Netflix’s Marie Kondo Series and New Discoveries

It seems like on social media there is a lot of talk about Marie Kondo and the new Netflix series, Tidying Up that started earlier this month.  A friend that did not know about her until recently is converted.  My sister said, “nothing like a good Netflix movie to inspire!” I have read and listened to her audio book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and started this blog in July mostly with her book in mind (Does This Spark Joy?).

marie kondo

After watching several episodes of Tidying Up, I too got motivated to take action.  When I was clearing out a drawer I discovered something new in my kitchen.  In addition to  Finding Lost Valuables, we often discover something we didn’t know we had.   I recently found a handheld lemon juicer.  My husband didn’t buy it; I didn’t buy it.  I never remember receiving it as a gift.  Maybe it was a hand me down from my mom.  My mom passed away 20 years ago, so this juicer has most likely been in my kitchen drawer for that long.  I did not see it before because it was such a mess in that drawer!  My husband was not feeling well at the time and wanted some lemon and honey in his hot tea.  Well, I used it for the first time and loved it!  Easy to use and clean!  In my mind I thanked my mom for this citrus juicer.  My kitchen drawer is now free from gadgets we don’t use (with the approval of my cooking savvy husband) & divided with a foil baking pan & boxes we already had in the house.  You may think it still looks cluttered– but this is MUCH better than before.  Unfortunately I didn’t take a ‘before’ photo.

kitchen drawer

In a world of consumer buying and spending, what a pleasant respite to have an attitude of gratitude in this popular Tidying Up series.  And NOT to have to buy any organizing systems or containers is a refreshing novelty of our time!  Also not feeling like we have to remodel (and spend more money) to make our home pleasant is a tangible concept that we can all relate.  What a stark contrast to our world right now:

Declutter our home so that we feel good about ourselves and where we live.

Thanks for reading.  If you like what you read, please follow my weekly Clearing Clutter blog.  Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and click “follow” on the left hand side to enter your email address for a weekly notice to your inbox!

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Storage Units: What Is It Costing You?

The New Year is a natural time to look at our goals.  In addition to our weight goals some of us are also looking at our finances.  I have been thinking of both of these goals recently as I was walking to the post office and noticed a new building– a huge storage warehouse in an urban center.  Then I drove by a vacant lot and noticed a sign for a new rental storage building was coming soon.  I also saw an adverstisement on social media over the holidays about where to put all your new gifts…in storage! Really?  Storage facilities are popping up all over the place.  Personal storage generates more than $24 billion in revenue each year!

storage

We pay for stuff we barely use.  Then pay to move it.  We pay for the upkeep & maintance of many items as well.  All of this takes away our time with our loved ones.  Usually the item isn’t even worth that much if we factor in our time and money spent.  We could just buy something new if we need it in the future rather than storing it and paying for it monthly.  Or if it is a cherished item, let’s put it in our home and display it proudly.

One in 11 people in the US have a rental unit outside their home according to this article, Personal Junk.  This is crazy!  I have a confession.  My husband and I own a local staffing business and we have a storage unit for the business.  We pay $184 a month for it.  It only has business related files and items, however it adds up to over $2200 a year!  I don’t like having it, but my husband says for a business we need to keep our records.  So, yes,  I am part of this statistic.  Even if it is not our personal stuff, I am contributing to this industry!  My goal, after year end is finished is to go into our storage unit and start shredding records over 7 years and getting rid of other items not used.  Maybe we can start by getting a smaller unit size.  Small steps are good steps!

Thanks for reading and sharing!

~Ellen

ellen.lancaster@yahoo.com

 

 

Side Effect to Living Clutter Free: WELLNESS!

Do you have a goal to live more healthy this year?  Another benefit to clearing clutter, beside losing weight, (see last week’s post) is your health!

  • Clutter Can Make Allergies and Asthma Worse

It seems obvious, but the more stuff you have means more dust.  More dust means potential allergies.  In addition, the more toys you have to pick up, the less time you have to clean and vacuum for example.

  • Clutter Can Cause Depression and Anxiety

David Tolin, PhD, director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living said, “Depression contributes to clutter by causing fatigue, giving one less energy and motivation, and impairing ability to focus.” Additionally, Tolin’s research shows a connection between clutter and anxiety. “Having a lot of clutter leads people to feel ashamed and socially anxious,” he says. “Or it could also be that people who are socially anxious to begin with surround themselves with clutter to feel more comfortable.  Regardless, whether it be cause or contributor, clutter is not a friend to happiness.”

silhouette people on beach at sunset
Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

My take away: Living with less clutter is on the road to happiness!

And ultimately isn’t that what we all want? To be happy.  I am going to carve out time this month to get rid of items I don’t use.  As I put away my Christmas decorations, I am going to look through them and the ones I no longer LOVE, I am going to give away.  And if it didn’t get out of the Christmas box, then it is going to bless someone else!

