Hello Fall – A Time for Balance and Harmony

There is a feeling of change in the air which means that Fall must be just around the corner.  This is a great time to look at how well we are caring for ourselves and to look at the balance and harmony in our lives.  If I do not have good balance in my life I feel cranky and there is no harmony.  It feels like something is missing or that something just isn’t quite right.

Our strengths rely on this balance.  Balance and harmony create a stability for us.  We wouldn’t want to be decluttering our homes all of the time. Ideally we need to have breaks and take the time to process emotions. Anything we are doing in excess is never a good thing.

Thinking about any areas that are out of balance, and working on them one step at a time, things will start to feel better. This will help with a feeling of harmony as well. It is a process.

An interesting quote:

“Getting in balance is not so much about adopting new strategies to change your behaviours, as it is about realigning yourself in all of your thoughts so as to create a balance between what you desire and how you conduct your life on a daily basis.” Wayne Dyer

We need Balance.  We need to look at all of the areas of our lives and think about what might be out of balance.  This helps us to figure out what we want to work on in our life. We will have more balance and harmony, be more productive, creative, helpful to others and able to declutter our own homes.

These are the areas that are basic to our lives.  Think of these as foundational practices for taking care of you.

  1. Spiritual Practice/Self Care
  2. Home/Relationships
  3. Body/Physical Health
  4. Emotions/Mental Health
  5. Money/Work/Volunteer
  6. Nature/Earth/Leisure
  7. ……………………………..

Check out this cube and perhaps draw one for yourself or if you have a small box that will work too.

What are the foundations for your life, your relationships, your home, your health and your work?

What kind of supports would help you in your life?  Do you need/want more honest friendships, a satisfying job, better health, etc…………..

What can I focus on in my life right now to create more stability in my life?  What areas are out of balance?

Would you like some help with working on any of these areas? Shoot me an email or you can book a call with me here. Questions ??? Send me an email at kimtremblay@sympatico.ca

Happy Decluttering!

Posted in Organizing | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

How to Help People Declutter Who Have Symptoms of Trauma

As most of you know, I worked in mental health for many years working with vulnerable people (mostly women) but I also worked with men in the early years.  When I think of the individuals I worked with, most of the women who came through the doors at My Sisters’ Place have had some kind of trauma in their life.  We worked with a Relational Model and within a Trauma and Violence Informed Approach with the women there.  

What this actually means is that we worked “with” the women and we took the lead from them. Who knows best about what they need than the person using the service.  We made sure that we had opportunities for the women to have a say, to tell us what they wanted and what they needed, to help them feel that this was their life and to empower them to see their own personal strengths.  

It is likely that most individuals who struggle with Clutter/Chronic Disorganization also have had a history of trauma and/or violence in their past.  

Vulnerability factors that can put people at more risk

  • Family history of hoarding (mother, father, grandmother, etc.) They likely have suffered from their own history of trauma
  • History of mental illness in the family (depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, bi-polar, etc.)
  • Parental values and behaviour (ie: values about waste, obsessively neat, compulsive acquiring/saving, hand me downs, control over decisions (perfectionism), sentimentality. 
  • Physical obstacles (time, space, health, others living in the home) 
  • Traumatic events (loss of loved one, assaults and violence, moving, deprivation, divorce, birth of a child) 
  • Other……..Loss of belongings, eviction, hospitalization, loss of contact with family members

“After a traumatic event a person can either try to cope using negative methods or learn to cope successfully and enhance their ability to cope in the future”

It can really depend on a person’s resiliency factors, supportive friends and family, community supports, personal resources like basic needs met, safe housing, etc.

Some of the symptoms that may show up are: 

  • difficulty thinking clearly – can be all over the place, not focused
  • feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and depression
  • physical and emotional clutter starts building up 
  • lots of internal/intrusive thoughts and constant ruminating
  • emotional flooding – big feelings come out of nowhere
  • no feelings at all and just being shut down (emotionally numb)
  • avoidance tendencies and wanting to isolate 
  • triggers come up as they work on their stuff
  • thoughts of self harm (please consult a registered therapist or mental health worker if needed)

Some people will create a little nest around themselves as this can feel like their safe space.  No one can hurt them here and it can feel like a way of keeping people (or relationships) out.  Compulsive shopping, acquiring and difficulty discarding can become a way of coping with those uncomfortable emotions. Other addictive behaviours like drugs, alcohol, food can be a way that people cope and can really just make symptoms worse.  Moving stuff around, looking at their belongings, can be another way that people can distract themselves from the pain they are thinking and feeling

How can we as Professional Organizers help?

