Friday, August 13, 2010

Clear the clutter, simplify your life

This weekend we are having our first garage sale. Why is it our first? Well it's the first time that we have had all our stuff in one space at one time in a garage. We have moved quite a few times over the last 10 years, and for the most part, they were quick moves for one reason or another. But in the process of quick moves, and having items in storage we lost access to a lot of things we need on hand. Clothes, tools, books, supplies, and so we went out and bought more. Which lead to more stuff and a lot of duplicates. When you have all this stuff, it feels like it's sapping your energy and thought as you continue to search for what you already have....somewhere. So we have a lot of stuff that can go to good homes and over the last year after our most recent move, we have been organizing and finding all these things we have lost. A lot of it came in handy as we had moved into a space we could use them (for example, having a garage that we can use the tools in), but there are things that were uncovered that we no longer needed. Clothes that I have grown out of or more specifically, that were now too big for me to wear. Those items need a good home. A lot of baby items that our son had grown out of and lots more. Most of which we had already donated or given away, but as we continue to unpack and sort, we can continue to simplify our things to what we really need and organize in a way that will lead to less frustration, less duplication, and less energy wasted.

If you have in your life more than you need to use, than it tends to become clutter. How are ways to reduce clutter in the main areas of your home and life.

Clear your mind

Many things can clutter our minds and I have found that if they are not things that will help you to grow, then they need to go. Even if you are blessed with the understanding that you can grow from any situation, you can still gain more optimal growth in establishing a more positive environment to live with. Negativity from other people, from yourself, and even from memories associated with objects feel heavy and are not very change your thoughts to positive ones, help your relationships to be more positive and encouraging, and spend your time with positive, forward-focused people that help you to grow.

Be more efficient and wallet-friendly

This summer we have really focused on simplifying our lives and we started the process first last year by minimizing our expenses. A few things we did to reduce our expenses...

We reduced our cell phone bill by negotiating new options in our plan.
We switched internet providers and pay about half of what we were before.
We cut the cable (the kids like watching movies in repeat anyhow when they get TV time)
We swapped most of our light bulbs to more energy efficient options and turn the lights off when we are done in a room.
We cut our natural gas consumption by only washing our clothes in cold water, and keeping the heat down to comfortable "enough". (wear a sweater, warmer clothing, and slippers)
We reduced our water consumption by collecting rain water for the garden, wear clothes more than once (if they are clean), and not running the water while we wash dishes, hands or brush teeth.
I walk the boys to school and I walk to work. (or work from home)
I continue to make tweaks to our grocery bill and nutrition by purchasing whole foods and less processed foods while planning and prepping ahead in the week so nothing gets wasted.

Next project...

Working on organizing our papers, incoming mail, and office materials. I'll be looking into tips and suggestions that work best for us. Identifying how you find and use things really help. I like having a place for everything and knowing I can go to that place to take something out that I need. My hubby on the other hand needs to see it on display to remember where it is, especially stuff needing immediate attention (i.e. bills). We have started by organizing some stuff into bins and labelling them, but we still have a ways to go. One thing we are good at is keeping the extra papers that come into the house to a minimum. As soon as it comes in, it is designated a home or goes to the recycling bin. Every time I touch a paper that is on the "roam" in our home, I make sure it finds a good spot. I review it and decide if it is needed, and then put it in its place.

We are always looking for ways to improve on our environment, and with less clutter we can enjoy more room to breathe, think, and grow.

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