How to Help Your Child Get More Organized

Are your children organized?  Do you wish they would just pick up after themselves? Is your child a collector of sorts and cannot let anything go? Would you like to help your children to be more organized? I have to be honest here.  I don’t have any young children living in my home but I did at one time.  I do have grandchildren visiting from time to time and I do expect them to clean up after themselves, make the bed for the next sleepover, pack up their clothes, etc. etc. Children need these kind of guidelines or boundaries and I believe they learn respect when they know what is expected of them. Our grands love to come over for Gramma time (x2) and a sleepover. Of course, at this time we are all missing each other. Hopefully we will all be able to visit again soon.

What if your child is a Collector (of stones, feathers, shells, treasures, etc.)

If you have a child like this, perhaps you could help them to have a way to display their items.  If they start to get too much, help them to be able to make decisions about which ones to let go of.  Always reward them for not bringing something home and/or for discarding items.

What if your child loves everything?  

Ask your child to pick out a number of items (say 10) that they love.  Next ask them to rate each of the items on a scale of 1 – 10 as to how much they love the item and how much they need or want the item.  Ask them if they are able to let go of their least favourite item.  If they are having trouble with this and think they cannot let go of this or any item, suggest that someone (maybe you) hold on to it for them for a week. They will think they can’t do it but they can. At the end of the week ask them how they are feeling, if they have actually missed the item and if they are now willing to let go of the item. Praise them if they can follow through.  

What if your child has a hard time with making decisions?  

I see this a lot with my clients as well.  I really believe that being comfortable with making decisions has to do with self esteem, knowing who you are and what you want and trusting your intuition.  It is something that takes time and practice.  To help children, I suggest offering children a choice whenever possible.  For example; “do you want to wear the pink pyjamas or the blue pyjamas tonight?” 

What if your child likes to acquire things?  

Teach your children that there is a difference between Need and Want.  Ask them questions such as “do you have room for that?”, “where will you put it”, “how will you use it?”  Make a deal with your child.  If you really believe you “need” it, then you have to make room by getting rid of something else.  Limiting items might be helpful, explaining to children that there is only so much space so this is what we will allow in this space.  

What if your child does not want to clean up?  

As a busy parent, I really get it.  It can really feel easier and quicker to do it yourself.  However, you will want to have patience and take the time to show and help your child to put their toys and things away. Everything needs to have a home and keep like with like.  This will make things easier for you and your child. This will help your child to see what he has and to help him to have respect for his belongings. Don’t forget that you are your child’s role model. They learn from you.  

What if your child doesn’t want to let go of anything? 

Generally, I do not think it is a good idea to get rid of children’s belongings (or anyone’s for that matter) without their permission.  Especially for children eight years and older.  If they figure out that their belongings have been discarded, this can be traumatic for them and likely they will hang onto their items even tighter.  If your child is pretty adamant that they cannot discard anything it may be time to get some outside help.  There are ways to help children and the earlier this can be addressed the better.  

Some of the therapies would be things like Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mental Health Treatment for OCD, Anxiety, Trauma, etc.  Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.   

Here is an awesome online resource I found with videos that are made especially for children who are struggling with challenging issues. These are videos that you can watch with your child.

Children need to be encouraged to follow their passions no matter what they are. Never shame or blame your child.  Honour their choices.  Parenting is the hardest job we will ever have. Kudos to all the parents out there who are doing the best everyday. Please let me know if you have found this post to be helpful. Happy Decluttering!

Would you like some help to start clearing the clutter? Let’s chat! Sign up here for a Free 20 minute call https://SpaceForYou.as.me/

For even more inspiration Join the Declutter Your Life and Mind Facebook Closed Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/

Posted in Organizing | 2 Comments

Can De-Cluttering Be A Spiritual Practice?

It was such an honour to be invited to speak at The Circle Women’s Collective on the topic of De-Cluttering as a Spiritual Practice. I was nervous and excited as I have been involved in The Circle on and off for many years and have always looked up to these amazing women.  This was such a rich topic with many gems of wisdom (participants words not mine) throughout the night. 

