Tag Archives: clutter

Your Home Office Is the Brain of Your Home

Home offices are rarely treated with the respect they deserve. They often become dumping grounds for everything paper and more. When you consider that, at the very least, your home office is often the administrative and financial center of the home, you would think that they’d all be in tip top shape. But, they’re not. In fact, most of those I’ve seen are not. Why is that?

Here are some possibilities:

  1. That room may accurately reflect your relationship with your financial situation.
  2. It could reflect that the room was never set up for optimal functioning, either because you did not make time for the set up or because you really didn’t know how to set it up.
  3. The home office may accurately reflect your aptitude for organizing paper.
  4. The home office may be a reflection of your inability to be disciplined about doing tasks that are detailed, boring and time-consuming.
  5. Perhaps you don’t have a grasp on the connection between the condition of your home office and your financial well-being and peace of mind.
  6. You have a very full plate, and “tending” to the home office requires more mental energy than you can muster on a regular basis.
  7. Maintaining an orderly, clutter-free home office simply is not a priority.

Home offices also often have the unfortunate fate of being multipurpose rooms. They are often the leftover bedroom used for housing many functions like bill-paying, records storage, gift-wrapping center, sewing room, guest room and play room. As a multipurpose room, its significance as a hub for financial and administrative management for the household is often diminished. Plus, setting up and maintaining order in a multipurpose room is much more challenging than having a room devoted to household paperwork and finances.

Where to begin? The fate of the home office starts with understanding its importance relative to other rooms in the house. If you run a business from a home office, its significance is apparent. But, if your home office is just “paper central” (a place to store papers and pay bills), plus a few other functions like the gift-wrapping center and guest room, it’s harder to get clear about its purpose.


Perhaps this reminder will help: THE HOME OFFICE IS THE BRAIN OF THE HOME.
Let me repeat that again: your home office is the brain of your home. It is the place where essential information is stored relating to finances and running your household (and your life!).  Like your brain, when it is organized and up to par, you can handle whatever life throws at you. If your brain is foggy and unfocused, it’s difficult to make decisions and navigate life smoothly. So too with the home office. A cluttered, messy home office not only radiates negative energy, but presents problems when you need to lay your hands on important records in a timely fashion.

So your first step in creating a home office that you enjoy is to shift your mindset. Start thinking about your home office as the brain of your home . . . focused, clear, and open to receiving new opportunities (including financial growth!).

Clear Greeting Card Clutter

Greeting cards flow into our lives as we move through them in an endless stream. What do you do with all of them? If you haven’t established personal guidelines for which cards to keep and which to toss, you likely have greeting card clutter.

When I was a young adult I tended to keep most of my greeting cards because they were an indication that people cared about me. It wasn’t until I was about 40 that I noticed that the cards I was holding onto were taking a significant amount of space in my little home. I simply had to do something different with my cards.

As I looked through my cards I realized that many of them weren’t even very important to me. They were organized and carefully stored, but, was I re-reading them? No. When began to consider my opens for reducing my greeting card clutter I re-read many of them and noticed that most of them didn’t say anything every important, anything that stirred good feelings in me. The quantity of them actually felt very heavy.

When I became aware that not all greeting cards are created equal in importance, I thought to myself, “Whose cards mean the most? Which ones would I want to re-read when I’m 80?” The answer at that time was very simple. My husband’s cards and my some of my mother’s cards. Mom and Bob were the most important people in my life. Their love and their words meant the most to me. For many years I only saved cards from Mom and Bob.

I now continue to keep all of Bob’s cards and letters. They are truly precious and remind me of his funny sense of humor and way of being as well as his love for me. When Mom was alive I kept only those cards that had a personal note of love, thanks or that demonstrated her personality and what mattered to her. She often wrote about what she had for dinner or did during the week. That content had no special value to me. I let those notes go.

I now keep cards from clients, friends, family members and my dad that have a note that really connects with my heart and/or helps me acknowledge my own worth and accomplishments.

What greeting cards are most important to you? Which ones lift your spirit and light up your heart? Those cards have the best energy. They are the ones that are worth keeping to remind you of the love in your life.

How to Clear Clutter Off Your Kitchen Desk

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is often a hub where people gather for nurturance and communing with family members. As mentioned earlier, the kitchen is often where women center their energy. As such, it has become an action area, not only for food preparation, but for women to coordinate a variety of activities as diverse as meal planning, scheduling appointments, coordinating schedules, and making important phone calls.

The kitchen desk probably came into being to accommodate the ever increasing needs of women to have an office of sorts close to where they spend most of their time. The idea was good, creating an area for the CEO of the home to work. I know, you’re already laughing! Who works at their kitchen desk? Who even sits in front of a kitchen desk?

First of all, kitchen desks are usually about the size of a postage stamp–too small to accommodate the needs of a busy family. Also, they are not comfortable places to sit because they are built-in pieces of furniture which force people to sit facing a wall with his or her back to the rest of the room. Sitting with your back to a room puts your nervous system on high alert, ready for any possible threat. In that state it’s difficult to focus. Consequently the chairs of those desks, if they even exist, are rarely used, except as a stacking spot for paper and other objects.

Kitchen desks of even the most organized women quickly become drop spots. Typical desk clutter consists of papers that come in from children returning from school, the mailbox, and meetings, not to mention all kinds of other objects that family members drop on their travels through the kitchen. Most people just roll their eyes when they look at their kitchen desk. Unless properly set up and managed, it is often a source of frustration, as well as an eyesore.

Clearing clutter from a kitchen desk first involves separating papers from other objects.

Work with objects first. Follow these steps:

  1. Sort objects into those that belong in the kitchen and those that do not.
  2. As you’re sorting, feel free to pitch any items you know you don’t need, love, or that aren’t worth the effort of moving to another location.
  3. Put items that belong elsewhere just outside the kitchen door to be dispersed to their homes after you finish working on the desk.
  4. Put away those items that do belong in the kitchen. That may involve going into drawers associated with the desk. Resist the urge to organize the drawers at this time. Your first focus is on restoring order to the desk top.
  5. If objects don’t fit in the drawer, put them aside for the clutter clearing session when you’ll address the drawers.

Once you’ve addressed the objects on the desk top, sort the papers that were on the desk.

  1. Pull out the biggest chunks first: the newsletters, magazines, and stapled-together papers.
  2. Toss or recycle those that are no longer relevant.
  3. Sort the remaining papers into the following categories:

Trash (recycling),

Refer Out (goes to another location or person),

Action (actions to be taken at this location),

Reference (e.g. contacts, schedules),

Filing (at this location),

Pending (e.g. tickets for an event, directions to a social event, etc.),

Reading (optional reading), and

Possibilities (e.g. information about products that you could use or events that you might attend).

