialized that I didn’t know I had in me. I’m currently in the process of illustrating a children’s book for adults that I wrote. I’ve sold a few paintings and I was just hired at an interior design firm based on my home remodel project. I was helping a woman tidy her basement for she and her hubby had just moved into a new home and there were still lots of boxes to go through. She said she was impressed with my ability to handle a project of that scope and she loved the finished project. Good things do come to those who wait! If you’re reading this and I haven’t heard from you in a while, shoot me a line so we can catch up, email@example.com. Happy Spring, Everyone and below is one of the writings that I’ve done since the start of the new year. <3
CONVERSATIONS WITH LOVE
M: Where have you been?
M: Well if you’ve been here, where have I been?
L: Not here.
M: Well if I’ve not been here then where have I been?
L: In the past or in the future but certainly not here. I know because I’ve been trying to reach you.
M: You’ve been trying to reach me, when?
L: All the time...24/7
M: How would I have known that you were trying to reach me? I mean I feel like I’m present all day and I’m looking for you constantly.
L: You don’t need to look for me I’m already with you.
M: How can you be with me and I not know you’re there?
L: Because you’re always thinking about what you’ve done and what you need to do.
M: Aren’t I supposed to do that?
L: Well yes, but only for a moment and then the in between times you can stop thinking and just be. Just remember me, be me, and see me in all things.
M: But I don’t know how to do that.
L: Stop thinking about what has been or needs to be done. Contemplate what it would be like to be me. When you’re in your car how would I, Love, be as the driver in the car? When you’re at work contemplate how I, Love, would be towards the people in the office and how would I address the work needing to be done? When you’re looking at yourself in the mirror or speaking to yourself in your mind, contemplate how I, Love, would address both of those things. It really boils down to how and who you want to be. Without me I’m guessing you’re feeling your life is quite empty?
M: Yes, so empty.
L: Well, conduct an experiment. Put on my qualities like a superhero cape and see how it goes.
M: I don’t know what to say...
L: Perfect and let’s check in regularly to see how things are growing. And don’t forget, you can have me all the time you just have to remember me for I am always with you.
A sense of meaning and purpose is possibly what we are all striving for. The pandemic has had me reach into my creative side and it has allowed me to remember how much I love to paint. This was a commissioned piece that I struggled over for weeks but I finally finished it and the client was very happy. I’m writing this blog with the hope to inspire someone to also find the thing that makes them happy. Happy New Year, Everyone!!
Olivia is one of my most favorite clients. She really feels the impact of pulling everything out, cleaning, and putting everything back. She is a lovely mother and has never ending energy that I wish I had. When we tidy together she gets so excited she practically flies off the ground. We did her kitchen yesterday and we moved dishes directly above the dishwasher so that things would be easy to put away and I also gave her a drink station in one of her cabinets. Her kids now can access snacks effortlessly and the 2 y/o can pull out his drink cups and snack bowls all on his own. I love this work!! <3
We went to the Denver Botanic Gardens yesterday and it was COLD! The flowers and plants are saying their goodbyes and I caught the loving message from this dahlia that love is all around us and we can choose to be loving in return. Fall has always been a sad time of year for me but this year I’ve chosen to embrace it by engaging its message that everything must change and go. Nothing is permanent and we must cherish what we have when we have it. I hope you are able to cherish these moments amidst the seeming disharmony, but I think there is a higher love bidding for our attention, even when we are challenged.
