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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The Big Reveal and the Beanie Baby Purge

Well, it’s done. I gave my notice at my full-time job. While I am not yet ready to announce my RV plans to the world yet – we need to wait until the summer so I can keep my church job – I am delighted to announce that after May 29, I set arts administration aside, at least for now, and can focus on other things.

Am I excited? Ridiculously so! I wouldn’t say a giant weight has been lifted yet – much of the weight was definitely caused by financial stress – but for whatever it’s worth, I am not as tired or quite as stressed. So yay for that.

I am also happy to report that last night, as I ran a purchase by my mom (fleece t-shirt quilt to use all my old tees) and talked about how much progress I am making with purging old clothes and my grandmother’s beanie babies, she sees genuinely happy for me. She encouraged me, congratulated me on my progress and asked thoughtful RV questions. I am so glad I got the telling her part out of the way to give her room to do her mom thing. She’s a good mom, even if she doesn’t always understand my way of thinking, and she’s usually right about things. 🙂

Handling Ross’ finances is proving to be exciting, in that we can try new things to pay down debt, but also disappointing in that there isn’t nearly as much room to trim our budgets as I’d like. So I need to get back to work for Judy and hustle some more lessons ASAP. My first north country voice student (minus a few vocal coaching sessions) is tomorrow, so I am looking forward to that.

It’s also hard to make frugal food purchases when you are trying to lose weight (both of us) and hoping your diet can help fix your body (me). I have been doing a great job so far – trying to keep my food budget to $30-40 per week – but Ross is buying a lot of his own food too…and it is just a lot of work to choose which fruits and veggies you can afford if you need a lot of dairy products, for instance. I know we will keep refining it though…lots of things will get easier when we are on the same schedule too.

The next step for Ross is promoting his solo album. Meanwhile, I need to not only make more money, but start getting on top of RV planning. Hoping we can set up an RV appointment this week for the spring.

That’s all I have for now. Thanks for reading!

Feeling Groovy

Okay, maybe not Groovy, exactly. But certainly healthier than I was a couple of weeks ago. Today I have a “preliminary” interview for that long shot job opportunity. Still a long shot? Absolutely. But it will be good for me to have a conversation that looks ahead.

The minuses if I were to get this job are obvious – no motorhome tour, at least right away, we’d have to move to a city that at least on the surface wouldn’t be our favorite thing, and I’d have all the typical challenges of becoming a teacher.

The pluses? A built in simplified life that combines my theater work and my need for income (at least for as long as I can keep it that simple) and maybe even a summer vacation, which would make returning to Canada for regular visits more feasible. Not to mention good benefits and a clear next step.

In any case, it’s got me thinking more about teaching and how much I like it. Whatever the ending is, I’m sure teaching will be a part of my work moving forward. Wish I had weeks to devote to cleaning and organizing my life – so much to do, so little time!

My groovy feeling usually involves rainbows -I love them – and my closet is oddly becoming less of a rainbow than it used to be. Why? Well, I’m realizing that my favorite ways to dress now involve a color palette that lets me interchange clothes and dress easily. So I think when I’m done decluttering, my goal is to have two palettes, with only an occasional dress or shirt to mess with the vibe. The colors? Probably blacks (for theater and music, of course) and brown/pink/purple/tans, which has become my go-to and I absolutely love it with my complexion and my vibe. We shall see if this holds, but I think the writing is on the wall.

Have a groovy day!

Feeling the Freedom to Dream

After I wrote my first post, I had a couple of challenging days. I’ve never done well when the dark of winter sets in – I’m one of the many that have a very tough time functioning without sunlight. But I’m re-orienting myself to waking up early – and I’m finding that if I start one small de-cluttering project, that’s translating into more energy for other things.

Two days ago, I stumbled upon a job listing. I really wasn’t looking for a job. As I see it, the job I have is basically perfect, except that it’s too exhausting for me do forever if I want to also do theater. In other words, not going anywhere any time soon because it is awesome overall and allows me a fair amount of freedom to live my life as I want to.

But this particular job listing looked too amazing to ignore. Do I have a chance? It’s a long-shot, a big long-shot. So I figured, what the heck, I’ll go for it, polish a resume, and see where it leads. But you know the really amazing thing? Because I’m already on the path to a tinier footprint and a simpler lifestyle, the idea of altering my plans completely and moving and starting a new job in August of 2015 just isn’t that big of a deal!

A year ago, I’m sure I would have been worried about how in the world I could make that happen. But now, even though I have an INCREDIBLY long way to go, I’m seeing the progress, and I can look at my apartment and say, sure, you can get rid of half of this stuff and move by August if you have a reason to. No big deal!

It’s definitely the small victories. I’m very thankful that Ross is willing to make regular trips to drop off recycling and donations, they pile up fast!

‘Til next time!IMG_0603