The only papers that should remain on the desk are the action papers. The desktop is an action area. It ceases to be an action area when clogged with papers that need filing, reading, or are references and possibilities.

  1. Move reading papers to an area where they are most likely to be read.
  2. If you have room to store files, filing ideally would be done immediately up receipt.
  3. Reference items can be stored in files or binders.
  4. Pending and possibilities can also be filed for easy access.

A good filing solution for the kitchen is an open filing box for files to accommodate all the types of paper you need to access from the kitchen. It could be stored on the counter, but preferably under the counter in a cabinet or in the opening where the chair is supposed to be. It must be easy to access so frequent filing is easy to do.

Whew! Who knew that clearing clutter from a kitchen desk could be so complicated? Anywhere you have paper, you have complexity. When you set up a system for managing paper you need to access in the kitchen, and you use it, maintaining order on the kitchen desk gets easier.

Remember, keep only those things at the kitchen desk that you regularly use in the kitchen. I call those tiny desk areas “prime real estate”. If you want to maximize the potential of a kitchen desk, you can’t afford to park useless things on those small surfaces. If kept clear and set up properly, they can function as the cockpit for the coordination of most of the activities of a busy family. Is that how your kitchen desk functions? If not, why not? Claim your kitchen desk as a mini-home office, an action area for women at the heart of the home.

Clutter Clearing Challenges in Retirement

“I had planned to clear all kinds of clutter once I retired, but I can’t seem to get it done.” This is an all too common lament of people who retire with intentions to reclaim order and peace in their homes. They are baffled by their inability to take action and achieve their goals. There are several reasons why clutter clearing doesn’t happen.

  1. Lack of schedule structure — Your life while you were working was structured around your work hours. You knew when you were obligated and when you had free time to get things done. Knowing you had limited windows of time to work around the house could have served as motivation to get things done. In retirement, unless you are working part-time, you may not have activities that create a regular schedule for you. With no regular schedule it’s much easier to put off doing tasks, particularly tasks that are difficult, seem overwhelming, and taxing. It’s easier to float along and do more pleasurable activities.
  2. Lack of urgency — Often there is no compelling reason or deadline to provide you with the sense of urgency that can be a catalyst for clutter clearing. Your schedule is open. Your timeline is open. Again, it’s very easy to just drift along putting off clutter clearing.
  3. ADHD — If you have ADHD or think you have it, your ADHD could be part of the problem. People with ADHD procrastinate doing jobs that aren’t interesting, fun, new, aligned with their passions, or in some way bring them pleasure. Clutter clearing is usually complicated and therefore difficult. It can engender feelings of shame and overwhelm, both of which shut down the ADHD brain. If you have a lot of clutter, clearing it is a long-term project which highlights ADHD difficulties with sustaining awareness, attention, effort and interest.

Ok, now you know some reasons why clutter clearing isn’t happening. Following are some options to help you achieve your goal of clearing your clutter once retired:

  1. Structure your time — Mark your calendar with blocks of time for your every day activities. Then add specific times to clear clutter. Make sure that you start with small, doable blocks of time (15 minutes to 60 minutes).
  2. Create urgency — Look for activities that you can schedule that will push you to clear clutter. For example, to get clutter clearing done in your dining room, schedule a special family dinner that requires that you use the dining room. Getting ready for the dinner will motivate you to make the space presentable for your guests. Resist the urge to just move your clutter to another location. 
  3. Create accountability — Get an accountability buddy, someone who is supportive of your efforts to clear clutter. Let your accountability buddy know what you plan to clear and when you plan to do it. Ask that person to check in with you to ask about your progress. It’s easy to blow off your own plans to clear clutter, but much harder to do when you commit to doing it to another person. 
  4. Get support — Ask a helpful, non-judgmental friend or family member to be with you while you clear clutter. Their mere presence can make it much easier to focus on the task at hand and take action. Plus you will transform a dreaded onerous task into a social event.
  5. Get professional help — A coach or professional organizer can help you get your clutter clearing done. Coaching with an organizer coach can help you identify what makes it so hard for you to clear clutter, provide information about how to do clutter clearing on your own, and also offer accountability. A professional organizer will work side by side with you to get the clutter clearing done. Professional organizers can get clutter clearing done four times faster than you are likely to be able to do it on your own.

Clearing clutter is possible when retired when you add structure to your time, set a deadline to create a sense of urgency, have someone to provide accountability, get support and/or get professional help.

Clutter clearing begins with a single step. If you’ve been stuck for some time and are frustrated by your inability to make clutter clearing happen despite using my first four suggestions, it’s time to consider hiring a professional. Schedule a free 30-60 minute phone coaching session with me to explore options for assistance.

The Five-Step Clutter Clearing Process

Clearing clutter is a complex process that can be difficult for even the

Clutter clearing, you too can do it!

most determined and intelligent person. How do you start? Where do you start? How do you keep going? Below are 5 steps to help you get started so you can experience success and be motivated to keep clearing.

1 Remember that doing something is better than doing nothing. What you do may not produce stunning results quickly, but doing any clearing shifts energies in a positive direction. 

2 Set a small goal for yourself. For example, plan to work for ten minutes. Set a timer and go to work. When the timer goes off, stop. Most of us can work for ten minutes. During that time do whatever is easiest to create some new order. Throwing away trash is usually easy. Clearing off a table might be easy. Finding a bag full of things to give away might be easy.

3 Start with the biggest items in the space you are clearing. Check the energy of big things. Ask yourself, “Do I love this?” If you have no special emotional attachment to the item, ask yourself, “Do I use this?” If the answer is “no” or “not in the last year”, consider losing it.

Moving big items allows you to see and feel yourself making progress and will motivate you to keep clearing. 

As soon as you decide to eliminate an item, remove it from the space, preferably by placing it just outside the door. It’s not a good idea to pause in the evaluation process to take the item much further than outside the door, because you risk getting sidetracked doing something else.

Removing the item from the room releases the energy that the item was holding. That released energy is then available to use as you continue making decisions about what to keep and what to release. The bigger the item, the bigger the energy release that is then available to you.

As you make decisions and move things out of the room, your energy will also increase, and making decisions becomes easier. Your brain begins to generate creative new ideas about what you can do in your space.

When you find that removing things from the room is getting difficult because of the quantity of items outside the door, stop sorting. Reward yourself by taking those items to their respective locations. DO NOT stop to reorganize the new location, even if you cannot easily put things away. Just leave items in the areas where they belong and make a mental note that the area needs your attention at a later date. Then, return to your project.

