Why are you hanging on to stuff that stresses you?


Let’s get curious for a moment. (Just like the cat in the picture above, looking through the boxes). Do you feel stressed in your own home? Do you have piles and boxes of things stored away or in plain sight that leave you wondering what to do? In this post we are here together to answer the question: Why are we hanging on to stuff that stresses us? Here I’m going to explore three reasons why we may be hanging on to all of that stuff and how we can let those reasons go.

The Case of What If:

We all hang on to things because of the thought “What if?” For example, we hang on to a very specific piece of cooking equipment because we think “What if I decide to make _________ for a party.” We probably haven’t used it for many years, or ever, but that “what if” lurks around as if it were speaking to us every time we look at or think of that item. We may keep a piece of clothing because “What if I decide to go on a trip and I need to wear ____________.” Even though we really don’t like the color, or we bought it on sale because of the “what if.” What if takes over our shelves, drawers, cabinets and closets. It takes up residents in our thoughts. Every time we try to de-clutter or let go, the “what if” is there saying “no” to us. The “what if” can come up also if it’s an item that was a gift. What think “What if __________ comes to my house and wonders where that item is?” Chances are the person will be thinking more about enjoying time with you than if you kept that item. “What if” is like a sneaky gremlin stopping us from getting rid of the physical items causing us stress. It’s always blocking us from letting go. You can stand up to “what if” by powerfully saying “I’m living in the present moment now. What if cannot have a hold on me. I will make choices based on if this item is really serving me right now.” That will make the “what if’s” voice much quieter, and eventually “what if” will retreat and go away.

The Case of Living in the Past:

If you have boxes and bags full of old graduation programs, certificates, journals, letters and more, those things can cause you to live in the past. I believe you can keep part of your past and still live in the now, but it is important to choose carefully the items that bring you joy now when you look at them rather than those that cause you to relive some past pain. Items that are from an old relationship or a friendship that is no longer part of your present moment are ones that are important to let go of. Letting go of those items can open up your possibility space in the present moment and you will feel much lighter for getting rid of them.

The Case of Living in the Future:

Sometimes we can even hang on to things that we think we will do in the future, and that keeps us from enjoying our present moment and the things that we choose to do now. It can cause us to feel like a failure even before we have started anything. Those are another type of little gremlin called “Someday I will.” These are like the weights, yoga mats and exercise DVDs that are gathering dust in the garage while you have found a way to exercise that you enjoy right now. Those items say to you every time you pass by them “Someday I will….and then….” They seem to taunt you and cause you to think twice about the choice you have made in the present moment. Who needs those when we can feel good about who we are and the choices we have made right now? For example, I went through a phase when I thought that I wanted to start a weight-lifting routine again. I put together a weight set, bought books, etc. Then, I realized that I enjoyed working out on the elliptical that we already had set up in our family room first thing in the mornings much more. It was exercise that I knew I would stick to as a 5 day a week habit. It was something that I could be in the present moment with. So, I am letting go of the equipment and books and applauding myself for finding what’s right for me, not something I thought I ought to do. The “someday I will” gremlin will go away when we are able to face those “future” items and let them go with grace.

What if we lived in the now?

If we live in the now we can just ask “Is this item serving me now?” Items can serve us now by being useful in our present moment lives, or being something that gives us joy right now as we display it or look at it.

Are you hanging on to stuff that stresses you? If so, comment below or send me an email at:


Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 


10 Tips for a Better Morning

10 tips for a better morning

Is your typical morning a mad dash out the door with a quick bite to eat in your hand as you grab your car keys?  Or is it a quiet oasis that you ease into and feel like you are starting off on the right foot? I would love to help you make your morning an oasis that you look forward to each day. A way to dip your toes into the ocean of life in a calm and serene way. 

I have to admit I am blessed to already be a morning person. I have always been more productive in the mornings. I am at my most creative and best self during the early hours of the day. I can push to have a second wind to get things done in the late afternoon or early evening, but I won't be at my utmost best. I know this about myself, so I have learned to really structure my day to make sure that my mornings go really well so that I can really be creative, productive and fully charged in the mornings. 

Although I now have a morning routine I can count on to help me be the best person I can be throughout the day, it has taken me some time to develop these habits and find out what works best for me and for my family. I have to say I have been working on putting these habits into place for the past 2-3 years. I want to share my best 10 tips for a better morning with you so that you can apply them today and get a jump start on your morning. One of the most important things I have discovered is that a great morning starts with planning/habits the night before! The more you plan ahead and spend a few minutes on the night before, the smoother your morning will go. 

Let's dive in to these great tips! Please let me know in the comments below what you think about these tips and also how you plan on trying some of them. I would love to hear from you about what else I can help you with to make your morning better. 

