Essential Focus: Oregano

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Essential Focus: Oregano

Today I’m highlighting a powerhouse of the essential oil world, Oregano. It is one of the stronger oils out there and needs to be used with heavy dilution of a carrier oil in order to prevent skin irritation when applying it.

In addition to being a popular cooking spice, Oregano also supports healthy digestion and respiratory function when taken internally.

I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t been sick with a cold or flu since I began using essential oils over three years ago. Oregano is one of the oils I rely on most when I’m traveling or even when I have a twinge of a sore throat. Because it runs the risk of making you smell like a pizza, I tend to roll it on to the bottoms of my feet before I fly. Sometimes I blend it with On Guard during flu season as well. When I’m home, if I feel a little run down, I will roll it onto my throat and inhale from my hands before I go to bed.

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A 2012 study reported by The New York Times mentioned that commercial chicken farms have begun to use cinnamon oil and oregano oil for chickens. Their natural antibiotic properties serve as an alternative to conventional antibiotics which is good news for anyone who eats chicken.

This beautiful oil is also easily used on surfaces as a powerful cleansing and purifying agent. Simply add 10 drops to a glass spray bottle, et voila!

What are your best tips for staying healthy in the winter? I’d love to hear, please share in the comments!




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Room with a View Pt 2

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Room with a View Pt 2

While Clear Space primarily focuses on creating systems and space, there are times when our styling services are needed to help a client who doesn’t know where to begin. I love being a part of the process of sourcing furniture because, for the most part, it’s easy to fall in love with impractical furniture. Any piece you see in a minimalist catalog or website has you dreaming of living a different life. But if you have any stuff, and most of us do, we have to make sure that certain pieces do triple duty: look beautiful, feel comfortable and have hidden storage.

The easiest part about this project was that we had a glorious view as the centerpiece and our goal was to create a beautiful space that allowed the NYC to be the focal point while making my client feel comfortable and not cramped. I advised my client to spend more of her budget on the living room as it was such an impactful part of the space. I’m a believer in mixing and matching price points as long as you know where to spend and where to save.

The highlight for me was upon finishing our work together, my client exclaimed, I have room leftover! With proper planning and understanding your needs and your inventory, it’s quite simple to set up a super functional and efficient home.

Click here to all the photos of the fun transformation.

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Room with a View

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Room with a View

At the end of the summer I was approached by a woman who was looking for someone who specialized in creating order in small spaces. Her new Brooklyn apartment was almost half the size of her home she was leaving in Portland, OR. While clutter was not her main issue, 600 square feet sounds extremely limiting to most people.  In addition, she had a home full of furniture and needed help deciding what to bring to NYC, what to let go of, and what was worth saving in storage for a future home.

We hit it off immediately and met up in her new space in Dumbo which has an incredible view of downtown NYC. She was prepared with photos of her current home, including the insides of all of her drawers and closets and measurements of her furniture. The closets in the new apartment were small, which immediately has me in search of valuable “dead” vertical space to create more storage while keeping it easy on the eyes.

We followed up with a FaceTime call so I could ask and answer more specific questions before her moving company arrived to pack her up. It was during this call I was able to really hear her worries about space, what items were non-negotiable and her biggest concern, her large sneaker collection.

Once we figured out how much furniture would be enough in her space, I was able to look at 2 empty walls that had the ability to hold about 100 square feet of her personal belongings. This space saving solution is hard to explain, but once I had The Container Store install the elfa shelving, my client was thrilled to see:

a. the unobtrusiveness of the shelving allowing it to showcase or constrain storage

b. the flexible of the shelving heights

c. how much of her stuff easily fit on these solutions

Check out these fun before and afters:

Bedroom wall: the best part about this for me is when you look into the bedroom from the living room, you can’t see the shelves because they are behind the door. My clients favorite part is that she can gaze lovingly at her sneaker collection from her bed ;P

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Living Room wall: this lovely console from Amsterdam was a no-brainer to hold the television but it felt lost in that nook and needed grounding. Creating the shelving around it feels custom yet invisible. My client is able to store all of the things that remind her of friends and family near and far on these shelves.

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Next week I’ll share how we styled her apartment to feature, not compete with, her amazing view.

Have you had to downsize lately? What are some of your favorite space saving tips?

