Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

Pick a Number

Sometimes we have multiples of things, like six pairs of running shoes or maybe three vacuum cleaners. There are many reasons for having multiples. A common one is inheriting belongings from a loved one, and another is that we got a better or newer version of something we use.

This is where to play the clutter clearing ‘pick a number’ game. Maybe we can have two vacuums. One that is good for large spaces and one better for smaller areas. Maybe three pairs of running shoes would work just as well as six. We pick a number that represents how many of a category (running shoes, purses, vacuum cleaners, stuffed owls) we actually want to own, care for, and maintain.

This works because we all have favorites. We love our designer bags, but an over abundance of them becomes clutter. So we pick our number to keep, and then pick our favorites until we reach the number we have picked. If you start with picking your favorites as you are downsizing, you won’t feel bad when you let go of the stuff that is left in the over-the-limit pile.

Anytime you move furniture you move energy. Sometime just moving stuff helps a room feel fresh. If nothing else, it helps find spots that haven’t been vacuumed or dusted in awhile, or that need cleaning. Spend some time moving furniture around to open up a central space, or to create smaller spaces within a room to add intimacy. You can always move things back. But you might find the energy changed by the process. And you might see new possibilities that were unimaginable when the room was frozen in place.

It’s also important to start with something positive. Something you want to fix. Something nice like a new rug. It can give you heart to clutter clear the area around it.

Just an Idea

Some people love the winter. But from my experience in the North West many people get depressed. It’s important to be surrounded with light and flowers. When you are thinking of holiday gifts for friends (I highly suggest giving a gift to the mail carrier) give flowers, things that smell nice, candles, things that are truly uplifting. We tend to eat too much with the dark weather. Think of uplifting things that are surprising. Lavender is great for depression and dark weather.

California Christmas Inferno – What is a holiday?

My ex-boyfriend’s parents were multi-millionaires. The reason I mention this is because it was my ‘class issue’ holiday.  They disliked my dating their son Zach. I usually get along with just about everyone. This whole holiday shocked me to the core. There was no welcome mat. They were socially forced to involve me in their festivities (Christmas dinner, gift opening, and even family photos).

I was in an episode of the twilight zone. Zach and I went to pick up the homemade holiday dinner. This meal was not made at home. It was made by a family business that makes Christmas dinners every year for people who can afford it. Seeing as I was in new territory I peeked over the counter at the check. It was five hundred dollars. I can’t describe the feeling I had at that moment. Seeing as Zach’s mom doesn’t cook this was their tradition. It was perfect. The food was a complete meal, but lacked heart.

The gift opening was embarrassing because my gifts for Zach (even the handmade one) were upstaged and looked at awkwardly by his parents. It is difficult to shop for someone who has everything. I was blessed with the gift of a romantic engraved ipod.

Everything was perfect, expensive, immaculate and filled with disappointment. The underlining factor was that the parents were disappointed that I existed, sad that their kids were not following in their footsteps. Zach took the role of the whiney kid. I’ve never seen an adult go so quickly from normal adult to childhood regression. They didn’t drink, so everyone was over-eating to compensate for the lack of conversation. I felt uncomfortable through the whole visit.

There is nothing wrong with having money. And every family has their own personal dysfunction. There is a positive spin to this. Maybe I’m trying to talk more about ‘what not to do’. I want to talk about finding the heart of the holiday. You can follow a rulebook or take things as they come.

I ask the question ‘what is a holiday?’ I’m not even sure. It could be family, food, consumerism, the showing of love, festive feelings, trying to reenact our childhood, trying to give our children something to remember. In my last story-blog Christmas, it was about the food, drinking and fighting. That was the normal they were happy with. For Zach’s family it was about covering up what each person was really thinking, and expressing things in passive aggressive ways. For me, I think a holiday is about cookies and lights, and maybe a little reenacting of my childhood. I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m sure it’s different for each person.

Please comment and let me know what a holiday is or means to you.

– Thank you


When we walk into our home after a long day of work we should never have to feel depressed or overwhelmed. I’m not going to go over the reasons we sometimes feel this way. I want to say something about light, and the ultimate outcome of bringing light into our homes. Look at this picture and please comment about how it makes you feel or what you see in it.

This picture is cluttered but at the same time looks clean and is full of light. When I look at it I think ‘I want to walk down that street’. It’s nice to feel that way at home. The feeling of walking in the door and feeling comfortable or comforted.

The reason I like this picture is because of the energy and light I see in it. I also feel movement when I look at it. Making a home beautiful is one thing, making it functional, with beautiful movement would be ultimate.

What is the movement like in your home?

How is the light in your home?

Is your home clean enough that you can feel uplifted when you walk in the door?

If these areas need improvement this is a good place to start. For me living in Washington it’s a battle to have the right kind of light that makes a home feel warm and functional. However there is hope and many different things one can do to improve their light and warmth.

When I clutter clear I also house clean on a deep level. The two things together make for the most efficient path to long-term success.

Please let me know what you think!

My Slightly Disturbing Opinion on Holiday Gifts

Last year I spent Christmas with a family in California. I had never spent the holiday with them before and I was in for a surprise. I was told to be up at five am in case the children woke up early. They didn’t actually wake up until eight am, and by then I was dead asleep on the couch.

Under the tree were about a hundred gifts. About three of them were for me, and maybe five or six for each adult. The rest were for the two children. I watched the children rip open each gift, one by one, each time repeating an unenthusiastic robotic “thank you”. Almost very gift was made of plastic, made in China, and a couple of them even broke minutes later. The adults entertained themselves trying to fix them when they broke. This was just how they did their holiday.

The adults were stressed out, I believe because they wanted it to be a perfect day. They compensated by drinking way too much. The part that made me the saddest was that after about an hour of opening gifts the little girl asked her mom “can I stop opening gifts now?” There were still many many gifts left and the mom told her to try and finish. The whole thing took over two hours and no one was having fun. After awhile I fell back asleep on the couch.

Once back home I put the experience into perspective. So much festivity, yet why did I have such a bad time? Growing up, my parents, relations, and Santa got together to give us each under ten gifts, all of quality. I loved Christmas as a kid.  These kids only got plastic stuff that would not last.

This relates back to clutter clearing because all the children got for Christmas was clutter. The parents maxed out their credit cards on the kind of plastic toys that in a year end up at Goodwill. I feel cynical writing this, but it was shocking and affected me. I want to end on a good note. People love just knowing that you are thinking of them. If you are going to buy someone a gift, let it be useful, artistic, and most of all full of love.