Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

One of my favorite things about summer vacation from teaching is that I can catch up on many of my other passions:  organizing, reading, planning and writing.

Keeping my house is one of my greatest joys.  I get very excited about my “Spring Cleaning” and I often get carried away.

For example, I decided to take a break and write–as I am doing now about what I am taking a break from–cleaning out the closet.

I pride myself on all the decluttering I have already done and yet–how did this closet get away?  I have taken out so much from this closet that I am surprised how much actually fits in there!

I will be organizing and reorganizing some things this summer, I will be meal prepping and keeping my healthy meals schedule and reading and writing and planning for the next school year.

As much as I say I will not do all these things and just enjoy the time off and relax–I don’t think I physically can. I never have.

It confuses me when other people talk about not liking organizing their closets, their homes, their meals etc.  I wonder: “How do these people survive in the world?”

So I am cleaning up and cleaning out–yet again–not because my house, or my planner or my routines need it–but because I love to do it.

I love a clean kitchen, an always made bed, an organized pantry.  I enjoy my meal plan calendar and my recipes with my grocery lists all built in.

I love that there is no dust under my furniture–because I move the furniture to clean–and some of my friends think I have gone around the bend.

After a long day at work–during the school year for me, but all year for my husband–it is so nice to come home to a clean organized space.

I like knowing ahead of time what we will be eating and that I have all the ingredients available and that the laundry is done and put away where I can always find it.

There is one drawback to my little obsession.  I often bite off more than I can chew–like I have today–taking everything out of that closet.

Some of these things just need to be reorganized in the bins I have for them, but other things need to be addressed–like all the boxes of picture albums that I am in the process of scanning, to be cataloged, to be saved (electronically) forever.

That is a little project I began a few years ago that I will continue until it is done.  I am trying to capture all those memories before the pictures are irrevocably lost to fading and yellowing.

So, when my little break is over, I will clean up everything and reorganize my things back into the closet except for those boxes of pictures–which I will continue to scan and clean out.

It means something to me very important that this organizing bug is in me. It means that I revisit the items and routines in my life to make sure everything is in its place and that things are in good repair, for when they are needed.

It means that we don’t keep things and routines that are not serving us that can be serving someone else instead.

And ultimately it means that we count our blessings, everyday for all that is wonderful in our lives.

Do you have the summer cleaning bug? Why do you reorganize and how much do you enjoy it?  Comment below or send me an email with your thoughts @ emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

Have a productive day!

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!

Of Stuff and Money

Of Stuff and Money

A funny thing happened on my way to the trash bin…I started having “declutterer’s remorse”.  I started thinking about all the money we have spent on the things we were now giving away, throwing away or selling at a VERY reduced price.

I had to take a step back, take a deep breath and remind myself of the reason I am doing this…and it felt so good.

My main reason–is to have more!  Not more stuff!  But as I’ve mentioned before…more space, time, money and happiness.

I am so excited as I already see some of my spaces open up–and how I am thinking each day of ways to organize better, and keep those spaces clean and beautiful.  So the more space is really coming along!

And I did not realize how freeing decluttering would be in finding more time for myself.  I mean really, we all have the same 24 hours a day–but if I’m not searching for my car keys for 15 minutes just to find them under the pile of mail I brought in last night, I’ve gotten 15 minutes of my life back!  

Not to mention that an uncluttered house is easier to clean: more time for me.  Simplifying all my stuff makes my routines shorter and quicker: more time for me. And I don’t have to worry about maintaining, storing, searching through or finding new places for my unused or unusable stuff: more time for me!

I really like more time for me!

The money concept is a little harder because obviously unless it was a gift–we spent money on all this “stuff” we are now calling “clutter”. Ouch!  Yes we have bought useless stuff, I accept that!

For all the stuff we bought and enjoyed, well, we can call that an entertainment expense.  And for all the things that are still good and we are donating–they will live on, hopefully, with someone that can get good use out of it.

When I think of my goal of more money–decluttering and the decision to be stronger and wiser in future buying decisions–could mean more money.  And certainly all the hours I have spent decluttering and thinking about decluttering and not cluttering again are hours (and money) I did not spend on Amazon!

Pretty sad when the UPS guy knows you by name!  

More happiness?  Absolutely!  Decluttering is a way to open you up for all the good things you have coming your way.  All the new opportunities, something better that you have been planning for your life, or even just more peace in your surroundings will contribute to a healthier life.  

What dreams or plans have you been putting on hold because there is just no room for them in your life right now?  How does the thought of decluttering make you feel about the money you have spent on stuff?  Look at your future goals, can doing some decluttering put you on a path to reaching them?  Comment below to share your experiences!

And as usual check out my Facebook page and the ideas I have pinned on Pinterest! And have fun!