The Altar at the Circle Event

My Thoughts From the Evening 

Having a Daily Practice

Do you have a daily practice?  This can really make a difference in your day.  Whether it is being grateful, meditating, smudging, praying, doing a bit of writing or just being with yourself for a short period of time, this practice will help you to get through your day in a more conscious way.  Those who have a daily practice will say that they can tell if they miss it.  I have a daily practice of yoga and walking when I can without being attached to my phone, having an awareness of nature and the beauty that surrounds me.  

Clearing with Compassion 

Not attacking the clutter, but clearing with compassion!  Having the attitude of I am going to attack that clutter only gets your adrenalin going and you end up feeling aggressive about the process.  Clearing with compassion means that you will not fizzle out so fast.  Also, going at your own speed is always the best. I always encourage people to have compassion for themselves for doing this work as it is important, personal work.  It is a process that we go through in our own time.  We know when we are ready to go through that box or to start to work on that closet. Think about clearing with compassion and awareness of the process, being kind to yourself and paying attention to your emotions.

Letting Go With Grace and Gratitude

We do have a choice and that is that we can struggle with holding on to our stuff, second guessing ourselves about making a decision, leaving it in the donation bag or box by the door where it sits for weeks, maybe months. or We can decide that we will work through these challenging emotions as they come up and let the items go with grace and gratitude.  Maybe the item was a gift given with good intention. It is now covered with dust, has served its purpose, it is not being used, we do not love it or need it, it’s just taking up space in our homes and in our hearts. Let it go with grace and gratitude. 

Accepting Where We Are Right Now

This is all about just starting where we are now with loving acceptance.  We know that clearing out the hard stuff can be challenging. And that is okay. This article might help https://spaceforyou.ca/2014/10/02/letting-go/ Clutter can be all about the past (regrets, happy or sad memories, losses, lost opportunities) and it can also be all about the future as well (worry, just in case I need it someday) We really hang on tightly to these beliefs because they  serve us in some way. Clearing clutter needs to be about now. The best place to start is looking at what is going on today. We only have control over what we can do today.  So we start from where we are now with compassion and loving acceptance. 

Thinking About Our Own Legacy

We know we are not going to be here forever and we need to think about what we are leaving behind for others to go through.  Do you want to leave behind memories of what your life was all about or do you want your loved ones to be going through boxes of items that you carried around with you for years and years and never went through.  Again, it is your choice.  Downsize now while you can.  What type of legacy do you want to leave behind?

Would you like to work with me? I am currently accepting new clients to work with online via Zoom or FaceTime. Sign up here for a free 20 minute Consultation Call https://SpaceForYou.as.me/. This might be just what you need to get started on your journey to Decluttering Your Life.

What do you do as a daily practice to make space for yourself and your goals? Please comment below…….

Posted in De-Clutter Your Life, Organizing, sacred home, Spirituality | 8 Comments

Working From Home – It’s Messy!

Working from home is messy.  It has never really appealed to me but now I find myself in this position.  When I was working at CMHA, My Sisters’ Place, I was offered a “Work from Home” day and I never took advantage of it because I knew that I would so easily be distracted by other things.  It is just too easy to do anything other than the task at hand.   I will find myself cleaning and organizing, doing dishes, getting dinner ready instead of doing some other task that is a bit of a challenge and one I might want to procrastinate on.  Or, possibly, I might find myself scrolling on Facebook, reading articles online and going down that rabbit hole. Can you relate to this? It really takes some discipline to be able to accomplish our own personal goals.  

My office in my home is in the basement and when I really need to focus and need quiet, it is really the best place for me to go to get some work done.  Usually, what I will do is make a plan to be at my desk for a period of time like one or two hours.  I sometimes use the Pomodoro technique to stay focused on what I am working on.  https://spaceforyou.ca/2015/04/13/a-time-management-tool-to-help-with-focus/ I use the timer on my phone to keep focused as I don’t actually have a timer that looks like a tomato.  

Here is my messy desk
Here is another view of my office space. Its really a great space and I love it when I am in the zone.

My most favourite place to be, though, is at my chair in the living room.  I can find myself creating a little nest around this space with paperwork, journals, to do lists, books I am reading and also other little projects I have on the go.  It really is my happy place. Where is your happy place? I find myself going through the piles on a regular basis just to keep my focus on what is most important.  Seems to work for me for the most part.  I really prefer a creative mess to work in. 

