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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Let’s Get Vulnerable

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Let’s Get Vulnerable

I know you’ve heard me talk about how we have to be willing to be vulnerable in order to break through the shackles of our stuff. I’ve witnessed so much bravery from my clients and been grateful to see the breakthroughs as they happen. Sometimes I can forget the importance of being vulnerable in my own life and the value it brings. Just because I have figured out how to create order and beauty in my life doesn’t mean I have resolved every area.

It’s easy to focus on others and help them through their stuff and make suggestions and be a catalyst. Sometimes this is how we avoid what is truly going on in our own lives and I’ve learned that anytime I get hyper-focused on the way someone else is handling a situation, it’s always a good time to go a bit deeper and ask where I see the same behavior in myself,. Rather than complaining about the way things are, it’s usually a sign that action needs to be taken.

Two weeks ago was a challenging time for me. Here are the actions I took when I started to feel some frustration:

1. High School Reunion FB live post: I woke up Monday morning and couldn’t stop thinking about how I wanted people to come to the reunion and I heard that ticket sales weren’t great. I could have just stopped there and shrugged my shoulders, but instead I thought, what can I do, other than complain? So I reached out to the reunion committee to see if they were cool with the idea of me doing a Facebook Live post in reunion group (they were super supportive) and I planned to do it that night. Well, 5 minutes before, I reverted right back to the shy and quiet 14 year old wondering who would possibly want to listen to what I have to say? I did it anyway - many of my old friends commented and we had some laughs. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it helped me connect with some friends, generate some energy and I received some lovely messages from people who thanked me for pushing them a bit.

2. Sept 11 FB post: When I got on FB 10 years ago, I promised myself that I would only post positive messages. I have held true to that. This year, for some reason, I was upset by many of the posts I saw about 9/11 and started blaming. I caught it early and meditated on how I was feeling. During my yoga practice, I realized that I need to write it out. After I wrote it out, I felt the need to share it. I was terrified. How dare I, someone who didn’t lose anyone I knew personally, share my perspective? As soon as I hit share, I cringed, fearful that I would upset someone or get a nasty response. But the complete opposite happened. I had many Thank You’s and Me Too’s and so much love and support that I finally was able to release all of my pent up emotions I had been holding onto for 17 years. Community gives us the power to heal.

3. Last week’s newsletter: Sometimes it’s hard for me to come up with content for webinars or FB Live’s because I need to know I am being helpful and not just creating content for the sake of it. I had been trying too hard to come up with something I hadn’t done before. I didn’t know until I was at the end of writing that post that I was going to offer to to a FB Live of my own seasonal clothing change-over. At first I thought, “I can’t do that!” Why? Because it felt like I might be judged or not do it right.

It’s during these times that we need to share because not only will we learn so much about ourselves, which is always helpful, but when we share we have the opportunity to help others who may feel the exact same way. So I ask you this week, where are you hiding? What might shift if you allow yourself to be a bit more vulnerable? Here’s an opportunity to be vulnerable: share your answers in the comments!

*If you missed the Live on Sunday, you can watch the replay on my Smith Banfield | Clear Space page. Did you watch the live? I’d love to know what was most interesting or valuable for you to learn or what other topics you would like me to cover. Please let me know!

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Change is a Biotch

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Change is a Biotch

With the change of seasons here on the East Coast, it’s a sloppy time of tank tops and flip flops navigating with sweaters and boots. My closet can become as eratic as the weather if I don’t have a plan. While most people say they like change, the reality is they don’t like the sloppy steps it takes to get there.

I see the blind eye people cast upon their messy closet. A shopping spree ensues instead of transitioning and eliminating. By embracing the changing of the seasons as an opportunity to get ahead of the chaos, we are in control. It’s a time to review what we wore, delete what’s outdated and know what our true needs are to round out our fall wardrobe.

Here are some thoughts to help you through this process:

1. Nothing is forever: Well, diamonds I guess, but that’s generally not the quality of items you need to wade through to organize a closet. It’s amazing to me how quickly the items that were so important three years ago, and sometimes only three months ago, are no longer meaningful now. You can’t trust that the way you felt in the past is the way you’ll feel forever. When you understand your own cycle of change, it becomes easier to release what’s no longer serving you. This is why it’s so important to go through, look at and touch it all, and see where your feelings have changed.