4 Congratulate yourself on your success. That sounds silly, doesn’t it? Some of you are thinking, “So, I did ten minutes of clearing in a house that needs ten weeks of clearing. What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that you made a plan to clear and kept it. You got started. Remember, every bit of clearing helps. And, if you don’t stop and feel the good feelings that come from the accomplishment of the work you’ve done, how are you going to motivate yourself to continue? It’s a head game. Play it!

5 Schedule your next clearing session, preferably sooner rather than later. Repeat the process. All progress makes a difference as long as you aren’t creating more chaos between clearing sessions than the amount you cleared.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? If that’s the case, why do people avoid decluttering? How do their spaces become nightmares right before their eyes? The fact that something sounds simple doesn’t make it easy to do. Clutter clearing involves making so many decisions. You not only need to decide what to keep and what to pitch, but also where to start and what to do with all your things as you work. It can be a great logistical challenge with the potential for distraction everywhere.

When I work with clients, part of my job is to keep them from running away. Even though I am in charge of the process and of making it easier for them, they are still affected by the way the space feels and by the enormity of the decision-making process. Your job is to keep yourself clearing despite the urge to run away.

The Konmari Method: Not a Magic Bullet!

51mf3u-jpal-_sx348_bo1204203200_Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has been the all the rage for the last two years. I’m guessing it caught on because people were fascinated and hungering for information about how to rid themselves of clutter forever. Wouldn’t that be nice! Or, perhaps the idea that tidying up could be magical and not a dreaded boring task was appealing.

Unfortunately, the only way to rid yourself of clutter forever is to have a highly effective, committed staff that follows you everywhere cleaning up and clearing out behind you or to be dead. As we move through life, we create clutter. The only way I know to live somewhat clutter-free is to make daily clutter clearing a priority along with several larger clutter clearing sessions per year.

Not only was I initially very put off by the suggestion that it is possible to clear clutter forever, I also had a problem with Ms. Kondo’s insistence that everything should be cleared out at once. Having worked as a professional organizer who has cleared clutter for almost 20 years, I have learned that the human brain wears out after an hour or two when making decisions once after another. Going through an entire house can take weeks or even months for most people. It is an enormous task!

Clutter clearing is all about making decisions. The idea that people are capable of working hour after hour, day after day to clear clutter not only is an impossibility (unless a team of people are doing the clearing), but it is a recipe for exhaustion and failure.

I also struggled with the sorting method proposed in Ms. Kondo’s book. At one point she suggested that a person’s closet be emptied onto the floor and clothes from other parts of the house be added to the pile. Then the sorting would begin and continue until all the clothes were sorted.

First, piling all the clothes in one place is a recipe for overwhelm. Seeing all the clothes at once would shut down most of my clients’ brains, especially those with ADHD. Also, it really isn’t necessary to empty closets when clearing them out. In fact, it’s much more efficient to leave all clothes in the closet, except for any that are on the floor, and pull out only those that a person no longer wants.

Finally, it is highly unlikely that even a person who is highly focused and motivated would be able to stay engaged in the sorting process until that enormous job was done. When exhaustion sets in, the brain melts down. When the brain is done, people quit clearing clutter. That would leave a big pile of clothes in the middle of the bedroom, a pile that would be much harder to get back to than it was to work on it the first time.

With all that said, I really liked the feng shui feel of the book. The way she looked at possessions was almost referent. Plus, she linked quality of a person’s life to the condition of their environment. Feng shui teaches that what you have in your space affects what happens in your life.

I can see all my shirts at once! No MIA shirts!

I can see all my shirts at once! No MIA shirts!

My favorite part of the book, however, was the section addressing how to fold clothes for maximum visibility. Using her suggestions I have totally transformed my sock and nightgown drawer and my shirt drawer using her methods. I feel proud and happy every time I open one of those drawers. Everything is so neat, organized and visible.

No, you can’t banish clutter forever. There are no magic bullets. But, you can improve the condition of your space by clearing clutter every day.

Stay Organized to Reduce Christmas Stress

It’s holiday crunch time! The final push to get everything done by December

Don't let holiday stress prevent you from staying organized!

Don’t let holiday stress prevent you from staying organized!

25. It’s quite common to focus on finishing shopping and Christmas cards, wrapping presents, and baking at the expense of maintaining order in your home. You may think the mail can wait, cleaning up after wrapping presents can be done after the holiday, and putting clothes away is definitely NOT a priority.

You just have to be ready for Christmas. At what cost?

Regular maintenance tasks like cleaning up, putting clothes away, and processing mail are activities that will ground you, help you feel in control at a time when many things can feel out of control. You don’t know how people will get along during your holiday social events. You don’t know if people will be happy and appreciative of the gifts you worked hard to find and wrap. You don’t know if dishes you make for your family will turn out or be liked. You don’t know if someone will drink too much and pick a fight.

Christmas is a time of heightened emotions and high expectations. It can be very stressful. The best thing you can do when facing unpredictable, stressful situations is to ground yourself by keeping up with tasks that help you stay organized and feeling in control.

Even if your bills are not in your awareness as you plough through your “to do” list, the fact that you don’t know where they are or how much you have spent can stress you on an unconscious level. Clothes chaos in your bedroom affects the quality of your sleep and starts you off on the wrong foot in the morning. A messy kitchen or gift wrapping area holds negative energies that are irritating and sap your energy.

Besides, do you really want to wake up December 26 to a nightmare you created by choosing not to make time to keep up with essential maintenance tasks?

Essential Maintenance Tasks to Lay the Groundwork for a Great Holiday

  1. Process mail daily — recycle junk mail and move important papers to an area to be further dealt with after Christmas.
  2. Clean up every day — wash dishes, unpack shopping and work bags, restore order when finished with projects and/or wrapping gifts.
  3. Put coats and clothes away every day.
  4. Take out trash and recycling often.

Pantry Design Creates Clutter

Not all pantry designs are created equal! I can honestly say that this pantry is the

The least functional pantry I've ever organized.

The least functional pantry I’ve ever organized.

worst design of any pantry I have re-organized in my 18+ years working as a professional organizer.

First, I was shocked at how narrow the space was. It was like a dim, dark tunnel. I immediately felt irritable and claustrophobic when I stuck my head in it. It’s the kind of space most people would want to avoid.

To make things worse, the shelves were set back from the door about 18-24 inches, enough space to necessitate putting my whole body in the closet to access the shelves. Plus, the shelves were very deep — a recipe for terrible visibility and losing sight of half of the shelves’ contents. The only truly useful space, where items could be easily seen, was across the front of each shelf. The narrowness of the pantry made that space very limited.

