I like getting everything out before I start my morning grooming routine. Today as I was pulling each bottle out of the medicine cabinet I was wishing I could pull everything out at once. Light bulb moment – I can!
So I took everything out and put it in a skinny, blue container I had holding stuff my daughter had left behind when she moved out. I put the products in according to how I use them. It fit perfectly in the bottom shelf of the medicine cabinet.
I am always looking for ways to streamline the morning routine.
- Keep quiet time books/journals in a tote bag so I can go anywhere in the house or outside for that morning centering time
- All my exercise equipment and yoga mats are together. In the area is also an accordion folder with torn out exercise routines from magazines based on type (ie upper body, yoga, pilates, cardio)
- My morning smoothie equipment and ingredients are together and the frozen fruits are in a top tray in the freezer.
- My clothes are laid out the night before – including jewelry. You can see how I pick my clothes out quickly in this video.
- I have a routine where I can check off what’s next instead of trying to use my morning foggy brain to decide. (see this video.)
Looking at your mornings, what is one change you can implement that will make it easier?
I have friends, clients and acquaintances moving through new changes – moving, empty nest, new job, chronic illness. Our lives our filled with transitions, but we don’t normally pace ourselves through them. We want to be settled again right away, so we hurry up – settling for where we land.
The uncertainty can be scary. Not knowing where we are in this new phase of our lives can be difficult. Most of us also don’t want to feel the emotions that always come up during transitions.
The last child leaves home. Instead of feeling the pain, sorry and hope, a mom quickly looks to fill the space with volunteering, a new pet or working longer hours. Does she really want to do these things? Who knows? But, at least she isn’t feeling anything.
What if you felt the feelings of transition? Letting them flow through you. Healing rather than locked up in the body.
Then listened to your soul. What would you hear? Perhaps a walk on the beach. Or calling a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. Maybe it’s time to write that book you had in you. Or maybe your soul is calling you to rest.
When you slow down during change you can find out what you want and what is best for your family. You become a deliberate creator in your next step. You can add and subtract things from that deep place of knowing. A place that feels more like you than grabbing things to keep busy and looking settled. You can come up with a new edition of your life slowly, with patience, feeling and intention.
Society may tell us we need to have everything figured out immediately. But, it’s kinder to move slower through the process. Listening, trying something, listening again.
Make your transitions times of the soul. Seeking what is next. Bless you on your journey.
So many people seem exhausted lately. Their leisure time is not renewing them. Often lack of presence causes that feeling of dullness. Too often recreation is the background music to our thoughts.
In order to really be reinvigorated we need to be there – seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling.
If I am in nature but I don’t see or hear because I am too busy in my own thoughts, nature can’t nurture. Crafting is relaxing in the feel of the fabric, the colors, the rhythm of the needles. When you don’t notice, you don’t get the relaxation. Reading renews when you are immersed in a book, not when you have to read the same page 5 times because you drift off.
I was reminded of this at a writer’s retreat I was on recently. We were to take an hour in nature for writing inspiration. Instead of looking around I was deep in thought – in my head again. To my left I heard what sounded like hammering. I saw a little grey and black woodpecker with a tuft of red on its head.
The bird continued to disturb the peace, but made me smile. I was out of my head and back in the world of seeing the beauty. A tiny toad almost hopped on my toe. Another huge toad was completely still for minutes. A white butterfly joined us. I smelled the wildflowers and heard the birds.
The woodpecker flew right in front of me to a tree on the right. Finally it noticed me and flew off. I stood up to leave as well to continue my walk. This time with eyes open.
We talk about soft time and focus in my Change Your Relationship to Time class.
My daughter and I took a 5-day trip to Chicago recently so we could connect and I could show her the city I grew up near. As always, traveling was a way to expand and to learn.
- Always double check your hotel. I was dreaming about the Palmer Hilton and that was what I thought I reserved. Our train pulled into Chicago at 10am leaving us lots of time before check-in. We left our luggage with the bellhop at the Palmer to explore Millennium Park. After the park, we thought we would check in and relax before our chocolate tour. But, the Palmer Hilton couldn’t find us in their system. I showed them my confirmation email and they told me we were supposed to be at the Hilton Chicago. Dragging our luggage seven blocks down to the other Hilton, then race-walking an extra 15 minutes (45 minutes total) to get to the chocolate tour on time was not fun. Thankfully the chocolate tour was fun and delicious.