Thanks for reading & please let me know your comments:

ellen.lancaster@yahoo.com

 

Quickest Way to Lose Weight…

Do you have a resolution to lose weight this year? Have you had this same goal before?  How about trying something healthy, yet completely different:

Clear clutter in your home and lose clutter on your body!

woman measuring her waist
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Yep, it sounds crazy, but it has been proven; clutter can make you fat.  Research links cluttered homes to obesity. “If you think about it, it makes sense. If your gym equipment is piled high with boxes, or you have no idea where your running shoes could be, your odds of exercising are far lower than if these items were easily accessible” says Dr. Pamela Peeke, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland.  Dr. Peeke says she often instructs patients trying to lose weight to at least create one clean and uncluttered place in their home, as she told the New York Times.

Peeke goes on to say that when the counters are covered, and the pantry dysfunctional, then you are much more likely to stop and pickup take out than you are to prepare a healthy meal. When the house is a wreak our ability to tackle even simple tasks, like dinner, become impaired. At that point, nutrition takes a back seat to convenience. In a cluttered home it is hard to practice mindfulness, which causes more mess and overeating.  This study reinforces physical order produces healthy choices.

In addition, some people keep clothes they love, but don’t fit anymore.  They are waiting for when they lose weight.  But keeping clothes that don’t fit makes us feel bad about ourselves. Besides, when we lose weight we will buy new clothes to celebrate our new bodies.  Don’t hold on to the past–make room for the new you and clear that clutter!

I would love to hear your results.  Try it and share what happens.

Happy New Year to you!

~Ellen

ellen.lancaster@yahoo.com

 

Finding Lost Valuables Clearing Clutter

According to this survey, almost a quarter of Americans went into debt for the holiday season this year.  You may not have received your credit card statements yet from the holidays, but here is something to get excited about if you over spent.  (Or even if you didn’t over spend.)  When clearing clutter, valuables are often found.  I didn’t believe this would happen to me.  Then I started clearing out my paperwork.  This is the third category (after clothes and books) with Maria Kondo’s, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  To my surprise, in my paperwork I found two checks that had not been cashed!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Then when helping my sister clear clutter last month I found my nieces lost wallet with $13 cash in it.  To an eight year old this is a lot of money!  She was so happy.  A client of mine told me she found an unused gift card when she was clearing her clutter.  There is another story that I heard of some movers loading up a house from an elderly person that had recently passed and they found $13,000 in cash in the house!  Can you believe it?

In addition to freedom, space, & clarity when clearing clutter we sometimes get an added bonus of cash!  I wouldn’t have believed this myself until I experienced it.  Try it and let me know your results.

Thanks for reading! ~Ellen

ellen.lancaster@yahoo.com

 

Ready for Vacation: Clutter free

Recently I was reflecting back on a family vacation with fond memories.  A couple years ago, my family and I went to Hawaii for my father’s 80th Birthday celebration.   We stayed in a condo that was simple and neat.  I brought one piece of luggage with my clothes and necessities.   I hadn’t thought about our condo much; it was more about our time together as a family.

Maui.2016.jpg

Often on vacation we stay in a hotel or rental home with the basics & no extra stuff around.  It is clutter free.  Our minds also need a break away from the clutter of our home.  This may be part of the reason why we enjoy being on vacation so much!  When my surrounding environment is clear so is my mind.  I can breathe, think & be creative.

I once read about a woman that cleared all the clutter in her home and then described a long holiday weekend.  She made it a priority to read by a cozy fireplace, watch a movie with her husband, go for a walk, prepare and eat a healthy homemade meal.  It was like she was staying at a bed and breakfast, yet she was at home.  It is not to say we can’t do fun activities with clutter in our homes, it is just a sense of calm when we don’t have all our stuff “screaming” at us.

What if we could have this feeling of being on vacation in our homes all the time? Knowing this, would it be worth it to take the time and energy to “tidy” our homes as Marie Kondo recommends?  Is this the magic that she refers to in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up?  I wonder….

 

I Might Need It Someday….

Why do I need to get rid item of this now?  It is not bothering anyone. I heard this phrase in our house the other day as I was doing another KonMari session clearing clutter:

  “But I might need it someday?”

Do you find yourself saying those same words?  Someone once told me that when we say  this it means that we are holding on to the past.  We don’t trust that we will be able to have it again in the future if we need it.  If we release this item to someone else that needs it now, we trust that the universe will have our backs and we will have what we need in the future.  Some people call it karma, but if you aren’t using it, give it to someone that can.  This is living our life in the present and opening our hearts to prosperity!  My friend, Billy Mandarino, author of The Nowist, and has a short 1-minute video about not living with scarcity.

When we bless others with our unused clutter, it will also bless us and our loved ones we live with.  Having open space in our home gives us the freedom for creativity to flow.   It makes for spontaneous dance sessions with your kids, spouse or pet!  Dancing!Less clutter also means less to clean, maintain, & move.  Trust the future and release the past!

 

Do Your Kids Have Too Many Toys?

