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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 December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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