This is kind of what happens
And then this – its a creative mess 🙂

I have had fantasies of taking my computer to a coffee shop and doing a lot of writing there. It was on my list as a goal for quite awhile, but I just never seem to do it.  I guess I am most comfortable being at home.  

The very best part about working from home is the ability to work at your own pace and on your own time. Take breaks when you want, schedule clients at the best times for you and the fact that you can work in your pyjamas is a bonus.

I can help you with your office space. Office space is often about clearing some space to work, paperwork, boxes of old papers that need to be shredded, a better configuration of your space and once cleared with a focus, can help you to move forward in whatever your heart desires.

I am now offering Free 20 minutes consultation/intake calls. The call might help you to get moving or perhaps we could work together in person or virtually. Sign up here https://SpaceForYou.as.me/ 

If you would like more motivation and inspiration to achieve your decluttering goals please join us in the Closed and Private Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/

Posted in Clutter, goal setting, Inspiration, office organizing, Organizing, Paper Organizing, time management | 12 Comments

Make S.P.A.C.E. For You

Make S.P.A.C.E. For You

How can you make more S.P.A.C.E. in your life for what you truly want?  What can you do to make more S.P.A.C.E. For You? Do you have a project you have been thinking about working on? Here is a process that will help you to see your project all the way through.. Let’s dive in…….

S.P.A.C.E. = SUPPORT, PLANNING, ATTENTION, CREATION, ENJOY

SUPPORT

Having SUPPORT to work on your decluttering project can be key to getting started and also to the success of carrying it through to completion.  Whether you ask for support from a friend, family member or a Professional Organizer like me, it really doesn’t matter.  Admitting and asking for help can be the hard part but if you have tried numerous times with different strategies maybe it’s time to ask.  I always feel so honoured to be asked for advice or to help someone.  

PLANNING

I have heard that in business if you don’t have a plan that it can be kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall.  It feels like we are doing about a hundred things but then we are not really getting anywhere.  Ugh!!  I am guilty of this as well.  Having a plan for how you are going to carry out your project is key to success. Think about your why and your goals for this project.  Having a plan means you are focussed and will stay with the project you are working on.  If the task feels too big or overwhelming, then it needs to be broken down into smaller, manageable and realistic steps.  Planning means making sure you have the time to work on your project, you have the needed supplies, ie: boxes, bags, tape, etc., snacks, food and drinks available, and you have the time to take breaks as needed.  

ATTENTION

Ah, one of my favourite topics.  You will want to be in a good space when you are beginning this work so it can be helpful to do some grounding or a meditation beforehand.  Paying attention to what you want for yourself, how you are feeling whether it’s positive or negative (both will come up), and working through those feelings. If you are feeling stuck, this would be a good time to take a break, go for a walk and ponder the questions, write about your resistance and make sure you have SUPPORT for yourself.  If you are having trouble getting focused, check out this blog post on the Pomodoro Technique.   https://spaceforyou.ca/2015/04/13/a-time-management-tool-to-help-with-focus/     I use it all the time when I really need to stay with the task at hand. You could also try working for the duration of one song or a whole CD.  Whatever works for you.  

CREATION

This is the fun part.  This is when you start to see the fruits of your labour and see what is possible.  Perhaps, some clutter has left your home and you are left with furniture or items that you absolutely love and want in your space.  Maybe a beautiful picture or family photos could go on the walls.  A colour scheme might pop out as you look at your space with new eyes.  What is possible in this space?  Do you have space to move around, space for company?  Space to relax? How do you see yourself in this space?  What are you doing in this space? What were your end goals for your project? 

ENJOY

Now its time to really enjoy your space.  Ooh, doesn’t that sound nice.  Admire your work. Reward yourself for a job well done.   Do something nice for yourself like sitting down to read a book, watch a movie, make a coffee date with a friend, give yourself a break whatever that is.  Pat yourself on the back for doing this project and seeing it through.  Now you know that you can do it.  Doesn’t matter if the project was big or small.  Actually, starting small is good because it helps you to develop your confidence in knowing that you can do it!  Enjoy, my friend.   

