A Visit to the Clutter Clearers’ Peer Circle

group support

I had the honour of visiting the Clutter Clearers’ Peer Circle once again on a recent Friday morning. They came up with a list of questions for me and while I thought long and hard about how to address them I realized I didn’t have the answers to those questions. So, my plan was to pose those questions back to them.

These are the questions with the answers from the group members:

  1.  How can I make my home a sanctuary? 
  • Being in the drivers seat and in charge of my space
  • Safe, supportive and comfortable
  • Having a spot where I sit that is just for me
  • Having a cleared place to sit, sleep, cook, eat, etc.
  • Being with my cat and having more clear space for him to play (pet therapy)

2.  How can I get over the fear of exposure (others seeing into my apartment when the door is open)

  • I don’t care what others think.  I am a self declared hoarder and I just let people know.  I am working on my living situation and am proud of how far I have come.
  • As I get older, I care less about what others think.
  • This group helps me to feel supported and to know I am not alone.
  • We have been meeting now for almost three years and everyone is making great progress.
  • We would like to write to James Hind, Fire Inspector to share with him about our progress and to help him to understand the groups efforts and accomplishments.
  • It is like we are “rebuilding ourselves”.  This problem didn’t just happen overnight and will not be corrected overnight.  It has been an ongoing process.
  • We feel there is a lot of hope in getting better and improving our personal spaces

3.   Why are some things so tough to let go of?  

This was such an interesting question from this group because they know the answer to this one and what I heard from them in their answers is that they have already stepped beyond this question. They talked about the usual reasons that we know like emotional and sentimental attachment, decision making is tough, and having the perfect place to donate to.

Group members talked about the fact that they can appreciate the process more and they know that they cannot go from A to Z but find that they are able to get there quicker. A group participant mentioned that the same thing happens with other setbacks as well. We all have tough days but are able to bounce back so much faster.

A great discussion came up about goals and success and how we think they are like a straight line but really its more of a messy up and down, squiggly kind of line.

They had some great insight to offer like a great rule of thumb

“what goes in the box, stays in the box”

something I may have to put into practice.

Also, a great question and insight from one of the group participants in thinking about letting go of items was not “Why is it hard to let go?” but “Why is it getting easier?” There is a great exposure exercise that I was able to remind people of from the CCSG which is to let something go and then think about how high your anxiety is on a scale of 1 – 10, then think about where it is at 10 minutes later, etc. Most likely by the next day you are not missing or thinking about that item at all.

4.   How to decide what I want to bring into my space? 

This question really brought the group full circle which was so awesome.

“After de-cluttering, I don’t want to bring anything into my space”

“I am feeling protective of my space”.

A few popular quotes mentioned by group members:

“Does it spark joy?”  by Marie Kondo

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” William Morris

“Be more excited about how far you’ve come, than you are discouraged about how far you have to go.” Joyce Meyer

Participants talked about how they are much more aware of their own needs and wants. One participant said that she has a list of things she wants and carefully keeps this in mind when considering what to bring into her space. Also, the thoughts about letting go of things no longer needed are also at the forefront of this decision making. Mistakes will be made and this is not the end of the world!! Group members talked about how much more confident they are about making decisions for themselves.

Participants talked about the challenges when the current lifestyle interferes with the ideal life that they want for themselves.

“Having more clear space means that I can live the way I want and can see my vision and goals for myself and my space.”

How would you answer these questions?  Please comment below:

 

 

Posted in Clutter, De-Clutter Your Life, declutter, Emotional Clutter, goal setting, Inspiration, sacred home, Support Groups | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy New Clearing

I love the idea of clearing out the old energy and making room for the new. But really, how do you do this and what does it really mean for you?  I don’t believe in New Years’ Resolutions.  I am really all about goals and working on yourself to really figure out what your priorities are and what is most important to you in your life.  I have written lists of goals for myself in the past – check out this blog post from May 2013  http://spaceforyou.ca/2013/05/26/50-things-to-do-this-year/

I actually achieved most of these goals.  While I don’t suggest that you need to come up with 25 or even 50, these goals whether small or large can be quite achievable when you become really clear on what you want for yourself.  It can be quite surprising really!!

