Let’s Get Rid of Some Stuff! Join the 2017 Spring Fling!

Let’s Get Rid of Some Stuff! Join the 2017 Spring Fling!

OK friends, it seems like we are all in need of a bit of help.

Recently, on my Facebook page, I asked the simple question: “What is your biggest clutter challenge? Your bedroom, kitchen, office, garage?”

The response, was a bit overwhelming to say the least. Here are just a few of the comments:

“Yes, all of it!! With 5 kids that don’t seem to have a cooperative bone in them (at least when it comes to organization and cleanliness), it is all a pit!” – Laura

“Desk. Because everything is ‘important’ and needs to be visible so I remember to do something with it, (she said from 6 feet under…).” – Diane

“Garage! No attic or basement so everything from extra files, books, bikes, tools, holiday decor & clothes (waiting for kids to grow into next size) are in there. It’s truly my nemesis!!” – Laura

“Oh, if I were to be truly honest, it would be my craft stash… yarn, beads, fabric…it totally takes over my office.” – Rita

And finally,

“Let’s be honest….all of it.” – Amanda

So here at Clutter Free we love a good clutter challenge. From the sounds of these responses, it seems like revving up for summer we are all in desperate need of one.

Starting May 1 and ending May 12th we will have our first annual “Spring Fling!” Here’s how it works:

1. Over 10 days, (weekends off to rest or, more likely, catch up,) you will be given one assigned room and instructions of what twenty items to “fling.”
2. We will have a private Facebook group where you can share your victories, get accountability, and share your photos of what you’ve “flinged!”
3. To participate, just make sure you are signed up to receive our blog, and then join our Facebook group.
4. At the end of the challenge, we will be picking a random winner from each day who completed the challenge to receive a copy of Kathi’s book The Cure for the Perfect Life, all about perfectionism, people-pleasing, preformancism and procrastination. (All things that lead to clutter!)

So let’s see, only 10 days and 200 things out of your house? What a great way to head into summer.
Won’t you join us for a Spring Fling? Your house will thank you.

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Episode #247: 7 Tips for Decluttering Sentimental Stuff

Episode #247: 7 Tips for Decluttering Sentimental Stuff

ListenNow
Kathi and cohost, Erin MacPherson discuss the 7 Tips for Decluttering Sentimenal Stuff. Kathi has been dealing with her own decluttering project and shows before and after pictures of her pantry.

The Clutter Free Bible Study group has done the top layer of decluttering but is now dealing with the things that have sentimental value or promote guilt. Together they came up with some tips for dealing with the next level of clearing out the clutter.

7 Tips for Decluttering Sentimental Stuff

  1. Start in the Kitchen  There are fewer sentimental items there.
  2. Put motto on the wall.  Keep it visible in a place where you can see it.
  3. Give it a final goodbye.  Take a picture and write a memory about it and then get rid of it.
  4. Remember when everything is precious, nothing is!  You can’t keep everything.  Some things you need to enjoy and let it go.
  5. Keep 3 things per person.  Three items that represent each person.  Curate what is important and pass the rest on to someone else.
  6. Don’t guilt others into keeping things.  
  7. Don’t value the past or the future and ignore the present.  The clutter of the past or saving things for the future can just crowd out your present life.

Just do little things and start small.  Let your house serve your present, not your past or your future.

 

Kathi’s Pantry Before and After

 

Taming the Paper Piles with Amy Carrol (Vlog)

Taming the Paper Piles with Amy Carrol (Vlog)

Taming the paper piles

Paper, paper everywhere! Do you have more paper piles in the form of mail, bills, and notes than you know what to do with? Amy has a simple system to help you tame the paper monster.

Today Amy shows you her notebook system she’s used for several years to help tame the paper piles. It was especially helpful when her kids were small, but even now she uses it to organize papers and keep everything she needs at her fingertips.

One Small Win: Make a family notebook to corral your papers.

Amy Carroll

Amy Carroll

Amy Carroll is a speaker, writer, and International Initiatives Coordinator with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s the author of Breaking Up with Perfect as well as the director and coach of Next Step Speaker Services. Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC with a bossy miniature dachshund. You can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, reading a book, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner.

Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org

Simplifying with Seasonal Planning

Simplifying with Seasonal Planning

seasonal planning

Planning out goals for the New Year can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are SO many opportunities, the world is our oyster. So we often start strong, ambitious; thinking this is the year we’re going to do all of the things.

But then reality sets in and we realize maybe we can’t do everything, but if we can’t do everything can we do some of the things? Anything? Or do we get stuck in the overwhelm?

How to utilize seasonal planning

I’d like to suggest a better way of planning out our goals. It’s what I call quarterly or “seasonal” planning. One of the greatest changes in my life has come from shifting my perspective from chasing “balance” in my life to embracing seasons.

I’ve learned that I don’t really believe in “balance” when it comes to time management. I think it’s a good thing in theory but balance implies some kind of equal distribution of time, energy and resources. And in reality, that’s just not possible. We don’t divide our 24 hours into equal parts where all of our roles get the exact amount of our time, energy, and attention. That would be balance.

Really our lives are made up of rhythms and consist of seasons.

By seasons I mean seasons of life sure, but also annual seasons; winter, spring, summer fall.

Every season brings with it opportunities and limitations and when we work within a seasonal framework we are better able to maximize our time.

I would guess that your calendar also moves with the seasons whether you are intentional about planning projects and goals around them or not.

If I break my calendar into four quarters, that gives me four unique opportunities to work on goals and projects. When I plug in opportunities and limitations based on seasons I have a better idea of how to maximize my year.

Let me give you a few personal examples based on some of my own seasonal opportunities and limitations.\

Spring:

Opportunity– our school year is wrapping up so I have more time to focus on work projects.

Limitation– my youngest plays baseball so on Monday and Friday afternoons I have to plan on getting him to practice, but I also have a window of time to run errands or read a book while waiting for him. I know this commitment will be over before the summer begins so I can plan accordingly.

Summer:

Opportunity– kids are out of school and we usually plan a vacation during this time. There is ample opportunity for play and rest. It’s also a great time to tackle larger home projects.

Limitation– because the kids are home I have to get creative about keeping them entertained while I work so I often use this time to plan and grow by taking a class or attending a conference rather than take on new work projects.

These are just some very simple examples but you can see how taking into account our family’s seasonal responsibilities can affect how much I decide to add to my schedule.

Perhaps you have your own seasonal opportunities and limitations. They may include:
• work deadlines
• family celebrations, holidays, birthdays
• health limitations (think seasonal allergies)
• seasonal church or ministry responsibilities
• conferences or classes
• vacations
• back to school and end of school year events and responsibilities

seasonal planning

One Small Win: Spring is just around the corner and it might be a great time to consider your own rhythms and seasons and the role they might play in how you plan out the rest of your year.

DOWNLOAD: Click here to download a quarterly planner.


seasonal planningZohary Ross is a life coach, speaker and author of the Aligned Parenting Workbook. Zohary is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to have clearly defined “most importants” and live out their values and priorities. Connect with Zohary at http://zoharyross.com/.

Are You Overwhelmed by an Unfinished Project?

Are You Overwhelmed by an Unfinished Project?

When my son, Jonathon, was seven, he was totally into Monopoly.

I went on eBay and found a Monopoly clock, Monopoly mug, and then struck the Monopoly motherlode: Monopoly fabric!

Started

I bought enough to make a quilt, pillows, and curtains.

I signed up for a quilt-making class, where I cut a lot of the fabric into a lot of strips. I even sewed some of the strips into T shapes.

Then–-as is so typical for my Expressive personality–-I ran out of steam.

Stopped

I quickly became overwhelmed by all the attention to detail that making a “T Quilt” requires.

I didn’t want details; I wanted a quilt!

So, I set the project aside. Then bagged it up. Eventually, stored it in the garage.

For. Ten. Years.

Stored

A decade later, when I pulled out the box that held the bag holding all the Monopoly fabric, my heart took a fantastical leap.

“I can finish this now … or this summer … or next year!” I started thinking.

But thanks to Clutter Free, I knew that my habit of storing stuff was not good stewardship.

