Chaos or Calm
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Chaos or Calm

Well, we have made it to spring!   Finally!   And the Income Tax deadlines are done so we should be able to just enjoy today and tomorrow

Unfortunately, however, some people are still surrounded by shovels, winter coats, and receipts that weren’t submitted in time to avoid penalties.

It is sad for me to realize that stress and anxiety often take over so much time and energy that could otherwise be used to get things in order and take back healthy control.

This week, I challenge you to identify and remove the things that make your life feel like chaos and prevent you from enjoying calm.

Here’s the homework:

  1. Begin with an empty notebook and a pen.
  2. Start a page for each room of your house (remember the garage, basement and storage areas).
  3. Stand in the doorway of one room and on the designated sheet of paper begin writing a list of things that need to be done to organize and bring a calming effect.
  4. Leave cupboard doors closed (you will be overwhelmed if you make the project too big and you can attack these later).
  5. Use coloured highlighters to identify what you need to do (for example, red is sell, yellow is give away, green is clean, blue is garbage, pink is repair).
  6. Highlight each item on the page with the appropriate colour.
  7. Go to the next room and repeat the process – new page, new list.
  8. Once you have all of the rooms recorded, share the book with other family members and ask for help.
  9. First go through each room with a box which will be used to gather up important things that will need attention (keys, receipts, mail etc.)
  10. Next break tasks down into doing one colour only per day. It is easiest to start the items highlighted in blue. With a large black garbage bag in hand get rid of as much as you can in the first day.
  11. Book an appointment with a tax professional (This will break your procrastination and allow you to hand off one project that you have been avoiding).
  12. Put a large box in the back of your vehicle and every time you leave the house take something highlighted in yellow that you want to give away and put it in the box. When the box is full, take it to a charity or to the prospective receiver.
  13. Recognize that removing things from the environment will be freeing so always be thinking about reducing clutter. (Instead of focusing on having to let go, reframe the thought into sharing with another person who will enjoy the item).
  14. You can go beyond the lists to garbage, give away or sell as you begin realizing the benefits of de-cluttering.
  15. Get estimates from experts who can/will do repairs. This can be done by taking photos to be used as attachments and sending an email with your request for a quote.
  16. Think about how you will sell items. Do you want to have a garage/yard sale?  Perhaps you can advertise online or in a newspaper?  Do you already know someone who would like to purchase an item(s)?
  17. Keep working the plan steadily – one day, one colour – until you are ready for the cleaning. Then decide if you can do this yourself or it you need to involve professionals.
  18. Finally, take some of the “treasures” that you have kept and put them in a place where you will be able to enjoy them. A book on a coffee table, a craft that you have framed on the wall, a favourite song ready at the push of a button, a rocking chair on the patio.
  19. Enjoy!

The comedian George Carlin had a routine that he called “Stuff” which gets to the root of our human tendency to surround ourselves with things.  His video provokes laughter but being choked by stuff in our personal lives can just bring chaos and steal our opportunities to enjoy calm.

It’s time to decide.  Do you want to invest your time and energy into worry and stress or into doing activities that will lead to satisfaction?

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