Do you brace yourself for decluttering? Roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth and plough through it? This Saturday, how about turning that grimness into something a whole lot more fun – welcome to your Decluttering Spa, where self care meets joy in an uplifting and energizing way.

Set the scene by getting a good night’s sleep. Perhaps some morning stretches before a delicious breakfast. A brisk walk outside to enjoy the sunshine and then hop into the shower. Yes, you’ll get grubby again but approaching a task as if it’s a pleasure, something you’re looking forward to, helps set the intention for your decluttering time. Get dressed in comfortable clothes that don’t make you feel like you just scoured the rag bag for the most unflattering sweatpants you have. Maybe even throw on a little lipstick.

Select your soundtrack. Is it the sounds of nature, birds chirping through an open window? Soothing background music or do you prefer take charge music with a strong beat and sing along lyrics? It’s your Spa, you get to choose.

If you’re okay with scents, light a candle or start your diffuser. Choose a fragrance that’s light and encouraging.

Before you get started, take a moment and take three breaths just for you. Calm in breaths, deep and relaxing out breaths. Think about what you’re doing and why.

Set the timer for 20 minutes and begin! No matter what, take a break when the timer rings. Stretch, do five jumping jacks, drink some water. Either stop when it rings or reset it for another 20 minutes.

At the end of your session, take a few minutes to congratulate yourself on a job well done and then change out of your decluttering clothes, take another shower if you need to and then head on out to the rest of your day. Relaxed, refreshed, radiant in the knowledge that you’re taking action to deal with your clutter.

P.S. As you leave, don’t forget to make an appointment for your next visit to the decluttering spa. We’ll see you soon!

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

 

Want a beautifully organized closet? Here are the rules you absolutely must follow:

  1. You must hang your clothes by type.
  2. You must hang your clothes by color.
  3. You must hang your clothes by size.
  4. You must hang your clothes by season.
  5. You must hang your clothes in outfits.
  6. You must hang your clothes by the occasion you’ll wear them.
  7. You must hang your clean clothes and keep the dirty clothes on the closet floor.
  8. You must hang your clothes in order of cleanliness.
  9. You must put all your sports bras in drawers.
  10. You must put all your sports bras in baskets.
  11. You must hang all your sports bras on the hangers they came with.
  12. You must fold your shirts.
  13. You must roll your shirts.
  14. You must hang your shirts.
  15. You must hang your jeans in order of color.
  16. You must fold your jeans and keep them on the top shelf.
  17. You must roll your jeans and put them in a basket.
  18. Your shoes must go on the floor of the closet.
  19. Your shoes must go in boxes.
  20. You shoes must go on a shoe rack.

Are you ready to tear your hair out yet? The secret to an organized closet is to throw out all the rules you’ve picked up along the way from magazines, mothers, blog posts, TV shows, movies and catalogs. And then think about what sort of clothes you have, how you’d like to keep them, and what’ll be easiest for you to maintain. Here are a few non-binding suggestions that’ll help you figure out what works for you.

Go with whatever makes it easiest for you to put clothes away. We’re motivated to get things out, but putting them away is more tedious.

The easiest way to feel like you have an instant closet upgrade is to use uniform hangers. Whatever kind you like, use all the same color or style or material.

  • Banish any hangers you got from the dry cleaners. They’re too thin and don’t give your clothes enough support.
  • Velvet hangers had so much promise but wrestling clothes on and off them gets old fast.

Decluttering all the clothes you never wear will make things substantially easier. You may have iron clad reasons for keeping them but if you haven’t worn them in five years, you really aren’t going to.

Keeping sentiment clothing elsewhere will free up some space. Why keep your college t-shirts in the current pile of t-shirts if you know you’ll never wear them?

Remember, clothes are functional and/or fun. You either wear something because you need to or because it makes you feel good. Preferably both. If you’re keeping anything for another reason, please think twice before allowing that item space in your closet.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Does your closet baffle you? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

Living in a cluttered house is like sitting down to do a jigsaw puzzle. But you have three 1,500 piece puzzles mixed up in the box and only room on the table to do a 500 piece puzzle. Something’s got to give.