Having goals for yourself really means honouring yourself and looking at what is important to you. It means taking the time to figure out how you can be the best you, you can be. This is an ongoing process and not one that starts on this date or that date.  It is who you are and who you want to be in this world.

It means looking at the past and honouring what has happened and learning from these life lessons. The past is a great teacher if we are only able to see it this way without huge regrets. If there are huge regrets (and I am sure we all have them) then how can we deal with them and move on.  The past cannot be changed but we do have control about our present and our future.  In fact, I love this thought.

“Clutter is a way of hanging on to the past and a worry about the future”

As I left work on New Years Eve a co-worker gave me this: (author unknown)

* I release all things from the past year that have caused any negative attachment.

* I prepare and welcome new changes, new lessons and new adventures.

* I welcome new opportunities to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

This is what I call “doing the work” and I believe we need to focus and revisit this on a regular basis. I am excited to create a new vision and new goals for myself to create my new 2016.  What are some of the ways you challenge yourself to move forward to be the best you you can be?  Would you like to learn more about clearing out old energy?

Posted in Clutter, De-Clutter Your Life, Emotional Clutter, goal setting, organizing over the holidays, space clearing, vision boards | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Hoarding, Acquiring, Saving, Letting Go, Awareness, Action = Hope

home is where the heart is

Some people might think that there is no hope for someone who has a hoarding problem and I am not about to make light of it at all because as we know it is a very challenging issue. But…..there are things that can help and there is hope that things can get better.

If an individual is motivated to work on their clutter/hoarding issues then this is an awesome first step. Knowing and admitting that this is a problem is huge and it can be scary to say “I need some help” but we all do at times in our lives.  Individual one on one help is great and of course group support is very motivating and group members encourage each other.  Check out the Clearing Clutter Support Group http://spaceforyou.ca/2015/01/22/clearing-clutter-support-groups-work/

These are the areas to focus on:

Acquiring: How much stuff are you actually acquiring on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and where is it all coming from? Keep track of this week to week and you might be surprised at what you bring home. If stuff keeps coming in and nothing is going out this is going to be a problem. This is usually the easiest area to get under control.

Saving – Amount of Clutter: When you look around your home, what do you see? How cluttered are your rooms? So, basically, how much stuff do you have around you? The size of our rooms can really dictate how much stuff we have. Most of the individuals I work with live in small homes.

Ability to Let Go: Are you able to let go of stuff? We all have attachments to our stuff but some things more than others. This can be especially challenging for those who struggle with OCPD .  For more info on this check out this post http://spaceforyou.ca/2015/07/18/how-to-determine-if-your-client-is-just-being-willful-or-struggling-with-ocpd/

Awareness:  Becoming more aware is really the first step in doing this work. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is the preferred treatment and sounds easy but it takes some practice. It’s all about paying attention to your thoughts, emotions and behaviours and then challenging them.

Emotions=Thoughts = Behaviours

Action:  Taking action means actually doing the work, even if it is a little every day. “Small is Huge” is our motto in the group. Challenging yourself to get past the procrastination of dealing with difficult areas. In fact, think about what in your home is causing some difficulty or stress and plan to tackle that. I always like to remind people that this work takes a lot of courage, energy and is challenging work. Always take the time to reward yourself and try to work on having balance in your life.

HOPE:  I always believe that there is hope and that you can make some huge improvements in your life. Never give up. Learn from yesterday, enjoy today and you get to try again tomorrow. Keep at it and eventually you will see start to see how much progress you are making.

I would love to hear from you.  Please comment below and thank you for following.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Clutter, compulsive acquiring, decluttering, Organizing | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

If only it was that easy.

It is so much easier to stay in our comfort zone where we know what to expect and we don’t have to upset the boat.  We really want to avoid uncomfortable feelings that may come up if we try to make some changes in our lives. We might worry about hurting others or not pleasing others and put our own needs on the back burner.

