spring-clean-declutter

3 Reasons to Declutter And Why You Should Start Today

Now that we’ve covered how to get over ourselves and start cleaning, it’s time to pick a place to start. But how do you pick one place when your whole house is on the verge of being featured on Hoarders? The biggest step to decluttering: one thing at a time. You can’t go from 0 to 100 on one day, week,month, or even year.

Take this article for example. I posted it the other day in a rush to “get it out on time” and ended up taking it down for a bit. Why? Because I need to take it one step at a time.

The blog’s not disappearing, and my hope is that you don’t either. So I want to make sure I’m writing the best I can to really help you improve your life.

Here are some major things that can get in the way of our efforts:

We have ATTENTION DEFICIT CLEANING DISORDER.

We start in one room but move stuff to another room… Then start in that room but find something for another room.. before you know it you have a bunch of half cleaned rooms with nothing accomplished.

Want to hear something funny? My boyfriend was proofreading this post for me, and pointed out that I actually trailed off from this section on my own(did I mention I have ADHD?).

I proved my own point, in my own post, without even realizing it. That leads me to my next point:

We get DISTRACTED.

Attention Cleaning Deficit Disorder focuses on internal things: our own thoughts and minds.  This section refers to getting distracted by external things, such as a pile of dishes or dirt on the floor.

As part of my mental health journey (more on that another day) I participated in a program called Dialectical Behavior Therapy. A big part of this program is to learn and use new skills to increase our ability to deal with life.

One of my favorite skills is rooted in staying focused. I’ve found it really helps me declutter my mind. It’s called , “One Mindfully”. This is where you make a conscious effort to focus on only one thing at a time. I do this by concentrating all my energy on that one thing I’m doing, and when my mind starts to wander I pull myself back.

Challenge: don’t think about a pink elephant.


What did you do? Exactly. This is how I pull myself back. I compare my distractions to a pink elephant. When my mind tells me to think about something else, I remember that elephant. That reminds me that I’m getting off track.

You will get to that pink elephant eventually. Just stay focused on the task you’re trying to achieve.

We feel like we’re fighting a losing battle.

The monotony of decluttering never goes away. There will always be dishes, laundry and random things to deal with. For us moms, it’s a fact of life and can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed. This triggers feelings of hopelessness and we get lost. We don’t know how to handle it.

According to Feng Shui, our homes are a mirror of what’s happening inside us. In order to clean house in our minds, we need to first declutter what’s around us.

Picking your poison

A messy house is a big contributor to the vicious cycle of depression and anxiety. We get stuck in our own thoughts and don’t know what to do.

There are many reasons behind picking ONE room (or area) to start with. Not only does it make things easier, it helps you feel more accomplished. You will actually see your progress. This will help break the cycle.

 

The Solution

List it. Sit down and make a list of all the rooms in your house. Rate how they make you feel from 1 to 10, with 1 being happy, 5 being indifferent, and 10 being stressed to the max.

Now narrow it down. Pick 3 rooms that stress you out the most and then rate them again. I suggest looking at the one you want declutter most. If you’re struggling to pick one, write out the pros and cons of each.

If there’s a particular room that overwhelms you, pick one area of that room. Still don’t know where to start? Here are a few examples to get your gears turning.

Common problem areas

I’m guessing one of the rooms you picked is either the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room or entrance way. That’s because these are the most common places clutter accumulates. They’re lived in. We spend a lot of time there.

But we don’t have to clean the whole room right now. Just part of it. This may seem counter-productive, but it’s about breaking our problems down to bite sized pieces.

Now that you have a room picked out, zero in on the area you want to tackle first. Is it the sink? The stove? How about the counters, closets or dressers?

I am personally picking our command center. This is something I found on Pinterest that keeps all your mail and papers in one spot. It’s supposed to be an organized system to prevent clutter. My favorite one is from Jenna Burger Design:

declutter-w-cmd-ctr

There’s a huge catch all bin full of papers and files for me to “get to later”. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m going to declutter it.