The least functional linen closet I've organized.

The least functional linen closet I’ve organized.

This pantry reminded me of the least functional linen closet I have ever worked in. It seemed like a left over space that the builder decided to make a pantry. Clearly it was designed by someone who had little or no experience with food storage.

The whole time I was reorganizing this pantry I was thinking that the work I was doing was almost pointless. It would take no time at all for it to again become a disorganized mess. Why? Because it’s too hard to access the supplies and easily replace them where they belong. It would be pretty understandable that people putting things away might be inclined to pitch things into the space and slam the door shut hoping that nothing would tumble out before the door closed.

Why do I share all this? This pantry was a “Can you believe this?” experience for me. Sometimes I just need to tell others about this kind of experience. In this case it was not a nightmare created by a client. Rather, it was a nightmare created by poor design that left my client with few options for improvement.

What Is Your Clutter Telling You?

Clutter is information. It has a story to tell if you can get past its negative, dscn0013overwhelming energy. When I walk into a client’s home or office I look for the story that the clutter tells. Some of the stories go like this:

  • I’ve got too much on my plate to have the time to attend to my space.
  • I have too much stuff.
  • I shop for entertainment, and to relieve stress.
  • I got behind in cleaning up and doing daily maintenance tasks, and could not catch up.
  • My job takes everything out of me, and I don’t have the energy to do daily maintenance tasks like putting things away, cleaning up after myself, sorting mail.
  • I’ve had a very stressful week.
  • I’ve been through a very tough time in my life (e.g. caregiving responsibilities for parents, deaths of family members, health problems, etc.) and couldn’t hold everything together.
  • I really have no idea how to set up and maintain an organized space.
  • I am sentimental. It’s hard for me to get rid of anything that reminds me of a special person or time in my life.
  • I have ADHD and have never been organized. I can’t make myself clean up after myself, put clothes away regularly and go through my mail.
  • I need more help from others, particularly those who contribute to the mess.
  • I spend very little time at home, and when I’m home I just drop things and plop on the sofa.
  • I have no clue how to manage all the paper pouring into my house.
  • I have too many responsibilities and need support from others to maintain an organized home.
  • I am overwhelmed by how much clutter there is and don’t know how to start clearing.

Do you identify with any of those stories? You cannot address a clutter problem if you aren’t conscious of the story it tells. For example, if your story is, “I shop for entertainment and to relieve stress,” that awareness makes it possible for you to focus on finding other ways to reduce stress and have fun.

If your story is that you have ADHD and have never been organized, you can research what works for people with ADHD to get clearing done and sustain order in their space.

If the truth is you have a family of five and are the only one who is trying to create and sustain order, you can acknowledge the impossibility of doing that successfully and negotiate with family members for their participation in tasks that keep your house organized and feeling good.

Instead of beating yourself up because there is clutter or avoiding it, look at it with curiosity. Tease out the story it tells. Then take steps to change the story.

Stories are much more interesting than piles of clutter. Focusing on your story can motivate you to make take action. Be aware that many of the above stories, particularly those that involve large quantities of clutter, can only be changed with some type of outside help. Hire a professional organizer or enlist supportive friends and/or family members to help you change your story.

Clear Shoe Clutter from the Bedroom

Your goal in setting up your bedroom is to create a space that is completely

How peaceful is this?

How peaceful is this?

conducive to sleep. The energy of smelly feet can only be distracting. Why is it that I so often find pairs of shoes strewn over bedroom floors?

I’m fairly certain that part of the problem is not having adequate storage for the number of shoes that people own these days.

Also, sometimes shoes just don’t make it to the closet. You may be thinking, “Why put them away? I’m just going to put them on again tomorrow. . .”  or “I’ll put them away later.” Sweaty, smelly feet and

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

rest just don’t go well together. Ideally it’s best to reduce the number of shoes you own to those that can fit in your closet. Then make a commitment to yourself to get them back there every night.

For one thing, you’ll find your bedroom is more peaceful because there will be fewer items out and visible in the room. You’ll also find that your focus can shift away from the energy chatter of pairs of shoes to more important things like gentle reading, reflecting about your day, conversation with a partner or spouse and/or sex.

Energy chatter. What chatter? Everything is alive with energy. Positive or negative. Everything!  This may sound silly or “woo woo” to you, but stick with me.

What do shoes say? Here are some of the conversations I’ve heard:

  • Those shoes really are too tight, but they are the only ones that really look professional.
  • I really should polish that pair. Look how scuffed they are!
  • The bottoms are really worn on that pair. Is it time to bite the bullet and get another pair?
  • I look like such a dork in those shoes! But, they are so comfortable!
  • Those shoes really stink. I wonder what’s going on with my feet that they stink so badly.

With all those conversations going on, is it any wonder that you don’t get great sleep anymore? Yes, when your eyes are closed you can’t see all those shoes, but you are affected by their negative energy when you are sleeping. That negative presence interferes with peaceful sleep.

 Set your shoes free. Clear out shoes that you no longer love or use at least once a year. Banish the remaining shoes from the bedroom to the closet, and find a storage solution that will work in your closet. Then enjoy sweet dreams and the peace that results from your efforts.  

Eliminate Perspectives that Keep You Stuck!

Clutter keeps you stuck. Normally, clearing clutter helps you get clear aboutimagesCAGBLYOU what matters which then leads to positive action. But, if you’ve cleared your clutter and notice that you still feel stuck, it could be that limiting perspectives are the culprit.

What’s a limiting perspective? It’s a way looking at things in your life. For example, you could look at life as a daring adventure and greet each day with enthusiasm and the expectation that no matter what happens it will be a great adventure. Or, you could look at life as a daily grind, where nothing will ever change. With that perspective you are likely to wake with a feeling dread and resignation that each day will be the same old unfulfilling thing.

Which perspective resonates with you? Most of us are unaware of the perspectives we carry in our heads. You move through life with limiting perspectives and don’t even realize that it’s not that you have bad luck or grew up on the wrong side of that tracks or that you didn’t get enough education or land the right job. What’s often keeps you stuck are your thoughts, those limiting beliefs and perspectives that have become habitual. 

Following are some common limiting perspectives:

  • life is hard
  • we all have to struggle to get by
  • I’ll never get my head above water
  • when I get the right job, mate, break, everything will be OK.

With those kinds of beliefs running around in your head, is it any wonder that you are stuck, unable to create a meaningful life in which you experience joy, are connected to your passions, and feel happy and fulfilled?