Sort out the pieces and find the edges. These are the things you absolutely need. There are three puzzles’ worth though, so some of them will still have to go.

Once you’ve set up the edges, it’s time to tackle the middle pieces. No matter how you look at it, there are still way too many pieces. To stretch our metaphor a little bit, some of these pieces belong to a puzzle you finished years ago. Some of them belong to a puzzle you hope to have one day. The rest are what’ll fit in today’s puzzle with the edges you have.

Let the decluttering begin! Remember, you can still like something and let it go. Yes, it’ll be hard. There’ll be a twinge. But how are you enjoying your space right now?

There’s no perfect situation in life, so choose your hard: will it be hard to declutter or hard to live in your space? Then choose your reward: will it be lovely to not have to make these decisions, to have everything you could ever conceivably need somewhere, whether or not you can find it, or will it be lovely to have just enough and some clear space in your surroundings?

What if you simultaneously want to keep all the pieces and finish the puzzle? I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible. If you despair of your clutter, but are unable to let it go, it may be time to bring in a therapist. They’ll help you get past whatever’s making your brain think it needs all your stuff for your survival.  I know it sounds silly, but on some level, part of your brain knows the prime directive is to protect you. It’s gotten the idea that saving all this stuff is doing that, so let a therapist help you untangle that data glitch so you can get the clutter out of your space.

What if you love all your puzzle pieces and you’d rather keep them all than complete the puzzle? That’s okay, let yourself accept that fact and enjoy your stuff. And if you realize that you actually quite enjoy endlessly trying to do impossible puzzles, why then your clutter is serving you very nicely indeed. It’s keeping you off the streets, giving you a good reason not to do other things, possibly keeping people you don’t care for away from your space. If this is you, please keep the pathways clear for safety’s sake and carry on trying to turn three puzzles into one to your heart’s content.

But if you want to do the puzzle and are having a hard time sorting out all the pieces, there are people out there who’d love to help. If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

 

Longmont Times-Call column June 2019

Send it away Saturday: Sewing and craft items have expiration date

Just like that dubious carton of cottage cheese lurking at the back of the fridge, sewing and craft supplies come with a built in expiration date. Every piece of yarn and fabric that seems so fresh and new right now will eventually come to feel as dated as those dresses you sewed that had you blending in with your gorgeous floral couches. This year, can you take a brave look at your supplies and let go of the ones you know in your heart you’ll never use? I’m looking at you, metallic yarn, perfect for an eighties sweater that never got made. And you, country pastel pink and green fabric with that charming duck and geese motif. If you didn’t use it back when it was in fashion, what are the odds you’re going to this year?

If you’re vigorously shaking your head and telling me I’m wrong, please make this the year you create something with that stuff. Marie Kondo is in the news a lot right now with her Netflix show on decluttering and while there’s a lot about her philosophy that drives me nuts, she’s onto something with the “spark joy” thing. When you look at the fabric in your craft room, your eye scans until you find something that just feels right.  It glosses over all the stuff that’s boring or faded or usable but just not right.

The secret is to pay attention to that feeling. Yes, it’s perfectly good fabric. Yes, you could definitely make a quilt or a table runner out of it. But you haven’t and you won’t, because you don’t love it.

If history is any guide, you won’t ever use it. You’ll find a way to get more fabric, more yarn, more embroidery thread. That’s why the craft room is overflowing, so why not put that mushroom quilted fabric out of its misery and let it go? Imagine it literally stinking, like that old cottage cheese in the back of the fridge. Or the potato that got away from you in the back of the pantry. Only fresh, useful, lovely things for your craft room!

If this feels too drastic, consider tagging such things with a label that says December 31, 2019. If that date rolls by and it’s still sitting there unused, then it’s time to let it go. Years ago I had a client who marked a bag of expensive yarn she didn’t like but felt she’d paid too much for to donate with the impossibly far off date of January 2019. Surely by then she would have used it. I wonder if she ever did or if she’s come across it this year in her annual New Year’s purge?

