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

clear space to be – part 2

One of the few objects that has followed me over the years (photo by Jo)

There is nothing like the universe coming together to provide an opportunity. Today, an assignment of mine was suddenly cancelled so my afternoon became free. I’d normally revel in a walk through my town but being a cold and wet day, I hopped on the tube and came home. Rather than get straight to work on various projects, I decided to treat myself to some fun and catch up on episodes of a favourite television show!

On the internet recently I tuned into the television series, Consumed with Jill Pollack. Families have their homes completely cleared out and they live for 30 days with the bare essentials. Then they return to their boxed up items in a warehouse and reduce a lot of it before bringing some things back home. Meanwhile, Darren Doyle builds architectural solutions in the home and Jill decorates to make it even more inviting to remain junk free.

I wrote about this show in my previous clear space to be post last month. I am inspired by the revelations of the families featured on the show! It all starts with host Jill stating: “It’s not just about getting rid of stuff..it’s about getting rid of bad habits. To have an appreciation for what’s really important.”

Discovery runs deeper than what is found in the closet Continue reading

no work, no desk

Finally, a Saturday morning when we can stay home together.

After a stunning hot sunny week, the weekend opens up cool and wet. There are persistent silent flashes of light, followed by lengthy deep growls from above the brown clouds. A steady rain starts to fall, hitting the pavement and drowning out any emerging city sounds. It seems to have silenced the natural world until the baby sparrows nested in our eaves cry out for food.

The first couple of sleepy hours are spent on the bed in silent conversation, surrounded by cozy blankets not needed in the night but suddenly are necessary as a breeze picks up momentum and blows in to say hello. The dim but warm glow of daylight filters through the window onto our bodies. Heavenly.

Room to cook, room to breathe.

Then our tummies start to grumble. However, breakfast must be served with the weekend Globe and Mail! So while My Love sits to meditate, I suit up in something waterproof and eagerly head out the door to the corner store. I’m grinning as I brace for the wind that blows down the main street. I like weather that announces its presence! With the paper under my arm, I enter our building, shaking the droplets off my coat. Inside, wet clothes are replaced by softer layers and I set to work in the kitchen. Water in the kettle for my tea and the stove top espresso gadget for Karl. 8 minutes left before his bell sounds him into movement. Simple pleasures.

So, the world continues to evolve. Continue reading

permission to receive less

A photo of sweet treats made with roses!

A tasty treat from a friend who went overseas – sweets made with roses! A unique and consumable idea. (photo by Jo)

Last week I had a birthday. In some ways I acknowledged the day and in other ways I did not. It has taken me several years to turn my birthday into a concept I am comfortable to walk past. Less waste, less expectation and more quality time.  Continue reading