  • Understanding the emotional, physical and psychological effects and responses that an individual might have is so important as you do this work 
  • Get to know your client looking for commonalities.  
  • Focus on your clients strengths and what they are doing well
  • Ask your client what they need to feel safe and calm. Help them come up with a list if needed “What can I do when I feel overwhelmed, when it’s all too much, etc. _______________ walking, dancing, moving my body, shake off the emotions, listen to music, grounding, writing, art work, praying, etc. 
  • Help your client to create safety and comfort in their living space
  • Grounding exercises can be helpful if your client cannot settle themselves
  • As you work with your client they may need to take breaks – shorter sessions also may be beneficial
  • Go slow, start small and focussed, then work on the next right thing 
  • Honour all feelings as you go through this process – the uncomfortable feelings go away as we work through them 
  • Doing what you say you are going to do and following through will help you to gain their trust. 
  • Advocate for your client if needed.  

As Professional Organizers we need to be compassionate, non judgemental, understanding, patient, take the clients lead, and work with the client wherever they are at offering gentle help as needed.   

Some Resources: 

What is PTSD and Options for Treatment

Trauma Informed Practice Guide

Grounding Exercises

Posted in chronic disorganization, Emotional Clutter, mental health, Organizing, support | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

How to let go of sentimental items?

I get asked this question often. How do I let go of sentimental items and why is this so hard for me? It can feel like there really is no easy answer.  We have strong attachments to our stuff whether they bring up memories of happier times or maybe even some not so happy times.

I might ask myself “what are the reasons behind keeping the items” “Why am I keeping them”

Quite awhile back I went through some old photos from my wedding album.  I am no longer with this person and our marriage ended in 2007. While that was really a happy time, I don’t need those photos around to remind me. They have nothing to do with my life now and who I am today.  I kept a few of the photos, took some of the family pics over to my parents home for everyone to look at and got rid of the rest of them. The lovely wedding album that I made went to the donation centre.   

Sometimes we just know when it is the right time to let go!

The good news though is that you never “have” to let go of anything that you don’t want to. You get to choose what to keep and what to let go of. It only becomes a problem when you have too much, its interfering with your quality of life, you are not respecting the items (because they are everywhere) or things are falling over because there is just no room to store it all.  

Letting go is a process that takes time.  We need to honour and feel our emotions.  Our items often feel like they are attached to a memory of a person or a specific time in our lives. Our memories are really inside of us. This can be hard work and sometimes we need to make difficult decisions. Remember to be kind and gentle on ourselves.

Other sentimental items that might be hard to let go of are gifts that have been given to us by well meaning friends or family, baby clothes and other things that were well used by our children when they were little, books that are like old friends and papers that may have been associated with work that you once did.  The list goes on……… I have trouble letting go of greeting cards, some art supplies, photos (which are hard to look at especially when they were of happier times), old journals and year books – oh my! I am sure there is more. Hey, it is a process that I am working on!

Some helpful ideas……

  • Take a picture of the item to remember it.  A group member from the Closed Facebook Group   talked about a car that was once gifted to her.  She said the car is now gone but she has a picture of it and she treasures the memory of the car and the person who gifted this to her. 
  • Any collectors out there? Is it a collection or is it clutter?  Sometimes having so much of one thing can look like nothing is important or precious.  Keep the best of the best and let go of the rest.  The ones you keep can represent all the others.
  • Find closure by using the item one last time like I did with my Grandma’s Tea Set.
  • Let go of the things that you are keeping out of a feeling of guilt or responsibility. You are not the keeper of things. It’s okay to let go of these items that you truly are not enjoying or do not love.

Let’s give ourselves permission to let go of the things that are truly not bringing value to our lives and really are just taking up valuable space.

Need more help? Lets talk

Posted in sentimental items | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

How a clean space can lead to a clear mind?

