clearing away

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

Nowhere for the Eye to Rest

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Random Items:

The other day I was working with a long distance client in the U.K. and commenting on the videos of her home that she sent me to help her on. Her main areas to work on were her kitchen and her living room. She wanted to spruce them up and learn what items to move, what to de-clutter and how to decorate her space using what she had.

As I looked around her kitchen I noticed that she had some items on top of her kitchen cabinets that she was storing there. Some of the items were in boxes. I couldn’t tell what all of the items were, but I know that they are items that she uses in the kitchen. I asked her if she could perhaps move them to a different area, like the pantry or inside a cabinet because “there is nowhere for the eye to rest.”

By seeing random items on top of cabinets as our eyes move around the room, it creates a bit of unrest, we are unable to find a focal point in the room and it leaves us feeling more stressed. Even though we can get used to items being in random places such as on top of cabinets, there is a hidden stress that is occurring in our environment on a daily basis. Because there is no one focal point for our eyes to rest on we may feel overwhelmed in the rooms in our homes. Our homes can begin to feel more like storage facilities rather than a cozy, peaceful space to live in.

Allowing our Eyes to Rest:

An alternative that allows our eyes to rest is to place a few choice items of a similar size, shape or color on top of the cabinets so that our eyes can rest on those and we find a place of peace and beauty there. Imagine a small collection of 3-5 vases of a similar color, or 3-5 potted plants that add greenery and aliveness to the room. This alternative allows us to take in the beauty of those few things that we have decided to keep and lovingly display instead of viewing our collection of stored items every day.

Action step:

Look around your home and see if your eyes are allowed to rest, or if there are too many items to look at and you feel overwhelmed. Try de-cluttering those items first. Which ones do you need to keep? Do you use them often? With the items you have chosen to keep, where can you store them so that they do get more use? What decorative items do you already have that you can display there instead, or just leave a blank space to enjoy as well. This is a great action step to take with bookshelves and china cabinets with glass doors.

Let me know how you progress with this action step and comment below!

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

Silent To Do List

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When we let go of our possessions, our ability to concentrate improves. Why might this be? Things don’t just sit there. They send us silent messages. And the more the item has been neglected, the stronger its message will be. Maybe there’s an English textbook that I gave up on before I even got halfway through it. It might be looking at me now and saying something like: “You look bored. Why don’t you try to study me again?”

Fumio Sasaki from his book “Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism.

I recently read Fumio’s book “Goodbye, Things.” and I thought it was a very interesting take on minimalism. I loved a lot of his viewpoints on our possessions and what they mean in our lives. I particularly think that the silent to-do list that our things give to us is worthy of mentioning.

How many times have you felt overwhelmed by your possessions? Are they silently telling you that you have more things to do, more things to add to your daily list?

I have kept many how-to books like the English book he mentioned in the past. They did call to me to study them, and I have since found that if it isn’t a reference I am either studying right now or one that I have continually come back to, I can let it go.

I think that also as we keep more and more things they silently tell us: “I need dusting" or “I need to be organized” or “Look at me, I’m interesting, aren’t I?” All of this can create so much more mental clutter than we are aware of.

I believe that if we use Joyful Minimalism and truly only keep things that we are using currently or we love to have around in our environment that they silent to do list will go away, or be a very short list.

What are your thoughts on the silent to do list? Are your things calling to you? What are they saying? How can you start to change your relationship to your things?

I would love your comments below or write to me 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

Becoming Yourself

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But nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations. What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. More difficult because there is no zeitgeist to read, no template to follow, no mask to wear. Terrifying, actually because it requires you to set aside what your friends expect, what your family and your co-workers demand, what your acquaintances require, to set aside the message this culture sends, through its advertising, its entertainment, its disdain, and its disapproval , about how you should behave.

…..Look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am

—Ana Quindlen from the book Being Perfect

Ana Quindlen’s book “Being Perfect” is the most amazing book that I picked up the other day at the library. It is a very short book, but a very powerful one. In it she talks about letting go of being perfect, how it was such a burden, such a pain and how she emerged into really being herself. It is so beautifully written with such a simple, lovely style. It only takes a few minutes to read, but its spell over you lasts a long time.

Imitations:

I just love the quote above from the book. I had this quote marked with a post-it note and knew I had to write about it before I returned the book to the library. The point she makes about nothing beautiful or meaningful ever came of imitations really struck a chord with me. How many times have we tried to imitate someone “successful” in our lives and it just really fell flat. I believe it was because we were just trying to follow their template to success and we were not being our true, authentic core self. How many times have we unconsciously followed the lead of messages we got when we were children about how they world worked? Those methods do not work either because they are also imitations and often of patterns that do not serve us.

Giving up on being perfect:

As a recovering perfectionist I can say that perfectionism feels physically like a deep pain in my shoulders. I actually remember feeling that during the 4 months that I was working at the coffee shop. I was trying so hard to be perfect in so many ways- working lots of hours and lots of days and still trying to do things at home and stay in touch with people. It all turned into physical pain for me. Now that I am lightening my work load and putting less pressure on myself in so many ways I have not had that shoulder pain much. It is amazing at how you can actually be holding your body in a painful position with perfectionism, and when you begin to let it go, the pain goes as well.

Beginning the work of becoming yourself:

I feel that last year after the coffee shop as well as this year has been the beginning of the process of being myself. I find myself really tuning in to what really lights my heart on fire versus the things that somehow I feel I should do. That doesn’t mean that there is no work involved, it just means that I don’t have to be doing constant activity to find the joy and purpose in my life. I believe that this process is like feeling at home, feeling like you are finally going down the right path, the one you were meant to walk down. This is a continual and ever changing process of realizing who my core, authentic self is and how to go about being her. I believe that learning really goes on forever, so I will explore this for a very long time, it’s the first step of a lovely journey to meet myself.

Do my choices reflect who I am?

I think that this question is one that I need to ask daily. I can take a look at the choices I am making. What am I choosing to work on? Who am I choosing to spend time with? How am I choosing to show up in the present moment? So many great questions to see how I am showing up in the world. Is that who I want to be?

I would love to hear from you on how you are becoming more of yourself. Comment below or send me an email at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!

-Trista