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If you have never been to the Saltscapes East Coast Expo, you might want to put it in your calendar for April 2019.  I spent a good portion of the April 22ndweekend there at the Nova Scotia Interior Decorators booth.  This is my third time participating with my Interior Decorating peeps, and I love it.  We learn so much from each other and we answer all kinds of questions from people from how to choose paint colors to placing furniture in a room.

The crowds are big and parking is a challenge, but it’s worth it.  Food is center stage at this event.  They have a “culinary stage” featuring a chowder cook-off this year. There are food samples and wine, beer and cider tastings.  There is a huge travel section featuring a lot of great ideas for vacationing right here in the Maritimes. There are vendors selling unique jewelry and clothing, and services to help you renovate your home. You could even learn about adopting a greyhound.

I thought I would share with you some of the things I most enjoyed this year and some businesses that might be of interest to you if you’re looking to spruce up your home. I want to thank Hotchkiss Home Furnishings for providing some beautiful stools for our booth. They have expanded their business (originally based in Fredericton) with a new store in Burnside, which opened a few months ago. They have an excellent selection of affordable and more high-end furniture and appliances.

We met folks from Ultimate Bathroom Renovations and Bath Fitter. Bath Fitter can go right over your tub and shower with a new acrylic system. Or you can choose to have your tub and shower replaced by the guys from Ultimate and use an acrylic product rather than tile.  These products have come a long way and while they still don’t have the beautiful look of real tile, they certainly are much more affordable and easier to clean.

Did you know that Home Hardware has a Home Furniture division? I certainly didn’t. The closest location to Halifax is in Windsor. They have a selection of furniture brands, mattresses, appliances and electronics.  A good excuse to take a day trip to Windsor.

We were particularly inspired by Randy Mugford with his wonderful creations from concrete and wood. And then there was Redneck Craft Creations  with amazing pieces made from recycled metal by Al Hattie.  And the unique garden furniture and décor items imported by Zen Garden Imports. They have everything from stone sinks and tables to sculptures and planters, and many of the pieces are one of a kind.

How can you go wrong with eating, drinking, vacationing, some new jewelry or clothing, and decorating or renovating your home?  All good fun! Please keep in mind organizing rule #1, “for every new thing that comes into your home, 1 old thing should leave”.

I believe that all of the physical objects in our lives have an energy, either positive or negative. Therefore, the energy of the objects in your surroundings affects how you feel and how you live your life.  As you release objects with negative energy, the energy in your space shifts and you are able to change your life.   Feng Shui experts believe that clutter causes energy to stagnate and may explain why many of you feel ‘stuck’.

Let’s take a look at the concept of Clutter + Stuck.  I have discovered through my clients, that even as we begin to shift around the ‘stuff’ in someone’s space, the energy begins to change.  It’s almost as if at first you stir things up and it feels worse instead of better. This certainly does manifest in a physical way because any space you are organizing gets messier before it gets organized

Depending on what type of ‘stuff’ you are beginning to let go of, this process can have many positive effects in your life.  For example, as you begin to let go of all those clothes, shoes, and purses, you begin to feel lighter. You may begin to think about what has happened in your life that caused you to buy so much?  You may come to understand that the ‘high’ you get from a new piece of clothing is very short lived, and all of that ‘stuff’ didn’t really fill the gap you have in your life.

Maybe you have started to let go of old photos – photos of family, friends, ex-spouses, old friends, and so on.  This one could be huge for some of you as you may feel that you are letting go of the people in the photos.  The criteria I usually share with my clients is, if it makes you happy, keep it, if it makes you feel sad or angry, or if it is connected to a past life that you are trying to let go of, it has to go.

Maybe piles of paper, newsletters and magazine tear outs are your nemesis?  Perhaps if you can start to shred and recycle those mounds of paper you will start to feel more in control.  As you start to get this part of your life in order, you will find that other parts of your life will start to come together as well.  This naturally happens because once the physical paper clutter is gone; the mental clutter goes with it. Those piles that acted as constant reminders of all the things you ‘should do’ or haven’t done are released along with the guilt.

As you start to feel lighter, free of your past, and more in control, I hope that you will feel a new sense of optimism. I have had clients start new careers, move to a new house, find new relationships, and so much more as a result of the energy shift that takes place in their life by letting go of all that ‘stuff’.

Decluttering is the key to positive change.  What can you let go of?

Yeh, yeh, I know you know that getting enough exercise and enough sleep are good for you. Why on earth do I need to bring it up again? Well, what if you’ve been struggling with getting things done, checking things off your list, moving projects forward at home and at work, and generally being productive? What if the latest app, newest smartphone or fastest piece of technology are not the answer? What if I were to suggest that exercise and sleep are the answer to all your problems?

Like anything you want to start and maintain, organizing included, you have to find the right motivation. Maybe instead of telling yourself you need to exercise so you can lose a few pounds, or so that you can improve your overall health, getting more done could be the motivation you need.

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, plays a role in our ability to think and focus and to be creative. If you get a moderate amount of exercise you can increase the dopamine in your brain. Moving your body can actually change the way you think. If you include motion while you are learning, it even makes memory and recall easier.

So get up from your desk regularly (at least every 60 to 90 minutes) and take a good brisk walk around your office building, your house or outside. Run up and down a flight of stairs a couple of times. You don’t have to make this complicated. Don’t worry about starting a strict exercise program or buying a gym membership, just MOVE!

Working longer hours and sacrificing sleep does not help you get more done. I know it feels like it does. But the longer you work and the more sleep deprived you are, the longer it takes you to complete a task because you work much more s…l…o…w….l….y

Getting the required 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night takes work. You will need to keep track of what you have to get done in a good organizing system so you can come back to it later. You will also need to plan your schedule so you have time for sleep. If you get the right amount of sleep, you will have more energy right to the end of your workday. You will also react more quickly and be more able to focus your attention on the task at hand.

And, there is nothing like a good night’s sleep to help you solve problems. If you think about an issue you are having at work or with a family member or friend, put that front and centre right before you go to sleep, chances are you will wake up with the answer in the morning.

If you are struggling to write a report, or a blog post, or a piece for your next newsletter, look at a few ideas the night before and I guarantee you will be able to get up and write that piece the next morning. This technique works for me every, single time.

Take care of your brain by getting some exercise and the right amount of sleep. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Have you had an experience where this has worked for you?

I’ve helped a number of my long-term clients move into their first homes, their dream homes, and their down-sized homes, some taking a number of months to get organized, some a matter of weeks.  Some of us move many times and some of us only a few, but the process is always full of anxiety. Continue Reading »