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The Space Between

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The Space Between

In early December Clear Space was hired to help a family move in to their beautiful new home. December typically being a slow time of year, and as we were planning on a quiet Christmas at home, I was available to assemble my team to help them get settled

This was the first year I had consistent business, one job leading into the next and at one point, 5 projects going at once. Between my clients and editing my book, I didn’t have much time to myself. Sure, I traveled a bunch and had great adventures, but those trips aren’t always as restorative as I’d like them to be.  By early January, I was pretty burnt out.

I asked my dear childhood friend Erinn if she wanted to plan a weekend escape but I already knew I didn’t have it in me to research and plan where to go. Within a few hours, I texted her back and said, “or I could just spend the weekend in your bed”.  Erinn lives in the Hudson Valley, across the river from where we grew up. My family moved away over 25 years ago and spending time with her is the closest thing I have to feeling like I’m going back home. We spent a lot of our teenage years laying around in her room, listening to music, talking about life and boys. It’s funny how easily we can time travel and enjoy the simplicity of laying around and chatting.

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That weekend was just the break I needed, the space to breathe and let go of all the clutter in my brain. I came back with clarity and a renewed vision for my business and my book. It’s so easy to look at this from the position of the work that I do, creating space. Whether physical or mental, we need the space between stuff, clients, thoughts and words. Music would be nothing without pauses. Because that is where the magic happens, when intuition lights up and says, “Hey! Over here!”

The value of going through the dark is that it’s becomes quite easy to see the light and find a new direction. While most of us believe this happens by continuously pushing forward, it’s actually through pausing, releasing control and allowing yourself to be guided that offers a new perspective.

Have you been wading and pushing through something in your life and finally let go? Please share with us in the comments.

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Essential Focus: Frankincense

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Essential Focus: Frankincense

Frankincense was one of those oils that made me uncomfortable to think about. It felt religious in some way because I knew it was one of the gifts, along with Myrrh and Gold, that were brought by the wise men when Jesus was born. I’m the first to admit that my knowledge and understanding of religion is quite limited, therefore I was prone to push anything away that stirred up any relationship to it. And how on earth could Frankincense be put in the same category as gold? And what was Frankincense anyway?

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When I first started posting monthly about Essential Oils, I mentioned that I began my journey learning about these oils when my mother was having shoulder pain and considering not one, but two surgeries. Knowing the recovery from these surgeries would be about 18 months, I had to investigate other options not only to keep her from the trauma of going under anesthesia but to prevent having to figure out how I could care for her post-surgery when we live so far from each other.

Essential Oils are not approved by the FDA, so making claims as to what these oils can do for our health is frowned upon. What I can do is share my mother’s story about her experience with Frankincense:

I had heard that Frankincense may support the reduction of inflammation which I understood to be the underlying issue of my mother’s shoulder pain. Frankincense was also known to promote healthy joint function. Her doctor was looking to do a full and partial shoulder replacement so clearly it was a joint issue.

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Prior to using the Frankincense, my mother propped herself up on 5-6 pillows to try and get comfortable in bed at night and wasn’t getting much sleep. Several months after applying Frankincense, diluted with coconut oil, to each shoulder morning and night, she was sleeping normally again without pillows or pain.

What I find truly interesting is that when I first received the Frankincense, I found the smell to be nothing short of revolting. Now, three years later, it is something that I crave. Similar to craving food, it’s like I can “taste” it and my body wants me to use it.

My journey with these oils began three years with the understanding that if I placed an order with doTERRA, I would get Frankincense for free. The $90 retail price was daunting for something I wasn’t sure I believed in and felt like throwing money away if it didn’t help my mother. Now I look at all of the EO’s that I’ve been introduced to that have:

  • replaced all of my first aid products

  • given me the power to take my health, and my family’s health into my own hands

  • offered me the opportunity to never have to go to the drugstore - the dangerous place that taunts me with my favorite candy bars at the register

  • given me non-toxic options to all of the cleaning chemicals I used to keep in my home

  • benefitted the environment by using natural resources

And for those who are still wondering exactly what Frankincense is: it’s the resin that come from the Boswellia species of tree and is native to Ethiopia, Somalia, India, and the Arabic Peninsula and has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese health practices.

Have you had benefits from using EO’s for your wellbeing? If so please share in the comments. Questions about these oils? Add those to the comments too.