Morning Tip #1: 

Set yourself up for success each day. Set your breakfast table the night before, complete with vitamins, water glasses, plates, napkins and silverware.

This has become such a great time saver for me. It only takes about 2-3 minutes to set the table and set out vitamins the night before, and it saves so much time in the morning because then it only takes me about 5 minutes in the morning to fill the water glasses and get breakfast on the table for me and my son. My husband usually takes his breakfast with him to work, so I just set two places at the table. This has also helped me and my son remember to take our daily vitamins. I recently remembered to take my vitamin D and fish oil capsules now because of implementing this morning habit. 

Morning Tip #2: 

Make your task list the night before and set it out where you can read it the night before and in the morning. 

This is also a great time saver. It also causes you to have your task list "top of mind" as you rest for the night. Then, you wake up ready to tackle your list in the morning and you don't have to spend a lot of time thinking about what you need to do that day. I usually even take this a step further and have a 20 minute weekly planning session set aside. For each weekday I take out 1 sheet of lined notebook paper. I have a theme for each day. Monday-kitchen/recipes, Tuesday- writing/reaching out, etc. Then, I write tasks that have to do with that theme on my task list. I make sure to leave time for a lunch break and an afternoon break as well. Then, I just recycle each page after I have completed the tasks for the day. I keep all of the sheets in a sheet protector and keep it near my journal so I can get it out for each day. 

Morning Tip #3: 

Dress for success: Set out your clothes, toiletries and shoes the night before. This saves time in the morning and creates more peace for you. 

I learned this great habit from The Flylady. She has a great website where you can learn all about creating great daily routines for keeping yourself and your home organized and clean. This is such a great habit because I don't have to worry about what I will wear in the morning. It is actually fun to pick out clothes/accessories the night before and have it all ready to go. 

Morning Tip #4: 

Do one chore early in the morning before you start the main part of your day. This will lessen your load later on. I like to do a load of laundry a day. I put it in right before I do my exercise.

This is another great tip I learned from The Flylady! Since laundry is a chore that never goes away, I picked it as my morning chore to do each day. It has really helped me stay on top of chore and not have them take over my day. The night before, I gather up all of the laundry, put it in a basket and set it outside my bedroom door. Then, after I finish my morning rituals I go to put in the laundry right before I do my exercise. Then, after breakfast I put the laundry in the dryer. Later on, I take 5 minutes to fold it and put it away. Easy! Done! 

Morning Tip #5: 

Send a short email or a text to your best friend each morning. I send a message each day to my best friend in Mexico and we support each other with our goals each day this way. 

This is a habit I started this year. I feel like it is important to balance our lives with family & friendships as well as our jobs, businesses and things that we take care of around our houses. This has been such a wonderful habit. It has brought so much joy to my life and the life of my best friend. We make it a priority to write a little message to each other each day and it really helps us support each other in whatever we are working on in our lives. I encourage you to pick one person that you are close to, that is supportive of you and your efforts, and make it a habit to reach out to each other each day. 

Morning Tip #6: 

Write down 5 things you are most grateful for each day before breakfast in a journal. By the time the year is done, your last breakfast of the year can be filled with 1,825 pieces of joy!

This is a habit that I started this year as well. I have a journal where I write down 5 things I am grateful for each day. It has brought so much positivity to my life. It is great to focus on what is going right in our lives and what we have to be thankful for each day of our lives. We are very fortunate. 

Morning Tip #7: 

Set aside 15 minutes to sit down to a proper breakfast. It will nourish your body and give you peace for the day. Just wake up 15 minutes earlier so you can enjoy your breakfast. 

This is a habit I have always had. I have always made time to sit down to breakfast. I am always very hungry in the morning and I need to get a good start to my day. Sitting down to breakfast, making sure to drink my tea, my water, take my vitamins, eat healthy food and talk to my son each morning is such a wonderful way to start the day. It is like a ray of sunshine. A reminder that we can take the time to sit down to a meal, to put ourselves first so that we may serve others. I am very glad that I am teaching this habit to my son and may it serve him well. 

Morning Tip #8: 

Always make your bed in the morning. It will give you a feeling of accomplishing a task first thing in the morning. 

This is a habit I have always had as well. I am a little bit OCD about keeping things neat and tidy, so this habit is a must for me. I love walking by rooms and seeing that beds are made, that things are in order. It brings peace to my life. 

Morning Tip #9: 

Try doing 5 minutes of quiet meditation each morning before starting your day. It will bring peace into your heart and mind. 

This is a new habit that I started this year. I am still learning about meditation and how best to do it. It is a daily work in progress. I can say that just focusing on deep breathing early in the morning has been so great for me. It helps me focus on what really matters, what is really important. Breathing deep reminds us that we are alive, we are full of infinite potential. We are amazing beings! 

