Minimalism….what does that word bring to mind? A stark room with no personal objects or clutter in it? Having to get rid of everything and be uncomfortable in order to embrace the minimalist movement?
May I propose to you another way to embrace minimalism – in the words of the Head of Mindfulness at CALM (an app for sleep, meditation, and relaxation – but ohhhh so much more in my book – I’ve been using it for years and LOVE it!)? “Minimizing what we own and consume, preserving money, energy and time for what will nourish us in profound and lasting ways.”
Deep. Really Deep. But….it isn’t – the concept is quite simple.
What’s the first object you see when you glance up from the device you are reading this on?
Do you love it?
Has it earned the right to consume a space in your orbit?
Let me explain…I look up right now and see a picture of my son, an Air Force Lieutenant, living thousands of miles away. Has that pictured earned a right to be in my precious space? YES! The warm feeling I get when looking at it nourishes me. Makes me sad, too, because I miss him, but overall the effect is positive.
What else do I see in my space? A pair of slippers that are actually quite uncomfortable and I avoid wearing them. They do not nourish me, and although I paid very good money for them, it is time for them to find a new home where they will be appreciated.
Minimalism is not about making our space so stark and empty that it feels inhuman. It’s about surrounding ourselves with items that have meaning and importance that we can SEE (i.e. NO CLUTTER – it can’t ALL have the same amount of meaning ) and visually connect with in a way that nourishes us, even if subconsciously.
The flip side of that is clutter eats away at us and we don’t even realize it! If you hear anything in what I’m saying, if anything at all registers, let it be that YOU are important, your stuff not so much, and surrounding yourself with things that you use and love will nourish you in a way that you won’t be able to help but light the way for others! It is all about finding the right fit for you - the right sizing of life.
OK, maybe that is a weeeee bit over the top But. I believe in you, and I believe in your worth. So much so that I want to share a guest pass to the Calm app with you! 5 readers who like the We Love Messes page and/or share this blog post will get a complimentary guest pass to Calm – I hope you love it as much as I do! And if not, well, that’s OK too – we each have our own way of connecting!
Facing the Fear of the Future
This seemingly innocent looking envelope has been sitting here, unopened, for over a week. One would think I’d have ripped in to it, being that it holds a masters diploma – the culmination of 3+ years of hard work and many hours spent studying, lots ‘o tears (yeah, I’m *that* person who cries when she’s frustrated), and large of amounts of outgoing cash flow in the form of tuition payments.
I haven’t ripped in to it. I dance around it every day thinking I *should* open it (if you don’t know how I feel about the word “should” check this out) but then find something else to do instead. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING????? Admittedly I’ve been busy (ummmm…. aren’t we all?) – got the privilege of a consulting job creating housekeeping systems and implementing them for the staff at Green Gate Guest Houses, my own company has 15+ employees and multiple jobs a day to juggle, and of course its holiday season and…. well, COVID throws everything in to uncertainty.
What is this really? It’s procrastination and fear of facing the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next. Because I’m a planner. I need a checklist. A goal. And then the steps to get there. Well, guess what folks? I don’t have a concrete goal to organize a checklist and steps towards. And it FREAKS ME OUT. Yet, that’s what I do with clients EVERY SESSION – ask questions to ferret out their goals and then create the steps/checklists/actions TO GET THERE! And I absolutely LOVE doing it. Seeing a client reach a goal, no matter how big or small – from clearing a corner of their closet to narrowing down emails in their in box – IT FEELS SO GOOD when their shoulders square up, they look me in the eye, and say, “Tidy Tammy, I didn’t think I could do it but *we* did!”.
Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend? I’ll be scheduling a self-session (ouch!), asking those hard internal questions, and creating some next steps for myself. And……drum roll……at the end I’ll be pouring a glass of Prosecco and opening that diploma envelope!
Are you stuck with a project or mess and need a boost to get going? Or feeling adrift and goal-less? Yeah, I get that! Check out the options for working virtually or in person – we’ve got you covered! Not sure what’s best? I offer a complimentary phone consultation as well – I’d love to chat with you!
Dreaming Out Loud
Recently I attended an Entrepreneur Mentorship Retreat weekend at the lovely Green Gate Guest House. It was a small group, and the ideas and passion that flowed forth were inspiring to say the least. I came out of it completely revved up with possibilities for the future - for myself, for the other participants, for the world!
