I met Gina Lazenby very recently, thanks to HomeExchange: After seeing her beautiful home online, I rushed to contact her. Of course, her place was already booked for another exchange; but I discovered that Gina is the writer of The Healthy Home, a book dedicated to leading a healthy lifestyle by "de-stressing" the home. After she sent me a link to her blog titled Woman-At-Large, one entry about the curse of clutter caught my attention: "I've just come back from a 2-month tour of Australia so I have been living out of a suitcase for 8 weeks and have had to be super organized: everything labeled and packed into separate zip lock plastic bags so I can avoid exploding uncontrollably into each space I visit. It's not easy but after a few weeks on the road you realize just how little you actually need..."
For those of us who are pack rats, Gina offers this bit of wisdom: "And even if it's hidden away in wardrobes, closets, drawers and attics, instead of openly assaulting you on surfaces and book cases, it is still having an effect and holding you back." To combat clutter, here are a few of her key tips:
Start small. Don't take on a whole room. Choose a corner of a room and pick a shelf or drawer. When that is done you will want to do more.
It's all YOU. Know that you are connected to everything you own. You bought it or brought it in to your home, your space, so its yours – it's YOU. The question is "Is it the YOU you are now?"
Get help. Invite a friend over as they will be more ruthless than you will be on your own and will keep you on task by hovering over you. Do the same for them too – it's a good skill swap and you can get your revenge as well.
Good questions to ask. Avoid asking, "Will I ever need this?" Because you will probably say yes. Better to ask: "Does this bring me joy? Does it lift my energy? Is this really making a contribution in my life? Is it beautiful, do I love it? Is it serving me right now to have it? If I let it go, will I be creating space for something better and more wonderful to come in? Does it support me being of service in the world? Would someone else get more use or joy from having this?"
(Image: You Can Count on Me's Flickr )