The challenge of limiting perspectives is that they are so habitual that you aren’t even aware that they are holding you hostage. Without awareness of their existence and power over you, you are unable to let them go and choose perspectives that will move you in a positive direction.

One of the best ways to identify limiting perspectives, strategize how to release them and identify more helpful perspectives is to work with a coach. A coach is trained to listen for limiting perspectives and bring them to light in coaching sessions to be addressed and released. Coaching is a partnership in which you have the opportunity to learn which behaviors, thoughts, beliefs and perspectives do not serve you and keep you stuck, plus strategize ways to take action to let go of those habitual ways of behaving and choose new ways to think and behave.

What limiting perspectives are keeping you stuck? If you are unable to identify what is keeping you stuck, sign up now for a free 30 minute Back on Track phone coaching session with me. Remember, getting unstuck begins with a single step. 

Clutter Tells the Truth

FullSizeRender

My guess is that the truth here is that this person isn’t into putting things away after using them, that she has a “drop it anywhere” approach to her stuff, and that she and her family don’t eat in the kitchen.

Over the 18 years I’ve been working as a professional organizer I have learned that clutter is information. It tells the truth about aspects of a person’s life.

Some of the things I’ve learned from clutter are:

  • this person has too many balls in the air, and the maintaining a neat, clutter-free and organized home is one of the balls that often gets dropped
  • this person spends all their mental and energy at work, and upon arriving home drops everything and hits the sofa
  • this person doesn’t make time to maintain an organized home
  • this person does not have the habit of putting things away
  • this person hates to cook
  • this person really loves clothes
  • this person has difficulty finishing tasks
  • this person is really into disaster preparedness
  • this person is an artist
  • this person is committed to animal rescue
  • this person loves the beach
  • this person is a big reader
  • this person has great difficulty making decisions
  • this person has no idea how to clear clutter
  • this person wants to be organized (has lots of organizing books)
  • this person loves color and beauty
  • this person hates doing laundry
  • this person is very sentimental
  • this person gets overwhelmed easily
  • this person may have ADHD
  • this person wants to scrapbook, but can’t get started

I could go on and on. The content of your clutter and the state of your clutter tell your story. That’s part of why I love my work. I look beyond the messiness and look at the clutter with curiosity. I ask myself, “What is this clutter telling me about this person?” I really enjoy deciphering the clutter to learn more about a person’s current reality and quite possibly their life story.

The clutter tells me much more than most people actually verbalize. That’s why I tell prospective clients not to clean up when I am going to be working with them. I tell them, “If you clean everything up I will have great difficulty determining the causes of the clutter accumulation.” When I can help clients identify the habits and behaviors that have led to their clutter problems I can then help them plan new behaviors that can prevent a meltdown of the order we establish.

What truths does your clutter tell?

Reduce Grief By Creating a Memorabilia Altar

I’ve noticed that some people who have experienced the death of someoneAlter very important keep large quantities of items associated with that person. Everything seems to have great significance. Clients have stated that when they get rid of things associated with their spouse, parent, child, etc., they feel like they are getting rid of that person. Little do they know that by holding onto quantities of things that remind them of that person they are actually anchoring their grief about the loss.

Everything a person own holds their energy if when you look at it you think of that person. An item might have had a very positive energy when the person was alive. For example, a musical instrument they enjoyed playing would likely hold positive energy. However, when the person dies the energy of their items is tinged with sadness.  The musical instrument that held positive energy could evoke sadness because the musician can no longer play the item. Holding onto it anchors sadness.

To facilitate moving through normal grief over the loss of a loved one, I recommend that survivors keep only those items that they like the best, those things that evoke happy feelings. Less is best.

One way to honor a loved one is to create an altar with an arrangement of a few precious items that belonged to the person. You don’t need to hold onto quantities of items associated with a beloved mother to hold her memory in place. Choose a few special items that remind you of the person and arrange them on a surface that you will see in passing as you move through you space. Those items might include a photograph, a special curio, a medal or award they received, anything of theirs that really matters to you or really mattered to them.

My mother died recently. After she died I created an altar to hold a few special things associated with her. It sits atop a small chest of drawers that was in our living room when I was growing up and has been in Mom’s home ever since. I chose to keep that chest for its association with Mom and my life while I was living at home with Mom and Dad.

I gave Mom the little purple silk flower arrangement. She loved flowers and she loved it. The wax ball smells of lilac, her favorite flower and fragrance. I added a few other items for aesthetics — a small painting by my dad, a live plant and a paperweight given to me by a special client who often checked in with me about how Mom was doing during the last few years.

The quantity of items on the altar associated with Mom was less important than the feelings evoked by the items. Just three items (the chest, flower arrangement, and wax ball) hold Mom’s energy and memory in place. When I walk by this little altar my heart remembers Mom and what she loved, and it smiles.

Do the things you have kept that once belonged to a loved one make your heart smile? Are they out and visible where you can see and enjoy the memories? If not, you have inadvertently created pockets of pain that make moving through your grief a much more difficult and slow process. Keep and honor the best. Let go of the rest! 

Clear Clutter to Manage Grief

My mother is dying. She has been in the process of dying for more than threeIMG_0634 weeks. Her death is inevitable. When Mom will leave is uncertain. As you might imagine, I am swimming through a sea of feelings. My relationship with my mother has been precious. She was my best friend, a constant source of love and support. Her passing will leave a huge hole in my life.

How am I coping? I’m clearing clutter. When my emotions run high, I clear clutter. I am able to care for Mom and make sure she is comfortable and getting good care. However, I am utterly powerless about when she will actually die. There is no distinct deadline to this period of great pain and sadness. That leaves me feeling out of control and powerless.

When I feel out of control, I clear clutter. Clearing clutter is a process I can control. It is concrete and I get tangible results immediately. I am also aware that as I clear clutter, I am shifting energies from negative to positive. In so doing, I increase the probability that I will be able to better manage my feelings of grief and make good decisions as this sad journey comes to its ultimate conclusion.

What am I clearing? I am clearing things from Mom’s room that are no longer of use to her in her current state. Feng shui teaches that the best way to create change is to move things and to live with only those things that are in alignment with who you are in the present moment. Most things are no longer relevant for Mom.

Yes, I have had a twinge of guilt about whether it’s amoral to clear out things before Mom has actually died. I got over that feeling by reminding myself that Mom’s passing could actually be easier for her if she’s not anchored in her current state by the negative energies of physical belongings that no longer serve her.

I am also selfishly clearing because I know if I do the clearing in small increments now her death will be easier to handle emotionally. I won’t be left with an enormous painful clutter clearing project when I’m grieving.

