space clearing

declutter your house

5 Easy Ways To Declutter Your House Now & Still Enjoy The Holidays

Believe it or not, you can add “declutter your house” to your December to-do list and not feel overwhelmed!

Are you thinking, “Surely you jest…I’ve got a ton of things to do before family and friends descend upon me!” 

Well, stay with me: I’m thinking of areas where you can weed out excess stuff and still be ready to toast the holidays with your loved ones!

I know…it’s traditional to begin a new habit on January 1st. It’s a logical starting point for those who make New Year’s resolutions. December is often a final hurrah for eating the cookies, sipping the eggnog or laying on the couch for a Netflix binge. 

Then, when the holidays are behind us, our attention is not pulled in quite so many directions. We can focus on where we want to head next.

But if you incorporate making some small uncluttering decisions while you’re preparing to celebrate, wouldn’t it be awesome to make headway now?

After all, you’re already handling many of your possessions as you prepare your home for the holiday get togethers. 

Where to start decluttering your house can start in those very spaces you’re cleaning and clearing as you prep for your guests.

Read on about five places where you can declutter your house before the end of the year!

declutter your house
laura james | pexels

1. Declutter Your Holiday Decor

Holiday decorating both inside and outside the home is part of many a family tradition. 

When I was growing up, we amassed and displayed a fair number of Christmas ornaments, Santa Claus collectibles and outdoor lights. Some of them were even passed along to us adult children as our parents scaled back. 

If you also regularly transform your home at this time of year, how about setting out fewer items? You, too, could let your grown kids pick and choose their favorites.

Or consider donating some so others who are less financially stable can also create a festive atmosphere in their homes, too. As you’re hauling out and unwrapping your decorations, review which ones are your favorites to keep and which ones can now be shared.

Crating extra space between your favorites will also feature them front and center. Everything you look at will make your heart swell.

And then think about how streamlined next year’s holiday decorating will be when you have less to set up and then store again!

tips to declutter your house
anna tis | pexels

2. Declutter Your Everyday Decor

We generally need to swap out our knickknacks when we display holiday trinkets and decor. 

Instead of simply boxing up all your things temporarily, think about sorting and releasing some of your customary items now. It’s an ideal time to clear out what no longer thrills you, especially if you’re planning to make a move into a smaller space next year. 

Oftentimes, we don’t see clearly what is in our home because we are so familiar with our things. Once it’s time to move it or pack it, only then do we start to look at our stuff with a critical eye.

As you handle each item, is it something that you truly love? Do you use it now? Is it in working condition? Might it be something to pass on to somebody else? 

 Not sure? Then defer the decision for now but at least give the process a chance.

Don’t agonize over the decisions—if your gut instinct is to let it go, do it and move on!

declutter your linen closet
elisabeth smithard | pexels

3. Declutter Your Linen Closet

Who doesn’t set out their nicest kitchen and bathroom towels at this time of year? 

They may or may not be in holiday hues but we display the ones that are in the best condition. While you’re doing this, take some time to straighten out the linen closet or shelves.

We often have many more everyday towels, washcloths and bed sheets than we truly need. Our tastes change as our decor changes. And eventually, all towels become faded, frayed or even stained.

If you do laundry on a weekly basis, why not just keep two or three sets for those in the household and perhaps another set or two for overnight guests? All the rest would be welcome donations at any charitable organization. Animal shelters in particular would appreciate your slightly frayed hand-me-downs!

Enjoy the sight of a tidy linen closet with matching pristine towels in the shades you prefer now! 

declutter the kitchen
andrea piacquadio

4. Declutter A Kitchen Cabinet (Or Two)

For all the bakers and chefs out there, the holidays are a prime time to churn out seasonal savories and goodies.

Baking cookies with my mom is one of my favorite Christmas memories! We had sweet treats by the dozen stored in the unheated breezeway between our house and garage. Someone always had an excuse to go to the garage as a pretext to sneak a few cookies!

These days, my cookie baking marathon is no more. I’ve saved a couple of the treasured cookbooks. And I whip up a couple choice treats. However, I’ve let go of the cookie press, the tin cutouts…even my kitchen-aid (gasp!) but I have other appliances that I reach for now.

Truth is, it’s just my husband and I now and we don’t need all the sugary temptation around us. Oh, I’m not averse to making a few goodies. But the extras go home with my adult son! 

If you, too, are cooking differently, why not weed out cookware and recipe books that are no longer used? Someone else likely wants a new tradition of making Belgian waffles on Christmas Day. 

Me? I’m content with an easy overnight pop-in-the-oven breakfast casserole.  You? Perhaps you’d rather make reservations….go for it!

Declutter your kitchen gadgets in a nod to how you cook now!  

decluttering conversation
askar abayev | pexels

5. The "Declutter Your House" Convo With Family

Our families gather from near and far when the holidays arrive!

Most would agree that seeing our loved ones gathered in real life is the highlight of the season. Sure, there can be some mini-dramas here and there…all part of the deal!

It’s not often that everyone convenes, due to hectic schedules and scattered home bases. So while you’re all together, initiate the conversation about what things of yours they have always admired. 

Parents often assume their kids have the same regard for family heirlooms or mementos but it’s not true. Tastes vary and so does the capacity to incorporate large furniture or collectibles into a new household.

Here’s a short of what they likely don’t want: Top 10 Objects Kids Don’t Want!

Or check out this iconic article from The New York Times: Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff & Children Who Don’t Want It.

Instead of making assumptions about who wants what, just ask! It will help your distribution process when you start paring down in earnest. 

And if more than one of your kids wants dibs on an item, now’s the time to know. 

There are a few ways to resolve this, whether drawing straws, or making concessions on one item in return for another. It doesn’t have to be finalized now. But it’s good intel for future reference.

Above all, don’t take it personally when they feel differently about your stuff.

We each have the right to decide what enters our own homes. And no one welcomes guilt at the door, don’t you agree?

The rap with Mary V

The Wrap: How To Declutter Your House In December

  • Prune your things as you go about your holiday prep routine. You can toss, donate or gift several things in as little as 15 minutes!
  • Initiate a conversation with your adult children to learn what they would like to incorporate into their own homes. You may be surprised with the answers!
  • Your small but powerful head start to declutter your house now can reinforce your New Year’s momentum!
  • Above all, enjoy the one-on-one time with your loved ones!

Your Turn!

  • Do you normally go all out with the holiday decor?

  • Is holiday baking your thing?

  • Do you prefer hosting or making the party rounds?

  • What tradition are you ready to pass on to your kids?

Share your thoughts below …and thanks for stopping by!

charitable donations

Charitable Donations Make The Holidays Merry For All!

It’s hard to ignore the emphasis on material presents at this time of year, don’t you think? It’s one of the traditional ways we show our love to family and friends. Maybe you’d like to cut back on retail excess and focus on the holiday fellowship, instead. But what about the gift of charitable contributions for those we don’t even know?

There are so very many who are less fortunate financially than ourselves. Whether our charitable donations are for soldiers stationed overseas or for domestic abuse families in our own community, there are (sadly) endless opportunities for lifting others up during the holiday season.

Check out these 5 suggestions for sharing the blessings you have. In fact, a few of these ideas will have the added benefit of clearing out what you no longer need or use in your home, too—double score!

charitable donations
image by kaboom.com | pexels

1. Books

Do you have books that you no longer read?

Anything that doesn’t interest you anymore? Or maybe a favorite that could positively influence someone else? As the author of The Book Thief wrote, “Words are life”. 

Many of us struggle with letting go of our books because they seem to define who we are. Yet understand that while they reflect certain interests of ours, we don’t need them sitting idle on our shelves to validate our worth to those who already know us … or to ourselves!

If you’re ready to share some of your collection, consider making charitable donations to your local venues such as:

  • youth centers
  • senior centers
  • hospitals 
  • nursing homes
  • shelters & crisis centers

Donating your time may also be an option. Here’s an opportunity to pack and ship books for our troops abroad: Operation Paperback.

Help foster the imagination and inspire others with the written word!

charitable donations
image by pavel danilyuk | pexels

2. Clothing

While prepping for the next holiday mixer, pull out a few (or several) garments for the charitable donations box.

Our tastes change over time, not to mention our body shape (sorry)!

Rather than hang on to clothes we may (never) wear “someday”, think about donating those items to make room for the ones that you reach for time after time because they truly fit and flatter.

It’s quite eye-opening when we consider that 20% of our wardrobe is worn 80% of the time. How about reversing that percentage: retain what you love and release what you don’t. It will shed clarity on your actual clothing options!

In fact, it’s not uncommon to hang on to corporate attire long after the dress code has relaxed or you yourself have exited the job. 

Donating to an organization focused on those entering the workforce with little funds for new duds would be an awesome gesture! One such charity committed to helping disadvantaged female professionals is Dress For Success.

If you can spare some time, there is also a strong need for volunteers to counsel those building a new business. Share your corporate wisdom with others through Score, a network of volunteer mentors for new small business owners.

