Spring-chronicity

DSC00871A few weeks ago I became a student in a local comedy class. It’s always been a terrifying fantasy of mine to try stand-up, and since I’m turning 60 this year I figured now to be as good a time as any to get on it.

We’re now in week #7 of class, with our “Graduation Show” coming up this Saturday. I am prepared and yes, duly terrified.

Early on in the writing of the material to be presented in the final presentation, I’d included a bit about how much I love and appreciate gardening. Aside from the emotional benefits of playing in the dirt and creating beauty, it is truly amazing how much fruit a single tomato or bean seed can yield.

With this thought in mind, I’d written something like,

“It’s so satisfying to toss a few seeds into the dirt and get results months later. I threw a dozen eggs into the garden last fall and I’m really looking forward to having chickens this spring.”

That bit got ditched — I have much better stuff now for the final show! But, an interesting thing happened today.

It was the first day in the garden since last fall. The garden gate had to be pried loose from the ice pack holding it shut, but once I was in, it was heaven.

Steady March sun warmed me and the earth as I worked to clear a place for the peas. (It’s a personal tradition dating back to childhood to plant peas on Good Friday, whenever on the calendar that day might occur.) Even though snow had to be shoved around, green shoots of onion and strawberry were ready to take off their winter coats.

Although this is the 6th year I’ve tilled this particular garden plot, new and foreign “stuff” still shows up in the dirt. Last year I found an intact glass bottle from a well-established local pharmacy, and there’s always more shards and rocks and marbles and nails that have wiggled their way up, around, and about to the surface of the soil.

GardenChicken

But lordy, look what I found today! The thing is metal, about 2” high, probably from the 50’s or 60’s given the style of painting:

All I can say is, someone has a sense of humor.

 

Jeanne Fiorini loves it when nature conspires to amaze and amuse.

TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com
She’s NEAT http://shesneat.com

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Emotional Clutter

afghanIn an old episode of Friends, a snarky boyfriend of Phoebe remarks to Monica, as she crams cookies into her mouth, “They’re just food; they’re not love.”

Ouch. The truth hurts.

Our emotions impact everything we do, whether we’re aware of it or not. Emotions are the force behind what we say, what we value, and what we cling to, whether those things are memories or grudges or granny’s frayed afghan.

Take a look around the room you’re sitting in and see if there are things around you that you don’t really want or need, but that hold some emotional charge for you. Oh yeah, we all have something that fits this description.

The key words in the above sentence are “don’t really want or need.” Emotional charge in itself is not BAD. In fact, a positive emotionally-charged object can energize a space quicker than you can snap your fingers.

But all objects, and especially clutter, have emotional components. Some of these emotions are conscious i.e. “That tea pot collection was my mother’s and I hate to get rid of it even though it’s really not my style.”porcelain

Some emotions are unconscious, i.e. “I’m hanging on to those size 8 clothes because I was happy then” or “I stockpile food in all my closets because I feel so uncertain of the future.”

A Personal Organizer can help with both these emotional components — and a good organizer is aware of both — but the client also needs to take responsibility for change if anything an organizer offers is going to make a permanent impact.

Anyone can clean up a messy space once, but it takes deliberate intention to keep a space clear of items that no longer serve that space. Here are some questions that can help clarify the issue:

  • “Do I keep this item out of guilt or responsibility?”
  • “Does this thing support the person I am NOW?”
  • “Am I finding things I’d forgotten — or didn’t know — I had?”
  • “Is this a useful or necessary item?”
  • “Do I have duplicates (or more) of the same item?”
  • “Does this object bring joy and beauty to my day?”
  • Is this harder process than I thought it would be?

De-cluttering the emotional debris is hard work, even for the most “organized” among us. But doing the work will help clear the path to the next steps in your life, if and when you’re ready.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini can make being organized easier and less painful than you might think.  Visit the She’s Neat website or contact Jeanne at shesneat@myfairpoint.net.

De-Cluttering: Where To Start

Clutter is more than a messy room or a disorganized pocketbook. Clutter can create stress, degrade self-esteem, limit social interactions, and at the very least make everyday tasks more difficult than they need to be.

clutter

New things/people/energy can’t come into our life if there isn’t room enough for them; conversely, by keeping spaces free and open we allow the natural flow of life to enter. This does not mean that we all must get rid of our pretty things, but rather that a sense of space and of order needs to be established.

