Declutter and Thrive

7 Signs of Unhealthy Shopping Habits

Everyone shops. We all need the basics in life, right? Food, shelter, clothing, etc. It’s the “etc.” part that presents a wide range when it comes to shopping habits. While there are many amusing adages about shopping—”Shop til you drop,” “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness…,” and “Shopping is my cardio” are a few that come to mind—for some it has become an unhealthy situation, both mentally, physically, and financially. It is called a few different things: “shopaholism”, “Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD)” or “oniomania”. Not sure if you are just guilty of the occasional splurge, or if you need help to rein in your spending? You’re not alone. Read on for 7 signs of unhealthy shopping habits…and some real talk on how you can change them.

1. You browse or shop online as a source of entertainment or happiness.

Got some time to kill, so you open your Amazon app or spend a couple of hours at the mall. We’re all guilty of the occasional “retail therapy”. However, if this is how you always fill your spare time and the result is a constant influx bags and boxes of stuff you don’t really need, then it is definitely not a healthy habit. Give yourself better options to spend that valuable free time. Schedule regular coffee or walk dates with a friend. Go to the library—browsing and borrowing is free! Sign up for an online class. Basically, fill up that space with options that do not indulge those shopping urges.

Read More

Mental Health Benefits of Decluttering

by Dan Brennan, MD
October 5, 2021
from WebMD.com

If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce stress, decluttering your environment may be a good place to start. Getting rid of excess stuff can benefit your mental health by making you feel calmer, happier, and more in control. A tidier space can make for a more relaxed mind.

Benefits of Decluttering

Untidy environments often increase stress for most people. In one study, women who described their homes with positive language had a lower level of the stress hormone cortisol than women who described their homes as cluttered or unfinished. Still, the case for decluttering isn’t clear-cut. Another study found that, while orderly environments are more linked to healthy choices, disorderly environments promote creativity and fresh ideas. If you value creativity, you may want to allow yourself to be a little messy in certain areas of your life.For most people, decluttering can promote productivity and improvements in mental and physical health. Benefits of decluttering include:

Better focus. Clutter makes it difficult to find what you need. It may also distract you. Getting rid of visual clutter can help you focus better on any task at hand. 

Higher self-esteem. When you have trouble staying organized, you may feel out of control. Improving your living space can restore feelings of competency and pride.

Read the rest at WebMD.

Read More

How to Pare Down Your Books

Books are seriously one of the hardest things to part with! Even if you’ve only ever read it once, having your books within reach keeps you tied to the thoughts and feelings they evoked, to the far-off, magical adventures they took you on, to the breathtaking or heart-wrenching stories they told. We hold onto books that were passed down from a loved one, or purchased at a tiny bookshop in Cairo, or read during a particularly good or bad time of our lives. We also hold onto books that were gifts, or from your college days, or have been on your “to read” list for a long time. The reality is that books also create clutter, take up a lot of space, are hard to move, and collect an amazing amount of dust. Paring down your books doesn’t mean getting rid of all of them—it just means you’ll keep some of them. Our guide will help you get going!

Where are all your books?
  • Are they all on a couple of bookshelves in the family room?
  • Or do you have books in many places—your nightstand, your home office, the guest room?
  • Do you have books in boxes that are stored in the garage, the basement, or a storage unit?
  • Write down all the places where your books are kept, so you can go down the list and check each area off as you declutter it.
Read More

‘The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,’ Says ‘Secondhand’ Expert

by Terry Gross
December 4, 2019
on NPR.org

Author Adam Minter remembers two periods of grief after his mother died in 2015: the intense sadness of her death, followed by the challenge of sorting through what he calls “the material legacy of her life.”

Over the course of a year, Minter and his sister worked through their mother’s possessions until only her beloved china was left. Neither one of them wanted to take the china — but neither could bear to throw it out. Instead, they decided to donate it.

