What brings you joy? (Day 13 of 31 Days of Organizing)

what brings you joy

Let me ask you a question: are you in love with your stuff? Your clients? Your friends, family and followers?

Have you ever even thought about being in love with ALL of those things?

I recently listened to an interview on NPR featuring Japanese Professional Organizer Marie Kondo. Ms. Kondo has created a method called the KonMari Method.

Her focus is a simple question: What brings you joy?

Her methodology speaks directly to an earlier post I wrote about decluttering your stuff.

I love her concept of what brings you joy?

I think this concept applies to EVERYTHING in life.

  • Does every “thing” in your home bring you joy?
  • Do all your clothes bring you joy?
  • How about your clients in your business?
  • What about your friends?
  • Family?
  • What about your social media friends and newsfeed?

I’m so intrigued by the idea of choosing what brings you joy because so many of us DO NOT.

Instead, we “put up with” so much “because “that’s just the way it is”:

  • Abusive family members
  • Mean friends
  • Negative Nancys in our social media feeds
  • Clients who waste our time and are rude to our staff, or who don’t pay on time (and/or who complain about our rates)
  • Clothes that hang in our closets or sit our dressers because we don’t like them (they fit weird, feel scratchy, pull in strange places, or just don’t make us feel GOOD)
  • Shoes we own but don’t wear because they squeak, give us blisters, or make our feet sweat
  • Kitchen gadgets we used once and forgot about
  • Books we meant to read or even started reading, but quickly hated
  • Food we tried and didn’t like
  • Husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, and even employees who just don’t fit right either
  • Activities we do, boards we sit on, TV shows we watch, committees we’re part of
  • Behavior from anyone (even ourselves) that we tolerate

A client and I talked earlier in the week about a big change she knew she needed to make. The situation was definitely not bringing her joy. “But,” she explained, “sometimes the Devil you know is better than the one you don’t.”

I’m a curmudgeon and played Devil’s Advocate (heh). “What if you just make the decision to make this big change? What kind of space are you creating for something new and joyful to happen?”

This question applies to everything. By releasing anything that doesn’t bring you joy, you immediately open up space for something joyful – even it’s simply the absence of the old, annoying thing for now.

Take a deep breath and let those things go that don’t bring you joy.

Make Some Room,


P.S. I keep trying to make these notes shorter, and I succeeded with a few of them. I’m a storyteller at heart, though, and that takes some space. Thanks always for reading what I write!

#UNPLUG (Day 12 of 31 Days of Organizing)

#UNPLUG Fast Company Magazine

#UNPLUG Fast Company Magazine

My favorite part of snail mail is getting magazines. I don’t subscribe to many, but I love the ones I get: Inc. Magazine, Mother Earth News, Fast Company, and Our State.

It was the July/August 2013 cover of Fast Company that grabbed my attention:

#UNPLUG: My life was crazy. So I disconnected for 25 days. You should too.


I let that headline sink in. See, when I read that article, I had just disconnected for 16 days myself. No smartphone, no email, no internet service of ANY kind. Heck, we didn’t have plumbing or electricity, either! In June of 2013, I rafted 225 miles of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. It was epic – and life changing (but that’s a story for another day).

Now, to be clear, the dude who wrote this article in Fast Company Magazine was a busy guy: Mayor of FourSquare in his area,involved in EVERY social media outlet possible, and a bigtime journalist and writer. You, gentle reader, may not be quite so connected. It doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t get his reasons for wanting to unplug:

  1. His life was indeed crazy. Crazy busy. 24/7 crazy busy.
  2. He wanted to be mentally free of obligations, most of which asserted themselves in some way in digital fashion.

Can you relate? If you think about it, I bet A LOT of the requests for your time, your money, and your energy come to you digitally. Probably mostly via email, but messages on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites are gathering momentum.

And it is stressing you out. It’s making you distracted. And you’re suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

I see you checking email in the middle of networking meetings; as your employees are trying to talk to you; while you’re driving (or at best while stopped at red lights); in the middle of dinner wth your families; and as you soon as your eyes pop open in the morning.

You are afraid. Afraid of missing out: on the big deal; with the next big potential client; with the angry client (we have to be responsive, don’t we?). And you’re afraid of just not being “in the know.”

There are ways to regain control and sanity. As the Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan would say, “We must create and use rules, boundaries, and limitations.” It’s the only way to beat back the crazies and allow ourselves to #UNPLUG.



Decluttering your mind (Day 11 of 31 Days of Organizing)

When you think of the word decluttering, what comes to mind?

Papers? Knick-knacks? Clothes?

I want to talk about a different kind of clutter today: the kind of clutter that junks up your mind.

Buddhists often refer to an overly-busy mind as the Monkey Mind.

I think it’s an apt description for what happens when our thoughts run amok, swinging wildly from here to there, with the occasional temper tantrum, pout, and bout of throwing poo (mental poo, that is).

So, what’s the deal with decluttering? And how does it work for our mind?

I was talking to a friend recently and he said he often gets worked up over stuff, sometimes for no good (or logical) reason. It starts with his chest feeling tense; next, his thoughts begin to¬†sizzle, and start zinging around like explosive kernels in a raging hot popcorn machine. He gets so agitated that he simply can’t focus on any one thing.

Why does it happen? Who knows? It could be a number of things (or none of them at all):

  • An unconscious form of procrastination (there’s something he needs to do but doesn’t want to)
  • Inability to feel his feelings (he’s feel uncomfortable, frustrated, angry)
  • Overwhelm (he has tons to do and simply doesn’t know where – or even how – to start)
  • Habit (he’s acted this way his whole life as a coping mechanism)

The thing is, though, he recognizes that mental clutter leads him down this rabbit hole of stress and torment and away from focus, calm, and productivity.

He’s tried a number of things to deal with mental chatter, including exercise, distraction, and even some self-medicating using alcohol or other natural substances (which are illegal in some states).

He found though, that one thing works reliably well: meditation.

Mediation has become his go-to method to declutter his mind.

“Works like a charm, every time. After 20 – 25 minutes of Zen Meditation, I am laser-focused and calm,” he says with a smile. “Plus, it’s free.”

I invite you to consider how you can make a practice of regularly decluttering your mind.

Deep breathing, yoga, long walks, running, swimming, or even meditation are magnificent ways to declutter your noggin’.

Isn’t it time for you to kick that poo-throwing monkey to the curb and declutter your own mind?

Make Some Room,


P.S. Sometimes organizing is an inside job FIRST! Not sure how to do this? I can help

P.P.S. I’m creating something for you to start 2105 right – by focusing on the INSIDE work. Stay tuned for details!

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