Warning: February 14th can be a hard day for any woman not living inside the pages of a fiction novel or in an Anne Hathaway romcom.
We spend so much time here at Clutter Free talking about how to declutter your home, but we all know the truth:
Decluttering starts with our hearts and minds. When we can be focused and intentional about what emotions and thoughts we let in (and which ones we keep from taking up a chair and sitting down for a cup of coffee) it goes a long way to practicing peace.
And yes – emotions are at a high when bad things happen – a death, illness, financial trouble.
But I find that when the world tells us Valentine’s is “supposed” to be a great day — filled with flowers, poems, secret admirers, and declarations of undying love, well—that can set us up for disappointment in a way no crisis can.
This has been a struggle for me in the past.
- The friend who got 2 dozen roses delivered to work and my total haul was a card I got from a coworker.
- When I was going through my divorce and wondered if I would ever have someone to love me again.
- The time the guy I was dating broke up with me on February 13th. (True story.)
Following are five suggestions to help you begin de-cluttering your heart before Cupid’s arrow hits you between the eyes this Valentine’s Day.
1. Avoid the Comparison Trap – It’s easy to fall into the idea that Valentines’ Day “should” be a certain way. The best way to stop comparison is to disengage from social media, at least for this day. That way, you won’t be tempted to compare your situation with someone else.
2. Take the Air Out of the Holiday
Want a perfect recipe for disaster?
- Try to get a reservation on Valentine’s Day
- Pay a babysitter on Valentine’s Day
- Expect flowers on Valentine’s Day
Why not celebrate your love on a different day?
First, it lowers crazy expectations.
Second, it’s easier to find someone to help you take care of the kiddos.
Finally, you can actually get a reservation somewhere if you want to go to dinner. (Or do like we do, try a great, but cheap ethnic food place for Adventure Dining. All the romance, but my guy doesn’t have to wear a tie!)
Go for fun instead of tradition and make the holiday your own.
3. Practice Peace – Valentine’s Day can be fun, romantic, and yummy (if there’s chocolate involved), but it can also be stressful. Did I get the right card? What time is dinner again? Too many things to juggle and your joy can get zapped. Practice being mindful that God is peace. And since He lives in you, you have peace.
4. Celebrate Life Everyday – We can hype the idea that we are celebrating the day of love. But really? Are we? Showing loved ones love does not have to be on Valentine’s Day. You can show love and appreciation everyday. Celebrate the beauty of everyday joy and love.
And on this Valentine’s, instead of waiting for others to show their love, go out and create some. Bring some candy to the janitor at your kid’s school, take a balloon to your next door neighbor who lives alone, and spend some extra time snuggling your dog.
Don’t wait to be adored. Go out and create loving moments.
5. Practice Being Happy for Others – Someone else is going to have a nicer dress, a cooler card, and the bigger flower arrangement. Be happy for them. This may be exactly what they needed after a really rough time in their marriage or in their life. Practice having an inner attitude of positive feelings and thoughts about others.
If this a holiday that can be hurtful, don’t be hard on yourself. It is for a lot of women I speak to. But, don’t let bitterness ruin your day. Think on these verses that can put your day in perspective.
If you need a boost and a confidence builder for your Clutter Free lifestyle, Kickstart to Clutter Free is the perfect way to get started. In just 14 days, Kathi gives you simple steps in getting rid of 500 things. We’ve been hearing from people all over the country that are having great success with the Kickstart eCourse. Find out more here.
Guest post by Cheri Gregory
My Clutter Free journey began in my bedroom.
Like many clutterers, I’d spent decades using our master bedroom as the “just throw it all in there and slam the door” stash-and-dash solution when company was due in an hour.
But discovering that I’m an HSP—a Highly Sensitive Person—has transformed how I view my bedroom.
HSPs are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.
We need to create ourselves a sanctuary, a safe quiet place of refuge where we can seek shelter when the world overwhelms us.
When we ask ourselves, “How can I make my bedroom a true sanctuary for my tired body and soul?” the obvious answer is to first oust every ounce of clutter.
