It’s impossible to be kind to others if our own little worlds are in chaos. This weekend, choose a cluttered, disorganized area of your home to attack and see if it puts you in a better, more loving frame of mind. For instance:
- Clean out a bathroom cupboard
- Clean out a bedside table
- Sweep the front area of your home and buy a pot of pansies
- While you’re at the garden centre, buy a dozen tulips and display them in a high-traffic area of your home (I love tulips – they are the only flower seldom seen in funeral arrangements, so I don’t associate them with sadness).
- Compile a list of all your assets – RRSPs, GICs, Savings, Chequing, Tax-Free Savings Accounts, etc. – to get a look at what you’ve managed to accrue over the years. ScotiaBank is right – you ARE richer than you think.
I’m finding that I have full-on physical reactions to mess and clutter: my head spins and I completely shut down in the face of it all. I simply can’t deal with it. I don’t know how or where to get started, so things in those problem areas (laundry room, garage) never improve. The anxiety worsens because the environment I live in deteriorates. It’s easier to just keep the door closed.
Avoidance is a terrible way to live – the THINGS in our life shouldn’t control us, of course, we should control them. Plus, I find it impossible to relax with a book or tv show when my surroundings are messy. Reducing the clutter and getting organized is the first step in making our homes true havens – a place that gives us peace and joy.
Getting started is the most difficult part, so I learned a few tricks from my care team at the hospital (who laugh at me as I straighten the books and magazines in their waiting room):
~ Choose ONE area.
~ Crank your favourite music.
~ Start making piles – keep, toss, donate, clean. I won’t bore you with platitudes like “keep only what brings you joy” or “toss it if you haven’t worn it in a year”. They are too general. Trust yourself, you know what you should be keeping and what can be given away or tossed. Once the heart-fluttering indecision of “do I keep it or toss it?” is addressed, you’ll get addicted to the feeling of empty countertops and organized closets and drawers.
~ Grab two bags and bag up the toss and donate piles. Take them immediately to the car.
~ Start with wiping down the areas to reshelve the “keep” items.
~ Divide the “keep” items into categories and store them together (I’m not a big fan of the dollar store, but there is nowhere better to purchase baskets in various sizes to make this part easier).
(I lied, IKEA is better. But there is no way I’m going there on a weekend. We’re trying to simpiify to reduce anxiety and panic, right?)
~ Clean or wipe down the items that are a bit grubby and add those into the baskets.
~ Vacuum or wipe the floor. There will be specks of dirt everywhere.
Kindness to ourselves and our living spaces is just as important as kindness to others. Notice the physical reaction you have when your space is clean, minimized and completely organized. I swear it’s easier to breathe once it’s done.
Have a great weekend, everyone!