Help others climb the corporate ladder and achieve financial security!

charitable donations
image by emily hopper | pexels

3. Towels and Linens

At some point, it’s time to refresh our towels, linens and blankets.  

They wear out over time. They fade or fray. And when our color palette changes, our old towels and bedding get shoved to the back of the closet or drawer. 

Yet those are ideal items for donating to your local animal shelter or rescue group! Grab a bag and pull out the ones you no longer use or care about.

There are countless local animal rescues you can help out. Simply google using the search terms, “animal rescue near me” to uncover your options for charitable donations. 

Or give financially to your local Humane Society and help those who can’t speak for themselves. Any of the stray animal causes would also welcome your time or financial donations, as well.

Help keep the four-legged orphans warm and dry!

charitable donations
image by suzy hazelwood | pexels

4. Toys

Got a spare teddy bear (or two)? 

OK, if you’re over 50 like me, the toys have long vacated the premises! Oh, they may make an appearance from time to time, when our grandchildren visit, but they already belong to those young owners.

Unfortunately, many children lose whatever prized possessions they have when they experience a house fire or when they abruptly flee a domestic abuse situation.

Both local police and fire departments are ideal drop-off sites for donating new stuffed animals. Once again, Google to the rescue! Search using the words, “toy donation drop off sites near me”.

Or here’s another one: Stuffed Animals For Emergencies. And one more noteworthy group to make kids’ holidays brighter is Toys for Tots.

Help children feel secure with your charitable donations when their future feels uncertain.

charitable donations
image by laura james | pexels

5. Pantry Items

Whether you’re clearing space in your pantry or grocery shopping for the holiday meals, consider setting aside some extra food supplies for those who have less.

Hunger affects people of all ages, from the very young to the elderly. An event such as unemployment or a health crisis can quickly lead to food insecurity.

And know that food pantries are especially strained during the holidays so your donations are greatly welcomed. You can search for your local food bank to donate either food or money (or both) here at Feeding America.

Again, if time is an available resource, donating your service in a soup kitchen may be your gift of choice. It’s a real sign of stewardship when we humble ourselves and personally tend to those in need. 

A nationwide resource that provides your local options for charitable donations of both time and money is at Homeless Shelter Directory.

Help nourish those with empty fridges!

The rap with Mary V

The Wrap on Charitable Donations

The drive-through lanes can be long this month at national organizations such as Goodwill. December 31st is the last opportunity for making tax deductible 2021 charitable donations. If you yourself have waited patiently in that giving queue, thank you! 

  • Remember those who are without and consider donating what resources you can
  • Sharing the blessings we have is how a community bonds and thrives

Do you have a tradition of giving back? What charitable donation experience is particularly meaningful for you and why?

Share your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!

perfectionism

How Perfectionism Holds Us Back From Clutter Free Living

If you’re like me, you have a compulsion to do things well … I mean really, really well!

It’s a habit I’ve had since I can remember. I’ve heard this trait referred to as “being driven”. And sure, it’s served me well with being determined, taking action, and accomplishing what I set my sights on. 

But when “being driven” becomes perfectionism, it can actually stop us in our tracks. We can become paralyzed with taking the next step because we don’t want to make a mistake. Which is really a shame, since there’s often no reason we can’t circle back and edit our initial actions. Or build on those “lessons” and try again.

Never trying may mean never failing. But do we really want to stay stuck in a no-growth safety zone? Or would we actually prefer advancing towards our desired goals? And ultimately achieving them?

Today, let’s break down 3 ways how perfectionism holds us back from decluttering what we no longer need, use, or want in our lives …and consider some small tips on how to get it done anyway.

I generally speak about uncluttering the excess physical stuff in our homes. But ultimately, it’s really our habits formed by our mindset and our emotions which lead to the clutter in our lives.

When we identify and shift the feelings that don’t serve us well, we set ourselves free. Now we can write a new chapter about where we want to head next. Doesn’t that sound enticing? 

feeling stuck
image by ryan mcguire | pixabay

#1: We Don't Get Started

Think about it: the internal pressure to do something perfectly can become so intense, we postpone doing anything.

We talk about how we ought to clear out our overflowing wardrobe. We readily agree that our kitchen cabinets are overdue for a Fall pruning. We know it’s time to plow through our boxes of pictures and photo albums. But our effort stops there.

After all, we really want to nail the effort and do this right. Shouldn’t we first research the best way to declutter? (by the way, that’s over here) And then what to do with everything … Sell? Donate? Toss? What if the kids want some stuff? What if we toss the wrong things? Etc, etc, etc.

You see what’s happening here? We may not consciously think about it but we decide that if we don’t start, we don’t risk the chance of being mediocre with the task. It’s fear of failure—of appearing “less than” that results in the hard stop peril of perfectionism. 

Instead, take a deep breath. Inhale, hold for 3 beats, and then slowly exhale. Now, just begin small. Pick a room and then work on one counter, one drawer, or one closet. Keep it short. With 30 minute sessions, think of how that will add up with making noticeable progress.

And along the way, we can fine-tune our approach. We don’t need to have it all figured out right from the onset. But we do need to get started, right? For a perfectionist, the first step is usually the hardest one to take. So review this post, A Universal Definition of Clutter … and go! 

perfectionism
image by liza summer | pexels

#2: We Struggle With Making Decisions

When we do finally move ahead with clearing space, our things take on heightened meaning.

Pitching ordinary items like mismatched food storage containers or stained clothing is a no brainer. But uncover the stash of birthday cards from your kids, the ugly vase from dear Aunt Susan, or your Rolling Stones T-shirt … now what?

The tension rises in our chest or fills our gut. Our emotions are in a tizzy as we seesaw with indecisiveness over which sentimental items to release. Perfectionism strikes as we struggle to make the right choices. And then when we can’t choose, we stop once again. 

All The Feelings!

While I don’t advocate making decisions when emotions are running high, I do recommend returning to your decluttering session the next day. But right now, pause to assess what you’re feeling. Is it sadness? Worry? Fear? And think about why you’re feeling the emotion.

These underlying emotions warrant a little examination if your space clearing goals are to be achieved. When it comes to sentimental things, it’s common to associate the item with the person or event. So it follows that we are unable to let go of the unused or unnecessary thing. After all, it’s like throwing away our loved one or our past!

But remember: the item was given to or made for you with love. So it’s about the intention, not the actual thing. And no one can take away the memory of the enjoyable things you did like attending that amazing concert. Also, check out this post, How To Release Other People’s Stuff Without the Guilt.

Yet there is only so much room in the house. Focus on retaining a few of the items that best reflect the giver and that you love the most. Savor the memories that arise as you sift through the stuff. And then let go of the rest when you get back at it tomorrow.

perfectionism
image by ron lach | pexels

#3: We Feel the Weight of the Unfinished Task

When the decluttering gets difficult, we tell ourselves any number of stories about why we need to stop now.

Perhaps that we don’t have the time to finish. Or that we have room for all our stuff after all. Maybe even that we’ll get to it another time.

But deep down, we know it makes sense to release things that are hidden in drawers, cabinets, or closets. It’s time to let go of what we don’t use anymore. Time to release the excess throughout the house.

So once again, perfectionism gnaws at us. On the outside, it’s business as usual. But on the inside, we feel conflicted. This is exactly why we didn’t want to dive into such a challenging project!

Now What?

When we start to ruminate about getting this done perfectly, it’s time to pause again for perspective. We can sure be hard on ourselves, can’t we? So take another deep breath here. And adopt a different mantra: progress, not perfection.

In other words, don’t let the “all or nothing” outlook shelve your decluttering project indefinitely. Instead, embrace the notion that this is not a race, and no one is watching or judging you—really!

As perfectionists, we are our own worst critics. And it’s possible that we felt judged a long time ago, when we were very young. It may not even have been over something significant … doesn’t matter. The point is, we adopted the habit of perfectionism to protect ourselves. 

But now it’s time to shake that off because it’s exhausting, don’t you think? Start with little steps. Track your progress so that you can refer to it when you feel overwhelmed. Stick to a decluttering schedule that works best for you and then do it! And remind yourself that you are “right on schedule” when doubt and anxiety creep back in. This post, How To Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed, will also help get you unstuck.

Remember: this is your decluttering journey. You get to set the pace, no one else. And you can also choose to loop back and make new edits as you go. Because uncluttering is rarely a one and done, nor is it a simple linear path.

So take your time. Appreciate the things and savor the memories associated with your stuff. Then make your selections based on what matters most now … and what will get you to your next life chapter!

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V | Kaitlyn Meyers Photography

The Wrap

Space clearing is not an overnight process so don’t let perfectionism keep you on the sidelines!

When you consider that your things accumulated over many years, you can cut yourself some slack with the timeline to pare back.

Remember to be kind to yourself. Lighten up. We are all perfectly imperfect.

Now start releasing things slowly but surely.

For more inspiration, check out the resources below!

Your Turn!

