Posted on Leave a comment

Declutter Your Cookbooks

Don’t get me wrong, I love cookbooks! Growing up we always made great meals and desserts using my family’s cookbooks. I used to page carefully through our cookbooks looking for the perfect recipe for my Mom to cook for us. One of my current favourite’s is Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook, although I must admit it usually takes me longer than fifteen minutes to prepare his recipes! My family had one cookbook for every type of food from cookies to seasonal home cooking. As I grew up, I noticed that an increasing number of cookbooks would find their way into our home. Eventually the internet took over and the frequency with which we used our recipe books began to decrease. For many people, this is becoming the ‘norm’ for home cooking. This post will discuss why it is beneficial to declutter your cookbooks. I also share with you in more detail why I presently own only a handful of cookbooks.

Online Recipes

These days I gravitate towards online recipes rather than my cookbooks. Browsing the infinite food blogs online has replaced my previous love of paging through cookbooks. I am often inspired to cook or bake after viewing something I have seen on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook. Using the vast database of recipes online allows me to search for recipes specific to my dietary restrictions of which I have many. While cookbooks are a great reference point, I personally find it more convenient to use online recipes. I like to save my favourite recipe links to a document rather than searching for them in a cookbook. I organize the recipes by category within the document making them easy to find. For example, last Christmas I saved a dairy free gingerbread recipe in the dessert section of my recipe document. Fast forward to December 2018, I had no trouble at all finding the link to the recipe. While this is my personal preference and allows me to be organized with my favourite recipes, don’t let this stop you from turning the pages of the beautiful, food filled books that line your kitchen shelves. 

Decluttering & Organizing

Unfortunately, clutter is a common occurrence when it comes to saving recipes and building up the ‘ultimate’ collection of cookbooks. Fear not! Decluttering your cookbooks is easier than you think. I recommend taking out all of the recipe books and paper recipes that you own to really get an idea of how many you have. Sort through and select the ones that you enjoy using the most. Remove the cookbooks that you no longer see yourself using in the near future. Choose to sell them online, give them to a friend or donate them to local thrift store where someone else can find better use for them. 

Storage

Store the cookbooks that you have chosen to keep vertically on your shelf so that it is easy to view the title of each recipe book. For paper recipes, there are two organizational systems you could use. Use a binder or folder to store all your paper recipes which likely includes hand written family recipes that have been passed on to you and some recipes that have been collected from food magazines or printed from the internet. The other option is to scan all the paper recipes onto your computer and organize by category (i.e. family recipes, dessert recipe folder, instant pot recipes, etc.). Storage is an important part of decluttering your cookbooks. Be sure to set up an organizational system that allows all users to access the cookbooks easily and give everything a place to return to after being used.

Creating Space

You will likely find that the extra space you have created on your shelves will make it more enjoyable and less stressful to spend time in your kitchen. Actively deciding which cookbooks and recipes are your favourites will help you move closer to your goal of achieving a clutter free home. Without the clutter of excess, the cookbooks you use most will become much easier to access when you want to make a meal for your friends, family and other guests.

Posted on Leave a comment

Kick-Start Your Clutter Free Journey!

I recently read an article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly from 2015 which discusses the research of psychology professor Sabine Kastner. Her 20 years of research on attention found that visual clutter contends with our brain’s ability to stay focused. It also causes a decline in our cognitive function over time. This study also found that our brain really isn’t very good at ignoring clutter. We tend to use all of the available space within our home to ‘temporarily’ store clutter until we find a permanent home for it. Unfortunately, the rate at which stuff comes in is faster than it goes out. As a result our free space often becomes a storage place for items that provide no real value to our lives.

Physical clutter restricts our ability to focus and inhibits our productivity. Our home should be a clutter free space where we can relax, entertain, and even do work if necessary. This post highlights a few key action items to kick-start the journey of decluttering your space. It also discusses some of the benefits this process can provide to other areas of your life.

Core Values

My first piece of advice is to get in touch with your values. Write down your top five values (e.g. exercise, health, organization, family, etc.). Be specific! For example, “I want to exercise at home four days a week in my basement. In order to achieve this I need to clear the designated space of all clutter and remove all items that are unrelated to my fitness routine.” Redefining your values is a great way to begin decluttering your mind before you start organizing. Making decisions about what to keep, donate or throw away will simply be guided by your core principles. Defining your current priorities will create a solid foundation for change to occur with greater ease in your life. 

Managing Your Clutter Regularly

As you may already know, clutter within the home causes stress. Why? If the items we use every day are in disarray, we cannot function properly and often struggle to focus on achieving our goals. It is important to prioritize the items on your to do list. This will help you to manage household tasks and chores in a timely manner. By consistently taking action to prevent the build-up of clutter within your home, you will be able to function better within your space. Less mess generally results in less stress and more time to enjoy life.

Focus on Yourself

This is an incredibly important aspect of keeping your space organized. Start by identifying what you need to change. Ask yourself:

  • How do I need to change my mindset in order to achieve a clutter free home?
  • What habits do I need to change to achieve my goals? (I.e. this could include your shopping habits, maintenance habits, etc.)
  • How can I incorporate my core values into this space to better reflect my ideal home and lifestyle?
  • Am I focusing on my goal of becoming clutter free?

Remember that it is okay to be NOT OKAY with other people’s clutter. You can encourage others and teach them some strategies to deal with clutter, but in the end stay focused on your own organizing journey. This will enable you to influence others to make change in their own lives.

Final Words

When stressed by the clutter in your home, first identify your core values. Then set up a plan for how you will regularly eliminate clutter. Finally, focus on yourself as you declutter and organize. You never know who you will influence along the way. Apply these three strategies to your life, then message @lettherebespacebymel on Instagram or send us an email at lettherebespace@gmail.com to share how this helped you begin your decluttering journey!

Have we help kick-start your clutter free journey? Use the tag #lettherebespacebymel on instagram to show us your decluttering and organizing pictures.

References:

https://paw.princeton.edu/article/psychology-your-attention-please

Posted on Leave a comment

Home Organizing – Managing Unfinished Projects

Starting a new project should be a great feeling! Initially we tend to feel excited as we begin new projects, but too often other responsibilities and activities get in the way of completing said projects. This results in a constantly growing pile of incomplete projects sitting in the hallway, living room, kitchen, garage, etc. causing unnecessary physical and mental clutter. Don’t fret! This kind of clutter can be managed and even prevented. This post discusses the importance of prioritizing, planning realistically, and considering your current values as you decide which projects truly fit into your life.

Strategies for Managing Incomplete Projects at Home

Prioritize 

Which tasks are most important for your home to function safely and smoothly on a daily basis? Which tasks will improve your life if completed? Figure out which tasks need to be prioritized, and consider starting with tasks that have potential consequences if left unfinished for much longer.

Time

Realistically, which of the projects I started fit into my current schedule? Is there anything urgent that needs doing that means I need to change my schedule? Is this project worth my time or could someone else complete this project for me in less time? If necessary, hire someone else to complete an unfinished job or project in your home. Thus, your free time can then be spent on task or projects that align with your current priorities and interests.

Try scheduling in the time on your weekly planner to complete household projects. For example, on Monday I will work one hour prior to dinner to finish organizing my taxes for 2017. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I will work on my DIY kitchen shelving project for two hours each night. Wednesday and Friday evenings I have plans to attend fitness classes with a friend, therefore I will not have enough time to work on anything extra at home.

Planning realistically helps you to be more efficient with the use of your free time.  It also helps prevent feelings of failure that can often result from trying to complete an unreasonable list of tasks in a short amount of time.

Commitment

Which projects have I truly committed to? Which ones have I spent a lot of time, resources, and/or labour on? Perhaps you spent five very dedicated hours on the project to begin with, but now you couldn’t imagine even spending one hour on it. You might conclude that this project is not one that you will continue. Instead, find a friend or charity that could make better use of the materials from this project. It’s okay to let go of something that is not adding value to your life and is wasting your time, energy and/ or resources.

Passion/ Interest

What kind of project is this? Does this project align with my current values or interests? When I work on this project, do I look forward to spending time on it? Perhaps if you dread spending time on it and it does not fit in with your current values then it is not worth trying to complete it.

To conclude, do not allow yourself to be overwhelmed by feelings of failure and guilt for having too many unfinished projects. Instead, use the strategies discussed in this post to eliminate projects that are cluttering your space and your mind. Actively choose to pursue only projects that are of high priority, as well as those which align with your current lifestyle and values.

Need some help deciding which projects to keep and which ones to eliminate? Professional organizer to the rescue! This is definitely something we can assist you with. To get started on your home organizing journey right away, contact us via email at lettherebespace@gmail.com!

Posted on Leave a comment

Decluttering & Organizing – Where to begin?

How to start decluttering

I’m so overwhelmed!

Feeling overwhelmed by clutter? Maybe you have tried to begin organizing your home, but between all of your chores and all the emotions that flood your mind as you even consider getting started, you decide to leave the clutter for another day when you have less to do. Unfortunately, this cycle repeats itself over and over.  So, how do you break the cycle and start your decluttering journey?

First off, let me start by saying that becoming organized takes time – it doesn’t happen overnight. By embracing this idea, you can help reduce the overwhelming feelings that arise when you think about all of the disorganized, cluttered areas of your home. 

How to Start Decluttering: Shift Your Mindset

Start by adjusting your mindset towards clutter. Ask yourself questions to realize the reasons why you want to declutter and reignite your motivation to achieve an organized home. Ask yourself:

  • Q: Why is an organized space important to me? You may want to declutter your desk and filing cabinets so that you can start using your home office to do work instead of using it to hold your paper clutter.
  • Q: What is my goal for this space? Perhaps you want to entertain guests more often or have a clear floor space in the living room to play games with your family.
  • Q: What has my cluttered space preventing me from doing in my life? Working from home, starting a new business, taking charge of my finances, etc.

Small successes

Begin with spaces that hold a lot of storage; this includes basements, garages, linen closets, junk drawers, utility closets, etc. Organizing storage spaces in the home is easier because these areas generally hold less personal items (versus clothing closets, bedrooms, etc.). We have less sentimental attachment to tools and out of season items thus making it easier to let them go. Start small by tackling one zone at a time, one corner of your basement at a time. Small successes will help motivate you to continue decluttering!

Schedule Your Sessions

From chores to weekend meet ups to work meetings, there is ALWAYS going to be an excuse as to why there isn’t any time to declutter and organize your home. First of all, no one is going to start decluttering for you. Take the lead! You can do it! Scheduling in regular decluttering sessions is the perfect way to overcome your excuses. 15 minutes a day in your home office can be a great way to start! Or maybe if you have more time, schedule in a few hours every weekend to make a more significant dent in your clutter! Decide where you will begin and be sure to write this session into your weekly planner to guarantee that you complete your scheduled home decluttering session. If anything truly urgent arises, reschedule for another day and hold yourself to completing it no matter what.

Decluttering/ Organizing Services

It’s okay to ask for help. There are so many resources to help you get started and assist you in the decluttering process. Professional organizers such as myself are happy to assist you on your organizing journey! Visit our Contacts page to get started right away or email us at lettherebespace@gmail.com