Morning Tip #10: 

Positive attracts positive! Make sure you start off each morning with positive thoughts about yourself and others. You will start off with the right attitude and that makes all of the difference! 

This is the key to everything! We need to bring a positive attitude to everything we do and everyone we come in contact with. This is so very vital to our success. Our outlook on life and our day is what we will bring to every interaction and every facet of the work that we do. The way that I set up positive thoughts for the day is by writing a list of affirmations and saying them to myself each morning after I do my meditation. This has helped me so much. I am also teaching my son to do his list of daily affirmations. Pass this on to anyone you know. It is also important to change your list of affirmations every few weeks or months so that they are current with what you are working on. If you would like help with writing a list of affirmations, feel free to reach out to me. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey. I really appreciate it so much. Let me know how I can serve you today. 





Chore Team- Getting everyone involved!

    The breakfast table: Set the night before by a member of our family chore team- we are up and running in the morning! 


The breakfast table: Set the night before by a member of our family chore team- we are up and running in the morning! 

I admit that I am a bit of a: neat freak-clean freak-schedule freak. I love to have everything put away, in its place, clean and have everything run on schedule. I even really look forward to the nine months out of the year that my life can run on more of a tight schedule. I know myself and work hard to achieve these things because it is who I am and how I operate. However, as the summer drew to a close, I knew that in order to keep up with the schedule of creating recipes, blogging, teaching cooking classes and finishing up my recipe book I would need some help. 

Asking for help is not something that comes naturally to me. I am very self regulated and usually do a really good job of managing a lot of things on my own. Lately though, I found myself needing help in order to keep things running in the household, get my business work done and still be able to have plenty of time with my family. 

I decided to call upon my dear husband and now 7 year old son for help. They gladly said yes to the plan and the "chore team" was born. 

What is chore team? 

I devised a plan where each person from our three person team would choose two chores to do per night after dinner. There are 4 daily chores that we do Monday-Thursday and two rotating chores that are done on different days of the week. 

We placed each chore on a sticky note which we keep on the inside of the front coat closet door. We dubbed this door "chore door." Every night after dinner, we all go to the chore door and pick out two chores. Since my son has 2 smaller chores to do every night he is also tasked to clean up his room every night as well so that he starts out with a clean room the next day. 



Our 4 Daily Chores are: 

1. Dishes: Load dirty dishes into the dishwasher, hand wash large items & set out to dry. Unload & put away any clean dishes.

2. Wipe the Counters/Table Down: With a wet/soapy rag, wipe down the main counters and dining table. 

3. Set the Breakfast Table: Set out place mats & napkins, small plates, silverware, glasses, mugs, vitamins on the table for the next day.

4. Gather the Laundry: Get a laundry basket, go to each room/hamper and gather the dirty laundry. Put the laundry in the machine for laundering the next morning. 

Our Rotating Chores Are: 

Mondays: Vacuum one floor, Clean one bathroom.

Tuesdays: Vacuum one floor, Clean the other bathroom.

Wednesdays: Vacuum one flour, Dust surfaces on main floor.

Thursdays: Dust surfaces on 1st floor, Dust surfaces on 3rd floor. 

This system has been working so well for the past 4 weeks. We have gravitated toward our favorite chores to do. My son always picks "wipe down the counters/table" and "gather laundry". Then, he also cleans his room. 

It usually only takes us 15-20 minutes to do all of our chores. Then, if we complete all of our chores every week as a team, then we earn a popcorn party & movie together at the end of the week. Hooray! 

I think that there are so many good things about this simple system: 

  •  It creates a sense of teamwork in our family. 
  • It gets my son to be responsible for chores and keeping his room clean and things organized.
  • We all can learn to work together and encourage each other. 
  • It sets a good example of helping and teamwork for my son. 
  • I can start my day with more confidence because I know that major chores are done and I can get my business work accomplished. 

In the mornings I still do a few chores, but I am able to get them out of the way quickly so that I can get going on my business tasks. 

Here are the chores I do in the morning: 

  • start a load of laundry/fold laundry
  • unload the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away/reload with dirty dishes
  • sweep the main floor
  • mop the main floor

I encourage you to start a chore team of your own. It will help you a lot and teach everyone in your family something about working together. Now that school has started we have added "making lunch" to our chore team as well so that my son has his lunch made the night before and there is no need to scramble in the morning. Another thing that I love about chore team is that we can add/subtract things to our list as needed. Sometimes we change a light bulb, or organize some things in the garage. It gives us a set time each day to accomplish things for our home as a team. 

I wish you a fabulous day and please let me know if this post was helpful to you & your family. 

If this post helped you out and took some stress away, pass it on to a friend!