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Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!)

Few things bring domestic chaos to the surface, like the holiday season: the gatherings, the cooking, the decorations – Holiday Décor (Oh Joy!). The cold weather makes us stay closer inside, and our environment’s stability is tested like at no other time of the year during the holidays.

Some live in a mess, yet they get preoccupied with seasonal décor, gift-giving, entertaining, and baking. But I wonder if that is a defense mechanism to avoid seeing the elephant in the room. What sense does it make to decorate a house in total disarray?

What Home Should Feel Like

Some might seem oblivious to the underlying disorganization of their environment. However, whether we notice it or not, a chaotic environment affects us all. Clutter drains our energy.

But if only we could experience a different way, what would happen? How many possibilities would open up? How much more efficient could we become? How much more relaxed and joyful?

Rather than being a roadblock in life, your home environment should be your support and bring you joy. That joy starts with having an organized and optimized space.

Then, the whole family can have a wonderful time decorating, sharing, cooking, and eating together instead of fighting about the dusty boxes, the decorations they can’t find, or just being in a bad mood because the house is a mess.

What Makes The Difference

Having an “exit strategy” is equally important. How you close your holiday season will directly impact next year’s celebrations. 

If holiday decorations are a mess, this is a good starting point. Decide to mindfully and purposefully store your seasonal décor to preserve it and keep it accessible for the following year. 

Commit to putting your home environment in order. You will feel the difference!

Stop fighting your environment. Make it work for you instead. 

Want a joyful holiday season? Get your domain in order first. 

If you feel overwhelmed by the task, you don’t have to do this alone. Contact My Space Reclaimed! Let’s set a time to chat and see how we can walk that road together. 

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

The Kitchen Cabinet Situation

  • This cabinet had lots of cookbooks and recipe binders.

  • It also had a myriad of serving items.

  • The books were stacked sideways because some did not fit the space.

  • Recipe clippings were sticking out of books and binders.

  • Nothing was labeled or had hand-written Post-it notes.

Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level

The Kitchen Cabinet Situation

  • this cabinet had lots of cookbooks and recipe binders
  • it also had a myriad of serving items
  • books stacked sideways because some did not fit the space
  • recipe clippings were sticking out of books and binders
  • nothing was labeled or had hand-written Post-it notes

Also

  • Recipes were difficult to remember, identify, or use.

  • Meals were boring, repetitive, and unhealthy.

  • Medicine and supplement bottles occupied the lower shelf of this cabinet.

  • Taking meds and supplements was inconsistent because of the sorting and opening of bottles required, and it was hard to remember who took what and when

The kitchen cabinet needed some tweaking to become a functional cabinet with valuable, organized content.

The Process

  1. Removed all cabinet contents.
  2. Sorted through contents and removed what was no longer wanted or needed.
  3. Adjusted shelves to fit even the tallest book.
  4. Allocated specific areas for things that stay.
  5. Created a recipe management system.
  6. Photocopied, cut, and pasted recipes on 4″ X 6″ index cards.
  7. Classified recipes by dish type and organized them in index card boxes.
  8. Labeled index card boxes with their corresponding recipe categories.
  9. System benefits: mixing/matching cards creates a week’s worth of healthy, varied meals
  10. Created a medication management system by sorting pills according to dosage/time of intake. Everyone knows where, what, when, and how to get their meds.

Developing systems improves space usage efficiency.

Having systems that increase productivity and make life easier is one of the most valuable benefits of working with a Professional Organizer. 

If you want to experience some organizing magic, let’s talk! We’d love to hear about you and see how we can help.

7 Big Decluttering Tips

7 Big Decluttering Tips

7 Big Decluttering Tips

Here are some fantastic decluttering tips from Joshua Becker, host of Uncluttered and founder of Becoming Minimalist.

