When’s the last time you had a picnic and used your deluxe picnic basket? Or served punch from a crystal punch bowl? It’s a sweet idea, right? But does it really happen? Really? Or is it the idea of the picnic and the picnic basket and the idea of the party or shower with the punch bowl that has you hanging on to these items? Don’t get me wrong...I am ALL FOR you keeping them if you really love them and use them! How romantic! How lovely! In my experience with clients, though, these items are dusty (very dusty), stuffed on a shelf and taking up space in a basement storage area. And, more often than not, they are more a metaphor for unfulfilled hopes and dreams than symbols of future fun. In the last month, I have taken 4 glass punch bowl sets and 3 fancy picnic baskets to the Goodwill.
So, if this is you...(owner of picnic basket, punch bowl or something similar: cake stands, Nesco cooker) really drop in and notice your own energy. When you hold the picnic basket with the strapped in dishes and the special gingham napkins, do you grin from ear to ear? Start planning the spring picnic? Or, do you take a deep sigh and say, “Oh, yeah, the picnic basket, it was a wedding gift, we never used it. We eat outside a lot and we love to go to the park, soak up the sun, but we don’t bother to pack this huge thing up, it’s just too much.” When it’s time for the shower or party, do you eagerly run downstairs and scoop up the punch bowl, check out what you'll need for your favorite punch recipe? Or, do you pick up seltzer, wine, juice, champagne and fruit and serve individual drinks to your guests?
So many times we are in love with the IDEA of what the item represents. So, if the punch bowl represents, sweet afternoon “ladies only” gatherings, and you LOVE the feeling of that, then do it!!!! You may just not need or want a punch bowl to pull it off.
Here’s your Feng Shui lesson for the week: Basements are directly related to health energy. Anything stuck, stuffed or stagnant in the basement will correlate to your health being less than optimal. It you want to create space in your life to feel lighter and leaner and invite in new opportunities and adventures, take a serious look at what you are storing in the basement.
Consider that your stuff may actually be holding you back and keeping you from a life you love.
Start at one end, on one shelf, or in a corner and one box and item at a time, make decisions using your personal energy meter to guide you. Does it lift you up, make you smile, clap and twirl? Keep it! Does it give you the “socked in the stomach” feel? Do you actually groan with an audible “UGH”, or shake your head and wonder, “WHY?????? did I keep this for so long?”
Let go (with love) and watch the magic happen! Working with the physical objects in a basement is powerful. In most cases these items have been put away and left for dead. By following the checklist in my free Tackle Your Clutter ToolKit as you address the situation, you'll be feeling the effects quickly.
And then watch out...a whole truckful of goodness is on the way! You will be amazed at what concentrating your efforts in the basement can do for your health and your life!
Here’s to your health!
Barry is at a crossroads. His spirited and sparkly daughters are moving on with their adult lives (graduating, leaving the nest) and he’s eager to downsize and step into a new phase of his own life. It’s bittersweet, for sure, to have this moment of sending freshly formed adults (Weren’t they just babies?) out into the world and then facing your own future with a mix of uncertainty, excitement, possibility and a teeny pinch of fear. He’s brave! And dedicated to dumping an additional 80% (!!!) of what he owns to clear space so his health, wealth and relationships can flourish. We have gone through ALL of his boxes of STUFF once: apple cores mixed with tax papers mixed with socks, candy wrappers and a heap of unopened mail. He has seen first-hand how clearing clutter has changed his life so far and with this transition on the horizon he’s excited to invite in even more of the good stuff!
Here are some of tips for making your downsizing experience go smoothly…
~Paint the picture of your future: As foggy and fuzzy as it may seem, this first step is crucial. Do not skip creating your vision of the future! Many, many people put on their blinders and AVOID looking at both their future AND the chaos and clutter in their homes and lives. This “non-action” makes them feel sluggish and, in some cases, down-right paralyzed. One result is that their homes can take on a museum or shrine-like quality, a monument to the past. A client I worked with still had intact Lego creations that her sons had built and the “kids” were in their 30s! (Yep, we lovingly dismantled ‘em :)) If your home has this quality and it keeps you feeling stuck in the past, consider sweeping out the stagnant stuff so you can enjoy the new adventures that are waiting ahead on your path!
What’s important to you as you move forward? Barry says: a luscious relationship with his sweetie, his ever-increasing good health, kicking his career into high gear, and creating art and music. He intentionally uses these 4 goals to guide him in his decision-making process. If the items in his home do not support these hopes and dreams, then out they go!
~ Give yourself at least 6 months to thoroughly downsize: It takes TIME! Most people SERIOUSLY underestimate the amount of stuff they store and keep. Often they have never directly addressed whether or not their possessions serve them. Downsizing offers an opportunity to deliberately choose the items that will boost you into the future.
Items that typically need weeding: Holiday decorations, Sports equipment, Kid mementos (maybe you’ll keep one box for each until they get to a permanent location), and PAPER!
