Several Ideas for simplifying when you’re overwhelmed

This is the greater part of an email I just sent to a client who is completely overwhelmed, not just with stuff, but with her schedule. I thought it might be good to share it with other folks.

“I think the best thing for you would be to simplify, simplify, simplify.

Schedule the critical stuff first and then seeing what you have time for after that. Like, for each day, “sleep: 8 hrs”… “showering, 30 mins.”…”commute: X hours” … etc. Don’t wait to buy a planner or calendar; any piece of paper will do. (I’m sure you’ve got some around. *grin*) You can create a master schedule and fill in the empty space as needed. (leave some free though, enough to keep you sane)

Get rid of more stuff – ditch it as you go; no need to set aside time. Maybe make a big sign saying “DITCH STUFF” or something like that to remind you.

Stop doing unnecessary things for other people, really, even little things. No one will mind if you sell those books or bring them to Goodwill instead of giving the books to them as gifts. They would rather see you happy and your home usable.

Even getting rid of clothes – when you try something on and it doesn’t fit, or you don’t like it much – will help keep your bedroom clutter down. Keep a box in the bedroom and just throw the unwanted clothes into it as you go.

Rather than neglecting things that really need doing, stop doing things that don’t. For instance, one of my clients uses a food delivery service: they deliver all your meals, including snacks, for a whole week, and their price is reasonable – I think it’s called “Food From the Heart”. No need to go shopping or to cook.

I also recommend exercising and/or breath-counting meditation.You need body and brain to be healthy and unstressed (or -less- stressed, anyway; let’s be realistic).”

I hope these ideas are helpful to you!

Throw Things Away… and Find Yourself.

Forgive me for getting a little pop-psych, here.

I have been examining lately just why I so love throwing my unwanted, unneeded things away. I’ve come to at least a preliminary conclusion that it has to do with getting to know and appreciate myself more, and allowing myself to be more “me.” Each thing I choose to toss, I do so because it is not part of my conception of myself. And I feel like, in doing that, I am like a sculptor who is chipping away every part of a rough slab of marble that is not part of his statue.

The typical professional organizer criteria for choosing whether to keep a thing are: “Do you need it, use it, or love it?” If you answer no to all those questions, toss it. Some folks who like to hang on to stuff may perceive this as unduly harsh, even cruel. But instead, what it’s doing is allowing you to only own the things that help you to be who you are, and to be happy. It is removing everything that is not you, and thus, letting you shine.

These things change, too. Something that used to be you, ten years ago, might not be anymore. I’m getting rid of my writing books, one or two at a time, because I don’t want to be a writer anymore. Maybe someday I’ll change my mind, and then I’ll have to spend a little bit of cash to replace some. (But maybe not. A lot of them were ones I never read, and I still managed to be a pretty good writer.) But right now, if I release my writing books, they can be used by someone who wants to write right now, and I will be able to focus better on the books I really want to read right now: books that encourage the person I am, and want to become.