My January Blog Overview

In this month’s post you will find information and inspiration about the following things:

New Beginnings
Time Out


Enough was enough.
My hoarding tenancies have been discussed numerous times in therapy and after a stern talking to myself, I decided to tackle the issue once and for all.
I read a vast number of blog posts and web articles for inspiration.
I decided that 2018 was the year to take practical steps to conquer intentional de-cluttering.

The most influential learnings I want to share with you, if hoarding is a problem and de-cluttering is a goal are as follows:

1. Prepare for the occasion.
Set aside some time to take action.
Purchase storage containers, bin bags and cardboard boxes.
Understand that it’s likely to be a challenging task.
Take photos when it’s at it’s worst.

2. Create an inventory of mini projects.
Visit each room of your house and record a list of every smaller de-cluttering project you can identify.
Number the items on your list and know how many overall de-cluttering projects you have.
(Don’t worry if the number feels huge).
Type up and print out your list.
Have a writing pen and high lighter at the ready.

3. Understand the de-cluttering categories.
Bin – because it’s totally unusable.
Charity – because I no longer need it but someone else will.
Sell – because it’s in good condition and I can recoup some of the value.
Store – because I am not sure I can part with it yet.
Keep – because it serves a viable purpose in my life.

4. Start with the easiest mini-projects first.
Choose something to de-clutter that you are ready to tackle.
Choose something that you excited to sort out.
Choose something you know you can achieve in a relatively short amount of time.
This will build a sense of accomplishment and fuel your motivation.

5. Strike completed projects off the list immediately.
Run your highlighter pen over the item on the list as soon as you have completed it.
Use your writing pen to make notes of any additional actions:
E.g. buy dividers to better organise the file or replace the broken wash basket or ask Dave if he would like our spare shovel etc.
Take additional photos of completed spaces. Track your progress visually.

6. Have a de-cluttering buddy.
This is someone that can motivate you when times get tough.
Your partner, a friend you can message, a hoarding support group or a therapist.
You are likely to ‘hit the wall’ on more than one occasion.
You will strike the easy projects off the list and then encounter challenges that feel much harder.
Communicate with your buddy for supportive motivation when this happens.

7. See the process as a first phase.
Go through your list once (however long that takes) and just do what you can.
Strive to then repeat the process, becoming more ruthless each time.

8. Time Allocations
Don’t over do it. It can be exhausting.
Don’t allow it to run on; give overall deadlines to projects, rooms and the entire de-cluttering mission.

9. Have holding spaces.
This was essential for my success.
I could place things into a ‘holding container’ but I couldn’t necessarily throw certain things out.
If I had a strong emotional attachment to something it could feel impossible to let go of.
Okay, so I used the concept of moving it to another place e.g. a designated storage box.
This didn’t necessarily mean it would be permanently removed but it gave me an opportunity to reconsider life without it. With it out of the way I could ask myself do I want it back.
That provided a totally different reflection compared to can I let it go.
With things I still wasn’t sure about, I decided to keep them in the holding spaces and then reevaluate at a later stage.

10. Be patient with yourself.
If you have accumulated and hoarded your belongings for a number of years, this won’t be an overnight success.
Be prepared to allocate a sensible period of time to completing the task, relevant to the size of the hoard and the degree of attachment 3 months / 6 months / 12 months.

New Beginnings

When a new year arrives it’s almost impossible not to ask,
“What do I want from the year ahead?”
It’s an opportunity to take our learning from the previous year and expand our personal growth.

In November 2017 I was sent an email by a college I had studied with previously,
asking if I would like a place on a course they were running in 2018.
I was really tempted but I felt like I had a full schedule already and I wasn’t totally sure that it was a training avenue that I wanted to pursue.
So I spent weeks deliberating over what to do.

In the end I asked myself if there would be a compromise and sure enough there was.
Try it before fully committing to it.
That is what I did and from the first class I knew I had made the right decision.

I wonder if the lesson here is ‘trust your gut’ but for times when incisiveness kicks in, the lesson I want to focus on is
“What’s the compromise?”
If a new beginning seems to be calling you and you are not able to, for whatever reason, make the leap wholeheartedly, what can you do to compromise?
How can you have a little of what you want right now, until the time is right to have it all?


Time Out

The Festive period is known as time when we are ‘expected’ to meet the needs of many.
It also follows the ‘busiest period’ for many of us.
Thus we enter into our time off exhausted but knowing we need to be emotionally available for the ones we love the most. Arguably less than ideal for most of us. No wonder the national stress level rises in December!
Thus if you can, take time off in January. Once all of the festive carnage has been packed away for another year, take some time out for yourself. It may seem unconventional to book time off directly following time off but there’s something about getting refreshed at the start of a new year.
How many of us return to work and say “I’ve come back for a rest.”
Never again.
This is a tradition I started a good number of years ago and it truly helps me to re-balance and reconsider before actively engaging in another twelve months of life.

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