Our Surroundings Mirror Us

Our Surroundings Mirror Us

The world changes all the time and constantly, which is ironic, since most of us do not deal well with change.

Part of my journey–in writing this blog and learning more about nutrition and health and wanting to help others, and myself–is that I have gotten to communicate with a lot of people.

And while this week and beyond I am still going to pursue my goals and dreams and share them with you, I thought I would take a break from thinking about carbohydrates and proteins for one day to share something else.

I discovered something about people that I think I knew but had not truly thought about.  Our surroundings mirror us–sometimes in the worst way.

I’ve encountered several people that like me are trying to lose weight and live a more healthy life. People who are serious about nutrition and exercise. We are all on this journey to feel and look better and live a long healthy life.

I’ve also encountered people who are wanting the same things and looking for support but are unwilling–or terrified–to change.

I can completely relate to that.  It is scary to change, to let go of the past and move into the future and make changes. Especially when changes will affect those around us. And when we worry that those we love will not accept and love us back–as we make those changes.

I will share the perfect example–in my own life–and see if you can relate.  Before I began losing weight I felt bulky, swollen, and awkward. My house also had a lot of extra “stuff” in it. Papers and files and clothes and knick knacks.

The house was mirroring me!

My house was clean but full–if you’ve read some of my earlier posts you’ll know that one of my goals this year is to declutter and I’ve been making a great deal of progress!

More amazing still, the more I lightened my load at home, the lighter I became–quite literally.  And I am starting to see the connection for some.

So how do we shine up our mirrors so that what is reflected back is exactly what you want to see?

Decluttering the house–especially the kitchen–is a good place to start.  The more I learn about the good foods to eat–the more I fill my pantry with those and have replaced the processed foods we are no longer choosing to eat.

Another thing we should clean up are our thoughts and feelings–about ourselves. That mirror reflects not only us, but the us we are trying to hide.

Hurts and pain, sadness and anxieties are all part of the reflection–and sometimes we eat the wrong foods and don’t take care of ourselves to hide ourselves away–maybe to protect ourselves from our pasts or the fears of the future.

So for what it’s worth look at your surroundings and decide what you want to change.  Nothing stays the same–we can fight change or we can embrace it.

I think you’ll find–like I am learning about myself–that when you enjoy the changes in your life the mirror will reflect it.

Have a wonderful Monday! And comment below–let me know how letting go of things and the past can make your future strong!

 

Creating the Home You Want

Creating the Home You Want

I am learning that decluttering is an ongoing process.  Although I have decluttered my house A LOT…I still have a long way to go.

In the process of going through things and keeping what we really love, we are also creating spaces in which we are comfortable.  After all, our home is our haven. While we enjoy having friends and family over for visits our primary goal is not to have a showplace but a comfortable space where anyone that comes will feel at home.

Of course, getting everything to look and feel this way is a work in progress and a very large organizational goal.

Each room should be decluttered and should focus on the function of the room.  For example, we should not have dishes in the bedroom or a hair brush in the kitchen.  

Here are my tips to organizing your home:

Kitchen:  The kitchen should be light, airy and clean.  There should be a place for all the pots, pans, dishes, cups, utensils, and pantry items.  Clearing off the counters of unused appliances, jars and other miscellaneous items will help your kitchen seem cleaner and larger.   If all your kitchen accessories don’t have a specific home or a place, then you have too much stuff in your kitchen.

Your kitchen is the heart of the home.  This is where most people gather and where memories are made.  Give yourself the space to make them.

Your kitchen is also where we prepare food and eat our meals.  It should be a place that is clean, bright and comforting. When we eat in a relaxed atmosphere we digest better and we feel better!  

Living Areas:  Our family room is where we entertain ourselves and others.   It is not a formal space, but strives to be one of comfort. Comfortable chairs and tables within arms reach make it easy to sit back with a cold drink or a snack and give attention to the people there and not the things.   

The living room is where we live in our down time, where we can relax, laugh, watch T.V. and play games.  When you are organizing your living room or family room, think about the activities that take place there and make sure there is designated furniture or items that enhance that not that just fill up the space.

The Home Office:  Not all homes have a home office–some have an office space but either way this is the home command center.  And while this is where I “work” at home, it is possible to make it a comfortable and functional area. A desk is essential as is your computer and a printer/scanner if you need one.  

