Summer Inventory

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You’re probably thinking… ShipShape’s blog on organizing your home or office over the summer. Images of file cabinets fly through your head, and you begin to dread the feeling of being under a mountain of papers/clothes/old records while the air conditioner blows on your back. Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Well, we at ShipShape hear you. But before you jump to any conclusions, the summer inventory we’re talking about this week is a different breed altogether – your mental inventory. So, put down your phone, take a nap, then rejoin us here as we help organize your mind (we’ll get back to that file cabinet eventually, don’t you worry).

1. People first, then paper. When choosing between going for a pleasant evening stroll, or tackling the mail that has piled up on your table, we hope you recognize the obvious choice! Sure the mail is stacked with bills that need your attention, and you’re probably overdue for an oil change (desperate not to lose the coupon this time). But the fireflies are out, the dog is pulling at your leg, and the summer breeze is calling your name. Answer that breeze! Go out – the mail will wait! And really, the oil change coupons come twice a month!

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

2. If you want to be efficient, rest your body AND your brain. You know the scenario all too well – you climb into bed, turn off the lights and within seconds your iPad is lighting up the room as you scroll through emails, Facebook, YouTube clips… you name it. Your body may be at rest, but is your mind? Let the iPad take a snooze and get yourself a good night’s sleep – and the next day, let that device get a much needed rest as you unplug in every sense of the word. Taking a break from your daily routine (especially when the summer weather beckons you outside) will help you see your life more clearly. Does that desk need a once-over? Is your closet in trouble? Perhaps, but as Scarlett O’Hara so famously said: “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Don’t let the tomorrows pile up, but embrace them today, while you can.  You’ll be grateful you did.

Girl knew how to rock a summer hat!

Girl knew how to rock a summer hat!

3. Choose easy. They don’t call it the easy, breezy days of summer for nothing! When beginning a project, always opt for the easiest solution. Sure, taking every item out of your pantry and re-stocking it sounds like a great idea, but hours into the task you’re left wondering if you’ve accomplished anything at all (good luck finding your kitchen table under that mess!). Choose the easy task to tackle first and spread the job out. Are your spices out of control? Reorganize them! Want to put all of your baking supplies together? Dive right in. One easy, small task at a time will amount to the completion of an even greater task than you realized. And will save you just enough time to get that popsicle out of the freezer and put your feet up while Netflix streams on your TV.

Pass the popcorn!

Pass the popcorn!

4. Perfection is never an option. Just like we hope that you don’t hold yourself up to the wildly insane body standards splashed all over our magazine stands (and oy – bikini season is the worst!), we also hope that you don’t hold yourself to the same ideals in your house. Maybe you need some edits here and there (and we’re here to help!), but your house should be a home – cozy, lived in, calming, relaxing.. we could go on. Don’t stress about the pile of newspapers, or the accumulation of dust on the mantle. All in good time those things will be handled and wouldn’t you rather be strolling in the park with butterflies instead of stressing about it? We think we know your answer.

Ah, serenity.

Ah, serenity.

Have some summer secrets for decluttering your mind? Share them with us in the comments, or tweet us @sylviaShipShape (photos are welcome too!)

 

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Decluttering Couples

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Are you and your partner the classic yin and yang? While they do say opposites attract, opposite behavior when it comes to home organization can attract some nasty arguments… with the mess remaining perfectly in tact. Here at ShipShape, we recognize that a decluttered home leads to a healthier relationship – so allow us to put on our relationship organizer hats and dispense some helpful advice for tackling those tough messes in your home.

1. Identify each partner’s strengths and weaknesses. For example: Perhaps one of you is the “keeper,” and the other is the “minimalist.” Figuring out what role you play may be the key to preventing unwanted arguments. If you’re the keeper, you may be the perfect person for family archiving/organizing projects – that way you’ll never lose that adorable picture of your pup or last year’s tax return. If you’re the minimalist, tackle projects that suit your strengths – tedious, but necessary yard work or keeping the fridge from overflowing. Being real with each other and recognizing your role will save you time, money, and Tylenol!

Even clean-freak Monica had a secret messy closet!

Even clean-freak Monica had a secret messy closet!

2. Come to an agreement about doing the project together. Don’t let one person dominate the whole project, that is, unless one half of the couple is totally unwilling to participate. The willing partner should then start with their own space and their own belongings…. eventually inspiring that recalcitrant partner to take care of their own stuff. The key here: No nagging involved.

3. Think dollars and (common) sense. Reframe the problem at hand in financial terms. Believe it or not, there is a cost associated with keeping all that clutter. Start by figuring out the square footage the clutter takes up. For example: if you pay $2,000 per month in rent for 1,000 square feet of living space that comes to $2 per square foot. If you allow clutter to take up one 10 x 15 foot room (150 sq. ft) that equals $300 per month, or $3,600 a year! Now think about that vacation you’ve been meaning to take… the one with the margaritas by the beach? We think we know which one you’d choose.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

4. Speaking of that vacation…. If you meet resistance from your partner, try this game: Pretend you’ll be traveling for 6 months. Set aside what you would need, pack up what is left and put it in an off-site storage facility for 3 months. Notice what it feels like to live with less.. and notice what you miss and what you don’t – you will most likely surprise yourself!

5. Checks and balances. Decluttering may upset the balance of your relationship. Taking the time to check with your partner and consider his/her feelings will considerably ease the process. Be gentle, take time to check in with each other emotionally. Set ground rules:  ask instead of accuse, no name calling, treat sensitive topics with extra TLC. Just like a good ole fashioned decluttering takes time and patience, so does working well with your partner. Don’t set unreasonable deadlines, but don’t let it go too long without fixing… it’s all about balance!

Namaste

Namaste

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