In the last month I’ve been getting out 3-5 times per week to get exercise. I’ve discovered so many places in Colorado that are beautiful and that support a clear head. This is Philip S. Miller Park in Castle Rock. It’s 200 steps to get to the top and it will make your heart feel like it’s going to beat out of your chest! I hope you all are finding ways to keep your self healthy mentally and physically during this crazy time. <3
Gardening was one of the things that helped me get through the COVID quarantine. Unfortunately I didn’t know how much shade these little guys needed and the sun burned them up over the course of a few weeks. I’m hoping they’ll come back next season and our new fence will give them the shade they need. :)
A test of the heart, that’s what we’re enduring. Through the painful wound we open up new space and make room for love and understanding to pour in and mold us. It’s ok to disagree and it’s ok to take a side, just as long as no one that is trying to help the greater good of mankind is left out of the equation. That encompasses all skin colors, sexual preferences, and job professions. Remember, all generalities are false and typically, if we are quick to point the finger, then we probably don’t know everything that we should. <3
On April 7th Marie Kondo launched her new book “Joy at Work”. Now that the majority of us are working from home, you may be feeling a bit anxious and uneasy.
In addition to a variety of other issues, this could also be because you have too many things in your living space that are bidding for your attention. One way to alleviate this feeling of overhwhelm is to create a space you desire to be in and you do this by removing the things you don’t need and finding permanent homes for all of the things you do need.
If the thought of organizing your work space feels too overwhelming, simply start with the books category and see if anything shifts inside of you. The paper category will seem like an impossibility, but trust me on this, once you start sorting things into piles, the momentum will build and you’ll be finished in no time.
Getting started is usually the one hurdle that is the most difficult. You will feel better and more energized. I also urge you to keep tidying until you’ve completed your tidying festival. Then, put on your seat belt, and watch the course of your life take off like a rocket into places unknown.
The most recent client I’ve helped has reported that since removing all the clutter from her home, her business is so busy she’s had to hire more help. So, good luck to all of you and happy tidying!
This photo is brought to you by my sweet mom on her walk today in Moon Valley, AZ.
It reminds me that we truly must yearn and fight for our freedom to be who we are and to love who and what we want to love. There are no borders or boundaries to loving yourself and we must be pioneers and be willing to take on the most difficult journey by confronting and transcending all of our weaknesses and exposing all of the shadows. By taking each corner and painting a heart on each rock that we stub our toes on and by filling each pot hole with our loving trust and faith, we will make it to the top arriving at the perfect time to meet our highest self.
Today was a really difficult day for me. I couldn’t get out of bed until after 3 PM. I listened to a friend remind me that it was me that asked to be made strong and for all of my heartaches to be healed. By making that request I have to expect there to be resistance and I can’t pick and choose how I want things to go. Just like a boxer, when he enters the ring, can’t ask his opponent to follow a set of pre-planned steps in the hopes of avoiding pain and bloodshed. No, he has to be spontaneous and quick on his feet and dodge each punch as it comes. Not knowing what technique his opponent will use to try to defeat him, but trusting he is prepared to fight, and that his desire to win is stronger.
I’ve been reflecting on this recent experience and never to my knowledge has the world been on the same page. We are staying home to keep others safe and in the meanwhile we are trying to find a new sense of normal. I have to trust there is a higher purpose for all of it.
Our minds are so conditioned to going to work, visiting with friends, taking the kids to school, getting gas, going to Target to buy that thing we need, always going outside to find its nourishment. Now we are being coaxed to go inside and listen to a voice that maybe has never been listened to before.
I must admit it has been uncomfortable to not be able to visit with family like I once did, and go to the grocery store on a daily basis, and see my clients and earn an income, but I also must admit that in these last few weeks my inner voice and desire for inner contentment is taking over. Looking inside for answers when normally I would look outward has me feeling more love and gratitude for all things inner and outer. It seems we are being divinely set up to love ourselves and others in a way never before experienced.
The outside world has proven to be noisy and at times unreliable where my inside world is showing me that it holds the key to a level of consciousness that isn’t available anywhere else. A level of consciousness that is above the outside world. It’s all I have, what’s inside of me, and I want it to be strong and content in knowing all is perfect no matter what is going on outside of me.
I liken it to a wandering soul that has been yearning to find the very thing that makes it yearn in the first place. Like a man who has been wandering in the desert for days in search of water and when he happens upon a well, he is able to rest and contemplate his journey and ultimately realizes the well has been there all along, loving him, awaiting his arrival.
