As I continue to do a massive decluttering of things, I recently was able to reduce my Keepsakes down to 1 box. This does not include photos which are too down to a single, well organized box.

When I began my decluttering/organizing last summer I had 2 shopping bags and a larger tote box full of birthday cards, yearbooks, and books. I went through each box and bag and looked though every single item that was in them and decided whether or not to keep them. During round 1, I was able to get the tote down to a size where the lid could be put back on correctly rather than teetering on top of my college graduation cap and a large Pre-K graduation diploma. I put the box back in the closet and left it to simmer for a few months. I went back in about a month ago and went for round 2.

 

I am happy to report this is my only box full of keepsakes and each item holds a very personal and positive feeling and memory.

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If you are looking to reduce your keepsakes to a manageable side, here are a few ideas. Also remember, you can do a few “rounds” like I did, but the key is to really think about it. Just because you are getting rid of an item, does not mean you are dishonoring the memory or the person who gave it to you. In fact, it is the opposite! You are making room for more memories and no one can declutter your brain. It’s a lot harder to throw out a box of memories in your brain than it is in your home.

  1. Let Go of Old Birthday, Holidays, etc. Cards : Over the years we have all been given hundreds of cards. I still give and receive them to this day, of course, but to keep every single one is a waste of precious space. My first round I had at least 50 cards going back to high school graduation from 2003.  I took each one out, read them all, and decided if they were worth keeping. I had a ton from my parents and I decided to keep 2 of each. I also kept ones from my step-grandparents. And all of the notes and cards from my husband since we met in 2005. Yes – those fit in this box too!
  2. Do you still know the person who gave you the item : This is a big one. Aside from those who have passed away, holding on to stuff from ex-relationships or friends from elementary school are no-brainer give-a-ways in my opinion. I found random stuff from people I kind of remember, but couldn’t tell you their last names or even where they are today. If that is the case, I say toss it. Odds are you aren’t going to run into them again and if you do I doubt your conversation will include the empty pack of M&Ms you saved when you both had a sleep over for the first time.keepsakebox2_edits
  3. Does it matter if it is one-of-a-kind? Sometimes we hang on to gifts that we didn’t like then and don’t like now. Going off of #2, if you no longer know the person and it has no use in your current life, toss it. There are exceptions of course, but the key here is to get really honest with yourself. You don’t need the half of a tarnished “Be Fri” friendship necklace from 8th grade…even if you know the person now. Also, if it is a one-of-a-kind knick-knack, is it something you’d put on display in your home now?
  4. Does it bring you a positive memory? As I was going through things I found some things that didn’t bring me much of a positive feeling. If you look at the item and your first thought is sadness or pain, get rid of it. Don’t keep it. Another hard thing to get rid of are those memorial cards from those who have passed. These I had a hard time getting rid of. The truth is, keeping it or getting rid of it does not have any direct impact on that person, their memory, or the relationship you had with them. If you can part with it, please do. It may feel icky and disrespectful on some level, but after it is gone, the memory and honor of that person is not.
  5. Is this something you’d want to go through or look at again? This goes for things like yearbooks, letter notebooks (remember those where you passed a notebook back and forth between a friend where you wrote and replied to each others’ letters?), etc. If it is something you take pleasure in looking at one last time and do not feel any real desire to look at it again, it may be time to part with it. Some suggest taking pictures of things, but I think that is another way of holding on to something that, on some honest level, you want to part with. And truly: are you ever going to go through pictures of your old stuff? Probably not.

The Keepsakes are one of the hardest to part with and declutter. By nature, I am not a hugely sentimental person so getting rid of things is easier for me than others. If you are like me, the steps above will be quite easy. if you are the opposite and worry about getting rid of memory items: sort through everything in “rounds” and do it over a period of time. There is no due date for any of this. But do be really honest with yourself as you go through things and make room for new keepsakes rather than hold on to ones that only serve a purpose of dust collecting and space hogging.

relatably.com

I think this is one of the most popular internet searches on Sunday night. I obviously have no point of reference for this statistic, so I’m just going to assume it is true. I can say for myself, I’ve entered it into the search quite a few times.