And then...and then, I returned to reality. Sometimes the reality is that we don’t share our wild hopes, dreams and ideas for the future with our loved ones. The reality of reality is that we all look at life differently - some of us are anchored in the here and look at how these wild ideas might affect us, and others of us HAVE the wild ideas that they need to percolate (in safe spaces like an entrepreneur weekend with other like-minded individuals - our “tribe” if I may borrow that word), knowing deep down that maybe only one of the 15 ideas talked about may actually come to fruition.
My point? We ALL need that space to think out loud. To dream. To say things that perhaps aren’t acceptable to others around us even if they know inside that’s how we feel. I’m getting to the correlation here, stay with me. :)
Organizing sessions are often that space - we talk about goals for the space, for time management, for decluttering our lives, for business growth - whatever is on the mind of the client. It's a safe, judgement free environment, and trust me, I can get just as excited about the potential as the client does! And then, we take the next step - we plan. We set tiny, bite sized goals.
Aim Low and Achieve!
Wanna percolate out some ideas? I’d love to help! Click here for a complimentary virtual consultation, or better yet - kick it in to gear and sign up for a Kick A#@ session - you, my friend, and your ideas, are TOTALLY worth it!
See you soon,
A camel and a farmer walked into a bar.
They had both been working hard.
They were both thirsty.
They were both on the lookout for a straw.
Are you the camel or the farmer? Or maybe the straw?
I think we are all at one time or another any of these. This week? I felt like the camel.
You remember this thing called a pandemic? Yeah. We all feel like the camel carrying the weight of Covid-19. As a small business owner it feels like extra heavy straw. And then... Monday.
The digital platform we use to track our clients, our appointments, our every day, decided to change without notice. And those changes wreaked havoc on our data. We lost numbers. We lost critical scheduling nuances. We lost time. I think I smelled the desert sands as I camelled along (that’s a word, right?).
Then the phone rang. Again. On this straw-laden Monday. Who was calling me now?
Wait for it…
A reminder to schedule my colonoscopy. I know. Seriously?
Coincidence. Irony. Kismet.
Whatever you call it, I felt the camel in me start to give way. I let myself get a little angry, a lot frustrated, and a tad overwhelmed.
And then I decided I didn’t have the strength to be the camel. I needed to be the farmer. I needed to take the same energy that carrying heavy weights requires and put that energy into farming. I needed to gather the straw. Rake it in. Wrestle it into bales. Harvest what I could. My point? We can amble along and carry the weight. We can be the weight for others to carry. Or we can hitch up our britches and do something.
And then we can head to the bar - or wherever - and know that we at least put in the effort.
And now when I go walking into that bar, I have my own stash of straws for whatever I decide to order!
Hello friends!! Are you as passionate about recycling as I am? Sometimes I literally get s.t.u.c.k. trying to figure out how/where/when to recycle something I want to discard but don’t want to put in the landfill– which keeps the job from getting done! In fact, there have been times when I am absolutely giddy (yes, I’m weird - I own that) over the recycling opportunities available when working with clients in different cities and states than my own.
What to do, what to do? Churn on, spinning those wheels, trying to find the perfect green disposal solution…. OR…. choose the “Tree? Or Me” option? There are times to acknowledge our time and energy is worth something and accept that the item(s) belongs in the garbage.
In this pandemic-stay-home-clean-the-closet mode, thrift stores are also begging you to accept this. So many have been reporting that all those donations coming in are layered with garbage. They don’t want, need, or have resources to deal with items that have lived a life - and now need to be put to rest.
I’m giving you permission. Right here. Right now. The next time you’re churning over recycling ask yourself, “Tree? Or Me?”! A job done is better than a job perfectly NOT DONE!
Take Care of You: Win-Win
Congratulations to Kalsie V! She accepted my challenge to Take Care of You, and now gets to choose between 2 hours of cleaning or a Strategy Session! I have shared my personal journey through breast cancer because I want to help raise awareness about proactive care - and while extremely important - this extends beyond mammograms and pap smears.