Whatever happens as a result of this “stay at home order”, if it lasts for months, I’m taking this opportunity to dig deeper and to listen to the voice that is calling me to permanently be inside. 💛
I was reading an email I received from Love and Logic which is a parenting resource that sends messages regularly to help deal with the many challenges that parenting presents. Today’s email was about creating a regimented schedule for your kids while they are doing distance learning. It dawned on me that we as adults also need a regimented schedule so we can maintain our own level of normalcy.
It’s so easy to feel lost and overwhelmed since we now find ourselves out of our normal routines. For myself, not serving my purpose of tidying with clients has been a bit depressing. One thing I have found particularly helpful during this time is creating new routines to keep me focused and on track (and basically to keep me from feeling anxious or worried.) This also works wonderfully for children if you are struggling to keep them off of electronics and to feel more in control of the situation.
Scheduling meal times, outdoor exercise, board games, clean-up time, and anything that keeps you all excited about your new sense of normal will make this experience far more memorable than you realize. Don’t underestimate the power of a bathroom schedule if there are many of you in the home. Some can shower at night and some in the morning and post the schedule on the bathroom door if necessary. If you are single, or at home with a partner with no children, it’s just as beneficial to schedule meal times, exercise, and alone time.
Writing down your goal for the day can really motivate you to keep from feeling isolated. If you’re having trouble thinking of things to do, if you aren’t working, this is a perfect time to start your tidying festival. It’s also important to do exercise while we are at home even if that means walking up and down the stairs several times a day. You can hold yourself accountable by setting a reminder on your phone every 2-3 hours to get up and do some physical movement for 10-15 mins. Make sure to drink lots of water and especially remember to stretch your body if you are working on a laptop for the majority of your day.
And now for the PM ritual...
Turning off electronics and having a family meeting every evening will also keep everyone feeling that their needs are important. Take this time to plan for the following day what activities you can do outside/inside i.e. play in the yard, walk the dog, and maybe pick up trash in your neighborhood. Make sure to wear a plastic bag over your hands if you don’t have gloves and also make sure to thoroughly wash hands when you get home. An evening ritual can also consist of reading/telling stories, brushing and flossing teeth together, and discussing dreams and goals for the long term. It’s vital to keep things picked up so no one feels crowded by others’ clutter, so take 15 minutes and pick up everything you took out and put it away. Delegating household tasks to each family member on top of keeping their own personal objects and room tidy is essential to making this successful. Creating a chore chart or sharing a virtual to-do list via Google Keep or like apps really helps to keep everyone on the same page.
What I’ve also discovered is that after I’ve mastered my routine I’ve found myself wanting more. It’s caused me to go deeper inside of myself to re-discover my passion for painting and writing. I urge anyone that is wanting to find a deeper meaning to their lives to dig deep and truly get to the heart of your matter and see if there is more to you than you’ve been aware. You can make this as simple as blending two of your favorite teas together to get a new flavor! It might sound silly but when we are stuck in our regular routine a new shift in consciousness can get the creative juices flowing.
We are existing in our own new sense of normal, at least for now. Our relationships may become more difficult when faced with situations and personalities we aren’t used to being around for so many hours in the day. This is why scheduling our time is so important and don’t think that if you live alone that it won’t affect you. Keeping yourself disciplined and your mind sharp will allow you to succeed during this time of isolation it will also help to keep your relationships in tact while in such close quarters. Let’s make the most of our situation by creating new memories with our families and by also developing a new personal relationship with ourselves. This can be the most memorable experience of our lives if we allow for such optimism to culminate.
I ask myself this question a lot. Sometimes I lay on the floor and stare out of the skylights and watch the birds chase each other while the clouds float by. I do this because I can get caught up in the chaos of life, especially when things get too busy or in this case, too slow. It’s a way to clear my head and push the reset button. Is there anyone out there asking themselves this very same question? Do any of you need to push the reset button and evaluate if your life is truly headed in the direction you’re wanting?