I’ve seen what happens to the homes of adult children when they have cleared out parents’ homes post-death in the midst of their grief. Things that belonged to their loved one hold the energy of the loved one and the energy of the loss. They avoid making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of because it hurts to do so.

Consequently they take home enormous quantities of things that may or may not be significant to them. They then cram those things into their attics, garages, utility rooms, basements and storage spaces instead of going through them and integrating items of true significance into their homes. When that happens the pain of the loss gets anchored in their space for years instead of the joy that is possible when precious items are integrated with their belongings. They can’t move through their grief because the pain associated with the stuff keeps them stuck.

I’m deliberately making decisions with each car load I take from Mom’s room. I am keeping the items that are most precious to me, saving some items for other family members, and donating everything else to charity except items that are trash.

Lest you be worried that I have completely stripped Mom’s room, do not worry! Her furniture, art work, key photos, stuffed animals, and a few decorative items remain to make the space feel homey and inviting.

Has this clearing helped? Yes. I feel calmer about Mom’s passing. When I visit her room feels calm and comfortable. I feel more in control of my emotions and less frantic. I also feel lighter because I have lightened the load of responsibility for what must be done following her death. And, I have found places in my home for the items I chose to keep. Warm touches of Mom speak to me as I move through my home, reminding me of her and our very special relationship.

Letting Go By Clutter Clearing Can Help You


reflections of an anonymous attendee of one of Debbie’s clutter clearing seminars

“It definitely lifts my spirits.

When I was going through some of my things, I was reminiscing over the emotional connections. But, I had these things forever, and they just took up too much space and energy. It was nice to get rid of them because I felt like I was letting go of both good and bad memories/experiences. It made me feel more free and liberated. I felt like I shed off a part of my past and was enabled to live in the present. I know I didn’t have to hold onto an item to regain that feeling, and was able to get rid of them.

I also hold onto a lot of papers and project ideas. I realized that I had had those for years too and was unlikely to start those projects because I already am doing the projects that I’m most passionate about. To get rid of those old projects and papers helped me to re-focus my energy on what’s more important to me.

It also just feels nice to live in a clean, uncluttered environment.”

Cram-It Method of Cleanup Creates a Clutter Nightmare

DSCN0890

The result of the cram-it method of cleanup — a clutter nightmare!

We’ve all been there. Company is coming and you look around your home in dismay. What will you do with all the clutter? You can’t have anyone see the way you live. What do you do? Grab a bag or box and cram all the stuff that is cluttering your space into it. Problem solved. The clutter is gone. . . momentarily. But, is it really gone?

What happens to those bags and boxes? They get stuck in a closet, the basement, garage or attic. Once they are there they grow roots and stay put, little cesspools of negative energy that only get more negative over time. Do you feel inclined to pull them out and go through their contents? No! The negative energy of their mixed contents is overwhelming and shuts down any motivation to address those bags and boxes. Plus, much of their contents is not important enough to motivate you to go through them.

If you continue the cram-it method of cleanup without clearing out those bags and boxes, you are planting a garden of negative energy in your home. The longer those containers go unaddressed, the harder it will be to muster the motivation to empty them out and make decisions about what to do with their contents. Also, like energy attracts like energy. Boxes of unprocessed stuff will attract more boxes of unaddressed stuff. The end result? A clutter nightmare!

The cram-it method of cleanup can quickly become a habit because it provides instant gratification. Couple that with “I’ll get to it later” thinking and you have a recipe for serious clutter problems.

What is your alternative?

  1. Create new habits. Make putting things away on a daily basis a priority so you can restore order to your home with minimal cleanup. When company is expected, use that event as your cue to put things away. Returning items to their “homes” takes a lot less time than it will take to excavate the clutter heaps you create.
  2. Make time to create homes for everything, and clear out spaces so that everything has a home that is easily accessible.
  3. Hire a professional organizer to help you clear clutter and create homes for everything if you are unable to  motivate yourself to set up your space so that your belongings can be put away easily. 

When you avoid the cram-it method of cleanup you are choosing to live clutter-free!

Incoming Clutter Negates Clutter Clearing Progress

You’ve been clearing clutter! Yay! You are lightening your load. But, are

Dam the flow of incoming things to make progress with your clutter clearing.

Dam the flow of incoming things to make progress with your clutter clearing.

you? Last night while in conversation with some former ADHD group coaching participants one woman shared that she had gotten about 25 bags/boxes out of her house. We thought that was great progress! However, another astute woman piped up with a great question, “Great! But, but how much is coming in?” The first woman looked slightly uncomfortable and admitted that she was still bringing in stuff. In fact, she enjoyed retail therapy.

Upon further questioning the woman revealed that she was buying things to display after she had cleared her clutter. They were not even things she could enjoy immediately. They became clutter because there was no place for them to go. How ironic that the things she was purchasing to enjoy once her house was clutter-free were creating more clutter.

I suggested that this woman stop buying items in advance of clearing out a room. Rather, that she first clear out the room. Then when the room was clear, she could reward herself with a few new items that could be displayed and enjoyed immediately.

The above incident made me realize that much of my writing has been about how to get rid of clutter. I have never spent much time discussing an important aspect of clutter clearing: stopping the flow of unnecessary items coming into your home.

You can’t make clutter clearing progress if you don’t reduce or stop bringing more things into your home, or at least have a system for eliminating a number of things equal to or greater than the number of things you are bringing in. It’s akin to trying to empty a pool while still adding water to it!

To get the full benefit from clutter clearing, plug the incoming channel. Then focus on eliminating things you no longer love or use.

Feng Shui: Small Changes Lead to Clutter Clearing

IMG_3578Feng shui can be done in small steps. Throw away a dead plant. Clear clutter from a drawer. Add a lamp to a dark area in your home. Add fresh flowers to your kitchen. When you eliminate negative energy (dead things, clutter) and increase positive energy (adding light, add color and plants), you are doing feng shui.

I had the chance to appreciate the power of feng shui when I made a simple change in my kitchen. What started as trimming an overgrown plant ended up being a significant enhancement to the energies in my kitchen.

I trimmed a pothos, a hardy type of philodendron that grows in long vines. Instead of tossing the vines I’d cut off the plant into the trash, I stuffed them in a jar and put the jar on my kitchen counter. That little pop of color and positive energy totally transformed the feel of my kitchen! It’s amazing what a little pop of bright green can do to energize a room. I also added a photo of my beloved Harry and a special rock from my dear friend, Margaret Norman. 

