Clutter

Join the Free e-course, Cut Out The Paper Clutter

This past week I decided to start a Facebook page devoted to paper clutter.  I wrote an e-course last year that gives one short lesson from each chapter in the eBook, “Cut Out The Paper Clutter”.  I figured the Facebook page would be a great place to discuss these lessons plus give even more tips on decluttering those paper piles.

I’m in the process of updating many of the links in the e-course.  The first 3 lessons are already done and the rest should be completed in the next day or two.  Since each lesson is sent every three days you can go ahead and sign up today and get the updated lessons.

I’m going to start discussing Lesson 1 (Junk mail) on Friday, January 20th (tomorrow). Since it will be on a Facebook page you can jump in anytime you want to. Here is a link to sign up for the e-course and to “like” the Facebook page.

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Cut Out The Paper Clutter e-course.

Cut Out The Paper Clutter Facebook Page.

Cut Out The Paper Clutter eBook

Since I started setting up the Facebook page and editing the e-course lessons I’ve found myself motivated to work on some of my own paper clutter. Yesterday I went through some file folders that contained a lot of instructional articles about setting up a blog and website.  Since mine has been set up for a few years now there was no reason to keep these printed articles. If I need help with some technical problem I can always look it up online again. A nice thick stack of papers went into the recycling bin!

Join me on theFacebook page and hopefully you too will get motivated to get rid of some of your paper clutter. Then once the clutter is gone it will be much easier to organize the important papers that are left.

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.  ~Hans Hofmann

The e-course is free. TheFacebook page is free. What have you got to lose except some paper clutter.

Take the e-course first and if you still need more tips and help with decluttering and organizing your papers then invest in the eBook for only $9.99.

To a lighter load along the way.

Janice

 

 

Learn How To Say “No” To Clutter

Girl_-_Pouting

January is a good month to evaluate our lives and plan out what we want to change in the coming year.  Change is not always easy but it can help us clear the clutter from our lives. We have to learn how to say “no” to clutter and “yes” to living.

When we are young children we usually start declaring our independence by shouting the word “no” to our parents when they tell us to do something we don’t want to do.  Early on we are taught that it’s okay for parents to say “no” to us but not okay for us to say “no” to them.  We usually outgrow this feeling of unfairness and understand that they were just trying to teach us how to act and behave.

I believe that sometimes when we surround ourselves with so much stuff because we are rebelling against all those adults who said “no” to us when we were young. Even when we recognize that we have a problem it’s hard to get rid of the clutter because that little voice in our head from so long ago is saying they are right and we are wrong. We can’t let that happen so we hold onto our clutter just to prove that voice wrong even if we are miserable.

The word “no” is such a powerful word. When used in the right situation it can give us the freedom to enjoy the true beauty that comes into our lives.  If we are always smothered with clutter it will be hard to even recognize this beauty much less enjoy it.

There are all kinds of clutter that can build up in our homes and our lives.  There is the physical clutter we are all familiar with. These things can easily take over our homes if we don’t control them.

Then there are the kinds of clutter that are not so visible to us. Yet these kinds of clutter can take over our lives and smother us even more than the physical clutter.

These may include all the activities we get involved in with the hope they will enrich our lives. They also may include some of the people in our lives and the relationship we have with them.

Many of the following activities and relationships do enrich our lives. Many may have started out that way but no longer make us feel good.  Only you can decide which ones are clutter. Some will be easy to declutter once you decide you want to do it. Others won’t be so easy. Review the list below. After it I will give you some suggestions on to use this list to start decluttering your life.

Activities:

  1. Organizations you volunteered for.
  2. Groups you joined such as book clubs, garden clubs, etc.
  3. Classes you signed up for such as exercise, craft, self-improvement, or a formal education class.
  4. Activities you signed you children up for that involves your participation; sports, dance, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, after school activities, etc.
  5. Any hobbies you have.

Relationships:

  1. Family members.
  2. Friends.
  3. Neighbors.
  4. People from your children’s school – teachers, committees, PTA, room mothers, etc.
  5. People from your church or temple.

The best way to start figuring out which activities are clutter is to take a notebook and start listing all of them you and your family are involved with. Sometimes we don’t even realize how many activities we are involved in until we see the list written down. If your list is long it’s no wonder you probably feel overwhelmed and over burdened.

Examine this list carefully and figure out which things you can start saying “no” to. If you can’t say “no” to anything just yet don’t worry. Keep this list available and review often. Eventually you’ll recognize which things can go and how to declutter them.  I’ll talk more about this in future blog posts.

Regarding relationships you’ll want to make a list of all the people you know by the categories above. Again, once you write these down you will recognize some relationships that are clutter in your life. Of course it’s a lot harder to declutter people but there may be a few that aren’t as hard as you think. I’ll talk about some ideas that have worked for me and others in future blog posts.  Right now just review the list and start recognizing those people that cause you stress or bring negativity into your life.

We can go through life on auto-pilot or we can take charge and sit in the driver’s seat.  We can learn to say “yes” to those activities and relationships that make us smile and feel good about our lives. We can also learn to say “no” to those activities and relationships that smother us under a pile of clutter.

Start the year off by taking charge and write down all the activities and people in your life. This will give you a check list from which you can decide what and who can be scratched off of the list. This is just the starting place. Give yourself time to make the decisions.

To a lighter load along the way.

Janice

Take Care of the Inches in the New Year

I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and productive new year!  This is the time where our hopes and dreams are in full bloom.  Unfortunately our enthusiasm usually dies out when we don’t see results soon enough.

