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How to Conquer Your Messy Room Fast but Not Furious

How to Conquer Your Messy Room Fast but Not Furious

Do you find yourself surrounded by piles of papers, unread magazines, and books you are holding on to in case you may want to read them in the future? Is your closet bursting with clothes, half of which haven’t seen the light of day in years? Do you feel like you are drowning under an uncontrollable mess? Take charge and declutter your life right now.

Living under piles and tiptoeing down that small path through personal possessions just to reach your bed is not only unhealthy for your body, with dust mites, possible mold and more, but also detrimental to your mind. Clearing your physical space will also free the clutter from your mind.

Decluttering will not only make you healthier, but all of the clean, open spaces will also make you happier.

The hardest part of decluttering your life can be letting go. You have to decide what to throw out and what to keep. Some stuff is cut and dry. Old and broken? Chuck. No longer used? Recycle or give away.

What about the blurred lines? You may place personal value on items, like that misshapen clay horse your 36 year old son presented to you in kindergarten. At 36, chances are he may not even remember it. Does it make you happy? Keep it. But if you find yourself under a mountain of these meaningful mementos, it may be a sign to let go.

Tackle Your Clutter in 15 Minute Intervals

If you are facing a daunting mess of ginormous proportions, you may feel like giving up before you even start. Don’t! Tackle your clutter in smaller chunks of time.[1] Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on clearing a room. When the alarm goes off, walk away and do something else. You can choose to return later for another 15 minute stint, or just do 15 minutes a day. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish in those 15 minutes.

Don’t Let Yourself Go Off on a Tangent

It’s so easy to find that marble rabbit statue your Aunt Elsie gave to you and suddenly wonder how she is and end up in a two hour phone conversation catching up. Stop yourself from going down that rabbit hole. Focus on clearing your clutter during your allotted time. You can call Aunt Elsie later.

Declutter Your House Room By Room

Go through each room in your house methodically, one at a time.[2] Clear the items that you no longer need or use from drawers, closets and under beds. Make a stack of things you use and things you can recycle or give away. When you are done, box up the recyclables and stash in your car to drop off at the local thrift store. Then put back all the things you are keeping.

Go through each room from one end to the other

Clear a work space for yourself and declutter your chosen room starting from one end of the room, making your way to the other. Don’t jump around. It will only add mess upon mess and have you throwing up your hands in defeat.

Declutter Your Wardrobe

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    Clearing out your wardrobe

    Keep two big trash bags or boxes on hand when you go through the items in your wardrobe. In one throw all those clothes that are soiled, damaged or too worn out. You will be throwing these away. In the second box place all those clothes that you haven’t worn in more than six months, except for season items like jackets and scarves/swimsuits and sarongs that you will be wearing for that time of year. Donate the second box to a charity shop or thrift store. You you are going through your kids clothes, pass them on to a family with kids younger than yours.

    Keeping a seasonal wardrobe

    Still facing too many clothes? Consider having a seasonal wardrobe to free up space in that closet and in those drawers. When you are facing warm weather, pack up the winter coats, scarves and long sleeve shirts. When the temperatures take that winter nose dive, break out the winter wear and pack up those shorts and swimsuits. Place a dryer sheet or two in the box when storing clothes to keep them fresh smelling. It also helps keep moths at bay.

    Declutter Your Bathroom

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      Dealing with old products

      Go through all of the drawers in your bathroom, and the space under the sink. Toss out any old products that you no longer use, like that neon pink hairspray from two Halloweens ago. Do you have a bunch of those little hotel shampoos? Combine them together. Use organizers to hold cotton buds, cotton balls, toothbrushes and makeup. Throw any old makeup out.

      Cleaning your medicine chest

      Remove all the medicine from your medicine chest. Throw out everything that is out of date. Have a box ready to chuck the old medicine Have half a bottle of diet pills from two years ago? Toss. Clean out the chest and replace only what you use. Most medicines can be safely disposed in the trash, but some have substances harmful to children and pets. If you are in doubt, the FDA provides guidelines for disposing medications safely.

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      Tidying Your Kitchen

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        Clear your kitchen counters

        Keep your counters clear. Have an espresso machine collecting dust? Consider selling it or put it in a cupboard. Remove anything that you don’t use on a daily basis. If you have any item in your kitchen that you haven’t used in over six months, stick it in a box to donate, sell, or recycle.

        Invest in storage containers and organizers

        Consider purchasing organizers for your drawers and storage containers for your food. Putting the sugar, flour, coffee, and tea into tidy, clean, matching containers will make your kitchen look more organized and uniform than leaving everything in their original packaging.