As I work on decluttering and downsizing my home I am noticing how having less stuff means so much more open space.  My home is looking so much bigger.  Who knew? Right? I feel like I have so much more clarity around what I want for myself and my partner.  

What are you currently spending your time on?

If you are constantly moving things around, trying to find things that you need, basically putting out fires, feeling like things are chaotic and you cannot seem to get yourself out of this spiralling rabbit hole, this blog post is for you.  Are you are always looking for the next best thing, shopping (retail therapy is a thing) and hoping that this will be the thing that makes you happy, feel better or is the solution to the mess?

Working on decluttering, organizing, sorting and downsizing will help you to have more space and clarity because you will be able to focus on what truly matters to you.  What do you really want to be doing with your time?  What are your passions?  Your future goals?  

Some examples could be to work on those hobbies or crafts that you started or have bought supplies for.  Would you like to do more writing (like me) or reading (also like me), learning something new, finishing that course you purchased or signed up for, focus on your health or cooking healthier meals? Sometimes our clutter can keep us from actualizing our goals.  It keeps us distracted and could be a subconscious excuse for not working on what we really want.  

Cleaning up our physical space means that we have more time to think and contemplate on our mental state which helps us to be more in touch with our intuition and our true selves.  

Take some time to do a little journaling exercise.

I want………

I want……..

I want……..

Write this as many times as you need to. You might be surprised by what comes up.

There are so many benefits of decluttering.  

  • I know what I have and where to find things when I need them
  • I am not spending money on buying duplicates 
  • I have less stress and anxiety 
  • less to take care of means that I have more space to relax and work on my own goals 
  • I have more time to work on the things I say or think about doing
  • I am able to get around my home without having to step over things or bump into things
  • I can work on my actual goals, like doing some art work, crafts or health goals, writing or reading, exercising – the possibilities are endless.  
  • my mind feels more clear and I know what I want
  • increased productivity, reduced stress, improved mental health, and a more enjoyable living or working space
  • and so much more!

Would you like to have more guidance as you work towards your goals? I would love to work with you. I work with you virtually over a number of weeks which are always flexible and I will help you to assess your space, come up with a plan of action, offer you guidance and support and encourage you to stay committed to the process. Just reply to this email and we can make a plan to have a coffee chat (free of course)

Posted in downsizing, Emotional Clutter, goal setting, Inspiration | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Are You Ready To Open Pandora’s Box?

Do you have boxes that haven’t been opened in you can’t remember how long?  Have you forgotten what is in them?  

You open up the box and realize that it is full of mementos from a loved one who has passed away.  Right away you feel like you just want to close up the box and shove it back under the stairs or wherever you can tuck it away so that you don’t have to think about it. 

In general, I believe we want to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that we imagine will come up. We just push them away by keeping so busy that we never have to even think about it.

Yes, this was me! My daughter passed away at age 17 due to complicated medical issues and I went back to work right away and just pushed my sadness away, locked away all of those years and precious memories and tried to just continue on with my life.  I felt numb a lot of the time and really had this cloak of protection around me. I really focused on other peoples struggles and crisis and thought I was okay. The sadness continued to pop up though often when I was with my family and friends or coworkers who talked about their beautiful children and the aspirations they had for them. I realize that it wasn’t their fault but I often felt like there was something wrong with me. I didn’t measure up in some ways and just stayed quiet most of the time just keeping this pain and sadness to myself. 

Yes, I have been able to open that box. One of the things that has helped me the most was writing a chapter in a multi authored book called Mystics Revealed Unconventional Success Stories from Extraordinary Leaders. My chapter is called “Seasons of Love, Loss and Personal Power”.   Here is the link to purchase. It’s only $1.36 on Kindle in Canada.

What is holding you back from opening that box?  What would your loved one think about your struggle?  I think there is a common feeling that we cannot let go of anything that belonged to our loved ones because in some way we would be dishonouring their memory.  What do you think they would say if they knew you were feeling like this? Maybe they would say that they would like it if other people could enjoy those things instead of them sitting stagnant in a box under the staircase. They wouldn’t want you to ever forget them and we know we never would even if we didn’t have that box of mementos in our possession.