2. We are constantly evolving: The resistance that comes with going through our wardrobe is that we are forced to face our poor choices head on. It’s understandable to want to avoid this, but if we can work objectively, and investigate without judgement, we will see our shopping patterns. Who you are now is not who you were a year ago. If we study our layers of stuff, we can start recognizing our patterns. You may be surprised how this information helps you resist future impulse purchases. It’s a perfect moment to identify what becomes meaningless over what period of time. A year, a week? This is the first step to start recognizing waste before you bring it home.

3. Create the change: While it may seem easier to avoid this work altogether, you’ll need to face it at some point. Better to schedule an afternoon to take stock than to realize as you’re already late for work that the sweater you suddenly need because the temperature dropped overnight is now stretched out and ill-fitting. Yes, it takes an investment of time, but that time is on your terms, rather than creating stress when you least need it.

 
 

4. Let’s do it together!: Join me live on FB this Sunday, September 23 from 2-4pm EST and I will show you exactly how I change over my clothes and will answer questions live throughout. This will be a great way to hold each other accountable and learn strategies going forward to help you stay on top of this in the future. The only requirement is that you do all of your laundry before we start!

If you haven’t already, like my business page and be alerted when I go LIVE! Looking forward to “seeing” you then!

Will you be joining me? Let me know in the comments.



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The Devil is in the Details

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The Devil is in the Details

I have been known in the past to get hyper-focused on small details. I love macro photography and have kicked myself for not capturing a full scene while traveling for context. Like the image above of this beautiful on-brand teal jellyfish. There were loads of them on the beach and I only took individual closeups that day.  With this awareness, I have to remind myself in my work to pull back and make sure the whole is working before I finalize the fun finishing touches.

For my recent office update, I kept avoiding the Kallax shelving unit. Sometimes the big open areas of these shelves make it challenging to store without feeling cluttered. This was much easier to get away with when I had the shelves going the long way along the ground because they weren’t in my sightline. Now they were right in my face and I needed them to be functional and beautiful.

What wasn’t working?
-precious items often got knocked over or covered up because the scale of the shelf is too big
-shelves were too deep for books
-divide shelves without creating dead space

Big picture:
I decided to dedicate the left side to business and the right side to personal. Rather than splitting up top and bottom sections, this keeps me focused on both areas of my life to keep balance on my mind.

Browse options:
I’m not even sure what led me to the Ikea website, but I was thrilled to find the perfect solutions for my needs. I purchased all three not knowing if I could or would use them all. I intuitively tried them out in several ways:

-I immediately loved the Shelf Divider, even though I was uncertain if I would use it vertically or horizontally, or on the left side or right side. I love the way it breaks up the heaviness of books and allows me to divide by topics. 

-The Shelf Insert ended up being ideal for my altar, holding all of my precious items vertically without being lost on a shelf. This easily pops out for access to storage behind it. 

-The “Storage with Compartments” shelf was the perfect way to elevate my essential oils with plenty of room behind them for my tarot and inspirational cards. It allowed space underneath for the basket I bought in Nicaragua from the Women’s Collective to hold other necessities.

I’ve always loved The Container Store’s Water Hyacinth Storage Cubes and they bring a beautiful organic quality to these otherwise basic linear shelves. I was happy to place these on the bottom as they act like glorified drawers and give a sense of grounding to the unit. Best to only store larger items in these bins otherwise they become a mess instantly. On the left side I’ve placed items to give to my nieces and friends. The right side has all of my Theta healing manuals so I can easily grab them either before or after I meditate.

 
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Play around:
These shelves were on my mind for a few weeks before I started to arrange them. I kept refining and asking what was truly needed to serve my needs. When I was finally ready to take action, I had no agenda. I was ready to return any of the items that didn’t work and I wouldn’t have considered it a failure. It's important to remember that organizing is not a one and done solution. It is a continuous study of what’s working and what’s not, and always asking the question, “what would be better?”

Pick an area in your home and ask “What would be better?” Please share with us in the comments.
 

