Posts Taged clutter

My Personal Definition of Minimalism

An uncluttered family room, minimalism

Many years ago, when I first heard the term “minimalism,” I pictured a loft style space with high ceilings, tall bare windows, stark white walls and sparse white leather furniture. Surely, no one with children could lead a minimalist lifestyle. Families and minimalism were mutually exclusive in my mind. I firmly believed that you couldn’t be a Costco shopper and a minimalist at the same time. I was wrong.

 
Minimalism isn’t a harsh decorating style or a strict lifestyle regime.  It’s a big picture value system about the volume of stuff we “need” in our lives. Minimalists have “stuff,”

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An ADHD Story: My Son Might be a Mad Scientist

Doc Brown Back to the Future
Remember Doc, the white haired, mad eyed inventor from Back to the Future? Do you remember the scene where Marty goes to visit Doc in his workshop and walks through a cluttered kitchen where a complex Rube Goldberg machine is set up to feed the dog?  My twelve-year-old son with ADHD is a modern-day younger Doc.

 
My son’s recent projects include: Various robots made with Makeblock; An Arduino powered laser pointer mechanism designed to entertain our cats; a Lego EV3 cobra

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Organize Your Home by Marginal Gains

Marginal gains contribute to a more organized home.

If you improve how you manage different areas of your home by just 1%, would that lead to staying more organized in the long run? You bet.

This brilliant concept, called “aggregation of marginal gains” was utilized by Dave Brailsford, who took a historically good but un-winning U.K. cycling team and made many small improvements, which contributed to their win of the Tour De France just three years later.
For the U.K. cycling team, this meant 1% improvement in a whole slew of things from aerodynamics, nutrition, healthcare, the list goes on and on, but the sum of all those incremental changes contributed to the Tour de France win. Great athletes, with incremental changes and improvements in their training regime became winning athletes.
Some families suffer

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Create a Calm Home For This Valentine’s Day

Create calm in your home this Valentine's Day by decluttering.

Did you know that each year 180 million cards are exchanged, and 198 million roses are used on Valentine’s Day? With over 13 billion dollars spent each year, Valentine’s Day is a big deal to many people.

Simple Gestures to Create a Lovely Valentine’s Day

Although the most common gifts are flowers, candy and cards, there are countless great ways to make your Valentine’s Day truly special. A small thing like making the bed can be a lovely gesture of caring for your Valentine. You can honor your loved one by taking just a little time to declutter the common spaces in your bedroom and bathroom. Hang up clothes

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Why Decluttering your Kitchen Will Help you Eat Healthier

Eat Healthier
It’s the month of January and many of us are trying to eat healthier and make better food choices. We know that clutter causes stress, anxiety and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Not many realize that a cluttered environment can also keep us from being successful in making good food choices. What if our home environment, specifically our kitchens are sabotaging our dieting efforts?

 

Tired and hungry after a long day, you may be confronted with all the clutter and to-do’s in your kitchen. In that moment, your stress level may go up, but it is unlikely you will want to declutter! Your brain will seek something pleasurable instead, and you might want to reach for the bag of chips on the counter.
Research shows that if we unclutter the kitchen counters and pantry cupboards we may eat fewer snacks. Brian Wansink, PhD., Cornell Food Psychologist, author of the book Slim by Design states that according to research, people who live in cluttered environments eat 44% more snacks

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Do You Need a Clutter Diet?

One in four gifts may go unused. Sparefoot.com study says.

What to do With Unwanted Gifts

Once the holidays are over, “on average, more than 1 in 4 gifts go unused.” “79% of Americans admit they never use some of their gifts,” found a recent study by Sparefoot.com. That means in a family of five receiving 4 gifts each, every holiday season 5 items would go unused. If these unwanted and unused items remain in the home over 10 years this would be 50 items. 50 boxes taking up space needed for other things. This number is very conservative – many more gifts are given in a typical family. This statistic also doesn’t include gifts received for birthdays and other special days as well. All these potentially unwanted gifts contribute to our clutter, our overstuffed closets, cupboards, and toy chests.

Why do we keep unwanted items?