Organizing a home office is imperative because this is the space that can get out of control–at least for me–very fast!  This is where the paper lives or better said–where it lives for a short time until you decide what to do with it. (See my tips for organizing paper here.)

So for my purposes–and I highly recommend one–your office should also include a shredder.  It is one of my favorite machines in the house!

Our office is a reflection of what we do there–pay bills, write, be creative and read.  Other than your desk, you may want to have a small sofa or comfy chair, a bookshelf and a place to keep important papers–in an organized system of course!

Bathrooms:  I have found that one of the smallest spaces in our home can contain the most “stuff”–read junk!  Not junk that is just to be thrown away but that should be addressed.

When I decluttered the bathrooms, I found bottles and bottles and bottles of shampoo, creams, moisturizer, hair products, vitamins, etc.  What helped me tremendously was to stop buying more of these items and using all that I have to 1) stop adding to the madness and 2) create space.

To organize the bathroom–treat it like a bathroom in a nice hotel. Keep it spotless and free of bottles and bathroom items on the sink top.  Use the things you need to use and put them away immediately. Wipe everything down each day (takes me about 20 seconds) and it will always look ready for its functions.

I’ve left the best for last—

Bedrooms: Again, like in a nice hotel–think sleek, clean, and functional. Keep your area free of extra paper, clothes, and shoes.  Our bedrooms is where our body, mind and spirit come to relax and rest after a day of our hurried run around lives. It is our quiet place. Create a space that is organized and can fulfill a restful experience for yourself.  After all we are worth it.

Organizing your home is a huge task–but one that is satisfying and will ultimately reflect who you are, what you find important, and how you want to live your life.

Enjoy the journey and have fun with it!

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

In organizing our computer files and our paper…I thought the next logical area of our lives was our money.  This may not be the post you think it will be though.

I won’t be giving you advice on budgeting or on how to save for retirement or that next big vacation.

Money is a touchy an highly emotionally charged topic.  There are thousands of articles and posts and ideas about how to make money, make extra money, invest money, manage money, spend money wisely and many other things you can do with money.

There are also a thousand ideas about the good money can do and the evil money can create.  

Like I said–money is a highly charged subject.  What I am talking about here is the respect of money–having control of your money so it does not control you.

I have been very fortunate to have a healthy respect for money, and to have been given direction by a very intelligent person. I am not greedy, I work hard, I save, and I pay all my bills on time.  I’ve made money mistakes and I have fixed them.

Not everyone has a relationship with their money like that. And so many people feel “disorganized” when it comes to their money. There is always more month at the end of the money because of the decisions we make.

If you really think about it money is just something we exchange for something else. Simple.

So here are my suggestions on organizing your money. Make an honest living and collect your money. Save some and spend some, but don’t spend more than you make.

Of the amount you spend, make sure you are generous with people who need it more than you do. The money you give away usually comes back to you doubled.

And my final piece of advice on organizing your money:

Don’t pretend you don’t understand money,or how you never have enough.  We make choices everyday that disorganized our financial lives.

Today, start fresh, make the choices that will lead to an organized financial life. Like organizing your computer files and the paper in your life, organizing your financial life takes work–but once you set up a system–you just have to maintain it.

Money comes and money goes. Enjoy it, save it and share it–every step of the way!

Follow me on Facebook and on my Pinterest page and have fun!  

Paper, Paper, Everywhere

Paper, Paper, Everywhere

Now that I have a set schedule for keeping my electronic files and folders organized and backed up and safe–it is time to attack the next phase of organizing—paper.

At one time, paper was a wonderful invention! It allowed us mere humans to write down our thoughts, our histories, create our art and our personal stories among a myriad of other things.

Somewhere along the way, though, we had so much written down on paper and everything became so important to keep that we started–and for many of us–are still drowning in paper!

Now there is paper and then there is paper–and believe it or not we categorize our paper in the back of our heads: junk, reading materials, records, and memorabilia.

There are really only three ways to take care of our paper: we can get rid of it, scan it and keep the paper electronically (to be able to get rid of it), or keep it.

To get rid of papers that have any identifying information I suggest getting a shredder–it has become a very good friend to me–I call my shredder Rosie.

Here is how you can organize your paper.   

Junk. There is a great deal of paper in our lives right now that we can really just throw away. Grab a plastic bag and go to town.  All the junk paper in your office, bedroom, kitchen table, counters and any other flat surface in your home can go. Old receipts, advertisements, junk mail, take out menus, empty envelopes and the like fall into this category.