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I see dead spaces

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I see dead spaces

We live in a small pre-war walk-up building.  When we moved in, it was a new renovation and all of us were first-time homeowners. There are only 12 units and each one is unique with bits of original details from the early 1900s. In a condo like this, without a doorman or management on site, things can get a little tricky with personal property.

Our apartment is on the first floor and all of the other residents have to go upstairs to get into their homes. After a few years and a few babies, suddenly the hallway to our apartment was clogged with giant strollers. At one point, there were four of them that ran the length of the hallway to our door. Not being a mother, I tried to have compassion for the exhaustion and all of the steps to climb with children in tow but it was becoming an unsightly burden that we had to navigate daily. Ultimately this was a problem I needed to solve without making enemies.

All of the units in the building have a washer/dryer hookup and in the hallway right outside our front door was a small laundry room which contained another rarely if ever used ventless all-in-one washer/dryer and enough room for two people to stand inside the space. In a city known for the shortage of storage space and multiple laundromats a stone’s throw away, it seemed like a waste of space.

I was desperate to find a solution before making the problem the focus. While I hadn’t created my business yet, I felt confident about my idea. I spoke with one of the board members and asked them to see about moving the washer/dryer under the landing of the stairwell which would open up the laundry room to become a shared storage closet. I was told it wasn’t possible, but I didn’t accept it. I needed this to work.

I asked why:

-it won’t fit

Really? I measured both the unit and the landing. Let’s look again.

-not sure if the water pipe can be moved

How do we find that out?

-might be a problem if it leaks

Can we place the unit inside a tray for protection?

-heat will build up

What if we drilled holes in the panels for ventilation?

After speaking to another architect and the guys who originally renovated the building, I was beyond pleased to see my vision become a reality. My favorite part about it is that we were able to keep the integrity of the staircase panels and it’s a completely hidden solution. Not to mention a hallway free of clutter.

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One of my superpowers is my spacial awareness. I am so lucky to be able to use it for the benefit of my clients and contribute to many space saving and efficient ideas. I find in my business that there are some contractors and handy people who say something can’t be done in order to get out of doing the work or because they don’t know how. It’s always important to keep asking and to get another opinion if you are looking for home improvements to make your life more functional. Just because no one ever did it before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Have you ever been frustrated by a home improvement project you were told couldn’t be done? Email me some photos and I’ll be happy to offer suggestions.

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Before you go all Kondo…

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Before you go all Kondo…

Marie Kondo’s well-timed new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has kicked off the year with a bang for so many people who are ready to let go of the items that do not “spark joy” for them any longer. I have never seen such a response in this field that has so many influencers on social media singing the praises of the Kon-Mari method.

Obviously, this attention to the world of decluttering and organizing is amazing as it has so many people questioning the items in their home, learning how to create systems and even, how to fold clothes.  Whether you love or despise this new craze, I need to bring up something that seems to be missing from the conversation:

Responsible disposal.

I know. Totally unsexy. And even more overwhelming than decluttering or organizing. Please, just hear me out …

I understand this feeling on a larger level because of all of the homes I have helped declutter, purge, organize, unpack and set up systems for over the past 6 years. This problem goes super deep and I’m not going to stress you out with everything I could share.

What I’d like to do is start a conversation with some of the things we can all do right now that are simple and have the greatest positive impact on our environment. We can’t simply do a 180º and expect to all follow a zero waste plan. We also can’t spend weeks trying to dispose of all of the items that should never be in the landfill, it’s not realistic.

Starting this Saturday, January 26 at 12pm EST, I will be going live on my Facebook page each week to discuss the simple solutions we can implement to help us not only declutter our homes but also keep the discarded items going in the right direction.

Come join the conversation!

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Decisions, decisions

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Decisions, decisions

Ten days before Christmas I invited my team over to celebrate the holidays together. It was a great time to gather as we rarely see each other in person as most of our meetings are virtual. One of the women commented on how she was surprised that I had a real tree because of my environmental awareness. My response was, “well, where does a fake tree ultimately end up?”

My logic is:

  • Christmas Tree farms are a thing

  • the city collects the discarded trees to put through a chipper to create mulch for Prospect Park, so I can see the cycle of it.

  • fake trees are primarily made of plastic, require storage space and while they may be used for several years, once we’re done with them they become permanent landfill

  • I don’t really like fake shit

I’m not saying I am correct in thinking that all of the resources used to procure this tree are any better for the environment, we would all need part-time jobs to learn the truth of it all.

