Choose the Life You Want

January 21, 2022

Too often we think we don’t have a choice, or that the things we want are too far out of reach. I have found over the years that if something seems too far out of reach, then you either don’t really want it, you want something else more, or you haven’t decided why you want it so the motivation isn’t there.

I’ve always loved the idea of travel, to explore new places. When I was in high school, the woman who owned a shop I worked in traveled to Egypt – more than once! She was in her 70’s at the time and I thought that was amazing that she could just go wherever and whenever she chose. Visiting Egypt became a dream of mine. Australia was about as far away from my home as you could get, and it was on my dream vacation list as well. Eight years ago, Macchu Picchu was also still on my list. I had already made it to Australia as well as a few other places.

In 2018 I finally decided it was time for that trip to Macchu Picchu. I had saved the money, but had nobody to travel with. I didn’t let that stop me. I signed up with a tour group and went on my own. The next year, Morocco was my destination. Using the same tour company, I went alone again. Remembering my high school employer, I planned on Egypt for 2020, then the pandemic hit and the world all but shut down. I still kept putting money aside knowing that I’d get to travel again eventually.

For all of my trips, I didn’t have a high paying job or someone to pay my way. I decided I wanted to go, found out what it would take to get there, and made it happen. It was all about choices. I chose to put a little money aside each month, whether I had a specific trip planned or not. This money continued to build as I decided my next destination. It took about a year to save for each trip.

Today I earn enough to pay for a trip if I choose, but I still put a little aside every month. I may travel again, or I may splurge on something else. I’ve made choices that allow me to do this, and you can too. One less meal out or coffee at home rather than the coffee shop. Everything in life is about choices. Which do you want more: to explore another country next year or have a double shot latte every day this year? Do you want to buy a new home instead of renting or eat out every day? It’s up to you to make your choices.

Top 5 Areas to Declutter at Home

January 18, 2022

With so many areas of our lives that accumulate ”stuff”, how do you know where to begin decluttering? Here are my top 5 areas to begin decluttering at home.

Spice Cabinet: The kitchen spice cabinet is the number one spot on my list of places that need decluttering the most. Believe it or not, dry spices, oils, and even vinegars have expiration dates. While that 2 pound container of cinnamon from Costco might have seemed like a good idea at the time, unless you’re an avid baker and plan on using it all within 6 months (or a year at most), next time opt for the smaller bottle.

Toiletries: The bathroom cabinets are the second most in need of a thorough cleanout. Old medications, both prescription and over the counter, can be unsafe to keep around. If you are unsure how to dispose of expired or unneeded medications, you can call your local pharmacy, Fire Department, or Police Station. They often have drop off areas for safe disposal of medications. Do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Other items to sort through are old make up, shampoos, and lotions. Make up especially can harbor bacteria so toss the old stuff (you’re never going to wear that silver eye shadow again anyway!)

Clothes Closet: We all do it. We save a favorite clothing item for years because we may fit into it again… someday. Or a t-shirt from an amazing concert that we haven’t worn since. As the song goes, ”Let it go!” This also goes for anything worn out or torn (underwear drawer, we’re talking about you). Sure, you may get invited to a 70’s or 80’s theme party someday and need a white leisure suit, but if you give it to Goodwill, someone else will be able to use it for their costume party and will likely give it back so you can find it again when you need it.

Junk Drawer/Tool Box: For some, this may be two separate areas, but for others that junk drawer may double as your tool box. So, for starters, buy a toolbox and use it. For everything else in that drawer, clean it out. If you’re not sure what a junk drawer is, it’s the one with spare batteries, twist ties, pens that don’t write, and Command Strips.

Utensil Drawer: Area number five that needs clearing out the most is the kitchen utensil drawer(s). Not only does this hold spatulas, serving spoons, and other necessary items, but is often also home to random tools that were bought on a whim and either used once or not at all. If you have not made cannolis yet, you will never use those cannoli forms. Give them away, or better yet, let the kids use them for play dough. And that potato masher, same thing. It’s a great play dough tool and will no longer get stuck and keep you from opening that drawer!

Those are my top five. What other areas in your home do you need to clean out? Make a list and get it done!

I’m Bored!

January 14, 2022

There’s nothing like being faced with the same options day after day, especially if none of them pique your interest. You have hobbies, exercise equipment, television, books… but you’re still bored.

Maybe it’s time to ditch the old for the new. Those woodworking tools just don’t hold your interest anymore. The book club is no longer of interest. Often we hold onto these old ”habits” (yes, that’s what they’ve become, habits) instead of letting them go when they’ve outlived their place in our lives.

In a way, this is a form of decluttering. Setting aside the old interests to make way for new ones. Because they’ve become habits and have grown on us, it’s not always easy to let them go. Just as you grow and change physically, in your career, and in your relationships, your interests change as well. It’s ok to let go of the old ones and explore new ones.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument. Maybe a friend told you about a series of mystery novels that sound amazing. You’ve put off starting them because you “don’t have time”. But your time is filled with things you no longer truly enjoy.

Take a look at your days and weeks. What extra curricular activities fill your time that you no longer enjoy? Even take a look at subscriptions and memberships (tv streaming, magazines, clubs) that you no longer use. Cancel them and stop participating in the boring activities. Not only will this free up time, but also money that you can use toward your new interests. Do it today and start bringing some fresh, new excitement into your life again!

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