Monday, May 10, 2010

lighten your load in 7 simple steps

Do you crave the peace, calm, and beauty that greater organization would offer you? And yet, at the same time, dread the process of getting there? Here’s the good news: you’re not alone! For many, the mere thought of letting go creates an almost insurmountable obstacle for getting more organized. And yet … letting go of excess possessions—like supplies, shoes, unused gifts, clothing with the price tags still attached, and incomplete projects, along with letting go of old habits and beliefs about organizing—is key to creating a future filled with greater calm, control, and organizational bliss.

So how do you do it? There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The trick is to figure out what works for you. What will motivate you to overcome “letting go” and move forward to the peace, calm, and beauty you crave? The answer may not be has horrible as you might think!

#1: Visualize the finished result:
The more clearly you can describe to yourself the benefits of letting go, the easier it will be to make any tough decisions that come up during the process.

Why do you want to change or get more organized?

What are you making space for?

How will your space look, feel, and function when you’re finished?

What benefits will you realize when you are more organized?

#2: Remind yourself of past successes:
Do you remember the last time you really dug deep, and let go of unwanted and unneeded things? How did it feel afterward? Did you feel lighter? Did you feel more positive? Were you more able to relax? Did you feel more motivated to do things you really love to do?

#3: Prioritize:
Ask yourself: Which belongings in your home are most important to you?

#4: Decide how much is enough:
We all have things we love to have plenty of. For some it’s tea. For others it’s t-shirts. For me it’s kitchen gadgets! When you have too much of a good thing you may start to feel bad about the excess, or you may even forget what you have. How much is enough and how much is too much?

#5: Anticipate and remove your obstacles:

Obstacle 1: I might need it someday”
Solution: Decide when “someday” is. If you can’t come up with a definite answer, then assign an arbitrary date up to six months out in the future. Put the item in a box, write the date on the outside of the box, and move on. If the “someday” (the date on the box) comes and goes and you haven’t needed the item … you are now free to send it off to a happier place.

Obstacle 2: I paid good money for this”
Solution: Accept that the money is spent, and no amount of hanging-on to an item can bring your money back.

Obstacle 3: I could sell this at a garage sale or on Craig’s List:
Solution: Decide if you will actually put the time and effort into selling your items. If not, find a charity you’ll feel good about donating your items to and schedule a day for them to pick up your items. You will still get a tax deduction and you can save all that effort.

Obstacle 4: I received it as a gift
Solution: Realized that gifts don’t (or at least shouldn’t) come with strings attached. I know this one can be hard to swallow… but it’s true.

#6: Create quick results:
If you’re faced with a mound of things to go through, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Look for ways to create visual results quickly. One way to do this is by grabbing a large box or laundry bin and clear off all your flat surfaces. Now, everything “looks” so much better and you only have to work with the stuff in the box…not the entire room.

#7: Keep building on your successes:
Keep moving in the direction of your goals. Set aside 15-30 minutes a day for tackling a corner, drawer, or shelf. Or block out a couple of hours each Saturday to go through a small space in your home. Little by little you’ll lighten your load and create peace, calm, and beauty in your home and life!

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