Archive for the ‘Balance’ Category

Clutter Control Your Home By Respecting Your Favorite Items

November 16, 2007

Yesterday I watched part one of “Oprah’s” two-day episode on hoarding. The show features a woman who lives in a 3,000 square-foot house, filled to the brim with stuff. It’s not filth, but stuff. Everywhere. In every corner, everywhere you turn around. One of her grown sons hasn’t been inside the home, where he grew up, in five years. He’s mortified. You really have to see the episode to understand the severity of this woman’s problem. It’s tragic.

It takes a team of 100 people, 8 weeks to clean through the house — it’s no longer a home. The importance of a show like this isn’t for to be a voyeur, but to see how clutter can take over anyone’s life. Yours. Mine.

I’ve been a fan of Peter Walsh, organizing expert, since I first saw him on TLC’s “Clean Sweep.” He understands that’s it’s an emotional journey to get rid of stuff. We all have that junk drawer, or the out of control closet. For some of us it’s a garage, but for many it’s worse. I’ve seen episodes of “Clean Sweep” where families can’t get to the dinner table because it has so much junk on it. Or entire rooms with so much stuff in them that the room is unusable, it’s a storage unit.

My favorite part of Peter’s advice is that if you really love an item, especially those that contain sentimental value, then you must give it a respectful place in your home. He finds objects that people claim they can’t give away, but he uncovered it from layers of dust. Not respectful. It really makes you think. If it’s that important, it needs to be taken care of.

We purge items from our home about every 6 months. It’s an emotionally draining exercise, but gets easier the more we do it. I have to admit that we do it from necessity, not because I’m anxious to get rid of stuff. My house just isn’t big enough to keep everything that comes though the front door. I keep Peter’s advice in the back of my head so that I don’t loose sight of what’s important: I want a home, not a house full of stuff.

After watching part two, last night, I was wrong about the house not being filthy. It’s not that the woman was unkempt, but there was no way that house was livable as a clean space. In the end, they had to remove all the flooring, furniture and even the drywall because it was a health hazard. Mold had taken over and the house was a mess. I’m still amazed that two people lived in this house. It makes me really want to evaluate my “things” even more.


Balance Starts at Home

November 7, 2007

“A balanced home,” these are threes word that I put on my inspiration board; I no longer remember what they are from. To me, it means a home that is free of chaos, mainly clutter, and where you go to rejuvenate for the next day. Our homes should be places we take care of, where we can relax and enjoy being a family.

I’ve seen tons of those shows where people have junk everywhere. You know what I’m talking about. HGTV, TLC and even Oprah, features these people. But, isn’t there a little of them in all of us?

The worse episode I ever saw was one featured on Oprah. There was a woman, I think in her 50s, living alone with dogs. Her apartment was filthy. Poop everywhere. Rotten food everywhere. It was disgusting. I don’t know how she lived that way. Truly, you could smell the stench through the TV. Appalling.

Luckily, most of us aren’t to the point where we have poop all over our house, but they do get messy. It’s hard when we’re all so busy. And, how do you clean your house when the kids are pulling at your shirt asking for something. Asking to be read a book. When you have to wipe your son’s nose for the 20th time today, when you have to wash his clothes because he tossed the cat’s water bowl over his head.

For me, I know I need to get more organized. I think a balanced home will mean:

  • Quite family time every night
  • A place for everything, and I mean everything
  • Time to relax and be by myself (we all deserve alone time)
  • Creating an environment that I want to come home to after a long day at work and be proud of where I live
  • A house full of love

Oversheduled Families Need to Prioritize

October 29, 2007

Fall brings not only cool temperatures, falling leaves, pumpkins and hay rides, but lots of social activities. In every town there is surely a “Fall Festival” of some sort. Not to mention trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and household decorating. And this is only the beginning. With the other major holidays approaching our families’ social calendars are going to fill up, fast. I’m tired already, and it’s not even Halloween.

Time to find the balance.

We accidentally bought my son two Halloween costumes this year. I got one and my husband bought one. We decided to keep both of them knowing that he’d have several occasions to wear them this month. Then, I got to thinking … we’re trying to do to much. I opted out of one Halloween party and limited our other Halloween activities to the ones that are most important to us as a family.

Take a moment today to step back and see to what you are committed. What is most important? Can you subtract one event from your calendar?

Excuse me while I return that extra Halloween costume.


Getting The Most Out of Family Time

October 22, 2007

Saturday was “Family Yard Day” at my house. Everyone (me, my husband and our nearly 2-year-old) is to work in the backyard for a few hours. Raking, spreading mulch, pulling weeds, cutting down overgrown bushes. You know what it’s like — not necessarily fun, but necessary. We decided to put it on the calendar and make an official “day” out of it.

Saturday morning arrives, Family Yard Day is to begin — after breakfast and coffee, of course. We look outside; it’s raining. Pouring, actually. HMM. I let my husband sleep in, thinking that we can’t possibly work in the yard when it’s raining.

He eventually gets up, eats an English muffin and drinks his cup of coffee, but it’s still raining outside. After awhile, however, it finally stops. Decision time. Do we still go out there? We’re laying on the sofas, covered with afghans, reading books and magazines, listening to music. We’ve moved on to our second (maybe third) cup of Joe. Toddler Boy is quietly playing with his cars in the living room while we relax. We can’t possibly go outside to work now!

All I keep thinking is that I want to do nothing. I want to do nothing. Together. As a family. Does that even make sense? I want a day where we can just be. No work, no school, no errands, no commitments, no obligations. Just be.

We decide that it is just too muddy outside to effectively commit to Family Yard Day, so we spend a few quality hours together cleaning out a room in the house. Purging possessions is good. Makes you feel good, which is all I was looking for in the day anyway.

I’m sure we’ll recommit to Family Yard Day, probably this Saturday — hey, I think the weather report calls for rain.

Rejuvinate Yourself With Time Off

October 15, 2007

I’m back from the mountains of North Carolina where my husband, son and I took our vacation. We were lucky enough to stay at my sister-in-law’s house which has an incredible view. She and her husband were on vacation too, so we had their house to ourselves. What a way to spend a week!

We’d been planning a fall vacation for most of the year, but when I learned that I would be out of a job we were thinking that we couldn’t afford to spend the money to get away. Disappointment set in. We decided to go ahead and set the date anyway, so that my husband could at least take a week off of work. I wrote V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N with a thick, black sharpie pen on our calendar so that we couldn’t change our minds. As soon as we did that and started thinking of relaxing and just being grateful that we could take a week off together in the fall — no matter what we did — things fell into place.

My husband learned that his sister was going on vacation at that same time — she offered her home to us for the week while she was away. Bingo! So, we drove about 10 hours to her house in the hills and enjoyed a week of rest, relaxation and fall-like temperatures.

We’ve come back home rejuvinated and thankful for time away. No phones, limited email and no blogging (although I did miss it). If you haven’t had a vacation in awhile, why not take a long weekend before winter hits. The leaves are changing and the weather is cooling. It’s a great time to think and be grateful for what we have.