We have many choices in front of us on a daily basis and once we become aware of them, we can easily transform our habits for the better.

I am not asking that we all become perfect in every aspect of our lives, but if we just choose one thing to change:

  • carry a reusable water bottle

  • always have a spare reusable tote

  • stop taking free pens

  • and the very famous, say no to the plastic straw

We don’t have to turn ourselves inside out and make our lives harder to make a difference. There was a time when I couldn’t imagine not using a straw (my favorite way to suck down my smoothing or iced latte!) but seeing all of the plastic on the gorgeous Bahama beaches almost 3 years ago made it very easy for me to choose not to use them everyday. And yes, I may use a straw in the future from time-to-time and I don’t have to beat myself up about it. A daily habit being reduced to several times a year is something to celebrate.

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My latest decision is collecting all of the plastic bags, including plastic mailers, bubble wrap and sealed air and bringing them to Whole Foods to be recycled. Many people don’t realize that these can’t be collected with plastic bottles and other recyclables because it messes up the machinery. Now, this is a way to create awareness because I am now noticing the volume at which uninvited plastic builds up in my home. I made a deal with my husband that we are each going to keep track of the plastic we bring into the house (including Seamless orders!) and the person who has the most at the end of the week has to bring it to be recycled. This has already made us cook more because neither of us wants to suggest ordering in.

If you need more inspiration about how to reduce your plastic consumption, check out this article.

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Essential Focus: Protection

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Essential Focus: Protection

January is the perfect time to be talking about this month’s featured oil, the Protective Blend: On Guard. Three years ago, right around this time, I needed to break up with the chemicals in my home that were affecting my lungs while dealing with Whooping Cough. At the time, I was only investigating EO’s to help my mom. Learning that these oils could replace all of the cleaners in my home, plus the added bonus of getting support for my immune system rather than irritating my lungs, I was all in.

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This beautiful oil is made from orange, clove, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus. A spicy and warm scent that’s lovely to diffuse in the cold winter months.

I love the idea of being able to clean my teeth, hands, floors and countertops with the same non-toxic EO knowing that there is no harm being done within my household whatsoever. I feel protected when I leave my home and use the sanitizing mist or soft gels too.

When I first started using the oils, I was making all of the concoctions myself. Now I order my toothpaste, mouthwash, foaming hand soap, and concentrated cleaner - which I mix in reusable glass spray bottles - when I need them.

If you are looking for a way to detox this winter, this is a great place to start. You can help your family and the planet by using products distilled directly from Mother Earth.

You can read more about the benefits of On Guard here. I’m happy to chat if you have any questions about the oils. Feel free to schedule a call with me anytime.

Have I mentioned that since using these oils I haven’t had more than a 24-hour cold or sore throat? Coincidence? I think not.

What chemicals would you like to remove from your home? Please share in the comments below.

Here’s to a happy and Healthy New Year!

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Today

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Today

Today is the day I begin
to feel peaceful
and possible
and powerful

to celebrate the wins
and to look for the opportunities
and the lessons
in the losses

to be humbled by shifting the focus
from myself
to others
who will benefit from my service

to anticipate magic
and miracles
and oneness

to honor both my efforts
and my rest
without judgment

to see manifestations
and abundance appear before my eyes
as I set my intentions
and turn anxiety into excitement

Today is the day I begin
and tomorrow
I begin again

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Easy does it

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Easy does it

As I mentioned last week, moving is a stressful time. While it seems silly to say ‘Easy does it’, let’s take a moment and understand that during these times of anxiety, we can intend our attitude to be easy about it.
By introducing your current things into a new space, all of a sudden you have to face a lot of stuff that you haven’t thought about in awhile. When we allow ourselves the time and ease to look at these items and thoughtfully consider how we really use them in our spaces, the easier it is to see how necessary they are in our lives. Once we know that they are truly wanted and needed, the better storage and function solutions we can come up with.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about using found items, such as shoe boxes, Tupperware containers, old mugs and glassware, anything that can contain smaller items, to see if containing like-with-like items feels better to you in the interim.

Then, take a couple of weeks to see how these items and your environment are impacted by having containment. You can later revisit with pretty containers that will look good with your decor.

Most importantly, choose your decor and color scheme before you start purchasing containers. Go with neutral or stick to one specific color (lavender and plum are not the same!) We don’t want to draw attention to them - they should become invisible in the space.

