The Beauty of Abundance

(Image: The Debonair Dame via Pinterest)

(Image: The Debonair Dame via Pinterest)

 

Last week I was given the news that I am being made redundant from my corporate job that I have been working in for the past 10 years, in the banking and finance sector.

Oh no, you’re thinking.” That’s terrible, to be out of a job”. “It is so difficult these days to find employment, especially when the economy isn’t so strong”. “How will she help support her family?”” How will she pay her bills?” ” I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes…”

I was first made aware about the possibility of being unemployed about 6 weeks ago and to tell you the truth, I was shit scared. How would I pay the bills? Put my kids through the school of our choice? Meet our weekly financial commitments? It was a stressful time for me and my family, with my kids seeing a side to their mother that they had not seen before.

First came shock, then denial, then anger. How dare they try to get rid of me. Don’t they realise I have 10 years of skills and experience? I know all the policies and regulations, the products, how to provide the best information for my customer.

During the 6 weeks from announcement of the department restructure to the announcement of my redundancy, I began doing some serious soul searching. I knew that in order to keep some sort of sanity intact and to get through the emotional rollercoaster of employment instability, I had to rely on something other than my mind which tended to wander off into “what if” territory…

I’d like to share with you 3 lessons I learned during my soul searching, and a lot of it relates back to money, or our fear of a lack of money.

1. We can learn to separate fact from “what ifs”. Fact: I will be unemployed in a couple of months. Yes, this will occur, but no I will not be living in poverty as a result. Yes, we may need to rework a few things in our family budget but no we will not be without. Yes, I will be without a job but no, my skills, knowledge and expertise will not be disappearing.

Likewise, when it comes to time, or our feelings of a lack of time, by breaking down the situation into what is actual fact and what is just a “what if” scenario that messes with our minds, helps to put a clearer perspective on a situation. Yes, you have a deadline to meet but no, time is not going to be shortened for you. Yes, there are 24 hours in a day and yes you need to get that job done and yes you do have time.

2. Abundance attracts abundance, while lack attracts more lack. This all begins with the thoughts you carry with you every day, which then translates into your feelings and actions. By focusing more on the abundance in your life rather than the lack, your feelings, attitudes and actions change and with that, you attract more abundance into your life. This includes thinking and feeling that you have all the time that you need to accomplish what you want to accomplish. By thinking in terms of a lack of time, you will always find yourself lacking time and being caught up in your busyness.

If I was to focus on thoughts of not having enough money, not being able to earn more money, not being able to find a job, not being able to get out of a feeling of negativity and despair then guess what- I will continue to attract lack into my life. This does not mean that if I start saying to myself everyday that I have a million dollars that a million dollars will eventually appear in my bank account (although it would be lovely!), but if I focus on the fact that at any given moment I have everything that I need in my life, I will feel abundance and therefore will continue to attract abundance. My life is abundant with love from my family, love within myself, happiness, a sense of gratitude, time, skills and knowledge that I can share with others, good health.

3. By trusting that the best outcome for everybody always occurs, I can have trust in the present and future, that everything will be okay regardless of whether the outcome I want eventuates or not. Sometimes we are fixated on what we think we want and need, yet a situation may pan out quite differently and it isn’t until much later on that we realise that what eventuated was indeed exactly the best thing for us.

How we react to life changing events can influence the next direction our lives take, however by becoming more mindful of the reality of a situation and accepting the thoughts and feelings that we initially experience and then changing our thought system to one that is more trusting of life, we will notice a shift in mindset. We will  begin to experience life from a different perspective, one that allows us to accept whatever happens to us and trust that it was the best thing to happen in that point in time, even if we don’t see it until weeks, months or years later on.

I wait for the next stage of my life to unfold, and accept that my job redundancy is the best thing that will happen to me in a long time. Although I am not sure exactly what will come next in my career and life, I trust that whatever lessons I need to learn and whatever door I need to open will appear at the right moment.

And that’s the beauty, and mystery, of life.

Nat xx

 

Spring Clean To A Less Busy Life Part 3- The Laundry

An organised linen closet. Image: Unbusy Me

An organised linen closet. Image: Unbusy Me

I love a clean laundry.

I think there’s something motivational about having a clean laundry that inspires you to stay on top of your washing, however it can be a bit difficult keeping the linen closet in check. Think overflowing piles of sheets, cleaning products and other bits and pieces that somehow make it in there by accident.