The responses are your typical cliche go-tos: Take a warm bath filled with your favorite essential oils, light candles and read a funny ir romantic book. Make and eat warm soup or make a cup of hot tea. Give yourself a facial or manicure.

Honestly, those are suggestions most people don’t have the patience to do or the uninterrupted time (queue husbands looking for something in the fridge, dog or child crying outside the bathroom door while spa music swells in the background). The truth is most of the time I search the Sunday Blues Cures, I do not think a single one of them does a damn thing. It’s not realistic. Last night I was tossing and turning thinking, “what can the rest of us do to beat the blues?” Here are some ideas:

 

  1. Write 3 things you have to look forward to this week: Dinner with a friend, a workout class, a favorite meal you plan to make, walking your dog in a park, playing with your son or daughter and give them a new toy or game. It could even be as simple as a new episode of your favorite show or something your ordered is set to arrive.
  2. Nothing on your list? Plan something to look forward to: Maybe going to bed an hour earlier than usual or start a new book.
  3. Engage in some alone time with your guilty pleasure: I have a weird fascination with you tube videos on decluttering and cleaning routines. I have no idea why, but no shame! Think of that one thing you love that could be weird to others and take the time to do it — and guilt free.

 

For me, it is about not allowing WORK to be the ONLY focus for the week. We do have other hours in our work days so make the most of it!

 

Yes, my friends, I am 22 days off You Tube. I thought it was going to be hard and I’d be bored, but honestly… I’m feeling pretty damn good.

The first week, though, was weird. The first full week I had no “desires.” After that first week, that little voice started to chime in. “Just watch one little video… it won’t hurt anything!”, “Instead of 30 days, let’s do a week.  A week is enough.”, “But I’m booorrreeddd!” I say about 2 of these 22 days I ALMOST gave in. But I stayed strong and willing and said, “No. I committed to 30 days and I am doing a full 30 days.” I am not doing this alone. I downloaded this cool app called AppDetox which allows you to set up a period of time to block opening an app or limiting the number of launches. I added the app to both my phone and tablet and blocked You Tube. Voila!

The only time I’ve used You Tube is to pull up my workout videos.I follow Tracy Anderson pretty religiously, but sometimes a girl just wants to grab heavier dumbbells and do some basic squats and dumbbell curls.

Why am I doing this detox? Well, there’s a lot of noise in the world and even louder noise in the internet world. From the moment we get in our cars until we turn off the lights for bed, we are slammed with ads, opinions, selfies, photoshopped images, instructions, and rules. For me, I was getting the usual daily dose but compounded by the opinions and rules of YouTubers. It’s not their faults either! I adore the few people I follow (all 8 of them) and I get a lot of value out of what they share. It’s just how my brain interprets their content that caused reason for a pause.

I needed to recalibrate my internal filter and hear my own voice and opinion again.

A few days into my “fast” I stopped doing a lot of the things I unconsciously picked up from bloggers and vloggers.

I stopped tracking certain things that frankly I do not need to be tracking or obsessing over. I won’t go into detail, but tracking something for the sake of tracking it based on someone else’s life or goals without establishing goals yourself is well… pointless and, quite frankly, stressful. For example, I love BlondeonaBudget’s blog. She is fantastic, but my finances are completely different from hers but I found myself trying to follow her example to the letter rather than pulling some great ideas and applying to the things I already do and know. I spent the first part of 2016 tracking every single penny, putting myself on a shopping ban and for what?

I don’t know? I don’t have any debt to pay off and solid in my savings because I already know how to manage my cash flow and I have for years. It was unnecessary. Sure, I loved creating my charts but it became yet another way for me to praise or punish myself. So, I stopped.

I stopped tracking a lot of things that I don’t need to track.

When I started the fast, I was not sure exactly what would come of it. I just wanted to stop wasting so much time and get back to ME. But when the 30 days is up, I doubt I’ll dive back in and chain watch every single video of my precious 8 (one of whom is my husband but I see those “live.”). Another 1 is a yoga instructor. So of the 8, there are 6 that fall within my no-watch category. Those 6 are like friends. But no matter how long I go without them, they’ll always be there for my viewing pleasure.

 

 

Whatever you believe, something is speaking to you.