Taking care of you is about recognizing your own personal needs - for good old mental, physical, and emotional health. It is about the big stuff - cancer screenings - and the small stuff - like taking a time out to read a favorite book.
How do you take the time to take care of you? Please share in the comments - you never know who you might inspire! And if you need a little more "me time", let me know how I can help!
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a paint-by-number, checklist-and-clear-steps kinda gal. I don’t do well with ambiguity or blank canvases. And I’m happy to report that learning to embrace uncertainty is becoming easier, and it’s opening up horizons previously unexplored.
Recently my cleaning team and I did a painting party with Gypsy Canvas – and were pleasantly surprised to be interviewed by Lakeland Public TV.
My lessons from the event? Sometimes you have to embrace the blank canvas. You can't always predict the scene that will unfold - and uncertainty can sometimes lead to beautiful things!
Big or little....decisions are everywhere in our lives. They can haunt the back of our minds as we move through the day or be one of a million we make subconsciously.
The ones that drive me crazy are the little ones that become big and cause angst and churning. Personally speaking, when I have a big decision I'm grappling with I find myself getting bogged down in little ones - like what to wear, or what to make for supper. Easy enough, right? Yes, unless indecision is weighing me down.
My solution? It always comes down to a list (What did you expect? I'm an organizer - I thrive on lists!). In this case, a brain dump of all my thoughts regarding the decision at hand. Paper, white board, post it notes (these are really my favorite), word doc - whatever tool appeals to you - and then dump all your thoughts regarding the decision. Actually, all thoughts in general - the "to do" tasks and thoughts of daily living - need to come out, too!
Then I divide the list into pros and cons - which is why post its are my favorite method - they can just be moved around on a wall and, voila! You have a visual of the struggle going on behind the scenes in your brain. Highlighters can also be helpful to distinguish pros and cons - color adds another dimension to the visual decision making process.
"It doesn't matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off. You cannot make progress without making decisions." - Jim Rohn
How do you make weighty decisions? Do you have a tool or process that works for you? I'd love to know more - please share in the comments below!
Why I Cannot Let go
So, there's these slippers. Slippers that are well loved and worn thru on the soles. I knit them about 7 years ago, and then felted them. If you've ever seen me knit you know it's a painful process...shoulders hunched, pure concentration. What should be a relaxing hobby gives me a neck cramp. I've since given up knitting. But that's a story for another blog post....
My daughter keeps telling me I need to give the slippers up, too. They've served me well, and are quite past their prime. I keep meaning to throw them out. And, I....just cannot let them go. I think, "just one more wear" or "tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow".
What it boils down to is the heart and soul, sweat and tears I put in to them. Throwing them out, even after they've served me well, just isn't that easy. They are one of the few material things to which I'm actually attached.
I've learned over the years that often clients need the opportunity to tell the story of an item before they can release it. I feel the same way - now I've shared the story and they can go. Letting go is a process - whether it's material things, emotions, relationships - it doesn't matter. Telling the story helps validate the process and keep us moving forward.
Have a letting go story to share? Please share in the comments below - I'd love to hear about it!
Are You Living the American Dream?
The American Dream.....intrinsically we strive for it in all we do - working hard, achieving "success", accumulating the latest and greatest things. We are surrounded by things that are marketed to make us feel successful - tell us we have arrived. But have we? And to where, exactly, are we arriving?
The house with the two car garage that was The American Dream in my parents' generation now has a garage so full of stuff that only 32% of Americans fit even ONE car in the garage. We have stuff! We have arrived! But, are we happy?
I have had the privilege of attending a National Association of Professional Organizer's annual conference, where The Minimalists gave the keynote address. I've waited over a year to hear them in person, and they didn't disappoint. They spoke of realizing that The American Dream wasn't their dream, and of the events leading them to question their lifestyles and embrace minimalism.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism isn't about frugality, but about more deliberate questioning of the resources (including money) we have at our disposal and how we choose to use them. Do our things add value to our lives or are they clutter? Stuff doesn't fill the void of unhappiness; it widens it.
Minimalism has helped me reframe the way I think about not only physical things, but the resources (time, energy, education, etc.) I have at my disposal and how I use them.
Have you embraced minimalism? Have thoughts about the movement or the lifestyle? I'd love to hear your comments!
Get Those Dishes Done!
Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who