I help people on a regular basis and they mostly are in the same boat. They’ve found themselves surrounded by clutter and it’s taken the loss of a loved one, an illness, or a life-altering event to get them to see it and want to change it. Let’s face it, life is hard and when we have too much to manage on top of life’s difficulties it can make us want to quit or give up. In the last 3 years my life has taken a few unexpected twists and turns and I’ve had to overcome some pretty heavy experiences. Yes, I can smile and be very personable and help people when they need it most but when it comes to my own self care I don’t make it a priority. Lately I’ve felt really lost as if I don’t know who I am. I don’t know if that’s typical for women in their mid 40’s but it’s happening to me right now and it feels very isolating and scary.
I have a 13 year old son who is getting ready to start high school. Most days he’s irritated with me for asking him to help out around the house or he is impatient when I say anything to him at all. I have a spouse who is perfect and has the patience and demeanor of a saint. I have 2 dogs that look at me constantly as if to say, “Hey, mom, are you going to take us on a walk today?” When I’m helping people I feel like I’m in the zone and when I’m not I feel like something is missing. My estimation is that I’m distracted when I’m helping others and when I’m not then I get to be with myself and sometimes there is an uncomfortableness.
During this time of retreat and reflection I’ve decided to do some serious soul searching to evaluate what it is I truly want for my life. I’ve considered going back to school because I only have 9 classes to graduate. I’ve considered trying a different field of work all together. I’ve considered selling my house and moving to a state that is far less expensive. I’ve considered so many things. At this place in time I can’t run from myself. I have to face the music and look at my surroundings. Social media, reading, cleaning and planning outdoor activities only lasts for so long and what I’ve found to truly quell my heart and mind is cleaning and organizing. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Well aren’t you already organized?”
We remodeled our entire home over the last summer and we are still trying to put things back together. So, No, I’m not currently totally organized and the process to getting things into their new places and finding a new rhythm is just that, a process. Since we are home ridden I’ve decided to pull everything out and start over. Drywall dust is still a dilemma in certain spots and last week I finally ordered toilet paper holders for both bathrooms. My filing system needs an overhaul so that will be the next section I will tackle. Cleaning out the fridge and wiping things down is actually my favorite so I may do that at some point too. You may be reading this and think I’m crazy and it may seem like a daunting task but it truly works. When you take your attention and position it in the present moment for example, while cleaning and organizing, it calms the mind and everything else inside and out seems to calm down with it.
If you don’t like the KonMari Method then start in the area that is used the most like the kitchen. With all of the extra food we have in our pantries and cupboards this will feel amazing! Turn on your favorite music and start by emptying all the drawers and gather like items together. My recommendation would be to empty the entire kitchen all at once and categorize every single kitchen item, but if you can’t, then start with your drawers or pantry. As you empty the entire kitchen, wipe down all the doors and shelves including inside the fridge, before putting things back. With food pantry storage I keep categories together i.e. all breakfast items on one shelf and all snack items together etc.
When you’re finished, you might get what I call the tidying virus and you may then find yourself tidying every square inch of your home. I don’t know if what I’m doing is the right thing. All I have is my intuition and my intuition tells me we will make it through this trying time which I believe is just an opportunity to discover more about ourselves and to become more resilient. For myself, what I truly want is unconditional contentment. I want nothing outside of me to take away or to affect my contentedness and I want to be able to be in constant gratitude for everything that life hands me. So, if you find yourself getting anxious or worried take out the junk drawer and start sorting, breathe, and focus on everything you are grateful for. Thanks for reading and please share your stories if you feel moved to do so.
