TiP for Your TUESDAY!

Consider Your Containers

When you are ready to organize your space, consider the type of container you need and the function it will serve.  You might choose containers based on whether they are easy to clean, see-through, solid-bottomed, light-weight or offer an option to be labeled.  The wire baskets above were chosen because they offer venting for wet or stinky cleats and are easy to hose down when mud & grass collect.

TiP for Your TUESDAY!

Clean it, Clear it, Contain it! (1) copy

Clear before you contain!

It’s a new year and you might have made a resolution to get more organized- Yay!  The tip this week is to remember to clear out what you no longer need, use, or want before you dive in to organize.  As Joshua Becker says, “Never organize what you could discard!”

Putting off projects creates to-do list clutter

Here we are at the tail-end of summer.  It feels hard to dig in & make big changes at this time of year.  Energy gets used for last minute get-aways, school prep, & trying to stay cool when the humidity rises.  For me, it has been a struggle to find ways to keep momentum moving ahead but…   the things on my to-do list still keep staring me in the face & nagging at me.

Last week I was fed up with putting things off!  I gave myself a big push, turned on some music & dug into a decluttering project that had been hiding behind closed doors for too long.
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cluttered closet

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What’s funny is that spaces like this seem to get left waiting on the to-do list because they aren’t causing any trouble.  Right???   In this case the clutter had it’s own closet and some organization.  It wasn’t taking up space that was needed for something else.  It wasn’t really bothering anyone was it?

I can tell myself all of this, but the truth is that every time that closet door was opened to get paper from the printer, envelopes for bills, or to replace worn-out batteries, we were faced with a mess & a reminder of a space that didn’t “feel” right.  A space that wasn’t being honored & allowed to function for our family.

cluttered office closet

before

BEFORE

I got things rolling with the sorting & sifting , but the space isn’t just my space, it stores family office supplies, as well as my husband’s work & sentimental things, so I needed a partner in this project.  He knew the project was on the list & made time to cull through the piles.

We had been holding onto so many things simply because that space had a closed door & they didn’t need to be looked at everyday.  But those items were so out-dated & unnecessary for us now, that the donate & recycle  boxes were overflowing!

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Some of the items were sentimental pieces & it was a fun trip down memory lane as we read old notes, retold stories, & took pictures of the physical items that we knew we could get rid of, but still wanted a visual reminder of.  A few items were displayed & others were offered a dedicated “memory box,” where the most important pieces will be stored.

Once the sorting & sifting was complete, there was so much empty room.  It was so light!  The space felt ready to be used in a way that makes sense, not just to store things for “someday.” 

after

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after

As with most projects there are still a few things to take care of- a box of cords to be sorted, paper from binders that will be recycled, a file cabinet to be reorganized, but those items are manageable in small chunks of time-30 mins. here, 10 mins there & they will be done!  The heaviness of this “to-do” has been lifted & the end is in sight.

YOUR turn…

Do you have projects on your to-do list that keep nagging at you?  Decluttering isn’t just about the physical stuff that is hanging around your home or office, it’s taking a look at the mental clutter that has been clogging up your daily life.

Next steps…

Take some time to acknowledge & feel the heaviness that those projects have brought to your life, then take a deep breath, let it out, turn the page & make a plan!  Which project is a true priority- the one that slaps you in the face each day with a reminder that you haven’t given it time & attention?  Get out your calendar & set a date to begin.

Then prioritize the other projects & offer them dates too -maybe some are on the 6 mo. plan or the 3 year track.  Having a plan will lift the weight & clear the “to-do clutter” so that you can focus & make a change!

Which project is first on your list?  Tell us the project that has kept nagging but has been hard to start?

Before & After, but what actually happens In Between?

If you have been dying to know:

What really happens to make those great transformations?
What Does a Space & Lifestyle Consultant do?
How does it really work???

this is the post for you!  Today I am giving you the inside look at what really happens when you hire me, a Space & Lifestyle Consultant, to come and help you with your space.   I’ll give you a glimpse into the process involved with declutter & redesign, so that when you feel stuck & can’t make any headway with the clutter & congestion that has taken over your home, you know who to call!

Here Goes!

I’m going to walk you through a session with a family that needed support clearing their porch, which had become a “catch-all” for clutter.

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This session took three hours & started off with us evaluating the space & crafting an intention that would guide our work for that day.   I almost always start by asking questions that get to the heart of what is truly great about the space and what doesn’t or isn’t working.  I get my clients to start dreaming and ask questions that uncover what the space would ideally look, feel, and function like in that dream world.  From that conversation, we come up with guiding words that help us make decisions about what stays and what has to go.  These words create the intention for our work together.

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In this case, the family wanted to create a smooth transition place to and from the interior of their home, as well as a functional, yet peaceful, space for eating, entertaining, and sitting when the weather is warm.

Once we are clear on how we want the space to feel and function, we can start taking out what doesn’t belong.  We get out the sorting bins and begin to sift through the items to remove the things that no longer need a home in the space and that are preventing us from moving toward our intention.