- Pack lightly. Our hotel was originally going to be 20 minutes from Union Station and I asked my daughter to pack light so we could walk. Her definition of lightly meant still preparing for every conceivable thing that might happen. The bellhops strained every time they had to deal with her bag. We ended up getting a taxi instead of walking to the Palmer House and also taxied back to the station at the end of our trip. On the other hand I had one light tote and the camera bag.
- Research tips. I went online to check out the tip situation in Chicago so I wouldn’t be flustered trying to guess how much to tip the bellhop, chambermaid, taxi driver, etc. Though we did have an angry cab driver as we hunted for our money in the camera bag. After that we always got the money out before stopping.
- Corral fear. Both Brea and I are sensitive and prone to being overwhelmed. Neither of us liked the idea of the train, but even less driving in Chicago. So we breathed deeply, ate candied ginger for nausea and distracted ourselves by looking out the window as we rode the train. We both are too curious to let anxiety stop us too often. One of my main questions when feeling fear is, “Will this make my world bigger or smaller.” We try to choose to make our lives bigger.
- Relax at night. Part of controlling overwhelm for us was making sure we were back at the hotel between 6pm and 8pm depending on where we ate dinner. We took baths, went into the hotel Jacuzzi, watched Chopped on TV, looked through pictures and relaxed. We knew we couldn’t be out all day at museums and then out again in the evening for shows or musical acts. We wouldn’t last a day.
- Experiences instead of shopping. Coming back, half the people said, “We want to take a vacation like you,” which was mainly museums, nature-related places and food. The other half wanted to know where we shopped in Chicago. Besides chocolate stores we didn’t set foot into any of them. We prefer experiences over things. So we save our money to do stuff and don’t get the souvenirs. But, Brea took lots of pictures and I wrote about our experiences so we aren’t going to forget anything.
- Know yourself. Our kind of trip may not be for others. I am sure most people don’t stay in museums as long as we do. They might not want to try octopus or lamb ravioli. But, we love trying new food, especially since there isn’t much of that where we live. We planned based on what we know about ourselves, our interests and our energy. Since it was only the two of us we didn’t have to make our vacation match anyone’s expectations.
- Unpack right away. Our train was late so I didn’t get home after the trip until about 11:30pm. But I knew if I didn’t unpack immediately it would lay around the house for days. We often think unpacking will take a long time, but in less than ten minutes I was done.
- Clear your schedule for the next day. Thankfully most of my clients canceled for me when they heard about the trip. “You won’t want to have a call, trust me.” They were right. I ended up sleeping in and working as little as possible.
What did you learn on your last vacation? Do you have an upcoming trip you can make uniquely you?
I had a cosmetic organizer. It was OK. But, it was wide and a lot of my lipsticks had to be jumbled together. So when I ran across this one on sale I got it. It saves me room since it’s two parts on top of each other. Plus it fits everything unlike my other one.
I tend to “make do” because I am not a big buyer or shopper. I was taught to not replace until something is broken. That has worked for me in many ways. We hold onto cars for years, my husband fixes what he can in the house and I am not always looking for the next latest, greatest of what I have.
But, sometimes they turn into tolerations – those annoying things that leak your energy.
This is one of those. I use my makeup almost daily and it was draining having to shovel through things to get what I wanted or to set things back up right every time I took one thing out.
Now my lipsticks are together in their own slots. Makeup brushes, eyeliner and lip balm in the back. Foundation, powder and concealer in the middle left.
Drawers hold lesser-used lipsticks ( I got rid of the three never wearing again lipsticks). Second drawer is my blush. Third drawer eye shadow.
I also have a physical limit – so no more make-up buying until something is used up. (Though I do have room for one more blush.)
When you are organizing – declutter first, then see what container would work for what you have left. Never get the container before decluttering and seeing what you have all in one space or it may not fit.
I am happy with my new cosmetics organizing. It’s been so much easier to get ready in the morning.
How about you? What are you tolerating?
We were talking about information/articles torn out/things printed off the internet in the Declutter Group Monday.
It’s helpful to think about where you go for information when you are ready for it. If you were to plan a party, would you go to your party planning binder or file folder, would you do an internet search or would you go to the library for a book?
If you are creating a garden, or going on a health plan or planning a vacation where do you go for information?
That is the kind of information you keep. That is where you store your information.