Letting of an unfinished project

So I took photos of the Monopoly fabric and posted them on Facebook with the note, “Free to good home.”

Sherry, an acquaintance, responded immediately. An avid quilter, she offered to take, and promised to use, all my quilting fabric and supplies.

Then–-as is so typical for my Expressive personality–-I forgot all about the fabric. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m an idea gal, a starter, so I moved on to new projects.

Two years later, Sherry blessed me with photos of the quilt that I started and she so lovingly finished:

unfinished project

It looks better than I ever imagined!

She gave the quilt to a family member who was thrilled to receive it and adores using it.

What started-stopped-and-stored project can you give away today?

One Small Win: You don’t have to hang on to the quilt…or the guilt. You don’t need to finish what you started. You can let someone else take it from here.

unfinished project


personal manifesto

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (24), also opposite personalities.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? Take the self-quiz and discover the surprising strengths of a tender heart.

Cleaning the Kitchen: Practical Ways to Cut Complaining & Get it Done

Cleaning the Kitchen: Practical Ways to Cut Complaining & Get it Done

“I didn’t make this mess. So why do I have to clean it up?”

For years, I heard these words of protest from my kids when it was their turn to clean up the kitchen.

Sometimes, I responded with a snarky comeback about all my years of selfless diaper-changing. Other times, I cleaned up the kitchen myself.

Honestly, whenever I took care of the kitchen on my own, I caught myself thinking the exact same thing:

I didn’t make this mess. So why do I have to clean it up?

The problem with cleaning the kitchen

Our protests reveal our belief that whoever makes the kitchen mess should be the one to clean it up.

As with so many time-honored cliches, this seems so logical.

Like, “You break it; you fix it.”

And, “You make your bed; you lie in it.”

“You mess it, you clean it.”

It just felt right.

But it caused all sorts of overwhelmingly negative feelings, such as annoyance, frustration, irritation, and resentment. (Just for starters.)

A different way of thinking

A few years ago, I realized there are valid exceptions to the “you mess it, you clean it” rule.

1. Sometimes, the person who makes the kitchen mess has done so to bless the family, or perhaps a houseful of guests, with a delicious meal. Since they’ve done all the work of fixing the food, it’s only fair for others to pitch in and help with the clean-up.

2. Other times, the kitchen stays messy while a cleaning-related process is happening, such as running the dishwasher or waiting for pots and pans in the drainer to air dry.

3. Often, it’s impossible to figure out “who made this mess.” When we try, we end up in petty arguments:

– “No, that’s not my knife. I put my knife in the dishwasher already!”
– “Those aren’t my crumbs. I know how to use a sponge!”
– “The stain in the sink is green. I never fix green food.”

Our solution to cut the complaining

Instead of wasting our time and energy fretting about “who made this mess?” we started asking ourselves one simple question when entering the kitchen:

“How can I move the kitchen to its next stage?”

Together, we came up with a list of kitchen stages and necessary actions:

Stage:                                                                              Action:
The sink is full of dishes.                                                  Put them in the dishwasher.
The dishwasher is full.                                                     Run it.
The dishwasher is clean.                                                 Empty it.
The dishes in the drainer are dry.                                  Put them away.
The counters are crumby.                                               Wipe them down.

This one simple change in focus produced surprising results.

1. We’ve quit worrying about “Who made the mess?” and accepted the fact kitchens get messy.
2. We’ve all taken ownership of the kitchen. And its messes and clean-up.
3. We’ve become more considerate. We realize when we each do our small part, the “next stage” requires far less work.

Making it work for you

Your kitchen stages may well be different than ours. And if you have younger children, you’ll want to break the various stages and actions into micro-steps. Perhaps even make a stages flow chart and wipe-off checklist to put on the fridge.

Consider printing and posting 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 as a reminder that while we are unique individuals, God calls us to work together as one.

One Small Win: However you choose to do it, intentionally change the protest “I didn’t make this mess!” to the question “How can I move the kitchen to its next stage?”

You’ll say, “Good-bye” to overwhelming negativity.

And “Hello” to cooperation in the kitchen.


personal manifestoCheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (24), also opposite personalities.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?  Take the self-quiz and discover the surprising strengths of a tender heart.