Declutter as if you are moving

My friends smile indulgently as I mention yet again that we have let go of several items in our home. “You won’t have anything left!” I do not mind the teasing as I know that my actions provide inspiration to get organized, or at least make for interesting conversation. (Readers share their stories in “What Our Stuff Means to Us“)

The interactions that give me pause however are with those who have to deal with the sudden ejection of household items, perhaps due to a change in circumstances that requires a downsize, or a parent’s home needs to be put on the market after they have passed on. Objects stir up emotions, hence why we ‘store and ignore’ (see my LinkedIn article last year called “Steps for Un-storing Your Possessions“). Continue reading

an organized view of a minimalist’s wardrobe

A photo of author Jo Bennett wearing a structured 40's inspired wool hat.

My Lillie and Cohoe winter hat happily received by a colleague.

I don’t have enough clothes.

Folks who know me could take this statement two ways. It may not be a surprise that my wardrobe is small. My Facebook friends are used to my photo posts, featuring many formerly-loved items I want to give away, such as evening wear, hats, jewelry and handbags. I drop off clothes in good condition at Goodwill about four times a year. On the other hand, should a minimalist desire to own more things? Ultimately, my goal is to be aware of what I need and what I want. Continue reading

what our stuff means to us

As a Life Coach, I accompany clients as they emotionally and mentally ‘declutter’ and the topic of physical disorganization comes up as an additional barrier to engaging meaningfully with their life work. This lead me to pursue over the past year training courses with The Professional Organizers of Canada (POC) to provide me with additional context and understanding. While reviewing my POC class notes, I was reminded of several reasons why we are so attached to certain ‘things’ and therefore it may be difficult to let them go. I decided to post a discussion about this on my Facebook page and it proved to be a hot topic! I mentioned that certain objects may:

  • provide a sense of security,
  • portray status,
  • contribute to our identity,
  • represent family/friends/memories.

I asked my friends and colleagues to reflect on these points and, with their permission, here are several of their responses: Continue reading

minimalism 101

A photo of a wooden floor, clear and clean, lit up by a setting sun, revealing doorways into several rooms.

Clear lines, clear mind (photo by Jo)

Are you a minimalist?

For over 15 years I have been shedding whatever I perceive to be in my way of living a satisfying life. I don’t remember exactly how this transformation started but I suspect I have been conditioned for it: years ago, living an artist’s life required moving from place to place, transferring whatever possessions that could fit into a borrowed car. However, that just answers the question regarding physical objects. When asked what it is I get out of minimalism, I reply “truth”. So to talk the walk, I believe that managing toxic relationships since I began adulthood is likely the birthplace of my perspective. Once powerful barriers (guilt from expectations mostly) were removed, then I could see the landscape that is my life. Continue reading

resolution or intention?

Cheers!

Candlelit dinner and bubbly. Cheers!

Well, it’s that time.

The time to experience the expectations that come from an old year turning into a new one. The push for individuals to devise resolutions.

I can relate to the practice of welcoming in a new year. Besides my love for champagne and toasting to anything in life, the slide into winter with the promise of increasing sunshine creates a feeling of anticipation. The birth of Spring can be imagined not far off and we dream of its possibilities. At this moment, do you feel excited? Are you looking forward to the next layer of your life? Perhaps you are reflective, pausing to cheer or condemn your past self. It is also possible to resist the urge to think and to just sit in the moment. Or ignore it all together. All valid and applicable, where ever you may be in your life. Continue reading

work smart, not hard

I have a plan. Yes, there are times when I just don’t want to work. This may be because a task is difficult and I want to avoid it. Or sometimes the creative flow has become frozen in the cold weather and it’s best to just walk away and warm up! Maybe I have personal things on my mind and it is difficult to focus on the task at hand. Regardless of the reason, I don’t get down about it. Being flexible to cope with these variables develops resiliency. I remind myself of the benefits of getting the hard stuff over with so I can feel a sense of accomplishment. If I am not in the groove, then I take a moment to do some exercise. Sometimes life’s problems can occasionally take over so a little forgiveness goes a long way! In all cases, my experience informs me about what strategy to take so I can get back on track. But get back on track with what? Am I doing the right thing? Sometimes it is painful working on too many things and running out of time on them all. It requires some discipline to maintain a light on what is important so I employ a layered approach by asking: Continue reading

can reduced stress lead to less clutter?

I love how seeing clean, clear lines around my home evokes in me a feeling of relaxation. However, how does someone find the time and energy to declutter to achieve this experience?

A photo of Jo, arms raised with hands on the back of her head in a relaxed pose, facing her front window that is filled with green leaves dotted with sunshine.

I am taking a break by stepping out of the office to
enjoy the beautiful summer view.

As a coach, I work with many creative and community builders who work in a home office. Many are also freelancers who travel from place to place and depend on their home space to provide a stable refuge. The topic of reducing clutter and getting organized comes up as a way to increase productivity and to reduce stress. Through our exploration, my clients quickly find out that it’s a bit more complicated then just throwing things out and donning the rubber gloves to give their place a good clean!

How does stress intersect with decluttering? Continue reading