I have this dream of sanctuary. Okay, I want to be honest. I have sanctuary. My dream may be more that everyone has sanctuary. There are so many days when I drive up my driveway and walk into the front door, lay down my things and find gratitude in having this space to walk into. I think I recognize it more after working with clients and knowing that so many struggle with this in their lives.
I'm that person that when I go into people's space, they apologize. The apologize for the mess, the clutter, the disorganization. They assume that my home is perfect all of the time. Truthfully, I suppose that it is fairly clean and organized most of the time. Even the kids frequently say, "it doesn't have to be perfect, Mom!" It's not about perfection. I promise. It's not.
It's about having a place to have laughter and joy and space to dream and, unfortunately, shelter from the storms that we weather throughout our lives.
Having a clutter free home is not the answer to preventing disease or infidelity or financial woes (though it can help). It does not mean your life is perfect. But, it can be your place of ease when faced with any of these.
So, let's talk about how it can help. If your bed is filled with clean and/or dirty laundry you or your spouse are sleeping on the couch or in the recliner each night and not making a space in your bedroom for the energy of love, then it can create problems. If you are a binge shopper and purchase the same items over and over because you never emptied the bags from the last 10 shopping trips and your home is so cluttered that you cannot find items, thus purchasing new ones, it can contribute to your financial woes. What about your health? Does your home have lots of spaces for mice to live and to create waste due to the mounds of "stuff"? I promise you, if your home is severely cluttered, it's a real possibility and I have seen it in home after home after home. (Mice are a real problem in the cleanest and most orderly of homes and can easily be dealt with as the evidence can be seen, but it is amplified in cluttered homes.) What about your mental health?
Let's stop here. This. This is what I am most concerned with for SOME of the folks I work with. It's the walking in the front door to the piles, then into the kitchen where you do not have room to prep healthy fresh food, then into the bedroom with 6 baskets of laundry and no room to put them. Then, you begin the cycle of overwhelm. For some of you, you know what I mean.
I work with clients at all levels. I have clients who just need some tweaking in their space or dealing with that one hot spot. On the other end are the clients who have a home full of furniture but no where to sit as ever space is covered with things. And, of course, there is everything in between.
I am not here to judge you. It is the last thing on my mind. There are those days when I wish my own home looked like something out of a magazine. I see the door that fell off the cabinet in the kitchen, waiting to be repaired or the carpet in the den that needs to be replaced. And then, there are those days when I teach a class and show photos of my own home as examples and have people in the room say they wish their home were so empty of items and am reminded that the struggle to find sanctuary in our homes is so real.
On August 1, I am launching an online program to support you in your journey to sanctuary. I'm going to be showing you into my home, my less than perfect, but clutter free home, giving you tips and tricks, talking about why we have clutter and so much more! I know I've been hinting at this for a while, but creating a program like this takes some time!!! I'm almost ready to launch this thing and you will be the first to know. Are you ready?
I've been pondering the meaning of life. A lot. Like every moment of every day. Okay, maybe not that much. But, close. What I spend a lot of time thinking about are past choices that brought me to where I am in life and where my family is. This year has brought tremendous emotional growth but has also been full of huge ups and downs and one thing I have come to the conclusion of is there is no "normal". I used to have this dialogue in my head that said, "once things get back to normal".
Once our schedule normalized.
Once my income normalized.
Once my health normalized.
What does this even mean?
I'm going to talk more about this in future posts, but today, I want to take this idea of "normal" and reframe it into "habits". How? The reality is there is no "normal". Not in my world and quite frankly, not in the world of anyone else I know. So, if there is no normal, how do we live life? How do we operate and bring any form of consistency in a world of constant change?
Through habits. This has been on my mind and I decided to make this the summer of developing good habits. I looked up the meaning of habit for this post and here is our friends at Merriam-Webster have to say:
Okay, so we want some repetition, or at least I do. The school year is NOT a good time to develop good habits. What happens during the school year is a big part of the reason I want to develop these habits as more often than not, we find that we are not in "normal" and are frequently in CHAOS as schedules shift and change, holidays fall, illness creeps in. I truly believe it is in a handful of good habits that we will find a bit of normal amid the inconsistency.
We already have a few good habits. Each morning the dishwasher is emptied. There's one! Honestly, that may be the only one.
I have begun looking at other writers to see what habits they have and how they win at life through the use of habit. Of course, there is the iconic 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey (by the way, I just ordered EVERY ONE of his books through our library) and my fave, Tim Ferriss (check out this article). but, are their habits my habits? Some of them.