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Creating Personal Space

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Creating Personal Space

Wow! I really took my time with my office project. My pace is usually very quick but balancing my time with editing my book, working with clients and completing my office was definitely a challenge this go around. 

Here are my top 3 tips to help you stay on track and persevere to completion:

1. Your vision needs to be clear and inspiring: I started this project because I couldn’t believe how quickly my office had become a dead zone in my home filled with piles of crap. Granted, I had organized piles of crap - and they were absolutely uninspired. I avoided walking into my office because it just didn't feel good to me. This was the perfect opportunity to walk my talk and look at what was missing from my life: a place to do handstands, a place to meditate, and an inspiring and creative workspace. These were truly important to me and the touchstone to keep me moving throughout the project, even when weeks went by without time to work on it. Your vision doesn’t have to be a picture, it can be a feeling, a memory or even a new way of being. When things get tough or you get off course, remember that everything is ok and keep connecting to your vision. 

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2. Take it step by step: While planning sounds boring to some, I love it. Sure, I have my moments of flying by the seat of my pants and making changes on the fly; being adaptable is absolutely necessary. It’s also really important to understand the steps needed to get to the end. Getting the project out of your head and onto paper is the first step, and it creates ease. When the next step feels overwhelming, it means it needs to be broken down further. Sometimes a step may simply be to keep going when your amygdala is trying to protect you from the scary reality of change. Talk kindly to it and say, I am safe, change is good. Anticipating and welcoming these steps are signs of progress. I was blocked trying to figure out these shelves and IKEA came to the rescue with their perfect made-to-fit partitions.

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3. Celebrate the small victories along the way. As a culture, we are trained to focus on what’s wrong. During a transformation, you have to get through a mess in order to see the light. There is a lot of trust required to get through. If all you can celebrate is that you gave your neighbor an appliance or put a book out on the stoop, celebrate the fact that you were able to let go. It gets easier as momentum builds. Some celebrations may be that it didn’t turn out exactly as you expected. Look for the surprises, happy accidents are part of the fun. The vision and the plan are what help you take action, they are not the absolute end point, merely a direction. Many people get frustrated when they can’t find the exact solution they wanted. Rather than making it (or yourself wrong), expect that something better is on it’s way. 
 

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I didn’t plan on this little creative station on my desk, but I became inspired when I was at The Container Store for a meeting and saw this gold tray. The cup for the paintbrushes is technically for toothbrushes and the glass container I found in the kitchen department.  Remember to think outside of the box when looking for the proper containers. As I mentioned last week, trays are a beautiful way to create order. This little detail may be may favorite part of the whole transformation.

What could clearing some space in your home invite into your life?  Please share in the comments!


 

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For the Love of Boundaries

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For the Love of Boundaries

During the pursuit of re-organizing my office, I’ve found cluttery items around that needed a new solution. This week I will share how to strategically use trays and containers that create a sense of “collections” on your desk or tabletop, rather than clutter. Not unlike the boundaries we need for ourselves, these physical boundaries, as small as they may seem, are crucial to create ease in our everyday lives.

1. Test first: As I’ve recommended in the past, always test out any container with a found object before committing to a new purchase. Too many times I’ve witnessed “The Island of Misfit Containers” in my clients homes when they rush the purchase of pretty organizers without measuring or testing first. And like most people with clutter, you probably have lids of small boxes, or even shoe box lids that will be perfect for the trial period.

Example:  I used the bottom of a pretty little box that my reading glasses came in to hold the essential oils I used during my work day. All of my oils have a home in my bathroom, but for sake of efficiency, it made more sense to have zones for the oils that I used more frequently in different areas of my home on a regular basis.

2. What would be better?: After utilizing the new temporary container for a few weeks, start paying attention to what’s working and what isn’t? Is the location making sense? Is the tray too big or too small? What color would disappear into the background? Would labeling the container be helpful? Would a box make more sense than a tray?

Example: My box lid was proving to be a bit too small. I needed to fit about 5 more bottles and the taller roller bottles were tipping over. Even though the blush color was pretty, it didn’t coordinate well with my current palette.  

