Monday, August 3, 2020

Addictive Social Media Habits

My computer had an update not long ago and one of it's new features that I can turn on (or off) is one that tracks how long I have been on the computer. One day it popped up to let me know I was on the computer for over five hours! On some level this was not surprising as I use it for many things, but on another level it was surprising. What was I doing for those five hours? What did I gain? What did I lose? What did I accomplish? What else could I have been doing if I wasn't on the computer? 

Social media consumption can be a tough one for many of us. The apps on our phones are plentiful. And because of the times we are in much of us wants to know exactly what is going on. Things are moving at a rapid pace, so it feels like we need to check in often to keep up. Our brains also learn exactly where the app is and automatically clicks it when it see it. I proved this to myself by moving my Facebook app on my phone to another page two months ago. My brain was thrown off initially because it wasn't there. Slowly, actually rather quickly, my brain learned to look for it elsewhere and it was automatic once again. Sigh. 

"Live like your phone doesn't exist" - A quote from a magazine ad I ripped out and put on a vision board earlier this year.

At the age of 47, I have actually had a life where I did live like my phone didn't exist. The phone was on the wall, and only available to use if I was at home. I didn't have one that I carried around in my pocket all the time. Clearly, I thrived and survived to get to this point! Can I get back to that?

My mom and I have both talked many times about leaving Facebook entirely. She decided to take the month of July off Facebook, and I said I would attempt to do the same. I deleted the app off my phone entirely. I can only check Facebook from my computer, which I tend to be on less. My mother seems to have been 100% successful. (So proud you mom!) I did really well, but probably still spent a few hours on Facebook during the entire month. 

Sounds like success yes? 

I have to be honest. There is still an addiction to know what is happening. I started adding people I had been following on Facebook to my Instagram account. Yep, I picked a new social media app to click! I love Instagram much better. For now I have far fewer people I follow. It's less easy to share, which I think was also an addiction. I was very aware that I wanted to stop being the person that shares everything I see. I still think the information needs to be known, but I also know that it is not my job to inform everyone. 

And another confession, I began to look at Twitter! Oh dear, that one may be worse than Facebook for how rude people are. It is most definitely time to take that app off my phone, as rudeness is not a quality I want to absorb.

The real question is did I really spend less time on social media in July? Overall, I think yes, but there is still major room for improvement. It doesn't count to use one social media app less, while increasing the use of two others, right? 

After I complete writing my post here, I will remove both Instagram and Twitter off my phone for the month of August. I technically intend that the removal will be permanent, but it helps to have a goal when it comes to addictive use. Alcoholics track by the hour and day in the beginning, and many for life. It is not wrong to use baby steps, bite size pieces to measure success. I can still check on my computer, which again I use far less, and the typing in the website seems less addictive than a click of an app. 

That last plan may be short sighted, but again it is about baby steps to creating a new relationship with my phone and social media. I want a life of freedom and joy, not one of addiction to apps and the negative things that can come along with them. I want connection to the world in a more authentic way, such as time with friends, family or even just writing here with you. 

Please feel free to join in this month and find ways to spend less of your valuable time on this beautiful earth clicking on social media! 

Do you have a technology addiction? Have you experimented by removing apps or setting up tricks to minimize your time on them? 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Health Habits Organized

My word for the year is transformation. 

At the beginning of the year, I was trying to pinpoint what that transformation meant for me. It seemed related to my physical body or potentially a work opportunity. Of course, I had no idea that the world would nearly stop! We are now in a global transformation that is still unfolding and likely will be for the coming years. I cannot control that transformation, but I can control my own. We have five months left of 2020, which is significant time to make some progress. 

To jumpstart my transformation, I am participating in a Healthy Habits challenge during the month of August. I have printed out four copies of a Healthy Habits Tracker from Michelle from My Everyday Wife Life on YouTube. The tracker she provided could simply be done on a basic piece of notebook paper, if one didn't have a printer. 

Michelle has created three categories with three lines to specify three habits to work on for each category. There are boxes to check off for each day of the week if that habit was completed for the day. These are the three categories:
  • Healthy Eating
  • Water & Exercise
  • Self Care
I have quite a few healthy habits that are good, but there is always room for improvement.  I could do better with drinking more water. I walk daily, but I could go farther. I could also add strength training. I often meditate, but I could be more consistent. I may consider changing it to twice a day, too. 

