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Undecorating PDF Print E-mail
By Suzanne Haze
 
Ever notice how purging clutter is the first agenda item on home makeover shows? If you are getting ready to redecorate or make simple changes to your space there is ONE crucial step to make first. Before you paint, before you refurnish, before you bring one cute-must have decorating item into your home - you have to get rid of the clutter. If you skip this step, your new paint, furniture and must haves will be lost in the sea of your possessions.

What is clutter?
Clutter is a confused collection of ‘stuff’, including things you do not use or enjoy, in a disorderly state. Clutter adds stress to your life. It keeps you from being organized, wasting your time and space.

Your physical, emotional and mental health is directly impacted by your environment. If you can’t unwind at home and have to go to a spa to relax, clutter is most likely the culprit.

Americans are notorious for acquiring ‘stuff’. We spend weekends at the mall shopping for clothes and house wares. As everything goes in and nothing goes out, your home becomes constipated.

Clutter is Expensive
Have you been thinking about moving as your home bursts at the seams? Are you paying rent on a storage space for things you haven’t touched in years? By culling through your existing stuff it is possible to free up precious closet, shelf and storage space. You may realize that you don’t need a bigger home after all. That’s a hefty financial bullet dodged.

Having a clutter free home allows you to know what you have. Nothing is more irritating than going out and buying black shoe polish then finding four bottles of it in a drawer the following week.

Decluttering
Getting rid of clutter takes time. If you attempt to sort through everything at once you will be overwhelmed. Do it in phases.

Take one room at a time and start with what is seen. Look at each item in that room and ask yourself:
  • Do I really need this?
  • Do I really want this?
  • Am I going to be upset if I get rid of it?
  • What is the worst that can happen if I give it away?
Your home is an environment you control – not your Aunt Beatrice who gave you the crotched toilet paper cover. Bag it up and send it off.

Take a look at the things that you bought for yourself. Have you grown out of your unicorns and whale phase? If so, off to the thrift store with them!

Once you have gone through what is seen in each room, move onto what is unseen - your closets. Go through the same process. The rule of thumb for closets is, if you haven’t used it or worn it in over a year – get rid of it. The little black dress is one of a few exceptions.

Bonus
There are two enormous benefits to getting rid of clutter. Your keys stop disappearing and you eliminate much of your housework. As you streamline your home you will become more organized, thus being able to find those mischievous keys. Also, with less ‘stuff’ to shift, dust and file you will be able to clean in half the time.

Dilligence
The key to keeping your home clutter free is diligence. The minute you bring in the mail, go through it and toss what you do not need to keep. If you purchase a new item, see if you can get rid of something you already have. Clutter is sly - go through your home once a week and see if any sneaked in while you weren’t looking.

There is a strong possibility that once you declutter, you will realize that you don’t need to paint or buy new furniture after all.

 

 
Decluttering That Mental Clutter PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti
 
In a previous article, I talked about mental clutter, the details that plague our minds on a daily basis such as:
  • What am I going to cook for dinner?
  • What am I going to wear to that meeting?
  • Do I have enough gas to get to work?
Having to answer these questions, at the last minute, on a daily basis places us in a loop that keeps us from moving forward.  Our thoughts are constantly focused on immediate needs rather than being able to put mental effort into anything that will help us get closer to our goals.
 
In order to eliminate mental clutter, you must first identify it.  Your homework was to create a list of the day-to-day details that clutter your mind.

Below are just a few ideas to help you begin to break out of your cerebral loop.   They’re not new concepts and you may have tried some of them before.  The challenge lies in doing them long enough so they become habit. 
 
As you read through the list and identify ideas you want to implement, write them down and keep the list with you.  Put a checkmark on your calendar for every day you successfully implement the soon-to-be-habits.  After 66 days, the habits will be in place and you will be able to focus your mind on far more important thoughts and ideas!   
 
Mornings & Evenings 
The key to reducing the mental clutter that hits first thing in the morning is to plan ahead the night before. 
 
While changing your clothes after work, set aside what you want to wear the following day.
 
As you make dinner, think about tomorrow night’s dinner.  If anything needs to be defrosted, or marinated, you can take care of it right then.  It’s also a great time to decide on tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch.  Again, anything that needs to be taken care of in advance can be done then and there.
 
Afternoon
Taking your lunch to work not only saves money, but it saves time as well.  By the time your coworkers get to their destination and order food, you’ll be finished eating and can use your remaining lunch hour to read, go for a walk or even run an errand.  No more “hunting and gathering” your lunch.  
 
Provisions & Supplies
One of the keystone habits for reducing mental clutter, simplifying the week and saving money is to create a non-negotiable day to get to the grocery store. 
 
Instead of having to figure out where you’re going to fit it into your schedule each week, fit your schedule around this very important errand.  Remembering that there are no groceries in the house and having to figure out what’s for dinner at the last minute can throw off what was going to be a perfectly lovely evening!
 
