What space are you creating?

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This spring we are nearing the end of a project to clear some large items and a few boxes and bags of small items in our garage in anticipation of buying an electric car in the coming months. This photo above is my dream car- a red Tesla!

I have a super fun game that I play every day to see how many Teslas I can spot on the road. It’s super fun! Many times I see this red one too! My favorite!

It’s often great to have a goal in mind for the space you are creating while de-cluttering your home. Having those pictures of dreams in your mind can really encourage you and spur you on going forward.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your spaces:

  1. How do I want to feel in this space? What does peace in this space look like and feel like to me?

  2. What do I picture myself doing in this space?

  3. What new possibilities am I opening up in my life by clearing out the clutter in this space?

  4. What surprises am I allowing for by creating some space? Empty spaces as well as empty drawers and shelves can create great energy for many things to show up in your life! You will be surprised!

Now that our garage space is nearly cleared the energy feels light and every day I see more and more Teslas! They are like a trail of beautiful dream “breadcrumbs” on the way to my intentions coming true. I can just see the car in that space. Create more space for more possibilities in your home and in your life.

When you clear a space for yourself and your dreams in your home and on your calendar you are creating freedom and peace for yourself. You will be shocked at the amazing outcomes!

What spaces are you making for yourself? Feel free to comment below! Make sure to leave space in your home and on your calendar for your dreams to grow!

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need  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. 

I have 3 home clearing packages to choose from: 

Services:

http://expansive.me/services

Find out more on my website:

http://expansive.me

Recycling can be Clutter Too

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At our home, one week is yard waste week and one week is recycling week. We have a very small trash bin and a very large recycling bin. I have always tried to recycle as much as possible and not throw away a lot. However, the other day I got an “oops” notice that I could not recycle takeout containers or frozen food boxes. It turns out there are several items that cannot be recycled in our area.

Then, about 2 weeks ago for some reason the truck forgot to take our recycling. Our bin was very full, so now we have an overflow of recycling in our garage. I have boxes I am filling with recycling until it is picked up again on Wednesday morning.

Given that I spend quite a bit of time on recycling and dealing with it, especially when there is a backlog, it really made me think about the packages of items that I was bringing home after grocery shopping. So many things come in plastic clam-shells, plastic bags or other types of plastic tubs and containers. Very few plastic containers (even if they have a recycling symbol/number on them) can be recycled in our area. So, even though it may make it to the recycling plant, it may get thrown away anyway. And, recycling takes quite a bit of energy.

In a way I am glad that we have had these experiences recently because it made me think- “Wow! Having too much recycling or bringing in too many packaging items when grocery shopping is a form of clutter as well.” I was cluttering up our garage with lots of extra packaging that may or may not be recyclable. This realization made me take lots of action. It will be a gradual, continual process of change which I will update you all on, but I feel that I have made headway already.

My goal is to get down to mostly recycling: glass, paper and metal. These materials are much easier to recycle and take less energy to do so. Recycling these items is a win-win because we save a lot of water and raw materials by recycling them.

Plastics on the other hand are very complicated to recycle and also just because it has a number on it doesn’t mean it will be recycled in your area, or at all. Those number just state the type of plastic that is used. Single-use plastics are the ones that we should be most concerned about. These are ones that are used for packaging or things like takeout containers or forks, spoons, knives used at food trucks, for camping or picnics.

Here is a quote from an article I found online by Viv who sells compostable food supplies:

“While a number of plastics are now recyclable, EcoCycle encourages you to avoid plastic and single-use packaging as much as possible—in the past 45 years, it’s increased more than 10,000%!”

Wow!! An increase of 10,000% in single use plastic use. I can believe it as I look around my kitchen cupboards and realize there are many products I will not be buying anymore unless I can find them in non-plastic packaging.

Here are some things that I have started doing to reduce plastic waste and reduce our recycling as well.

Reducing Plastic at the Grocery Store:

When you go grocery shopping you can reduce the single-use plastics that you bring home by paying close attention to what the products are packaged in. Also, I have stopped using plastic bags at the store for my fruits and vegetables. I can either use mesh bags, put them in re-usable bags I have brought from home, or just put them straight into the cart. I have started to make sure that as many bottled items come in a glass bottle and preferably with a metal lid. Yesterday when I went shopping I decided to buy broth base in a glass jar with a metal lid instead of buying broth in a carton with a plastic lid. All in all I only came home with 1 plastic jar of a condiment that I couldn’t find a current alternative for. I will continue to find ways to reduce and ultimately not bring home any plastic packaging as time goes on. Next will be to buy in bulk using my own bags or jars.