Fear seems to be the buzz word these days.  It’s all about the fear.  Most of us have some real fear about letting go of clutter, both physical and emotional.   What is this fear about? What will it mean for me if I no longer have this thing, this relationship, this activity, this habit, this addiction? Then what? The unknown is very scary. This is Emotional Clutter.

I recently had to end a relationship that wasn’t terrible but I knew deep down that it was not working for me and I was feeling resentful and angry a lot of the time. I went back and forth thinking “this is really not so bad, there are some good things about this relationship” and “maybe, I just need to give it more time and put more effort into it to make it work”. I mentioned to one of my friends that it was good, not great and I really want great or it’s not good enough. She has been single for a long time and she said “I would take good over great right now if I could in my life”   So, again, I was second guessing myself about this decision and the doubts kept creeping in. I don’t love the idea of being single and there is the worry that I may be single forever, but if that is the case I am okay with that. In the end, I knew I had to make this change in my life and even though it was difficult I am now single once again but much happier. Yay!!

Anyway, back to letting go of other things…..Emotional Clutter…..anything that gets in the way of the enjoyment of your life or living your life to the fullest.  This could be anything that takes up your time and energy and leaves you feeling resentful and drained. Things like unhealthy relationships, bad habits, old patterns of behaviours that no longer serve and activities that are not nourishing to your soul. It is challenging to change these behaviours especially if they have been going on for a long time.

Getting rid of physical clutter will help to shift emotional clutter. If you are feeling particularly stuck, working on the emotional clutter is likely the best place to start. Clearing one, the other follows.

Clutter is a Personal Journey

So, how do we get past that fear and how can we work on our own emotional clutter?

Know Yourself: This is where focusing on priorities and goals, and following your dreams can be so helpful and enlightening because it helps you to pave the way for what you want for yourself and for your life. Journaling, Visioning, Reading and Sharing with others are great tools that you can use to help with this.

Challenge Yourself: It may not be as difficult as you think it will be. Usually the fear is worse than actually getting started. Start with small changes and see what happens. Pay attention to the emotions that come up. “Small is huge” is our motto in the Clearing Clutter Support Group.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: I love this expression and I know there is a book with the same name that I have read many years ago. I tell my clients who have panic or anxiety attacks that (as long as they are in a safe place) when they feel an attack coming on and they know what it is they can try thinking “bring it on, give me your best shot” and going with it instead of trying to make it go away. If you can allow the feelings, emotions and pain and go through them rather than avoid this will lesson the power that they have over you. Trying to avoid the pain can make it worse.

“What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size? Carl Gustav Jung

What are some of the benefits that you can think of for dealing with Emotional Clutter?

Please comment below and share this with others who would find this helpful.  Thanks for following along.

 

Posted in Emotional Clutter, goal setting, SMART Goals, vision boards | 16 Comments

How to Determine if Your Client is Just Being Willful or Struggling with OCPD

clutter Is there a difference between OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and OCPD Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder? This was originally posted on April 25, 2015 at http://smarthappyorganized.com/tidy-and-messy-at-the-same-time-a-look-at-ocpd-and-hoarding/

There can be overlapping symptoms at times so it can be very confusing. It was once thought that OCD was the determining factor in “Hoarding Disorder” but as we know now it is much more complex than that. Individuals often have a number of vulnerability factors that have impacted on their struggles with clutter and hoarding.   I work with a client who was diagnosed years ago through the hospital with OCD. She has issues with hoarding which she is fully aware of but she actually has no OCD symptoms and the classic symptoms of OCPD.

I wouldn’t really describe myself as an expert in this field but usually I can see when someone who has challenges with their stuff also may struggle with OCPD.  Perfectionism and the inability to let go of anything are usually the first clues.  When we think about the issue of perfectionism which is something that comes up a lot, someone with OCPD is so challenged by this that they become paralyzed and unable to move forward.   Throwing out a small piece of paper is a huge success for this person.