Sometimes we look at our rooms and feel overwhelmed by the prospect of getting things in order. “Where do I begin?” turns into “I’ll deal with it later.” Later becomes an even bigger obstacle, and ‘round and ‘round we go.

The ideal scenario is that de-cluttering happens every day: something new comes in, something used goes out… things are “put away” after their use … every task begins and ends with a clean slate.

The goal here is that every experience can be managed freely without having to work around unnecessary obstacles and unfinished projects.

Can you imagine getting ready to leave the house in the morning or making a meal at the end of the day without having to move through leftover debris?

The next best solution to the de-clutter-every-day scenario (yes, the ideal is a high bar) is to make a once-monthly pass through the space, on whatever day works best for you: the first Sunday of the month, the 15th of the month, etc.

Setting a “De-cluttering Day” on a seasonal schedule is also an excellent habit to establish. The weekend before bringing out the holiday decorations or the last weekend in June before the summer’s activities begin to roll are great opportunities to clear spaces before hectic schedules ensue.

Here’s a simple starting point to begin de-cluttering: obtain 2 large plastic bags and go through your space(s) putting “throw aways” in one bag and “give aways” in another. Once this pass is accomplished, whatever remains in the space can be filtered through, re-organized, packed up and/or used for a different function somewhere else in the home.

The best-de-cluttering projects do not involve bringing anything new to the space “to fix the problem” unless it increases functionality and/or aesthetics. Most people have plenty of attractive and useful things in their home, it’s the organizer’s job, like Michelangelo with his marble, to release the beautiful forms hidden within.

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.comJeanne Fiorini can make being organized easier – and more fun – than you might think!  Visit the She’s Neat website or contact Jeanne at shesneat@myfairpoint.net.

“Messy” Isn’t Always Chaotic

She's NEAT logoIn all aspects of life, words and our interpretation of them create a foundation and a system by which we relate to the world.

The work of She’s NEAT is no exception.

Words such as “organized,” “neat,” “messy,” “tidy,” and “disorder” come not only with an emotional charge, but with judgments attached to them as well. It has becoming clear that, not unlike having to describe and then defend working with the Tarot, some of the concepts behind the personal organization work need clarification.

This notion was embodied during a visit with friends yesterday when the conversation rolled around to, ” So how’s She’s NEAT going?”  I caught a furtive glance pass from the wife to the husband as I talked about the joys of de-cluttering; obviously there was a difference of opinion about what constitutes “clutter” and what is considered the normal price of daily activity.

A few minutes later the conversation moved along to another of my favorite things, the opening of yard sale season. (You may be familiar with last season’s Yard Sale Documentation Project.)She's NEAT messy desk

I got spouting about certain things I was NOT going to pay retail price for, since I can get them much cheaper at a yard sale, one such item being a headset for my outdated-but-still-very-much-in-use cordless phone. I saw the wheels moving in the husband’s mind as he rose from his seat and headed into his office. Two minutes later he emerged with an equally-outdated headset.

Perfect!

Yes, someone might consider his office to be messy, but he knew just where to find the thing he was looking for. This man is the owner/creator of an organized mess; this is something with which no personal organizer can or should find fault.

“Messy” is only a problem if it hinders progress, if it makes it difficult to get things done, if it is stress-producing or anxiety-ridden. Clearly that was not the case here, and I’m pretty sure something personal for this guy was vindicated by our little transaction

By the same token: a “neat” space is not necessarily “organized.” I can think of a few kitchens I’ve been in where the counters are bare and no clutter can be seen, but don’t dare open a drawer or cupboard for fear of what chaos might be living within, awaiting any opportunity to leap from an available opening.

You know who you are.

Tarotworks http://www.tarotworks.com blogIt’s not a personal organizer’s job to opine about the state of affairs in another person’s home or office, but to get that space to its place of maximum potential and benefit. Don’t let the words you’ve assigned to those spaces prevent you from living your best life in them: be honest about what’s going on there, and if you need help, ask for it.

And if you don’t need help, it’s OK to feel good about that too.

 

Jeanne Fiorini TarotWorks http://www.tarotworks.com

 Jeanne Fiorini is owner/creator of She’s NEAT personal organizational services, based in Portland Maine.

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