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Archive for the ‘Clearing Clutter’ Category

Sometimes you just can’t blog because you actually have real shit to do.

 

 

And for the last couple days, serious shit went down. For hours I’ve been taking inventory of my basement contents and all outdated, broken, worthless, and unused items have either been recycled, regifted, or rejected.

 

Sorry, readers, but I have been totally consumed.  Possessed.  Manic.

 

It all started when my new dining room chairs were delivered, necessitating the storage of 6 old chairs until I get them back to my mother-in-law.  That lead me to the basement and all things scary and repressed.

 

You know, the basement is supposed to reflect our past, which is probably why so much junk ends up there, we often don’t want to deal with it, and when we finally do, it’s a lot of work.  So the next time you have a little flood or sewer backup, maybe your basement is telling you there is some past crap you need to take care of.



 

If it wasn’t for Dalai Dan offering to help, I don’t think I could have faced the staggering amounts of old junk clogging my cosmic energy. I’m pretty sure I freed an 8 year-old Dalai, mortified after the school nurse found lice in her hair, in an old box of empty DVD boxes. A huge bag of random late century stereo cords was the key to letting go of my pent up anger towards my Kindergarten teacher who yelled at me for not understanding a math worksheet.Bitch. Poor, stressed out woman.


I feel liberated.  And that is just the beginning.  I haven’t even tackled the closets, cupboards, and garage.  Don’t worry, I’ll resurface.

 

 

 

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The cleansing has begun. I can feel the fat melting…



Game Closet (I really should have shown you the before because the transformation is inspiring)



While others moms are encouraging physical activity, I have banned all sports and bike riding for 24 hours. Severe beatings will occur if one ball is out of place during this psycho-clean-mom period.  Warning to the neighborhood kids:  I feel comfortable yelling at other people’s children.



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So, I have 3 holiday pounds to lose.  How about you?  Three didn’t sound that bad.  Until I made meatloaf from the 84 packages of ground beef we have and I could fully imagine what 3 pounds of fat look like.  AND IT’S SOMEWHERE ON MY BODY.


What I need to lose a few pounds, I take a little different approach than my typical detoxes.  When I am on a “cleanse” I am eating very clean, but I am not counting calories.  I could easily have 500 calories in avacado and nuts and I wouldn’t know it.


In the end, losing weight is calories in and calories out.


I don’t revert back to Snackwells and protein bars, but I do make it very easy for myself.  The harder it is, the easier it is for me to mess up.


Here is my plan:


1. Write everything down.  Duuu, no-brainer, I know.  But, if you have an iPhone, try this cool application:  Daily Burn.  It is extremely easy to enter in your meals and also has an optional scanner, which I LOVE.  Anything that has a barcode, you can just scan and it will bring up the exact calories.  AMAZING!


2. Stock up on “healthy” prepackaged foods.  I sill eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially apples and bananas since they are grab-and-go), but I don’t want to get caught in a jam and have nothing acceptable to turn to.  My favorites are:


Amy’s Kitchen frozen meals and burritos




Organic Bistro frozen meals





Sabra hummus singles




MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Burger





Trio Bars




3. Clean and organize my closets.  Yes, the Dalai household undergoes a massive purge when the Dalai Lina needs to lose a few pounds.  Closets, basement, cupboards, toy boxes – nothing escapes me.  I find that I’m burning extra calories, but more importantly, there seems to be some kind of symbiotic relationship between my body and my house.  As soon and I start letting go of the junk, my body joins in.  It’s one big, Dalai liquidation.  All the excess “fat” gets disposed of, and by the time I’m done, I’m ready for the new year in mind, body and house!


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My shoulders ache, three nails are broken, and my evening is shot, but the annual unfurling of the winter family room is complete.


Each fall and spring I switch out rugs and slip covers to give our family room a fresh look. It is a daunting task that takes HOURS and produces hundreds of feathers to be found in every orifice of the room.  I attempted to put the vacuum cleaner away three times only to be thwarted by another piece of fluff missed or moved by the undetectable breath of the furnace.



I spent every minute after the kids went to bed stripping, stuffing and cleaning. And as sure as the rain is wet, the couch will be covered with dog hair and lightly peppered with sticky raisins and granola bar crumbs before Thanksgiving arrives. So, I must be satisfied with these spotless pictures.




Here is the rug and spring covers that are going to get cleaned and ready for warmer weather…




Ahhhh….one more look before I go to bed. Our warm, cozy, winter den…



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Now, let’s get back to business…it is time for all of us to clear out some junk from our lives. Even if you pick a drawer, your car, a shelf, or one single closet, the act of clearing out stagnant, useless stuff frees up literal and figurative space in our lives.


Feng Shui is a 5,000-year-old practice that looks at the flow of chi, or energy, in an environment. The belief is that our emotional and spiritual life is not separate from the physical space we live and work in. There are many applications of Feng Shui, but for our purposes, what you see in your house will likely show up in our lives. For example, a cluttered, disorganized home will likely reflect that the owner is feeling out of control, mentally cluttered, and disorganized! It doesn’t take years of studying an ancient practice for most people to be able to relate to this.

So, what exactly constitutes clutter? Karen Kingston, in her book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, defines it as:


1. Things you do not use or love
2. Things that are untidy or disorganized
3. Too many things in a small space
4. Anything unfinished


I think we all can understand these categories, but it is easy to trick ourselves into thinking OUR clutter does not meet these requirements.


For example, I have a friend that purchased expensive software that helped her categorize, file, label, and search for the THOUSAND or more books she had. I know she thinks that since they are now organized, they don’t count as clutter. But what about #1? Does she really use all 1000 books? One major pitfall is keeping things “just in case.” Don’t fall into that trap!



Another pitfall is the belief that “more is better.” For example, I know someone who keeps Costco size flats of canned goods in her pantry. She doesn’t want to be caught without something at sometime in the future. They often get thrown out after their expiration (#1) or they are packed so tightly in the pantry (#3) I wonder sometimes if she can find what she needs! Trust that if you need something, you will be able to get it.


So, if you are on board to start a real clutter cleanse, you can make it fun and interesting using a fascinating Feng Shui tool: the Bagua Map. The Bagua is a chart that identifies where each of our “blessings” is located in the home:



You can download this chart for free here from Moni Castaneda. This can be used to chart your whole house or even one single room. Start by sketching your house. I used graph paper to attempt a basic level of accuracy. After you are finished, superimpose the Bagua map over your house drawing, placing the bottom of the Bagua map where your front door is. Notice that the Bagua may be square or rectangle, depending on your home dimensions. Also note that in order to cover the longest sides of your home, some of the Bagua map may encompass the outside (front yard or backyard).


Here is my house charted. As you can see, almost all of my “prosperity/wealth” and “fame/reputation” is on my patio! If I noticed problems in these areas, I would look to keep my patio swept and clean and maybe even add some beautiful flowers.



After you complete your Bugua map, look to see where most of your clutter is and see if this area of your life is being affected. Clutter in drawers counts! Also, multiple floors count! You can apply the map to each floor of your home, and even do it for a single room by placing the bottom of the map on the wall where the room’s entrance is. Check out your bedroom: where does your cluttered bedside table land? Mine is in “knowledge/wisdom.”


It is a fun and interesting way to look at clutter. And anything that can make the cleaning process more fun is worth every penny! I would love to hear any interesting revelations…Good luck!

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