Tag Archives: ClearForCalm

Clear for calm: Find serenity in your space, a guide on how to clear your way to a calm home

“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”  

– Arthur Ashe 

  

While embracing the relaxation of Covid-related restrictive measures, our road to recovery is shadowed by clouds of war and the constant bad news…do you ever find it hard to relax, even in your own home? You’re not alone. A lot of of our clients find it difficult to cope with the anxiety and tension between family members due to the amount of clutter at home. Yes, when clutter is clogging up your space, it creates a mental muddle too. 

 

Decluttering not only gives you more physical space, it also lifts emotional load off your mind, and creates more clarity in your life.We, the professional organisers, are here to helpyou clear your clutter, so you can have the space you love, the life you enjoy. 

 

In this short guide, I hope to show you how you can clear your way to a calm space, and eventually create a sanctuary where you can wind down and relax, a place where you can “hide yourself” (when it’s all getting too much), to practice meditation or enjoy other relaxing hobbies or exercise. 

 

Step1:  Have a vision 

If you want to transform your space to a calm and relaxing one, start by giving it a nice name, imagine what it looks and feels like, use mood boards, images you see from magazines, or pictures from your favourite holiday destinations. Gather your inspiration in one place.   

Define you space, give it a purpose. While a single purpose room is easy to design and manage, a room of multiple purposes can be managed well with a bit of extra planning. Your colour choice is important too. If you want a calm and soothing space, green is a good choice. Whatever you do, don’t call it a spare room, or even worse, junk room. You know what will happen afterwards. 

 

Step 2: Be mindful about relaxing “hobbies” 

Image of Stairs 

A little bit of what you fancy does you good, too much and you might end up with the amount of stuff that’s beyond manageable.  

 

In practice, we find that many people struggle to keep on top of their hobbies. Something that is supposed to help you relax can become burdensome if you have ‘too much’ at a given time. For your mental well-being, we suggest that you select no more than three hobbies for any defined space and carefully consider whether they are the best fit for your current lifestyle (you can always rotate your hobbies later on). Once you have ‘narrowed down’ your hobbies, designate a particular spot for each hobby. Otherwise ‘hobby related clutter’ can easily manifest and take over a room (think of the amount of baking supplies you might have). 

 

 

Step 3: Be ready to be flexible if you share your home with someone else 

Image of cakes next to a cup cup

What if you have one unused room but more than one person’s needs to accommodate? The answer is flexibility and creativity. When planning your room layout, storage and decor, always ask this question: “Who’s going to use this room and for what purpose?” If you and other family member(s) have conflicting requirements for one space, it’s best to discuss whether you can occupy the space at different time of the day/week. 

  

Step 4: Clear the clutter 

Be ruthless with clutter, think of it as an enemy to your ideal calm space. Find your local APDO organiser to help you declutter your space.  

 

Step 5: Source your storage last 

Remember, always declutter first before you get more furniture for storage! In the process of decluttering, you’ll very likely find storage solutions in the existing space. If not, draft a storage plan before you go shopping (just like you would do with grocery shopping), a list always helps to keep you on track. One of our clients transformed her clutter-ridden spare room into a peaceful guest bedroom, and she only spent £30 on actual furniture (by using what was already there) and getting rid of the clutter.  

clear open space with water

Have fun creating and clearing your way to a calm home, and enjoy the spring sunshine when you can! 

 

Jane Zhang Rice (Serenity Organising & Decluttering Service)

Clear for calm: How do we deal with our bathrooms and can we sort it so it has a more environmentally friendly standard?

Hands up, who’s ever been in a bathroom with toiletries all over the place, towels strewn everywhere and cupboards full of random bathroom items (and the rest)??

I’m pretty sure anyone who’s ever set foot in a bathroom, whether it be their own or someone else’s, will have seen something along the lines of the above. 

Our modern-day bathroom is depicted on the likes of Instagram, Pinterest and every home organisation programme we come across, as this idyllic space with candles, beautifully labelled and organised toiletries, plants and no sign of a bin anywhere. The reality in most homes however is quite the opposite.  

 

With busy lives involving work (working from home being an even bigger factor), children, animals and other family members, it can be hard keeping on top of, and with the added worry for a lot of people about trying to be more eco-friendly and sustainable with the items their homes now house, the pressure is on!  

 

The question is: how do we deal with it and more importantly, can we sort it so it has a more environmentally friendly standard?  

For a long time, in fact, most of my life, I never really thought too much about saving the planet, being an eco-warrior, looking for ways to do things differently that weren’t damaging to our lovely green Earth. 