Today I challenge you to not only get through your pile of dirty laundry, but to sort through your linen closet and PURGE those items that you really do not need. The purpose of this spring clean challenge is to not only tidy and reorganise items but to get rid of them, so that you can minimise the time you spend tidying and reorganising.

Rather than approach the laundry in a similar manner to the master bedroom and kitchen in previous weeks, I will be sharing tips on how you can ensure your laundry remains uncluttered and unbusy.

Here are 5 tips to unbusy your laundry:

1. Write an inventory list of the number of sheet sets you would require for each bed in the house, keeping in mind things like the change in seasons, possible spares in case of an accident, or sheets for when guests stay over.

2. Go through the linen in your closet, and as you pull everything out, place it into organised piles: one for flat sheets, one for fitted sheets, one for doona/duvet covers, one for pillowcases. Also have a separate pile for bath towels and any other linen.

3. Go through each pile and write down how many of each item you have eg: 15 fitted sheets, 22 pillow cases etc… Then compare this list with your inventory list. The difference between the two lists is the number of items to remove.

4. Go through each pile and remove the number of items no longer required. Place these items in a donation bag for charity.

5. It’s time to put everything back into the closet. Fold all the sheets and towels in a neat manner, and make sure that when putting items back in the closet you keep like items together, and keep commonly used items such as bath towels in an easy to reach part of the closet (I prefer to use the shelf that is at eye level).

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Why Retail Therapy Is Making You More Busy

Image:teenvogue.com

Image:teenvogue.com

 

It seems to be the thing to do if you are feeling down or going through some tough times: a bout of shopping to cure the blues, also known as “retail therapy”, a term which was first used back in 1986 in this Chicago Tribune newspaper article.

But are we actually curing anything by spending our time purchasing items, whether we think we need them or not? And is retail therapy actually contributing to our busyness?

Think about the last time you went shopping just for the sake of it, perhaps to cheer yourself up or to cure boredom, and think about how you felt after the shopping experience. Maybe you regretted your purchase after coming home and really thinking about why you bought the item that you did, or you came home only to feel the same emotions you felt before you went on your shopping trip. Reality returned with a vengeance- and perhaps with additional shopping baggage!

Since becoming unbusy, I rarely venture to our local shopping mall unless I really need to purchase something eg: a birthday gift or something the kids need at school. But when I do go, I notice how retailers try to lure us into spending more as a way of making us feel better about ourselves and our lives. Sure, this isn’t something new, but what I now also think about is how retailers contribute to our busyness.

From the moment we set foot in a shopping mall, we are closed off from the outside world and our minds begin to wander through the maze of retailers and consumers looking for the next purchase “hit” to make us feel good. We may have only gone in to buy one item, but once we are in there we realise that hey, we need to buy a gift for someone’s birthday which is in 2 months time, or wouldn’t this item be great as a kids’ Christmas gift and don’t forget its Aunty Jan’s birthday in 6 months time and she would really want that sweater. And before we know it, that quick shopping trip has turned into an all-day affair complete with lunch in the food court and afternoon tea at a cafe.

But our consumerism has contributed to a more busy life. When we consume, we are bringing more stuff into our lives, stuff that we need to take care of. More stuff means more housework, more storage, more insurance, more maintenance. That dress you bought because it looked good on you and you deserved it, now has to be washed, ironed and put away along with the myriad of other clothing items in your wardrobe, many of which you no longer wear.

Often we come home from a retail therapy excursion feeling even worse than we did before we went on our shopping spree after we realise we have purchased an item without really thinking about it- maybe we have now realised we really don’t need it, or it doesn’t look as nice as it did in the store when the assistant talked it up. Or we receive our credit card statement in the mail weeks later and are faced with a financial burden that didn’t need to be there which means working some overtime to pay the bills and keep on top of everything.

But the good news is that we can jump off the retail treadmill and not fall flat on our faces, and reclaim some of the time lost from consuming en masse.

Here are 3 ways to cure the need for retail therapy:

1. As with most things we want to change, it all begins with an awareness of what we are presently doing and why we are doing it. Think about some of the reasons you resort to shopping to make you feel better- is it easier than dealing with your emotions? Is it something you have always done with your girlfriends? And think about the way you feel after you’ve been on a shopping trip: Guilty? Depressed? Confused? Stressed? More Busy?

2. The next time you feel the need to go shopping to try to cheer you up, think of 5 other ways that you can change your emotional state. It might be as simple as going for a 20 minute walk around your area, or even calling a friend for a quick chat or catching up over coffee or tea. I like to watch an inspirational video on youtube (such as a Ted talk) or spend some time writing, or if my kids are home I take them to a park or beach.

