Gratitude: A Simple Practice

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In today’s times it’s tough to find reasons to be thankful.

I try to stay focused on the good by leaving a small notepad and pen by my nightstand. Every night, I jot down at least 3-5 things that I’m grateful for.  If you had an extremely bad day, perhaps making a list of what might have gone well, no matter how simple it might be, may help.  Some ideas are:

  • Had a good cup of coffee
  • Not too much traffic on the way to work
  • Didn’t work through lunch
  • No bills or junk mail today  (a rarity, but when it happens?  Yay!)
  • Made it home in time for ____ (insert TV show here)

Believe me, I felt so silly at first, but before I knew it, I become calmer, more aware and definitely more appreciative of the world around me!  I also noticed that I started adding happier things into my daily regimen.

What’s your gratitude practice?  Feel free to share in the comments below!


Organization 101

I know this may sound crazy, but one thing that truly brings joy to my life is being organized.  There’s something about an organized space that invokes clarity and peace of mind.

Truth be told,  I used to be a totally unorganized person. In fact, I would lose something and end up re-purchasing it. Later on, I’d find the lost item and I’ll have two of the same! Or I would spend hours looking for something that was buried under something else.  Long story short, I was wasting time and money due to poor planning.

The key to becoming a beginner in organization is to start small.  Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Choose ONE room:  If you are anything like I used to be, I felt overwhelmed with the mere thought of organizing it all.  Choose one room and one day out of the week to begin, then in the following week, focus on another room.  Believe me, tackling every room in your home in one weekend is frustrating and you will most likely end up giving up halfway through (especially if you dread cleaning/organizing in the first place!)
  • Keep/Mend, Donate, Toss:  No matter what room you start with, you will need to de-clutter.  Get three large garbage bags or containers and quickly go through every item with the idea to Keep/Mend, Donate or Toss.  In my experience, if I have to think about an item, it either belongs to the “Donate” or “Toss” category.   Sometimes “Mend[ed]” items would end up in the “Donate” pile if I wasn’t interested in keeping it.  If you’re dealing with clothes, don’t forget the six-month rule:  If you haven’t worn it in six months, you probably don’t need it.
  • Corner Then Clockwise:   Figure out a corner to start and move clockwise as you clean and de-clutter – don’t move on until you’re done! This is especially helpful in larger rooms or rooms that are in dire need of some TLC.  (By the way, while de-cluttering/cleaning, don’t put things to the side.  Rather, put them where they belong, even if it’s in another room…)
  • Similar items, Same Space:  Once you’ve de-cluttered and cleaned, it’s time to start organizing.  Put similar items in the same space.  For example, all office supplies (pens, paper, scotch tape) belong in the same spot.  Dress shoes should be grouped separately from your sneakers in your closet.  If organizing books, it helps to organize by title or author (choose what’s easier for you).  If you’re a creative type, you might be tempted to organize books by color/size, but that doesn’t help when you’re searching for a particular book (yep, I’ve been there…)  Don’t forget that heavier books belong on the bottom shelf!
  • Labels, labels, labels:  You don’t need a fancy label-maker when you’re starting out.  Grab a Sharpie and some masking/painter’s tape and you’re good to go.   You can always replace these homemade labels with more professional ones when you have the time.

Bonus Tip:  Turn on some music while you clean!  It really helps with the momentum of the task.  Avoid television at all costs – you will definitely lose focus and procrastinate.

Believe me when I say that a neat & tidy space can change your life…

If you have a tip, feel free to leave a comment below!

Happy organizing!