A New Bedroom Brings this Teen a Chance to Live with Less.

Each stage of life brings with it opportunities for evaluating & determining what still works and what have we outgrown.  My daughter Lydia put herself through a huge experiment in letting go as she moved her bedroom to the lower level and had to downsize all of her things to fit in a 6.6 x 14′ space.

It has been a true experiment with living with less.  So after 4 months in her new space, I decided to sit down with my 13 year-old to ask her what the experience has been like.

K- What was the motivation for clearing out?

L- I was moving to a smaller room and I wanted it to work for me and I knew that what I had couldn’t physically fit in that room.  It would also be mentally tough for me to have clutter everywhere I looked.  It’s hard to have too many different things to attract your eye.  The things are distracting & I can’t focus on one thing at a time.

Even though my old room was a bigger space, there were a lot of random things in random places and stuff I didn’t need but just kept.

K- Did you use any criteria to sort the things you were keeping vs. the things you were donating or discarding?

L- When I was sorting the school projects or things that people had given as gifts (things I didn’t really love, but things I thought I needed to keep because someone had given it to me as a gift), I did a lot of thinking about when I get older.  What things will I want to show my kids or grandkids?  What things are going to represent an important experience in my memory?  Those are the things I wanted to keep compared to the things I might not remember or weren’t a big deal.

K- How did it feel to let go of so much stuff?

L- It felt like a lot of weight was lifted off my shoulders because I didn’t have to worry when people came over if they would judge me about what I had in my room or those things that I had always looked at everyday and meant to get rid of because I knew I wasn’t using them.  It felt great to have a time to look at everything & get it all out & then not have it on my mind anymore.

K- How does your space feel or function differently now?

L- Because I have a smaller space I thought I would be out of my room (spending time) in our other bigger spaces, but I find I use my room more.  And not just for reading.  I have the things that I need in the spots where I can get to them easily so I can feel creative and work on things and get inspired by the stuff that would have been cluttered up or not recognized in my old room.

K- Do you miss the things you let go of?

L- At first it was different not seeing what I usually see and not being around as much stuff.  But after a bit I just forgot about those things.  I have everything I need or want because the other things that seemed nice at the time, just ended up piling up.

K- Did anything surprise you along the way?

L- I was surprised how easy it was to get rid of things.  I expected that a lot of stuff would be sentimental and I would have too much stuff  so it would take a while, but once I decided to get started then I just got it done.  I guess I was surprised that it went that quick.

K- What advice do you have for others who want to make a change?

L- They should go for it!  Don’t put off getting clear because it will make you happy when all of your stuff is gone. 

Just begin with something small and once you start, the rest will come quick and easy!

*responses were edited by Lydia

Have a story of letting go that you’d like to share?  Tell us about it!

TiP for Your TUESDAY!

Ask for Help

It’s not always an easy to do, but enlisting support to check off the things that feel daunting or just aren’t your strong suit, will take a big load off of your shoulders.  I took my own advice and asked for help to rethink & relabel my digital files.  It seemed like a small thing & something I should be able to do on my own, but having a partner to talk through the process & trouble-shoot when any technical difficulties came up, was a huge relief.  And the results made a big difference in my work day!

What project do you want support on?  What’s holding you back from asking for what you need?

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What happens when your mantra is “let go to make room for more?”

Most of my work is around letting go of physical clutter.  The stuff in closets that hasn’t been touched in years, the piles of papers lining surfaces & the dusty boxes stacked in the basement. 

It’s a physical job & I can literally feel the weight of all of that letting go as we haul out the bags & boxes.  The clearing that we do is motivation for me to keep moving forward with the mantra that letting go opens room for more

And when I say “more,” I don’t mean more stuff, even though that can happen, what I mean is more of life, more opportunities, more of what you need & want. 

And I have been testing this theory out in my own life.  Letting go of physical clutter has opened room for creativity, efficiency, & calm- all good things, but I know that physical clutter is only one area where my life can get stagnant & stuck.  I have realized that it’s time to push forward and do some purging in other areas.  So these past months I have been taking steps to let go of the voice that says “I NEED TO DO IT ALL MYSELF.” 

Gasp!  Did I really say that???

Yes, it’s true.  I like to count on ME to make things happen.  And running my own business has caused, or I could say offered me the perfect opportunity to find out how well this idea serves me.

Being my own boss gives me a chance to try doing everything there is to do.  But I am finding that many things aren’t so easy.  Lots of things require additional learning- hours looking things up, trial & error, headaches & time spent griping or backtracking. 

The need to do it all myself has become a heavy weight.  I’m stuck in another type of clutter.  The clutter of stuck thinking patterns.

And the result of being stuck is less time & energy for the stuff that I really enjoy and are the best use of my talents & skills in this work.   I have funneled lots of energy, attention & brain-power into things that could easily be done by someone with more expertise & in much less time.

It has been a slow recognition, but now I am pushing myself to really look at taking some steps forward in a different way. 

I started with “the sort” – just as we do when we have physical clutter to let go of.  I began sifting through my daily work to find the things that bog me down & keep me stuck in place vs. the things that feel easy & don’t require massive time & learning in order to implement.  I had to look back at how many times I continued to hit a brick wall & recognize that those are the places that aren’t working on my own.

And then I began to look for people to take some of the work of doing it all off of my shoulders.  It has felt a little scary to be turn over control, to ask for help & show some vulnerability with my work, but the relief feels even better. 