3. Thank yourself. Once you get over your urge to go shopping, be thankful that you had the strength to overcome the need to resort to maxing your credit card with unnecessary purchases. Write a short list of the ways that you have made yourself less busy by not going shopping: you didn’t waste time shopping, you were able to spend valuable time with a friend instead, you didn’t bring more stuff home to manage, you didn’t have to deal with feelings of guilt, regret or stress like you normally would after shopping.

Here’s a “thank you Nat” list I used to think in my head when I was first trying to become less busy and not waste time shopping:

-Thanks to not shopping, I was able to spend quality time with my daughter doing something fun like playing at the park or reading books at the library.

-Thanks to not shopping, I had less stuff accumulated in my home which reduced the time I spent on housework.

-Thanks to not shopping, I had more money in my bank account to put towards other worthwhile activities such as family holidays and outings.

-Thanks to not shopping, I was able to become less materialistic and instead focus more on my emotional and mental wellbeing.

Have you resorted to retail therapy and what are some of the ways you are trying to overcome the urge to splurge at the shops? Let me know below, and don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss a post and also have my monthly newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Change Begins With YOU

Image: cntraveler.com

Image: cntraveler.com

 

 

One of my daughters has a habit of sucking her thumb, mainly at night before going to sleep. Her thumb sucking has caused movement in her teeth and while she still has all her baby teeth, we are concerned that once her adult teeth come through her thumb sucking may cause permanent damage. And so we have been encouraging her to stop.

Her dentist recommended joining a $500 positive reinforcement program to help my daughter stop sucking her thumb, and while it sounded like a great idea, the thought of having $500 sucked out of my wallet was not too appealing. However, the dentist asked my daughter a very important question: “Do you want to stop sucking your thumb? Because we can try helping you in many different ways, but if you don’t want to stop, then nothing will help you”.

Up until this point, I had never thought to ask my daughter this question. I assumed that as she was still sucking her thumb, that meant she still wanted to. However, her answer was “No”.

She didn’t want to suck her thumb at night anymore, but she did not know how to stop.

Last week she was playing outside on her scooter when she fell off and grazed her thumb, and it was the thumb that she sucks on at night. We had to put a bandage on her thumb to stop the bleeding.

That night, she couldn’t suck her thumb because of the bandage. For the first time in her life, she did not suck her thumb at night.

So we tried again the following night. The bandage again prevented her from sucking her thumb.

She was so happy.

For the past 10 days, we have placed a bandage on her thumb at night and this has stopped her from sucking it. Every morning she tells me with excitement, “Mum I didn’t suck my thumb last night!”

There was no doubt that she would stop sucking her thumb, because she WANTED to stop. It was just a matter of finding the best way to help her do this.

The same can be said for becoming unbusy.

I can give you all the tools, the tips, the advice but you have to want to be unbusy. You need to have the desire to stop being busy, otherwise your reality will not change.

Change begins with the willingness to change. The rest will come, and change will happen, but we have to give ourselves permission to change.

Sometimes it is as simple as making a statement to the world about what you want to change. I want to stop sucking my thumb. I want to have more money in my life. I want to find more love in my life. I want to be less busy.

A willingness to change opens up our minds to the possibilities of change. Once we have verbalised the desire to change something, life provides us with the opportunities to make the change happen and reveals endless possibilities and experiences.

My daughter falling off her scooter and hurting her thumb provided us with the opportunity to change her thumb sucking habit.

My change in work circumstances has opened up my mind to the possibilities of other career options and aspirations that I would not have thought about otherwise.

Sometimes the opportunity for change has been knocking on our doors for a very long time, but we have not been open to it. We have not verbalised our desire for change, or we have chosen not to see the lessons that are being taught to us because we have become so busy and caught up in our everyday lives, maybe out of fear?

Do you want to be unbusy? Do you want to find more time in your life? Do you desire more freedom, more life, more happiness? Only you can answer these questions, but answer them out loud.

Tell the world what you desire.

Yell out to the world what you want to change, for when you do, the biggest step has already been taken and the world will guide you down the remaining path.

Change begins with you.

 

Spring Clean To A Less Busy Life Part 2- The Kitchen

Image: marthastewart.com

Image: marthastewart.com

 

In part 2 of my series “Spring Clean To A Less Busy Life”, we look at one of the busiest areas of clutter: the kitchen.

