When a Little Investment Creates Happiness & Ease!

a modest splurge in a pen = a little happiness

Years ago, I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project and I will never forget the chapter on buying some happiness.  It was a revelation to hear her offer permission to indulge in modest splurges to create more happiness.

I typically subscribe to a “less is more” philosophy, so I paid extra attention reading this chapter. I wanted to see what indulging like this meant.

Since Gretchen is a writer, one of her examples was to buy a good pen.  Instead of using just any old pen, spend a little money and purchase one that makes the work of writing more pleasurable.  This was something I could relate to.  I journal daily and at that time I had been using pens that I had collected over the years from businesses or events. If I was really in need, I would buy a bag of cheap pens even though I knew I wouldn’t like how they felt when I used them.

But Gretchen’s simple examples of how small investments in things that bring happiness stuck with me and I began to recognize the areas and times when I was frustrated and “making due” rather than intentionally purchasing something that would solve the problem and bring more happiness without breaking the bank.

I decided to follow her example and stop taking free pens (whenever possible) and invest $3.50 in a pen that could be refilled and not just thrown away when the ink ran out. I made a trip to Sketchy Artist, a local shop, tried out the pens (an essential step!), found one that felt right, and since then every time I use the pen it reminds me of how I am taking care of myself.

If pens aren’t your thing and you couldn’t care less about how they feel or work, then maybe this example is more relatable to you.

This past spring I committed to writing more creatively each week, but soon realized that if I was going to make that goal into a reality then I was going to have to set myself up for success.  I would need to “indulge in a modest splurge” to set up a writing station with everything needed to set the stage and ensure I could sit down and make writing actually happen. 

my office already set up in the basement

I have two small tables in my house that are my work desks. The one in the basement is where I do my business work and the desk on the main level is for home management -paying bills, updating the calendar, and journaling. My work desk in the basement is already set up for ease. All I need to do is set my laptop down and I am good to go. But the table upstairs has been intentionally sparse since it is located in a corner of our living room.

I knew that I would need to add a few items to the desk to make sure I could sit for extended periods of time without hurting my neck & back as I hunched over, typing on my little laptop keyboard. And I have a few routines that I use as triggers when it is time to work. I turn on instrumental music & light a candle, and then my body and brain recognize that I have shifted gears – it becomes easier to get started.

the upstairs desk after my modest splurges

These simple steps help to create intention around writing time, so I wanted to be sure I could replicate that feeling at the upstairs desk. I indulged in a modest splurge by purchased another keyboard and mouse, bought a new candle, and a metal shelf organizer that could hold my laptop.

“make executing the right things-the essential things-as easy and frictionless as possible.”

Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism

These purchases were a little heftier than a $3 pen but I know they are worth it. They definitely decrease the barriers to sitting down and making creative writing happen and that is a big win in my book!

Your Turn…

Do you need to invest in a modest splurge to increase your happiness or make an area of your life run with more ease?

Give yourself permission to make a small intentional purchase & notice how that your attitude or energy shifts once you start to use or enjoy that item.

Next Steps…

In this season of buy, buy, buy, it is hard not to get caught up in bringing more into our homes just because it is available. When you take time before you shop to get clear on what you need, want, and why, then it is easier to resist the extras.

Just like building a muscle, this takes practice, but you can do it! One decision at a time.

Need support to set up a space for greater function and ease OR are you ready for a Virtual Clarity Session to talk through the decisions that you’d like permission to make? Contact me today!

Get Ready to Enter & Exit with More Ease

The entrance to your house is a hardworking space! It has to be ready to accommodate the comings & goings of all of the members of the family plus the stuff they are taking in & out.

So it makes sense to spend a little time at the change of each season to evaluate what needs to stay & what needs to go. And then to make the necessary tweaks or changes that will allow you to enter & exit with more ease.

Here are some solutions that could get your entry, mudroom, or the transition space in the garage ready for all that life throws at it!

Add boundaries for the items that need to live in this space. Here the mail & the shoes are contained with a tray, baskets, and the rug.

Send the junk mail & extra papers to recycling & then use a tray, a small basket, or a clipboard to collect the mail & papers that need extra attention.

A bowl or hook can create a designated spot for keys- no more hunting!!!

The items that are used daily can be collected with a basket or a space on a shelf.

Hooks on the wall or in the transition space in the garage will keep things from piling up on the floor.

Boot trays & rugs are a great reminder of where footwear should live & help to keep any dirt or mess confined to one space.

These are just some of the ways that creating an entry space with intention can make daily life feel easier.

I’d love to hear the ideas that are working for YOU!

Be in touch if your entry is causing headaches and you aren’t sure out how to make it better.

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

before

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!

donate

donate

donate

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

after

after

after

after

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?

The Most Versatile Storage Container

When you are ready to contain it, try one of these!

IMG_7306

I don’t believe you need to go out and spend a lot on organizing tools, and I also want to make it clear that organizing always comes after the clear & clean out!   With that said, I am happy to share when I find a container or bin that is super versatile & can make life easier.

If what you have just isn’t working, then you might want to try one of these!

multi-purpose bin

The Multi-Purpose Bin is found at The Container Store & comes in 4 sizes.  They are priced right, see-through, and easy to label-all bonuses when organizing!

Here are some ways that we have put them to use!

pantry bin

Separate your grains into categories and store in a bin to make the hunt for the right package easier.

office bin

The perfect size for file folders, notebooks, & paper.

bin with art supplies

Coloring & crafting books stored in a bin that can be carried to your work area.

bin for pantry

No more hunting for baking ingredients. Slide out the bin & you’ll have everything you need for your recipe.

 

Happy Organizing!

-Kate