Getting the Ball Rolling on the Decluttering Journey

Getting the Ball Rolling on the Decluttering Journey

I have really started going through things in my house and feel so relieved to be decluttering. Yes relieved!

Even though my husband and I have done a very good job of paring down each year and make a real effort to not purchase or keep things we don’t use, we still have managed, year after year, to fill up our house with stuff.

Our house is not completely overloaded–but at the same time too much clutter everywhere does seem to add to the stress of living.

What I have found is that it is much harder and more time consuming than I had expected.  And after reading many articles and blogs about decluttering–I am not alone!

I know that there are many levels of decluttering.  From minimalism (wow–I really love their commitment to the movement and the ideas behind it!) to downsizing to Hygge! I decided I am a more a “Spring Cleaning” type of declutterer.

At the same time, I’m not just cleaning.  I am really thinking about what we have, what we really want to keep and why. I want to have more space, not to have room to get more stuff–but just to lighten my load a bit upon this world.

One article I found especially helpful is one from liveasyouliveit.blogspot.com writer Kaylie.  She created a free download entitled: 30 Days of Decluttering and I have found it fabulous.

In it, Kaylie provides 30 suggestions on things to declutter in a month.  It is not only really doable, it really motivates you to get the ball rolling on decluttering and keep it going until your home is exactly how you want it.

One thing I would add that is important to me: As I started decluttering (and I don’t feel I have gotten really going yet!) I found that I had a great deal of excess stuff that was in the “lets get this out of the house” pile.  

Some things I have set aside for a garage sale, (or to sell online–my neighborhood has a great Facebook page where you can post items for sale).  For example, I have a set of crystal wine glasses that I have had for over 15 years and have used maybe twice!

Anything that was broken, damaged, dangerous or worn out I immediately put in trash bags and in the bin. Recyclable stuff went directly in the recycle bin to go out in the next pick up.

But there are things that are still useful like clothes and shoes, household items etc. that just needed to find a good home. Please consider, when you come across those items, to not immediately throw them away but give them to a charity.

We live in a very disposable society–but there are many people not as blessed as we are!

Goodwill, The Salvation Army and churches (as well as other charitable organizations) will all take your items thankfully and  give you a tax receipt. But I have also found it very fulfilling to know that perhaps my gently used items will help another person down the line.

Meanwhile, I have lightened my load a little- but I know I have a long way to go!  Getting the ball rolling has put me on the path to building the life I want faster, better and smarter!  I hope your decluttering journey is going well too!

Please share with me some of your tips and thoughts about decluttering and how it has made you feel. Please comment below!

Also join my Facebook page and follow my decluttering Pinterest board to find more tips and ideas to help you have fun with this journey!

My Happy Place

My Happy Place

It will come as no surprise to most that my happy place is my home. Not just because I have memories here but because this is where I am relaxed, where I can unwind, where I can be creative, silly, loud and where I feel safe.

For most of you, I imagine, your home is your sanctuary as well. After all we are all working hard to pay the mortgage or rent and it should be a place we like to come HOME to.

Ah…there it is again.  The “should be”….  At some point in time, we chose where to live. Sometimes external circumstances may have had a part in this choice, but for the most part on some conscious level we made a choice.

And then life happened.  Where we live doesn’t seem as big as it did once upon a time.  We start to think, did I pick this wall color?  We fill closets and drawers and cabinets and pantries with things that we need and use and forget we even own.

Our “happy place” turns into the place we go to live, where we stay, where others know they can find us. A place where our stuff lives.

We still love it, but it is a different love now–the love of settling for what is.

So I decided, and you may be in the same place with me, that this is the year to make some changes to help me enjoy my Happy Place even more!  

My first step, I thought, is I am going to declutter.  What a great word: Declutter!  It sounds like a quick and fabulous haircut!  But it’s not!

My original plan was to declutter everything and then start with a clean slate! I was pumped!  

One of the first things I did was empty all the trash cans in the house.  Kitchen, bathrooms, office, laundry room.

And I did not just empty them, but I washed them out dried them and put in new bags. Ready to begin the journey of decluttering my house.

I was over the first hurdle, the garbage was out–the new bags were in and ready and then…I felt completely exhausted and overwhelmed.  Where do I start?  

My next thought was even more frightening: I want to clean up my life, not just clean up my house! Oh my Goodness, what does that mean exactly?  

I had to get my head around the idea that I was not trying to make room to buy more stuff but that I was trying to make room:  room to breathe, room to grow–as a person, with my family.

This is not going to be easy. And it is not going to be fast. But it is going to be fabulous!

Where is your happy place? How do you feel about where you live right now?  What changes would you like to make?  How do you feel about this popular decluttering idea? Please comment below about your thoughts.

As always visit my Facebook page and Pinterest and have some fun!