Where are you at in the decluttering process? Still thinking about it? Midway but running out of steam? Or chugging along? I’d love to hear your triumphs, tribulations and everything in between! Drop a comment below…and thanks for stopping by!

A Clutter Free Home Starts With Reining In The Screen Time That Consumes Our Day

Clutter free living sounds so delightful, don’t you think?

But getting there from where you are right now — does it feel insurmountable and out of reach? You’re not alone!

Achieving a clutter free home after years of living a full life can feel quite daunting. Who has time to undertake such a gigantic project? Yet this is exactly why so many of us get stuck before we even start: we think we don’t have the time to spare.

However, you may be surprised that an extra hour (or even more!) can actually be lurking somewhere in your day. The key is taking an honest look at how you spend your time.

In particular, there are certain habits … like the time spent in front of a screen … which quickly take us down a rabbit hole. Before we know it, 30 or 60 minutes have elapsed. Trust me, we are all guilty of this!

Whether it’s our phone, tablet, computer, or TV, these screens are designed to hijack our focus. After all, we live in an attention seeking society. Grabbing our attention and redirecting it is basic marketing and it’s been around forever, in some shape or form. (Don’t miss the link for The Social Dilemma in The Wrap section below!)

However, today let’s mindfully review the screen time activities that consume our precious time. Then we can see the value of setting boundaries with these habits. Using the newly found minutes, we can make daily progress towards attaining a clutter free home starting today, not “some day”!

Clutter Free
anna shvets | pexels

Today's Post Calls Out 4 Screen Time Habits to tame so you can achieve a Clutter Free Home (and mind)!

clutter free meaning
anna shvets | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: Social Media Scrolling

Firstly, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Clubhouse, each of these platforms is designed to capture and hold your attention.

It’s not unlike college life where there was always a party somewhere, or a group of friends just hanging out. Who wants to miss out on something fun?

And the concept of “followers” or “friends” who engage with and/or share your posts is a powerful boost for your self-esteem. Who doesn’t enjoy feeling popular, wise, funny, interesting, or attractive?

With social media, there’s always something to see, to hear, or to chime in on. Maybe you check in while you’re sipping your morning coffee. Or perhaps you pop on every time you’re waiting for something, or you catch up in between other things you’re doing. So you’re actually on it all day long, right?

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s definitely an upside to social media. You can stay in touch with geographically distant family and friends. You can make new friends all over the world and forge new career or hobby connections. And don’t forget the entertainment angle, either!

Yet sometimes before you know it, an hour (or two) has passed while you’ve been scrolling and chatting—yikes! Do you really know how much time you’re spending on social media? It might be an eye-opening discovery!

We’ll go deeper with how our time is used so hang tight for now.

making space clutter free
anna shvets | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: Phone Notifications

Secondly, our phones have many clever ways to grab and retain our focus, too.

It could be an actual call, a text, an email, a voice message, or a social media post. Each of these announcements can be customized so we know what is happening, just by the sound of the update. Or we get visual notifications with persistent banners or popups.

And do you feel uneasy when you don’t know where your phone is? Or do you feel anxious when your battery life is at a minimum? There’s that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) creeping in again!

Also, ever notice how people waiting seem to have their heads down? We’re all looking at our phones instead of simply enjoying the pause of the present moment or engaging with someone next to us. 

What would happen if we didn’t instantly pick up our phone every time it chirped or vibrated? I wonder how much better our necks would feel!  

how to live clutter free
anna shvets | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: E-Mail

Thirdly checking, reading, and replying to email is a never-ending spiral. It can feel like a full time job to delete spam, let alone plow through endless news updates, sale notifications from merchants, and appointment or bill reminders.

I don’t know about you, but it feels like my snail (physical) mail has substantially decreased while my email has exponentially increased! Yet how much of our email truly needs to be addressed the minute it arrives?

I come across many valuable newsletters and online magazines that focus on current events, healthy habits, or tasty recipes. It’s hard not to sign up for them all.

But how many can I realistically read daily? If I read them all, will the remainder of my day start at noon?!

clutter free mind
snacksinthebackpack | pexels

Clutter Free Challenge: TV & Streaming

Lastly, the plethora of shows and series available on network TV, cable, or streaming services is mind boggling. Once again, we are presented with an overflowing media menu. As with the other screen challenges mentioned, it’s hard to tear ourselves away from what’s before our eyes.

And after a year of social distancing, who didn’t turn to TV for some virtual “connection” with the rest of the world? It may have been mindless pleasure or educational documentaries. But either way, it was a passive block of time on the couch. Then before you know it, it was time for bed (or way past our normal turn-in time)!

clutter free home

How To Set Screen Boundaries

Now that we realize how our screen time can truly overtake our day(and maybe even our night), here are 7 suggestions to control and unclutter the way you use your time.

1. Start with Time Blocking

Each of us has 24 hours every day, so think about what absolutely needs to occur without fail. It will be a slightly different list for each of us.

Diane may need:

  • 6 hours of sleep, 1 hour for morning prep (shower/makeup/coffee, etc.), 8 hours at work, 2 hours for meal prep/eating/cleanup, 1 hour for Pilates/ 1 hour for night prep (19 hours total, leaving 5 spare hours)

Linda may require:

  • 8 hours of sleep, 30 minutes for morning prep, 2 hours to volunteer/ 1 hour at the YMCA, 2 hours for meal prep/eating/cleanup, 30 minutes for night prep (14 hours total, leaving 10 spare hours) 

The point is, we all have non-negotiable daily activities. But we still have spare hours to fill as we see fit. There will be other activities that are also important, but they’re not everyday occurrences.  Think health care appointments, grocery runs, etc. 

So how you spend your remaining time is completely up to you. It will vary, but when you have 1 or 3 or 5 unclaimed hours in a day, how will you choose to use them?

When you time block your day or week, you can see exactly how much time you have. Now you can make informed, deliberate choices, based on the time available and on what matters most to you.

2. Track your Screen Time

Be willing to calculate how much screen time you truly employ. To be clear, if it’s one of your top priorities, then carry on. But if it’s preventing you from doing something else that matters more to you, then consider making a change.

Ironically, there are apps you can use to track your phone usage! Check out the roundup of resources here: Best Phone Usage Tracker Apps. Or simply use your phone timer/alarm to monitor usage … you choose!

Certainly, a little vegging out with Netflix now and then can be a well-deserved break! But generally aligning your actions with your values and goals gives true satisfaction in the long run, don’t you think? Fewer regrets!

3. Turn Off [Almost Every] Notification

Not to be dramatic, but is it necessary to stop what you’re doing, every time you hear a social media notification? If you turn them on at only a pre-determined time, you can catch up then. Or don’t have them on at all. Just see what the platform shows you when it’s your designated screen time.

On the other hand, keep your phone or text notifications on, if you’re concerned about missing an urgent call from a family member or dear friend. In fact, if you assign a unique ringtone to those in your “inner circle”, you can choose to ignore all the rest until you have the time to shift your attention.

4. Keep Screens out of the Bedroom

Reserving your bedroom for sleep or romance is a long-standing feng shui principle. Personally, I do like to read a bit before I turn out the light. But both my phone and the TV are not allowed over the threshold.

Interestingly, the light emanating from electronic screens is challenging for our sleep patterns, as shared in this study from Harvard: Blue Light Has A Dark Side.

5. Use Airplane Mode

I’ve also learned how useful airplane mode can be, even when I’m not flying. When I need all my concentration for a task at hand, turning this on is an ingenious way to minimize interruptions.

I could try to simply ignore the audible notifications, but just hearing them can still be a distraction for my train of thought.

6. Choose Active Over Passive

Having a healthy balance with daily activities makes sense. Lots of screen time means lots of sitting. Sure, you may be interacting in a virtual conversation. But a sedentary day does not bode well for our physical, mental, and emotional well being.

Instead, carving out time for decluttering definitely does wonders as shared in this post: Decluttering Your Life Is Essential for 3 Surprising Reasons!

To be clear, we are talking about changing habits. So it’s going to be a little unsettling to do so. But you will be amazed with how much fuller your day feels, when you are not tethered to your screen! So give yourself time to make the shift … it’s so worth it!

7. Consumer versus Creator

Lastly, I alluded to the pervasive marketing that infiltrates many of our screen activities. Particularly with social media, the longer you scroll, do you feel a disconnect between what you see and what your life is like? 

Not surprisingly, the carefully curated content on social media can often lead to feeling “less than” or “not enough”. It can even have us thinking if we just bought that outfit or beauty product, our life would be better. So much for clutter free living when we feel compelled to buy more stuff!

Now maybe you don’t always succumb to the comparison game (which no one wins) or you aren’t always swayed by the siren song to buy more things. But instead of viewing all the things you could spend money on, wouldn’t you be better off focused on what’s all around you right now?

In other words, how about performing the physical activities that strengthen your body and clear your head? Or spending time in nature? Or engaging in real life with family and friends?

So yes, when you reduce your screen time, you can uncover spare time you didn’t realize you had all along. You can make headway with your clutter free mission. And in doing so, you can go deep with what matters most— to you!