Adding three sources of positive energy really changed the look and feel of my counter. My spirits lift every time my eyes light on the little green plant. The arrangement looked and felt so good that I was motivated to reduce our paper piles on that counter from two to one. Less clutter = good feng shui! Plus, now I work really hard to keep that counter clear. Who knew that sticking green cuttings in a jar could lead not only a daily mood shift but also motivate me to clear clutter and keep it clear!

What small step can you take today to eliminate a source of negative energy and/or add positive energy to your home or office? Clear and enhance! Small steps add up to big changes over time!

Clutter: 5 Negative Effects on Personal Relationships

If you think your clutter affects only you, think again. Feng shui teaches that everything

Clutter creates conflict in relationships.

Clutter creates conflict in relationships.

is connected. Clutter in any area of your home affects the overall energy of the space. The overall energy of the space affects what happens in your life.

Clutter is negative energy. Negative energy repels good things from coming to you. It also can make you feel unsettled, irritable, anxious and overwhelmed. Clutter affects your energy and the energy of everyone in your space even if the clutter is yours alone. The energy of each family member affects their decision-making and behavior. 

Over the years I’ve worked as a professional organizer I’ve seen clutter affect personal relationships in the following ways:

  • It affects your relationship with yourself. Your self-esteem and your thinking and feelings about yourself suffer when you have clutter. You can be very self-critical, forever beating yourself up about your inability to clear your clutter. Clutter blocks you from accessing your gifts and strengths and effectively utilizing them in your life.
  • It affects your relationship with your spouse. Spouses of a cluttered person who are bothered by the condition of the environment express their discomfort in judgment, negative comments, name calling, anger and irritability. Even if your spouse is not openly judgmental, the negative energy of the clutter creates a charged environment in which it is easier to become irritated, agitated and at odds with each other. Clutter also keeps you unconscious of the state of your relationship, it’s growth or lack of growth, issues that need to be addressed, and changes that need to be made for the sake of the relationship. Failure to address clutter challenges can lead to divorce.
  • It affects your relationship with your children. Clutter is distracting. Feng shui teaches that the energy of each item in your space talks to you. Having clutter, therefore, is like having hundreds of little conversations going on all at once. All that noise keeps you distracted, unable to have the mental clarity needed to parent effectively. It also makes it more difficult to stay calm, grounded and make good decisions. In a cluttered space you are more likely to be reactive, saying and doing things that are hurtful to your children.
  • It affects family relationships. The negative energy in cluttered spaces makes everyone less tolerant and more easily irritated and reactive. It distracts from what is really important to sustain healthy family connections. Clutter keeps you focused on what’s wrong, what doesn’t feel good rather than on fostering and investing in positive connections.
  • It affects your relationships with friends and relatives. You may be embarrassed by the condition of your space to the point where you avoid asking people over to visit, to share a meal or to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Barring people from your home can disconnect you from social contacts and eventually result in isolation.

What can you do today to improve your relationships by clearing clutter? If you cannot clear clutter on your own despite your best efforts, email me today to schedule a free 30 minute coaching consultation to determine your next step to clear clutter for the sake of your relationships.

Clear Clutter to Create Mental Space

Today I woke up at 4:00 a.m. I had a fleeting thought about my business and my brainclock-157400_640 (1) was off and running. Not a chance that I would be able to fall asleep again! My work plate is quite heavy at the moment, and I was feeling stressed about getting everything done. So, I took my racing brain into my office to put it to good use.

I first cleared my desk and computer screen of clutter. Part of the reason I was feeling stressed was that in the busyness of the week my desk had gotten cluttered. I couldn’t clearly see all of the tasks I needed to do. After clearing the clutter I organized what was left and made my action items clearly visible. I not only felt more grounded, but I created both physical and mental space to be able formulate a game plan for getting everything done. I began to relax and feel more in control.

The best benefit of my early morning clearing was that the introduction for a free ADHD tele-class that I’ll be doing this month just fell into my head. Clearing my mental and physical clutter made space for ideas for the tele-class to flow.

Insomnia isn’t all bad if well spent!

Post-Christmas Clutter Clearing for a Great New Year!

The days following the hoopla of Christmas can be a let down. Or, they can be a greatsmiley-798856_1280 opportunity to clear clutter to prepare for a great new year. No doubt you are sitting there with an array of gifts, some that you love and will use, and others that don’t love and wish you didn’t have to deal with.

What will you do with unwanted gifts, gifts that are the wrong size, that you dislike, that you don’t need, that you will never use? You now have the opportunity to practice living with what you love. Feng shui teaches that you will have the best life if you live exclusively with what you love or use. When you love and/or use things, they have positive energy. That positive energy attracts more positive into your life.

But, you may be thinking that you must keep gifts given to you by people that you love. You couldn’t possibly give them away or, God forbid, throw them away. When you hold onto things you don’t love or use or never will use, you are cluttering your home with items that have negative energy. Negative energy attracts more negative into your life.

What are your options?

  1. Keep unwanted items and clutter your house. You will feel burdened by the sense of obligation you feel to keep the items. You will then attract more negative into your life going into a new year.
  2. Re-gift items to people who would really enjoy having them, thereby clearing clutter and preventing the accumulation of negative energy.
  3. Donate items to a charity. That will clear clutter, help people in your community, and prevent the accumulation of negative energy.
  4. Throw items away which will clear clutter, but will also be wasteful, thereby attracting more negative energy.

Any gifts that are re-gifted or donated will lighten your load as you move into the new year. The act of clearing out things that don’t fit with who you are today sets the stage for attracting more of what does fit in the new year.

You have choices to make about what do do with unwanted gifts. Remember, whatever you choose will set the tone for your life in the new year. Will you passively allow unwanted things into your life or will you choose a lighter, more positive path?

Clutter Blocks the Rapture of Being Alive

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive. . . so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Joseph Campbell

“The experience of being alive . . .  so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Those words really struck me as I was reflecting on my recent trip North to make a turkey dinner for my disabled brother, Mark.

Visiting Mark is always bittersweet. Several brain injuries have left him in need of 24 IMG_2637hour care. Earlier this year he suffered a major cognitive and physical decline following a bout with shingles and receiving the shingles vaccine. My heart hurts as I watch my sweet, strong, vibrant brother fade away into an invalid who has little control over the course of his life.

This trip, instead of putting my head down and jumping head first into the pain of the continuing loss of Mark, I said yes to Diane,  when she suggested that we take the train into New York City to see a Broadway show. For the hours that I rode the
IMG_3332train into the city, hiked up Broadway past lighted Christmas trees and all the sights of the busy city, and watched my first Broadway show, I was able to put the painful emotional and mental clutter of my life aside and be in the rapture of the having new fun experiences.