After reading several articles, thinking of my pet peeves and knowing where the chaos happens in our home when we are NOT in good habit and what we need to be health in body, mind and spirit, I have come up with these habits to work on over the next 11 weeks:
1. Making the bed upon rising. Always. No matter what.
2. Get my diffuser filled with my favorite oils to set our mood for the day.
3. Reviewing my goals and journaling. (I am also working with Elizabeth Purvis over at the Goddess Business School, so for me, that is a huge part of my journaling.)
4. Meditate or read something inspirational.
6. Clean the kitchen (the kitchen is usually clean when we wake up, but when I leave in the mornings, I also want to come home to a clean kitchen). This is a group effort at the Croy house.
7. Reboot the laundry every night before bed.
I may add to this over the summer, but seriously, if we can implement these items individually, we will be able to take the chaos thrown at us each day when life strays outside the lines and "normal" is no where to be found. An example of a not so normal day below. We threw off the shackles of yard work and house cleaning and headed downtown for an afternoon of fun!
Please share your habits with me today over on FB!
I'm somewhat addicted to space clearing, feng shui, and home organization books. I have purchased, checked out or sat all day at bookstores reading many, if not most, said books. Through the years I've whittled my own collection down to a handful of really great books that I use as a reference when recommending books to friends and business associates. This book will be among those. In 2005 I became a certified Feng Shui consultant and have acted as both organizer and sacred space cleaner since then. What I have found lacking in most of the books on the market is the deep act of looking within to see how we came to this place of needing one more organizing book, tool, plastic bin, etc. This book offers that. Not a typical organizing book - though it does offer tips - this book offers a chance to look inside ourselves to see what we need to or can change to allow us the freedom to live our lives unburdened by the weight of the emotional and energetic "stuff" masquerading as physical "stuff" and clutter within our home (car, office, etc.). This book is an easy read but offers challenges to help us move through our own stuff. In fact, though I like to think that my home is fairly clear, I have found myself doing another purge of my family's home! I even filled an entire giveaway/sell box that we were happy to release! Before you purchase your next organizing bin, purchase this book!
Spring has sprung and I am in serious decluttering and cleaning mode! Since I love doing things with others, I decided to share this with my readers and shout it out to the world. Why now? Well, the aforementioned Spring has arrived in Tennessee. It is time to throw open the curtains, raise the windows and come out of our Winter hibernation.
As a feng shui practitioner, I have an eye for how we use spaces in our home. As my mother's daughter, I cannot stand clutter or dirt. Unfortunately, as we have burrowed out from Winter, I realize we have both. Not. For. Long. In addition, as I take on clients with my business, what I realize is that many of my clients need not only my help in web design or system development for their business, but they need help digging out of the holes they are in. In other words, they are SERIOUSLY OVERWHELMED with the amount of "stuff" surrounding them physically and are having a hard time moving forward with their goals and dreams because of it.
So, this week and next (one room per day), I'll be cleaning and decluttering and sharing with you my thoughts on this as well as resources to help you become unstuck from the things holding you back. You can go to vibrational healers, burn candles, dance naked in the pale moon light. But, if you have a truck load of sh*t around your house holding on to negative energy, forgotten dreams, past projects, you are holding yourself back from living the life you want.
Yesterday I started with my front room on Periscope (@danacroy) and today will be moving into the kitchen! Follow me on Periscope or check me out on Twitter (www.twitter.com/danacroy).
In the meantime, I want to share with you an online resource that I follow. Ruth Soukup over at Living Well, Spending Less just released her new book Unstuffed. And, she is running a 10-day decluttering #challenge on her website and Instagram.
Don't forget, follow me on Periscope to walk through my Spring Cleaning this week and live your best life in 2016!
Okay. You now have a command center or are thinking of having one. You have been given the basics and lots of great ideas on how to execute them. Now, you have to utilize these ideas and not only that, stay on top of them to prevent chaos from reigning and losing command. How do you do that?
The first thing is to purge. Yes. As painful as it is. Do it. Just do it. When we purchased our first home I was interested in landscaping. To be honest, I wanted to rip up what was there and start over. So, I asked a friend of mine who was a horticulturist at a local botanical garden if he had any advice for me. Two words. "Be ruthless." That's my advice for you. Recycle the outdated coupons, post-it notes, old sales papers. If you are not sure if you should keep it or toss it then take a look at the Container Store's document retention guidelines. Regardless, one of the keys in this entire thing is to PURGE. What you have left after purging is the makings of how to organize your space.