Organizing isn't just for the physical things in our homes, but also organizing habits that help create a life we want to be living. I want a physically fit, healthy body so I can live a vibrant life throughout. 

I'm still flushing out what I will do for each category, so will come back to you in a week (or less) to let you know what I am working on and how it is going. I do have a trip in the middle of the month, so that should make some habits interesting! Please join me in creating new health habits during the month of August. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Front Closet...Again

Shall we look in my front closet?

It is one of my hot zones that needs to be continually reviewed.

It has become a dumping ground primarily of boxes...again. 

I am of the belief it is good to keep a few boxes on hand for mailing a gift, or for shipping an item I sell on eBay. I actually do reuse boxes, so it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. 

Yes, I do have a pile of things ready for sale. Most are not currently listed. Some have been listed previously with no takers. This is something I do need to review soon, but not in this session!

The gold bag is to drop at a charity thrift shop. I think they are open and taking donations again. I just need to make the effort to drop off! I also have some electronic items to drop off if those are being accepted once again. 

I made sure to keep a small stash as is my preference. Basically that area on the shelf should be my limit. I can keep an extra box or mailer IF I have an item to sell that needs that size. 

The boxes below all have items to be sold in them. As I mentioned before, I do need to list many of these, and determine if the items are worth selling. I expect this to be a focus in August! Sell or donate and try to have it all out by the end of September. 

The boxes and mailers I decided I didn't need are on the porch for free. If not picked up today, they will go to recycling!

Did anyone do the drawer challenge I mentioned at the beginning of the month? Do you also hoard boxes and mailers for selling? If not, do you make sure to recycling right away? 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Decluttering Successes

I feel like my motivation to declutter has been minimal lately. Upon a little reflection, I realized that I have done several things recently that I can celebrate as decluttering success!

I finally tossed my dead crockpot in the trash. I really was looking for a place to recycle, but didn't find any options. So yes, unfortunately it is now in the landfill, but it is out of my house.

I recycled a lot of plastic grocery sacks. The store we shop for groceries has stopped taking them. I was given the stink eye when I  brought them in sometime in April. I inquired again in May seeing recycling containers out, but those for in store use only. I finally found another grocery store that didn't have such limitations and our grocery sacks were recycled. What a relief! They had really accumulated in four months. Once we are given the green light to use reusable bags again, I will start using them more faithfully again. 

I cleaned out a pantry closet that we use for many various things including printing! The grocery sacks were filling up a third of the top shelf, so that was part of cleaning up this space. We do store our recycling here until we drop it off which is about once a week. 

These are after photos. I didn't know I was going to write about it!

The biggest area I needed to address in that closet were some paper files. I have a couple folders where I put notes and mail that is needed temporarily, usually less than three months. Long term papers, we either scan or put in our paper files. I have learned in recent years to save far less paper, as we tend to save more than we ever need to refer back to. I found prescription receipts that could be shredded, appointment cards and various notes to toss. There were around five items to put upstairs in our longer term filing cabinet.

I also listed two textbooks on eBay. They have not sold yet, but it's definitely hard to sell something if no one knows it is available, right?!  Now I am on the right track. I have several more items to list, but at least I got started. In this process, I think I will find some boxes and mailers that have once again accumulated and need to be culled. Hopefully, I can get that done soon and post about it. 

Have you decluttered anything recently? It all counts!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Clean Your Drawers Challenge

Have you heard of the Clean Your Drawers Challenge on YouTube? It's a small group, but they are inspiring! You can find the playlist here.

The amount of stuff that can be pushed back, crammed and lost in a drawer is amazing! I think this is a great challenge if you find yourself in need of motivation.  I know that has been short for many of us right now. The advantage of just focusing on one drawer at a time is they generally take a short amount of time to declutter.

I will show you one drawer of mine that is need of help and I will time myself.

The before below. Quite a mix of things!

I  took everything out and immediately tossed the round piece of paper. 
I moved the rubber band to another spot along with all the vitamins. 

I swapped the stick blender with the items needed for cleaning our Berkey water system.
I straightened the tea and left the seed packet in this drawer for now. 

Well look at that. Just three minutes! 