For me this means going through all the papers, taking the ones to file down into the basement(a lot of work in itself) and actually filing them.

I picked this area because I really don’t want to do it. Once I tackle it, I’ll feel better and more inclined to move on to the next spot.

Go through this list with your pros and cons and decide which spot you’re going to tackle. We’ll devise a plan to get to it tomorrow.

What area are you going to choose? Why did you pick it?

5 TV Moms With Realistic Traits

Do you ever feel like a failure? I personally struggle with the fact that I am forgetful, clumsy and terrible at organizing things. These are some of the traits I lack, but I still aspire to be the best in my own right.

Running a house is challenging. It’s not helpful when you have Supermom syndrome either. I define Supermom syndrome as striving to be the matriarchal machine with a spotless house, well dressed children and dinner on the table by 5.

While a lot of women have one or two of these traits, no one person can have them all. We always seem to make it work though, despite our shortcomings.There’s just something about taking care of the kids that drives us to succeed.

As you may know, the media tends to portray fantasy personalities who seem to be perfect. It gives us something to strive for. But we aren’t all cut from the same cloth. Some characters are there to remind us that everyone has their faults.

These 5 moms can be strict, overbearing, and downright dirty at times— but they’re more like us than we know. The one thing we all have in common: We just want what’s best for our kids.

Beverly Goldberg- The Goldbergs

http://www.amodelrecommends.com/2016/12/06/jumpers-beverly-goldberg/

Traits: strong, supportive, organized, creative, loving, watchful, involved

Pitfalls: overprotective, “smother”

Beverly Goldberg is the poster child of a mother in the 80’s. She is the matriarch of her family and is constantly pushing her kids for affection. She is very loving and has a huge heart, which is a blessing and a curse.  She has the drive to help her kids succeed but can push the limits too far. Her catchphrase is, “I have failed as a mother,” which points out how we all feel sometimes. Despite her perfectly clean house and fantastic homemade meals, she still sees herself as a failure from time to time.

She has a very creative side and loves to scrapbook, power-walk and bedazzle. While she can push the limits with her involvement in her kids’ lives, she is often there to step in and save them when they really need her the most.

what we can learn

The biggest thing to take away from this “smother” is to take advantage of every moment you get with your kids. They will be grown before you know it. So seize the day and love like there’s no tomorrow.

Jessica Huang- Fresh Off the Boat

https://asianamericanpopculture.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/jessica-huang/

Traits: Determination, leadership, loyalty, traditional, competitive, confident

Pitfalls: Struggles to readjust, perfectionist, aggressive

Jessica Huang is the culture shocked leader of the Huang family. She is very traditional and struggles to fit with the American lifestyle. Her perfectionist streak and high expectations cause her to push her kids to the max. She is aggressive in her endeavors and can be very controlling at times. Although opinionated and stubborn, she does have the ability to think through her actions and make amends afterward while explaining her goal (she just wants whats best for her children).

what we can learn

If there’s one thing every mom wants to know, it’s how to parent the “right” way. This usually involves  an authoritative parenting style. While she can be too much at times, Jessica knows how to steer her kids in the right direction.  So don’t be afraid to take away that extra snack. Put your foot down. Your kids will thank you for it one day.

Katy Otto- American Housewife

http://tvline.com/2016/11/04/american-housewife-full-season-1-order-renewal-the-real-oneals-abc/

Traits: Honest, we can identify with her, smart, innovative, resilient

Pitfalls: Apathetic

Of all the moms on this list, Katy Otto is the one I relate to the most. I come from a humble background and don’t value status as much as comfort. Katy is just that: a creature of habit. Moving into a wealthy, pretentious neighborhood has provided her with many trials and tribulations. She tries to fit in but it’s just not her. This causes waves from time to time. She is snarky, honest and always thinking of ways to get what she wants from her children.  She has a very blunt parenting style and tries to teach her children to be independent.

what we can learn

Embrace who you are! So what if you aren’t the head of the PTA? Your children love you anyways. Sure you may screw up from time to time, but mistakes are how we learn! So take the ups with the downs and keep on moving. You’ll get there eventually.