Waiting in the donation line at Goodwill, Minter began wondering what would happen to the dishes: “It occurred to me this is a very interesting subject,” he says. “Nobody really knew what happened beyond the donation door at Goodwill.”

Read More

Gifting Experiences Instead of Stuff

One thing most of us have realized during the pandemic: we could all do with (and did with) less STUFF. What is “stuff,” exactly? Stuff is, “matter, material, articles, or activities of a specified or indeterminate kind that are being referred to, indicated, or implied.” For the purposes of this article we are referring to all the stuff that fills your home and your life that you don’t really use, need, want, or even remember—but you have, simply because you do. Gifts you feel bad getting rid of, items of some sentimental value, things you used to use, items you’ve put away and forgotten. Which is why we’ve got a list of gift ideas which are experiences, instead of more stuff. Gifts that won’t take up room on a shelf, on a counter, in a desk, or in the garage. Happy shopping!

Escape RoomsConundrum in Redmond has real life and virtual reality escape rooms, as well as axe-throwing and an outdoor adventure game. Bellevue’s Reality Break Escapes has escape rooms, parties, and portable escapes. Puzzle Break offers a big selection of virtual escape rooms available online for up to 6 players; 7+ players can do their virtual team-building experience with no limit to the number of players.

Read More

Decision Fatigue: What It Is and How to Avoid It

from WSU Online MBA

It’s 4 p.m. You have an end-of-the-day deadline, five new items on your to-do list, and urgent emails to attend to; you can’t seem to make yourself focus. Gosh, you think, I need a quick energy fix. You were planning on an afternoon workout session, but that means getting into gym clothes and deciding what kind of exercise to do, and wouldn’t it just be easier to get a coffee and a brownie from Starbucks instead?

You’ve just experienced decision fatigue. If this example hits home, then you know why decision fatigue has become a hot topic in the business world, impacting everything from hiring to project management to bad food choices.

Read on for how you can recognize decision fatigue and improve your decision-making skills.

What Is Decision Fatigue?

So, what is decision fatigue, and what impact does it have in and out of the workplace? In essence, decision fatigue is mental exhaustion resulting from the sheer number of decisions a person must make daily, leading to difficulty making—or making good—decisions. That may make sense if your decisions center on company strategy (what’s the best marketing plan for the new product?) or life-changing opportunities (should I take that new job?). The human brain, however, can get caught up in the same decision-making process around what to eat for lunch or wear to work.

 

Read the entire article WSU Online MBA.

Read More

Decluttering is bad for the planet. Here’s how to do it sustainably.

by Susan Shain
from Mic Media
August 19, 2021

Picture your neighborhood garbage truck. Got it in your mind? Now picture 29,000 of them, lined up end to end, stretching from Sacramento to San Jose, California. Then, finally, picture all those trucks, brimming with trash and dumping it all in a landfill, every single day.

In the United States, that’s not hyperbole; it’s reality. Every year, we send nearly 150 million tons of waste to the landfill — an amount equal to roughly 2.5 pounds of trash per person, per day. In 2018, that included 9 million tons of clothing and shoes, 9.6 million tons of furniture, and 1.6 million tons of small appliances. That’s bad news for the planet, considering landfills account for 12% of global emissions of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas responsible for at least a quarter of today’s global warming.

If you’re thinking, “I don’t contribute to landfills! I donate my unwanted things!”, you should know that indiscriminate donating is sometimes the opposite of helpful. Thrift stores run by the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, for example, are only able to sell or give away about half of what they receive, says CEO Dave Barringer. While the remainder is sold to secondary vendors, like online booksellers and overseas clothing markets (which, side note, can be problematic), roughly 5% of St. Vinnies’s donations still end up in landfills.

Though 5% might not sound like much, consider the fact that the four largest U.S. thrift chains — St. Vinnies, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and Deseret Industries — receive approximately 4 billion pounds of clothing each year, according to Barringer. Clearly, being more thoughtful about what we donate — not to mention what we consume and recycle — could have a positive impact on the environment.