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The sort takes some time & often I am collecting and sorting right along with the client.  I wear many hats during this stage; time keeper, facilitator, and accountability manager.  I cue into sighs, lulls, and signs of relief as we let go of the hard stuff and keep the items that reflect the lifestyle and space that the client is longing for.  I ask questions & direct attention so that we move ahead with positive energy.

After the sort, we clear everything out, give things a quick clean, and begin the redesign phase.

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We rearrange any furniture, contain & put things back in their new homes, and talk about anything that we might want to bring into the space to continue the transformation.   At this point, the space feels light & ready to serve it’s new function.

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Each session is unique.  Sometimes we are able to get most of our goals accomplished in one session and other times it takes many sessions.  Often times, clients feel energized and ready to tackle pieces of the project on their own, so they take time outside of our appointments to work on things that move us further along in the process of reclaiming their space.

It is exciting work!  Work that opens up space & creates clarity around the “stuff” that you want to surround yourself with everyday.  And it is an honor to be able to support clients as they take back their spaces & feel renewed in their homes!

Your Turn…

What’s holding you back from reaching out when you need support?  Are you in the midst of a life transition and overwhelmed?  Do you need a partner to keep you moving ahead or get you started on a project that seems too big to tackle alone?  Do you work better with accountability and guidance?

Next Steps…

The process can be light and a whole lot easier when you ask for what you need.

Reach out & together we can make great things happen.

 

A Peaceful Way to Enter & Exit

DSC_0600It’s fall & time to take a minute and think about how well your entryways and mudrooms are working for you.

Whether the space surrounding the entryway to your home is small or large, it is a highly used area of the house and how it functions can greatly affect your mood as you enter & exit your home.

Here are some tips to keep the clutter down and more positive energy around this essential space:

1.  Decide what belongs and what needs to go!  A new season is a perfect time to evaluate what is no longer going to be used on a daily basis and what items need to be brought into the space- bug spray & flip flops out- scarves and hats in.  Clear out or pair down the items that won’t be touched again until next spring.

Evaluate the size of your space and whether the furniture & layout support the function.   Does the space need a shelf or bench to allow for storage/containment or create a more comfortable place to take off shoes?  Are you willing to keep extras, such as sports equipment, in this space or can they find a place in the garage?  Would a basket or bin be an option for unruly items like umbrellas & yoga mats or help to hold items that are waiting to head out the door with you?

DSC_06092.  Designate space for shoes and keep them contained.  Too often shoes are taken off and left behind at the entry and then piles add up as each member of the family dumps another pair.  The shoes stack up and you end up kicking shoes around to get out the door!  Instead, place a rug or plastic boot tray in the space, or give each person in the family a tub or cubby.  Containing shoes will decrease the likelihood that shoes can pile up.  Once the container is full you have a built-in reminder to sort and move shoes to bedrooms or a closet.

3.  Use DSC_0602the wall.  Add hooks for the backpack, purse, or jacket that is used regularly.  All other coats and bags can be stored in another area of the house (a closet, a bin put on a higher shelf in the room, or in the bedroom).  If the hooks start to get too piled with coats and bags, they won’t hold anything, so make a commitment to keep this area limited to the items that are used regularly.

4.  Contain the keys.  Place a small bowl or tray on a shelf or attach a hook to the wall to keep the keys close to the exit.  Create a habit of dropping the keys off as soon as you walk in the door and they will be ready for you when you need to head  back out-no more searching & frustration over lost keys!

5.  Stop losing papers.  If mail and papers seem to come in the door and then get lost in piles or spread out all over counters and tables, stop them at the door.  Place a basket, tray, or mount a mail caddy and start a routine of dropping them here until you make the time to sort them.  Or place a small file box with a labeled file for each member of the family and let them do the sorting right at the entry.  A quick check each day will keep the file from starting to bulge.

Outgoing papers may need a place too.   Kid papers could go right into the backpack or cubby/container with their shoes & hats.  Or place an outbox on a shelf by the keys so that they don’t get missed on the way out.  Think about the system that will benefit your family and then make it a priority to give papers attention each day so you don’t miss an important permission slip or lose a bill in the stack.

6.  Check if the space invites room for guests.  The entryway/mudroom might also be the way that guests enter your house.  Leave a cubby open or save space on a shelf for guests to drop their purse or bag.  Contemplate the message that this small act conveys.  Saving space is a great way to invite your guests to feel welcome in your home.DSC_0598

DSC_0607Laura Rosenfeld describes your home entry  as “the space where your inner world meets your outer world.   This place always offers the first warm embrace of home.  It is where you leave your belongings, unwrap yourself, and unburden yourself.  When you leave, it is where you make your preparations to move into the outside world.”  This description inspires me to make sure my entry continues to function in a way that ensures that my time in that space is positive.

Need more inspiration?  Check out this resource to see some beautiful pics of entry ways and more tips on creating a space that works for you.

YOur Turn…

Tell me about it…  What seems to be the biggest obstacle to keeping your entry functioning well?