Remember, You are important and you cannot be there for others if you do not fill up your own well first.  This is powerful and life changing work and you are so worth it.  Think about what you want for yourself in your home, your life and your space. Put yourself first.

I am currently taking on new clients, in person and online. I have a few openings each week for a free 20 minute call to explore the options that will work best for you. You can sign up here https://SpaceForYou.as.me/

Could this model work for you? Would love to hear about your project and whether you think this could help you? or not?…….Pray tell…..

If you would like more inspiration to Declutter Your Life and Mind please join the Closed (private) Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/

Posted in Clutter, De-Clutter Your Life, Emotional Clutter, goal setting, Inspiration, Organizing, time management | 10 Comments

Next Steps For You and Me

We are now into the second full week of 2020 and it can feel challenging to get back into the groove.  How are you doing with your decluttering goals you have set for yourself?  Are you feeling motivated to get started? Do you know what your next steps are? 

A lot of people talk to me about procrastination.  They might even think that they procrastinate because they are lazy.  This is most likely not the case.  There is always a reason why we procrastinate.  Procrastinating is actually a way of protecting yourself and keeping yourself safe.  The reason you may feel stuck is because you are worried (even if it is subconscious) about uncomfortable feelings coming up if you start that organizing project.  We all probably can recall instances when we started something and we ended up feeling sad or angry, for a few days, weeks, etc.  Why would we want to go there?  Ugh!!

One day recently, I was going through my fabric (I am a sewer) looking for some fabric for a project with friends and I came across some fabric I was going to use to make things with my grandchildren.  All of a sudden I was just so sad.  There were tears and a few days of feeling down.  I tried to give the fabric to my friends but they didn’t want it.  After a few days, I thought to myself “Why not make something for my granddaughter I never met?” So, I started this project and while I work on it I think of her and what it will be like when I meet her.  I know she will love what I have created for her.  So, my point is that it is really about moving through the feelings and working on getting to the other side.  

It is a work in process but here it is. The bright pink will be the border.

I came across this statement recently and I really love it

“Success is in the action, not the outcome”

We have no control over the outcome of a situation only the action.  We can get really attached to the outcome and feel disappointed if things don’t go as expected.  If you can be more attached to your actions the outcome is just a bonus.  Just getting started is half the battle.

This is what one of the members of the Closed Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/had to say about Procrastination and Next Steps. “I have been doing just that for a few days now. Just moving furniture and stuff around until it feels right. Unfortunately it takes away from basic decluttering but I needed to make things physically work with my room priorities in mind before the organizing can happen. Ugh. Still lots to do. One step forward sometimes means taking 2 steps back first.” It is true that things can look worse before they look better. Don’t let that stop you from moving forward.

Do you find yourself doing other things instead of the task at hand? What do you find yourself doing instead?

Another saying I have been loving is 

“You either Win or you Learn”

I love this because I know I have failed many times and even thought it doesn’t feel good I always learn from it.  If you don’t try and take that first step you will stay stuck and you will never know that you could  have accomplished anything that you want.  Failure can be our biggest fear.  Never give up. It always gets easier and you can get past the fear. 

What am I working on this year?  

Here I am in Port Stanley taken on a nice sunny day last summer

My word for this year is Gratitude.  I did a 30 Day Gratitude Challenge and it was really quite amazing and life changing.  I bought myself a Gratitude Calendar.  Its the type that you rip off each day and each day has a beautiful message.  I am writing a gratitude message almost daily and putting them in a jar to be read another day.  It is really helpful with looking at life in a different way.  Don’t we all just need that these days.  

Met up with friends last week to work on our annual Vision Quest. (making Vision Boards and sharing our stories). So fun!! My big goals this year are all about loving myself.  I am working on a daily yoga practice, more walking (without the phone attached) and really paying attention to what I am putting into my body and my spirit.  

How about you?  What are your next steps? What is holding you back from taking that next step? What is one action you can take to move forward?  

I am available for a free 20 minute conversation to help you to get started. You can book with me here: https://SpaceForYou.as.me/ I can work with you virtually or in person in London, Ontario.  

