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No Space Like Home
A Decluttering Experience
14th October 2020
If your house is too cluttered and you don’t know how to tackle it, Karen Hayns is the person to work with.
I choose the word ‘with’ carefully as Karen does not come in and ‘tell’ you what to do or just to throw it away, as I thought would be the case in a situation like this. She works collaboratively with you to get a result that leaves you feeling liberated.
Karen helped me do something I was dreading – to clear out our family home of 40 years and get it rent ready.
There were a few tricky factors involved:
The house was abroad
We only had 3 days
There was 4 decades worth of accumulated stuff!
Not only did we achieve this objective, but I found it a surprisingly enjoyable and edifying journey.
Her mix of logic, calmness and empathy pervades. She made the experience high energy and fun whilst retaining interminable patience and understanding.
If I had been doing this, there would have been a frenzied explosion of bin liners, general chaos and everything piled high. But it was not like that at all…
Her approach is methodical, completing one room at a time.
Completing does not simply mean that the room now has less things in it, it means that the room is cleared, vacuumed, polished, beds made, surfaces cleared, ornaments positioned to leave a show home finish. This room is now complete and we need to adhere to her rule that we cannot re-enter and mess it up or use it for storage or sorting.
I was not expecting this sort of order, but it was clever as it immediately gave me feel a sense of accomplishment, motivated me to get the next room complete and propelled us into a rhythm.
This rhythm was perpetuated by our carefully chosen de-clutter playlist which kept our energy levels flowing and the whole experience upbeat.
Karen had an abundance of simple but extremely handy tips which she offered me along the way. They made a massive difference and I also now apply them to everyday life.
And then there was my old soft toy and childhood companion, Mickey the Monkey who was not, despite Karen’s initial thoughts about him, being disposed of.
Instead we adopted him as our mascot, and he was proudly positioned in every room once it was finished ready for the ‘completed’ photoshoot – an essential record of our progress.
Once Mickey was in there, we know another goal had been achieved and it felt uplifting as well as injecting some comedy into the proceedings.
Karen encouraged me to ascertain what my ‘treasures’ were and to put them aside to keep, other items were put into colour coded bin or charity bags and then there was the other stuff – the difficult to decide stuff….
There is a psychology around why some of us want to keep things and this is where Karen really brings her skills and taps into that so that she can understand those motivations.
She worked with me to find a compromise so that I felt comfortable with the end result without feeling like I had lost anything.
As the journey progressed, my mindset changed. Space was created not only in my house but also in my head with a noticeable calm that descended, and a different perspective emerged.
It was a very cathartic experience and I certainly felt so much better for it by the time we had finished, as well as having a rent ready house achieved in just 3 days!
In summary, working with Karen lifted a huge weight from my shoulders.
I found that working collaboratively with her, having a bespoke plan, hitting targets and her ability to keep energy levels high, made the whole experience an absolute pleasure.
Her guidance, advice and insights were invaluable. She took me on a journey that I wasn’t expecting, I discovered that someone helping you to look the issue in the face rather than popping it back in the wardrobe is extremely therapeutic as well as achieving the key objective of a clutter free environment.
20 ways to make moments, memories and magic this Summer
16th May 2019
There’s something a little bit magical about Summertime. For me it’s a warmth thing. Not just a sunshine kind of warmth, it’s an all over feeling about the season and what’s ahead, plus the odd moment when I catch myself drifting down memory lane and of days growing up in Somerset.
Breaking up for the school holidays and knocking for my best friend next door are some of the fondest memories I have. We’d head off on bikes to play tennis or crazy golf, and while away the days in local parks. If we were feeling extra grown-up we’d spend the afternoon in town buying lip gloss or hanging out in our department store's coffee shop nursing a chocolate milkshake seeing who else might turn up - get us! But they were the best times.
One summer we even managed to make friends with some older boys - nothing romantic of course - just secret crushes, awkward flirting and lots of blushing! Then came college, first cars, alternative nights out, and a group of friends I can still cry with laughter with to this day.
Of course time moves on, but the magic’s still there. These days it’s my garden, the odd unplanned weekend away with my husband, seeing those friends and reminiscing and the joy of seeing my boys growing and doing their thing plus all the hardwired worry that comes with parenting. The simplest things make the best memories don’t they?
So, with Summer on your doorstep, I wonder what it holds for you this year? A holiday? A staycation? Or maybe you’re up against it with a few tricky weeks of juggling work and round the clock childcare? Perhaps you’re running on empty and in need of some JOMO (joy of missing out) to get your mojo back.
Whatever it’s looking like, here’s a collection of heart-warming ideas followed by a reflective exercise that I hope give you a Summer that's big on making moments, memories and just a little bit of magic.
Make a new playlist
Visit a new restaurant
Watch the sunrise
Do some gardening
Wake up by the sea
Eat something different for breakfast
Go to a festival or a country fair
Fall in love with an old hobby or passion all over again
Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and plan a picnic
Give yourself an afternoon off
Treat yourself to a new hairdo, why not go for it and change the colour too!
Tell those closest to you how much you love them
Do something daring
Book a stylist and arrange a makeover
Treat yourself to a new candle
Find an offbeat quirky cinema and go watch a cool film
Go to an outdoor concert
Visit a flower show or garden open to the public
Have a wardrobe weed
Paint your toenails a wild colour
I wonder, what kind of response did you have to reading the list? Here are a few options to get you thinking:
1) Did you view it as a random collection of things to do and that was the end of it?
2) Did you think there's actually some really simple ways to do something memorable?
3) Did you secretly hope you’d hit upon your ‘holy grail’ activity to make it a summer to remember, but felt disappointed that nothing took your fancy?
4) Did it make you realise that there’s nothing out of the ordinary and any/all are possible - it’s just a question of making an effort to do them?
5) Did you enjoy reading the list, and go through a mental process of elimination and carefully try to classify them some way, like in order of appeal, ease or difficulty?
So why the self-evaluation? Well, I think the way we take in information and then how we respond to it can give us some important clues about our likes/dislikes and how motivated and committed we are to change, which can be very useful in terms of what we can learn about ourselves.
Indeed, one of the fundamental things that coaching can help you with is the ability to challenge your beliefs. Beliefs are often described as the hidden rules by which we live, and as with all rules, some serve a purpose, indeed define our purpose, and some do not and hold us back.
Once you realise that you’re in the driving seat, the things that you once believed were off limits or 'not me' are now within your grasp, and that can be a game changer.
So go on, seize the moment! Imagine what you might learn about yourself, because change can happen very fast if you let it.
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