The same goes for fuel.  Having a day, each week to get to the gas station will help keep you from having to worry about filling up before getting the kids to school or that meeting across town.
 
Weekly Planning
Once a week, ideally the same time each week, sit down and check your calendar for the next seven days.  The idea is to look for any type of occasion that is out of your normal routine, requires running an errand or making a purchase.  For example:
  • Unusual supply purchases – i.e. printer ink
  • Gift Giving Events
  • Baking cupcakes for your child’s class
You can then strategically plan your tasks and errands for the week.  No more staying up until 10:00 pm at night baking cupcakes and then getting up at 5:00 am to frost them.   No more running out of ink in the middle of a deadline and having to drop everything to get to the office supply store.  
 
It’s helpful to also look at the following 4 – 8 weeks to give you an opportunity to plan as far in advance as possible – especially when it comes to gifts.  The more time you give yourself, the more opportunities there are to purchase what you want to buy at the price you want to pay. 
 
What Else is Haunting You?
As I mentioned, these are just a few ideas to get you started.  If you’re struggling with an issue that continues to haunt you, consider asking a friend or family member to help you talk out ideas until you can come up with an implementable and sustainable solution.  You can then return the favor! 
 
If you have questions about mental clutter or would like to share your success stories, write to me at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Mental Clutter PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Mental clutter.  We all have it.  The details that plague our minds on a daily basis such as:
  • What am I going to cook for dinner?
  • What am I going to wear to that meeting?
  • Do I have enough gas to get to work?
Having to answer these questions at the last minute on a daily basis places us in a loop that keeps us from moving forward.  Our thoughts are constantly focused on immediate needs rather than being able to put mental effort into anything that will help us get closer to our goals.
 
Mental clutter can also get expensive. By not giving yourself an opportunity to be proactive, being caught in a cerebral loop, you find yourself in a constant state of reacting to the situations and events that arise.
 
For example, realizing it’s your friend’s birthday and having to run out at the last minute to find a gift, any gift and make the purchase. This habit doesn’t allow you the opportunity to put any thought into what you would really like to give them, let alone a chance to shop around for the best possible price. This results in purchasing a gift you may not be excited about giving and likely having to spend more than you wanted to spend.

Try spending one week identifying your mental clutter and writing it down.  Next week we're going to come up with ideas for reducing these thoughts and questions that continue to plague your mind.  For now, just concentrate on listing them.
 
Mental Clutter often strikes first thing in the morning, before we even get out of bed - what a terrible way to start the day! 

As we lay there we think:
  • Did I run out of toothpaste?
  • What am I going to wear?
  • Do I have a meeting today that I have to dress up for?
  • What am I going to make for breakfast?
  • What am I going to pack for the kid's lunch?
Instead of having to run through a laundry list of mental worries, wouldn't you rather wake up and think:
  • Tonight I'm having dinner with my friends!
  • I'm so looking forward to a quiet night at home!
  • Just two more days to vacation!
Tomorrow morning, as you get up, shower and dress, be mindful of your thoughts.  Identify concerns you find yourself having every morning and then continue this process throughout the rest of the day and week.
 
 
Stuff For Your Stuff PDF Print E-mail

 
A Diet For Your Home PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti

On Saturday, we celebrated Dante’s 8th birthday. With a second gift giving event so close to Christmas, his room starts to burst at the seams. 
 
He’s a very lucky kid to have so many toys, but as he outgrows them, we have to make sure they get donated. Otherwise, he can’t see what he actually wants to play with because there’s just too much stuff. 
 
There are other parts of our house that needed to be decluttered as well. During the holidays I picked up a few new baking supplies. We have a very tiny kitchen and no pantry so everything has to pull its weight. Last weekend I went through and donated kitchen items I haven’t used in two years. I also found 12 empty jelly jars in a kitchen cabinet that I happily gave back to my mom… hoping for refills when she starts making jelly again in May.
 
The topic of decluttering comes up more than you'd think during my conversations with clients. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by our “stuff”. So many items transition from desirable objects to burdens. 
 
In January, we have a motivation that we don’t often have the rest of the year. It’s a great time to use that enthusiasm to dive in. Since clutter is an issue that I really struggled with in the past, I’ve learned that some ways are better than others when it comes to attacking it. 
 
This morning I found the article Put Your House on a Diet: 10 New Year’s Tips to Declutter Your Life by Jura Koncius. It’s one of the best articles I’ve read on the topic. 
 
One of my favorite tips she offers is to identify tiny projects that will give you a lot of satisfaction. When you start to see tasks actually get done, it’s easy to build on that momentum.
 
Another one of her tips that I just love is to share what you no longer need this winter. It’s so true that many people out there could really use a warm coat, hat or sleeping bag. That’s an empowering mode of motivation to let go of things you no longer need.
 
The one tip she offers that I haven’t heard of before, but is brilliant, is to schedule a home pickup date from a charity. There’s nothing like a hard deadline to get you moving.
 
For all of Jura’s tips, you can find her article through this link at The Washington Post
 
 
 
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