Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Contentment: Some Have it, Some Don't

Here's a story that gave me a warm feeling this morning when I read it. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today."

So she did. And She Had A Wonderful Day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "Hmm," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today."

So she did. And She Had A Grand Day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail."

So she did. And She Had A Fun, Fun Day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "Yea!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.

I think I gave you a few hints like this, but it's so-o-o good, I thought it would be good to include it again today. Especially since we're still enthralled with the "New Year." I stood just the other day staring and holding a large (nice, too) piece of cardboard, debating whether to keep it or not. Of course, I had no use for it right then, but maybe I would. I did the right thing and tossed it. (Probably regret it, but . . . )
Hints: How do you deal with clutter?

First, don’t panic. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, to walk away, have a coffee.

  1. Start today Procrastination is the major obstacle to decluttering.
  1. Choose a small area to start. Say you decide to sort out your sock drawer. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Put on some upbeat music and you’re ready to go. Then completely empty it and give it a quick clean. As you pick up each item ask yourself why am I keeping this? No matching socks? Give yourself another ten minutes to search in the laundry room for it. Otherwise, pitch it.
  1. Keep up the momentum. Decide to do a set amount a day, such as 30 minutes. Remember one person's clutter is another person's treasure, so get the rest of the family involved in sorting their own stuff.


4. Letting Go of the Small Stuff Once you have decided to let things go, it’s crucial to get them out of the
house as soon as possible. Unwanted items can be given to charity, friends or family or recycled. Or you
could sell them at a car boot sale or second hand clothes shop or advertise in your local newspaper.

  1. How does it feel? As you put things in the bin or charity shop bag, you may feel great and feel a huge sense of relief. Or you may feel guilty that you are wasting money by throwing things away. You may also feel guilty that you are letting go of unwanted presents or baby clothes. I know many people feel it is wrong to ever discard a photo, even if it is blurred or brings back unhappy memories.

People are often scared that the minute they part with something they will need it and consequently hold onto copious junk. I call this the “ghost feeling”, it takes a while to get used to a newly decluttered home.
All these feelings are a completely normal part of the decluttering process. They often stem from what you were taught in your family. Many of my clients come from families where hoarding is a common problem.

So how do you cope with these feelings?

i. Sentimental items Be sentimental but selective. Choose a beautiful box in which to keep sentimental items. Keep a few cherished baby clothes and give the rest to someone who will use them. Put photos into albums only keeping the best ones and let the others go.

ii. Broken things Give yourself a deadline for broken items to be fixed, if not discard them.

iii. Presents – if someone gives you an unwanted gift and there is no polite way to refuse, accept gracefully and respect the other person’s feelings. But remember it is your home and if you do not like something, it will drag your spirits down every time you look at it. So dump the guilt and let it go.

iv. Paper Be ruthless with paper. Put junk mail straight in the recycling and decide how long you will keep newspapers. Remember no-one has time to read everything.

v. Fear The “what if” thoughts are some of the hardest to deal with. I call these clutter thoughts. A useful tip is “one in, one out”

If you really feel panicky about letting go of something then store it for 6 months in the loft or shed. Put the date on it. If you haven’t used it in 6 months then give it away.

  1. Storage

Store like with like, such as all vases together. We use 20% of our possessions 80% of the time so put this 20% in the most accessible places. Treat yourself to storage items such as a filing cabinet, a shoe rack or a pretty box in which to keep sentimental items.

  1. The benefits
There are so many benefits to decluttering and letting go of old stuff. A more relaxing home where you can find things when you want them. Enjoy the lighter feeling you get when you look around. Next time you indulge in a little retail therapy you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you own and what you actually need.

True contentment is a real, even an active, virtue--not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it. -- G.K. Chesterton


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