How do we honour the memories of our loved ones who have passed away? You will know when you are ready.  We can honour our memories of our loved ones with photos, letters or other things that we can keep close to our hearts. Having support while you do this work can be so helpful. It might mean having someone by your side as you go through each item, taking your time to look at everything, recalling memories and talking to someone you trust as you uncover them. You could do some journalling, writing down some of the stories or just having a cry as you do this work. My daughter and I had letters that we wrote back and forth to each other. When I read them after many years, I was able to look back and see things in a different light. Our memories are really in our hearts and no one can take that away.

Here is some more information on how I was able to let go…..

Do you need some help letting go of items that belonged to your loved one? I thoroughly understand how hard this can be. Reach out to me and we can have a chat. Here is a link to schedule a call or just send me an email at kimtremblay@sympatico.ca and we can make a plan.

Happy Decluttering!

Posted in Emotional Clutter, families, Organizing | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

Self Care Tips That Will Help with Emotional Clutter

This was a list of self care items (just points) that I had when I was working in mental health. I gave it to all of my clients and they loved it. Each point has been elaborated on and this is what I came up with. (I do not know who the author is of the original list)

My Self Care Tips

  1. If it feels wrong, don’t do it
    Sounds easy, but sometimes in that moment we might think “oh well, who cares, who am I hurting, etc….” but if we can just stop and take a breath before jumping in, we can make a more informed choice and a decision that feels right.
  2. Say exactly what you mean and what you need
    This has to do with having clear communication, and it also has to do with knowing what you want and need and being able to articulate this. This takes practice and awareness.
  3. Don’t be a people pleaser
    I definitely can relate to this. I want people to like me and I also want to belong. I have realized though that I need to be true to myself and honour my own feelings and wishes.
  4. Trust your instincts
    With practice this does become easier. Learn to trust yourself. Slowing down, noticing the moment, meditating, journaling, yoga, walking, running, exercising, thinking…..Breathing!!! Taking time away from your phone.
  5. Never speak poorly of yourself
    Notice when this happens. We all do it and we can turn that around. Keep working on it, it does get easier, really!! Be kind to yourself!
  6. Never give up on your dreams
    I don’t care how old you are, how long it has been since you worked, big or small we all have dreams or goals in our lives. Sometimes they may need to be modified, but never give up on your dreams.
  7. Don’t be afraid to say NO
    The world will not end if you say No. People will not be mad at you “forever”, in fact, they may respect you and wish that they too could say No. In fact, saying No means that you are good at creating boundaries for yourself and others will be more respectful towards you.
  8. Don’t be afraid to say YES
    Yes, even if it is scary, take a risk, try something new, have fun, usually the fear is in your own head. No one else really cares anyway right!! I think once we realize that, it can be so much easier.
  9. Let go of what you can’t control
    What can you let go of? Is there something that you have been hanging on to that no longer serves you. This can be in the form of emotional or physical clutter. Let it go and see what happens.
  10. Stay away from drama and negativity
    Some people thrive on drama and negativity. Law of attraction states that what you put your focus on multiplies in your life. Why not focus on the good stuff?
  11. Love and Gratitude (I added the gratitude part)
    We need more love in this world and the more you give, the more you get back. I believe that gratitude is the key to having more abundance in your life and the universe will give you more of what you love and really want.

Which ones do you resonate with the most? What would you add?

Posted in Organizing, self care | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Do I want this? Do I need this? Do I love this?

Making decisions about our stuff can be tricky. Questions like…… Where do I start? Do I love this? Do I need this? Should I keep this or donate it? What if I give this away and then I need it someday? I wonder if so and so would want this? Ugh!! So many decisions to make!

Those questions can really keep us stuck and possibly avoiding what we might have wanted to do in the first place.  We often don’t know the answer to those questions and in a sense they keep you feeling safe or secure and in your comfort zone when you don’t make a decision. You don’t have to know or decide or worry about making a mistake.  

Not making a decision really is making a decision.  So, let’s say you come across an item as you are working on your stuff.  The thought is “I don’t know what to do with this item, should I keep it or donate it? or Where does it belong? I just don’t know so I will put it here for now.”  That probably feels better in that moment, it feels like you have done something but really you are just moving some stuff around and avoiding making a decision.  