An OCPD person may have lots of clutter but it is usually all organized neatly in see through bins with labels, in alphabetical order and possibly stacked to the ceiling. There may even be a list somewhere of what is in those boxes or bins. They probably have empty drawers and filing cabinets as they like everything to be in view.

They have certain rules and regulations about the order of things and how things should be in the world. When this doesn’t quite go their way, they may experience a lot of anxiety and turmoil. Having control is very important for someone who suffers with OCPD.  They really can get so caught up in all of the small details that they easily lose sight of the main thing they were initially involved in.  They often have difficulty with others who don’t agree with them or challenge their thought process.

Here is an example from a male who attended the Clearing Clutter Support Group:

Questions to answer to enable possessing something:

Is there unused space to keep this? Will this improve my wellbeing if I have it?

Is there a present need for this proven by recent experience and rational analysis?

Is my intent for this backed up by a firm commitment to follow through with application?

Do I need this specific article to experiment to discover whether something like this would work?

Could I find a customer to buy this at a price greater than the value I have invested in it?

Is this something of such great rarity as to be unavailable through ordinary channels?

Is this valuable enough to justify keeping it in storage for future use?

Do I value this enough to take it with me when moving to another residence?

As you can see, the thought process can be so elaborate that it can be debilitating in making a decision.  Decision making is extremely difficult for these individuals from what to wear to what to order in a restaurant. choosing

Everything is special and needs a special place. Everything is valuable. I remember once saying to a client “what about the things you don’t love”. She said, “pardon”, so I repeated myself and she said “but, I love everything”. I believe that this is common among those who struggle with these challenging issues.

As a Professional Organizer it is important to be aware that someone may be struggling with these issues of control and perfectionism and that they are not just being willful. So, how can we work with these individuals?

It seems that there are quite a lot of resources about this disorder, support for people who love someone with this disorder but not really a lot of easy answers for those who are suffering.   If the person has insight into their own issues support groups can help as well as individual therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy would be recommended as they are the preferred therapies for help for hoarders.

Motivational interviewing may help for professionals working with clients. Some Recommended Reading and Resources:

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Jeannette Dewyze and Allan Mallinger

When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism by Martin Antony and Richard Swinson

http://www.wikihow.com/Recognize-Obsessive-Compulsive-Personality-Disorder – this is an awesome site with really accurate info about OCPD

http://www.lendingtheway.com/tightrope/OCPD2.pdf – this is quite long but interesting reading on this issue

http://www.lindasdailylivingskills.com/2012/01/connection-between-hoarding-and-ocpd.html

http://www.outofthefog.net/Disorders/OCPD.html – great website with links to resources

http://outofthefog.net/forum/ – there are some support forums online

Do you know of other resources that would be helpful? Please share below and thanks so much for following along.

Posted in Clutter, compulsive acquiring, Emotional Clutter, hoarding, Hoarding Crisis, mental health | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Who Defines How We Live Our Lives?

I recently met a very interesting Jamaican man at a festival I was attending out of town with some friends.  The festival was at the home of friends and in their backyard.  He came over from his house because he heard the music.  We ended up hanging out because for some reason I ended up standing with him on my own.  I asked him if he wanted to sit down and found him a chair.  I also shared my wine with him.

He was a total peace loving gentleman and happy and grateful for his life.  He said he has had seven children (he is 69 years old) and they are all successful except for one who he said has been in and out of jail.   He has contact with all of his children, said that they visit him and he didn’t know how many grandchildren he has.  He has lived in his current home for about 10 years and has lived in Toronto, London and is now living in a house in this small town west of London.  He was married and lost his partner two years ago.

He said he lives simply, spends most of his time outdoors, lives off the earth, heats his home with wood and has everything he needs.  He asked me if I liked animals.  I said, “yes, I have a cat”.  He laughed and said “well that’s a start”.  He said he has over 30 cats.   So, of course, I ask him a few questions about this and he says that people drop cats off at his place, they all stay outdoors, there is a barn and he does feed them.  He does not have any mice lol.  He also has chickens and ducks that he says he gives away and a family of peacocks living on his property.

