The following is a guest post by Tiffany Lynn Lepp, Christian Organizer Coach. Tiffany coaches women on how to live a less cluttered and more Christ centered life. She does this through her one-on-one and group simplification coaching programs that focus on home, paper, time, and project clutter. Follow her blog at: http://www.tiffanylynnlepp.com/expressions
Earlier this year, Tracy interviewed me on Blog Talk Radio around The Spiritual Side of Clutter. During the interview she said something that resonated with me, “From my perspective there are two components that tie nearly all traditions together – those being first that they all believe in some type of Higher Power and the second is Love.”
The following week we had a Hare Krishnas guest speak at our church. And like Tracy, he said that the one thing that brings all religions together is love.
They are right. We might disagree on a lot of things, but the one common thread is love. What better place to start?
These experiences and Tina Turner’s 1993 hit, What’s Love Got To Do With It, prompted me to think about love and if love is the secret sauce, then how can we use this emotion to better organize and simplify our lives? You’ll see…
LOVE FOR YOURSELF
I used to tell myself how bad I was at cooking. These negative beliefs resulted in frequent over-cooked or under-cooked meals. The truth is I’m not that bad, I just don’t enjoy it that much.
I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life dreading every moment in the kitchen, so I turned to my values – one of which is “wellness.” I know that in order to be “well” I must eat “well” and it starts with the the choices I make in the kitchen.
Now, instead of saying, “I’m not a good cook” I say, “I make simple healthy meals.” Will I ever LOVE cooking? No. But, I’m not a bad person because of it and my ability in the kitchen has nothing to do with who I am. I love myself just as I am.
The other day, I was coaching a client around paperwork. She went on and on about how bad she was at managing her papers. After I asked a few questions, she realized that it wasn’t that she wasn’t good at managing her papers, she just really disliked doing it.
Together we set up a process that would make going through papers less dreadful. The end result was not that she LOVED papers, but that she can now tolerate them. Will my client ever LOVE going through her papers? Probably not. But she is now more forgiving of herself and she doesn’t define who she is by how well organized her papers are.
Bottom line – please don’t stop loving yourself because you are not as organized as you would like to be. You might enjoy organizing as much as I enjoy cooking, but there are probably parts of the process you like better than others. When you are working on an organizing project shower yourself with praise on the areas you are really good at and use your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.
LOVE FOR OTHERS
My husband has had two piles of paperwork sitting on the countertop for the past few months and it has been driving me crazy. Most recently, I’ve been getting resentful towards him because of these piles. Negative thoughts have been creeping into my head, “I keep our home so nice, organized, and clean; the least he can do is go through the papers.”
The more I look at the piles the more upset I become to the point where I am no longer effective or productive in my home. It’s hard to do anything when you are fuming.
But, the truth is that I have clutter too: There is a pile of clothes on the floor. I have all the gift wrap out as I prepare some Birthday presents. I have a box of things next to the door that I need to return. I don’t see MY clutter because it is mine. I have a plan for it and a timeline for which I will complete it. But, my husband also has a plan for the papers. Once the school semester ended he wants to take them to his office to file.
I didn’t know his plan until I asked him about it. Do I still get a little annoyed by his clutter? A little. Then I remind myself that I have clutter too and I need to direct the energy towards my own stuff. Overlooking some else’s clutter is very hard, but is a choice I have to make over and over again to keep my sanity.
Tracy recently published a video on How to Deal With Other People’s Clutter. She offers some great advice as you work through this challenge.
Bottom line – When you see someone else’s clutter in the home, name something you love about that person, smile, and move on to your own.
LOVE FOR STUFF
My mom gave me this end table that has been part of the family for a few generations. I don’t LOVE it. It’s not my style. When I look at it I don’t think of my heritage. I think about how much I don’t like the way it looks, how heavy it is, and how it never seems to fit anywhere. I’ve kept it for years for sentimental reasons, but enough was enough. Just recently, I asked my mom if she wanted it back or if I could sell it. She gave me permission to sell it.
To some this may seem heartless, but I really try to keep things in my life that I LOVE or are useful. For example, I love a specific piece of artwork. It’s not useful, but it brings me peace when I see it. I don’t love my toaster, but it’s useful and I love toast. I don’t keep things because “someone I love gave it to me” or “because I should” or “because I might need it someday.” I keep things because either I love them or they are useful.
Please don’t miss-interpret the word love. Choose to LOVE IT, but don’t be IN LOVE WITH IT to the point where greed and control set in.
Bottom line – choose love. Love your stuff. Be thankful for it. Take care of it. And, share it with others when you are done loving it.