And just days after I let go & released the grip of doing it all on my own, more fell in my lap!  New clients were in touch, new ideas came and new doors opened in areas that make sense with the trajectory of my business.  Letting go can offer so much more.  And slowly I am interjecting that mantra into more areas of life. 

Your Turn…

Do you suffer from a case of needing to do it all yourself?  Are you ready to lighten that heavy burden? 

Next Steps…

Asking for help & support can feel hard, but if you tiptoe in with people you trust & respect, it can feel a lot less scary.  Ask for referrals or look to a friend or family member so that you can practice with people who make you feel comfortable and understood.

I like to imagine that after we let go of physical clutter, the space gets to take a big exhale –  A deep breath of gratitude for the attention & release of that stagnant energy.  The same is true with deeply held patterns of thinking.  Release a little and lighter energy will be your reward.

If you have been stuck in an old pattern & are ready to let go, but want support then push submit  below & we can create a plan to make it happen.

A Profile in Letting GO- Kate shares her story

I like to think of the decluttering process as a journey.  A journey that can be started at any age or stage of life, but it seems to start with a nagging desire.

A desire to live with less, a desire to let go, a desire to get more clarity in order to turn attention toward a new priority.

I really only started on my journey after our family grew to 2 kids, 2 parents, a dog, and a house full of stuff! 

Stuff that it felt like we “had” to have

…because that’s what everyone said was needed to raise healthy kids

…because I didn’t set boundaries around gifts

…because I like a good sale

…because I was stuck in “just in case” thinking

I knew it was too much.  I knew that it felt out-of-alignment with my true nature- which believes that we don’t need to take more than we need from this earth or each other.  I knew I had to make some changes.  And the changes have taken courage, lots of it.

It takes courage to say you want to try a new route.  It takes courage to admit that you don’t have all the answers about living with less.  It takes courage to set up boundaries, to say no, to be choosy.  And it takes lots of courage to keep working at it when you fall back into old patterns.

I also had to realize that my journey is unique.  I can look to others for guidance, support, & inspiration, but the only person that can tell me what to keep & what to let go of, is me. 

The things that are important to me & what I want to surround myself with are going to be different from my neighbors or other friends & family,  & that’s ok.  I can let go of an idea that there is a magic number of items to pare down to or a right way.  Instead, I work to offer myself compassion, knowing that I will keep moving toward creating the spaces that feel good & support my family & I.

My journey is still in progress and I’m sure it will continue to be that way, so I’m learning to be ok with it.  I know it will get easier as habits get formed & some of my new ways of thinking/doing become second-nature.  I will trust the process.

I can still go to Target and get sucked in by a “good deal.”  I can still find myself packing our car full of snacks & supplies when we travel to appease that “just in case” part of my thinking.  I still have areas of clutter that haven’t been looked at yet, but I am offering myself compassion, because I’m taking baby steps forward on my journey.

Each shift, each act of letting go gets easier & brings me closer to my desire for simplicity & my beliefs about my place in this world.

Rhythm is the Key When Life Feels Crazy

These past few months, have brought lots of periods when I’ve felt out-of-balance.  The days coming at me, each one different.  Each one throwing me a little off-guard. 

A sick kid, unplanned events popping up, more illness, no school, meetings added at the last minute- everything coming all at once or everything coming to a halt because of illness.

I felt very reactive instead of proactive.  And resentful when things continued to throw me off-course, instead of patience & flexible.

I knew things were off but couldn’t figure out what I needed to shift to feel back-on-track.  Then I read a passage by Rob Bell & it resonated.  He was writing about rhythm

The word struck me.  That’s what I needed to focus on.  That’s what I longed for.  That’s what I was missing. 

Rhythm equals flow, pattern or tempo.  It’s like the underlying current that keeps the days moving along.  Rob Bell says living with rhythm “requires that you be intentional about what you are doing and when you are doing it.”

Rhythm & routine make life run more smoothly.  They ease the overwhelm & keep the day from passing by without notice.

I knew there had been times in my life when I had felt that flow, so I asked myself, “What is present in my life when I feel in rhythm?”

I realized that when I slow down my expectations of how much I can get done in a day and place a higher priority on listening to what my gut says that I need throughout the day, then I feel rhythm. 

It also dawned on my that I had been confusing rhythm and control- trying to “control” the situation or the schedule.  Control felt negative, gripping and rigid.  When I started to shift my mindset to the word rhythm, then putting in boundaries & some parameters around my time & activities felt like freedom.  It felt like I could create a gentle flow to my days with my best intentions in mind.

So I decided to make some changes & here’s what I found feels right for me-

Rhythm is starting the day with a time of quiet reflection & journaling and ending the day with gratitude.  Rhythm is listening to music as dinner is being prepared.  Rhythm is taking a break at 3:30 to read something enjoyable just because.  Rhythm is clearing the counter each night to end the day ready for the next & clearing it again after breakfast to start our day fresh.  Rhythm is making time to be outdoors each day.

Your Turn…

Have you found ways to add some rhythm or flow to your days?  Where are you longing for some clearing? 

Next Steps…

Clutter comes in all forms.  It can be the physical clutter clogging up our space.  Clutter can also be too many events on your calendar, cluttering up your time.  Or too many thoughts in your head keeping you always “on” or spinning in your thoughts. 

Notice where the clutter is collecting in your life & make one tweak that could create some clearing & find more flow. 

If you need guidance on creating a plan for attacking your clutter, hit reply & schedule a Clarity Session.  This one hour session offers clarity, perspective, and the specifics you need to move forward.