Do you have any idea how many drawers are in your home? I just did a mental count for our home and came up with 50. I happen to know several of those are empty, but there would be quite a few that could use some work. 

Focus on this type of container can help you make progress and not get distracted by piles, cupboards and closets. One drawer a day, or a few per week and I can imagine you will find plenty to trash and donate. I also think these small containers, a drawer, can be done in rather short periods of time, likely 15 minutes or less depending on the size and how much you have in them. 

Some of the items you find likely have a home elsewhere in your house. One organizer, Dana K White, of A Snob Comes Clean, suggests you take the item immediately and directly to the place you think you might look for that item. Other organizers have you distribute the items after you have completed your decluttering knowing you might get distracted if you go wandering about your home. I think what you do is up to you, I personally like to distribute items after I am completed with my decluttering. 

Good luck if you decide to take on your own version of the Clean Your Drawers challenge! I'm cheering for you. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Create An Oasis of Calm

Hello Organized Friends!

My writing motivation went away for awhile, but today, I feel like giving you a few ideas to create an oasis of calm inside your home, where I suspect many of you are spending a lot of your time! Stressful and chaotic environments create stress in the body, which has a major impact on our immune system and for many of us our mental health. We all want to be our healthiest right now, right?

The following have been game changers for me in the last couple days:

  • I turned on music! I've listened to piano and Native American flute music for a hour or so at a time. While it's on I feel a bit like I'm at a spa! For me, something without lyrics is best to create calm, but songs with lyrics are a nice change of pace too.
  • I started up our essential oil diffuser with oils specifically called Relax and another called Worry Free. I also have a Germ Fighter one that is very nice as well. 
  • I've shut off my computer and set my cell phone away from me for good portions of the day. 

My normal routine does include walking outside in the mornings. We get Vitamin D this way which is very important for a healthy immune system. I find that nature is grounding and we have been very lucky to have warm weather in my southern location. If your weather doesn't allow a walk, you might consider stepping out on your porch, deck or driveway for five minutes and gaze at the sky. Or if that doesn't appeal, consider opening a window for ten minutes to bring in fresh air.

I'm making the intention to tidy up more frequently. A clear countertop and table are not always possible, but if I take a few minutes a couple times a day, I find this relaxes my mind and helps the spaces in our home seem calmer.

I've done some art! I made a few watercolors which I added some inspiring words to. I also made a vision board (you can find out more about those on YouTube). I've read an inspirational book. We have watched more comedy (stand up and sitcoms) and found out that Mary Poppins Returns is an excellent movie!

Calm is not just about our physical spaces, but how we feel in our minds. What thoughts are you having about the events of the world, new work environment, spending more time with family? If any of those thoughts are negative, can you turn them around? One of the mantras that calms my mind is "everything is always working out for me".  Are you in a state of gratitude for the current health of your family, that you have food, that you have a safe place to be?

I've spent some time on our back porch, enjoying the geckos playing on the fence, the green grass and potted plants. I've sipped my coffee, water and eaten breakfast in this space.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Ten Days of Decluttering: Day 10

It's Day 10 in the Ten Days of Decluttering series!

Today I stepped out into our garage for about 15 minutes and looked in a few bins on the hunt for clutter!

Here's some basic photos of our single car garage, where we rarely park a car despite having room for it!

I focused my efforts primarily on that shelf above the red Christmas storage bins. I also briefly reviewed the other shelves without going into bins. 

I found some things that can go!

Like boxes from phones...which will add to our recycling bin!

Then I looked in these three bins:

I found a can of spray paint and these gloves that can go. I have two other sets I like better. I kept just one set of disposable gloves since the odds of needing them are very low. Not much, but it counts!

I'm also letting a lantern go, a dead crock pot and a small air purifier we no longer need. 

That blue bin above has a few items I previously decluttered. Time to get it all packed up for a charity drop off! There might be a few items I have decluttered in the last ten days that I will attempt to sell on eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

Whew!! Ten Days, Ten Spaces was a success!

I hope you noticed that the time I spent was minimal and for the most part I kept the spaces to areas I could complete in a short time. If you closets are packed full you may need to limit your space to one shelf or half a shelf at a time. All the effort adds up and eventually you will start to notice a difference!

Thanks for joining me! Share anytime your decluttering efforts on our Organized Friends Facebook page.