I rarely go to any torn out magazine article anymore. I would search the web or my Evernote online notebook. So I keep almost no magazine articles or things printed.
If you automatically go to your binders, then why are you keeping a bunch of folders on your computer?
If you get most of your info from books – make sure those are organized and don’t worry about keeping the paper information glut.
Information is only helpful if you can find it when you need it.
Photo by Evelyn Giggles
Some experts say making your bed every day brings more discipline and you are more likely to exercise. Some say it’s better to air out your sheets. Some experts say a messy desk impedes work. Others say a clean desk impedes creativity.
If you exercise in the morning, they say you are more likely to make it a habit. Afternoon exercise can give you a lift from the afternoon slump. Evening exercise releases the day’s stress.
Experts can tell you how to be more productive, have the best body and clean your house. But, none of them are you.
What works for you is what works for you. My friend and accountability partner, Marcia, loves the Konmari method of decluttering. That way does not remotely work for me and I teach what worked for me in my declutter class.
Personally sometimes I make my bed and sometimes it’s more like a nest surrounded by books for break time.
My desk is rarely completely cleaned but I clear it off every few days. (Currently though, as it’s the week before show time for the musical I am in and the desk is pretty messy.) But, no matter how busy I am I always put my makeup and grooming supplies away in the bathroom when I’m done. It makes me cringe to see them cluttering the sink.
The good news is there is most likely some expert that says the way you like to do things is the “right” way. So now you can concentrate on figuring out what works for you. This means experimenting not trying to fit into a mold. Exercise at different points in the day and see which feels best. What breakfast gives you the most energy? Does taking a break every 15 minutes, 25 minutes or 90 minutes keep you on track best? What part of home care needs to take priority because it matters a lot to you or your family?
There can also be multiple ways to live your life as well. I rarely do the exact same morning routine, but the elements are there most days of the week. Some days I like to start with exercise. Some days I like to ease into exercise after some quiet time. One day may have more meditation, one more journaling, one more music. I check in to see what I need most that day.
When situations changed – different marital or children status, new work hours, a health concern, care-giving, etc. then you can experiment again to find what is most helpful in this new situation.
What will you experiment with today?
Somehow last week a bunch of client projects happened at once. I was working long hours. The first day of this I didn’t take my breaks, I worked fast and was annoyed most of the day. I ended my work with a migraine.
So the rest of the week I reminded myself to work with love. These weren’t just tasks I was doing. Someone on the other end was going to be helped by them. I thought about the pressures clients were putting on themselves to make things urgent which brought out feelings of empathy. I radiated love as I did support emails. I prayed before each call and project.
I also sent love to myself. I took my breaks. I ate lunch at the kitchen table not my desk. And I gave myself compassion when feelings of overwhelm arose.
I was even more productive, had a ton more energy and my migraines went away.
When you see your week ahead, where can you work with love? What would that mean to you?
Photo by Giuliano Maiolini
One of the big mistakes I see is the idea that if you just get organized, life can run smoothly. But, if you have too much stuff or too many commitments it doesn’t matter how organized you are. You will still feel not enough and stressed.
You can have the most organized basement even though it’s piled high with boxes. All the boxes take time to keep organized. Plus you still have to find what you are looking for among many, many boxes.
You might have the most organized scheduled – things written down for each 15 minutes. But, you can still feel stressed, especially when real life happens and your schedule falls off.
A room full of magazines ordered by magazine title and date, is still a lot of magazines to go through to find what you want.
A full binder or recipes may be organized, but overwhelming when you are trying to decide what to make for dinner.
Your closet may be organized by color and type, but if it’s stuffed it’s still hard to find what to wear.
Simplifying makes things more manageable quicker than organizing can. What if you only had what you love and what fits in your closet based on a few colors so most things match each other? Would that make it easier to get dressed in the morning?
You can have a menu plan of two weeks worth of recipes you can re-use then a simple file folder with a few recipes you want to try based on how many new recipes you usually use in a few months time.
You can recycle those magazines only clipping a few articles to implement while letting the rest go. No big pile of looming projects you probably won’t get to.
Your schedule would be easier to maintain if you cut some things out of it based on you and your family’s priorities. You could have a simple list of things to do morning, afternoon and evening instead of being tightly scheduled.
If your home is filled more with things you use on a regular basis and love rather than crammed with stuff from the past or things you “might need someday” you can take care of your home easier.
What are you trying to organize into manageability in your life? What needs simplifying instead?