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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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