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Hold Your Horses

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Hold Your Horses

I’ve been quite lucky this year to help some of my clients move into their new home. I love this process as it’s a clean slate and an opportunity to look with fresh eyes and choose what to keep, what to let go of and what new energy to invite into the space to make it complete.

As we know, moving is a daunting process for most and full of stress. There are a lot of expenses that come along with a move but there is also an opportunity to spend too much simply to cross things off of the list.

This is understandable as living out of boxes and suitcases should not drag along forever and the longer it take to get settled the more frustrating the process becomes.

Here are my best tips for an easier and more successful move:

  1. Closets and storage: What are the needs of your storage spaces and are the closets in your new home set up properly for you? Many make do with what they have and then wonder why the closet is such a disaster. Something as simple as adding a set of shelves, a dresser or a second hanging bar in a closet can be a real game changer. The more you can put away (not hide) in the closets, the more space you have to actually live in.

  2. Furniture: Start with the larger items. This is your bed, the sofa, a place to eat with chairs. These are large in size and also the bare necessities. If you are purchasing a new sofa or furniture, realize that it can take 10-12 weeks to receive these items so planning ahead really matters.

  3. Patience, please: Wait for the larger items to arrive before rounding out the space. Prior to having a new sofa or chairs arrive, you are looking at your space from a 2D perspective. These items take up vertical space which is something you have to experience to know it’s right and how to determine the right size coffee table, accent chairs or shelving. The number one problem I see is not only too much furniture in a room, but also furniture that is too large for the space.

Moving is never going to be stress-free, but with a strong and malleable plan and the self-restraint to build up on what is working first, you can have a space that will make you happy for years that feels perfect for your needs.

Are you moving anytime soon? Please share your number one concern in the comments.

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Essential Focus: Lemon

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Essential Focus: Lemon

Next month marks three years that I have been using Essential Oils (EOs). Now that I am seeing so much misinformation and products that are being sold as “essential oils” that aren’t necessarily any safer than the chemicals in most cleaners, I feel the need to share what I’ve learned.

When I started using EOs, it was intimidating because I didn’t know anything about them. I was looking to help my mother avoid surgery so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to impact her health negatively by introducing a product I didn’t know a lot about. That’s a Frankincense story that I’ll save for another month.

Around the same time my curiosity struck, a dear and studious friend was sharing information about EOs on instagram. After an in depth conversation, and making sure I wasn’t going to get stuck with a bunch of products I didn’t want or need, I knew doTERRA was the right brand for me.

Over these last three years, I’ve not only rid my home of chemicals, I’ve also only used these oils for headaches, runny noses and body aches. I haven’t had more than a 24-hour cold since bringing these beautiful essences into my life, which in part lies in their natural antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Cleaning supplies and medications are a huge part of the decluttering process I have come across in my work. Think about how much space you use for cleaners, toiletries and pharmacy items and then know that I use less than one square foot for all of my oils that offer thousands of uses. In addition to all of the positive effects, I love these oils because they make me feel a bit like a mad scientist making new concoctions that ultimately save me time and money. I am also proud be using Mother Nature’s gifts instead of destroying her with the chemicals that get flushed into her system. With reusable glass bottle sprayers I can be one less source of unnecessary plastic going into the landfill and our oceans.

Once a month, I will share what I’ve learned about a particular oil to help you understand how easy it is to eliminate toxins (cleaners/medications/viruses) from your home.

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This month’s focus is on: Lemon

It can safely remove crayons from the walls, dirt and grime to make power cords white again and combined with vinegar in a spray bottle, a perfect window and glass cleaner.

This is a happy scent that feels fresh and clean at first whiff. I’ve used Lemon to remove sticky residue, to polish wood, and my favorite use, to make my white board white again - see in my video below:

 
 

This brilliant oil can brighten anyone’s mood. Instead of burning candles and using air fresheners that are known to be toxic, I’ve switched to only using diffusers and I have a fresh smelling home everyday, even with two cats in the house.

Lemon is perfect to pull you out of the winter doldrums and is also known as The Oil of Focus. Emotional benefits of Lemon include: restoring energy, calming fears and inspiring playfulness. It’s beneficial in cases of learning issues by counterbalancing mental fatigue and clears self-judgements of not being smart enough.

If the idea of introducing EO’s into your home feels daunting to you, believe me, I’ve been there. Feel free to schedule a call with me to discover whether they would be a beneficial replacement in your home and life.

