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!

Steps to Letting Go of Old Limitations

Steps to Letting Go of Old Limitations

The hardest part so far of trying to determine what lies ahead for us in this empty nest chapter of our lives has been the slowing down.

I am coming to realize that I am having a hard time slowing down because I am having a hard time letting go of old limitations I have placed on my life.

Based on our values and expectations of life we have worked hard and we have done things “right”–at least the right we thought were right at the time.  And for the most part we were right the majority of the time and we did well for ourselves and are in a good place. However, the world has changed and changed drastically–and if we don’t change with it–by letting go of old limitations–we are going to stagnate.

First let me explain what a good place is.  My husband and I are in a good place because we do and have certain things that we feel are not negotiable not to do or have.  

These are the things we do:

1) We acknowledge that God exists and is very important in our lives. We both have always believed in God, but now, more importantly, we understand that God is first in our lives.

2) We work hard.

3) We are grateful for everything that comes into our lives.

These are all the things we have:

1) We, thankfully, have our health.

2) We are intelligent and honor knowledge, education, and drive to learn more-not just book smarts–but experience knowledge.

3) we have a family that we love and respect and that loves and respects us back.

So what am I talking about when I say old limitations?

Up until the empty nest time, our lives included raising kids, buying a home, acquiring dogs, cars, and numerous traveling experiences. It included going to kids birthday parties, hosting parties, attending school functions, parent teacher conferences and all the other functions and places that kept us going from place to place.

It also included working hard and long hours, having successes and failures at work but being rewarded with reasonable salaries, retirement plans, insurance protection and the things that our society deems important.

Before we knew it the children were grown and graduations were attended. Smiles and tears were shed, cars were packed, schools were chosen, dorms and apartments moved into and then we drove away with more tears and a whole lot of quiet.

And for a little while–about 6 months–we were adjusting to the the Empty Nest. Part of my adjustment is allowing myself to express my creativity through this blog and discovering what we want to do as we plan for the rest of our lives.

But although we are consciously seeking to slow down and create this life, we have not stopped doing everything the way in which we have always done it. The old limitations that I am not letting go of or am reluctant to let go of are the fears, anxieties, worry and other habits that are holding us back from living the fullest life we are meant to have.

Without knowing it, in search of “the plan” for the rest of our lives we have come face to face with many vulnerabilities. We are getting close to figuring this out–or we think we are getting close–who knows? we could be years from figuring it out!

We will not get close to figuring it out though if we don’t let go of old limitations.

All of our limitations are psychological–and what is holding me back only means something to me. What is holding you back only means something to you. Since the world has changed so much and is changing rapidly still we have to find the way to let go of the fears, anxieties, bad habits or even good habits that are not serving you.

These are a few things I am going to try to begin letting go, and I encourage you to try these steps or to define your own:

  1. Stop living our present lives by the limitations we placed on ourselves in the past. I have to leave the past in the past.
  2. No matter what is happening let go of imagined fears and find something to be grateful for, after all life is good!
  3. Remember that we all have a purpose and we owe it to ourselves to find that purpose and live it to the fullest!

So in letting go of old limitations I plan to learn to relax, after all what is going to happen is going to happen anyway and there is no way to control the unknown. I am going to take more pictures of sunrises and sunsets and everything in between!  I am going to enjoy the scenery of life. And I am going to keep searching for my purpose and continue planning the plan.

Life is a journey–not a destination so I don’t have to worry about getting to any particular place at a particular time! It’s impossible to be late!

Are you holding yourself back from being the best you, you can be? Are there any limitations you have placed on yourself or your life that is taking away from fully experiencing everything life has to offer? Comment below and share with me one thing you would change in order to live a fuller life!

As always, remember we only have one life!  Have fun with it!

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!