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V

The Wrap: This Post Shared the 4 common culprits which divert time away from making a home (& our head) clutter free!

  • Take time to figure out what matters most for your daily routine
  • Be deliberate with how you spend your discretionary time
  • Restrict the constant call of consumerism
  • Set yourself free: Watch The Social Dilemma

Downsizing Your Home|How to Manage the Transition with Confidence and Joy!

When you reach the midlife marker, you’ll likely benefit from preparing to move into a smaller space. Who’s still in the house has changed and the same goes for your needs and interests. In fact, downsizing your home can truly amplify the freedom to focus on what matters most to you now! 

But if the thought of an actual move and all the decisions associated with that makes you exhausted before you’ve even started, now what? Do you put it off, delaying until you’re forced to take action? That doesn’t sound too pleasant, either!

The truth is, it’s universal to resist change. Yet if we don’t start the downsizing process sooner than later, it will result in making endless decisions under duress, during a very short period of time.

If you’re unable to make uncluttering choices, others will have to do it for you. Either paid professionals will sort through your personal belongings or your own family will need to shoulder the task. Is that the ideal legacy you envision leaving behind?

To be clear, downsizing your home requires effort and time. However, this is exactly why starting now will position you so much better for how you want your next life chapter to unfold. You have the final word with what happens with your stuff and also where you land. And really, isn’t having control what we all want to retain? 

Today's post shares 9 vital steps that facilitate the process of downsizing your home

how to downsize your home
moose | pexels

#1: The Power of Now

While all of the steps shared here are important, they don’t need to be performed in any particular order … except for this one. Until you start, downsizing your home will be just a good idea for “some day”. And the only way to turn “some day” into “today” is by taking action now.

Why is it difficult to begin? There are any number of reasons for dragging your feet, but it’s usually our feelings that play a primary role: It feels overwhelming. It feels sad. Maybe it feels like work when you’d rather play. Everything entailed with downsizing your home can feel like all of this at once, yikes!

Nevertheless, what’s the most common reason for resistance? We feel like it’s too soon — that we have time. And while that could very well be true, exactly how much time do you have: is it 1 year, 5 years or 20 years? It’s really a guessing game, don’t you think? 

When you realize this, starting now begins to make a lot of sense. And the best way to embrace a new routine is by taking small, deliberate steps. After reading this post, why not spend 15-20 minutes on creating a basic downsizing plan for yourself? Start with a list of the benefits you will realize as a result. And keep tweaking your plan as you hone in on what makes sense for you. Doesn’t it feel good to be in charge of your next chapter?

#2: Declutter Daily

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know this one is near and dear to my heart! Decluttering is an incredible vehicle for releasing what is no longer relevant now. It opens up space between your essentials.

And obviously, the nature of downsizing is that your new place will have less square footage. But that’s only in regards to physical stuff. Downsizing your home actually makes room for the time and energy to focus on what matters now. So yes, it’s an expansive activity, when you think about it!

Also, keep in mind that your decluttering sessions don’t have to be all day affairs. 30 minutes a day can make significant inroads with letting go of extra, expired, no-longer-needed stuff. In fact, removing clutter facilitates space planning for your new landing spot, too! 

Refer to this post for what not to haul to your new digs: Downsizing Tips: 5 Big Things to Release & 5 Awesome Alternatives for a Smaller Space.

#3: Design Your Next Chapter

After years of tending to the needs of others … our employers, our families, and our communities … now is the time to contemplate what you want to do more of! How exciting is that?

Now don’t get me wrong: the life choices made were (hopefully) quite deliberate and satisfying. And of course, you’ve carved out some “me time” along the way. But that time can likely start to double or triple once you’re over 50.

It may feel strange to contemplate spending more time in a different way, going deeper with what interests you now. But as you clear space in your home, you can begin to envision what you’d like to explore that you didn’t have the time for, until now. And if you’re married or with a life partner, there will be the opportunity to discover new mutual activities, as well!

Check out this post for more concepts about shifting into your next life chapter: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis! 

when is a good time to downsize your home
cottonbro | pexels

#4: Research Your Options

This is a step that calls for a way to gather ideas about where you’d like to live and how you see that space accommodating your new chapter’s activities. Nothing fancy is needed: an old school notebook, a Pinterest board, or a folder on your computer all work fine. 

Without a doubt, there are an infinite number of places where you could land. It could very well be a stepping stone for yet another downsizing move, as your needs change with age. So think about what would realistically meet your needs and desires for the next 10-20 years. And then go deeper to see where those options are, within the geographic radius you’ve set. Road trip, anyone? 

#5: Documents & Vital Records

Now you may already be super organized with your personal records. But it never hurts to revisit financial and health documents to ensure they are up-to-date and accessible when needed.

Where are you at with the following basic records:

  • A will
  • An Advanced Health Care Initiative (AHCI)
  • An appointed executor for your estate
  • Specific written bequeaths (or have you only expressed your wishes verbally? Is everyone on the same page?)
  • A list of current medications/dosages
  • A list of current physicians
  • Power of Attorney (general or specific)
  • A list of current creditors and account numbers
  • A list of current assets with account numbers

Annually reviewing your vital records will help you and your representative make smooth decisions that reflect your wishes and best interests.

Head here for more intel on the essential health and financial documents which express your wishes when you are unable to communicate them yourself: Caregiver.org resources.

#6: Communicate Your Vision

Once you’ve verified that your financial and health care documentation is in order, who needs to know? Whoever will be acting on your behalf should be kept in the loop.

Certainly, not all details need to be disclosed ahead of time, such as exact account balances. But access to the documentation when needed is crucial so that your wishes can be carried out. Leaving behind an orderly legacy means you will not be passing along an unnecessary burden to your loved ones.

If the conversation feels awkward or difficult, you could handle it as simply as a sealed envelope with the instructions to open in the event of catastrophic illness (you are not conscious or able to make decisions) or death. Or keep it in a home safe but share the combination with your appointed “go-to” person.

I know, talking about end-of-life decisions is not a cheerful or easy topic! However, if you have certain desires for medical care, estate distribution and your funeral/life celebration, you need to relay your wishes.

Sometimes, people think, “It doesn’t matter once I’m gone”, but it does to whoever needs to make those decisions on your behalf. Why not make the process clear? And in doing so, it’s also an opportunity for you to reflect on your own life and how you want to be remembered.

the unexpected benefits of downsizing your home
gary barnes | pexels

#7: Honor Your Past

To be clear, downsizing your home means releasing stuff that once mattered. So it can feel a little disrespectful of where you’ve been and who was there with you.

Indeed, it takes time to embrace the idea that a life chapter has ended. But what if you viewed the process as a time to appreciate your journey thus far? And now it’s time for a new chapter to unfold … and you get to be the author, so start drafting your vision!

As a matter of fact, this approach is known as “Döstädning”, or “Swedish Death Cleaning”. It transforms downsizing and decluttering into a positive process to chart your next move. For more, check out this post: Swedish Death Cleaning: A Savvy Celebration of Life.

Ultimately, our personal belongings are merely representations of our journey and the people who were with us along the way. Yes, some of the memories can fade over time. But the love always remains.

#8: Accept Change Gracefully

Undoubtedly, change is not always a welcome visitor at our door! When we feel content with the status quo, having it disrupted is unpleasant. But ignoring or resisting change doesn’t keep it at bay, does it?

If you think about it, lack of control and fear of the unknown seem to be the common culprits for why we oppose change. Yet we do have power: we can control our outlook, our attitude and our response to the twists and turns of our life journey. 

In other words, knowing that change is inevitable, we can proactively take steps to acknowledge it but on our own terms! That’s where downsizing comes into play. We know that an overly large home and too much unused stuff in it doesn’t support our current or future needs. When we plan for our next smaller space, we control where and what it will be. 

#9: Embrace Your Journey

Lastly, we don’t know exactly what our future holds, do we? But it certainly feels better to remain upbeat and optimistic. And this includes making realistic housing choices for where we are now and where we want to be.

Not everything has to be super-sized when it comes to our material possessions. Imagine if we focused on supersizing our next life chapter instead? What would make you eager to jump out of bed each morning? How can you share your talents, interests and abilities now? What will bring you joy? How can you make a difference today, with your wisdom and experience thus far?

When you think about life in these terms, you’ll continue to appreciate your unique path. And that sounds like a very full life to me, what do you think?

The Wrap: This post reviewed 9 tips that ensure downsizing your home gets going in a timely and effective manner

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V | Shift Your Stories
  •  Downsizing the family home doesn’t have to be a downer when you view it as a liberating step leading to your next life chapter!
  • Decluttering paves the way to designing a new space with what matters now … here’s any easy way to do it—> A Decluttering Checklist for Better Living Today, Not “Some Day”!
  • Take control and define where you want to land next by starting now!
How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed

How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some amount of stuff they no longer need, use, or want. A full life contributes to excess things in the house. But when it comes time to do something about it, where to start? What to release? What to keep? Sell or donate or toss? So many questions! Indeed, how to start decluttering when overwhelmed is a universal question to answer so we can get it done!