Making a decision can mean making a mistake but if you do nothing, you risk nothing, you don’t grow or move forward and you make no progress at all on your tough goals.  Things are not going to be perfect and you won’t know that until you take the first step.  There might be some missteps along the way and that is okay.  

So, what do we do?

Some decisions are easier than others and unique to all of us. What to eat for dinner, what restaurant to go to, what to wear, what movie to watch, which road to take on a path? It’s all about practicing and trusting that it will be all good. And if it isn’t, it is really okay. We just now know what not to do and we try again.

We just need to start making decisions even if it feels uncomfortable. It is a practice that gets easier over time. We are practicing our decision making skills. Sometimes we call it “decluttering skills” The more we do the work, make decisions about sorting, organizing and decluttering we start to see and know more of what we want and don’t want. We start to trust ourselves with our decisions and we develop more confidence and self esteem in ourselves.

How are you at Decision Making? Drop me a line. Just reply to this email or comment below.

Here is a short Letting Go Video that is a part of my FREE Mini Course “Clutter, Acquiring and Letting Go – Keys to Success”. You can sign up here to receive the free email course.

Happy Decluttering!

Posted in Organizing | 12 Comments

Why is it so hard to sell my stuff? 

Back in 2020 (before Covid) it was so much easier to sell your belongings and you could actually make a little money to purchase something else.  Today it has become so hard to sell anything – sometimes you can’t even give stuff away for FREE.  

I have been checking the Buy and Sell groups in my area and there are many items for sale and no comments.  The same ads seem to be there forever. There are likely newer things that are selling like Air Fryers or Keurigs or maybe absolutely needed items like dressers, etc. – older items not so much! Vintage and old (sturdy) furniture is just not popular anymore. People want lighter, smaller, easier to move around furniture. I am sure its very discouraging for people who just want to make a few bucks.

Antique Shops and other small businesses are struggling and many have closed down. Garage Sales are a lot of work and really bring in little money.  Unless its a fun pastime or hobby for you its really not worth it.

We tend to think our stuff is more valuable than it actually is especially if we paid a lot of $ for it. We think that we “should” be able to get some money for it. Right?  However, it seems that no one wants to buy our things. Why?

Why has this changed? Some thoughts from peers……..

“I could buy this item new for fairly close to that price from a discount store. That way I know its new and it might even come with a warranty”

“The current economy has changed.  Any money I have is going to rent and food and other basic needs items”

“I can get stuff I need or want from FreeCycle sites on Facebook or Charity Shops”

“Everyone is decluttering, the charity shops are full and some even shut down their donations during busy times”

“It’s an inconvenience to drive around the city when I can just get things online” (sometimes cheaper too) 

“I already have too much stuff and I have been working on not acquiring”

Why have most people decided not to sell their stuff?

“The money I could make is not worth the hassle of bartering, no shows, scammers, my time, etc.” 

“If I am working on downsizing, decluttering and organizing, trying to sell some of my things just slows down the process” 

“I know I am not going to get the $ back that I paid for the item.  It’s not worth my time to try and sell the item.  I have already spent the $ (maybe years ago) so I just want it gone.”

“It is so much easier to give things away for free.  It feels so good to give things away knowing that they will go to someone who is in need.”

“Most people are not interested in collectibles that I have inherited from my parents. It’s just better to donate them.”


I believe that more and more people are wanting a simpler life. There is a trend for people to be more conscious about what they purchase and what they bring into their homes. There is the awareness that if you buy something and then you decide you don’t want it or need it, how do you dispose of it.

Have you tried to sell your stuff without success? Or maybe the opposite has been true…….What has been your experience?

Posted in acquiring items, Clutter, difficulty Discarding, Organizing | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Some thoughts that can make it hard to let go?

This can be a hard decision.  There are reasons why this is hard.  

Are you……

  • Hanging onto items because you paid a lot of money for them?  
  • Feeling like you have to keep gifts that were given to you even though you don’t use or love them? 
  • Holding onto those treasures that once belonged to your loved ones out of a feeling of responsibility and guilt?  

I hear comments from my peeps like these a lot.  

“I paid a lot of $ for this, how do I let it go”.  

