Welcome to TCC”s Guest Series.
This month our member guest is Aubrey Farmer, Organization Expert and Founder of The Polished Hearth as she shares the benefits of living in a peaceful, organized home and eight tips on how to achieve this.
Taming the Pandemic in Your Home
Do you sometimes feel like your home is out of control? Many of us have spent more time inside our homes this past year than ever before.
So, how does your home make you feel? Energized, calm, refreshed, relaxed, grouchy, frustrated or even annoyed? 2020 may have been a year of chaos and uncertainty for everyone, however, our homes don’t have to be.
I’m often described as OCD or a perfectionist because I appreciate order. I learned as a child that my dwelling (at that time it was simply my room) was one of the things in life I could control like making sure my clothes were hung neatly on hangers, my nightstand wasn’t cluttered with empty beverage glasses and my floors were visible and clean.
I realized even then that when my surroundings looked good it made me FEEL good. And this began my life-long love of organizing because, let’s get real, who doesn’t like to feel good?
I readily admit I’m a Type A personality but I know not every woman is and the thought of creating a polished home may overwhelm her.
Many women really want an organized home but have no idea where to begin. My passion for organizing becomes their easy solution to the transformation they want to see in their homes.
There are 3 major benefits to having an organized home
- IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH
As previously mentioned, your home is one of the things in life you CAN control. There are so many things in life that are out of our control. I can wish until I am blue in the face that I was 5’10 and 125 pounds. But nothing (besides gravity) is going to change my height. I’ve accepted that. But I can control my home. So can you. You CAN change the whole vibe in your home and trust me when I say this, knowing that is so empowering.
2. SAVING TIME, MONEY, ENERGY AND EFFORT
Organization is a saver of time, money, energy and effort. Have you ever been to the grocery store to buy a jar of pasta sauce and get home only to realize you had already two in your pantry but you didn’t know because you couldn’t see them? Or, have you ever spent 30 minutes looking for an item that you just tossed somewhere because you were positive you would remember where you threw it. Having an organized home permanently eliminates these issues.
3. INCREASED SELF ESTEEM
Doesn’t it feels amazing when we take off the sweatpants and dress up for a night out? Why is that? Because looking good on the outside makes us feel good on the inside. God created us to be visual. It’s the reason we love rainbows, pretty flowers and shiny things. It’s the same with our home. When our home looks good, we feel good.
Once I’ve completed the organization of a client’s home I provide her tips on how to maintain the order. Here are a few.
- Get rid of the MIGHTS. Stop hanging on to items that you “might” use one day, including kitchen items, clothing and accessories, linens etc. The reality is you don’t NEED them. Like those bridesmaids dresses you “might” cut off and make a cocktail dress from or fabric remnants you “might” fashion something from one day. Even those toys that “might” be worth something one day and magazines from 2004 you “might” get around to reading one day. So many women hang on to things for the “mights”. But imagine that you just might feel fantastic by only keeping what you love and letting go of the rest. In fact, I guarantee you will.
Ladies, the same above applies to your clothes. So here’s a hard truth. If you haven’t gotten back into those size 2 jeans from high school that you “might” wear again, chances are your body has taken a new direction in life.
Just remember, you’re beautiful the way you are – own it and accept it (but that’s another article). And, if you do fit into those jeans again then girl you deserve a new wardrobe so toss them. Another truth is this – people really don’t want our stuff. So that car seat from 1992 we’ve been saving because we “might” have grand kids one day isn’t a good idea. Toss it. It’s not safe anymore.
When if it comes to our stuff, if we aren’t using it odds are they won’t either. That fine china that belonged to our great grandmother that no one likes yet we think we HAVE to keep for our kids? We don’t. If you don’t love it I promise you they won’t either. Donate it or sell it then focus on keeping only what you love.
You wouldn’t stay in a relationship that wasn’t right for you or spend time with friends that make you feel like garbage. So why settle for anything less with your home, the place you reset and recharge.
2. Start small. Please don’t think you have to declutter your entire house at once. It took you years to accumulate stuff so extend yourself a double dose of grace and simply start with a closet. And, if that’s s too overwhelming, try a drawer. I promise once you complete the first space you’ll want to continue. Have you ever been on a diet? Losing that first 5 pounds motivates you to want to keep going. And just like a diet the hardest part of getting organized is just deciding to get started then building momentum. YOU CAN DO IT!
3. Minimize. Does anyone really need 14 skillets, 30 spatulas or 15 serving spoons. Unless you are cooking dinner for the New Orleans Saints (and if you do I definitely want an invite) then just pick your favorite, most used pieces of kitchenware and donate the rest. There is a single mom somewhere, a homeless shelter or halfway house that would be thrilled to have those extras. Same goes for the closet with its multiple pairs of black pants and similar shoes or handbags. Keep what you love and let go of the rest. If you have items you didn’t wear for an entire season odds you probably won’t ever wear it.
4. Have a place for everything. I cannot stress this tip enough. Everything needs a home. Store seldom used appliances in cabinets so countertops are clutter free. Put away things, clear off the dining table, vanity area and nightstand. Use the space available in drawers, cabinets and shelves that’s now available after tossing the unnecessary to neatly store things you truly love.
5. Begin investing in materials. This is my very favorite tip. Begin investing in bins, baskets and other organizational items. I’ve helped many women get their homes organized using what they had on hand so please know there’s no need to go into debt buying everything at once. Perhaps begin with matching hangers. Velvet hangers work best because they keep clothes from slipping onto the floor. Amazon has them in packs of 50 for 20 dollars. Dollar Tree is a great place to buy baskets and bins as is the Target dollar bin. Making your stuff nice to look at goes a long way. Detergent pods in a pretty glass container, bath salts in apothecary jars, the possibilities are endless. Get creative.
6. Technology is your friend. I’m here to erase the mom guilt and tell you that you do not have to keep EVERY picture your child has ever drawn. Pick what you LOVE to keep in a safe place (see the theme here…keep what you love). Take photos of the other drawings and create a book on Shutterfly or collage. This tip is useful with old photos or invitations too. You do not have to keep hard copies of these items. Obviously, some pictures or newspaper articles will be too precious to toss. But for the ones that would otherwise live the rest of their days in a cardboard box, Download the images to your phone or laptop and you can print a copy at any time. For the art and photos that are keepers, create a memories box. Flat storage bins are great for these because they slide under the bed or stack in a closet very well. Label them per child and year.
7. There’s more than one way to do it. You don’t have to put all the fruits and vegetables in fridge bins like the pictures on Pinterest. I readily admit I’m not a fan of the Marie Kondo fold. It just didn’t work for me nor was it something I could maintain. So choose what works best for you. And again, feel free to get creative.
8. Never compare. This is your home. Your haven. Your hearth. Never compare your house to Pinterest boards or the homes of celebrities featured on those TLC shows. It’s not a contest. Remember you’re doing this to create a peaceful hearth that you’re excited to come home to, a space you want to live in.
So, there you are – a few of my tips.
Maybe you’re ready to get started but have no idea where to start. You aren’t alone. I’ve helped so many women who felt the same way and I’d love to help you too! If so, simply email or text me with questions or if you would like more information about the services The Polished Hearth provides.
Let’s get started creating your polished hearth today!
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