The kitchen is the busiest area of our home and is where my family gathers to enjoy meals together, and is the room I spend the most amount of time in. Why make myself busier in the kitchen than I need to be?

In today’s declutter session, I’d like to focus on the kitchen EXCLUDING the pantry and fridge (don’t worry, we will come back to these areas in few weeks).

Let’s go over the basics again in preparing for our declutter session, similar to the tools in Part 1:

THE TOOLS:

-A packet of heavy-duty garbage bags or an empty box (for heavy items)

-A cleaning cloth/rag to wipe down dust

-A stop watch/clock/mobile phone to time your session

Now that you have assembled these tools, it’s time to begin!

THE RULES:

-Try to time each declutter session for 45 minutes only- spend 30 minutes cleaning, and the final 15 minutes packing up and putting things away. Don’t worry if you have not finished,  you can continue your session another day.

-Focus on sorting everything into 4 piles: what to keep, what to donate, what to throw out and what to recycle.

Set your alarm for 30 minutes, and GO!

KITCHEN TIPS:

Don’t begin your declutter session until you have washed and put away any dirty dishes. Why? Firstly, you will need the bench space when pulling things out of cupboards and drawers. Secondly, some of your dirty dishes will be items that you will end up donating or throwing out. Thirdly, it is the quickest and easiest way to make your kitchen look a lot tidier.

So either wash your dirty dishes by hand like I do, or place in the dishwasher and switch on- by the time the cycle is completed, your decluttering session will be well and truly finished.

The focus of decluttering a kitchen is to ensure that the items that you keep are those that you use on a regular basis, and that you don’t have two, three or four everything! The aim is to ensure you have enough items for the number of people living in the house plus a few extra for guests, without going overboard.

Do NOT worry about kitchen appliances during this session.

Begin with the easier items- I like to focus on my cutlery and glasses/mugs. The aim is to ensure you only have enough items in your kitchen for your family.

Drinking glasses, mugs and coffee cups: How many people in your household regularly use glasses, mugs or coffee cups? Count one item per person, and keep a small number as spares (I keep 4 as spares). Spares should be placed somewhere not as easy to reach for, such as a buffet or cabinet). Anything that is chipped is to be placed in the “throw out” pile

Cutlery: 1 spoon, 1 knife and 1 fork per person, with a few spares (I keep 3 per item as spares). Extra cutlery beyond this amount is placed in our buffet to use for dinner parties. If you no longer have dinner parties, or think your collection is too extensive, place the extras in your “donate” pile

Plates: Follow the same procedure as per mugs/coffee cups and cutlery. Keep enough plates for the family, with 3 spares, and the remaining plates in a buffet or cabinet. Be realistic: when was the last time you had a dinner party with 50 people? Can you donate your extras? Go on, do it!

Utensils: The drawer with all the crazy utensils and gadgets is probably overflowing with items that you never use, or don’t even know how to use! Be ruthless: how many wooden spoons would you use at the same time when cooking a meal? Anything extra should be thrown out. If its old, get rid of it! Imagine the bacteria and germs that have stayed on your old wooden spoon, especially if it has cracks or gaps. You only need 1 tin opener. Those weird Tupperware gadgets that were freebies that you can’t even remember how to use: donate pile.

Saucepans and pots: Realistically, how many pots and saucepans do you use at the same time for a meal? You do not need 10 saucepans. In our house, we have a stock pot, 2 medium sized saucepans and 2 small saucepans. We have invested in excellent quality stainless steel pots that we have had for 8 years. I am not a fan of non-stick due to health concerns arising from the toxins found in the non-stick materials, and I found that these types of pots and pans did not last long. Any extra pots and pans can be placed in your donate pile. Any non-stick items that are scratched or damaged should be disposed of.

Fry pans: We never use more than 2 fry pans at a time, but we mostly use just one stainless steel pan. Anything damaged, particularly if it is non-stick, should be disposed of.

Baking and roasting dishes: Again, be realistic about the number of baking dishes you use. We only use 2 at the same time at the most, but mainly 1. We have 2 excellent quality stainless steel baking dishes, and also have 4 small ceramic baking dishes that we tend to use as serving dishes during dinner parties rather than something we place in the oven. I prefer using stainless steel to ceramic as it is easier to clean and more hardy. Any extras that are in good condition- put in your donation pile. Anything damaged: in the “throw out” pile.