Posted in De-Clutter Your Life, goal setting, Inspiration, Organizing, vision boards | Tagged | 6 Comments

My Very Real Year in Review

This past year sure has flown by.  I really believe it is so important to look at your past year and review what you did whether it was positive or negative. This will certainly help you with working on new intentions and to manifest what you want for the New Year. This is a very candid and vulnerable re-cap of what is going on for me.

I did retire early so that I could continue to do this amazing work with people who have issues with overwhelming clutter and hoarding.   This has been a daily thing for me as I support others with my Facebook Private Group, read as much as possible, work one on one with individuals, collaborate with other professionals, offer talks in the community and declutter my own home. Lol

It feels so good to be home

I have been nesting in my home with my partner, making some changes and really making our place work for us.  I love taking my time in the morning, reading and writing, making healthy food, going for walks and working on my yoga/meditation practice.  Time and space is such a gift.

I am spending more and more time with my 89 year old parents.  I am so grateful that I have amazing siblings.  We are all close by and all are involved with my parents.  They are so appreciative and realize how fortunate they are to have this family support.  We are their “Meals on Wheels”, their transportation to appointments and errands as well as company as we all spend time with them.  In fact, I have started to spend Wednesdays with my dad as he has been alone for a few hours on that day.  I have always been closer to my mom so this has been an interesting experience for all of us.  I just hooked up with ancestry.ca and am searching our family tree and looking as far back as I can into my own family history.  It is so interesting! 

Me, my mom, my dad and my partner.

On a sadder note and one I have had to come to grips with is that I have not had any contact with my son (who is almost 43 years old) and has three children, one I never met or was notified about.  I have had none or very little contact over the past five years.  I won’t go into the details of this but the one thing I can say is that he has had no contact with anyone in our family.  We have a big family of about twenty five where there has always been love and support.  He also has not had contact with his 89 year old grandparents and he was the second grandchild born to them.  The first was my daughter who passed away at age 17 due to medical reasons.  They are heartbroken.  

It is sad and we all have our sad stories but honestly I have so much love and goodness in my life that I am doing well.  I wrote letters to my three grandchildren in November 2019 and will do this again.  I have them in a box with pictures that I have and someday I will be able to share these with them.  I had made my middle grandson a quilt last year (2018) out of fabric I had purchased in Australia many years ago and I have started a small quilt for my youngest granddaughter (the one I haven’t met).  I have a picture of my first grandchild who will be nine next year with the quilt I made her when she was little and it is in the box.  I am planning to make something new for her as well. This is how I have been healing. So please I do not want any advice and I do not want you to feel sad for me. 

This is hanging in my home and is my truth.

I am so fortunate to have four beautiful grandchildren through my partner whom I love.  They call me Gramma Kimmie and love me unconditionally.  What more could one ever hope for.   It is so wonderful to have love and children in your life.  

I have had a dream to offer workshops/groups for women in my grotto space (aka garage) for many years now. Don’t get me wrong.  Many things have happened out there.  “What happens in the grotto stays in the grotto”. That is the truth!! Here is a bit of the back story with pics on the Grotto Space.  https://spaceforyou.ca/2018/04/16/welcome-to-my-grotto/

My partner and I did offer a few workshops there a few years ago and they were really successful.  After that we talked about it for probably two years and then we decided we either needed to do something or stop talking about it.  So, we both wrote an intention that we put under our pillows.  We ran a few focussed workshops this past summer and they have naturally morphed into monthly Moon Circles.  It is so wonderful to connect with like minded women and to create a space where we are free to talk about anything that comes up in our lives.  We both feel so blessed to be able to hold this space for women. 

There are some shifts happening in my work as well.  Along with a co-facilitator, I will be offering a Support Group for Family Members of those with Hoarding Disorder starting in January.  This is brand new for me and also new for my community.  I am so excited to be designing and offering this group. I am anticipating that I will be learning a lot and I plan to share this with all of you as well. Stay tuned!!

I am also very excited to be offering a new service this year: Virtual Coaching/Organizing Yes, Online (Zoom, FaceTime, telephone, etc.) which means you can get help and inspiration from the comfort of your own home. I am currently offering Free 20 Minute Intake/Consulations – You can sign up here https://SpaceForYou.as.me/ Maybe, we will be a great fit and this will be your year to get motivated.

