...and life as a mom, business and home owner, spouse, public speaker, konmari consultant and life adventurer!
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!
Those scarf “organizers” that you hang in your closet don’t really help you to be any more organized than if you were to stuff all of your scarves into a box and put them on top of the closet. While they do hang together and they’re off the floor and all in one place they still get lost amongst each other and you aren’t able to see them very well. Scarves folded with the KonMari method you can open a drawer or basket and you will be able to see everything you have and it will be beautifully displayed.