  1. Identify the purpose of a room and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve that purpose. If this sounds stoic, hang in with me for a second. Think about it. Your bathroom doesn’t need a Peloton. Your kitchen doesn’t need a video game station. Find purpose and balance for every space, or everything will remain confused and out of balance.
  2. Distinguish between decluttering and tidying up. Simply put, these things are not the same. It’s like the difference between rearranging the furniture and renovating a space. Decluttering makes tidying up a thousand times easier.
  3. Simplify walls. It’s easy to point at the messy surfaces, cluttered closets, and dramatically stuffed junk drawers, but one of the quickest ways to create more “breathing room” in a space is to declutter the walls. What’s hanging in your way?
  4. Start with the easier spaces and move on to harder ones. Overwhelm is a true mind-killer. Some say, “Eat the frog” and tackle the most excruciating task first. While this may work for some, I find getting some quick wins, creating momentum, and working your way up to the more significant tasks is better.
  5. Choose one of three options for every object: remove, relocate, and leave. Success and speed go hand-in-hand. When evaluating possessions, it’s time to be decisive, categorize each object, and then move on. Rinse and repeat.
  6. Count the “clutter cost.” Think about your money, energy, and the days and hours spent addressing clutter. And the time clutter takes away from what matters most. From this standpoint, who can truly “afford” to live a cluttered existence?
  7. Focus on the gains, not the subtractions. Minimizing isn’t just about getting rid of clutter. It’s about adding freedom and control back into your life. Celebrate your wins in the form of new freedom, not the number of items you eliminate (although it can be pretty cool to keep count!)

Find clarity and enjoy your life. The more energy you put into removing the excess, the easier it will be to find and develop habits to manage better the things you keep.

If you need help organizing your home, don’t hesitate to contact My Space Reclaimed, LLC. We can provide that much-needed help.

That Ladder In My Face

That Ladder In My Face

See The Ladder In The Picture?

During the early morning hours, the CO2 alarm started chirping. My husband went to get a ladder to fix the issue. Then, it was almost noon, and the ladder was still there. It was out of the way, but still, that ladder was in my face.

I tried to work near that space, but that ladder made itself known, telling me it was out of place and in my face. I could not focus or ignore that fact. It truly made me uncomfortable. This incident made me think about how clutter happens and why it creeps quickly in many homes.

It Seems Trivial, But Is It?

That ladder is the kind of thing that no one would pay attention to because it seems trivial or inconsequential. But ignoring the ladder for a couple of days would make everyone get used to it being there. After a few days, we no longer see the ladder. And weeks pass, months pass, and next year, the ladder is still there!

This phenomenon happens with the ladder, with every tool we own, packaging from store-bought items brought into the home, cleaning products, and even kitchen gadgets.

If we do not remain vigilant in these instances and miss the signs, clutter will likely follow. We stop seeing things when we ignore them.

What Is Your “Un-Comfort” Zone?

How likely are you to take notice, and how tolerant would you be of items out of place? At what point do you start feeling uncomfortable?

Some people might not even have proper space in their kitchens to cook and not be bothered. Feeling uncomfortable with the situation is a very personal threshold. But if we end up confused by the clutter or need help dealing with the mess around us, that means that stuff has overpowered us. We missed the early signals.

The mere idea of putting the ladder against the wall for even a minute after using it bothers me. But that is how I am sure clutter does not happen in our home – because my tolerance level is zero! My zero-tolerance ensures I get all the early signs of chaos.

“For The Moment” = Creeping Clutter

It is unnecessary to be so drastic and remain organized, though. It is needed to recalibrate the point where we start feeling uneasy so we get the cue that it is time to act instead of ignoring the clutter. That is how we avoid messes from taking over our lives.

While it might seem normal to use a tool and leave it anywhere “for the moment” to “put it away later,” this puts us at greater risk of creeping clutter. How likely are we to place the item in its place at a later time? Not very.

“When” Matters

“When” Matters

I discuss the concept of mindfulness quite often. Mindfulness is about being in the moment, each moment, noticing our actions, reactions, and feelings toward others and the environment. Mindfulness puts seemingly ordinary, routine, everyday life events under a magnifying glass for close inspection – the things few people notice. Under this mind-frame, we can’t help but see how “when” matters. The timeliness of things matters.

You have probably heard that clutter is, at its core, a bunch of postponed decisions. So, let’s put the concept of timeliness under that magnifying glass to illustrate its importance and consequences. 

Clutter, Mess, and Chaos Creep In

If a drop of tomato sauce falls on the floor while you cook, one of two things will likely happen: you take four seconds to wipe the area clean at that moment, or you keep cooking undisturbed because you can always clean it later (Oh, later).

You continue with your culinary endeavor. Then, you or someone else inadvertently step on the spot once or twice. As a result, the inoffensive tomato drop that could have taken four seconds to clean is now significantly spread on the kitchen floor. 