I am so excited for what 2020 will bring for us and I hope you are too.  Let me know what topics you would like to see here or in the FB Group. Please join my Closed Face Book Group Declutter Your Life and Mind for more inspiration https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/

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The Magic of Decluttering

Does this title confuse you? Do you think there is magic in decluttering? On the one hand there can be a lot of pleasure in acquiring things and on the other hand what do your do with all of this stuff…….. like, now what??? Could be “where do I put this, or perhaps it ends up staying in the bag, or I don’t want to look at my bank account or ………??? ” What are your thoughts? It can be so very complex, so conflicting and confusing for sure.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your stuff?  Do you love to get stuff, give stuff, stuff is pretty, makes me happy but….then I have to live with stuff, move stuff, clean stuff, have too much stuff, makes my home feel cluttered, can’t find my stuff. 

No wonder it is so hard to let go and to deal with all of that stuff that comes into our lives. If you are bringing stuff in on a regular basis and not letting go of anything in your home eventually you will run into difficulties. It is not about getting more space, more storage and more bins to put stuff in. You need to have a good flow happening in your home. Things coming in, things going out. It can be the same with finances, right. We need to have money coming in so that the money can then go out to pay those bills or to purchase what we need or want.

If you have too much stuff, you will need to purge. I know, that’s not what you wanted to hear. BUT…..”You don’t need more space. You need less stuff.” Joshua Becker from https://www.becomingminimalist.com

So, what are the benefits of decluttering? Is there really some magic to decluttering? These are some of the comments from the participants in the Declutter Your Life and Mind Private Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/ Lightness, peace, freedom, accomplishment, pleased, happy, proud, cleanliness, space, lighter, less to clean, feeling more in control, enjoy your space, taking control of my space (rather than my space controlling me), able to find things, improved emotional health, less impulsive spending, less trip hazards.  Pretty Awesome right?

The Magic of Decluttering (my tips)

  1. More Healthy – Think about it. If you are more organized in your kitchen, you will have some counter space to create a meal or make a sandwich, you are able to make healthier meals, you will use up those leftovers, you won’t have food that has expired as long as you are not buying too much and you can save money by not wasting food or eating out. You might even have some time to head out for a walk after a meal.
  2. Less Distractions – Which means rather than putting out fires you have more time for other things. You will have more time to just be, to think, to dream, be more creative or maybe to read a book. It’s not all about decluttering. You get to decide what to focus your energies on.
  3. Less Anxiety/Stress – There is no question that clutter causes us anxiety and stress. Who needs it? Right? You will feel calmer just because you can find your keys, you are not tripping over the cat and you are able to find what to wear with no problem. You can give yourself permission to breathe, to ground yourself and to have a little time to get to the next thing without rushing. Ahh!! So awesome 🙂
  4. More Energy Flow – I think it is so important to have that energy flow in your home. It keeps things fresh. When something comes in, something goes out. We need to have this flow happening in all areas of our lives. We do not want things to become stagnant and that is what happens when there is no flow. Think about that “stuck energy” in your home. I am sure we all have it. Let’s allow our stuff and our homes to breathe.
  5. More Intuition and Clarity – It can be such a big question to think about what we want for ourselves, our families and our homes. But, just to have that time and space and to trust our intuition to allow what we need in our lives. So important to begin this process and to be able to make some decisions and to trust that it is okay.
  6. More Finances – Yes, this is such a great benefit to decluttering. I could not believe how many people responded to “Have you ever found money or gift cards when decluttering? Do tell?” in the private and closed FB Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/ So many people found money after a loved one had passed or even in their own belongings. You will not be out buying items that you know you might already have but cannot find (been there myself). Just paying attention to your finances can make such a huge difference. Watching what you are spending, paying your bills, doing your taxes, watching your dollars add up in savings – its all good!!

I am sure there are so many more benefits to decluttering your life and mind. I wold love to hear yours as well. Please sign up here http://eepurl.com/dsz4PP so that you never miss a post and please leave a comment. Thank you so much for your support. Happy Decluttering and Much Gratitude to all of you.

Posted in Organizing | 11 Comments

A Support Worker who will help you with your decluttering efforts?