He recently got a cell phone probably at the insistence of his children but said he didn’t know how to work it and was having difficulty with texting.  I asked him if he was on facebook and he said “what is the facebook” lol.   He was so charming and made me laugh a lot.  He invited me to come and see his place in the morning which he referred to as “the ghetto”.

When I arrived at his home which is on the edge of this small town, there was a friend on his roof helping with some re-shingling which was a good thing as it looked like this house was slowly falling apart.  It looked like a huge job, there was a big pile of shingles on the ground and the eavestroughs were falling off or off already.

I felt so honoured to have a tour of his property and home and yes, he wanted me to see the inside of his home which I believe he is proud of.   I walked in and he said “don’t worry, you are safe, there are no animals in here.”  I guess I was obviously being a little cautious.  His place was like WOW, umm, it seemed that there was a lot of nature in there ie: wood for his two wood stoves and branches across the ceiling and a little bit of OMG really!!  There seemed to be a lot of nature from the outside in there.  Not too much could really shock me but his home was slowly falling apart.  His stove was completely covered in stuff and he said he couldn’t cook but does cook for himself?  He had mentioned that on Saturday he had been fasting as it was the Sabbath.

There were no “Goat Trails” but there was a lot of stuff that was old, broken and basically not worth anything.  I gently asked him some questions about his stuff and his ability to take it away or get someone to help him.  He said he knew it was a mess but he was okay with how it was. He said, “why, no, I don’t want to do that”.  He said he was too lazy but of course I know this isn’t the case at all.

I believe he said he has some income from a work pension, will not apply to CPP because he says he doesn’t need it and I didn’t get the sense that he spends any money.  He did have a van in the driveway which he said was his.   He also showed me around his yard and property.  He has some grape vines growing and he hopes he can give them away to someone who would want to make some wine.   I took a couple of pictures but I didn’t really feel comfortable taking them (although I don’t think he would have minded that much)  – I did ask him if maybe he would like someone to come and do a story on him sometime?  He was undecided but I think he has a great story to tell.

Here are a couple of pics from his place:  The first one is actually a female peacock walking with her little one following behind and the second one is a family of ducks who live on his property.  This was once a beautiful farmland.

FullSizeRender peacock FullSizeRender ducks

This story really reminds me of this controversial article which I absolutely love because I think it totally shows how the creative mind of someone who loves their stuff works.

http://nytimes.com/2015/05/31/style/lets-celebrate-the-art-of-clutter.html

Do you have a story of someone who chooses to live differently? Please comment below:

 

Posted in De-Clutter Your Life, Emotional Clutter, hoarding, Organizing, sacred home | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

10 Practical Strategies for De-Cluttering Your Life and Home

declutter your life pic

I regularly do a talk called De-Clutter Your Life at a local Family Counselling Centre in London, Ontario.  At one time I put together a list of strategies to help people to De-Clutter Their Lives (in general) so speaking to a wide range of audience members.   I never really know who will come out to this talk and I think that the topic of De-Clutter Your Life can appeal to anyone and all of us who can relate to having some clutter in our lives whether it is physical or emotional.

I have been invited to attend a small women’s group tomorrow (mostly Spanish speaking women) by my co-worker who is Spanish and can interpret when we run into trouble.  I attended another (Spanish speaking) group last week and I have to say most of the women do not have serious clutter issues.  They can relate to having clutter and have some great tips but they speak very warmly about their homes and how they keep them.  They place a lot of value on cleaning and cooking and keeping their homes nice.

So,  tomorrow I will offer this second group some questions to get the conversation going:

1. What are some of the challenges that you have with clutter?

2. Why do you think you have physical clutter/emotional clutter?

3. What are the pros/cons of making some changes?

4. What are some ways that help you to stay motivated?

5. What are your tips for de-cluttering?

6. What is one thing that you will do differently after today?

and I will hand this out as well 🙂  I hope it goes well.