Also, mixed with shoe dirt, it has transformed that four-second job into a floor-moping task that adds five minutes to your schedule. But that is just the time. Consider the effort of prepping the mop, mopping the floor, and then cleaning that mop afterward.

The Toxic Build-Up

It is your choice to postpone taking any action – of course! But understand that the timeliness of actions does matter, and when we delay decisions, consequences usually follow. 

Often, those consequences come in the form of additional time and effort required to achieve the same goal. The extra effort needed to accomplish the goal grows each minute while the likelihood of taking action decreases. However, the situation (now compounded) will still be there for you to resolve later. Ignoring the situation won’t make it go away.

The tomato drop example might seem insignificant. But unnecessarily postponed tasks and decisions bring more impactful consequences. 

Life constantly provides us with opportunities to neglect or delay actions and decisions. And the consequences related to ignoring them might not bother us, especially if we don’t immediately notice. But sooner or later, we’ll find out that the results accumulated due to neglected or postponed decisions and actions are such that we no longer feel capable of bringing back balance or control to the situation, home, or life (whatever it is).

Neglected Actions Create Chain Reactions

Because Dad is an early riser, he gets assigned the chore of emptying the dishwasher and feeding the dog in the morning. There is an understanding that these activities should happen before the rest of the family gets up.

But Dad starts wasting precious morning time doing something other than those two chores under his responsibility. As the rest of the family members get up and want breakfast, the equipment they need is still inside the dishwasher. Therefore, everyone tries to get what they need directly from the machine. Dad tries to complete his unfinished tasks at that (very inopportune) time.

Everyone trips over the dishwasher’s open door and steps over a wet kitchen floor. It turns out the stuff coming out of the washer is still wet because the dishwasher is a piece of junk, and no one has bothered to replace it or call for repair service. So, the floor is now a mess that will require mopping with cleaner instead of a piece of towel paper to dry some water. 

Remember the dog that has yet to eat. The poor thing is in the middle of it all and pretty hungry. Dad knows he should have fed the dog and starts mixing the stuff into her bowl. He takes up considerable counter space to complete the task while others deal with their breakfast in the reduced counter space left.

But everyone has responsibilities and places to go – delaying breakfast is not an option.

Each person usually rinses their things and puts them inside the dishwasher. It takes about one minute to do so. 

On this day, however, since the dishwasher is still partially loaded with clean items, dirty stuff cannot yet go in the machine. So, the first person to finish breakfast puts dirty utensils in the sink without rinsing (because rinsing is associated with placing things inside the dishwasher, which is not the case this time). 

The action taken by the first person is the cue for all others to do the same, even when the dishwasher becomes available in the next three minutes. (You know, “so and so did not do it, why do I have to do it?” syndrome). 

Dishes are piling up in the sink and on the counter, with food remaining, making them crusty (yeah!). 

The day goes by with the pile of dirty stuff over the kitchen counter and in the sink. It will take more time and effort to rinse those dishes and place them inside the dishwasher now. 

Also, the process will require someone (as in mom) to have the extra time and willingness to do so. Unfortunately, that one-minute job has become a ten-minute ordeal (with resentment!). 

And who will happily volunteer to take on the task when everyone is tired at the end of the day? Let’s remember that the kitchen needs some cleaning up before dinner cooking starts. Hello, kitchen clutter!

Often, we do not take action or make decisions because we forget- not necessarily because we purposely run away from it. But that is yet another consequence of delaying or postponing. 

Take that alarm on your iPhone that reminds you of your noon pills, for example. Can you count the times it has gone off, and you have ignored it, thinking you will take care of it in five minutes? Then, hours later, you realize you did not take your pills.

A Nourishing Home

When you live in a household, you are part of a system. Everyone’s actions and inactions directly impact the unit’s function. If you are relied upon to complete specific tasks, please understand that such chores are tethered to a time frame and not subject to when you “feel like it.” “Feeling like it” might never come, and it is not a reliable time frame.

Every chore becomes manageable when all household members understand and accept the home systems and perform their duties on time. As a result, such a home efficiently keeps the chaos at bay, improves family relationships, and enhances the positive energy flow. It is a nourishing, supportive, and efficient place.

Does this ring a bell? Observe these patterns in your life for about a week – on the significant and seemingly insignificant things. You will probably see the cause/effect of delayed decisions and observe their ripple effect in your life. You will make amazing discoveries!