But stick with me to get unstuck! Just like any resolution, project or goal, creating a game plan for how to get it done is essential.

Having a basic decluttering plan is like having a map to plot how you’re going to drive from Point A to Point B. When the distance between the two is far, knowing when and where you’ll stop to rest and refuel along the way is critical. It prevents running out of gas on a couple of levels! And taking your time instead of speeding allows you to admire the scenery along the way. 

Similarly, accumulating stuff in your home didn’t happen in a day or a weekend. So it’s going to take time to sort things out. While you’re decluttering, emotions will arise … some good, some not-so-good. This is why pausing to process your feelings lets you appreciate the people, places and events represented by your stuff. Then you can release the excess without regret as you clear space for a new life chapter!

Shall we get started?

How to start decluttering when overwhelmed
pixabay | pexels

Today's post provides a step-by-step plan for how to start decluttering when overwhelmed so you can clear space with confidence and joy!

how to start decluttering when overwhelmed
ivan samkov | pexels

Step 1: Begin with "Why"

Everyone who contemplates decluttering has the same primary goal: less stuff, more space. But from there, we each have a unique set of secondary reasons for what we want, need, or hope will happen. 

For example, Stephanie wants to clear space for an art room in her home. It’s been too long since she’s had time to pick up a brush or her sketchbook. She needs a dedicated space for painting. Hauling out her supplies from the basement, setting up her easel in the family room, and then taking it all down again is tiresome. She hopes to create pastel images of her worldwide travels. She envisions creating a greeting card collection to raffle off at her annual church fundraiser. This is Stephanie’s personal “why”.

What’s your “why”? Close your eyes and ask yourself, ” What could and would I do if I had less stuff to deal with and maintain?” “What interests me that I’m not doing now?” “What would make me eager to get out of bed each morning?” Honor what your heart tells you and write that down.

By defining exactly what decluttering will do for you, you create a powerful reminder to continue making room for your personal goals. Then when your resolve is faltering, your “why” will bolster your commitment to decluttering for what matters most to you now … not 5, 10 or more years ago!

Step 2: Create A Look Book

Next, gather images of how you’d love your space to appear. There’s nothing like a beautiful visual to keep you on track when you’re not quite feeling the decluttering vibe.

But do keep in mind: creating a collection of inspiration shouldn’t turn into a whole other major project. The main goal is to focus on clearing space in your actual house, not on curating an imaginary home!

   So keep it simple with the approach that suits you. For instance, creating a Pinterest board is one way. Constructing a vision board with magazine clippings is another. Or compiling a dropbox or folder on your computer works, too. In fact, even taping an image of your ideal room in each of your rooms could do the trick, too … you choose!

Step 3: Pick A Room

Now, decide where you’re going to begin decluttering. If you’re like most people, there’s likely excess stuff in every room. But my suggestion is to pick a room that you have to spend time in every day. And start in the smallest room to achieve the quickest results.

The reason is this: the sooner you declutter that room, the more noticeable the improvement will be, since you’re in there frequently. And the sooner you feel the positive impact, the more encouraged you will be to keep going!

So consider the kitchen, the bedroom or the bathroom. It’s pretty hard to avoid those areas, don’t you think? I mean, we have to eat, we have to sleep and we have to ___ … you get the idea! That’s why they will give you the quickest and biggest boost when you’re not sure how to start decluttering when overwhelmed. 

decluttering tips
karolina grabowska | pexels

Step 4: Keep It "Easy"

Once you’ve landed on your first designated room, begin with the surface areas. Then move on to drawers, cabinets and closets. As you clear cluttered counters and remove stuff stacked on the floor, use a simple 3-bin sorting system: “toss”, “donate” or “keep”.

Firstly, anything broken, expired or missing parts constitutes “trash” so pitch those items. No one needs stuff that doesn’t work any more.

Secondly, serviceable items you no longer need or use get set aside and go right in your car trunk for a donation run. If a pickup is possible, stage the items in one room or your garage and then call the charity of your choice to come get the goodies! Refer to this post for the easiest ways to donate wardrobe contents: Donating Old Clothes & Recycling Textiles | Repurposing for A Better Planet!

Thirdly, stuff you need and use either stays or gets relocated to the proper shelf/drawer/room when your decluttering session is done. Ending each decluttering session with putting things back where they belong has the added bonus of reinforcing this habit … sneaky yet effective, no?

If you feel uncertain just deciding what things belong in each category, no worries! You can adopt a universal definition of clutter for your space clearing here: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

Step 5: Keep It Short

Also, set an alert on your phone for how long your session will last. It may be tempting to go all in on a marathon session. Certainly, that’s up to you!

However, keeping the sessions at less than an hour but increasing the frequency of those sessions tends to solidify your new habit of decluttering. 

Again, you decide what fits best with your calendar. There will be sessions that take more effort to start, depending on your mood. When you’re “not feeling it”, refer back to your “why” statement. Then stop overthinking and start doing. You’ll be glad you did it!

Step 6: Track Your Effort

Now keeping a decluttering log may seem like yet one more thing to do. But it doesn’t have to be onerous or time-consuming. The point is simply to track evidence of your results.

We can forget just how much we’ve accomplished if we don’t have a record of what we’ve done. So do this however you like: pictures of the boxes or even the actual contents cleared; a notebook with a list of decluttered items; or a tally of how many items or boxes have left the home. 

Then, when you’re feeling demotivated or discouraged with how much more there is to unclutter, take a look at what you’ve done so far. Evidence of progress is a fabulous way to keep going forward! 

making space clutter free
daniel reche | pexels

Step 7: Identify The Emotion

Without a doubt, you’re going to get sidelined with emotions as you consider letting go certain items. Sentimental or inherited things from those we love are the very hardest to release!

When guilt, worry, or regret start creeping in, it’s time to pause. Recognize the emotion and take a few breaths to center yourself. It’s universal to feel like we are dishonoring our family if we choose to not keep each and every single thing they gave us.

But if you know in your heart that you don’t need, use or truly want the stuff … if it’s sitting idle in a box or gathering dust in a closet … what’s the point of that? 

Wouldn’t you agree your loved ones did not intend to pass along guilt or worry to you? Instead, remind yourself that the item was given to make you happy. So close your eyes and feel that love.

Keep the love. Release the item.

 Let it go so that someone who will actually appreciate, use and enjoy the item can have it! Because your house is a home, not a museum.

Step 8: Reset Your Inner Voice

In order to continue uncluttering, having a few meaningful mantras can truly set us free. We’re digging into things that bring up memories or associations with times we felt “less than”. There’s a reason we’ve clung to the excess stuff we have. But now, when the reason is no longer (or maybe never) valid, it’s time for logic to prevail.

If your little voice whispers, “But I paid so much for this!” substitute, “This isn’t my style!” Or when you’re hearing, “What if I need this someday?”  then replace that with, “If I need more, I will get more!”

Sometimes, sifting through stuff will remind us of when we missed the mark, got off track, or made a decision we regret. Now what? It’s time to forgive ourselves, that’s what! It’s time to encourage ourselves: “Now I know better!” Or say,  “I did the best I could!” 

After all, we are only human. Part of our journey is learning lessons along the way. And then moving on. It’s time, don’t you think?

Step 9: Believe in Yourself

Above all, know that you can do this! You have the power within to pursue your goals and dreams, no matter how big they are. The key is to break them down into manageable chunks.

Instead of getting ahead of ourselves and comparing where we are right now to where we want to be, focus only on your next step. Then the next one after that. And so on.

Comparison is a sure-fire way to feel demotivated and overwhelmed. So the value of the decluttering plan I’ve laid out is that you work it one day at a time. Focus on your end goal as a source of inspiration, not as a lofty out-of-reach wish. 

In fact, realize that your decluttering journey is truly an opportunity to review where you’ve been. It will reveal where you want to head next. With patience for the process and love for yourself, you’ve going to arrive where you want to be! Now doesn’t that sound like something worth doing? 

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V

The Wrap: This Post Shared a 9-Point PLan for how to start decluttering when overwhelmed so you can clear space for a new life chapter!

  • Learn how to start decluttering when overwhelmed by following this simple yet powerful process.
  • Take time to capture your “why”: understand what you personally need, want and hope to achieve by uncluttering your home.
  • Treat yourself gently and lovingly on your decluttering journey.
  • Know that you can do this … I believe in you!
Motivation to Declutter

Motivation to Declutter: 5 Free Tools to Get Going & Keep Going (Even When You’re Not Always Feeling It!)

Uncluttering may be one of your 2021 resolutions, but with the year half over (gulp) have you actually felt full-on motivation to declutter?

Or is it one of those annual goals you just can’t seem to completely execute, no matter how much sense it makes?

Just like anything that’s “good” for us … drinking more water (and less wine!), dropping some pounds, walking a few more steps, or scrolling less on social media … these goals remain out of reach without consistent follow through.