And speaking of paper, now’s the time (you’ll have more time) to scan, digitize and LET GO of archived files, old work, etc. There are very few files that need to be kept in paper form--(things with a seal on them, birth certificates, etc.) and permanent records. A SMALL amount--I will dare to say two file drawers or less, WAY LESS! Photos fall into this category, too (see last week’s post).
~ Be gentle with yourself--Hey! this is not easy!!!! So many emotions pop up (as with any transition in life). Acknowledge and continue to work with the physical objects. As painful as it may be, working with the energy of your space will give you a tangible way to work through feelings. Journal, talk to a friend, take breaks, but focus, keep going in some way so that your efforts will bring you the future you’ve envisioned for yourself.
Barry and I are just starting this second round of editing at his place...we have set aside two afternoons a month to get his space feeling light and lean. His lease is up at the end of December (8 months away). This takes the urgency out of the task, makes it do-able, practical, easier to assimilate the changes as they happen. So plan ahead, and just keep going, the results will be magically amazing!
~Celebrate! You know I’m big on celebrating (and for me it usually involves chocolate). Completing (a section) and celebrating are the secret fuel for continuing. If you set the goal of sifting through all the photos and then all you have to look forward to is tackling the file cabinets, you will poop out quickly, guaranteed!
If, however, you sift through the photos and then celebrate by taking a walk in the sun and dancing around the living room--I will venture to say that you will be FAR more likely to take on the next cardboard box.
I get that this is tough to do by yourself. Contact me if you want support as you dive in and make your space (and life) sparkle!
123rf: Tony Link
Mementos are tough...is it really treasure if it weighs you down and stresses you out?
Every client I have worked with in the past 15 years has eventually dealt with personal treasures. If we’re working together for the long haul, I suggest waiting to deal with mementos (including photos) as the last item on the organizing list. It’s WAY easier to handle items like books, clothes, and kitchen items. These items usually do not hold the big emotional charge of keepsakes. Most everyone feels burdened by this category, having NO IDEA how to winnow through and keep only the most precious of things.
This is the place where emotions show-up...big time!
Emotions show up with DRAMA and FLAIR! They can shut us down quickly if we are not deeply grounded in the awareness and knowing of our own dazzling hearts. Here are a few tips to help you get your feet on the ground and find balance and peace when choosing your memento collection:
The past is gone and things from the past, if unbalanced, can keep us feeling stuck. Instead of treasure, they begin to feel like an anchor weighing us down. Take a stand for your healthy future and keep the things that lift you up and make you sparkle. Lovingly pass along, bless and release the others, it’s back to the earth or out to the universe for someone else to love!
Big Sparkly Love,
PHOTO CREDIT: 123rf Elena Elisseeva
If you’re living with “STUFF” that is stuffed (and stuck) in boxes, bags, drawers, shelves, closets, basements, attics or storage lockers, you may also have one or more of these complaints:
We are marketed to 24/7 (There are some kick-ass marketers out there, doing an amazing job!) and we’ve gotten very good at accumulating. However, letting go and creating space are not top priority for most of us. *Shopping* with friends is WAY more popular than *decluttering closets* together!
Our homes have tripled in size over the last 50 years and the quantity of stuff we keep has tripled as well. TRIPLED! Our happiness levels, on the other hand, have flat-lined. Whaaaaaaaaaat? More stuff doesn’t make us happy???? Now that’s a topic to dive deep with: What makes you happy and what do you value? My gut feeling is that it’s something SIMPLE like hanging out on the deck with your friends, or taking a walk with your sweetie.
Think back to the last time you were on vacation, living in a hotel room, or camping in a tent. Did you miss your stuff at home? Your memorabilia from Scout Camp? Math papers from Middle School? Probably not! As we move forward in life, we rarely go back and reminisce with the actual objects in our hands. All of the “stuff” is NOT NECESSARY for remembering or honoring a person or event of the past. (More on how to handle mementos next week.) And I’m not being cold-hearted here...I’m taking a stand for your health.
Extra stuff in our homes = stagnant energy and stagnant energy = poor health.
AND, there’s a fix! Set an intention to feel better and envision your home with space to make your dreams come true. Then put a decluttering appointment with yourself on the calendar and begin. Use your personal energy meter as you make decisions: “Does this item I’m holding lift my energy or bring me down? Does it speak to my vision of the future or does it hold me back in some way?” Be ruthless, remember, your HEALTH is at stake!
You are on your way to a healthier, happier YOU with space to claim a life you love.
What a wonderful gift to yourself!
Call me if you’re interested in some support to clear out the chaos and step into your future feeling lighter, leaner and ready for anything! My number is: 608-235-9023 and I would love to gift you with a complimentary 30 minute phone consultation.
Photo credit: 123rf
I was honored to be interviewed by Meredith Rhodes Carson
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