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Clutter vs. Collections

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Clutter vs. Collections

This year for Thanksgiving, my husband, brother, mother and I spent two night in an Airbnb in Kingston. We celebrated the day in Poughkeepsie with my in-laws and friends but because I waited too long to book, there was nothing closer that would accommodate all of us except for hotel rooms.

As one would imagine, I am particular about where I stay. If the photos don’t convey the vibe I’m looking for, I rule it out immediately. Obviously, clear space is important to me and I like to have good lighting and a functional kitchen.

The home we found in Kingston had simple and functional furniture which showed off the original wood plank floors and antique details of the home.

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Our hosts Atsuko & Saturo, created a lovely environment full of gorgeous plants and an interesting collection of old tools which were displayed on mantle shelves on one wall and around the space in various locations. The diversity of the industrial tools, organic plants and streamlined furniture was a pleasure to experience and made the space feel balanced.  

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Seeing all of the wonderful things we created conversation around, which is generally missing from hotel environments, got me thinking about the difference between collections and clutter. Here are a few things I came up with:

  1. A collection has a theme and is limited to a color or focus

  2. Collections can be displayed as artwork

  3. Collections don’t take up space on work surfaces

  4. Collections are thoughtfully planned

We had a beautiful stay in Uptown Kingston, although it took every ounce of strength for me to not to take the enormous fern and my brother to leave behind the giant cutters above the fireplace ;)

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Thankful

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Thankful

As the week of Thanksgiving is upon us, I wanted to take a moment to express gratitude for my clients, new opportunities and all of you who have been reading these Clear Space blog posts, whether it’s the first one you’ve read or the hundreth. Each week when I sit down to share a helpful topic, I have no expectation that it will be read, let alone make an impact.

Over the years, I’ve received sweet emails thanking me for offering a new perspective or celebrating a win. Hearing about your successes, and also your problems, helps me come up with more content and gives me the ability to help more people.

So, thank you, for reading, for being open to change and for caring about the earth.

Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and a gentle reminder to think before you shop on Black Friday.

Love,

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Reuniting

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Reuniting

I have never had such a socially packed month like this past October. It was amazing, expansive, bittersweet, mostly filled with reminiscing the fun times and making new memories.

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The month started off by visiting my mom and brother in Vermont. Our plans were to be peeping the leaves, but autumn came late this year so my mom took me for a nice drive in the Green Mountain State. My cousin was able to meet us for breakfast one morning and realized we hadn’t seen each other in almost 7 years. I also managed to paint a portrait of my mom’s cat that passed away last year, something I’ve been doing for our family pets for many years.

Several days later we celebrated my beautiful niece for her Sweet Sixteenth birthday. While it’s hard to believe so much time has passed since the day she was born, it’s also been a blessing to witness her during so many stages of her life and exciting to see all that is ahead for her. It was a lovely time to catch up with my in-laws who had recently finished a 3 week road trip on the other side of the country.

The following evening I attended the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce New York’s 10 year Anniversary Gala. This was a fun filled night catching up with some great people I haven’t seen since I first joined the Chamber over 4 years ago. As an Ambassador for the Chamber, I’m usually working during our monthly events. This was a great night for the Ambassadors to play and be guests. Everyone kept saying, “this feels like a reunion” which was fitting because 4 days later I went to my 30 year high school reunion in the Hudson Valley.

The reunion was a blast and my face hurt from laughing so much. We all have different memories and it’s amazing what little details can bring back so much from events that took place so long ago. Many of us overstayed our welcome as the event ended at 11pm and we got to Erinn’s car at almost 2am! We didn’t want the night to end.

Ten days later, I was off to Soul Camp. As I mentioned last week, it was a beautiful way to celebrate the upcoming transformation of this lovely community of humans and to allow myself some respite from the overwhelming month of travel and reconnecting. My dear friend Tonia went to camp with me and we enjoyed a lovely road trip back to her place in Northern Cali. While Tonia and I have seen each other a few times since her baby was born, I was happy to witness this happy and healthy child who was born a bit too early 2.5 years ago.

After spending the night with her and her family, I was off to Nevada to visit my dad. We had a great time catching up and although our time together is brief, we usually cover quite a bit of territory.

