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12 Months of Clearing to Create a Great 2011

12 Months of Clearing to Create a Great 2011
    Make room for guests by clearing the guest room!

    What you do at the end of the year sets the tone and direction of the new year. This year set your intention to take the 12 Months of Clearing Challenge. Commit to clearing your entire home of those things you no longer love or use.

    Sound like a tall order? It is! But, it can be done following the 12 Months of Clearing Plan. Each month you focus on clearing one specific area.

    January-Your bedroom closet

    Why your bedroom closet? Your clothes are an extension of you. Ideally they should reflect who you are today. If you want to be clear about who you are and what you want, the best thing you can do is clear your closet. Also, once your closet has been tackled the rest of the bedroom will be much easier to clear. A clear bedroom can have a profound positive effect on your health because your body is exposed to its energy for at least 6 to 8 hours every night.

    February-Home office

    Eeeew!!!! Yuck!!! Why do the home office so early in the year? Normally I would recommend that you deal with anything that has to do with paper further along in the process of clearing because paper can shut you down faster than any other kind of organizing. But, the home office is usually the heart of organizing finances. It’s a good idea to be grounded regarding finances as soon as possible in a new year. If you have volumes of paper in your home office that you just can’t make yourself clear because of fear or overwhelm, consider getting help to do it from a friend or professional. Or, you could clump all paper to be gone through in boxes that you set aside until later in the year when you are feeling less overwhelmed and more confident about your ability to do it. Once the distracting paper is clumped, focus on clearing out other items (old software, manual, office supplies, etc.) and setting up the home office for ease of functioning.

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    March-Kitchen

    The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is a high activity area. Working there will clear out old food stuffs that are past their expiration date and create a space where positive interactions are possible.

    April-Garage

    The garage is a clearing project many people like to avoid, probably because it’s a big, complex area and because it’s usually a dirty job. But, clearing the garage before the season when yard tools and recreational equipment will be used makes the process of accessing those items more appealing. And, why have that stuff if you can’t access it? Because the garage is a big job, break it down by section. For example, work on tools one weekend, recreational equipment the next and so on. Or, you could look for items from the entire garage to clear the first weekend. Then, the next weekend reorganize the items that are left. If the job is still too daunting, get help at least to get started. Once you’ve broken through the overwhelm you may be able to finish on your own.

    May-Linen closet

    Whew! May is an easy month because it’s the Mother’s Day month. Since women often take the lead with clutter clearing, I wanted to be sure that they get a bit of a break this month. Linen closets are usually not as challenging as other closets, unless you also keep toiletries in them. Clear out those nasty, ragged towels, unless you use them for bathing dogs. And, get real about the sheets! If they are looking paper thin, it’s time to invest in some new sheets.

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    June-Utility room

    The utility room is another challenging place to clear. Like the garage it’s usually a multi-function work and storage space. That creates complexity. And, I’ve found that many people are seduced by cleaning products. They often have multiples of products that do the same thing. Decide which products you actually use and get rid of the rest! Also, make sure that all products are visible. If you can’t see an item, you won’t use it.

    July-Bathroom closets/cabinets

    Bathroom closets and cabinets are another haven of products that looked like just the thing for your hair or nails or teeth, but that in actuality were used just once or twice and never used again. I’m not sure why they don’t get thrown away immediately. Perhaps because they cost money or because you hope they’ll miraculously work better the next time. Clear out those stagnant items!

    August-Children’s rooms

    Unless your child is incapable of getting rid of things or is too young to make decisions, I recommend that clearing children’s rooms involve the children at some point in the process. Involving them is an excellent way to teach them not only how to do it, but that it must be done from time to time. They will learn that some of their belongings are temporary residents in their room. Once they have outgrown them, they should be released. Clearing a child’s room with them is also an excellent opportunity to teach them the idea of community service. They are blessed to have all they have. When they are done with their toys, books and clothes they then have the opportunity to pass them on to others who are less fortunate. August is a good time to clear children’s rooms because it sets a positive stage for the new school year.

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    September-Hall closets

    Hall closets can become dumps for miscellaneous items. Check those spaces for what is actually used at some point during the year. Clear out faded flags, and hats, coats and gloves that never get worn. What about the boots that litter the floor? If you have games in your hall closet, are they still pulled out and played? How many vacuum cleaners do you have in there? Which one works best?

    October-Attic

    Like the garage, the attic is a huge daunting project. Feng shui teaches that the attic is the area of your hopes and aspirations. If you clear here, you get clear about what you want and you make space to get more of what you really want. Is it worth facing the nightmare up there? You bet! In many climates fall is the best time to clear an attic because it is neither too hot or too cold. If your attic is packed tight I recommend that you first look for big “Duh!”items. Those are the things that are no brainers for pitching–for example, the two Christmas trees you haven’t used in a decade. Clearing out those items will loosen up the space, making it possible to think more clearly. Once a few sizable items have left the space you’ll be encouraged by your progress and feel enthusiasm to release more. Put all small items and paper aside to deal with last. Don’t get bogged down with the minutia!

    November-Guest rooms

    Guest rooms either become dumping grounds, multi-purpose rooms or stagnant spaces for things that don’t matter much. The energy of every part of the house affects the energy of the whole and what happens in your life. Clear the dump. Clear and reorganize the multi-purpose room. Release those things you no longer love or use that made their way to your guest room. Clearing the guest room will make it possible to have loved ones stay with you during the holiday season.

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    December-Holiday decorations

    December is too busy a time to do any big organizing projects. But, you will be pulling out your seasonal decorations. When you do, notice which items you use and what stays in the boxes. Pitch those decorations that haven’t emerged from their boxes in two years. Clearing your decorations down to just those that actually get used will make the prospect of decorating next year much more appealing.

    Some of you may be wondering what you do during the month assigned to the garage if you don’t have a garage. Or, if you don’t have children, what do you do in August. What about the basement? I don’t have a basement (yeah!), so I didn’t include it. But, if you do have a basement, you can substitute it for clearing out children’s rooms if you have no children or the garage if you have no garage. You may also choose to tackle the basement instead doing one of the other areas that you know won’t be difficult for you to squeeze in during another month.

    My intention in setting specific goals each month is to help you focus your organizing efforts. It’s very easy to be distracted by the noise of clutter all over the house. If you choose to take the 12 month challenge, commit to tackling and completing the one area each month. If the area is too big to do all by yourself, get friends, family or professional help to make it happen. And, remember that it’s ESSENTIAL that you maintain your day to day organizing processes and systems in addition to your monthly clearing project. If you don’t, you’ll be creating a new nightmare while you’re clearing another.

    Having a monthly clearing goal will also help you pace yourself. Once you feel some of the benefits of clearing you may be tempted to do massive clearing all at once. Clearing too much too fast will shift energies too quickly. This can result in chaos in your life or physical illness.

    What is most important is that you do some clearing each month. My suggestions are just that — suggestions. Feel free to tailor this plan to work with the realities of your climate, your energy and your family situation.

    If you take this challenge, I would love to hear from you about your progress, challenges and how your life changes as a result of your commitment to clearing. Clearing your whole house will transform your life. It takes courage to take on this challenge. Be open and ready for big changes!

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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