That’s not to say I didn’t do my bit – I was brought up to believe you should recycle where possible, don’t drop litter and do what you can to use as little energy as possible. However, it wasn’t until I hit my 30’s that I really started to take note, to make small but achievable changes that, while they definitely don’t ‘save the Earth’, do help to make it a more sustainable and eco-friendly world.

Some of the clients I work with really struggle with the concept of letting go, not because they don’t want to, but because they hate the thought of items going unnecessarily to landfill or being wasted when they can still be used, but just not by them. It causes great pain that these items build up in their homes and yet they struggle to move them out, usually because there are no obvious places to send them or they just don’t have a way to get them out easily. 

However, the ability to recycle items, items that would have previously gone straight to landfill, is so much easier now. With the start-up of new recycling programmes and charities, it is becoming easier and easier to be able to let go of those items in our homes that we previously struggled to. 

So, I want to give you some ideas and easy options for changes that you can make within your homes, in particular your bathrooms, to be more eco-friendly and turn that clutter into an eco-oasis without too much trouble. 

 

Storage

Let’s start with the biggest item, as this is quite often part of the problem. Lots of cupboards and shelves means places to throw things on/in. When organising these spaces use baskets or boxes, anything you can to contain the items so they don’t become unruly. The most eco-friendly way to do this is utilise boxes you have around the house – shoe boxes, Amazon boxes (let’s face it, most houses have at least one or two of these) – these can be decorated using old wallpaper, or leftover wrapping paper, or simple brown craft paper, if you want to smarten them up. Or if you’re wanting a more uniformed and perfected look, opt for the recycled plastic, wicker, wooden or bamboo baskets you can now easily get on the market. Remember to label and keep like for like items together so you don’t overstock.

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/byholma-basket-grey-00159014/

https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/bullig-box-bamboo-brown-30474592/ 

 

Makeup

More often than not I come across bathrooms that seem to become the breeding ground for makeup.  

If you wear it, go through it every few months and take out all items that you no longer use or are past their best. Sadly, items like mascara use lots of plastic and toxic ingredients, meaning they’re not as eco-friendly as we’d probably like. However, through the recycling magic that is  www.terracycle.co.uk  there are more ways these previously unrecyclable items can now be recycled. Maybelline have partnered with Terracycle and you can now find drop boxes in most main supermarkets to deposit your mascara, eye liner, palettes and foundation. Hurrah! Alternatively there are more eco-friendly makeup options on the market such as this mascara from Ecovibe: https://ecovibe.co.uk/collections/mascara

When it comes to cleaning your makeup off your face, traditionally people tend to use cotton wool pads.  As they’re single use they’re a huge drain on the environment due to the chemicals, water and deforestation that goes into making and getting rid of them. Instead, opt for reusable makeup pads. They can be washed and used time and time again. I use these pads from Cheekywipes that work a treat (https://www.cheekywipes.com/reusable-makeup-removing-pad-kits.html), but you can also make your own using old towels or muslins. 

Containers  

If you’re using single use plastic soap containers, shampoo and conditioner bottles or bubble bath consider swapping to an eco-friendly glass bottle, that’s refillable from a local refill shop. There are so many popping up that you’re never far from one.  

If you don’t feel you have the time to pop to a local shop, there are more and more companies offering refill items that can be sent in the post, cutting down on single-use bottles. You don’t have to swap them all either, just opt for the ones that you use the most to start and see how you get on. 

 

Toiletries  

Toothbrushes – for as long as I’ve been able to brush my teeth (we’re talking quite a few years here) – have been the good old plastic, limited-lifetime toothbrushes, which don’t decompose well and stick around in the ground for many years.   

Instead, opt for a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo is a sustainable source of material – as it grows at pretty much the same speed you can take it down. Usually, the bristles will still be nylon but they can be removed and the handle recycled. They even have options for electric toothbrushes too – so there’s really no excuse for not having one! 

Cotton Buds – As previously mentioned, these unfriendly single-use items have caused chaos in the past when it comes to eco-friendliness. Thankfully the government have stopped the sale of plastic-stemmed ones and you can now get bamboo-made buds instead. However, you could go one step further and get a reusable bud, like the ones sold here at Last Object https://lastobject.com/. Much more eco-friendly, cuts down on storage space and easy to clean! 

 

Deodorant – We all know that aerosols are not great for the environment. Not only that, but despite the fact that they have reduced the cans in size, they still take up lots of space and while they can be recycled, it’s much harder to do so. Instead, opt for an eco-friendly deodorant cream. It lasts a long time, smells great and is good on the environment too – win, win in my eyes! 

https://gatleyrefillery.com/products/natural-deoderant-balm-patchouli-orange?_pos=1&_sid=eee3d8282&_ss=r 

 

Cleaners

If you’re after a bathroom cleaner that isn’t full of nasty chemicals there are lots on the market (you can buy from the refill shops or online as mentioned before) and you can also make your own. 

Bicarbonate of soda, lemon and vinegar all have cleaning properties that work a treat and can leave a room or surface sparkling clean. Add a splash of essential oil and you’ll be left with a lasting lovely smell. Simply look online for homemade cleaning products and you’ll find an abundance of recipes. 

 

Bins  

Ok, I know you’ll be thinking ‘what on earth is she going to say about this?’, but hear me out, if you’re wanting to go down the eco-friendly route then you need to look at where your items are disposed. Having one bin in a bathroom doesn’t work as you’ll inevitably throw everything into the one and not sift it out into the correct bins when the time comes. Make your life easy and organise it by type, in the first instance, by getting a multi-space bin. There are more on the market than you may think, but you can easily just get two smaller containers (from your house) or use wicker baskets (with a liner) and use those instead. Something like this Joseph bin from Argos doesn’t break the bank and looks smart. (https://www.argos.co.uk/product/8475967) 

 

Having said all that, if you’ve worked down the list above and made all those changes, you’ll find there won’t be anywhere near as much waste as before so the simple single bin may suffice after all! 

Whatever you do, don’t put pressure on yourself to do it all in one go. If you want to be more eco-friendly and have an oasis of a bathroom, it can be done but as the sayings go; Rome wasn’t built in a day; & small steps lead to great things! 

 

Siân Pelleschi (Sorted) APDO, Conference Director

Clear for calm: Laura Pearson, Professional Declutterer and Organiser, Intentional Life Coach and Meditation Teacher

Laura Pearson is a Professional Declutterer and Organiser, Intentional Life Coach and Meditation Teacher. She created her business Intentional with Laura to help people to declutter and simplify their lives, minds and space, so that they can consciously create and live their own version of an intentional, joyful, self-connected life. Her mission is to help people to reclaim their calm. 

Connect with her on Instagram or Facebook @intentionalwithlaura and download her free guide at www.intentionalwithlaura.com/5-steps-to-start-decluttering-freebie  

When we think about clutter, we tend to think of physical stuff and usually, excess, in our space. We picture things like overflowing wardrobes, heaps of shoes and mail in the hallway, piles of stuff on our surfaces and sideboards and drawers packed to the brim. 

But clutter is so much more than physical stuff. We can have cluttered minds and lives too! By taking a holistic approach to decluttering and considering three important areas of our lives – our space, our minds and our lifestyles, we can reclaim our calm and create a more intentional life. This is what I help my clients to achieve. 

I’ve experienced the benefits of physically decluttering first-hand and I’ve witnessed them time and time again with my clients. Back in 2015, I started my own personal journey to letting go of clutter and simplifying my life. At the time, I was in a busy corporate job, working 70+ hours a week, and I was feeling extremely cluttered, disconnected from myself and burnt out. Something needed to change and I decided to start with decluttering my space to welcome some calm into my life. 

One of the first things that I decluttered was my wardrobe. The immediate feeling of lightness from letting go of clothes that I didn’t wear, didn’t feel good in and had no intention of ever wearing again felt amazing! I will never tire of hearing people speak about how light they feel after physically decluttering. I’m a big believer that our physical space impacts our mental and emotional space. In other words, our external world impacts our internal world. So, if our physical space is cluttered and disorganised, it is highly likely that we will feel cluttered mentally and will probably suffer from having cluttered minds and lives too. 

This feeling of lightness prompted me to continue to declutter my space, until no area was left untouched. Some part of me felt compelled to continue on this path, to simplifying my life, moving into alignment with my values and feeling even more calm and self-connected, so I moved on to declutter my mind and my lifestyle. 

At the time, my mind was extremely cluttered. I was your typical over-thinker. I struggled to switch off and relax. I found it almost impossible to allow myself to just be in the present. Other things like limiting beliefs, worrying about the future and never-ending mental To-Do Lists, occupied my precious headspace.  

Meditation was something that I’d heard a lot about in the media and saw posts about on social media, so in search for calm, I decided to give it a go. I tried all kinds of meditations – guided meditations, meditation apps and practising sitting in silence unguided. At first, like most newbie meditators, I felt like ‘I wasn’t doing it right’. Thoughts would pop into my head. Sometimes they’d race around. I’d get distracted by my To-Do List or start thinking about what I was going to have for tea. The list went on.  