But trust me: the motivation to clear space (or to do whatever is on your list) is actually within you … really!

Without a doubt, everyone falters at some point. We get distracted, bored, indecisive, or just plain tired of what we need or even want to do. But don’t beat yourself up and don’t give up. Instead, let’s do this together!

I’m here to help, so today, let’s begin with unpacking five fabulous tools which I promise will get you in motion and get your clutter out the door!

And as a bonus, I’ve got a link at the end of this post to 5 FREE tool printables and then  you can start your space clearing journey today!

motivation to declutter
godisable jacob | pexels

Today's post provides 5 terrific tools that unleash your motivation to declutter so you can get this done!

How to Get Motivated to Declutter your House
leah kelley | pexels

Tool #1: A Charter For Your Motivation To Declutter

The best place to start is by asking yourself this initial question: “What’s my motivation to declutter?”

Now I can almost see you blink and hear you say, “Wait, what? Isn’t it obvious? I’ve got too much stuff!”

Well, yes! Certainly, one of the end goals is the same for all of us: less stuff, more space. But it’s our “why” that is unique for what drives each one of us to yearn for clearer space in our homes.

Therefore, creating a “Charter”, or vision, for how you want your home to look and feel is important. And because our homes are truly a reflection of ourselves, what you really want to focus on is yourself!

Complete 3 statements which form the basis of your Charter

             -> I need to declutter my home because…

             -> I want to declutter my home because….

             -> I hope to free up time/money/space so that I can…

For example, consider Janet, who is habitually late for everything. She struggles to get out the door because she’s never quite sure where her keys, her sunglasses, or sometimes even her phone have landed. She rarely entertains because her house is perpetually messy.

Her motivation to declutter is organization. The statements she jots down may sounds something like “I need to declutter because I’m constantly trying to find things. I want to declutter because I’d like to have friends over for dinner but I’m embarrassed they’ll see how chaotic my kitchen is. I hope to free up time so I’m not feeling anxious on a daily basis because I’m always behind.”

When Janet glances at her decluttering Charter, it incentivizes her to get started. In other words, it breaks the general goal down into deeply personal, specific desires which resonate with her. It fortifies her to keep going. That’s the power of a personal decluttering Charter! 

Also, know that a personal Charter is a for-your-eyes-only statement.  It’s the ammunition for why decluttering matters to you alone. So be honest with yourself: How do you want to feel? What do you truly want to achieve and why? The answers will help set you free!

Motivation to Declutter House
keira burton | pexels

Tool #2: A Tracker For Your Decluttering Mood

Now, create short opening and closing rituals for your decluttering session by capturing your current mood.

Feelings often dictate what our next action will be. So if you’re feeling anxious, distracted, lethargic, or any other number of negative emotions, your decluttering session could be in jeopardy!

Simply jot down a couple of words, a smiley face, or a frowny image to reflect your beginning state of mind. If you’re not in an upbeat mood, add a few words to explain what’s bothering you. Then “park” your concerns here. Tell yourself that you will set aside time to address what’s gnawing at you (and be sure to follow through).

Even when you don’t have a solution to your worries, just acknowledging what’s weighing on your mind is surprisingly helpful for lightening your mood. And now your decluttering session will be much more productive, too! 

When you’re done, give yourself a star for powering on! You’ll feel accomplished after most sessions. Oh, there will occasional stints which are emotionally difficult when you are sorting through sentimental stuff. Take time to process those feelings. Guilt is one of the most common emotional demons to descend!

Just remember that your possessions are merely symbols of people, places, and events you’ve experienced. Releasing the things in no way dishonors who and what you love.

Keep the love. Release the no-longer-needed stuff.

motivating yourself to declutter
andrea pacquiadio | pexels

Tool #3: A Summary Of Your Decluttering Accomplishments

Next, document which room you worked in and what stuff you released.

As time goes by, you will be amazed with what you’ve accomplished. Even just 20-30 minutes a day will yield noticeable results. One drawer, one shelf, or one cabinet cleared at a time gets you closer to your decluttering goals. 

Seeing your efforts in black and white solidifies the progress you’re making. Which makes continuing so much easier. How can you stop now!

In fact, you may even choose to reward yourself along the way, as you achieve certain milestones. For example, every 30 days of decluttering or each time an entire room is cleared, indulge in a small pleasure like fresh flowers or a scheduled massage. You earned it!

By the way, if you’re feeling a little fuzzy about what’s true clutter in your home, this post will help you see things with new eyes: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

How to declutter your mind
andrea pacquiadio | pexels

Tool #4: A List of Your Decluttering revelations

Meanwhile, as your list of decluttering accomplishments grows, pause to review what kind of stuff you’ve kept.

Is it a little eye opening to see what you’re releasing? Are you taken aback with what you’ve amassed? Join the club! 

Many of us are thinking, “How did I end up with so many __?” or, “I don’t wear most of what’s in my closet!” and even, “I have organizers but I’m not really organized!” Indeed, seeing exactly what we have a habit of overbuying or stashing away is the real epiphany for all of us.

Once we acknowledge our own clutter habits, it becomes so much easier to continue releasing what we truly don’t need or use any more. And this enables us to shift our behavior, as well.

Now, we can be more mindful with what comes in the door. Especially since we declared in our Charter what we hope to accomplish with our decluttering efforts!

At any point if you get stuck with the decluttering process, this post will gently but firmly get you back on track: How to Start (and Continue) Decluttering When Overwhelmed.

how to motivate yourself to declutter
keira burton | pexels

Tool #5: A Roundup of Personal Decluttering Mantras

Lastly, when the going gets hard … and it will happen from time to time … having a few key reminders will fortify when we get stalled.

When you are faltering with your “keep or release” decisions, that hesitation is usually a sign that the item does need to go. And you know it deep down, as well. However, there is an underlying emotion which is holding you back. This is the critical time to pause and identify what you’re feeling so that you can let the item go anyway!

For instance, is Guilt the culprit for too much stuff in your wardrobe? Use the mantra, “This isn’t my style any more”. If it’s Disappointment that’s holding you back from releasing things from a relationship that went south, try a mantra like, “I did the best I could at the time”. Whatever negative emotion is at play, remind yourself, “Now I know better!” Doesn’t that feel better? 

In other words, give yourself grace to start over over. Forgive yourself for past actions and decisions. Or as I like to say, “Shift your stories!” Life is like a book of chapters and you as the author can turn the page and write a new one!

With this realization, your motivation to declutter is sure to be front and center as you look forward to where you want to head next!

The Wrap With Mary V
Mary V | Shift Your Stories

Today's Post was all about uncovering the motivation to declutter by using 5 powerful tools so you can clear space like a boss!

If decluttering was easy, we’d all have perfectly uncluttered homes right now!

  • Overcoming inertia is the biggest obstacle to getting started. 
  • Creating a systemized approach which captures your needs, wants and dreams will keep you going.
  • Acknowledging your feelings and countering the negative emotions with positive affirmations will shift you to where you want to be!

Are you ready? Grab your free printables here!

clutter

Clutter: Control What Creeps Back in Your Home Using These 7 Savvy Strategies

Shut the Door on New Clutter!

As clutter gets kicked to the curb, your home will start to look and feel different. More spacious, open, and airy. But maybe it seems a bit bare, which is unfamiliar, if you’ve had a lot of stuff for a long time. Now what happens next?

Well, if you’re not careful, you may start to stock up again! Your half-full closet beckons you to add a few more tops. An end-of-season sale entices you to pick up new bedsheets. Or Amazon Prime Day ads convince you to shop for Christmas in June. Uh-oh, here comes the clutter!

How do you resist the habit of amassing clutter yet again? The key is to form new shopping habits which replace your old ones! 

clutter
image by jeremias oliveira from Pexels

Today's Post Provides 7 Smart Habits To Adopt Which Protect Your Home From Bulging with Clutter All Over Again!

clutter-free meaning
image by monstera from pexels

Habit #1: Get Comfortable Living With Less

It required effort to pare down your things. It also takes time to adjust to a more minimalist decor and wardrobe.

Seeing space in your closet, pantry, or bookcase will be a “new normal” for many. So often, when we discover something that we like, we automatically stock up on more. Find a navy sweater that fits well? Great! Why not get it in red and in beige, too?

No wonder we end up overpacking for vacations: we have too many clothing options! Decision fatigue is real!

And over-abundance applies to other rooms, too. For example, consider your living room. Perhaps you cleared out dozens of knickknacks and books which accumulated over the years. Naturally, your space will look a little empty at first.

But give yourself some time to appreciate the clarity and simplicity of displaying only your favorite things. Now they can really pop when they are on display, front and center!

Remind yourself what constitutes clutter. In fact, here’s a refresher to keep things clear: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

Then observe a 30-day retail shopping ban on all non-essentials. During that time, appreciate the beauty of less: less running around, less dusting, less spending, and less chaos.

