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

Possibility Space

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Recently a client told me that de-cluttering and clearing her home was like seeing the sunshine come through the clouds. If you have a home that is covered in clutter in the form of piles of paper, boxes of things, overflowing bags and shelves your home feels like a dark, cloudy day. There is a beautiful, charming and lovely home underneath, you just have to take a few minutes a day to remove the clutter and begin to see the light shine. You begin to see the possibility of the home that was always there, of the space that you have been craving and searching for. You are peeling back the dark layers to reveal a sparkling space.

I have noticed through work with clients and through my own home clearing process and continual care of my home that layer after layer of clouds start to go away, and the light of new ways of life and new ways of being start to shine through. It is not just about our physical space, it is about the mental clutter that the physical items create as well. Here are a few examples I would like to share with you about my personal experience.

Play Space Possibilities:

One super fun result of our recent de-cluttering of our entire home has been that we have started to thin out a large collection of board games. This is a process that will take some time, but in the meantime we can actually see the games that remain on the shelves, pick them out and play 1-3 games a week. My 10 year old son has really taken a liking to some games that we hadn’t played in years. It’s been fun and such a great evening activity for the three of us! I look forward to playing more games together.

Time Possibilities:

Another thing that I have noticed as I have de-cluttered is that I have more time. As a result of going through my memory boxes and wondering why we may be afraid of the present moment and thus are spending too much time on our phones and other devices, I have decided to spend very little time on my phone. I was spending upwards of 4-5 hours on it every day. I have noticed in the days following the choice to be on my phone as little as possible, I have gained those 4-5 hours in my day back and then some. I have had more time to spend with my family relaxing, more time to read books, meditate, write in a journal, think about ideas, draw, explore art projects and more. This is a huge revelation to me. I think that I was losing so much time every day not only when I was on my phone but because of the after-effects of constantly checking email and social media. I felt like my brain was really scrambled from information overload. I felt like I was spinning around thinking that I had to do 10 things at a time when really I only needed to do a few things each day. I feel so at home now just in the present moment, just being. It is so amazingly refreshing.

Peace of Mind Possibilities:

Recently we finished getting all of our tax paperwork ready for our accountant. It was a relatively quick process and as a result of my de-cluttering I found an important document we needed for our taxes. Also, after we got our packet ready to drop off at the accountant’s office I was able to find exactly where to file the remaining papers since I only have 1 file drawer to keep papers in. I no longer wonder if the papers are in the office or garage. This is fantastic peace of mind!

Are you beginning to see the possibilities of clearing more space for play, creativity, peace of mind and being in your home? If you’d like some help and would like to work one on one with me, I’d love for you to reach out. comment below or email 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

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

Are we afraid of the present moment?

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A little while ago as I was working away daily on clearing my home of extra clutter, I went through several “memory boxes” I had of old letters, journals and other mementos. It was a very interesting process because it had been so, so long since I last looked at these items. Most of them were from the 1990’s when I was an exchange student in Mexico or later on in college. A quick look at most of these items made me realize that by keeping so many of these although I didn’t look at them, symbolically I was living a lot in the past. I began to wonder- Are we afraid of the present moment?

I posted a photo of my memory boxes and journals on social media and so many people said that it would be so very difficult for them to get rid of those items. It made me ponder my own attachments to these letters, journals and documents. Yes, it is important to have a record of where you have been, and maybe my son or future generations would like to look at these items to get to know more of who I was or what I did in life and my relationships. On the other hand, by keeping so, so much of this old stuff, I felt a bit stuck in the past and part of me felt held back by even having so many boxes and bags of the past hanging around. It felt like a strange old security blanket telling me to hold on, but not to look at my present moment and live here.

Here’s what I did with those old memories that I feel at peace with here in my present moment. I can tell you that I had to take 2 passes at my old papers in order to be at peace with what I kept and what I recycled. I didn’t look at every single letter, but I did save sections of letters from people that still matter to me now in my present moment. The limit I put on myself was that I could keep 1 notebook full of old cards and letters and one box of memories of journals/mementos. The last go-round of looking through those things and making the notebook took over two hours. However, I really feel so very much lighter and able to live right now in this beautiful moment with the rain falling outside my window. Right now I am content with who I am and who I am becoming and some memories along the way that I did choose to keep brought me to this moment here today.

This process made me realize that I was really afraid of the present moment. I was hanging on to a large amount of the past in the physical form of these items. A lot of times physical and also mental clutter from the past can hold us back from living our true potential right now. Having fewer of these items means that i can begin to live in the now.

Beginning with paring down the past by de-cluttering my old papers and journals was a great foundation for me to build upon to start being less afraid of the present moment in other ways as well. I began to get curious about why I kept checking email and social media multiple times a day. It can falsely feel like we are living in the present moment by checking up on “what’s going on.” but really we are still not in the present when on our phones so much. Things people post have already happened and you won’t get an important e-mail every 5 minutes. I noticed that every day starting in the morning I would be continually distracted by checking way too many apps. I was shocked to see that I was spending sometimes more than 5 hours a day on my phone!

Determined to get that time back and be more present with myself, my family, my friends and activities that matter to me, I experimented beginning with last weekend. I decided I would spend very little time on my phone, especially in the mornings. Mornings are my creative time, a time when my brain works best on things like writing and creating. I made sure to start my day out with meditation, tea and breakfast instead of the usual round-robin of checking email and social media. It felt so relaxing. It reminded me of the few letters that I did keep. I remember a time that we couldn’t instantly share what was going on in our lives every single second. We would save up our news and write it into letters for those living far away. We took extra care and time with those letters. We could live our lives in the present moment more, and just take a bit of time to write letters when we wanted to communicate with someone out of town.

My weekend experiment worked very well. I only checked email a couple of times and didn’t check social media at all. I was amazed at how much time I had to read, study my Japanese, do a bit of writing in my notebook and just relax a bit with my family. I really did reclaim those several hours a day and my brain didn’t feel as scrambled as it did when I was on my phone so much. It felt like real rest, real connection to the present moment and real connection to myself and others.

My question to you is: Are you afraid of the present moment? Can you get curious about what is going on there? How can you change your connection with the present moment and be there more each day? Leave a comment below or email 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