I work with people who have volumes of painful, paralyzing, physical clutter. My clutter, by comparison, is mental and emotional, and has limited my ability to let go and have fun. Going into New York City was an opportunity to separate myself from the clutter of fearful, limiting beliefs and sad feelings to just enjoy the pleasure of being IMG_3325alive and having new experiences. I left New York City wanting more. Not necessarily more Broadway shows, though that would be wonderful, but more relief from the clutter that blocks me from allowing myself new experiences and moments of joy.

Clutter, whether physical, mental or emotional, blocks you from experiencing the rapture of being alive. What can you do today to release those blocks? My friend, Diane, offered me support, encouragement, and a way to let go of my blocks for a wonderful evening of fun. What support do you need to to move forward to clear your clutter?

Clutter Clearing Strategy While Unpacking from a Move

IMG_2734I recently helped a woman unpack following a move to a new home. She and her husband were downsizing from a 6,000 square foot house to a 3,000 foot house. Once they got to the new home it was immediately apparent that they had no room for many of the items they had packed. It was “get real” time. Time to make hard decisions about what would stay and what would be let go.

Wisely my client had movers put many of their non-immediately essential boxes in the garage until they were ready to unpack them. Rather than moving the boxes into the house to unpack, we opened each box in the garage and sorted items into: keep, donate, trash, recycle. With awareness of the limitations of space in the new home, my client found it much easier to get rid of things as we moved through those boxes than I think she would have if she’d been unloading the boxes from inside the house. As we filled the boxes with items to donate, it was easy to put them in her car which was right outside the garage. Items to keep were grouped together in boxes to go into the house.

At the end of our two hour session we had filled her car with items to donate, and had several other big boxes of items to donate ready for her next trip.

Watching my client clear with gusto made me wonder about what made it possible for her to let go of things so easily. Here’s what I came up with:

  • She was acutely aware of the reality of the size of space available, having already unpacked essential items. She had already experienced the feeling of “too much stuff” in her house. That feeling was so uncomfortable that she was motivated to be much more selective in her choices of things to keep.
  • It was easier to let go of things because they had never been inside that house. Keeping them in the garage kept them from growing emotional roots that would have made clearing that much more difficult.

From this experience I learned the following new strategy for unpacking and clutter clearing following a move: If you have a garage, first open boxes in the garage and do an initial assessment of their contents. Look for items to donate or trash before you take each box into the house.

Clear your clutter BEFORE it takes up residence in your house. It’s easier to do and will ensure that you don’t take the easy way out, keep things you no longer love or use, and then have to work hard to make space for items you don’t need or love.

Put Things Away, Prevent Clutter

Clutter is created in many ways. One of the most common is for people to just drop things instead of taking the time to put them away. People with ADHD in particular tend to move through their lives with such a sense of urgency that they often drop things because their ADHD brain convinces them that there is something more interesting and important to attend to than putting things away.

In the ADHD Group Coaching to Clear Clutter series I am currently running, participants are developing new awareness about clutter, how it happens, and how to get clutter clearing done. They have learned that their ADHD typically results in self-awareness challenges, one of which is that they often aren’t aware of how they create clutter.

Each week participants tackle a clutter clearing project and come to group to share their experience, their learning, their successes and challenges. This past week one participant spoke about the process of unpacking his vehicle after a camping trip. Because in group he has been urged to observe himself and his habits, he was able to watch himself reflexively start to drop items without taking the time to put things away. When he was about to put firewood down where it didn’t belong because it was expedient to do so, he caught himself. His new commitment to

A place for everything and everything in its place.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

prevent clutter and his desire to not destroy the good work he had already done, caused him to pause and think about what he was about to do. He told himself, “The wood pile is within easy reach. If I drop this here, I will be creating clutter.” He then took the wood to the woodpile.

After processing that client’s experience, the group came up with a new reminder to help them prevent clutter in the future: “If I drop something, it becomes clutter. If I take just a few more steps and a few more seconds, it will be put away and I can prevent clutter.”

Watch how you create your clutter. When you are tempted to just drop something out of place, remember, you have a choice: create clutter or prevent clutter.

Prevent Clutter: Make Returns Quickly

What do you do when you buy something only to later realize it was the wrong size,

something that won’t work, or something you just don’t want? Do you return it immediately? Or is your habit to set it aside to return sometime. . .? In my clutter clearing work I’ve learned that many people do nothing with items that really need to be returned. I find numerous bags of items to be returned in clients’ homes. Some haven’t been returned because the person needs to find the receipt. I have a hunch that many items get set aside and then go out of awareness

Things that need to be returned are usually a let down to the purchaser. Then they become work, another item on the over-filled to do list. I view items that need to be returned as “mistakes.” They hold mistake energy. Mistake energy is very negative. If you have too much of it around it’s easy to start feeling like you are a mistake. As more negative feelings and energy become associated with mistake items, it becomes harder and harder to motivate yourself to take action and return them.

I recently made a mistake and ordered two mattress covers that are too heavy to be

Mattress cover mistake.

Mattress cover mistake.

washed in my washing machine. It almost burned out the motor of my washing machine! What a disappointment! Not only that, I was left with a very soggy mattress cover that still needed to be dried before I could ship it back for a refund. So, not only was I disappointed, but I had several more tasks on my to do list: take the cover to a laundromat to dry it in a heavy duty commercial dryer, repackage the mattress covers, and drop the packages off at the post office.

Needless to say, I was not happy to have the extra hassle and the extra work. My first impulse was to just ignore the whole situation for awhile (I’ll bet you can identify with this response!). All three tasks were things I didn’t like doing. They all would eat my limited and valuable time. And, the tasks weren’t as important as many other things on my to do list.

This mistake, however, was hard to ignore. The queen sized mattress covers were not things  that could be stashed away to deal with when I felt like it. Their presence filled my living room. Plus, one cover was wet. If I left it alone, it would become mildewed and stink. That aspect of the situation is what really motivated me to deal with the situation. I didn’t want to add the hassle of having to fix a mildew problem. Plus, I reminded myself that the mattress covers held mistake energy, big mistake energy. I certainly didn’t need that energy affecting me and my husband.

So, I pushed aside my dread, resentment and disappointment, and the mattress cover was dried and both covers were packed up the next day. The following day I dropped them off at the post office. Mission accomplished.

When you realize an item needs to be returned, immediately put it near your car keys so you can take it back out to the car on your next trip to the car. Then, set a deadline for returning it, preferably within 1-2 weeks. Motivate yourself to get the task done by remembering that you are fixing a mistake. Also remember that when you return the item(s), you’ll get money back. Items that never get returned are worth money, money that will go down the drain if you don’t take action.