And then feel the value of more: more space, more clarity, and more freedom.

clutter meaning
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Habit #2: Stick To Your Shopping List

Creating a plan keeps us on track. Whether on your phone or an old school piece of paper, have a plan before heading to the store. Without a strategy, it’s easy to succumb to whatever catches our eye.

Grocery shopping? Take a few minutes to create a meal plan for the week. Shop your kitchen inventory first to ensure you actually use what’s there. This avoids pantry clutter.

Clothes shopping? Review what you have now to ensure you don’t buy duplicates. Keep your current lifestyle in mind. Otherwise, it’s oh-so-easy to succumb to an on-trend outfit that will rarely make it out of your closet.

Clearly, a shopping list is like a map: it provides direction to keep you heading where you want to be!

clutter storage
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Habit #3: One In, One Out

Donating or tossing out an old item whenever a new one is purchased is fundamental to keeping your home streamlined and clutter free.

Do you find yourself hesitating to release your existing jacket/book/lamp? Maybe it means you don’t need the new one. Perhaps you’re just feeling tired of the current item. Having a new one would feel exciting. I get that, really!

Or, it could mean the old one served you well and so you’re a little sad to let it go. I get that, too. Just take time to figure out if you truly need both.

Ask yourself, “Will I continue to use both of these? Will having more than one make sense and make my life easier?” If the answer is “yes” to either question, keep ’em both. If not? Let the old one go!

Fewer choices can be liberating, but so can the convenience of having a few more things, if it saves you time or if it involves things that you use frequently. 

In other words, pause to figure out which option matters more!

making space clutter free
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Habit #4: Beware Of Shiny Object Syndrome

Window shopping is both pleasurable and dangerous! “Just looking” can quickly morph into an unplanned purchase.

Whether you’re strolling at the mall or browsing online, the temptation to buy is real. Unless you have incredible self-control, it’s difficult to distinguish between true “need” and “want”!

So consider avoiding situations that may compromise your intentions and your wallet. Only carry your debit card or cash when you’re out for lunch and shopping with friends, to avoid the unintended purchases.

Also, create Pinterest boards for things that catch your eye. Just saving those images can be a substitute for the endorphin rush of actually buying something new.

Above all, be mindful of your expenditures. Keeping track of where your money goes can be very revealing.

Because knowing what your retail weaknesses are is the first step towards stopping new clutter in its tracks!

how to reduce clutter in your home
image by andrea piacquadio from pexels

Habit #5: Be Mindful Of The Internet

Ads appear everywhere when we surf the ‘Net, Facebook, or Instagram. We are constantly bombarded with marketing messages to buy!

Anything you looked at on the Internet  gets tracked with cookies. Then those items “mysteriously” spring up in the sidebar as you browse. But nothing is a bargain if you really don’t need it. Saving 30%? In fact, you’d be spending 70% on something unnecessary!

We are subtly (or sometimes not-so-subtly) coaxed to buy this or that in order to look good, feel better, or be relevant.

It takes stepping back to thoughtfully determine when we truly need to make a purchase. 

This is why avoiding impulse purchases is critical. Especially around the holidays, when retailers are stellar at playing off our heightened emotions. Buying more is not the only way to show our family how much we love them! Nor do we need to reinforce our own self-worth with acquiring more clutter, do we?

Equally important, pay attention to which sites you tend to head to, when you’re online. Pare down the ones that will cost you money. Stick to the ones that enhance your quality of life without impacting your bank account.

clutter definition
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Habit #6: Revamp Your E-Mail Lists

 Even our email feeds are filled with suggestions to buy! Are we truly VIPs or are we simply being targeted to buy?

Retailers lure us with promises of special discounts when we opt in to their mailing lists. They know that sending you regular notifications of “flash sales” or “advance VIP notifications” will increase the likelihood of a purchase. Your best defense? Disregard the ads.

Shop only when you decide it’s time to replace something essential.

In fact, consider taking one of these two actions: Have a secondary email account dedicated to on-line purchases. This keeps the compelling ads out of your primary account.

Or, sign up for the mailing list in order to qualify for a discount. Then, unsubscribe once you’ve received your item. This eliminates the stream of subsequent emails with purchase CTAs (Call To Action).

Ultimately, this puts you in charge of when to buy!

how to live clutter free
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Habit #7: Be Grateful For What You Already Have

In a go-go and keep-on-going world, it’s easy to overlook the value of a pause.

But part of an empowering mindful practice is to take time and appreciate all that we have right now. Consumerism is a pervasive and powerful movement. It dictates constantly looking for the “next best thing”. It urges us to constantly upgrade. And it hardly gives us a moment to use and enjoy what we have right now.

Clutter is frightfully simple to amass but painfully difficult to release. Once you’ve made headway with decluttering, carve out a few minutes to realize how it entered your home. Then, shift your shopping habits to prevent clutter from creeping back in all over again!

If you’re just beginning your decluttering journey head here to start strong: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

And if you’re feeling stuck in general, it might just be about being between life chapters. It’s not uncommon so take a breath and find your center here: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis!

Ultimately, we all experience twists and turns as one chapter ends and another begins. Small pauses along the way are the key to getting our bearings and moving ahead … one step at a time!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This Post Was About 7 Terrific Tactics To Stop Clutter From Accumulating Again!

When we are bombarded with shiny things to buy, it’s ever so easy to succumb! We take a break from work or whatever the task at hand to reward ourselves. Or we schedule a shopping jaunt with friends. We enjoy the preliminary thrill of buying something new. 

However, are you shopping out of “need” or “want”? It’s the “want” items that usually morph into clutter. 

Give your newly cleared space a chance to provide clarity and peace of mind.

Take time to revamp your habits so you can live large with less clutter!

Your Turn!

  • Do you think shopping is a sport?
  • How do you manage your spending so it doesn’t manage you?

Drop your thoughts below …and thanks for stopping by!

declutter

Declutter Like a Boss With The PopUpPurge™ Book Release!

This Post Introduces the PopUpPurge™, a Soulful Guide to Declutter for Clarity at the Midlife Milestone!

When you’re 50+ or better, you’ve already lived quite a full life! And when you pause to take stock and start to declutter, are you a little shocked with just how much has accumulated over the years?

Take heart, it happens to us all! Lots of activity has taken place in your home. So it makes sense that there’s going to be a lot of physical evidence as a result.

But are you making real decluttering inroads? Maybe not so much. As you look at family photos, travel mementos, or Grandma’s china, the memories start flooding in. It’s so much harder than expected!

How do you declutter without feeling like you’re throwing away your past? Or someone else’s?

And so decluttering is deferred to another day. But when will that day come?

How long will you wait for your own new chapter to unfold and flourish?

declutter

The Power to Declutter Successfully Is Now Within Reach!

If you’ve given this your best shot and sorted on the basis of what sparks joy, how’d that go? What were you able to release? How much actually went out the door? Were you able to sleep on your bed that night? Or was there an enormous pile of clothing in the way?

How do you move ahead and declutter anyway, when guilt, regret, or perfectionism stops you in your tracks? Sigh … it happens to all of us!

Well, this is exactly why I wrote this book, “PopUpPurge™: Release Midlife Clutter & Reclaim Inner Clarity”!

Because it’s never really just about the stuff. It’s about the emotions we’ve wrapped around our things that has us stuck.

When we can face the memories, limiting beliefs, and old stories that hold us hostage, we can begin to let go of what no longer (or maybe never) serves us well.

In fact, here are 5 compelling reasons for Women Over Fifty to start decluttering now, using the guidance within this book! 

how to declutter your home
image by lisa from Pexels

#1: Who's In The House Has Changed

There are all kinds of possible scenarios now. On the one hand, the kids are grown and likely on their own. You might be on your own, too, due to divorce or death. Or maybe you’re in a new relationship … which means more stuff entered the house! 

On the other hand, have people moved back in again? Was it just two of you for a while, but now the kids and/or your parents are with you? After all, we are dubbed the “sandwich generation” for a reason!

Whatever your current status is, does the stuff in your house make sense for who’s there now? Are there duplicates all over the place? Conversely, is your home frozen in time, even though what you currently need and us has changed? 

For any of these scenarios, decluttering is the perfect activity to create an environment that supports whoever is under your roof now!

For a primer on sorting out clutter, head here: Clutter Definition: What Exactly Is It So We Can Confidently Declutter With Clarity?

declutter your home
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#2: Our Full-Time Focus Begins to Shift

Careers may be winding down or have come to an abrupt end. You may be contemplating a new one. The days of working for just one employer until you retire have become a thing of the past.

And if your full-time focus was raising your family, they’re full blown adults by now. So you’ve likely been given your parenting “pink slip”, right?! To be clear, we are always parents but how we interact with our children changes when they have left the nest.

With these inevitable changes, are you ready to pursue the passions you shelved in the pursuit of being practical? Good for you! But have you cleared out the stuff from your former job first? Or is that still occupying space and collecting dust?

how to declutter
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#3: Our Health May Have Taken a Turn

We can take good health for granted. Especially when we’ve focused on taking care of our family … it’s how Moms operate! 