This may be crazy to think about when the holidays are around the corner, but it might be time to rethink the overwhelming number of toys in our homes.  When our girls were young, I was tired of all the toys everywhere in the house.  One day I was so fed up that I told them to put away only the toys they wanted to keep.  At bedtime, they put most toys away.  After they went to bed I grabbed a big trash bag and put the remaining toys left out in the bag and hid them in the basement.  The next day when they asked for a particular toy that was left out, I reminded them they needed to put away toys they want to keep by bedtime.   Since that didn’t happen, in order to get the toy back they had to do something special for me since I cleaned up for them.  For example, they would help me make breakfast or massage my hands with lotion since I was so tired of cleaning up their toys!  HA!  This worked.  The toys they didn’t ask about, after a couple of month or so, got donated to a second hand store.  They didn’t love them enough to ask for them, so they were given to someone else. This significantly reduced the amount of toys in our home and thus the mess.  This made our home manageable and kept me sane.

Most of their toys had homes where they went every night.  For example, legos in one bin & dolls in another.  Our girls had a doll stroller they pushed around the house that had no “home.”  Their toys were on a shelf or in a bin, but this stroller had no place of its own to be parked every night.  Since our girls knew the rule of putting toys away prior to bedtime, they didn’t know where to put this stroller so that it wouldn’t be gone in the morning.  One evening, as I was making my rounds with a bag collecting forgotten toys,  I found a piece of masking tape on the stroller with the words “SAVE” on it.  I laughed!  We soon found a parking spot for this stroller so that it would have a “home” when the girls were not playing with it.  A place for everything and everything in its place.

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Since the gift giving season is quickly approaching, rethinking rules around keeping our kids’ toys under control may be in order.  Please share your thoughts.

Are (You and) Your Kids Ready For Santa?

While kids don’t need help to get excited about Christmas & Hanukkah, we can assist them in thinking of others and releasing some of their toys prior to getting new ones.  This will make space for the incoming gifts.

Although clutter free gifts are recommended whenever possible, our kids will get some physical gifts.  I heard my neighbor recently say to her 5 year old that all the broken toys or toys with missing pieces in their home are to be gathered up and taken back to Santa’s workshop.  This way, she explained to her son, the toys could be fixed in time to be given to others in time for Christmas.  What a great idea!  What if we did this with our kids?  The time to do this is NOW so that Santa has time to fix these toys.

blur bright celebration christmas
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When we participate with our children in clearing clutter and helping them make decisions on what to release, it will benefit the whole family.  Taking them with us to a thrift store or charity so they can see where their toys are going and how it will help others kids is also beneficial.  Let’s help our kids and ourselves by making space in our home this holiday season.

Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions. I would love to assist!

~Ellen

ellen.lancaster@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Season of Gratitude: Thanking your stuff!

After another KonMarie session I was thinking about what Kondo says in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  She suggests to thank items that are to be thrown or given away.  Thank them for their time with you and their usefulness.  Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I equate this US holiday with gratitude, I thought I would give this a try.  While thanking inanimate objects sounds a little kooky to me,  I found myself being full of gratitude for these items being in my life when needed.  As an added bonus, studies have found that a grateful heart results in better physical and mental health.  I noticed my worn out and tired bath towels.  However, looking at this with gratitude in my heart,  I had used these nice bath towels for several years (maybe even 10 years!)  They had filled their use.  I never thought about being grateful for bath towels!  They were just in my home and used daily.

grateful

How many people around the world are in need of items they don’t have?   I have enough and am able to bless others with items that don’t spark joy for me, but may spark joy for others.  What a great excuse to clear clutter in my own home this season.  Knowing that others will be blessed with my donations inspires me.  Do you have more than you need?  Will you give away an extra coat, blanket, or maybe a piece furniture to someone who needs it this holiday season?

Here is an inspiring song to get moving on your clearing clutter journey.  Your challenge, if you choose to accept it,  is to go through all your linens and see how many you can donate or throw away while this song is playing.

 

Why Not Today
Why Not Today

 

Here are the lyrics to Why Not Today!
I’ve been waiting for just the right moment
To start living the life of my dreams
I was hoping some magical moment
Would come rescue me
But I realized today, there’s no better time to begin
This day I’ve been given is my day to start living
So I’m jumping in
Why not today while the sun is shining?
Today while I know I can?
The past is behind me, tomorrow can’t find me
Till I live today
So why not today while my heart is ready?
Today while it’s in my grasp?
If I start out slowly, I’m confident knowing
I’m still on my way.
So why not today?
I’ve been searching in all the wrong places
For the courage to follow my dreams
But I finally discovered the power
Lies inside of me
I could spend my life waiting for something to show me the way
But I would be missing the wonderful blessing
Of embracing/using/living/starting today
Why not today while the sun is shining?
Today while I know I can?
The past is behind me, tomorrow can’t find me
Till I live today
So why not today while my heart is ready?
Today while it’s in my grasp?
If I start out slowly, I’m confident knowing
I’m still on my way.
So why not today?
I’m ready, I’m willing, I’m able, I’m learning to fly
How will I know how high I can soar
If I never try

 

Thank you to my readers and followers of this blog.  If it weren’t for you, I would not be writing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~Ellen