Read the rest on Mic Media.

Read More

Pandemic Habits to Keep

Last month we went over some pandemic habits to say goodbye to, like too much takeout and screen time. However, there are even more habits and routines we’ve changed or added that actually bring healthy, positive, and uplifting vibes to our lives. We may have turned the corner on the pandemic (and fingers crossed that it stays that way!), but some things are too good to let go of. Let’s focus on pandemic habits we should definitely keep!

Walking, walking, and more walking!

Remember in early lockdown when there was nowhere to go and everyone started walking outside? It was actually quite wonderful! Our neighborhood streets, normally quiet, became busy with people walking, saying “Hello” from a distance, and talking to others from their porches. I’d have meet-ups with friends to walk, and with the streets empty we could walk six feet apart in the middle of the road. My husband liked to pop in his AirPods, find his latest favorite podcast, and walk for miles. If COVID got you taking a walk regularly, there’s absolutely no reason to stop this awesome practice. No wonder The Guardian calls 2020 “The Year of the Walker”!

Supporting local businesses

My local community groups were big on supporting local mom-and-pop shops instead of the big retail giants—we sure didn’t want them to disappear during the pandemic. While many places unfortunately still had to shutter, many more stayed afloat and are now feeling a resurgence. Yay! Restaurants, book stores, boutiques, pet shops, food trucks, clothing and gift shops, cafés, etc.—it’s so terrific to see these businesses return to almost-normal and begin to thrive again. Let’s keep up this local support!

Hygiene

One of the things I found so odd (and alarming, honestly) at the beginning of the pandemic was all the imploring for people to wash hands regularly; why was this a new thing?! In any case, in the past year colds and the flu almost disappeared. With social distancing, mask-wearing, and tons of sanitizing, the basic illnesses truly diminished; this may change as the world is opening up and the COVID-safety measures start to go away. I, for one, plan to keep up the hygiene practices—lots of hand-washing and sanitizers—even post-pandemic. I love not getting sick! And as they have been doing in Asia, I will start wearing a mask when I’m feeling under the weather, to keep others from catching whatever bug I’ve got.

Read More

It’s Dad’s Turn: Our Garage Power Day Promotion Is For You!

It’s been a challenging year, and that special dad in your life deserves something more than new grilling tongs or a gift card for Father’s Day. What dad wouldn’t love to have his garage or shed pared down and superbly organized? Imagine having your home and garden tools, sports equipment, camping gear, storage bins, miscellaneous boxes, and car supplies ergonomically and efficiently organized, categorized, and labeled—he can find anything in a snap! Could he actually start parking the car in the garage again? We can help make this a possibility.

We want to honor Dads with our Garage Power Day promotion: Two organizers for 4 hours—8 hours of total organizing—at a 20% discount. We’ve never done a promo like this before…and it won’t last long…so don’t delay!

When you buy 8 hours of Hands-On Professional Organizing
We will gift you 20% off

The value of this package is $720
Purchase today for only $575

Read More

Goodwill Doesn’t Want Your Broken Toaster

from NPR.org
May 6, 2021
by Todd Bookman

Cars begin lining up outside the Goodwill donation center in Seabrook, N.H., around 10 a.m. most mornings.

Well-intended patrons are here with truckloads full of treasures.

“We hope everyone brings great things that help our programs, but we know some people make some questionable judgments about what is good to donate,” explains Heather Steeves, spokesperson for the 30 Goodwill locations in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

She holds up “a lampshade, which is stained and disgusting and literally falling apart.”

There’s a small table missing a leg, cracked purple food-storage containers and a used sponge. They’re just a representative sample of the useless stuff dropped off the day before.

Along with simply being gross, these items cost Goodwill money.

“All this trash adds up to more than $1 million a year in a trash bill, and it’s been growing every year for the past five years,” says Steeves. And that’s just for the 30 stores she oversees.

Read the rest on NPR.org.

Read More