        Keep the kitchen clean

        Clean up your kitchen anytime you are making a meal. Put away spice jars, toss out empty boxes or jars. When you cook a meal, wash the pots and pans immediately after use and store before sitting down to eat. After a meal, clean up, washing dishes and putting away any condiments, leftovers, etc. When you or someone else walks into a clean kitchen, they are more apt to throw their trash into the bin and place dishes in the sink.

        Dealing with Paper Piles

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          Sorting your mail

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          Tackle your papers by throwing out the stuff you don’t need and organizing the rest. Deal with mail the moment it comes in the house by chucking out the junk mail. Any bills open and write the due date and amount on the outside of the envelope (give yourself leeway if it is to be mailed or your automated system takes a few days). Place bills in a basket according to due date.

          Using a filing system

          Keep a small filing system with different folders, labeled accordingly in which to place important papers, and items required for end of year taxes. Paid bills should be placed in these folders as well.

          Keeping track of your kids’ papers

          Have kids? Make a file for each of them in which to put important school papers such as teacher information, class syllabus, report cards and progress reports. Any papers they give you during the year can be stashed into these files.

          The moment school is out for summer, go through these folders and chuck the papers. You child doesn’t want to see his fifth grade math test when he’s 25, even if it was a A. If there are items you simply cannot part with, like that incredible report on Jamestown or that painting that looks like a Picasso, store in a ‘keep’ file.

          Handling boxes of photographs

          Scan your old photos and store digital copies on a flash drive or external hard drive- just in case that computer crashes. There are companies that can take all of your old VCR home movies and make them into easy to store digital copies too. Purchase an organizer to keep them safe and dust free.

          Dealing with laundry

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            Dirty Laundry

            Have a laundry basket located in each bedroom, in which everyone should place their dirty clothes. Make it clear that only clothes in these baskets will be washed, not the items strewn over furniture or dropped onto the floor. Stick to this and eventually when those favorite jeans are dirty on that important day, they’ll get the message.

            Clean Laundry

            Do never-ending piles of laundry occupy every free chair in your living room, threatening to topple over? Deal with laundry each load at a time. Fold the laundry as you remove it from the dryer or line. This saves massive amounts of ironing as well. Then sort it in one location and put away the clothes there and then, placing stray socks in a drawer to be sorted weekly- ther are always stray socks! Ideally, you can get each family member to put away their own clothes too!

            So, you’ve cleaned your house. Congratulations! Now how do you stop that clutter from piling up again?

            Stop bringing it home!

            Before you swing by that yard sale to pick up the china ballerina figurine that catches your eye, ask yourself these questions:

            • Do you really need it, or do you just want it?
            • Will it bring value to your life now?
            • Will it be valuable to you in the future?

            If the figurine is a priceless find that you plan on unloading on eBay, go for it. However if you want it just because it’s cute, stop yourself. Don’t bring it home. You can always stick all that money you save from unnecessary purchases in a jar and opt for a memory-making clutter-free vacation instead!

            Feel really painful when letting go of stuff? It could be an illness.

            Do you have feel physical pain when parting with possessions? Hoarding is a real illness.[3] A psychological disorder. Hoarding puts an emotional, financial, and social strain on you and your family.

            If you have a real inability to let go of possessions, you may want to seek professional counseling.

            Reference

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            Sally White

            writer, artist & blogger

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            Last Updated on December 2, 2019

            How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

            How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

            Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

            I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

            Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

            How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

            Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

            Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

            At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

            Want to know the good news?

            No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

            All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

            1. Develop a Positive Mindset

            If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

            According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

            That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

            Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

            Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

            Absolutely!

            But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

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            Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

            Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

            It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

            “I’m not smart enough to…”

            “I don’t have enough experience to…”

            “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

            When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

            If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

            When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

            • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
            • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
            • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

            Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

            Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

            All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

            But this isn’t true!

            If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

            If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

            When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

            Ditch the Dwelling

            Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

            Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

            When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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            But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

            The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

            Easier said than done, right? Try these:

            1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
            2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
            3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
            4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

            The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

            Be Patient about the Process

            No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

            Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

            If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

            To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

            2. Connect with Your Purpose

            One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

            If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

            Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

            Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

            Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

            “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

            One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

            Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

            Find Intrinsic Motivation

            Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

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            Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

            But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

            If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

            3. Find Strength in Unity

            The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

            Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

            Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

            If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

            If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

            Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

            The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

            A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

            If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

            Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

            Recruit Some Cheerleaders

            If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

            Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

            As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

            Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

            Form an Accountability Group

            Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

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            Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

            Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

            Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

            Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

            4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

            Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

            As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

            We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

            When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

            • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
            • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
            • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
            • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
            • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
            • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

            Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

            Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

            Tying it All Together

            Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

            But here’s the bottom line:

            A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

            No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

            More About Mental Strength

            Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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