Farmer’s Market:

I am also going to make a real effort to shop more at the local farmer’s market because plastic packaging is not so prevalent there. I of course have a lot of reusable bags I can use and many of the products are packaged in paper or in glass jars. Also because the products are produced locally it doesn’t take as much fuel use to get them to shoppers. This is a great win-win situation where you are creating less waste, fewer items to recycle and you are supporting local farmers and makers.

Making Your Own:

Another way to reduce single-use plastic packaging is to make some of the items that you usually buy in the grocery store yourself. Three examples that I have tried or will try that usually come in plastic packaging are the following:

Bread: While you sometimes can get bread in a paper bag, many loaves come in plastic bags. Knowing that we buy at least 1 loaf a week, I decided to teach my son how to make bread. We made 2 loaves and then wrapped them in fabric bags to be stored on the counter for slicing for sandwiches and toast. My son was thrilled, had fun and noted that the bread tasted amazing!

Pasta: Many types of pasta come in plastic bags or in cardboard boxes with plastic windows in them. This week I am going to show my son how to make pasta since we have a pasta roller and cutter at home. We will make a batch of fresh pasta to use for dinner and it will save packaging!

Yogurt: Usually every week I buy Greek yogurt. I always buy the largest container that I can, but it is still a plastic container. For this reason I looked up how to make yogurt online and it is so easy! As soon as I am done with the yogurt I have in the refrigerator I will make my own.

As time goes on I am sure that we will make lots of other items that we usually buy in packages. We will continue to reduce our waste and recycling.

Take Out Containers:

Last night I tried an experiment and it worked great! We went to a local restaurant to celebrate my husband’s birthday. I know that we always take leftovers home with us and since these containers cannot be recycled in our area, I decided to bring two glass containers from home to the restaurant to put our leftovers in. This worked perfectly! Sure enough, we filled both containers with our leftovers and there was no food waste and no container waste either!

Buy Locally:

When you buy items locally (not just groceries) you reduce the amount of packaging because you can bring your own bags and you are not creating more recycling by having all of those cardboard boxes and packing materials to sort through. Also, it takes less fuel/transport to get the items to you. There are some wonderful zero waste products that you may need to order online, but those companies usually use very little packaging and it is easily recycled or even can be sent back to be re-used. I know that my local UPS store will take packing materials and re-use them which is a plus for those times when you need to order certain things online.

Vintage Clothing:

For my summer wardrobe(since I have de-cluttered old summer outfits) I have my eye on going to the local, beautiful vintage clothing store for a couple of special items. In this way I am reducing waste because this clothing is getting re-used and given a new life. Much of vintage clothing is also made from more natural fibers such as cotton and silk. It’s great to be excited about making old clothing new again by getting a “new-to-you” outfit.

I would love to hear your ideas on reducing plastic waste and other waste. Comment below or send an email to me:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

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. I have accountability packages & coaching packages: 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com


Don't judge me!

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Above: a photo of our garage project in progress. We still have some large items to give away, etc. :)

Recently I was at a client’s home and was helping her with ways to re-organize and downsize a bedroom closet and desk area. I helped her come up with lots of ways to make the space the most user friendly and we had a great time chatting about what to do next.

After going through that room, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to show me a second “catch-all” room as she called it. It is an extra room in her home. She allowed me to take a look and give her ideas on how to best go through the items in that room and clear them. I had no judgement about the room, I feel honored that she allowed me to see it in its current state and to help her with ideas on it. I let her know that she could go through items that she had dominion over first, and then work with her family members on the remaining items.

I find that often the biggest hurdle for clients is the judgement they feel they will get from me if they let me see their spaces that they are ashamed of. There is no shame, no judgement, only progress to be made. I think it is important to realize that we are all human and that we all are going through our things in a different way.

I shared with this client that I am still struggling with our garage a bit because there are still a few large items to decide upon, figure out who to give them to and also some final items to sort through. My husband and I have the goal of getting both cars into the garage, especially because by the end of the year we would like to get a new car to replace a very old commuter car that we have. It is all a process and especially when you need to decide together, projects like this can take time and we must withhold judgement and be patient not only with ourselves but with our family members.

Above you can see photos of the garage. It has come a long way, but there are still areas to work on together as a family to make our goal of storing both of our cars in the garage. We are getting closer & closer so we need to be gentle with ourselves, not judge others and keep moving forward with the last of our de-cluttering effort.

I encourage you to be gentle with yourself, where you are in the process and how you work with others de-cluttering in your home.

Do you have house shame or shame about certain areas or rooms in your home? Feel free to comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

With love, patience, kindness and non-judgement—

—Trista

Why are you hanging on to stuff that stresses you?

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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:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

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. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com