Cake tins and pans: Okay I have to admit, this is one area that I struggle with. I used to love making and decorating elaborate birthday cakes for my kids, so I have all sorts of cake tins in varying sizes. I have managed to cut down to a smaller number. Think about the types of cakes you commonly bake: keep these sized tins. Anything that you have used as a one-off should be placed in your donation pile. How many muffin tins do you really need? When was the last time you baked the cake using the 30 cm baking pan- 2 years ago? Okay I think it’s safe to say that was too long ago and you probably will not bake it again! If you find yourself using the excuse “just in case”, remember that if you DO really end up needing that tin, it will be relatively inexpensive and easy to purchase again (but chances are, you won’t ever need it again!).

Okay, so the decluttering session has been going along nicely. Remember, you may not get through all the items above in 30 minutes. That’s ok. Allocate another 30 minutes another day.

At the 30 minute mark, I stop what I am doing and reset my alarm for another 15 minutes.

By the 30 minute mark, I should only have my “keep” items left to put away. The donate pile is put in a garbage bag or box, and the “throw out” pile has been thrown out in the garbage bin.

I spend the final 15 minutes wiping down dust in cupboards and drawers and placing my “keep” items back in their rightful places. Extras are placed in my buffet.

45 minutes is over.

Don’t forget to check your dishwasher load and empty if it is done, or put your feet up and enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea!

How did your kitchen declutter session go? What were some challenges your overcame, and what did you discover about your kitchen habits? What are some obscure items you found in your crazy utensil/gadget drawer? Let me know!

 

Spring Clean to a Less Busy Life Part 1- The Master Bedroom

Spring Clean

Image: missinformationblog.com

 

Welcome to my first in a series of posts on spring cleaning your house to help you live a less busy life. Even if it isn’t spring in your part of the world, anytime is a good time to declutter and get rid of stuff.

How does spring cleaning lead to a less busy life? By reducing the amount of stuff we have in our homes, we are reducing the amount of time that we need to spend keeping our homes clean, maintaining, repairing, insuring or picking up things. As a mother of 3 girls, I’m constantly picking up bits of toys left lying around which can get very frustrating and time consuming. By focusing on reducing the amount of stuff, I promise you will notice changes to the amount of time you spend managing your household.

And who couldn’t do with a bit more time to spend in other, more fun ways?

Today, I will focus on the master bedroom. If your master bedroom is already clean and uncluttered, then choose another similar room or space such as a child’s bedroom or a guest room.

THE TOOLS:

Let’s begin with a few important tools- once you have these tools organised, it will make your spring clean session run a lot more smoothly.

-A packet of heavy-duty garbage bags

-An empty washing basket/box or other storage item (try to use something you already have in the home rather than buying)

-A cleaning cloth/rag to wipe down dust

-A stop watch/clock/mobile phone to time your session

Now that you have assembled these tools, it’s time to begin!

THE RULES:

-Try to time each declutter session for 45 minutes only- spend 30 minutes cleaning, and the final 15 minutes packing up and putting things away. Don’t worry if you have not finished,  you can continue your session another day.

-Focus on sorting everything into 4 piles: what to keep, what to donate, what to throw out and what to recycle.

Set your alarm for 30 minutes, and GO!

MASTER BEDROOM TIPS:

I usually start with opening the windows and then making the bed, as this instantly makes the room appear a lot cleaner. Fresh air and outdoor light will help clear out dust and smells in the room.

I then collect any clothing that requires washing and place in the washing machine- my washing machine cycle takes about 45 minutes which is perfect for while I am decluttering. By the time the declutter session is finished, the washing will be ready to hang.

Back to the bedroom. I walk around the room and pick up anything off the floor and place it in one huge pile ready for me to sort through. I now begin sorting into my 4 piles: keep, donate, throw and recycle.

Once the pile has been sorted, I throw the recycling items in the recycling bin outside. I then place the rubbish in a bag and throw out. Items to donate are put in a garbage bag.

Everything that remains that will be kept I then begin putting away where they belong. This part can take the longest because sometimes there are items to keep which belong in other rooms of the house.

At the 30 minute mark, I stop what I am doing and reset my alarm for another 15 minutes.

By the 30 minute mark, I should only have my “keep” items left to put away- I place these items in a large basket.

I spend the final 15 minutes vacuuming the carpet, wiping down the window ledges and picture frames and anywhere else that collects dust.

45 minutes is over. If I have more time, I will continue putting away the things in my “keep” basket otherwise I will set aside more time another day to go through my “keep” basket.

But for now, it’s time to hang up the washing and have a cup of herbal tea!

Let me know how your first session went, and share your photos over on my Facebook page!