Folks will often tell us: “We should keep it because it was a gift. We may use it one day. We can’t give it away it is brand new. The gift has value. Maybe we’ll re-gift it. Maybe someone in the family will use it.”

Clutter causes anxiety

When we keep unwanted items eventually our homes become cluttered and this clutter creates stress and anxiety. If the closets are full then it becomes difficult to retrieve what we need. We lose track of where things are. Toys take over several rooms in the house because there is no more space in the children’s bedrooms or playroom. Kitchen counters disappear under unused appliances and gadgets making meal preparation and cleaning difficult. Garages fill up with bins and boxes and cars no longer fit. The home stops being a restful place.  Anxiety and stress impacts how the family functions.

Gift Obligation

Once the receiver thanks the giver warmly, the receiver has no further obligation to the giver. If your children receive a new board game from grandma and show little interest in playing it, snap a picture of the kids playing the game and let it go. If you receive a duplicate on something you already own, consider donating one of the items.

Clutter Diet

Clutter in our homes has also been linked to poor diet choices. Cluttered kitchens have been linked to increased snacking. Many Americans will make New Year’s Resolutions to eat better or to begin a diet. Many agree that in addition to a food diet they also need a clutter diet.

One in One Out

To keep clutter from growing, utilize the one in one out policy. If you received a holiday gift of a kitchen gadget you are excited about, donate a kitchen gadget from your cupboards that you no longer use. Love your new Nespresso coffee machine? Donate your old coffee maker. This way you will create space for your new gift without increasing the volume of stuff in your home. Utilize this strategy in every room of your home.

 
Much like eating healthfully, keeping a home clutter free is an ongoing challenge. Both require tenacity. To be successful, sometimes we seek the assistance of a nutritionist and sometimes we seek the support of a professional home organizer! Are you ready to begin your clutter diet in 2017?

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Create New Space in Your Home by Scaling Back These Three Common Household Items

Board Games

Families love board games because they are fun while helping everyone stay connected. From Chutes and Ladders to classics like Chess, board game collections grow quickly. The game cabinet(s) can become quite crowded. Be authentic about your needs and decide how many of the games your family plays. Create space by donating the least favorite games or ones outgrown by the children. If you play board games on average once a month, how many different games does your family enjoy?

Cookbooks

Cookbooks promise easy steps to a healthier lifestyle. Some cookbooks are beautiful and they inspire us. Some are specific to a type of cuisine we aspire to try. Cookbooks represent knowledge and expertise. Cookbooks can also collect dust like old encyclopedias while taking up a lot of shelf space in our kitchens.
More and more busy parents are seeking out recipes online. Wonderful recipe websites make it easy to find just the recipe you are looking for. Many websites feature reviews and video demonstrations as well. How many of your cookbooks do you use on a regular basis?
It is okay to downsize your cookbooks if they are taking over needed space in your kitchen. A simple three ring binder with some sheet protectors is a good solution for storing favorite recipes you printed or clipped out of a magazine. A cookbook you may be keeping because of one recipe can be reduced to just the pages needed.

Bags

Reusable grocery bags, plastic grocery bags, brown paper bags, and department store bags accumulate and clutter various areas of our homes. Many of us already have several backpacks, purses, work bags, cinch sacks, sports bags and totes. All these add up to cluttered and full closets. It’s a good idea to free up space by actively using and downsizing your bag inventory.
Some families line small trash cans with plastic grocery bags. Many use plastic grocery bags for pet waste and as padding when mailing a package. Others use brown paper bags to wrap gifts or as an outer layer when mailing a package. Some use brown paper bags or department store bags to hold recycling. Others keep a department store bag in a closet for donations.
You may find that you still have too many bags even if you constantly use them around your home. Bags will continue to come into our homes and therefore it is not necessary to keep more than a few. It’s a good idea to keep a handful of reusable bags in every car, at home, and then toss or donate the rest!

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15 Holiday Gift Ideas That Don’t Create Clutter

Holiday Gift ideas without clutter

Holiday gift ideas are easy to find for young children. Young children grow quickly and move through various stages of toys they like. The tougher question is, what gifts do you get for the teens and adults on your list? After all, these are the folks who may already have homes full of the latest electronic gadgets and who might not “need” anything.