Tips for De-cluttering your Life

  1. Spend some time alone everyday and think about what is important in your life. Set priorities and then break these down into goals/tasks that are doable for the month, week, day.  Focus on what is most important to you.
  2. Don’t bring in the mail. Flyers and junk mail can be put right into the recycling bin.  Get rid of everything except for the items that you need to take Action or To File.
  3. Always have a ready for donation box or bag. As you come across things you don’t love or don’t use they can go directly into the box for donation.  This can become a great habit.  Also, a good idea to get these out to the car or taken directly to the charity of your choice as soon as possible.
  4. Don’t buy it!! Become aware of your shopping and acquiring habits. A lot of us tend to go shopping as a pastime and end up purchasing items that are not needed and end up not being used, shoved in the closet/drawer, tags still on, etc.  If you do not need or love it don’t buy it!!
  5. Only watch good tv or read good books!!  Cancel newspaper or magazine subscriptions unless you love them and they enhance your life.  If not, they are just costing you money and taking up space.  Think about making a list of what you don’t want and/or are no longer willing to put up with.  Your time is valuable.  Use it wisely!!
  6. Streamline your social networks and/or email, etc. You can opt out of emails that you are receiving in your inbox that you don’t have an interest in or do not seem to make time for.
  7. Say NO to things that matter less. Focus on the priorities in your life and set boundaries with others.  Think about whether it is important to you and then you can make a choice about taking it on or not.  Become more clear about what you are willing to allow in your life.  State your limits.
  8. Downsize Your Closet – Limit Your Hangers!! They say that 80% of the time we wear the same 20% of our clothing.  Keep the clothes that you love and that fit well.  Donate or discard everything else.   Let others enjoy what you are not using.
  9. Decide to have less stuff!! The less stuff you have, the easier it is to get organized and stay organized.  Buy less.  Get rid of more.  Less stuff means less clutter which means more clarity in your life.
  10. Think about how you can “feng shui” your home – open windows, burn candles or incense, move the furniture around, get the energy moving…..get rid of the clutter and make space for something new.

I hope the group will go well and they will be able to implement some of these tips.  What do you think?  Do you think these tips are good for the general population?  Do you have some amazing tips you would add?  I would love to hear from you.

 

 

Posted in Clutter, compulsive acquiring, De-Clutter Your Life, decluttering, Emotional Clutter, goal setting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

What is the Vision You Would Like To Create For Your Home and Your Life?

visionWhat is the vision you have for your home?  For your Life?  I think it is hard to create the vision you want for your home when you are unsure about what you want for your life.

What is the fantasy you have in your mind for your space? For your life?

What does your ideal space look like?

If you could have any kind of home anywhere in the world what would that look like?  Oooh!! That’s a fun question………………………….???

These are some really tough questions and I often hear from my clients that they really just don’t know what they want.

However, they are great questions to focus on and ask yourself to help you to get a sense of what you want for yourself.  Try to journal on some of these questions or meditate on them.

How do you feel when you come home to your own space at the end of the day and how would you like to feel?    You might want to feel relaxed, calm, centered, peaceful, quiet and grounded.  Or you just want to spend time with your family and children, grandchildren, friends and pets and this is how you unwind.   Home can also be a place where you want to feel re-newed, re-freshed and re-energized in order to be able to go back out there into that big bad world again the next day.

Here is a visualization that I have used often when doing a talk in the community.  It can be really positive as it helps you to look at your space with new eyes, but it can also can bring up some uncomfortable emotions and feelings.  So beware!!  Check it out here 🙂

http://spaceforyou.ca/2013/03/03/imagine-your-ideal-living-space/

Do you find that after looking at your space you are thinking “well, I will deal with that later” or “I would just rather not think about that and will avoid/ignore that area”?  Or, maybe, you find yourself looking at certain areas and trying to think about how you feel and think “meh” or “whatever”?   These are some really good cues for you to think about and working on these areas might be really helpful in getting some energy moving and helping you to get unstuck .