It’s interesting that the stars aligned in such a way to have me reconnect with almost every family member and friend this past month and I am so grateful for it. While social media can fool us into thinking we are connecting, nothing beats spending time together in person.

Now that the countdown in on for the holidays, who are you looking forward to connecting with this season?

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Adieu Soul Camp

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Adieu Soul Camp

It’s funny how opportunities come along. My mind can’t even comprehend where I would be now if I never heard of Soul Camp. I can barely remember who I was then. So much has changed in my life which I owe to my Soul Camp experience. It opened my eyes and my heart.

Back in early 2015, I decided I wanted to travel more, so I intended to get out of the city every month. Either for a day trip or full-on vacation. From the time I chose this, all sorts of possibilities arose. One day, while having lunch with Jenny Powers, she told me about Michelle Garside and Ali Leipzig, the amazing women who had created an adult sleep-away camp, a spiritual Disneyland full of soulful experiences. I didn’t even really understand what that meant, but the dates were in September and I had nothing planned for that month.

Long story short, I arrived at Soul Camp thinking I knew everything and I left realizing I had so much left to learn. This first experience had taught me that there wasn’t a limit on happiness, and that it was ok and healthy to release your frustrations. Over the next 2 years I created a network of sisters unlike any bond I had imagined in the past.

Not only did I make wonderful new friends, I was able to deepen my connection with my best friend from high school, my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law. I was gathering my favorite people and we were learning the same language. I now have Soul Camp clients and business advisors which my work more pleasurable than I could have ever imagined.

 
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Soul Camp has not only changed my perception of the world, it’s taught me how we can bring this soulful learning into our business practices. I’ve learned how important it is to be the light to show people a different way of living and also not to be afraid of the dark side that rides along side of it.

Because of my Soul Camp experience over the past 4 years, here are some pretty incredible shifts that have occured in that time:

  • My 78 year old mother was able to avoid shoulder surgery by using Frankincense daily and 3 years later, she continues to have no pain

  • I have no chemicals or medications in my home, I only use Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and I know how to use them

  • I have many crystals in my home and don’t leave the house without wearing them

  • I became a Certified Theta Healer and have found ways to use this modality to help my clients clear blocks and heal family and friends

  • I went from working alone to creating a team of 12 people to help me with the tasks I was not good at

  • I have a daily meditation and gratitude practice

  • I wrote a book

  • My work feels like play

  • I understand the importance of being off the grid (and my devices) to recharge my soul

  • I have a network of people who speak the same language as me and we want to make the world a better place

  • I attract perfect clients

On Saturday, October 27, we said so long to Soul Camp. This community isn’t going anywhere, but the platform is in metamorphosis. I can’t wait to see the next beautiful incarnation.

Thank you Soul Camp, it has been a blast!

TTFN



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Grateful Practice

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Grateful Practice

Today I am flying to the final Soul Camp West which is taking place in Sanger, CA. Although it’s bittersweet, the timing is perfect. I need a dose of nature and rest to counteract the last few busy months.

This month has been filled with wonderful new clients along with revisiting clients that I’ve worked with for years. I’ve never had so many active projects at once. While each client has vastly different needs, I’m grateful to be mapping out each day the night before. I cannot tell you how much comfort and clarity this offers me. As I have been intending the outcomes I expect, without any effort, things have shifted to allow my days to flow smoothly. There were many wild cards this week that could have turned everything upside down, but instead, it was all ease and flow, just how I like it.

Over the summer, I came up with a couple of non-negotiable daily practices: meditation and gratitude. I can clearly see the direct connection between the things I am appreciating and the way my days are coming together. This is what encourages me to continue with this practice, even when some days I only have time to do it on the subway.

I won’t pretend that I love sitting down to meditate. It’s a definite choice and there is resistance almost every morning. It’s kind of like eating vegetables. I know they are good for me, but sometimes the easier road calls. My phone beckons me to check my email, texts and social media. I’ve now taken notice that the days when I start with electronics first thing in the morning, things go downhill quickly.

This week’s tip is for those of you who may be struggling to get organized and just need the proper motivation. Try this on: for the rest of the week, write daily gratitude of how your space feels now that it is in order. Come from the perspective of it already being done and the benefits you have received from being more organized. These feelings will start to seep into your subconscious and you will begin to see ways to create order and make time to transform your space.

How would you like your space to feel? Please share in the comments!

