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My sister is my best friend in life. She and I have leaned on each other, supported each other and teamed up for some of our best life moments.  Gaby is the logical one when my ideas are all over the place. In so many ways we balance each other out and make a great team.

She’s definitely way more organized and clean than I am.  This post gets into her mind about the how and why of organization.  I’m practicing some of these things too. Thanks Gaby!

A Clean and Decluttered Life
Originally published March 2017

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I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a neat freak. I like cleanliness and order in my life. But, contrary to what others might think, I’m not obsessive about it. And it took me a long time of soul-searching and reflection to (a) figure out why order and tidiness is so important to me (b) be accepting of the balance of having the time to keep things clean and when you just have to let it go and embrace the clutter (c) be okay and accepting of who I am in that sense.

I think the underlying mentality I have is that life can be so crazy and chaotic sometimes that keeping things clean, decluttered and in order gives me some peace of mind and control when I feel like things are a bit bonkers. Cleaning, organizing, decluttering and getting/having things in order truly gives me peace of mind. It relaxes me and lets me breathe a little easier knowing that things are in order.

And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also learned to declutter my life of those things that bring more chaos into my life than calm. I’ve learned to value myself and my time more and more that now I choose to spend it doing the things and with the people that lift me up and bring me joy and are truly nurturing to my life vs those things that are more harmful than good.

Cleanliness to me isn’t just about clean dishes, a vacuumed floor or washed clothes. It’s about the peace of mind it brings me by knowing that because of those things, I’m living a more comfortable life. I’m not stepping over piles of things to get somewhere. I’m not clearing items off a chair to sit down. But that’s me. That’s what I like. Everyone has their way of living and for some, spending time doing other things is more important and that’s okay for them. Our house is not impeccable. We need to clean. There are dirty dishes in the sink. And when we have family over, we encourage you to put up your feet, grab a drink (coasters are optional) and we focus on enjoying our time together. I’ve learned to embrace my inner Monica Gellar proudly, but she has some laid-back Phoebe in her, too.

So here are just a few clean/organizing habits I like to do for myself to declutter my life and make things a little easier:

Make my bed in the morning. Not because Oprah is coming over for tea (although, how awesome would that be?!), but because right off the bat, it makes me feel productive.

Do the dishes after dinner. I know I don’t want to do them in the morning, but it also allows us to wake up to a clean kitchen to start the day. (And believe me, there are plenty of times when those dirty dishes are there in the morning.)

Put my work clothes away when I get home. It makes it feel like the work day is officially over and I can now relax at home. I used to leave my clothes on a chair overnight (shocker), but putting them away as soon as I get home avoids the build-up and gives the work day closure.

Keep my car clean. Now, I don’t take my car to get washed nearly as often as I should, but I do like to empty it out of anything I’ve brought with me for the day. It gives me another fresh start to the day.

Keep my handbag organized. I hate rummaging through my purse to find something. Why not make it easier on myself and keep those things I use often in an easy-to-find place? Case in point, keys and chapsticks. Those little pockets in purses are my BFFs. Knowing exactly where they are when I need them has made my life so much easier.

Declutter my desk at work. Man, oh man, work has been so crazy busy. At any given point in the day, I have piles on piles at my desk. But at the end, I try and put things in order so I can come back to a clean desk ready to tackle the day’s work. Again, it gives me the peace of mind to start my day at the office.

Organized refrigerator and pantry. I love to cook. And I also love to be able to find what I need very quickly. By keeping our fridge and pantry clean and organized, I’m not fighting my way through leftovers and salad dressing just to get to that one ingredient I need. It actually really helps when putting together a grocery list as well. We know right away what we have on hand and what we need.

Clean email. I try to go through my personal email every day and delete any and all unnecessary items. (And yes, put them in folders.). I try to do the same at work. My inbox is a to-do box for me and I like to weed out items I no longer need.

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