Rainbow Johnson- Black-ish

http://www.refinery29.com/2016/12/131633/blackish-episode-8-biracial-identity-interracial-dating

Traits: Hopeful, laid back, hard working, passionate about cultural identity , open minded

Pitfalls: short attention span

Rainbow Johnson is a bi-racial anesthesiologist who came from a humble background. She has a lax parenting style and wants her children to grow up with more than she had. She does her best to raise them in a society where color is not a factor. She works toward this goal by pushing her husband to break down racial barriers in the business world. She has a hard time communicating with her children, though, and struggles to be open with them.

what we can learn

To communicate  Communication is not always easy but it’s definitely worth the effort. Rainbow’s inability to effectively do this with her kids shows us that it takes a lot of time and conscious effort  to master this skill. So practice every chance you get!

Rebecca Pearson- This Is Us

http://www.vulture.com/2016/12/this-is-us-safe-progressivism.html

Traits: Independent, insightful, resilient, fighter

Downfalls: indecisive,  judgmental

Rebecca Pearson was introduced to us as a fighter. She started out with a stillborn child out of the triplets she birthed. She  then adopted a black child and faced challenges bonding with him. Her ex husband is an alcoholic and she was often left to tend the house and kids on her own.  As a result of this, they divorced. She has struggled with big issues throughout the series. There are no ways to blow them off. Her biggest fear is watching her children struggle, and as a result holds them to very high standards.

what we can learn

Ambition.  Resilience. The fighting spirit. No matter what happens in life, it is only temporary. What you’re going through? It’s been done before. If Rebecca can do it, so can you. So pick yourself up, brush the dirt off, and keep going.

 

Are there any traits you aspire to have? What’s your biggest challenge as a mother? Drop me a comment and let me know!

 

On Making Difficult Decisions

It amazes me how quickly we can forget about the good things in life that keep us moving. We tend to focus on the negative side of things; what’s lacking and what we *want* instead of what we already have.

Last night I asked my boyfriend, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” To which he replied, “Time travel.” He said that it would be kind of cool to know what the future holds and that it would help us make difficult decisions in the present.

But, we can’t travel through time. We can’t see what’s ahead of us. All we can do is our best right now. But what if you have to make a difficult decision that will change your life forever? What do you want to be when you grow up? Should I take this job or go to school? Money will benefit me now, but what about in the future? Planning is an important part of securing your future. So what are we to do?

There are plenty of ways to make difficult decisions… but that doesn’t mean they are easy. Here are some tips on making it a little easier:

 

Ask around.
Ask trusted supports like coworkers, friends or family what they think of your choices. Sometimes they can see more clearly what we cannot.

Try to remember that you may not like their answers, but they truly care about you and want what is best for you.

 

Weigh the pros and cons.
Make a list of the costs and benefits of each choice. Weigh them by quality, not quantity.
A good way to do this is to divide a piece of paper into 4 squares. In the first square, write Option A . In the same square, write all the pros of going with that choice.
In the square underneath, write all the cons.
Repeat on the other side for option B.

This will allow you to see the pros and cons of each decision next to each other and make it easier to weigh them out.

 

Ask the important questions.

Think about what the decisions entail and how they will affect your life. Be honest with yourself when answering them! Some questions to ask include:

Will this make me happy?

How?

Does it align with my values?

How will this affect my family?

Will they be happy?

Am I just fantasizing about Opt. A/B?
Am I being realistic?
Is it doable?
What will this look like next year if I go with it?
These are all very important questions to ask yourself when making difficult decisions.  Consider the consequences of each action carefully. Take as much time as you can to let your answers to these questions incubate.
Come back to your list in a couple days and see if you have anything to add.

If you’re still having a difficult time it could mean that the change you’re considering isn’t a good idea after all. Our gut instinct tends to kick in with these kinds of things and it’s important to learn to listen to them!