Eps. #265 Clutter Free Mornings Breakfast Strategy

Eps. #265 Clutter Free Mornings Breakfast Strategy

Ever feel like you will never get a handle on your breakfast routine? Kathi Lipp guides us in this episode to developing strategies with several practical tips that will help you to eat healthier and be less stressed for breakfast.

Get unstuck with a variety of different tools to aid in easier cooking, recipe ideas, prep ideas for ahead of time, and storage ideas that Kathi shares to take the hassle out of breakfast. Come on in and get your breakfast time rejuvenated!

*Bonus: GET A FREE DOWNLOAD of 30 breakfast ideas from Kathi!*

When Cheap Costs

When Cheap Costs

Cheap Costs

My friend Kevin’s mom was famous for explaining away any purchase she wanted to make by saying, “But, it on SALEEEEEE…”

For most of my life, I was just like Kevin’s mom. If there was a deal to be had, that was all the justification I needed to make the purchase.

Cheap goods are never without a cost.

As I’ve gone deeper into my Clutter Free life, I’ve come to understand a core truth: Cheap goods are never without a cost.

1. Cheap goods cost us space.

Cheap goods we don’t need but justify because they are on sale (or already cheap), take up room in our houses. We need a way to store these things on top of the other things we’re already keeping.

2. Cheap goods cost us time.

If clutter is a problem, then the minutes every day you spend looking for lost items, moving stacks, and dealing with clutter are slowly chipping away at your life.

3. Cheap goods cost us money.

A dollar here and there adds up. I’ve noticed a correlation between those who struggle with clutter and those who struggle with spending. We stockpile things we think we’ll need in the future, while not stockpiling what we will really need—money.

4. Cheap goods cost us our integrity.

Many of those cheap goods are produced on the backs of others—slave and child labor in foreign countries. Since I’ve stopped buying lots of clothes (I’ve bought five items in 2017,) I’ve been able to buy better quality items I know aren’t made with slave or child labor. As a practicing Christian, I need to be aware that I may have slaves working for me, even if they are half a world away. What is my moral obligation?

As I go deeper into my Clutter Free journey, these are the things I need to consider.

I’m not saying that bargain shopping is bad. Quite the opposite. The biggest bargain is not buying things you don’t need.

Break the Cheap Goods Habit

So if you’ve developed an addiction to cheap goods, how do you go about breaking it?

1. Shop with a list.

Always know what you’re going into the store for, and come out with just that. When Roger and I go shopping at Costco, we have a massive list. (We only go once a month and buy most of our food there.) At Costco, we do allow ourselves one indulgence, usually through the samples that are pushed like drug dealers.This month it was the prepared chicken salad. Oy. Vey.

The list rule applies for Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, or any other store we might be tempted. Bring a list. Stick to the list.

2.Stay Accountable.

If you know you struggle with sticking to your needs, ask a friend (or the Clutter Free group) to keep you accountable. It’s so much easier to resist temptation if you know someone is going to be checking up on you.

3. Budget.

If you’re saving up for something bigger and better, it’s easier to say no to the nonsense. We use the You Need A Budget (YNAB) app and love it. We remind ourselves that we can have anything we want, as long as we budget for it.

4. Realize it’s OK to have nice things.

We didn’t bring home any souvenirs from our recent vacation except books, a nice shirt for Roger, and one thing for me. In a little shop in Victoria, there was a woman selling handmade soaps. I found an orange and ginger soap that smelled like heaven. I fell in love.

Normally, I’m a basic soap girl. We have a large container of Soft Soap that we use to refill all the soap dispensers in the house. Cheap and easy. But I realized a few things:

*I loved this soap and would enjoy it while it lasted.
*I was supporting another woman’s livelihood.
*It isn’t clutter. When it’s used, it’s gone.

I bought the soap.

I love the soap. Guess what, I use the soap. And I don’t feel guilty about the price tag because that little piece of soap lines up with my Clutter Free values. And that? Is worth every penny.

Surprising Clutter: You Will Never Guess What I Found Under My Couch

Surprising Clutter: You Will Never Guess What I Found Under My Couch

I started wading through the clutter in January. One week later I was disheartened. There was still a lot to do. I shared my dismay with my brave friend who had come over and worked alongside me for a bit, she said, “It will take a year.” She reminded me this was a process and that it would take more than a weekend to declutter. And here I am today, still working on organizing, decluttering, de-junking my house. I have made some progress and have discovered some surprising clutter.

The piles of toy parts, the box of notes from high school, and the bags of stained baby clothes, I expected. However, I was surprised to discover hidden pockets of clutter of a different variety. These were things I thought I would never misplace or lose track of. I unearthed encouraging words left unsaid, found compliments piled in the corners like stacks of magazines, and discovered a hoard of fun under the couch.

Surprising clutter 

I found a box full of family time that still had the packing tape on it from our last move. Nothing really prepared me for the waves of regret that quickly eroded my pride in the progress I had made. The cost of clutter had not really hit me until that moment; clutter steals and hoards what we are capable of giving to others.