The following are creative gift ideas which are experience oriented. Best of all, these items don’t create clutter in your home!

1. Spring Break or Summer camp enrollment is a great gift for tweens and teens.
2. Cooking classes from PCC or Sur La Table are a wonderful gift for young and old.
3. A gift of lift tickets at a local mountain is appreciated by teens or adults.
4. A photo book of a recent trip is a great gift for grandparents.
5. Airplane tickets for college students or young adults to come home and visit are very appreciated.
6. A gift of a spa day for ladies in your family is always a hit.
7. A Mani/Pedi is a fun gift idea for the tween or teen in your house.
8. Play tickets for two or for the entire family make a memorable gift.
9. Concert Tickets to a favorite artist coming to town are coveted by teens or adults.
10. Create lasting memories by gifting a family photo session with a local photographer.
11. Tweens and teens love music service subscriptions like Spotify, YouTube Red or iTunes.
12. Give the gift of books through Audible. Children can listen to Audible books on their favorite device.
13. Private drum or guitar lessons are a fun gift for the musically curious member of the family. Hot air balloon ride is a great gift for an adventurous couple.
14. A tasty early dinner that you make at home and then a tour through the Bellevue Botanical Holiday lights would be a nice gift for friends and feels quite festive.
15. Make an impact in your community by adopting a family this holiday season.

It is a good idea to include a gift receipt with your present. As you check family members and friends off your list, keep a running total of the amount spent on gifts to stay within budget.

Happy holiday gift shopping to you all!

 

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Which Room in Your Home Has Become Your Clutter Storage Unit?

Which rooms hide your clutter?
For many people clutter takes over their garage. Per a Sparefoot.com study 47% of Americans admitted that there have been times they couldn’t park in their garage – because it’s full. But the same study showed that “on average, Americans have 3 areas in their homes, that have become storage units.”  Some families may have guest bedroom where it’s easy to hide clutter that has been relocated from more public spaces. Others may have an office that has been over-run with paper and uncompleted projects. You may have a dining room which has turned into a staging area for projects and product returns.

 

When we can no longer use a room for its intended purpose, it’s time to ask: “Is this space working? How do I really want to use this room?”

 

“Clutter is simply postponed decisions,” says author Barbara Hemphill. So, when we hide things in the guest bedroom, closet or garage, we are simply giving ourselves a future task. The longer we avoid these decisions, the more clutter stacks up, the more overwhelming it becomes to tackle it.
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Improve the Functionality of your Kitchen in Ten Minutes

Improve kitchen functionality in ten minutes

Our kitchens sustain our family. Our kitchen is where our family and guests gather to eat and spend time together. Ask yourself, on a day to day basis does your kitchen work for you? Are your counters covered with piles of who knows what? Are your cupboards filled to the max? Are you having trouble finding things? Is your pantry a black hole? Are you embarrassed to have guests over?

You can make your kitchen work for you! In just 10 minutes a day!

Tonight…

Set aside ten minutes before going to bed tonight. Start with the counters in your kitchen. Recycle any junk mail or old papers that may be cluttering the counter. Take any items that don’t belong in the kitchen and return them to their appropriate home. Put away one appliance you haven’t used in the past month. Fill and start your dishwasher. That is all for today. You are on your way!

In the morning…

Your kitchen will feel a tiny bit cleaner and more organized in the morning. If you can, empty your dishwasher before leaving for work or school. (I’ve timed it and realized it only takes me THREE minutes to empty my dishwasher! And yes, I was half asleep when I did the time test!) Load the dishwasher with breakfast dishes. Take a look at the counter again with fresh eyes, can anything else be put away? Take a minute while drinking your coffee and make one small change – even if it is just recycling old receipts, or putting a cookbook away. Every small effort helps.

Tomorrow night…

Repeat this ten-minute ritual again before going to bed. Is there an appliance on the counter that is taking up a lot of space, but is rarely used? Put it away. Work on putting away items that don’t belong on the kitchen counter. Put away clean dishes and load the dishwasher. Put away any food that belongs in the pantry. Take out trash and recycling. Quickly wipe down the counter. Start the dishwasher. Your tidier kitchen is

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