I recently realized that I had forgotten about some of my goals and had gotten lazy or maybe just gave in to doing some things in a certain way.  One of those goals had to do with moving my office downstairs.  More on this transformation here:

http://spaceforyou.ca/2015/05/27/the-walls-came-tumbling-down-part-1/

I moved my office downstairs but did not work down there.  Instead, I was working on my living room sofa (papers everywhere on my big round table) and/or I was taking it into my bedroom and working on my bed.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my bedroom especially with the window open,  but it is bad for my posture, as well as, I have heard that sleeping with any electronics close by is really not a good idea and doesn’t add to a good nights sleep.  My basement is somewhat dark (good excuse) and I was also concerned about my cat who follows me around and stares at me with adoration (another good excuse, I thought) for not being down ther.   Well, I added a light bulb and my cat has adjusted just fine.

my cat I know she looks so sad doesn’t she. lol

Anyway, I have decided to get back to working on some personal goals for myself and this process has really helped me to think about this.  I find that sometimes a big goal can look pretty tiny on a list of many goals so it is always good to look at whether the goal is a bigger “long term goal” or a quick “I can do this, this weekend” goal.  Having some goals can really help us to think about what we want for our space and our life.

What do you envision for your space and your life?

Posted in Clutter, De-Clutter Your Life, families, goal setting, Organizing, sacred home, SMART Goals, space clearing | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

The Walls Came Down – Part 2

walls downWhat is the vision you would like to create for your home?

I needed to love my home again and to feel like I am the queen of my castle and in charge of my space and my surroundings.   Taking walls down and moving furniture around really means that you get to see what you have and what you really do not need.  The above picture shows where the walls came down and then the work really began.

Taking down the walls has certainly brightened up my mornings as we face the east so we get the morning sun and it makes a huge difference.  My house was so dark before.   Now that it is totally open concept you can basically see everywhere.  The dining room which is opposite to the living room window gets the afternoon sun which is also quite nice.

Here are some before and after pictures of the living area:

reno 7reno 6These two walls are now gone.

bright living room Living room after 2I know, its a big change, right!!  The walls are actually a green colour.  These pictures are looking from the dining room and you can see a folding screen in the far right corner which is in front of the hallway which goes to the washroom and two bedrooms.  It’s a small house really.   I need to find a wow picture for above the sofa.

I recently had a roommate who was living mostly in the basement and she moved out back in the fall.  This has allowed me to move things around and to create more of the space I want in my home.  I moved the television downstairs as I don’t watch it much anyway and wanted the living room to be more of an area where friends could gather and be comfortable.  I was able to bring up this awesome round table I had downstairs to help create the circle I wanted in my living room.   See above.  I really love this. My office was in the second bedroom on the main floor so I moved it downstairs.  As I have been working on this post I am realizing I have not been following through on some of my plans.   While my office is downstairs my laptop seems to follow me around upstairs.  I need to work on this and have better balance between working, reading emails, following up and then relaxing by checking facebook,etc.  So, the computer is now in the office and I am going limit my work to being in this space.  You are all my witness.  It is hard to change bad habits but hey, I said I love change.

I am working on making the second bedroom into a kid friendly space for my two grandchildren.   I really want a space for them to be able to come and stay overnight sometime soon. My kitchen hasn’t really changed much other than the paint colour, new ceramic tile floor and adding the island makes it feel a little more exotic.  When I was thinking about selling the Real Estate agent said that the kitchen was a drawback as it is really a galley kitchen, no dishwasher and can be crowded with two people in there cooking.

Here are the before and after pictures:

kitchen beforeKitchen before – you can see the old kitchen floor in the first photo above.  It was an old linoleum floor which never looked clean.

kitchen after 1kitchen afterKitchen after.

I really wanted my kitchen to be white and light but when Paul was painting it, I was a little worried it was too white.  Paul said he would paint it again if I wanted but instead we (royal we) added a grey trim which really often looks blue and gives it a country feel which I love.