HSPs process an overabundance of disorienting visual stimuli all day every day. The last thing we need are piles of confusing clutter visually assaulting us in the one room we retreat to for safety.
Moving Past Our Stories to Sanctuary
Of course, clutter rarely leaves without a fight. Thanks to our extra-strength HSP consciences, the three stories Kathi says all clutterers tell themselves can feel especially like gospel truth to us:
“I need to keep this just in case”
When you tell this fear-full story, you let fears from your past control your future.
“But so-and-so gave it to me!”
In this guilt-ridden story, people from your past (who aren’t concerned about you, just how you make them feel) are allowed to control your future.
“But I spent so much money on it!”
This shame-filled story allows a mistake from your past to control your future.
As these stories come up, we can respond with compassion and permission.
Compassion for our feelings of fear, guilt, and shame.
Permission to keep only what we need and want.
Making Your Bedroom an HSP Sanctuary
Once the clutter is out of your bedroom, grab a pad of paper, a favorite pen, and sit down on your bed.
Write these four senses at the top of different pages: touch, sight, sound, and smell.
Look around the room and ask yourself, “What do I want in my bedroom? What sensory experiences are especially soothing, relaxing, and restful for me?”
Ponder each sense for a few minutes and write down what comes to you. Here are some questions I’ve asked myself:
- What textures do I love?
- Smooth high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets?
- A soft blanket, knit with slubby yarn?
- What temperature(s) help me relax and sleep? Do I need:
- An electric blanket?
- A cooler grade of comforter?
- A heating pad or Thermaphore to ease my back pain?
- A rotating column fan?
- What skin products do I want to keep in my nightstand?
- Hand moisturizer?
- Lip balm?
- Nail clipper and file?
- What colors are calming for me?
- What patterns — or lack of pattern — do I prefer?
- How well are the lighting options working for me?
- Can I make the room as light as I want it?
- Can I make the room dark as I need it?
- How can I block out disruptive sounds?
- Noise-cancelling headphones?
- How can I bring in pleasing sounds?
- What scents irritate me, giving me headaches or making my face flush?
- Might I want to try unscented detergent, softener, and dryer sheets with my bedding?
- Could I natural citrus cleaning products?
- Can I find fragrance-free candles?
- What scents relax and sooth me?
Make a wish list of what you want and need to add to your bedroom sanctuary.
But no frantic shopping spree to buy a peaceful bedroom all at once.
Reign in your HSP intensity, say “no” to Perfectionism, and commit to adding new items gradually, enjoying them one at a time.
Using Your Bedroom as an HSP Sanctuary
Decluttering your bedroom will not automatically transform it into a sanctuary. Your bedroom will become your sanctuary as you seek sanctuary in it.
This also takes compassion and permission.
Compassion, rather than criticism, for your HSP self.
Permission to be tired, to need quiet, rest, and refuge.
If you find yourself resisting rest, remember that Jesus himself invites you to rest…
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
…and say “yes” by taking refuge in the One who offers true rest.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord,
“He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)
Wondering if you, too, might be an HSP?
Subscribe to Cheri’s blog and receive your FREE “HSP–Who, Me?” PDF!
You know you’re a die-hard Kathi Lipp fan when you set the alarm for 4:50.
On a Saturday morning.
As my friend, Amy, and I drove several hours to the Finally Clutter Free Conference, I wondered:
Do I really need to hear this?
After all, I’ve read Clutter Free. (Several times, in fact.) I’ve taken the 2014 Things Challenge. I’ve gone through the Kickstart to Clutter Free eCourse (14 Days, 500 Things, No Mercy) once and am half-way through it again.
But later that morning, I remembered:
Nothing compares to hearing Kathi live and in person!
Here are just a few highlights from the copious notes we took during Kathi’s three amazing Clutter Free messages and Kim Nowlin’s delightful bonus Clutter Free Wardrobe talk:
- “We can ignore our clutter for a while. But one day, it will bite you in the butt!” (Kathi tells it like it is!)
- “When your environment is cluttered, it restricts your brain’s ability to focus. Clutter competes for your attention.” (This was powerful. I could sense a difference in my heartrate and anxiety level just looking at “before” and then the “after” pictures.)