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Watch your auto-pilot

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Watch your auto-pilot

Recently, it occurred to me that it’s not experts who write books. I mean, yes, there are experts who do write books, but the journey I’ve been on over the past year, especially during the editing process, has shown me how writing a book makes you an expert.  I know my content inside-out. I know exactly what I mean when I express an idea, including the backstory and future of that experience. It’s fascinating. At times, I can’t shut up about it and I can rarely get out of analyze mode during my everyday travels.

Last week, I went to visit my mom in Vermont. As I was walking to my gate in Terminal 5, it was as if I was seeing clearly what was going on for the first time. Mindset and awareness are pretty big topics in Consciously Creating Clear Space and all of a sudden, all of these shops in the terminal seemed like big welcoming arms to those in a vulnerable state.

Hear me out.

Our emotions play a big role in our purchases. Shopping is usually the culprit for those who are overwhelmed by their clutter. I started to think about the number of people who are traveling who are:

  • fearful of the the very idea of flying

  • anxious about visiting family

  • have a big work presentation

  • stranded at the airport

These can all be triggers and “stuff” is plentiful and appealing in these malls that we now fly out of. There are also the folks who are just ready to spend their vacation dollars too.

On this particular trip, I recognized that I used to have an “airport pattern” before I gave up sugar. I would find the snacks that I would “treat” myself to and all of other stuff I would end up buying to keep the high going.

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I’m a voyeur. I can’t help it. I still find myself looking. Rather than shaming myself, my strategy is to take a photo of what I find appealing. Like this journal I spotted from three stores away. The colors drew me in. And then, when I saw they were unicorns?!? Forget it. The Soul Camper inside of me was smitten. But . . . I have many, many unfinished and unused journals at home. I’m not allowing myself to purchase any new ones until those are used up. So I took a photo of it, and you know what? My life is no different without it. Had I purchased it, the thrill would be long gone by now and I’d have more stuff in my home. Looking at the photo, I can recall that fun memory so clearly.

I challenge you, for the rest of the week give it a try. Any impulse purchase that speaks to you, take a photo, and let the rush pass. Please share what your were drawn to and any emotions that you connected to it. It’s an easy way to start understanding your habits. If you are too shy to share publicly, please feel free to email me: smith@clearspacenyc.com




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It’s about time

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It’s about time

Happy October! A couple of weeks ago, I shared about the importance of being vulnerable to make progress in our lives, which got me thinking about the most crucial element in getting things done: Time.

The most common excuse I hear from people who aren’t organized is that they don’t have time to do it. My perspective is that time is wasted by not getting organized. It’s estimated that some spend up to a year of their lives looking for misplaced items. Maybe that’s where all of the time is going.

Time is also on my mind is because two weeks ago, my sister-in-law and I decided to hold each other accountable in setting up schedules for our busy lives. I was starting to feel completely overwhelmed by all that had to be done for my book. I was stressing myself out trying to figure out how could I accomplish it all. My concerns were that I would let busywork keep me from doing the necessary tasks to bring my book to completion.

I learned quickly that putting everything down on paper and scheduling it made a huge impact. When I saw the list of things I was trying to manage in my brain, it was no wonder I was stressed out. I could now see it, I didn’t have to think about it anymore. The pressure lifted. My accountability partner allowed me to talk it out and really work this system. We check in twice a week, talk about our plans and cheer each other on along the way.

I’m sure it’s obvious that I really don’t have a problem getting things done, but where I do need help is making space for the stuff I want to do for me: the projects I don’t get paid for: the non-work, filling of my tank and being creative just for the sake of it. I have been “wanting” to make time to paint for a long time, but I never put it on the calendar. Even when I started this new scheduling plan, I had put all of my tasks as appointments except for: workout for 30 minutes and paint. I noted those on the side to “fit in” when there was “time”.

But that’s it, we have to CHOOSE the time to do these things we say are important to us. Rather than wondering why I was resisting, I just sat down one night and painted this fox in the snow:

 
 

Why did I paint it? No reason. And it was an amazing experience! I was in the zone. It was freeing and super healthy time away from my phone and computer.

What’s on your list that you never make time for? Isn’t it about time you scheduled it? Who can you ask to hold you accountable? Please share with us in the comments.

If you are struggling with scheduling time to get organized, I have a few spots opening up this fall for my virtual coaching program. Schedule a call with me to talk about what you’re struggling with and we can see whether this is a good fit for you to finally tackle that area.

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