If you have had a lot of trauma in your life, then you will want to have a Professional Organizer/Mental Health/Support Worker/Family Member who has knowledge and experience working within a Trauma Informed Approach. It is important to have positive support to help you with your decluttering efforts and to help you to move forward.

What to look for in a Support Person (for the worker and then the client):

Trauma Awareness

Worker: Someone who has an understanding of trauma and the possible causes.  Check out some of the Vulnerability Factors here https://spaceforyou.ca/2019/05/13/the-link-between-trauma-and-chronic-disorganization/ Having knowledge of the emotional, physical and psychological responses of an individual especially if they are feeling very overwhelmed.

Client: If you are in crisis, facing eviction or an emergency clean up you are likely not able to focus on what you need to at that time. An informed worker will help you with some calming and grounding strategies, help you to feel in control of what you can and help you to feel comfortable and safe.

Safety and Trustworthiness 

Worker: This will take time so it is important to get to know your client and perhaps look for some commonalities. Help the client to become aware of the safety concerns using a harm reduction approach. Let your client know that you are there to help them to create safety and comfort in their living space and to advocate for them if needed.  It is important to be concerned and focused on getting to know the client first. Doing what you say you are going to do to help and following through with the client will help you to gain their trust. I love this Maya Angelou quote.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel.” 

Maya Angelou

Client: Remember this is a relationship that you are working on with your Support Worker and of course trust is going to be very important. This is very personal and emotional work and it will take some time to get to know if you and your Support Worker are a good match. You will know after a number of sessions as to whether you can trust and work with this Person.

Opportunities for Choice, Collaboration, and Connection 

Worker: Offer the client options for support and help. Let client know about possible other supports in the community like support groups or other Support Workers ie: mental health. If the client is in an emergency/crisis situation help the client to be aware of where her important things are like medications, purse, wallet and keys, remote control, etc. Encourage and take the lead from your client. They really do know best about their own life.

Client: Get some support for yourself. Join a Support Group for people who are struggling with clutter in person or online. You are not alone. Learn more about yourself and what is underneath the clutter. Start to look at the reasons you save things and why you have difficulty with letting go. You are important and deserve to take this time just for you. You can make positive changes in your life!

Strengths Based and Skill Building 

Worker: What is the client doing well? Comment on those positives and build on them if possible. No need to fix anything that is working well. Encourage your client to come up with some ideas and solutions to help to make things work better. Teach and model some new skills that will help client to move forward.

Client: You are the expert in your own life. It is important that you are working with someone who encourages you to take charge of your life. Someone who will listen to your stories about your life and your possessions, support and teach you some new daily living skills and can help you to make those important decisions that you feel comfortable with.

Have you had positive experiences with Support Workers and/or friends or family members who have helped you in your home?

Please let us know in the comments……

If you would like more support for your Decluttering Efforts please join the Declutter Your Life and Mind closed group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/

Posted in Organizing | 8 Comments

The Link between Trauma and Chronic Disorganization

Do you think there is a link between trauma and clutter/chronic disorganization/hoarding? The current research is showing that there is a connection between the two. So, the good news is that you are not alone. There are reasons why this is so challenging for you.

It is helpful to look underneath the clutter issue and think about “why” am I so frustrated and cannot seem to get a handle on my stuff even though I feel like I am constantly working on it. Why Me? Ugh!!

Here are some possible Vulnerability Factors that may have triggered these issues for you:

  • Family history of hoarding (mother, father, grandmother, etc.) They likely have suffered from their own 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, poverty, hospitalization, loss of contact with family members

I remember when my second husband left me.  Yes, I was married twice.  I was surprised when he said he was leaving. I really should not have been as there were signs but I probably didn’t want to see them.  I just assumed we would continue to work on our relationship and all would be okay.  

After he left I went through the motions at work helping others with their trauma and would come home and just wander around my home in a fog not knowing what I should be doing.  It was a hard time and I know that I drank way too much wine, spent a lot of time in bed and didn’t ask for help and support. 

We can become emotionally numb, have a lot of emotional flooding or isolate ourselves after a traumatic event.  Everyone handles it differently.