Next is to stop the inflow of stuff into your space in its' tracks. What I mean by this is do not even let the recycling, the junk mail, etc. into your home. Though things occasionally slip in, most days I stop at the mailbox and check the mail in the car. Anything I do not need goes immediately into the recycling bin before it ever makes it into the house. I am not kidding. After YEARS of struggling with paper I drew my line in the sand and said ENOUGH. We are not big shoppers, so there is little temptation to bring sales circulars, catalogs, etc. into the house.
Did you read that? We. Are. Not. Big. Shoppers. We do not purchase for the sake of purchasing or because it's on sale or because I need that 5th pair of black heels. Nope. (This is an ENTIRELY different topic that I will in a later blog post.) The point is that those unimportant papers that came uninvited in the mail have no place in my home.
Going back to purging - look at your papers. Do you have notes sent home from your child's last year teacher reminding you to [fill in the blank] or the reading list from your child's 2nd grade teacher (oops, that child is in 5th grade now) that needs to be recycled? Why are you holding on to these things?
So, in wrapping up this series on getting ready to manage the influx of information and stuff that is part of back to school, I'll go over a few things one more time:
Good luck and let me know how you are doing!
My own command center/home office has the functionality of the spaces on my Pin Board. But beyond that I am inspired each and every day that I sit in my space. My space includes what I call my vision wall:
Did you have a chance to browse my Home Office Pin Board? Did you happen to notice what they all have in common? I know, there are several things. But beyond the file folders, calendars, baskets, key hooks....there is beauty and inspiration. With one or two exceptions (due to space limitations) they all have something unique, beautiful and inspirational for the family using the space. Look closely and you'll see photos of children, artwork, favorite quotes and more that bring the space together.
As you are looking at your own spaces - be it a cabinet, closet, wall or entire room, remember that it is YOUR space. You can funk it up, Pottery Barn it, minimalize it, do it any way you want - it should be unique to you. Beyond the basics and a little bit of inspiration, the key to a working command center that is ready for back to school or life in general is the ease of use for you and your family.
Last week I began a series on the home Command Center. I talked about the big picture and then the basics.
Today I am going beyond the basics. If you visit my Home Office Pinterest page you'll see so many great ideas on how to organize your home office and/or command center. I want to talk a little about these images, my home and your home. My home is not your home. My home is also not an ad for West Elm. My home is...well...my home. A little messy, a little wild and a lot imperfect. Just like me. There are those days when I come and sit down at my little Command Center/Home Office/Creation Station and think to myself, "Why can't my space look like....." and then someone walks into my house and sees my little space and says "this is SO cute and clever" and then I think I've got it going on.
In my first post on this topic I addressed this to a degree.
Follow Feng Shui Mama's board Home Office on Pinterest.
My favorites (other than my own) are the smaller spaces, the ones that do not scream excess or overindulgence (I like those too but they are not for me or my space). Take a look at Organizing Home Life and her cute kitchen cabinet command center. If you are living in an apartment or small home or TINY house, this is perfect for you! Over at Better Homes and Gardens they feature a slightly larger space which is perfect if you want your command center to be in the middle of it all or if you have a little more room to devote to your space. And, Inspired Snaps offers pics from around the web of some great larger spaces that, like mine, serve many purposes.
The fun thing about a series like this is I am looking even more closely at my space, looking at what I can add (or take out) that is not serving me and by the end, I'll have tweaked it and will have some final pics. Next up, "What's Your Vision" and creating a vision board to keep the inspiration going.
You have seen the command center/office/center of all things creative that does not involve food in my home. Now, let's get down to basics. Let's start with some questions.
How do you need your command center to function?
Next, how large do you need it to be?
My Command Center needed to serve several purposes. Yours may not. I needed a home office, creativity center, vision board and a central information center complete with filing. To be honest, this space has evolved over the last year to be where it is now which is a perfect fit for my needs.
But, this post is about the basics and that is where I want to focus. My must haves as info center included the following:
Once everything was out and my new "office" was emptied I began the painful act of PURGING. This former closet housed all of my "stuff". Boxes I needed to empty, craft supplies, papers to be filed, scrapbook projects waiting to be finished. Now, here I am, one year later and I just completed what I hope is my fourth and final purge. I cannot believe how much I had, how much I didn't use, how much I gave away and donated and simply trashed.
I have told you what I have gotten rid of, now I want to tell you what I have gained.
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.