"One thing debt and clutter have in common is that as soon as you start letting it pile up, it can be harder and harder to see your way around it." - Cait Flanders
A chilly spring has arrived and amongst other personal goals, I made a promise to myself that I would take time to read more. I decided to read The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. I have had the book with me for a few months, but I think distraction got the best of me. Setting up my new home, making various home improvement purchases, going out to different events, networking to slowly build my new community, keeping in touch with family and friends, and everything in between.
Moving to Toronto from Ottawa was a major financial shift. What I really mean is that it is a hell of a lot more expensive here. Everyone warned me: moving to Toronto is so expensive and busy and loud. Why move there? I agree. Toronto is expensive. Toronto is busy. And, Toronto is loud. But, Toronto is also filled with so many wonderful communities and neighborhoods. Toronto has an amazing food and arts scene. Toronto is a promising place to grow and learn. Toronto turned into an opportunity for me to live in a new city as I am originally from Ottawa and I wanted a change of environment. I do not regret moving to Toronto. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone.
As a professional organizer, I see excess of anything and everything in the homes of my clients. My business, Get Sorted, holds a sweet place in my heart as I have put all my blood, sweat, and tears into developing and improving my client's experiences. I certainly make the efforts to reduce waste and help my client's achieve serene spaces. I know so many people are tired of excess. Tired of clutter. I want to be more a more conscientious consumer. I want live even more minimally. Personally, I consider my home relatively minimal, but I still want to improve my own habits and challenge myself. I have an impulsive personality, by nature and I want this 30-day experience to challenge those impulses by making more thoughtful purchases and simply not buying anything that I do not absolutely need for one month.
Flanders' book has inspired me to challenge myself, yet again. I have been so curious to try a shopping-ban-experience, so here goes!
My main objective for my 30-day shopping ban are:
1. to challenge myself and see if I can actually accomplish this
2. I would like to save more money and improve my overall finances
And, 3. I want to take my sustainability up a notch and be less wasteful
What I can buy:
3. basic cosmetics
4. cleaning products
5. gift for others on special occasions
6. Experiences such as plays, comedy shows, workshops, etc.
*I can only purchase an item in the circumstance that it must be replaced.
*I will try to fix items before replacing them
What I cannot buy:
1. clothing, accessories
2. household decor and items (candles, prints, bedding, etc)
4. take out coffee and food
5. magazines, notebooks, books
6. indoor plants (I have enough...LOL)
I will provide an updated post at the end of May regarding my month-of-no- shopping with my honest feedback as well as my overall experience.
Wish me luck!
This blog post and 30-day shopping ban is inspired by Canadian Author, Cait Flanders' The Year of Less.
Get Sorted, Professional decluttering and organizing service
While looking for the things I actually needed, all I could see was everything I didn't.
I stumbled upon this organized lifestyle through necessity. I had identified my disorganized ways in University. I admired those who carried the structured, disciplined, and organized gene with the acceptance that I just was not ever going to be that way. I decided that my situation did not need to be definite and final. I wanted to turn my weakness into a strength. When I was disorganized I felt like I lacked control. When I felt like I lacked control I felt a lack of power. No one wants to feel powerless. I didn't expect being more organized to be a major contributor to making me feel more in control, but it helped it more ways than I could have imagined.
I grew up in a loving family, but one with its dark times. Without going into too much detail; mental illness, addiction, and violence consumed aspects of our past. One could describe my early upbringing as lacking control. Before organizing I gravitated towards the social work field - it made the most sense to me at the time. I went to University, received my Bachelor's of Social Work - changed my mind about the field, then went to Art School to gain credits to become an Art Therapist - changed my mind again, and eventually ended up deciding on Professional Organizing. To paraphrase, Oprah Winfrey, my super power is my emotional intelligence and ability to empathize with others. I truly believe that this is also my own "super power". Given my life experience, I have always been fascinated with people. Why people act or behave the way they do. What motivates people and brings them joy or inspiration. Social work and the field provided valuable experience and insight. I do not regret working in any of my past environments because it has brought me where I am today. My get sorted journey has changed the way I look at people and things, for the better. I no longer have a strong (and, unhealthy, in my opinion) attachment to people and material items. By letting go of my fear of losing people and any of material possessions I became free. I do not let my attachments control my happiness. My growth and discoveries have become invaluable. Initially, getting my bedroom sorted, my clothes sorted, and my home sorted began with the simple intention to have a more organized space. A small change of habit and lifestyle turned into an unexpected life-changing feat. I embodied the shift and decision to take control of my life. Transforming my space turned into transforming my life: more than picking up stuff off the floor, but taking control back of my life.
My enthusiasm for decluttered spaces and organized living not only transformed my life, but I birthed my passion and expertise into a business service called, Get Sorted. A Toronto based decluttering and organizing service. My approach as a professional organizer is practical. I consider myself a practical individual - I adapt to my client's current situation in order to best meet their needs. I do not apply a "cookie-cutter" approach or one-approach-fits-all style. Each of us are unique and our homes conceptually the same, but still different. I developed the Get Sorted Program to not only help folks transform their space, but I also developed a guide to aid in each participant's get sorted journey. It's all about tackling the inner and outer clutter to make a lasting change. As a former Social Worker, I understand how to manage stress, fast paced environments, coordinating with different service providers, and the value in actively listening. My approach in Get Sorted is similar to how I approached clients in my past career. I believe in a strength-based approach. I will guide you through the process of letting go of what is no longer serving you and embracing the items that are necessary and serve a purpose. I know firsthand the many benefits of living a more organized lifestyle and I want to share the joy with you!
Get Sorted, Professional decluttering and organizing service
Do you ever feel like life is happening so fast and the moment you stop to look at your home you wonder, “how did I let it get to this point?” What about your calendar: Is it filled with appointments stretching indefinitely into the future? Have you gotten to the point where there is too much stuff?
Physical and mental clutter can interrupt your flow — both your ability to move and your ability to think – or what I like to refer to as, the inner and outer clutter. It turns out that your well-being could also become victim to what we might call the “clutter effect.” A collection of recent studies on stress, life satisfaction, physical health, and cognition all speak to the value of streamlining. Furthermore, Psychology Today stated recent study on perceptions of the environment and well-being examined the set of relationships among clutter in the home and subjective well-being…The underlying premise of the study was that because many people identify so closely with their home environments, the extent to which it’s cluttered can interfere with the pleasure they experience when being in that environment. Clutter can impact your ability to focus on daily tasks and diminish your productivity levels.
Cluttered homes often contain more dust, understandably, which can cause breathing issues. As the clutter builds, more dust is generated. The harder it gets to access different areas of the home to clean, the more serious these respiratory issues become. This creates the ideal living environment for pests like dust mites. Decluttering is truly important for your health long term!
Living in clutter impedes your identification with your home, which should be a retreat from the outside world and a place to feel pride. If you can’t feel relaxed in your home, then something isn’t right. Interestingly, “Mental clutter” is a state of mind in which you can't inhibit irrelevant information. University of Toronto's Lynn Hasher proposed that mental clutter is one of the prime suspects in the cause of age-related memory losses. As a result, you’ll be incapacitated when it comes to short-term memory tasks, and even in longer-range mental exercises when you have to come up with information you should know, such as names of people, that you can no longer find within your disorganized repository of knowledge.
Fortunately, there are solutions and resources available. Whether you want help with decluttering, organizing, and/or making a major shift in your own clutter and disorganized habits, Get Sorted, a professional decluttering and organizing service has the tools and expertise to make it happen!
Get Sorted offers services in the Toronto, ON area and Ottawa, ON. Let's transform your home, mind, and lifestyle through decluttering and organizing!
Amer, T., Campbell, K. L., & Hasher, L. (2016). Cognitive control as a double-edged sword. Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 20(12), 905-915. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2016.10.002
Get Sorted, Professional decluttering and organizing service
As an enthusiastic professional organizing expert, Kelsey aims to help people release their limiting beliefs and emotions surrounding clutter. With a degree in Social Work and a background in visual arts, Get Sorted is the perfect blend of Kelsey’s strengths, and she is thrilled to bring the joy of uncluttered living to Toronto.
It appears we have lost our ability to differentiate between what is important and what is not. In North America, we have accumulated SO MUCH STUFF. Of course, certain folks have acquired more over time than others, but collectively there is an excessive amount of stuff collecting dust in our homes. I know this to be true because if it were not then people like me (professional organizers) would not have a job. Decluttering your work area and your home are great ways to start reducing the clutter and stress in your life, but there’s still more you can do: your life.
Everyone will have their different opinions on the folks who collect, who hoard, who over spend, who hold attachments of things over people. For those who hold negative opinions have most likely never lived as the person whom they judge. As someone who used to be very disorganized, lived in clutter, and held strong attachments to things and people - I know firsthand how draining, frustrating, and embarrassing this reality can be. Yes, me! I used to be this way. I always admired very organized people because what I saw was a sense of control. Initially, I labeled myself as naturally disorganized which really felt like, I am not that smart, I am not very good at much. I just wasn’t getting it – whatever success it was that seemingly everyone around me was achieving. Pretty depressing, right? Based on what I know now is this: "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein
Everyone is not naturally organized, for the rest of us, it is a learned skill. Being an organized person is layered and filled with value. It is more than just folding your clothing a certain way or labeling everything in sight! Although, this is fun – there are more layers and self-reflection required to embody an organized lifestyle.
Reconsider your current routines:
Many of us do not have any set routines in our daily lives and simply tackle our obligations, chores and daily tasks haphazardly. Without structure, it can lead to chaotic days and a surprising amount of added stress. I used to think routines were just a “nice idea”, but once I decided to take control of my days – what a difference it made! I noticed a huge difference – in my mood, my mental health, my motivation, and my focus. Ask yourself: what will I say no to? This will help you uncover your true priorities and uncover your true purpose.
Declutter your friendships:
It may seem harsh but setting boundaries for yourself is important. As you get older you will realize certain people are meant to stay in your life longer while others are not. Focus on the friends who bring joy in your life, who are trusted people, people who help you grow and make you feel happy and supported. You should let go of the toxic people who you have grown not to trust, and who make you feel unsupported.
Examples of this kind of friendship could be someone who guilt's you into spending time with them, are needy, find it funny to belittle you on a regular basis or you feel you give a lot to the friendship with very little effort back. There’s also no feeling of trust between you – if you told them something in confidence, they would most likely spread your secret around. Ultimately, you can’t grow from a relationship like this but instead it keeps you feeling small generating feelings of guilt, shame or fear (via,https://www.lifehack.org/635383/the-harsh-but-honest-truth-about-friendship-decluttering).
While it can be difficult, it’s important to understand that ditching the bad connections will help the good connections to develop further and help you grow in the process.
Edit down your commitments:
Review your current commitments. Examine each area of your life and write down all your commitments. Seeing it all written down can be an eye-opening experience as well as overwhelming. From here, look at each one and decide whether it really adds value or sparks joy, and if it is worth the amount of time that you invest in it.
A tip for editing your commitments; if it is not an immediate yes, then it is a definite no.
Learn how to say no and decline offers – as a former people-pleaser I understand the struggle, but it is worth it long term. If you eliminate the things that don’t bring you joy or value, you’ll have more time for the things that you love.
If you’re ready to declutter your life – start with the physical stuff. If you live in the Toronto, ON area and are unsure where to start then, head to www.get-sorted.ca/contact.html to book your complimentary consultation. I will help you declutter, sort and organize, and even guide you to declutter your inner clutter.
Get Sorted: home, mind, and lifestyle.
Professional organizer, Kelsey Marion