It’s important to have dreams and figure out what steps we have to take to make those dreams come true.  I know…it’s easy to say but hard to do.

I’ve been reading a book called “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell.  It talks about how the little things can make a big difference. The problem is we may not see our efforts make much of a difference until they reach a tipping point.  This means that all that exercising may not move the scale very fast but if you keep at it then one day you’ll notice your clothes are fitting a lot better.

The same is true with decluttering and organizing.  You may feel that those few papers you filed or pitched didn’t even make a dent today. But keep at it and before you know it the desk will be cleaned off.

As the weeks and months go by and our hopes of having a great new year start to wane remind yourself that there will be a “tipping point” as long as you take care of the little things. Start each day this year with a list of small steps you can take that will move you closer to reaching your dreams of weight loss (seems to top most lists), organizing, decluttering, or any other dream you have.

There are a couple of quotes I taped up on my desk to remind me focus on the little steps.

Yard by yard, it’s very hard.  But inch by inch, it’s a cinch. ~Anon

I recommend you to take care of the minutes, for the hours will take care of themselves. ~ Lord Chesterfield

Set your goals but focus on what you can do today to move you just a little closer to that tipping point.

To a lighter load along the way.

Janice

 

Clutter Free Gift Ideas

We know about our own clutter.  Sometimes we know about a family member or close friend’s clutter.  We want to give them a gift but don’t want to make their clutter problem even worse. Since we know they will probably want to give us a gift we don’t want something that will add to our own clutter.     Christmas presents

So what type of clutter free gifts will be enjoyed and appreciated? Below is a list of ideas for both giving and receiving. Don’t be afraid to ask the person what they would like. Give them some choices from the lists below. Otherwise they will probably say, “I don’t know” or “It doesn’t matter, whatever you want to buy me”. They really do care but are afraid to tell you.

You can also make suggestions for things you would prefer to receive from your family and/or friends. Try to be considerate of the cost of the gifts and the person’s financial situation. You can either set a limit on the cost of the gifts or use the list below for clutter free gifts that cost little or no money.

Clutter-Free Gift Ideas – price: various

  1. Gift certificate for the local mall or their favorite store.
  2. Gift certificate for a movie, theater production, or concert.
  3. Gift certificate for a day spa.
  4. Gift certificate for a local attraction or activity such as the zoo, a museum, amusement park, sporting event, bowling, ice skating, etc.
  5. Candles are good gifts if you know they will use them. Otherwise they may become clutter and gather dust.
  6. Special food items they normally would not buy for themselves. This could be high quality chocolates, specialty oils and vinegars for cooking, or even a gift certificate for a fancy restaurant they would enjoy.
  7. Fancy (usually more expensive) shower gels, lotions, hair products, etc. Make sure they use these kinds of products.
  8. Ask them if there is any particular item they really want or need. At least you will know it probably won’t sit in drawer unused.

Clutter-Free Gift Ideas – price: mostly your time

  1. Create a gift certificate that can be redeemed for a service. This is a great gift for older grandchildren to give to their grandparents. Examples: cleaning the garage or basement, yard-work, car washing, special household projects.
  2. Create a gift certificate that promises someone that you will treat them to a movie, lunch/dinner, special event, etc.  Although this does involve money on your part more importantly it involves spending time with the person and sharing the activity together. If you don’t want to spend any money look for free local attractions you can visit with them.

To a lighter load along the way.

Janice

 

Is It Clutter Or Just A Little Mess?

I read a interesting article this morning about how the author learned to accept the clutter in her home as evidence of a life well lived. The article made me think about what is the true definition of “clutter”. So I looked it up in my trusty old Webster’s New World College dictionary.

 

Clutter: a number of things scattered in disorder; jumble.

Then I decided to look up the definition in The New Century Dictionary I have, last copyright date of 1952. Clutter has been around for awhile. That definition is:

Clutter: noun – A disorderly heap or assemblage; litter; hence, confusion or disorder. Verb – To heap together or strew about in a disorderly manner.

With all the TV shows, articles, and books on clutter I think we have lost the meaning of what real clutter is. We either have a total huge disorderly heap of things all over our homes or it’s magazine perfect. There’s nothing in between.

As a result of this kind of thinking we’re always setting ourselves up for believing we’re failures. Yes, there are those who have “perfect” homes but they are usually either highly focused, high energy, or obsessed about keeping everything in order. Then there are those people who live in total chaos and probably need to address the underlying issues with professional help.

Temporary Messes

Which leaves the rest of us. Some of our “clutter” is really just messes from everyday living that haven’t been picked up yet. It’s in a state of temporary mess or disorder.

Last night’s dishes left in the sink aren’t clutter if they are cleaned up the next day. Just a temporary mess.

If the last couple of day’s mail is still on the kitchen table, then you have a temporary mess that needs to be taken care of.

Those dirty clothes on the floor from the last day or two would be considered a temporary mess.

Clutter

It’s when a temporary mess starts to become a permanent fixture in our homes that we have to look at the mess as clutter.

When last week’s dishes are still in the sink and all over the counter, then there is a clutter problem.

If there are piles of mail from the last six weeks waiting for you to decide what to do with them, then there is a paper clutter problem.

If you can’t walk into the bedroom without stepping on dirty clothes, then that’s another clutter problem.

We need to learn not to be so hard on ourselves. We also need to learn the difference between a little mess from everyday living and true clutter. The key is to establish some routines that keep those little everyday messes from becoming clutter.

 

Janice