If you think you definitely will use the thing you’re having a hard time relinquishing, write “gold yarn” on the December 31st square of your planner as a reminder to either send me a photo of the gorgeous thing you made out of it, or take it to the donate box.

This Saturday, please have a look at your craft supplies and see what you still love and what’s past its expiration date. Take 20 minutes a day to sort through the supplies. If you love it, make this the year you use it. If you only feel mildly interested in it, it can go. If you hate it, get it out of there! A cluttered crowded craft room is discouraging and hard to work in. A craft room with space for the supplies you love and will use is a beautiful, useful thing. Once you have the outdated, uninteresting supplies out of there, you’ll be amazed how much more creative you’ll be.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC

lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

Everything feels better with an organized home!

A perfectly ordinary looking love seat lurks in your family room. No one really sits on it, it’s just there, taking up space.

And yet if you dare to think about getting it out of your space, this completely average piece of furniture starts flexing its muscles and daring you to let it go.

“I was your Aunt’s.  She gave me to you. You can’t let me go!”

“I’m useful. You have to keep me even if you don’t like me. What if you have people over and you need a love seat?”

“You’ll never get another love seat. You’re lucky you even have me. Without me, you’ll have nothing.”

“I’ve always been here! I belong to you, you can’t let just anyone have me. Don’t send me to Goodwill! Find me the perfect home!”

“It’s wasteful to get rid of perfectly good furniture. You have to keep me.”

“I go with the couch and the reclining armchair. You can’t separate things, you have to keep the set!”

Methinks the piece of furniture doth protest too much. Why are you letting yourself be bullied by an inanimate object? It’s yours, but it doesn’t have to be. Take an objective look at how it fits into your life and see how you feel about it. Do you want, love or need it? No? Send it away Saturday!

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

 

This Saturday, your assignment is to head for the garage, scan the space and focus on the first thing you see hanging on the wall. Take a look at this thing. Snowshoes? Sounds legit, we usually store sports equipment in the garage or the basement.

But this is Send it away Saturday, so let’s take a step back and ask the tough question: do you use these snowshoes? Or are you holding onto them because although you last went snow shoeing 26 years ago, should you ever want to again, you won’t have to rent snow shoes?

Is this a false economy, given that at this rate, you’ll be using those snow shoes a maximum of two more times in your natural lifespan?

Are you in fact losing money by not selling said pair of once-used snow shoes?

This Saturday, ask these questions about just one item in your garage. Make one decision, and pat yourself on the back for taking that step. All this stuff we hold onto is just a bunch of decisions we’ve been putting off. Let’s make those decisions one at a time with our Send it away Saturdays.

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

You may not use a planner consistently, but in a chaotic world of surprises and change, there’s something temptingly attractive about the orderliness of a year neatly encapsulated by dates and appointments.

But a life isn’t so easily captured on paper.  It keeps happening, and all the careful planning in the world gets thrown away as you switch appointments last minute, reschedule coffee dates as other people’s schedules change, and spontaneously decide to ignore everything you’d planned to do today and head for the mountains.

That’s okay. Planners are great tools to attempt to corral a life in real time but they’re useless after the fact. Great idea to pencil in a reminder six months ahead as you leave the dentist’s office, but no need to keep an historical record of visits past. The dentist will call you to schedule your next cleaning regardless.

This Saturday, can you let go of a planner from years gone by? And if you’re just not using this year’s planner, can you let go of that too?

© 2013 – 2019 Joyful Surroundings LLC. All rights reserved.


Joyful Surroundings LLC – (720) 526-2114 – lucy@joyfulsurroundingsllc.com

Need a helping hand dealing with your clutter? If you’re in the Boulder County/Longmont area, here’s how to work with me. If you’re further afield, here’s how to hire a professional organizer.

Everything feels better with an organized home!