Are You De-Cluttering the Wrong Things

I had the most profound ah-ha moment the other day as I was working with a client.

We were organizing her basement, which had become the Stash and Dash room, as I like to call it. I was explaining to her that the beauty of my 5-Step System to Clearing Clutter is that it can be applied to any area of her house.

As naturally happens our conversation turned to girlie chit chat and she was telling me about an unfulfilling relationship she was currently in.

This relationship was draining and pulling her down. It was keeping her stuck, unable to move forward and pursue other things she was craving from life.

She would wake up Dull and Uninspired. She went through her day on Autopilot with this relationship consuming her thoughts.

It had gotten to the point that she had lost her Passion at Work and was Never fully Present when with Friends.

It had totally taken the Wind Out of Her Sail.

As she was talking it hit me! The very same 5-Step Process that we were using to Clear the Clutter in her Space can and should be Used in Life!

We often think of clutter as our “things”.

However, the definition of Clutter is anything in our lives that fill our minds with scatter or disorder and impedes movement or reduces effectiveness.

We need to start taking a serious look at what else, besides our “things”, are impeding our forward moment in life. In this case, it was my client's unfulfilling relationship!

Now, I am an absolute believer that we need to Clear the Clutter in our Space FIRST, so that when we do Take Inventory of our Life we are doing so with a Clear Mind.

Once we’ve created Space and Clarity in our Haven, then we can clearly begin to look outside of our “things”. Our spaces are the core and everything else follows suit.

Curious how this 5-Step System works? Let’s dive deeper…

Organize- Home-Relationships

STEP 1: GET CLEAR

In Our Spaces

You need to Clear Your Mind, so you can Clear Your Space.

It’s important for you to be able to Visualize your Ultimate Destination on this De-Cluttering Journey. To the point that it Lights You Up Inside.

Where your focus goes, your energy flows.

Sit down with a journal and ask yourself these questions.

  • What do you most want to accomplish on this journey?

  • What will it look and feel like when you get there?

  • How did you get to where you are now?

  • What is stopping you from where you want to go?

  • How will you feel if in a year from now nothing has changed?

In Our Life

There is nothing better than sitting down with a journal and writing. Take all your thoughts and feelings and get them out of your head and onto paper. A free flow stream of consciousness.

Now take the questions from above and apply them to other areas of your life, relationships, work, and activities.

Get clear on the areas that are no longer serving you. Track it and journal it. Every day!

Organize-Home-Journal

STEP 2: PRIORITIZE

In Our Spaces

Now that we are clear on our Destination let’s break down the Journey into smaller bite-size pieces.

Prioritize the top 1-3 spaces that are causing you the most stress. This can either be one large project that you will tackle a little at a time or it can be 1-3 smaller projects.

The critical thing that you need to remember is, just like marathons, we are not going to run 26.2 miles right out of the gate. We need to start small, show up consistently and build those running muscles.

In Our Life

Are you prioritizing and making space for the people and activities that are most important to you?

Are you filling your life with people that inspire and move you forward or are you feeling cluttered and stuck?

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STEP 3: CLEAN & CATEGORIZE

In Our Spaces

This is most often the hardest step…Getting Started.

My promise to you is that if you Show Up, Follow the System and Commit you will begin to feel Organized and Reaping the Rewards Immediately.

Remove all items from the space you are tackling. That’s right everything! Make sure to give it a good wipe down.

You need to be able to look at your space in a new way and you cannot do that without a clean slate.

It will get messier before it gets cleaner and That’s Ok!

As you clear the items Categorize them into “Like” piles.

For example…

- Books with books

- Office supplies with office supplies

- Face products with face products

If you have the same items elsewhere in your house go grab them and invite them to join the purge party. Seeing all of you items together allows you to decide what you truly need and use.

In Our Life

Are there areas of your life that could benefit from a clean slate? Most often these situations cannot be cleared overnight. People, feelings and commitments are not so easy to wipe clean in one fell swoop.

However, it’s important to begin intentionally looking at all areas of life and recognizing that you may want to make some changes.

Most of us Live our Lives by Accident. We Live as it Happens. Fulfillment comes when we Live on Purpose. ~Simon Sinek

Organize-Purses

STEP 4: PURGE

In Our Spaces

This is where the fun begins!

This is where your vision becomes a reality. You are starting with a clean slate so make sure you are only keeping the things that are truly useful and light you up!

Grab a trash bag, donate bin and relocate bin.

Sort the items in each Category into the respective areas….

  • Trash

  • Donate

  • Keep

  • Relocate (belongs in another room or location)

Focus on touching each item only once. Do not shuffle items from here to there. Decide and move on to the next.

If you get stuck on an item, ask yourself these questions...

  • Does it fall in the “Un” Category: Unused, Unwanted, Unfinished?

  • Would I buy it again if I saw it at the store today?

  • Do I feel obligated to keep it because it was a gift?

  • Have I used it in the last year?

  • Is it worth my time to fix or sell it?

In Our Life

My Dad always said, “You know you’ve got it made when you can count your best friends on one hand.” I used to think he was crazy! I wanted to be everyone’ best friend. However, now that I’ve matured, I realize it’s the honest to goodness truth.

You don’t need to keep everyone in your life. You won’t win a medal for being on the board the longest or serving on the PTA for all 6 years. If it is not filling you with joy, let it go. Give it new life.

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STEP 5: CONTAIN & ASSIGN

In Our Spaces

Take what you’ve decided to Keep and Contain it Based on Size. Assign it a Home, keeping the Frequently Used Items easily Accessible.

In Our Life

You’ve decided what you will Keep in your Life. Now contain it, Set Boundaries. Decide where and how the people, places and activities fit in your life.

Clear Life’s Clutter and Live Your Best Hell Yes!

Got questions? Want to share an idea? Leave a comment down below!

The One Thing Keeping You Stuck

Q:  What do Organizing and Working Out have in common?

A:  Getting Started is the hardest part.

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There are those days that I REALLY do not want to go to the gym.  I would rather poke myself in the eyeball then get on that treadmill. 

Then, there are those days that I am pumped and ready to get sweaty!

Why are some days so much harder than others? 

It starts with the stories we are telling ourselves. 

On the difficult days my stories sound something like this…

I know it’s going to be hard. 

I don’t have the energy.

I just don’t have the time.

I need to pluck my eyebrows.

These are the very same stories that prevent us from tackling the Piles of Paper, Laundry and Clutter that stare at us day after day. 

Patiently waiting for us to just Get Started.

The longer this clutter is left ignored, the more times you tell yourself the same story, the harder it will be to take action. 

Overtime life begins to feel Chaotic, Stressful and Out of Control. 

Our relationships start to suffer, we miss important dates, and we find ourselves wondering if the race will ever end.  

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It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Everything You Need to Get Started is Inside of You.

You just have to Change Your Story. 


To Help You on Your Journey I’ve Created this FREE GUIDE,

5-Simple Steps to go from Overwhelmed to Organized.

Kids School Papers Driving You Crazy

One of the most amazing parts of being a parent is reliving your childhood through your children.

I can clearly remember sitting in my first-grade class, my teacher taking my hand and guiding me from one dot to the next in a connect the dots picture. I was rushing through the process and not fully connecting my dots, some things never change.

Taylor, is in first grade and she is definitely not learning how to connect the dots! She is bringing home math homework that I have no idea how to do, and linking verbs, really? What in the world is a linking verb?!

There are wonderful moments while sifting through the papers that your kiddos brings home. There are also OMG moments when you realize there’s a lot of paper!

Do you find yourself taking a quick glance at the papers, setting them aside and then realizing your kitchen counter has becoming a dumping ground of papers!

Are you missing important dates and turning homework in late?

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I have worked with numerous families whose #1 daily struggle is staying on top of the endless amounts of paperwork being sent home.

Which is why I’ve developed a Super Simple System to tackle the papers and avoid the pile up.

Let’s dive in…

COMMIT TO TAKING 15 MINUTES EVERY WEEK TO DO THIS!

I like to tackle the, Thursday Folder, as it’s called at our school, before dinner so that if there is anything we need to discuss as a family we can do it while we are all sitting down together. This is also an awesome way to get that good ol’ “what did you do today” conversation flowing beyond “I forget”.

DO NOT MULTITASK WHILE YOU ARE SORTING YOUR PILES!

While us Mom’s think we are the queen of multi-tasking, we’re not! It takes more than 25 minutes, on average, to resume a task after being interrupted. So, if you are interrupted 3 times while sorting the papers, it will take you 1 hr. and 15 min. to complete a task that should only take 10-15 min.

TOUCH IT ONCE AND BE DONE!

Stand near your recycle bin as you sort. This is where the majority of these papers will end up. As you sort make sure you touch each paper once, do not do the paper shuffle. If there are papers you do not need, immediately toss them into the recycle bin.

SORT THE PAPERS INTO 5 DESIGNATED PILES and ACT!

I have identified 5 categories that these papers typically fall under. Your piles may be different. Do what works best for you.

  1. Momma Act On

  2. Kiddo Act On

  3. Resources

  4. Homework

  5. Art Work/Completed School Work

Here’s a Break Down…

  1. Momma Act On:

These are the papers that require some type of action from Mom/Dad or have dates that you need to remember. The kiddos do not need to be involved in the decision making process.

Examples…

  • Flyers with Important Dates

  • School Closures

  • Picture Day

  • Fundraiser Dates

  • Field Trips You Would Like to Chaperone

  • Permission Slips to Sign

Once all papers have been sorted into their designated piles, I tackle this pile first. I immediately record any important dates in our calendar and sign any papers that require my John Hancock.

2. Kiddo Act On:

These are any papers that require the kiddo to make a decision.

Examples…

  • Joining a Cooking Class or other Extracurricular Activities

  • Participate in the Science Fair

  • Jump Rope for Heart

  • Scholastic Books Orders

These are typically the papers that I like to bring to the dinner table. Chat with your child, make a decision and then recycle the paper.

3. Resource Folder:

This is any information that you may need to keep top of mind or refer back too. You will find that some items from the Kiddo or Momma pile will spill over into this folder.

Examples…

  • Spelling Words to be Practiced During the Week

  • Events that Last an Extended Period of Time

  • School Fund Raiser Details

  • Phone Numbers and Emails of Teachers and Parents

  • Upcoming Extra Curricular Activities or Events (future sign up)

The key is to make sure you are going through this folder on a weekly basis and not letting expired papers loom.

Tip: Rather than having a folder of papers, taking a picture of the information you need and saving it to a folder on your phone can be useful as well. I tend to be the “out of site out of mind” type so this doesn’t work well for me.

4. New Homework Folder:

I have a Homework Folder that all new homework immediately goes into. Taylor knows where the homework folder lives and can access it each night until complete.

TIP: Keep a little bag of pencils and erasers near the folder so when it’s homework time the kids can grab their folder, pencils and get to work.

5. Art or Completed School Work:

This pile is the most rewarding because you get to see the fruits of your child’s labor, however it can also be the hardest one to Act On.

As mom’s we often have a difficult time letting go of anything that our child has made. Here is my rule of thumb, when deciding what to keep and what to recycle...

Artwork Rule of Thumb:

If the artwork was handmade, shows creativity, imagination and is one of a kind, keep it. I often find, especially when the kids are younger, that the art pieces have been primarily made by the teacher or are simply cotton balls stuck on a piece of paper. Toss It!!

TIP: I hang my favorite pieces on our art wall and file the rest away in the memorabilia bin/bankers box.

Completed School Work Rule of Thumb:

If there are awesome stories the kiddos have written, misspelled or funny words they are learning to write, or moments that show a leap in learning, keep it. Immediately file in same memorabilia bankers box.

TIP: Make sure this memorabilia box lives in a place that is easily accessible so each week it’s easy to file the pieces away.

Your kids do not need you to pass down 20 boxes of every single paper you’ve kept from their 12 years at school. The most respectful thing you can do as a parent, for your child, is to keep it minimal.

For a behind the scenes look at my paper sorting system, art wall and memorabilia bins check out the video in our Facebook Group - Creating eXtraOrdinary Surroundings!

XOXO,

Sarah