So, do I love my house now?  Well, yes, I do, this is where I live, my refuge, my safe space to come home to and I feel very fortunate to be able to do that.  I feel that no matter where I live I can always make a house a home.   Do I want to move?  Yes, someday, I do want to move but for now I am happy here.

I hope this post has inspired you to create a vision for your home.  I would love to hear from you.  Please add your comments below.

 

Posted in downsize, goal setting, Inspiration, Re-organize, space clearing | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

The Walls Came Tumbling Down – Part 1

And now for something completely different….. I know this is not my usual blog post style but as promised to some of my friends, I wanted to blog about the process of making some changes in my home and my life.

I love change!!  I know a lot of people who don’t like change but I really do.  I feel very stuck if things are not moving forward in my life.   Sometimes, I just get bored and I want something new to happen.

Back in February of 2014 I started thinking about making some changes.  I wanted to move  to the Old East Village which is an up and coming trendy neighbourhood of older homes with some cool new businesses popping up.  I used to live in this neighbourhood and while we did refer to it as the “hood” it is a very diverse and wonderful neighbourhood and community.

I found a house I liked but my dreams were quickly dashed once my family members checked it out.  They thought it wasn’t a good move for me and were worried that I was going to make a mistake.  I know, I am an adult here and they do not pay my bills but my family is always very concerned about my wellbeing!!  Arghh!!   Definitely a bittersweet moment.   They instead encouraged me to make some changes in my home and to revisit the idea of taking down a couple of walls to open things up.   Here is the video of when we got started.

If this didn’t work please check out my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/kim.tremblay.944 posted it on May 5,2015.

Anyway, no easy task.  So, yes, the walls came down and then what a mess.  After the walls came down of course I needed to replace the kitchen floor, had to get many of the walls patched and dry walled, had to repair the floor where the walls came down and of course had to have the whole place re painted (thank you to my partner who loves to paint).   So yes, I was living in clutter for quite awhile.  Yes, unfinished projects are clutter and I did allow it to be like that for quite a period of time.  It’s funny how it all became invisible after awhile.  Eventually, I had to act and get things moving to get it finished or it wasn’t going to happen but of course I had to consider the cost of everything and it is not cheap to take walls down and then do the renos.

Here are a couple of the before pictures:

IMG_0241This was the dining room looking into the hallway towards the bedrooms. This wall and doorway are gone but I still have the funky 70ish hippy curtain.

reno twoThis is the rest of the wall which was on the inside of the living room space.  The doorway which is to the left goes into the kitchen.  This is the wall in the video (on the other side of the wall) that I was knocking down.  I also had a high table (you can see the edge of it here and it had 8 chairs) which I quite loved but it didn’t go well with the space especially once the wall was down, it was way too big.  I sold it to the young man who put in my new kitchen floor which helped to pay for that.  My new dining room table is one that my brother in law found in the garbage and picked it up for a family gathering in their backyard.  It was perfect for my space and it is sturdy (its old and they made things way better in the old days lol)

Here it is here dining room

I decided to buy myself an island to put in between the kitchen and living room for added space.   And let me tell you….again my family insisted on “helping” – do you really want this, its too much money, let’s look around, yeah you get the drift – oh my!  I really hope they don’t read this. lol!!  My family means well but really, I know what to do with my life.   I love my island.  It’s really my favourite part.   Here is a picture of it looking out the front door and then looking at it from the front door.  I love it!!  Its really a great space to have a visit with friends with some hors d’oevres and wine or just a great dinner with my sweetie.

Bar 1Bar 2

So, I continue to work on my home, de-cluttering and changing up my space which keeps me in my happy place.

Please stay tuned for part 2 which is about my kitchen and living room space and I bet you are wondering if I am loving my home and if I still would like to move?  What do you think?  Would you take down some walls to make a change in your life?

 

 

Posted in De-Clutter Your Life, downsize, families, goal setting, Inspiration, sacred home | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments