Building a Habit with the 30/30 Program

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Well, it’s happened again. The other people in your home have successfully managed to disorganize everything you organized and rather than put it back together you want to give up.

Well, hold on just a minute. There is still hope! Now, you and I can’t change other people (though we can teach our littles) but we can work toward building a habit in you to keep up with the organization of your home.

All that hard work that you’ve put in for the past few months or weeks at getting unwanted items out of your house was not for nothing. Let’s keep it going!

Or maybe you find yourself finally getting frustrated with not being able to find things in your home and having to purchase things you KNOW you already own but just can’t find it. Ahem, tape, scissors, glue… anyone?

After working with clients who have diligently been through their entire home side-by-side with me developing little habits of success along the way, I want to provide that for others. While not the same as working with someone, I want to make encouragement and tips and success available to you as well. For that very reason, I’ve developed a program that will show up in your email every day for 30 days. Consider it a little version of me in your back pocket cheering you on for 30 minutes each of those 30 days. I’ve had people ask me to come move in with them to help them with their spaces. This is pretty close!

You’ll learn about the best method to organize fully. You’ll hear from others about the change that organizing has brought to their lives. You’ll have the accountability to work in your home’s disorganized areas every day for 30 days, building a habit that can last a lifetime. You’ll have quick wins along the way. And, best yet, you’ll have a daily cheerleader in me!

I will be popping in every day for 30 days to cheer you on to working 30 minutes in your home every day. Thus, the program is called 30/30! 30 minutes for 30 days. It’s really up to you how much time you spend but the goal is to build a solid habit to either create or keep up with the systems that are keeping your house organized.

So sign up, invite your friends, and make a fun time of it!

Click here and scroll down to register.

In Case of Fire

I ask a lot of questions when working with people to find peace and freedom in their home. The questions vary by person and situation. “Do you like this item?” “Do you want to keep up with the care and storage of this item?” “Is this item an excess duplicate?” And so on.

One question I ask myself but not others is, “would you rebuy this if you lost it in a fire?”

Maybe you will think this is morbid. At times I sure do. That is exactly why I don’t ask this question of other people. I simply ask, “would you buy this item again?”

I should say that I have never had any reason to ask this question involving a fire. I’ve never experienced a fire myself. I’ve never even known anyone personally who has been involved in a house fire.

That is until this past year when I found out that the house of my friends burned. It was an accident that they had nothing to do with. Each of the seven people in their family made it out safely but hardly any of their possessions did. A photo or two and a small amount of other precious items.

Maybe you’ve known someone or you yourself have suffered this loss. What is the first word that you think of when you hear about a house burning down? I think of words like tragedy, devastation, and loss. Then I think of words like rebuilding, starting over, and community.

There are a few lessons that I want you hear from this as you continue reading. First, from my friend, make a video documentation of what you own because the insurance dealings are difficult and this video will help. Second, the less you own, the less hassle you will deal with both in everyday life and in emergencies or loss. Third, it’s all just stuff and only some of it is necessary and beautiful.

Make a Video/Take Photos
I spent a little bit of time walking through my home recently making a video of all of my belongings. It took some time but it is done. I got serial numbers on things like the TV and my computer. Be sure to get in close on jewelry and artwork, perhaps getting photos of these individually.
As another quick practical tip, have a fireproof safe that you store your important paperwork in as well.

Own Less
Remember that “less” is different from “none.” The less things you own, the less things you have to keep up with in the day-to-day. And, in the unlikely but still real possibility event that you suffer a fire or natural disaster or loss of a loved one (more on this specifically in another blog post to come) you have less to deal with.

The Necessary and Beautiful
When my friends started rebuilding their belongings they had immediate needs. They made a list of all the things they would need and their amazing community stepped up in beautifully unexpected ways. Yes, I used the word “need” in that last sentence correctly. They needed clothes, basic kitchen items, and basic furniture. But we also thrive when we have beauty around us. They might not be the first things we buy after a fire but they are probably on the wish list just the same.

I’m not asking you to get rid of everything you own except that which you would need right after a fire. I’m asking you to think about what you own and WHY you own it. Do you want to keep 3 sets of fine china that you wouldn’t purchase again if it was all broken? That is totally fine. Just know WHY you are keeping it. Chances are they are sentimental items and we all know those can’t be replaced. (I’m also not saying you need to keep everything that is sentimental but that is for another time.)

Just in Case: The 20/20 Rule

There are dozens of tips and questions to ask to help you decide what to keep in your home. There are too many to say all at once while in a decluttering session. Some, however, hold more bang for their buck. One of them is the 20/20 rule.

I first heard the 20/20 rule from these guys. And now I use it frequently with others. The basic idea is this, if you are holding on to an item just in case you might need it one day, you can let go of it if you can get it again in less than 20 minutes for less than 20 dollars.

One example might be that you have 16 rolls of tape. If you are holding on to these just in case you might need some tape, you can apply the 20/20 rule. Since you aren’t using this tape definitely (it’s a just in case item), and it will take you less then 20 minutes (on your next grocery run) and it will cost less than $20 (you can get the brand name for around $3) you can let someone else have it. Otherwise those 16 rolls of tape are taking up valuable real estate in a drawer and in your mind (another topic for another article).

Another example might be a bundt pan. “I might make a bundt cake next year. Maybe. I should probably hold on to it.” A bundt pan takes up valuable space in those kitchen cabinets. If you are holding on to it just in case you might make a bundt cake at some point, you can let it go. It falls into the 20/20 rule but also, you can probably save even more time and money by borrowing this item if you ever decide to bake that bundt cake. Then, not only are you not buying a pan that you probably won’t use often, you are also building community, saving money, and freeing up time and space in your home and head.

What items are you hanging on to just in case that are taking up valuable space in both your home and your mind? What can you let go of today to help bring more peace and freedom to your home?

20/20 in 2020

The new year is coming and if you are a numbers nerd like me you are stoked that it’s 2020. So much fun with that number. One being 20/20. Not only am I a numbers nerd I also wear contacts/glasses. For me I’ve been striving for 20/20 vision since I was in middle school. And, y’all, the glasses back then took up your whole face. Top it off with a frizzy perm and butt-cut and you’ve got middle school me. And middle-age me wishes I had lasik.

We aren’t talking lasik here today but I do want you to be thinking about the new year. How can you have 20/20 “vision” when thinking about your house in the new year?

I’ve recently talked with one of the participants of the Fall session of The Minimalism Game with Little Red Stool Organizing (#LRSOMG19) who went directly to the 30/30 program. As she was decluttering with #LRSOMG19 she finally saw what a mess her house was and how much clutter she had just sitting around.

What a beautiful moment! To be able to see what’s been there all along and want to do something about it. Maybe your family and friends have seen it for years, maybe you’ve seen it but haven’t been willing to deal with it. Maybe this year is your year to do something about it.

If that’s you, let’s figure out how to get you moving forward to the end with that 20/20 vision. One of your first steps can be to contact a professional organizer. I happen to be one of those! There are many others all across the world too so chances are if you aren’t near me, there is another one near you.

If a friend or family member came to mind right away as you’ve been reading this, maybe you’d like to get them started with a gift card. If you would like to do this, please be kind in your approach. Having a lot of things in your home is a deeper issue than having a lot of things and many times it is incredibly sensitive. On the other hand, maybe your friend or family member is more than ready! I can think of no better gift than one that will help someone move forward in peace and freedom in their homes!

A More Peaceful Dinner

It’s time to make dinner.

Your blood sugar is dropping and you see evidence of the same in the kiddos and spouse around you. You open your pantry and stand staring at the agglomeration of food.

Blankly.

Then you quickly jump in the car and head to the nearest restaurant.

This might not be you every night but chances are if you have a cluttered and unorganized pantry, you find yourself in this situation a few times a week. How do you get out of this routine and into a calm-as-possible meal at home? I’m going to walk you through a simple plan to help get you there. (If this is new to you, it will seem a little unorthodox. It’s okay, let it be different and try it out. The feeling of freedom and peace that comes will be worth it.)

Go ahead and clear off a clean workspace near your pantry. Set a trash can up nearby as well. Throw on your favorite music, put a smile on your face, and pull everything out of your pantry to your workspace.

Everything.

You will be tempted to look at each item individually when you pull it out. Resist. You’ll look at each item soon enough. Just get it out of the pantry.

When everything except the actual shelving system is out of the pantry you are ready for the first fun part – decluttering. (For the sake of the space restraint, I have to leave out some nuanced details. Have fun with it and don’t over think it. Let it work for you, not own you.)

Looking at each item that used to be in your pantry, ask yourself the following questions (keeping yourself and each person that lives in your house in mind):

  1. Is this food expired?
    1. Yes – toss it
    2. No – see next question
  2. Do we like this food? Do we eat this food? Is this food good for us?
    1. Yes – great! Set it aside to go back in the pantry when you’re all done decluttering.
    2. No – toss it or donate it (note: food pantries don’t take expired foods)
  3. Does this non-food item belong in the pantry?
    1. If no, is this something that is serving my family well?
    2. This question will yield many answers and only you can decide if this non-food item best serves your family in the pantry.

Now that you have a beautiful full trash can and donation box full of things that are leaving your house, you can work on putting your yummy-to-your-tummy and healthy-to-your-belly foods back into the pantry.

But wait, there’s more!

You get to decide where those items belong. That’s some power right there!

Take a few minutes to think through the flow of your household and your pantry. Do you have children or pets that like to make the bottom shelves their own personal playground? Are there non-food items that need to be out of reach of little hands or just aren’t used often enough to take up valuable reachable pantry real estate? Here are some generally universal tips for a well-laid out pantry.

  1. Highest up – not often used lighter weight items
  2. Adult eye-level – more often used items, potentially items that are breakable or need to be out of reach of little hand
  3. Child eye-level – more often used items, kid-friendly or not easily broken
  4. Lowest down – not often used heavier items

Re-assemble that pantry giving every item it’s temporary home. Step back and take in the beauty of your creation and remember that it is a living organism. Your pantry is made to have things coming in and out by multiple people, multiple times a day. Keep up with your pantry by doing a little tidying each time you bring groceries home. That little investment will go a long way.

Let’s revisit the dinner scenario with a decluttered and organized pantry.

It’s time to make dinner.

You go to the pantry and easily grab the ingredients you need for the meal you planned. Your children play quietly on their own or stand with you chopping the fresh veggies while your home fills with the aroma of a fresh-cooked meal.

Okay, we all know that an organized and clutter-free pantry can’t retrain your family but it is a start. And who wouldn’t rather save time, money, and sanity a few more nights a week!