I had not realized that my disheveled closet was hoarding confidence or that the chaotic art room had my children’s creative tendencies squirreled away in half empty crayon boxes and dried up paint bottles. I started to think that maybe we just weren’t as creative, fun or as kind as we used to be, but it was just that the clutter had taken over and obscured these attributes from our hearts and minds. My creative, kind and fun-loving family was there all along.

It was just that we could only see the mess.

It didn’t take me long to realize I could not hold on to the the regret that came along with this discovery. I certainly could not afford to stockpile regret, so out it went and in came a new way of living and loving.

How to clear out the surprising clutter

As we clear the clutter, we discover that our hearts expand to give more generously to those we love most, and isn’t that what we all want? I don’t need the old train table the kids played with years ago or the 20 reusable grocery bags that have taken over my side entryway, I do need every bit of my capacity to encourage my children and to love my husband well.

My words of affirmation and kindness must be said, otherwise they are just as useless as the boxes of VHS tapes in the basement. The fun hoard, along with the dust bunnies and dog toys, needs to come out from under the couch, so that our home can be a place of joy.

Clearing the clutter allows our hearts to be tuned into what is most important — the people we do life with. As I continue to declutter my home I am now more excited about what I will gain. An expanded heart ready to jump into joy, fun and love versus what I will lose.

 


You can read more from Bethany Howard at bethanyhoward.com. She writes about finding fuel for joy and growth in the details of the daily. Her greatest leadership exercise has been her roles as wife and mom to three. She is a graduate of Leverage: The Speaker Conference.

 

 

Creating a Project Management Notebook: The Right To-Do List

Creating a Project Management Notebook: The Right To-Do List

For years I tried to manage all I had to do on one to-do list. I tried prioritizing that list using various methods, all without success.

The problem with having one list is it’s like trying to force a semi-truck to drive down a country lane next to a bicycle. Or force my size 9 feet into dainty size 6 shoes. Some things just don’t fit. Here’s an example of what my list used to look like:

1. Make orthodontist appointment for Robbie
2. Plan Dylan’s birthday party
3. Deposit check
4. Redesign blog
5. Buy dog food
6. Clean the house

These are all normal things a woman might do. So, what was the problem?

The problem is three of those items aren’t simple tasks. Calling the orthodontist’s office takes one step, and it’s done. Boom. Check that baby off the list! But planning a party, redesigning a blog, and clean the house are made up of multiple tasks. To put them on a to-do list is just asking for failure.

Here’s what I’ve learned: cleaning the house isn’t a task. It’s a project. Projects don’t belong on a to-do list. Only single-step tasks belong there.

Once I realized the mistake I’d been making for years, I tossed my to-do list and started fresh.

Then I did something brave. I did a complete inventory of everything I needed to do. It took days to complete. I decided to include immediate needs and everything I’d been putting off. The small and the big all got listed.

Once I was sure I’d captured everything, I sat down and had a good cry. My life was seriously out of control.

Drying my tears, I reviewed the monstrous list and divided it into two categories: one-step tasks and multi-step projects. That was better. But I wasn’t done yet. I looked at all the projects, and realized some of them were urgent and others weren’t. Then I divided that list into current and future projects.

There was one more step. Since every big project is completed one step at a time, I realized I needed to add tasks to each of my projects. So I got some more paper and started to list all the tasks I could think of for each project.

These lists became the foundation of my project management notebook. And yes, I did put it in a three-ring binder. I know I could have created a digital notebook, but there was something about putting it on paper that made it real for me. Although I still had a lot to do, having it all in one place brought relief.

Now, writing my to-do list for the day is like going to a buffet and picking a piece of chicken here and a scoop of mac and cheese there. I look over my master lists and only put on my to-do list the tasks I can realistically accomplish that day. I might pick a simple task, like make an appointment, then pull another task from a project list.

This system revolutionized my approach to getting work done. It also eliminated a few of my reasons for procrastination, which included forgetting things (now they were in my safe place) and feeling overwhelmed when I looked at a big project on my to-do list.

Now my to-do list might have five items on it, rather than 25. Five is much more manageable. And when I finish those five, I can go back for more from my project management list.

Over the years, this system has actually helped me manage my workload so well that I don’t have to create massive master lists anymore. The process helped me realize I’d taken on too much, and I did some serious editing. But when I get overloaded—and it still does happen—I know to go back and create that master list again.

Heavenly Father, thank You for creating order. Help me bring order to my to-do list and manage my workload more efficiently. I want to bring glory to you in every area of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Related Resources:
If you need more margin in your life, you might appreciate this recent post on Glynnis’ blog.