Reading Materials. Magazines and newspapers also that are piling up because you haven’t had a chance to read them in our busy runaround lives–should be walking out of your home right into the recycle bin. Books:  we have so many books in our lives. Keep the ones you love–and give away (or sell) the rest.

Just by taking care of those two categories of paper you will feel lighter.

Records and Memorabilia. Our records and our memorabilia are harder categories to take care of. Here is an easy solution–and this is what I did.  I will warn you that this is not a popular solution and some of your family members (or your dog) may look at you like you are crazy–but it worked for me.

I put all–and I do mean all–my records and memorabilia in a huge pile. It actually turned out to be 4 very large piles!  And then decide with each paper if you need to shred it, scan it (and then shred it), or keep it.

It is time consuming. It takes concentration. And it is one of the most satisfying chores I have ever completed. Now there is no paper, paper, everywhere!

Why?  Because it has to be done. Because you will feel lighter and cleaner. Because you will be making room for all the good things coming your way.

Living the life you want faster, smarter and better can be done with less paper. Have fun with it!

What are your challenges when it comes to all the paper in your life? How do you feel about getting rid of the paper in your home?

Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

 

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Letting Go

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Letting Go

This last post in the Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul series hits very close to home for me, because it is so fresh. It is a constant work I do with myself.

I want to talk to you about decluttering your soul and this is going to be hard.  As any new or experienced empty nester knows, one of the hardest things to do is let go.

Letting go of our children as they started their own lives was hard enough but letting go of some of the baggage we carry around in our soul is even harder!

Our soul, in my eyes, is where we carry our value systems and beliefs. It also houses our fears, anxieties and burdens.  It is a hard organ of the body to explain–since no doctor has ever found it, no person has ever given it to another, but we know its there by the pain and joy it causes.

In the end of it all–our soul is our essence.  And we should keep it as pure as we can, if possible–and of course I mean, decluttered.

As we declutter our physical world we have to find a way to declutter our soul as well. This is extremely hard because we can’t just fill up a box of stuff, put it in the back of our car, and drop it off at Goodwill.

Decluttering the soul takes hard work and will sometimes cause pain.  But we deserve a clean and light soul! We deserve it.

The hard work is internal.  It is a conversation and conviction we take on with ourselves and sometimes with a higher power. I call my higher power God, but you may think of it differently.

So here is what I have been doing to declutter my soul–it is an ongoing process–and one I will have to remind myself of to do continually as the soul clutters itself once again:

Step 1 :  Forgive

Forgive the people, the circumstances and memories, and your own errors in judgement that have hurt you. Easy to say, not easy to do.  It is painful because we are letting go of something strong that we have been holding onto tightly.

Sometimes we are so hurt by a person or situation and the other players involved are not even aware that they have caused you pain or discomfort. We carry this around in our soul building up fears and anxieties of it happening again–with the same person or with others.

It weighs us down and darkens our spirit, making it a cold and lonely place to carry.  But if we forgive–our soul feels a little brighter and lighter bit by bit.

Step 2:  Let Go

This is even harder than forgiving sometimes!  We have to let the pain and the discomfort go.  We have to believe that people do not hurt us intentionally and we need to move on from where we are with a clean soul and be open to new experiences.  

We need to know that the hurts we have endured have nothing to do with our worth! People do not hurt us because we are bad, we get hurt because our beliefs and value systems do not match those of the people that caused the hurt.

Note: This does not mean, and I certainly do not believe, that we should accept the hurts and abuses of others. It just simply means we should forgive them for thinking they can hurt us and I firmly believe we should separate ourselves from those folks (permanently, if possible).

Letting go also means forgiving yourself for the hurt and giving it to your higher power. The higher power will take care of it and you can begin to move on.

Once your soul is lighter you will begin to see things differently and it will open you up for better, stronger and more positive experiences to fill you up with!

So do the work–forgive, let go and love the person and the soul you are! You deserve it!

 

Have a wonderful weekend.  Like, comment or share if this is something that resonates with you!

Join me on Facebook and Pinterest. And as we do the work, don’t forget to have some fun!

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Self-care for our Body

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Self-care for our Body

To continue on my decluttering journey–Part 2 of Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul is going to be about our body!

You might ask me how I can possibly declutter my body?  My body is not cluttered!  But our bodies are, at least mine is–a little bit.

What I think about when I think about a cluttered body is really not treating myself well for optimal health. We don’t get enough sleep, drink enough water or eat the right things to keep us at our best.

Over time these bad habits we have created start to make us feel fatigue, stress and many times add a few unwanted pounds to our bodies. All this clutters our bodies–and slows us down.

I know personally, I have been trying to “declutter” the same 10 lbs for the last several years!  They don’t seem to want to go!  But it is time to get rid of them!

And this really comes down to self-care.

I know! I know! Self-care is such a “trendy” term!

What does it mean anyway? Well, really you can define self-care any way you want because it is all about YOU!  And that is what is important!  

Self care, to me, is about being in balance with my physical body. It is about eating better and getting some exercise. It is about grooming and looking good.  Because when I look good–I feel good!

Why don’t we take better care of ourselves?  Because we are busy and we have created a lifestyle of quick, fast and on the run!

So in this new life I am creating, I am going to make sure I make time for myself each day to look good.   I intend to plan good meals, go to the gym a few times a week and block off time to pamper myself.

The hustle and bustle of working, raising children, keeping the house etc. may fill our timetables and calendars but if we don’t put ourselves first, then who will?

Put yourself on the calendar–reschedule other things if you need to.  We always find the time for things that are important to us.  What can be more important than being the healthiest you, you can be!

Self-care often gets set aside while we are busy meeting the needs of others.  That proves that deep down we are selfless and enjoy helping and caring for the well being of those we cherish  in our life.

And while that is a good thing, imagine how much more we can do and help if we felt healthier, well rested and in a word–happy–with our bodies!

I am so excited to “declutter” my body to promote my well being so I have the energy, stamina and the desire to be active during this wonderful adventurous life!  Join me won’t you?

Do something nice for yourself today–your body will thank you!

Make a comment below:  What kinds of self-care do you practice?

Join me on Facebook and Pinterest and Have fun!

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Being Mindful

Decluttering the Mind, Body and Soul: Being Mindful

In my journey to create a new life, I realize that we have to remove some of the weight of the past to be able to move forward.  And my first step was to declutter the house.

So easy to say…oh my goodness but so hard to get through!  I started with all the best intention and vigor and energy.  

While I am slowly getting through (I have completed 2 closets, one bathroom and most of the kitchen–but not quite all!) I have to take breaks because both physically and emotionally decluttering can be exhausting!

Getting rid of some things is so easy!  I mean it is a no brainer to get rid of things that are broken or that we really don’t want or like.  But other things–it is an absolutely gut wrenching decision about what to do with stuff.

And I have found here recently that there are many things that are not even physical things, that we need to declutter as well!  This week I am going to do some introspection and discuss with you my mini-journey of decluttering my mind, my body and my soul.

Today I am going to tell you how to declutter your mind–or at least the steps I am taking to declutter mine.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying “Of all the Things I’ve Lost, I miss my mind the most.” I can imagine what he meant.  I am so grateful for my mind–my ability to think and read and write and plan!

Then some days I am grateful to just be able to remember why I walked into this room, to remember what I went to the market to pick up, and to remember if I locked the door when I left the house!

Today our minds are so cluttered!  We have so much technology and audio and visual stimulation that our brains are on constant overload. Add to that all the regular stuff we used to think about: birthdays, grocery lists, appointments, work, hobbies, where we left our keys…(you get the picture)…it’s just too much!

And it’s all great until the stress level is so high that our brains start to overheat, we get stress headaches, we start to feel anxious, we can’t keep track of everyday activities because we are in a brain fog.

So I am decluttering my mind.  First we got rid of cable a few months ago. (Who needs 400 channels anyway?–we don’t have time to watch them and we are saving money!)

We decided that the first 30 minutes of the day we would not check email, the news, the weather channel or any social media outlet.

At 8 pm we disconnect again–giving our brains the cue that we will soon be in bed. Computers, smartphones, smart tvs and ereaders are turned off and plugged in.

We use the quiet time to reconnect to each other, to our poor ignored dogs, and to ourselves. (The doggies really like this by the way!)

In this new life we want to build for ourselves we want to be present in the experiences we are having. All the soundbytes, likes, tweets, emails and text messages can wait. We want to be more mindful–not mind full!

So take a moment to think about what is cluttering up your mind that is keeping you from enjoying being in the present moment and enjoying some clarity.  What are the things that clutter your mind the most?

Comment below if you like!  And have a fun uncluttered day today!