COVID-19 and clutter – can you relate?

This week on social media, I shared an awesome tip that I’ve been using to reframe my approach to clutter: when you’re decluttering, always start with the most visible clutter.

It’s not rocket science, but how great is this suggestion? If guests enter your house through the front door, that means EVERYONE will get that view, even if they’re just popping their head in to pick up a package or drop off a meal.

So when you’re ready to declutter, always start with the most visible clutter: you know, the stuff you can see when you open the front door to come inside.

You know the brilliant thing about this tip though? It applies to both decluttering and to our daily lives in general.

In the physical realm, if we start with what’s most visible, we’ll see progress immediately, and even if we get distracted from our task, if someone shows up at the house, they’ll immediately get a cleaner view than they would have otherwise.

In the same way, if we’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the tasks on our to-do list, one helpful method is to start with what’s most visible. If there’s an item that’s been on our list, haunting us, for two months, knocking that thing off the list a) means we won’t be wasting any more brain space or time worrying about getting it done and b) means we can knock it off the list. Chances are that it was taking up more than its fair share of space, and having that done will be super helpful.

Likewise, if I’ve got a million things to do, but I keep putting off making a priority list, that’s the most visible thing that will be a huge help. If I do that first, I’ll be able to see the items that are essential and urgent and prioritize them accordingly. If the most visible thing is that I haven’t updated the family calendar or made the doctor’s appointment that’s required of me, maybe it’s that. But the same idea holds. Consider what’s most visible, or most present, and start there.

Lately I’ve been battling some anxious demons. I think COVID is starting to get to me in a more significant way – I know you can probably relate! The extra anxiety means that clutter that normally wouldn’t bother me can feel overwhelming right now. But the flip side of it is that when I make some time to declutter, I feel palpable relief, basically immediately, and my anxiety gives me a break for a while.

While the visible clutter isn’t always actually the most important thing on our list, it can give us the mental capacity to tackle other things on our list.

If your email inbox is freaking you out a little bit on the daily, it’s time to set a timer and do a bit of decluttering there.

If those dishes are taunting you while you’re trying to work on your side hustle, it may be more effective to do those first, or at least delegate and pass it on to another family member.

Don’t underestimate the power of tackling that visible clutter. And the reverse can be true as well. If you start with the invisible clutter (you know, the stuff in your cabinets), you won’t get the visible satisfaction of seeing and showing off your progress after a decluttering session.

Likewise, the invisible brain clutter may include tasks that, while nice to tackle, are ignoring the elephant in the room, or your brain, metaphorically speaking.

So, I challenge you – tackle some clutter this week. Physical or otherwise.

If you’d like to work on decluttering with me, I’m offering a free tracker and weekly tips to assist you in my free group, Crafting Your Life Adventure. Join me there for support on decluttering and whatever projects or goals you’re working on this year.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

P.S. Grab a copy of my Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint while you’re at it. Giving yourself the gift of organizing and transforming your future is one more way to declutter and grow!

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

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  • Become a patron of our work!
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How To Make The Holidays Work For You

Jamie and Ross snuggle on the couch

It may be cliche at this point, but it’s that time of year when it’s common to take time to be grateful. I know I’m not alone in having a dedicated gratitude practice, and if you haven’t yet tried it, whether for November or any time of year, I definitely recommend it.

A lot of people are struggling with the holidays and how to celebrate this year. Although many people have already been celebrating holidays during COVID virtually (Jewish people in particular have had several holidays come and go at this point), Thanksgiving is such an “American” holiday in a lot of ways that it affects the majority of us in some way, rather than certain religions or parts of the country.

As a coach, I’m noting two simultaneous threads or thoughts popping up:
a) An extra awareness of gratitude – if I’m healthy, if I don’t have COVID-19, if my family is safe, if I’m employed etc. I know I have a LOT to be grateful for right now
b) It’s so frustrating/I’m so angry/I’m so sad because I want to be spending the holidays with my family/without masks and social distancing but I’ve gone virtual and/or made major modifications and changes due to COVID-19

It’s okay to have mixed feelings.

It’s okay to have moments when you feel wrapped up in the love of your family/friends, whether it’s a partner or child or parent in your bubble or a virtual meal full of love and conversation and good memories.

It’s okay to in the next moment feel anxiety that your parents are going to do x, or feel resentment that you can’t do your usual holiday celebration, or feel jealous of y, who lives with their family while you are living and celebrating alone.

I hope that during this challenging time, you will give yourself forgiveness. We are all carrying so much right now.

If someone else’s life looks glamorous on social media, remember that that is just the tip of the iceberg that you’re seeing. The glamorous surface life may be only a passing moment in a chaotic day or week or month.

Here are a few things I recommend making time for this week, whatever your plans are. (Perhaps you’ll have some extra time since you won’t have your usual holiday commute to the in-laws?)

  1. Make a gratitude list. This can take many forms, and all are valid. Start or end each day by acknowledging five things you’re grateful for. Start a gratitude journal, whether it’s a big beautiful book or a note on your phone. Begin your Thanksgiving meal/Zoom call/family walk by having everyone share something they are thankful for this year.
  2. Make time for exercise. Personally, I think stuffing myself is kind of part of the fun of Thanksgiving – even if I don’t leave the main meal feeling overstuffed, I love indulging in rich fall foods in the meals and days that follow. Most of us, at least in the corporate sector or education, are also lucky enough to get time off this week. It can be tempting to use that time to relax on the couch, but making time to take a walk or stretch or lift some weights will give you more energy for the festivities and encourage you to enjoy your indulgences more, without guilt.
  3. Carve out time for yourself. I love my family, but as an introvert who isn’t always her best self at large family gatherings, I’ve worked hard over the years to set boundaries for myself. For me, part of a successful holiday season is making time for my morning routine and making sure I have time to relax on my own. If you’re having trouble seeing blank space on your calendar, even if it’s virtual gatherings, take a moment to block out a morning or an hour for you each week. It will help you to be at your best when you are with your family too.

Whatever your plans are this year, I hope you’ll take this advice to heart. No one has your best interests at heart in the same way you do, so go create the holiday schedule that will light you up and invigorate you.

Take care, and Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Thank you so much for your support of this blog throughout the year! If you appreciate it, we’d love for you to share it with a friend or support us with one of the methods below. Thanks, and have a great day!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com.