Create a master list of everything you need to do – now and in the future. Put it all in one place and then divide it into tasks and projects.

surprising clutter

Sleep Like a Baby: How to Have a Clutter-Free Mind

Sleep Like a Baby: How to Have a Clutter-Free Mind

clutter-free mind

Have you ever had a time when you secretly crowned yourself the Clutter-Free Queen of your house, and then you remembered the storage space under your basement stairs? You know, the storage space that was supposed to be only for Christmas decorations, but now houses every holiday decoration your child ever made from preschool through high school?

I, too, had one of those moments when I recently discovered a forgotten storage space in my life where I kept outdated and unwanted items. My storage space is smaller than the closet under the stairs, but it has enormous storage capacity. You guessed right, it’s in my mind!

Don’t Panic!

If you haven’t de-cluttered your brain yet, you don’t need to throw away your prized tiara. The mind can be conquered just like every other closet and drawer we face. When we successfully delete all the unnecessary information in our minds, we create room for new and peaceful thoughts during the day, and for restful sleep at night.

When we are at rest, particularly at night, our entire being, the mind, body, soul and spirit reaps the benefits. As I discovered while researching my book, Winning the Battle for the Night, unresolved issues in our mind often disturb our sleep at night.

As a Christian, I know from scripture that God gives us sleep. And the night should be a time for rejuvenation, rest and even revelation from God. Our Father did not intend for human beings to lie awake, tossing and turning on their beds all night.

Is a clutter-free mind possible?

Actually, have you ever heard the phrase, “I slept like a baby”? Well, God’s intention for us is to sleep like a healthy baby, in perfect peace. I believe this is the picture God had in mind when He designed our body for sleep. And yet, our mind robs us of the rest we were designed to receive at night.

The astonishing fact is that this small area of our body, weighing just three pounds, holds more than all our books, files, pictures and memorabilia combined. You may have a garage full of filing cabinets you purged. Maybe thousands of files shredded, but the brain can hold so much more information than anything you’ve ever shredded, trashed, or given over for consignment.

The brain holds about 25 million books worth of information. In computer storage terms that would be as much as 1000 terabytes of information. In comparison, the National Archives of Britain holds 900 years of history, which are contained in 70 terabytes.

Don’t worry!

Not everything in our brain has to be deleted before you can have a restful night of sleep. Deleting unnecessary files in your mind is not like the reformatting process for a computer in which all the files are deleted. A lobotomy isn’t necessary. We do have valuable information stored in our mind. Just as on a computer hard drive, there are many good files.

However, as I began an inventory in the filing cabinets stored in my brain, I was both shocked and embarrassed by what I found. I kind of felt the same way when I opened my closet in front of my neighbor and my belongings started tumbling out the door.

With the desire to sleep like a baby as my motivator, I decided it was time to look at my inventory and de-clutter my brain. Some of the contents of my filing cabinets were files that were decades old. I hadn’t looked at them for years, but they were still there, taking up space. Talk about cobwebs!

So here’s my list of seven storage cabinets that I’ve readied for removal.

1. Failures
2. Betrayals
3. Regrets
4. Disappointments
5. Conflicts
6. Accusations
7. Shame

Now What?

This storage space is not as easy to deal with as the closet under the stairs. I can’t put the contents in the dumpster or take them to Goodwill. So I devised a two-step method. It is called Give and Receive. Here’s how it works:

GIVE: Rather than calling a shredding service to shred all the files out of my seven cabinets, I took each file and gave it to God. Some files were harder to part with than others, but my desire for better sleep provided the power to pry the file loose from my grip. The surprising thing about giving the filing cabinets to Him was that He gave me something good to replace each file I gave Him. The shredding company never gave me anything for my files except a bill!

In order to benefit from God’s generosity, I need to anticipate and be willing to participate in an exchange with Him. This is the second step—receive.

RECEIVE: God is the ultimate Giver. He is resourceful, imaginative, and knows exactly what I need to receive. Here is a list of the seven exchanges I received from Him.

1. Courage to try again in place of failures.
2. Comfort for the pain of betrayals.
3. Hope for the future in place of regrets.
4. Joy in the place of disappointments.
5. Love to cover the conflicts.
6. Blessing to replace the accusations.
7. Forgiveness for all my shame.

clutter-free mind

Your brain may not have as many cabinets tucked as mine did. Regardless of how many you have, think about focusing on one cabinet a week. Give God the contents of your cabinets. Once you’ve taken this first step, the next step is easy, just receive what God gives you in exchange for what you released to Him.

You will be amazed at what He has already planned to give you! He has been waiting for this opportunity to fill your mind with good things. As you enjoy the fruit of your hard work—a clutter free mind, you’ll find sleeping like a baby comes more easily.

clutter-free mind


clutter-free mindFaith Blatchford, Author of Winning the Battle For the Night: God’s Plan for Sleep, Dreams and Revelation is also a conference speaker and composer. She has a B.A. in Religion from Vassar College. She is a pastoral counselor, as well as a creativity coach and sleep/dream consultant. Her goal whether in writing, speaking or personal ministry is to help people experience freedom in every area of life through deep connection with God, the giver of hope.