Yet sometimes, unexpected health issues crop up, catching us off guard. When it’s something life-changing, it definitely gets our attention. Now, the time ahead of us becomes even more precious. 

What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind? Not everyone is eager to ponder this topic. But putting it off will not change the fact that when we are gone, someone will have to declutter our stuff and decide what to do with it.

Do you want to get it in order yourself? Or do you expect your kids to do this? How did your parents handle their legacy? Was it left to you?

Lots of important questions here to answer, right? Which is why Swedish Death Cleaning is the iconic decluttering concept of an entire nation! (Here’s what that’s all about: Swedish Death Cleaning: A Savvy Celebration of Life (Really!))

declutter meaning
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#4: "Me Time" Is Calling Our Names

 

Finally! You don’t have to shoehorn your personal interests into a calendar chock full with other people’s agendas. You can be unapologetically front and center again!

When we’ve supported the interests and priorities of our family for a long time, it’s new territory to switch gears. Oh, certainly we’ve carved out time for ourselves, too. But to triple or quadruple that “me time”? It’s a luxury that we’ve earned!

But first: is there room in the house for what lights you up now? Or is it bulging with idle hobbies, crafts, and possessions from someone else’s past?

And if you’re uncertain of your next move, you’re not alone! This post shares about arriving at the midlife mile: 5 Ways to Harness Your Midlife Transition and Avert a Midlife Crisis! 

decluttering tips
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#5: We're Entering A Platinum Period

Living lighter is the key to feeling lighter! As Midlife Women, we are on the cusp of writing a new chapter in our lives. We turn the page when we declutter and clear space for where we want to head next.

Not quite sure where “there” is for you? You’ll uncover it as you release what you no longer need, use, or want in the house.

Remember how it felt when you graduated from high school? Whether you went on to earn an advanced degree, immediately entered the work force, or opted to exclusively raise a family, you had your whole life ahead of you.

Once again, you’re at a similar junction.  How exciting to decide your next move! And decluttering is the perfect vehicle for discovering where “there” is once again!

Ready to harness clarity? Then this is the best book for decluttering your life! Download a Free Chapter right here! And then grab the rest of the story. 

Prepare for a confident shift into a joyful future that you create!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: This Post Announced The Release of The PopUpPurge™ Book Which is the Perfect Guide To Declutter Your Home & Your Life!

Design the next chapter of your life through letting go of what you no longer need, use, or love.

Six of the chapters are dedicated to the common emotions that have us stuck. But now you can get moving again!

Small steps executed regularly add up to big results.

Your turn!

  • What’s your personal decluttering journey been like?
  • Which things are the hardest for you to let go?

Join the convo below … And thanks for stopping by!

decluttering your clothes example to

7 Timeless Tips for Decluttering Your Clothes & Discovering Your Next Style

When you shift into a new life chapter, it’s generally a good time for decluttering your clothes! How you spend your time determines what you will reach for in your closet. So if you have too much stuff from a prior chapter, like I used to, no wonder it feels like you don’t have anything to wear!

With my 7 timeless tips, you can evaluate what’s in your wardrobe and refresh accordingly. This isn’t necessarily about how to be ruthless when decluttering clothes. Uncluttering takes time! And I always save room for a few items for sentimental reasons or infrequent occasions. 

But having the bulk of your wardrobe aligned with where you’re at now makes sense. And who doesn’t want to appreciate and use everything in their closet? I know I do! So let’s get to my tips!

decluttering your clothes
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Today's post is all about decluttering your clothes so you can curate a timeless midlife style!

declutter your clothes
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Tip #1: Don't buy anything until you're done decluttering your clothes

 

If this sounds like an extreme decluttering approach, it’s not. What truly makes sense is to wait until you’re completely done with decluttering your wardrobe.

I hope I haven’t scared you off already! 

Yet doesn’t it make sense to clear out what doesn’t work before you add more in? Whether you have room for more right now or not, out with the old and only then, in with the new! One step at a time is my philosophy. 

Now maybe this feels uncomfortable because you’re anxious about not having the current season’s styles or missing out on sales. But if the trend is short lived, why worry? And rest assured: there will always be another sale. Retailers are pretty good that way!

reflect on your life style
image by LinkedIn Sales Navigator from pexels

Tip #2: Reflect on how you spend your time

 

When your employment status has changed in some way, perhaps you no longer need all that business attire. Even if you continue to work from home, is it now all about the Zoom appearance, i.e., attractive blouses? 

Perhaps the formal occasions are far and few between now. Conversely, you may plan to travel extensively in style so resort wear is in your future. Or heading to the country and living the simple life is your new goal … so hello, jeans and t-shirts!

However you intend to spend your time, decluttering your clothes should take this into consideration.  Perhaps you simply admire a certain style, but the reality is that you really don’t have the opportunities to wear those things any more. That’s a critical revelation! Sort and release accordingly.

In fact, head here to create a simple yet powerful decluttering plan so your closet clearing goes smoothly: How to Start Decluttering When Overwhelmed | A Mindful Method for the Win!

rules for decluttering clothes
image by andreas fickl from pexels

Tip #3: Choose your color palette while decluttering your clothes

 

Everyone has their “go to” hues! Certain colors just make us feel happy, powerful, or confident. Even if you like all the colors, having a theme with just two or maybe three base colors will be the ticket to mixing, matching, and maximizing your wardrobe. You can always bring in the rest of the rainbow with your accessories!

how to declutter your clothes closet
image by liza summer from pexels

Tip #4:  Perform "speed rounds" as you're decluttering your clothes

 

The process of decluttering your clothes does not have to be an all-day or all-weekend affair. That’s a sure-fire way to get decision fatigue … and then get stuck. 

Instead, spend as little as 20-30 minutes at a time. Start with pulling out the no-brainers: what you never wear, what isn’t a favorite, or what is worn out. Don’t overthink it! Go with your first instinct. Just grab and stash it in a bag.

In fact, label your bags as “donate” or “sell” if you plan to do both. That way, the donate bag only gets touched once. Then there’s no second guessing your decisions!

Also, if you’re stumped about the added steps for donation, there’s a link below for easy ways to give and recycle. I’ve got you covered!

turn the hangers
image by polina tankilevitch of pexels

Tip #5: Turn the hangers for what you actually wear

 

This is a tried and true trick to gain a visual on what actually makes it out of your closet! Viewing our clothes closet every day feels like the contents are part of our lives. But the hangers tell a different story when some are facing one way and others are facing another! 

Now a different season may very well be the reason that you don’t reach for a sweater if it’s the middle of summer. But you’ll still be able to see what you really favor with this approach. And ultimately, you may decide to organize your closet seasonally. Then you’ll truly be able to see what your options are at a glance, based on the prevailing weather.

box the on-the-fence stuff
image by sam lion from pexels

Tip #6: Box the on-the-fence stuff while decluttering your clothes

 

Feeling conflicted with releasing certain things? The longer you think about it, the harder it become to make a decluttering decision. My advice? Box it up!

Now if you’re occasionally wearing it, that’s a different story. Intuitively, you may know that it’s not quite the right cut or color for you. Yet it may be the current style so you wear it anyway, for something different. In this case, hang on to it for now. It will likely depart in a future round of decluttering. Or when you start to in-fill with the best clothing for your current chapter: only items that fit, flatter and feels good!

All other on-the-fence items should be boxed or bagged. You’re hesitating with these rarely worn items for different reasons. Often it’s because that lifestyle is no longer your main event. Or it could be due to how much you paid for it. Whatever the reason, this will be a box of stuff to let go! There’s a link all about selling at the end of this post so hang tight!

determine what suits your shape
image from Adobe Stock

Tip #7: Determine what suits your shape

 

It’s a fact: our body shape changes over time, no matter how dedicated we are to clean eating and physical activity! And so it follows that certain styles usually look better on a 20 year old body, a 30 year old body, and so on.

You see where this is going! I myself feel 10-20 years younger than I actually am (depending on the day, ha). However, I’m mindful to curate a wardrobe that is more sophisticated than what I wore when I was 20.

Taking an honest yet loving look at your body will help guide what styles will accentuate your best features and de-emphasize your challenging areas. Sometimes, just going up a size will do the trick. Don’t be hung up on sizes!  All that matters is that the garment fits comfortably and attractively.

A few standard rules of thumb include:

  • Wear a darker color on what you want to minimize
  • Use brighter colors to draw the eye to what you want to feature
  • Balance out hips with broad shoulder lines
  • Choose an empire style top or dress to hint at a smaller waistline

Above all, make peace with your body shape! It’s gotten you this far in life, hasn’t it? Unless you’re fully committed with a plan for dropping some pounds, how long do you want to have clothing that’s too small hanging in your closet? Fill it with what celebrates your shape now!

The Wrap with Mary V
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The Wrap: Today was all about the best tips for decluttering your clothes as you enter a new phase of your life

 

Your turn:

  • What kind of clothing do you need to weed out of your closet?
  • What holds you back from letting certain items go?

Let’s chat … and thanks for stopping by!

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