We are not likely going to get the same amount of money that we paid for something. Instead of letting it go, we tend to hang on to the item like we have strings attached to it. Even though we are not using it or even planning to use it we just cannot seem to let it go. There could be a feeling of failure or guilt about the object especially if we have never used it. It feels wasteful and we think that we “should” be able to get $ for the thing. The reality is likely we are not. The thing is we all make mistakes. It’s okay, we are human. We can accept that we made a mistake and move on from it. 

Do a little research and see if others are selling a similar item.  What are they selling the item for and more importantly, what are they actually getting for it?  Is it really worth your time and energy to try to get the amount that you believe the item to be worth?  Have you tried to sell an item only to realize you spent a lot of time and you still have the object.  Maybe it’s time to part with the thing.  

“I cannot let go of this gift that was given to me by my friend, what if she comes over and I do not have it out on display or her feelings get hurt”?

Gifts are given with good intention from the giver, however, once a gift is given, it is an exchange of energy that is now up to the person who has the gift to do whatever they want with it.  Gifts do not have to be kept forever!  Would the gift giver want you to struggle with this decision about keeping this gift or not.  It’s really okay to re-gift too as long as you remember where the gift came from and you do it discreetly.  

“I cannot part with these items that my mom loved so much.  I feel like I won’t be honouring her memory by letting them go”. 

Do you feel like you are the responsible one who needs to be the keeper of things? Were you told by a loved one that these items will be worth something “someday”. Maybe you were told that you “should” never get rid of these items.  Oh my!!  Well, things have changed!  Your life has changed! These heirlooms or other items are likely not going to be as valuable as you think.  Are you afraid of forgetting or dishonouring your loved one?  There are ways to honour your precious memories without keeping everything. Your memories of your loved ones are in your heart, not in their belongings.

Remember:  “You do not need to clog up your home with things that you do not use or do not love” 

What do you think? Are you able to let go of items like this? It is okay to donate these items to someone who will be able to love and use them. Do you need some encouragement? Hop on a call with me here and I can help.

Posted in Organizing | Tagged | 11 Comments

Welcome Spring!

Yay it’s Spring!

It’s that time of year when we feel motivated to clear out from the long winter in anticipation of longer daylight hours knowing that spring is just around the corner. I always like to do a couple of projects in my home knowing that soon I will be spending more time outdoors.

Warmer weather allows us to open windows and to get some fresh air flowing through our homes. It’s a great time to declutter what no longer is loved or used and no longer serves us. We do change as time goes on which means our space needs to change as well. Being able to open the doors can give us that lift we need in order to get motivated. I love getting outside and seeing that new growth sprouting out of the ground. Mother Nature knows when it is time to make a change. Here are 7 of my tips that I hope will help you to get motivated.

Seven Tips for Happy Spring Cleaning/Clearing

  1. If you have houseplants this is a real growth period for them. They love the stronger sun, usually indirect lighting and the extra watering and attention. It’s also time to plant some seeds if you have the space and a great window.
  2. This is a great time to get all of the garbage, newspapers, and cardboard ready to get out to the bin or to the curb because it’s easier to get out and about.
  3. When the sun is shining through the windows and you are seeing the dust on the windows, on the blinds or the dust bunnies on the floor, clean it up right then. These are often areas that are unseen.
  4. Have you been noticing any winter clothing (coats, boots, mitts) that are scuffed up, missing buttons, with rips, holes?  They really need to go!  Hopefully, soon we can get rid of these things and next year they could be replaced with something better.  You deserve the best, my friend!
  5. Cleaning up the entrance way, shaking out some rugs, sweeping the floor can really feel good and can really pave the way for new energy to come through your door. It is the first area people see when they come into your home!
  6. Seasonal change of clothes.  You might not want to rush this but it can be helpful to start thinking about what you may not have worn all winter. It might be time to let go of some of these clothing items. Then you can assess your spring wardrobe.
  7. Sell or donate something that is big that you would like to let go of. Once the weather is clear you might not mind people coming in to your home to pick up the item.

What are your best tips for Spring Cleaning/Clearing? Please share below…………..

Do you need more help to get motivated?

I can help you and would love to work with you. I work virtually with you offering my expertise, guidance, support and accountability. Here is a link to book a 20 minute Coffee Chat with me or just send me a quick email and we can make a plan.

Posted in Inspiration, Organizing, space clearing | Tagged | 8 Comments