declutter

Get into the decluttering mindset

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Decluttering is an important step to getting organized – and it’s also one of the hardest. Most often, it is difficult for people to part with the items they own because people are sentimentally attached to them, they think they may need them, or they simply no longer notice them. However, these items are taking up unnecessary space in homes and in lives. In order to be successful at decluttering, it is important to get in the right mind set. People need to open themselves to thinking about decluttering in a new way. Not necessarily as getting rid of personal items but creating the home and space that they want.

Think of getting organized as ‘what you think is what you create.’ In other words, the best way to start decluttering is to have a clear vision of what a home or space should look like, and then working towards achieving that vision. People should think about what they really want in their lives – is it an organized kitchen, a tidy bedroom, or a clean garage? Whatever the organization goal is, defining a clear vision and getting into a positive frame of mind can help people get motivated to act.

 Once a person can visualize their goal of an organized home or space, it is easier to go through the process of decluttering personal items and donating or discarding what is no longer needed or useful. If a person doesn’t feel motivated or can’t understand the impact of decluttering, the process will not be successful, and it will be even more difficult to achieve and sustain the organized space.  

For example, if the goal is to organize a bedroom closet, and the first step is to declutter clothing, shoes, and accessories, it is important to first is to think about what that space should look like – neat, organized, and not overflowing with clothes and other items. With a vision of what the space could look like, it is easy to find the motivation to go through the items in the closet and discard the items that are no longer used or worn. Having a vision brings people to the point of action and shows the potential a closet or any space in a home can have to be organized. Now, decluttering isn’t a chore but an important step to achieve a goal.

 

When it comes to decluttering, it is helpful for people to make sure they are in the right mind set. Often, this process can be difficult and disheartening – it is challenging to go through personal belongings, some which have been purchased individually but others which have been passed down from family or given as gifts. However, decluttering is an essential part of getting organized. By creating a vision for how an organized home or space can look, it is easier for an individual to get motivated to declutter. A more positive frame of mind can make all the difference when decluttering. It helps clear sentimental attachments or thoughts of “I might need this in the future” or “someone gave this to me, so I should hold onto it.” Get into the decluttering mind set and achieve your goal for an organized and clutter-free space!

Reduce your mental holiday clutter

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When people think about staying organized over Christmas, more often than not they focus on physical clutter, like organizing presents and decorations. However, over the busy holiday season, people can develop mental clutter that can make it difficult to truly enjoy the season. Many people have a lot to do over the holidays in addition to their regular jobs or tasks – there’s visits with family and friends, holiday parties, gift shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, and plenty of other obligations. This holiday season take some time to organize your mental clutter to avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

 

Remember: you’re not in this alone

If you’re hosting a meal for family and friends, don’t think that you have to do everything yourself. Ask your guests to pitch in and help with the meal by bringing a side dish or beverages so you don’t have as much to do. Cooking a turkey and bringing it as a guest can be difficult, but if you handle the turkey, it is easy for someone else to bring a salad or vegetable. Desserts and appetizers are also easy to delegate to other guests.

 When you’re assigning items for guests to bring, be sure to write down what each person is bringing so you or another guest don’t accidentally make the same thing or forget to bring a dish. Make sure you know what everyone is bringing, and if they will need to heat up their dish or keep it in the fridge until the meal is served. This way, you can plan your own dishes accordingly.

 

Change your gifting habits

A lot of mental stress during the holidays comes from having to buy gifts for your friends, family members and co-workers. Not only is it difficult to come up with ideas, but shopping can be very time-consuming and financially draining. Consider reducing your gift consumption without sacrificing the fun of giving and receiving gifts. Instead, try drawing names for “Secret Santa” or hosting a gift exchange with a lower budget. This way, everyone still gets a gift, but you won’t have to spend the same amount of time or money.  

Gifts don’t have to be expensive, and they don’t have to be a tangible object either. Consider going out for a nice meal with friends instead of buying each other gifts or take a loved-one to an activity or performance. These “clutter-less” gifts don’t have to be enjoyed during the holiday season either – they can wait until sometime in the New Year, so you aren’t scrambling to fit everything in December. Postponing your gifts will also help keep your spending down during the holidays.

 

Take time to relax

There may be a lot you want to do over the holidays, but it is important to make sure to do set time aside to relax and spend time with friends and family. Plan on meeting with friends for lunch or set aside time for after-work drinks. If you really want to relax, a trip to the salon for a quick pedicure or manicure with friends might also be a good way to unwind. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time but getting together can be a great way for you to take a break while spending time with your loved ones over the holidays. Finding time to get together can be more special than just sending them a gift.

 

Purchase supplies ahead of time

It’s not too early to start purchasing your groceries for the holiday meal. Start looking for sales on cranberry sauce, condiment spreads, crackers, pickles, and other non-perishable foods. Turkeys, hams and other meats and fish can also be purchased in advance and frozen – just be sure to give yourself enough time to safely defrost them before preparing. Some desserts and baked goods can also be made up ahead of time. You can start baking simple bars, dessert squares and cookie dough now and freeze them. Whenever you have people over or need a dessert, you can simply pull them out of the freezer before the meal, so they are ready to go when you need them.

 

It can be hard to have fun over the holidays when mental clutter is weighing you down. Take time to relax over the holidays and make visiting family and friends a priority. Do what you can ahead of time but remember that you don’t have to do everything on your own. Giving gifts is a popular holiday tradition, but it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time or money. With these simple steps, you can enjoy the holiday season!  

Attachments - what are they, and how can you let them go?

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Many people have items that we have inherited from family members or collected from personal experiences. Whether they are old books, souvenirs from past vacations, or antique furniture, these items can take up a significant amount of space in a home. Why are they still around? Most of these items are unnecessary, but people find themselves unable to part with them.  

These items can be classified into two categories: keep sakes and familiar objects. Sentimental keep sakes are items that have memories associated with them. For example, it may be a special tea cup that you remember your grandmother drinking out of when you went to visit her as a child. That item has a sentimental memory attached to it.

However, if the item has no memory but was touched or owned by someone, it is not a sentimental attachment. For example, if your grandmother had another tea cup that she always kept tucked in a cabinet, you do not have a sentimental attachment to it because you have no memories of it. There is a familiar relationship there, but no attachment.

In order to eliminate these items, people must determine if they are keepsakes or if they are just being held onto. If you have items that are just familiar, but have no real meaning attached to them, then there is no reason why you should keep them.

Keep sakes are difficult to deal with, because you must be willing to disassociate your memories with the items. It is important to not assign memories to one single object. These items are temporary and should not have the responsibility of holding a lifetime of memories. The experiences you remember and treasure from the past and present are your own, and you do not need to hold onto an object in order to honour and remember them.

If one of your objects were to break, you risk losing the connection you had with your memories, and as a result, risk losing the memories all together. It is better to hold onto these memories on your own, so you can ensure they will be with you always.