- “Creativity is on the other side of clutter.” (The more clutter I discard, the more creative I discover I am!)
- “Don’t keep stuff — only keep stories.” (POWERFUL decision-making filter!)
- “Get rid of clothes that talk down to you. I have enough negative voices in my head; I don’t need a jacket yelling at me, too!” (I’m feeling rather smug about the two bags of 40+ closet items ready for the Goodwill right now!)
- “If you’re crying in the fitting room, the problem is the clothes, not you!” (This may have had me crying in the front row…!)
- “Release anything that isn’t serving you so it can bless someone else!” (After hearing Kathi’s Nike story, I will never again debate giving away “perfectly usable” things!)
- “The only difference between a project and a crisis is TIME.” (Now we’re gettin’ personal!)
- “When there’s a PLAN, I’m taking care of my future self.” (How cool would it be for my present self to always say, “THANK YOU!!!” to my past self?!?)
If you haven’t attended a Finally Clutter Free Conference yet, find a location near you and get your ticket now!
Can’t find one scheduled near you? Find out how you can bring Kathi and her crew to town!
(Today’s blog post brought to you by Kathi’s co-author, partner-in-crime, and #1 FanGirl, Cheri Gregory.)
Too much clutter is a common problem in many families today, and it creates stress and conflict in our family relationships. It is important to remove the clutter from our homes and our lives so we can be freed up to be who God wants us to be.
Today, on Focus on the Family, Kathi encourages everyone to clear out the clutter as a way to start the New Year off right!
If you’re ready to kickstart the year, try Kickstart to Clutter Free, Kathi’s new ecourse!
Oh MY CLUTTER FREE FRIENDS!!! Months in the works, but our team is finally ready to unveil to you (FIRST)…
Kickstart to Clutter Free!!! 14 Days. 500 Things. No Mercy.
This 14 day E-course will get you kicked off to Clutter Free in the new year!
We discovered, after helping thousands of women get rid of their clutter with my book Clutter Free that the people who had the most success were the ones who committed to getting rid of a certain number of items from their house in a very focused amount of time. These are the women who saw long term success when it came to their clutter battle.
So we wanted to give you all the tools you would need in order to start your clutter free battle right.
14 motivational videos
a bunch of downloadable tools to help you along the way
So now, through Midnight PT January 1, you can get the ecourse for $8.99 (that’s $4 off…) but wait! there’s more!
Because you subscribe to this blog, we want to give you our lowest price ever! Just use the code INSIDER and you will get $6.00 off, That’s 50% off the regular price. here’s the link to take you there find out more and get the course for yourself!
But this offer is just for people who jump on it before the new year, so join us now, won’t you?
Are you a stepmom? One of the best ways not to feel like a wicked stepmother is to accept your husband just like he is. But how can you do it when you may be struggling to accept everything (and everyone) that comes with him?
Accepting Your Husband
- Remember that part of your paycheck belongs to another woman.
- Remember that his children came before you in time.
- Think about whether or not your heart is committed enough to his children.
- Remember he carries guilt for his part in a broken marriage.
- Remember he has to unlearn old patterns of relating and has to learn to live with you.
You can find more great info in my book But I’m Not a Wicked Stepmother!
This one is up to you! What is something you have always wanted to do this time of year but just never had the time? Today is the day to do that thing whether it’s a craft you want to make, a tradition you want to start, or time you want to spend with certain people.
If you can’t think of something, there are some great ideas in the book to give you a jump start. Because these projects have gotten you organized and totally prepared this Christmas, consider this a gift to yourself for all of your hard work. Enjoy!
Assignment: Do That One Extra Special Thing
Think of your own special task that you have wanted to do for years but have never had time for. Today is your day to do that thing.
Not sure what to do for your special project, how about having a party or get-together. Choose your least favorite Christmas job and make it a party with friends. Invite your friends over through a Clutter Free inspired invite from Evite.
Doesn’t it feel great to have everything done, ready, finished so you can really enjoy those last few days of the holiday season with your family?
For More Details: Get Yourself Organized For Christmas – Page 110