I was driving to a KonMari presentation that I was giving at a local library and on my way the GPS took me down a side street. As I was driving I noticed there was no one on the road at 8:30 AM. All of a sudden I found myself in front of this beautiful sunrise in Castle Pines, CO. When people say words cannot express the thing the are trying to express I understood what that meant in this moment. The photo doesn’t capture the magic of what I was looking at and I wish there was a way for you to push a button so you could feel exactly what I was feeling. The only word I can come up with that best describes what I was feeling is love. I sat by the side of this abandoned frontage road and wondered if the highway traffic to the right of me could see what I was seeing. What isn’t in the photo is the land spreading for miles and miles all around and the vastness of the clouds and suns rays mixed together. I could barely take it all in because there was so much to look at. I felt like I was standing in front of a painting. My mind felt at peace and it made me remember why I love nature so much. It also reminded me that I haven’t been out in nature in a very long time, too long.
My family and I just went through an entire home remodel and needless to say it was very difficult. We had very bad contractors which we had to fire and I then became the GC. Let’s just say I won’t be taking on any home remodeling projects anytime soon. Our home for the most part turned out the way we had envisioned but there are several areas that will just have to be sub par because we can’t afford to fix them. When I’m in the kitchen cooking or when I’m in the living room with my family watching a movie or when I’m at the dining table writing a blog and now all of those rooms are joined into one big room, I remember that growing pains are painful and I’m glad we took the leap. We now have a master suite and a bathroom with a separate soaking tub. I have an office with a skylight and several skylights in the main room and master bath (my favorite part are the skylights). We added a bedroom where the attached garage used to be and the new two-car garage is in the backyard. We have a mud room, a couple barn doors and hardwood floors throughout. In the backyard we now have a fire pit and all new concrete. The front yard is a work in progress but for now we have a brand new front door and black wrought iron railing.
It still feels like it isn’t my house yet but we’ve been hanging artwork and adding our personal touches all throughout. I hired a Feng Shui consultant to help us greet our new home and position the furniture for the best flow of chi. I’m now having fun with my home and putting things away in their new spots feels really good. I hope by this time next year we will be completely healed of all the bumps and bruises and getting ready for Spring to see all the new flowers we will plant this coming year. I chose the blog title because while I was standing in front of this serene setting it reminded me that I hadn’t taken a pause to enjoy the little things in a very long time. I had been so wrapped up in the remodel and the chaos of 2019 that I had let myself neglect what I truly cherish which is being in the present moment.
Marie Kondo has a wonderful blog and there is one post in particular, "Finding Joy Within", I would like to share with you. She recently spoke with an award-winning clinical therapist and interpersonal architect Dr. Judith Coché. Dr. Coché says the most intimate relationship you can have with anyone in the world is the one you have with yourself. She also says that if there is an area in your life you don’t want to look at then that means you can absolutely deny it no longer. In fact, she says to put it under a microscope until you’ve cozied up to it and adjusted whatever needs adjusting. Basically make friends with your flaws or emotional pain. Also, speaking to yourself the way you would speak to a friend in need is the way we must speak to ourselves and this is vital.
For myself, tidying has allowed me to live a more fluid and fruitful life. When I was younger the vision for myself was very unclear. I loved art and languages and honestly interior design was my favorite thing. At times I would stay up all night thinking about how to redesign my room with furniture placement and paint colors. Tidying my room would give me a shiny new car feeling on the inside combined with insurmountable amounts of love for the hard work I had done. However, as my high school education was coming to an end I was told I should pursue business or something along those lines because it was a safer path. As you can see, my path was clear to me but I didn’t listen to my inner guide back then.
As I gained more wisdom in my later twenties, by removing physical clutter, I gained the insight as to what I wanted my life to look like. I struggled in college and couldn’t commit to a path towards earning my degree. The harder I tried the harder it became to complete school assignments and go to class. I decided something was trying to get my attention and put that goal on hold. When I did, I realized the goal to graduate college was never mine in the first place. It became clear that I was meant to start my own path and create a business that focused on helping people. I attribute the cultivation of this clarity to the removal of the things in my life that didn’t serve a purpose. In addition to college, I also discarded a car payment I didn’t want and a job I felt no longer fit with me. It may seem a bit reckless or irresponsible but I was desperate to feel an internal sense of peace and find my inner compass.
It’s rather funny that by becoming a college drop-out I made room for the life I wanted to manifest. My tidying business literally took off over night after I took the leap of faith to find what had been trying to find me all along. I liken it to a garden or a piece of earth that is covered in weeds and dirt with no defined boundaries or attractiveness. Once the unwanted organic material is removed, the vision for the space becomes clear and it even beckons one to then create something based on one’s inner desire. This is why tidying and caring for your home can be so powerful. By removing physical clutter, or what I like to call external noise, you can start to hear the voice of your inner guide as well.
By no means am I suggesting that anyone drop out of college or quit anything that you are currently doing. For me, this was what I needed to make my heart happy. To this day that inner guide speaks very loudly and very clearly because I’ve practiced listening and trusting its wisdom. I urge my clients to see their home and life this way and once they’ve begun to tidy, their lives take off like a rocket ship into places they never dreamed were possible. One client found her dream home soon after we tidied together, another lost a lot of weight and made adjustments to her home so that she could have a roommate and earn extra income, and several clients have reported just feeling good and are full of more energy and mental clarity in their living space after our tidying sessions.
Reflecting on all the work I’ve done with myself and my clients I’ve realized there’s nothing outside of me that can give me what I truly need on the inside. Adding too many material items to my living space, which includes when the fridge is too full or my car needs a good cleanup, actually makes me feel overwhelmed and anxious and most of my clients report feeling the same way. There’s something to be said for packing light and I urge you to try it for yourself.
Thanks for reading and to read the entire blog post by Dr. Coché you can go here.
photo credit: canva.com
I’ve worked with several clients this year and they’ve all said how grateful they are for the new found energy they’re experiencing as a result of our time tidying together. This is a great sign that speaks to how sensitive we are to the things we keep around us. One woman in her 70’s said she’s actually feeling a new sense of inspiration and is enjoying having guests stay at her home for long visits and is proud to show off her living space. She has the energy to entertain and when a guest needs something she knows exactly where to tell them to find it. Can you imagine that? Having energy to entertain guests and knowing exactly where all of your belongings are?
For me, as a KonMari consultant, this is the goal I have for all of my clients. No, not for your home to be perfectly tidy all the time, and No, not for you to live a minimalist lifestyle either, but for you to have more energy and inspiration to live life!! One of my clients is a school teacher and she avoided being in her office because of all the clutter. Just recently she reported that she now enjoys being in her office and working there. Every single visit since we finished the clothing category she thanks me for my help because she is astonished at how much energy she’s feeling after our sessions. That's it! That’s what the life-changing magic is all about. It’s about finding yourself, the beautiful, bright and shiny you that’s been buried underneath all of that clutter for so long.
Looking back on 2019 it’s surprising that I survived. We went through an entire home remodel and let’s just say I have to start all over with finding places to store my things. For a person that thrives in a tidy living space and having everything still in boxes, it’s been quite difficult to say the least. My hubby and I needed a break from the house project so we went to see "Knives Out" at the movies the other night. If you haven’t seen it, the main character Marta is not favored by all the other characters in the story but still manages to find goodness in her heart and always does the right thing. I’ve chosen to see my situation just as Marta’s. I can only control my reaction to my life and everything in it and it’s a lot more fun to be happy and joyful. My home will be tidy again soon enough and there is no use in being stressed out about it.
Some recommendations for the new year is Karen Kingston’s not-so-new book “Clearing Clutter with Feng Shui” on Audible. I recommend sitting down and taking notes while she, in her British accent, orates this wonderful book about how clutter can truly affect every part of your life for the good and the bad. My second recommendation is to read the magazine "Magnolia” December ‘19 issue, in particular A Note From Jo on Resolve. I had my family read this out loud during Christmas dinner and let’s just say it wasn’t only a tear-jerker but an uplifting life and goal changer. Joanna, if you ever read this, we are all looking up more often now because of your eloquently written letter.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and to 2020 not just being for our hindsight!