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There are moments when we hear a voice in our minds or see something and interpret it in a way in which you had no rational idea for why you interpreted it that way.  The key is to pay attention.

I’ve been that person to disregard what I hear, what I see if it doesn’t immediately resonate with my current understanding…and I’m sure I’m not the only one! As we grow as humans and try to figure what all “this” is about, being open to listening to new thoughts and ideas is imperative.

Think of the first day at your current job. When you walked in, you knew you had to go in with an open mind and open ears. You were entering a place where people are already in motion, walking around throwing out acronyms and names of people like a foreign language you have yet to understand. You have two choices: You can plug your ears and walk out, or you can remain open and to soak up all the knowledge everyone is willing to offer. The first few months of the new job is all about listening and receiving.

So whatever it is, right now, that is speaking to you. Whatever voice, symbol, person, or thought-process that keeps revealing itself, just listen. You don’t have to understand why or who or even how. All that matters is that you unplug your ears, open your heart and mind and remain open to whatever it is “out there” that is trying to get your attention.

 

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Photo credit: pcworld.com

Recently I watched a video by Canna of SugarMamma.tv where she emphasized money as energy and financial transactions as an exchange of energy. It got me to rethink purchases and view spending as more than handing over a physical piece of plastic or paper. When we hand over our hard-earned cash for something we don’t feel good about we lose precious energy. I’ve heard this concept before but never fully understood it until a recent purchase at Ulta.

In the ever-evolving world of cosmetics, Laura Mericer reformulated their Silk Creme foundation, much to the chagrin of dedicated purchasers — including myself. After three bottles over 2 years of this liquid gold I was on the search for something new. I researched online, took some advice from my favorite beauty YouTuber and friend, Lisa, but I couldn’t decide between 3 finalists. I wrote each on a piece of paper, tossed them in a cup and let the foundation gods decide: BECCA it was.

Off I go to Ulta where I was promptly told the foundation I was looking at was way too much coverage for my skin. I was directed to take a seat where the beautiful girl pulled out a primer and CC Cream from It Cosmetics. She removed my make-up and redid my face with the new stuff. One hundred nine dollars later I was out the door sans pep in my step.

You see, I’m not a makeup girl. I used to be, but not anymore. I don’t look right with heavy eye shadows and liners and blush so my daily makeup is down to the bare basics: Foundation, concealer, eye brow powder, an eye lash curler, bronzer, and setting powder. So why I felt the need to add a primer wasn’t because I needed it, it was because I was “sold” it. I went to Ulta with the intention of buying a foundation and nothing else; the foundation purchase was an equal energy exchange.

To equate to a cell phone batter, my energy was full going in, but the battery percentage dropped from a 97% to about 45%. And it continued to go down over the next few days. That primer purchase ($50.88) slowly chipped away at my psyche. The night of the purchase I woke up in the middle of the night in an unnecessary panic and decided I needed to return the primer. Not because I did not have the money, but I felt like something wasn’t quite right.

I shook the feeling and kept on. I used the primer like the beautiful sales girl told me to, but every time I pumped the product onto my finger tips and put it on my face I felt nothing but disdain and regret. Yesterday, after five full days of this I decided once and for all that primer was going back.

I walked into Ulta, product and receipt in hand and asked the beautiful cashier to please accept the return. And with that $50.88 returned to my bank account and I walked out with a pep in my step and my battery shot back up to 97%.

The moral of the story is our money is earned through our time away from home and our mental, physical and spiritual energy. Some of that money has to go toward other energy suckers that are quite necessary: rent or mortgage, debt on credit cards, student loans, car and insurance payments, gas, etc. But the rest is ours! That money energy is ours to use as we wish! What a luxury! Think of it this way: Would you spend your physical energy on a workout you hate? For example, I don’t run. I’m not a runner, so I would rather use my physical energy on yoga or pilates instead of running. That is how we should view our money and when we spend it.

Just like a cell phone battery, we are recharged daily. However, we as humans are blessed with various ways of being charged: through sleep, food, laughter, love, and payday! How we use our energy reserves it up to the individual. To keep with the theme of this post, would we want use that precious energy reserved just for us and waste it on face primers that are over priced and not necessary?