But I stuck with it. I showed up for myself and my meditation practice – the key word is practise by the way – every single day. Whether it was two minutes or ten minutes, I made a daily commitment to get myself comfortable, tune inwards and declutter my mind. Within weeks I felt calmer, clearer and more connected to myself and my values.  

Seven years later and I am more dedicated than ever to my meditation practise. I choose to meditate daily in order to declutter my mind, come back to the present moment, connect with myself, and most significantly – feel calm and clear.  

As a meditation teacher, I also teach and guide other people through meditation – in my recordings, programmes and classes. I truly believe that meditation is something that everybody can do. If you can breathe, you can meditate. 

Learning to meditate is like learning any new skill – the more you do it, the more comfortable and familiar it becomes. At first it might feel weird or uncomfortable, and resistance might come up, but a big part of meditating is about practising awareness, acceptance and allowing things – and yourself – to just be. 

Meditation is just one way that I believe you can declutter your mind and there are so many benefits that you can enjoy. Some of the key benefits include feeling calmer and more relaxed, increasing focus, reducing stress, managing anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, increasing productivity, improving sleep and generating kindness (towards yourself and others!). There are so many science-based benefits which you can easily find by having a quick Google.   

If we consider the theme ‘Clear for Calm’, which is the theme for APDO’s Spring Clearing Week, we must ask ourselves what is preventing us from experiencing calm right now? And more significantly, what can we do to welcome calm into our lives? 

The answer will look different for each of us. Some of us may feel the urge to physically declutter our space. Some of us may feel called to explore how we can declutter our minds. Some of us may want to do a life audit – and consider where we are spending our time and if we are clear about our priorities – and declutter our lives accordingly. 

There is no right or wrong answer. But, regardless of what you choose, we can all benefit from doing a little Spring Clear (of our space, minds and lives), in order to welcome in, and feel, calm. 

 

Laura Pearson (Laura Pearson Coaching and Decluttering)

Clear for calm: How to find a little bit of calm among life’s challenge

There is no denying that the past few years have felt anything but calm. The world has been a weird and anxious place, with ever-changing rules and regulations to adapt to and everything that we took for granted as normal thrown up in the air.  

So, how can we possibly feel calm when so much is out of our control? By only focusing on those things we can at least partly control; our time and our homes. And by making space for the things that make us happy.  

Find your happy    

What makes you happy? Like really happy. As in you forget what the time is because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing, and after you’ve done it you feel lighter and brighter? It could be: yoga, walking, sewing, writing, singing – whatever it is, if it makes you happy it will also help you feel calm and balanced.  

 

Put yourself on your to do list 

I know what you’ll say – “I haven’t got time for that! My life is already over-crowded with things to try and get done!”.  I get it: we’re all juggling a million roles and responsibilities, but if a loved one called you telling you they were stressed out and needed some help, chances are you’d find the time for them by pushing something less important off your to do list. Well, it’s time to put yourself on your to do list. Put an actual date and time in your diary for your ‘happiness practice’ and treat it like you would an appointment – no cancelling on yourself! 

 

Little and often 

You don’t have to carve out hours and hours to do what makes you happy (wouldn’t that be nice?!), even just five or ten minutes spent on yourself can give you the energy and resilience to help deal with everything else that life throws at you. You might even find that in giving yourself that time off from your usual responsibilities, you’re more productive and efficient at working through all the other stuff that needs doing. Potentially giving you more time to do what makes you happy – result! 

 

Create the space you need 

“Ok, great, but I haven’t got space to think, let alone space to do yoga!” No problem. Start by being realistic – you only need the essentials for your five-minute happiness practice, so for example if drawing is your thing, then a single pencil and pad might be all you need.  

And you don’t need the perfect environment either; if your home is cluttered and busy then try and clear just a small corner for what you need, or create a permanent space for the equipment required, so you know exactly where to find it when it’s needed.  

 

Protect your investment 

Then the tricky bit – protect that physical space and the space in your time with all you’ve got. Remember how important your happiness practices are, how they can help create a feeling of clarity and calm, and how they can build your resilience to the stresses and strains of life. And if you find those spaces start getting lost or forgotten about, remember how important you are and the need to invest in yourself, and keep digging them back out again until you create a regular happiness habit.  

 

 

Kate Yiannacou, Declutter Coach (Tidy Happy Calm)