“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”

If you have suffered a traumatic loss and/or have a number of the vulnerability factors (above) you may be more at risk and more likely to develop hoarding behaviours.

Although the underlying causes as to why someone ends up with difficulties with chronic disorganization are still unclear, after a traumatic event or incident, compulsive shopping, acquiring and difficulty discarding can become a way of coping with those uncomfortable emotions that come from grief and loss.

Shopping is one way that we try to soothe our emotions

It is very beneficial to understand why you struggle with these issues and a beginning step to start to make some changes in your life. Here is a link to a previous post with more information about looking at your own Personal Clutter Model. https://spaceforyou.ca/2015/04/30/what-is-your-personal-clutter-model/

Next post: What to look for in a Support/Mental Health Worker/Professional Organizer considering a Trauma Informed Approach. Please comment if this post resonates with you or join the Confidential Facebook Group for more support at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DeclutterYourLifeandMind/

Posted in Organizing | 7 Comments

Happy Spring Clearing: Physical and Emotional Clutter

Spring is in the air

It’s that time of year again when we feel motivated to clear out the physical and emotional clutter that has been holding us back and make some changes in our lives.  The birds are singing and spring is in the air.  

The weather is changing and warming up which allows us to open windows, feel and smell the fresh air, watch the new growth sprouting out of the ground and witness the first new buds on the trees.  It’s a good time to get serious about organizing and clearing out. The sun feels so much stronger now which makes everyone feel better and hopefully inspires you to get moving.   

How do we move the physical clutter and what happens when we do?  What about the emotional clutter that tends to come up?

For some hands on ideas for spring cleaning/clearing check out this blog post https://spaceforyou.ca/2018/03/18/happy-spring-cleaning/

Perhaps you find the idea of clearing out more appealing than actually doing the work. If so, you are not alone.   There are a lot of reasons why it is difficult to let go of our stuff aka clutter.  Getting started is usually half the battle.  If you are avoiding dealing with the clutter then it might be helpful to actually sit with your clutter and really look at what comes up for you. What is the resistance to doing this work?  You could try writing about your feelings and see what is coming up for you.  It might feel like you are not doing anything but this is a really great way to get started especially if you are feeling stuck. This helps you to start to take some control and to have power over your belongings and your space.

Physical and Emotional Clutter go together!!

While it is easier to see the physical clutter, if you move it without being conscious about your feelings and not paying attention to what might be underneath it, likely you will just re-acquire and end up back in the same place again. When we look a little deeper we might find there is emotional clutter as well. The clutter can very well be emotional baggage and unfinished business.   Do you have old files from a previous career, love letters or cards from an ex-partner, a wedding dress from a failed marriage, books about dreams that you once had, clothing from a happier time or a time when you were a lot slimmer, or projects that are unfinished? (When I was involved in a quilting group in the past we called these UFO’s Unfinished Objects).   These are all areas that can keep us emotionally stuck in our lives.  Clutter can be giving us a message that we do not want to or cannot move forward.

Messages like:

“I will be able to wear this when I lose 10 pounds” (someday in the future but for now looking at those clothes can make me feel bad about myself)

“I am afraid to try to meet someone and start a new relationship” (because I am sad and still thinking and dwelling on the past relationship)

“I spent a lot of money on this so I cannot let it go” (I will hang on to this even though I don’t love, want or need it and it is taking up valuable space that could be used for something else)

“Someday, I will fix, sew, sell this” (again, someday in the future but realistically am I really going to do this)

“I will not be able to clean this mess up, so why bother trying” (a good excuse to not even start and an easy out in some ways)

“I would like to have company over but cannot because of the mess” (relationships are tough and I have been hurt in the past so it is easier to not have people over)

“I am keeping these books because one day I will read them and then I will be able to get more organized” (my books offer me the promise of making things better but in the meantime they are taking up space and causing me to feel bad because I haven’t read them or actually done any of the work or followed up)

Can you see how some of these thought processes can hold you back and how they protect you from actually pursuing your dreams?

declutter your life pic

Happy Spring Clearing Everyone

What is your clutter saying about you? How is it protecting you from moving forward?  Would love to hear from you.  Please comment below…..

Posted in Clutter, De-Clutter Your Life, Inspiration, space clearing | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments