Ready to change your relationship with clutter, money, busyness and overwhelm? Start here and now.

Do you feel overwhelmed by too much stuff, having to make too many decisions and all the obligations you ‘have’ to meet? Are you running exhausted and feeling short of mental clarity? Are your closets full but your bank account closer to empty? Though often it seems we have few choices, you can begin to simplify and say yes to LESS starting today. Much of the time, we make our own misery because when we string all those seemingly small decisions (and spends) together, they impact our quality of life. It’s not just about the money we spend on bringing in what will be considered clutter in 3 months; it’s how we spend our energy and focus. If you find you would like to have more mental clarity, more meaningful time with friends and family, clearer counters and floors and have a cushion in your bank account, it will take a new approach. It will also take time, dedication and arresting some of your old habits… and that may be a challenge to your friends and family at first but this is about YOU taking control of your life, happiness and future. Life is short. Make it count. When you do, it will ultimately be better for you and your family. Real friends will support the newer healthier (mentally, emotionally, better rested) and happier you. Start here and now.

Step 1 Declutter: Identify who would love, need or appreciate the things that no longer serve you well. EBay, Donate, recycle and return items today because every day that you feel overwhelmed or controlled by your stuff/environment, is a compromised day that can lead to a compromised life and compromised relationships.

Step 2 Organize what remains so you know what you have and where it is. Eighty percent of the time we only use 20 percent of our stuff including food, clothes and papers. If you need help, enlist a Professional Organizer or you can contact me directly I work in person and coach remotely.

Step 3 Change your habits around shopping and acquiring. If you are a reader, I highly recommend Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. That single book changed my relationship with stuff and money and I have shared those lessons learned with all my clients and audiences. The book should be required reading for all high school students. If you read this book, share it with your family so they can understand why you are making or requesting changes of them moving forward.

Step 4 Take control of your digital feed. Disable store/shopping notifications. Unsubscribe from their daily emails and feeds. Don’t click on shopping banner links in your apps, erase your cookies, opt out wherever you can. Don’t EVER let advertisers control your mind or they will control your wallet and future. I spent 10 years in market research before becoming a Certified Professional Organizer. Your privacy has already been compromised and your shopping and web surfing habits are followed. Most of the time, you are not as much in control of your mind and thoughts as you believe because of nonstop sophisticated advertising.

Step 5 Start prioritizing and goal setting for both short and long term. This is key when I work with my clients as it directs all efforts. Meaningful change cannot happen without identifying the ‘why’ and building a vision of what you want to create. It will become more compelling as you become more aware of the swift passage of time and the value of your focus and resources.

Step 6 Reassess your schedule and activities. After completing steps 1 through 5, you will probably be ready to make changes.

Step 7 Onboard your family and friends to your new goals and habits so they can support positive and meaningful change.

Finally, surround yourself with people who appreciate you, your talents and the value you place on relationships over stuff and peace over drama/chaos. If you need help with any of these steps or would like to know more, please connect. I’m www.WithinReach.Biz

Won’t you join me in a shift of perspective?

I have read and listened to so many people say they do not wish to remember or celebrate 2020 – everyone simply is trying to erase and move on as quickly as possible to a ‘normal’ 2021. Since we have just turned the calendar year to 2021, I wanted to reflect on the meaningful takeaways and connections I experienced in 2020 precisely because the Pandemic mandated that we shift our behaviors and assumptions. My hope is that you too can reflect on 2020 and pick out lessons learned and insightful “aha’s” that came amidst the chaos of the year so that you can move forward wiser and more centered.

Early in the pandemic, my husband and I came to realize that we had little control of the unfolding events that compromised our ability to work, canceled our once in a lifetime cooking school trip to France, canceled most of the activities we looked forward to every year and took the simple pleasure of eating out, off the table. Though we did not have to juggle children’s education, we had to juggle budgets, expectations, and our lives to adapt to a new normal of being homebound and having planned events constantly canceled based on the spread of Covid both within our state and internationally.

It could have gone 1 of 2 ways: We could be angry and defiant or embark on a new path of deepening our relationship and rolling with the waves. We chose the latter. We scaled back our spending, searched for paper products and meat like everyone else, checked in on family and friends and started grocery shopping for at-risk families. We created a schedule that kept us engaged and focused on results. We found activities that we could do and routinely scheduled outdoor time. I signed up for a lot of online training in my field while we were following ‘shelter in place’ orders and Don worked his artistic side and created some really beautiful furniture. We planted and grew a wonderful vegetable garden and shared the abundance with those in our circle.

At night, we set an intentional table. Nice music, well presented meals and candles. We gave thanks for what we had and talked. We took the time to create intentional joy and deepen our partnership. It was, and continues to be wonderful.

What we discovered through all of this was that we could choose to control our attitude and be creative to make our time meaningful and memorable for years to come. We had losses and missed spending time with our family and friends in person. That was a challenge, but we helped others in our community, and I did a lot of cooking that we shared with others. It was a year of quiet relationship building and recalibration for us. Covid19 slowed our world down to the point that I got to spend real quality time with my husband and recalibrate my goals and values without the noise of our typical life and hectic client schedule. I believe my husband and I are better for having experienced a year of suspended expectations and a refocus on what is really important to us. As we come out of this Pandemic, we will be changed for the better and more reflective. We remain grateful and look forward to a positive 2021 with family and our community.

Can you identify 1 or 2 lessons learned or things that you are grateful for in 2020? Focus on these things and bring them forward on your journey. Never throw your time or experiences away. It is all valuable and it gives us the opportunity to choose our responses and create a more meaningful and joyful life moving forward. Happy 2021.

Won’t you join me Thanksgiving 2020? 

Like most everyone else’s T-Day plans, ours have been revised twice in the last 3 months based on the spread of Covid19. Typically, we would be traveling to a big family gathering in Chicago with enough food to feed a small army, mouthwatering treats and robust conversations. Two months ago, we simplified that plan to staying with my 91-year-old Aunt to celebrate a much-toned down day and give her healthcare workers the day off. Last week, we called her to share that we were not comfortable putting her (and us) at risk based on the recommendations of infectious disease doctors and the rapid rise of infections and hospitalizations in both states.  We had not missed a year since the late 70’s. Now what? For my immediate family, the Chicago gathering has always been more anticipated than Christmas because of the comradery of all the cousins, conversations and activities. This year, it is just the 2 of us. Doesn’t seem like Thanksgiving. It feels like a loss of connection with family and others. The question became: Could we create that feeling of real thanks and community that we have gotten EVERY Thanksgiving despite Covid19?  The answer is a resounding YES.  

The glue to our Thanksgiving has always been in the act of sharing, caring and getting caught up. It’s just going to look different this year with only the 2 of us.  

We have decided to share our gratitude and put it in action. I have reached out to my single and fragile clients and a couple of elderly people we know from church asking if they have family support and a prepared meal on Thanksgiving Day. My husband and I will be making a large meal that we can package up and deliver fresh and with smiles and a check in.  

This simple act is very empowering and takes the sting out of not having our traditional day. We will still have plenty of time to Skype, Facetime & call our extended family across the miles; and we will feel fulfilled in our efforts by bringing joy and hope to those outside our typical circleI also hope to put a few bags together for any homeless we might encounter on our delivery route. 

So, if your Thanksgiving isn’t going to look anything like your original plans and you are feeling depressed or out of sorts, won’t you join me in looking for those outside of your typical circle and see how you can support them with a meal, special treat or a checkin call?  Imight make all the difference to them and it could allow you to connect to your community in a new deeper way. I wish you a fulfilling Thanksgiving experience.