If there is one thing I believe I am, it's consistent in terms of how I operate most days and show up in life. Despite learning as I have gotten older that it is also important to leave room for a little spontaneity and "the unexpected", I believe that consistency is what keeps me stable and productive.
When I get out of my routine for too long?
Yeah, trust me, that is not a good place for me to be.
I understand that there are those that can operate "on the fly" and that may work for them most of the time but I still have to argue there are basic things we really should make part of a daily/weekly/monthly/annual routine if you want to be truly efficient and be your true self.
So as I was starting to formulate my first blog of the New Year...more or less in my head because that is often how I begin the writing process, especially at 3 am when I hope I will fall asleep but often don't...it was actually during a 2000-mile road that started on Christmas Day and ended two days after New Year's. I had made the decision to attend the Fiesta Bowl and see my alma mater play and, sadly, subsequently lose.
For the record, I've never seen Michigan win a bowl game in person and should probably stop going...talk about consistency...ugh!!!
But it was also an opportunity to go to Arches and Canyonlands in Moab as well as see a few people in Flagstaff and Prescott along the way but most importantly, meet up with a childhood friend/fellow college alum for the bowl game festivities in Phoenix.
But I digress...sort of...
My road trip was the result of consistently "showing up" for people in my life whether in person or through phone calls, text messages, and any other form of communication through the years. I would have still gone to Phoenix but I definitely wouldn't have stopped in Flagstaff and Prescott.
So what does any of this have to do with being a professional organizer?
I mean, it should be obvious, right?
Consistency in terms of maintaining and containing external clutter as well as managing day-to-day life is what I do for clients. It is pretty much the definition of being a professional organizer. I know my clients don't necessarily need me telling them any of the following, but I still do yet in a way that I hope is nonjudgemental and encouraging...
Make your bed before leaving your bedroom for the day. If you have been a client or follow any of my social media, you know I talk about this constantly/"consistently"!!! There is scientific evidence to back up the importance of completing this task every day as soon as possible after getting up and even though I have mentioned it thousands of times over the years it still is worth repeating. And if you need the scientific evidence, click HERE to read a great article about this particular topic.
Check your calendar for the day to make sure you are prepared for all appointments and tasks. There really is no excuse for not doing this unless the people in your personal and professional life that may be waiting for you somewhere are ok with you being late all the time or forgetting to meet them altogether. I'm guessing they would understand if an emergency came up but saying "I forgot" with all of the reminder apps out there? I'm going to strongly recommend you find another method to keep track of your commitments. My tried and true method??? Using my bathroom mirror as a "whiteboard". I am "consistently" writing notes/reminders on it with dry-erase markers as an additional way for me to remember anything that might pop into my head while I am brushing my teeth.
Do any dishes before you leave the house. And if you say you don't have time...get up 15 minutes earlier. Yeah, I know, that sucks but it is what it is unless you are ok with coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes which I will argue you really shouldn't be except on a rare occasion when you just couldn't get them done for whatever reason. The first few days may feel like torture but once you do it "consistently" I promise it just happens naturally without any feelings of dread.
Do some form of exercise for at least 10 minutes daily. I spend most of my days on my feet for 6-8 hours at a time when working at a client's home and often that includes going up and down many flights of stairs so I actually feel pretty good about my physical activity level most days. And whenever I can I am on a hiking trail or doing something that involves moving my body, especially dancing to any of the great live music we are so lucky to have at our disposal here on the Colorado Front Range. But there are random days when I do sit at my computer working on projects from home and I MUST set an alarm every 60 minutes to remind myself to get up and move around or my productivity level will drop to practically 0%. Again, scientific evidence abounds about this and I'm sure I am not telling you something you don't already know but this is a blog about being consistent and maintaining a healthy body and mind does require really taking care of it, yes, consistently.
Pick up and put away anything that you may have used throughout the day. Again, pretty obvious to do this and yet most people don't. I get it...you're tired or don't see the benefit if you are just going to use it again tomorrow. If your toothpaste lives on your bathroom counter with the top open you may think you are saving yourself the stress from looking for it in a drawer or cabinet but there is (here are those words again) scientific evidence proving that you are actually causing yourself at least 10 times more stress when your brain is trying to process and take in the visual display of clutter around your home and you do nothing about it.
"Consistency" is really that important people to your mental and physical health. And no, that doesn't mean you should "consistently" have ice cream for dinner and never get your butt out of a chair or away from a computer screen.
Consistency, as my yoga instructor reminded our regular/consistent Sunday morning class last week, is really how you win at life. And the fact that he decided it was his word for 2023 after I had already been thinking about it as mine just proves that I am surrounding myself with people that align with my values and beliefs without it having to involve politics and religion like so many other things we seem to be talking about these days.
So what did I do this past MLK holiday weekend to be consistent with how I try to be a responsible adult and hopefully succeed this year and all of the years to follow?
I spent hours purging, sorting, and transferring the contents of dozens of boxes that I never unpacked when I moved to where I am currently living because trying to find anything over the past 6 months in those boxes has been very difficult. I thought I was only going to live here until the beginning of this year but decided there was no reason to leave so it was time to get more settled.
...getting rid of at least 5 boxes worth of "stuff" I decided I no longer wanted to hold onto should I ever move into my own place again. Seriously, how many crystal bowls do I really need at this point in my life? The answer is none but I did keep 1.
...transferring the remaining stuff in boxes to much more durable bins (labeling to follow as soon as I can get more label tape) for easier access while living here, things there is no room for in the kitchen (primarily lots of baking supplies because #bakingismytherapy😏)
...hanging more artwork as well as displaying photos and knick-knacks to actually make the space feel homier.
...researching credenzas/cabinets to replace the plastic shelving I said was "good enough" for a few months to store some items I keep downstairs (plates, bowls, glasses, liquor, pantry items) for an aesthetically more attractive look...you know, less like a college dorm and more like, dare I say, a "mature" adult's abode.
...and most importantly, feeling like I am able to breathe again!!! Being surrounded by what felt like waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much of my own clutter no matter how organized was, admittedly, stressing me out.
I am not particularly proud of the fact that the storage room was utter chaos since late summer, but I also wanted to be sensitive to my housemate and give her the time she needed to sort through her stuff (which includes everything in the closet, shelving units and other areas not in photos). It is not my place to ever tell anyone...family, friend, housemate and, yes, even clients...when and how they should go through a decluttering process. But I was really happy that my housemate indulged me and let me, more or less, reorganize most of her stuff without much input from her.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is my version of "talking the talk and walking the walk" as well as "practicing what I preach" CONSISTENTLY! I just needed the time to do it. I mean, I am sure I had time in the past 6 months but clearly didn't make it enough of a priority.
Bottom line, I realized that what I needed to do for ME to have a successful year is to make sure I am staying on top of my own "stuff" and not allowing some random timeline to affect my desire to be consistent with my process for feeling less chaos and a lot more calm in my life.
Whatever your word of the day, week, month and/or year may be, own it..CONSISTENTLY!!!
Be well...be safe...and, always, be kind,
Chief of Chaos To Calm