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3. Measure and source: Once you have realized the size, shape and color that would work best, take some quick measurements and start looking online or in stores to see what they have. Keep in mind that this may be the first of many containers you may choose to add to your space. It’s always best to stick with a neutral color as you may have to use different sources to find the sizes you need. Also, think outside of the categories they are sorted into. I have found great office trays in kitchen departments and pencil holders in the bathroom departments. Shop for the look and feel you are going for.

Example: I found the perfect container for my oils at Muji. I stopped there for another reason and was pleasantly surprised when I found this odd sized bin that was perfect for my needs. I went with a bamboo box as I have another bamboo container already on the shelf it will be sharing, and I like to stay away from plastic and use renewable resources like bamboo when possible. 

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There are a few more collections for me to create before my office is complete. Little by little it’s getting there, and I’m grateful that I’ve managed to stay patient and do it the right way. 
 

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Research & Plan

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Research & Plan

Much of my success with projects not only has to do with my experience, it also has to do with stopping and taking time to plan. All of the previous mistakes I have made by not planning has also taught me how many problems and additional time can be avoided by really thinking through the project from start to finish. For anyone who haven’t done a particular project before, research is your best friend.

I have never wallpapered. My mother wallpapered every wall in our home except for the kids bedrooms. I remembered it seeming like a pain in the ass at the time. Wallpaper has always symbolized “old-fashioned” to me and I’ve never really considered it. Over the past few years there have been great strides in this market with cool graphics and inspired modern designs. 

As I mentioned last week, wallpaper was not my first solution. I went with the super creative and overwhelming idea to paint a mural of birch trees. Wallpaper was the best solution with the time and resources I had available. I know removing wallpaper is a huge nightmare, so the self-adhesive option was the only way I would consider doing it, especially since I know that I get bored easily and didn’t want to be locked in. 

Before purchasing the paper, I read hundreds of reviews wanting to understand other people’s perspectives. What’s interesting about reviews is you have to read between the lines to consider: a. if the person writing speaks intelligently and offers helpful insight, b. the complaints are not just from one or two reviewers and c. that the person writing isn’t just being a jerk. It’s a tricky process but I do it before any big purchases and even some small ones. 

After reading many reviews on Amazon, there were some comments that made me realize I wanted a textured wallpaper that added depth to the overall effect, which they weren’t offering. I didn’t even know textured was an option.  One reviewer had mentioned the peel and stick wallpaper at Target and the reviews were mostly favorable, so I went for it.

Another website had a calculator to know how many rolls to order so I used that to find the quantity I needed. One of the reviewers said it was important that all of the lot numbers matched, meaning they were printed at the same time to avoid color or printing variations. I could only find the 4 rolls I needed online and when they arrived, there were 2 different lot numbers. I called my local store, and they said they had 2 rolls with one of the lot numbers I already had. When I went to pick it up, none of the numbers matched. I opted to keep what I had and hoped for the best.

Other reviewers said it was impossible to match up the pattern of the brick - super important to make it look good. I am extremely patient with this kind of stuff, so after reading a few more reviewers who explained how many inches the pattern repeated, I knew I could figure it out. I finally found a couple of hours one Sunday when I was supposed to be editing my book, and decided it was time to do this project. At least my procrastination helps me be productive in other areas of my life.

I went on YouTube to find step-by-step instructions and step one was to wash the walls and wait 24 hours. UUUUGGHGHGH! But I wanted to do it now!  I had to really talk myself out of proceeding, and the key reason I didn't move forward was because of all of the reviewers who had posted photos of their wallpaper that fell down overnight. That was my biggest concern but I quickly realized that probably happened because they didn’t follow the instructions. 

As you will see in the time lapse video below, This really was a breeze for me to do. I think beginning to end it was 3 hours, although I had to take breaks to speak with a few clients that afternoon. The hardest part was matching up the last three areas. It wasn’t easy, and you will notice, I spent as much time on those last spots as I did on the whole wall.

 
 

Overall I am beyond thrilled although I still have some work to do to complete the space. I am happy to report that I have meditated, done handstands, yoga and even mini trampoline workouts here. The space already feels refreshed and I’ve even spent time working at my desk!

Please share in the comments: Have you ever wallpapered? Would you? Why or why not?

 

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