TCOY Lessons From My Favorite Bloggers (Feb10)

The February Quote to Reflect Upon, here at, has certainly been the most important TCOY lesson that I've received via a quote this month! First,
my efforts to financially save myself paid off
. Then I was able to begin to move another important area of my life forward again simply because I allowed someone who's like a mother to me to have a peek into my world. This person was there for me in support and to remind me of my strength, both as evidenced by the past and where my vision is going forward. The stagnate relationship with my husband has also had some of its own saving this month.

Overall, it has been a very emotionally charged month but I am now even more excited by the metamorphosis that is happening to me. :-)

Miche shared 7 Ways to Strengthen Relationships By Creating Lasting Memories for Relationships that have let the same 'ol, same 'ol cause them to stagnate.

Even good relationships tend to stagnate when routine sets in…time slips by, without any real memories being made. This is when we look back and wonder where the time went… there are no real markers to set things apart.

Next time you’re inclined to pass on an invitation to do something because it’s not your thing, it’s too different, or because you feel too busy, just say “yes” when you feel the urge to say “no” or “maybe later”. Perhaps your sweetie suggested something new, your friend something strange, or your child something imaginative… these are the very things we shouldn’t pass up (besides, what are you passing them up to do instead?)
As Trent talked about how Hindsight is 20/20, even when it comes to our Financial past, I knew exactly what he was talking about and definitely agree with his point of view. While looking back, you may want to judge your past self harshly but you did the best you could do at the time. Forgiveness and moving forward are the ways I choose to 'pay back' my old self.
Here’s the real key, though: those mistakes are done and over with. I don’t have a chance to repeat those days and make better choices...You can never change the past, but you can certainly learn from it. Better yet, you can take what you’ve learned and apply it to improve the present – and drastically improve the future.
An area I've been focusing on for Self Improvement is to be more mindful. After being on auto-pilot for several years, I've been working on slowing my thoughts and staying right here, in this moment. In More Mindful, Less Clutter, I read the following:
When we operate on auto-pilot in our lives, we cease to be aware of what is happening right now...A significant amount of clutter in our homes could be eliminated simply by being more mindful in the present. Mindfulness helps you to make significantly fewer impulse buys, you throw out junk mail before bringing it into your house, and when you spot clutter already in your home you take care of it immediately (recycle it, trash it, put it in a donation box) instead of pushing it aside and letting it continue to bother you.
This caused a perspective shift for me. I guess I have been mindful after all because, even though auto-pilot is the reason that my house is generally kept tidy, I am mindful enough to take care of things right in the moment. My mind was just saving me from the boredom of having to be fully there as my body worked by letting in some other thoughts as well!

A kindred spirit in the mission to help others increase their Inner Awareness is Dr. Annette Colby. I have had the pleasure to interact with Annette on Twitter and enjoy reading her blog as well. This month she shared 5 Indisputable Reasons You Need To Spend Time Alone and I couldn't agree with her more. I've shared a few of my favorite lines below but I greatly urge you to read the entire post. Excellent!
As it turns out, solitude is a positive state, necessary to remain sane and healthy...Not everyone needs hours of time alone, but everyone needs his or her own personal balance between engagement with the world and engagement with self.
This month, Unclutterer provided some insight into why we hold on to sentimental clutter.
Since we get a bump of happiness from sentimental items, it’s okay to keep a few of the prized possessions. Make room for the handful of valuable-to-you pieces of nostalgia that aren’t actually clutter.
This is what I have been doing with my sentimental clutter. Most recently, with many of my mom's things. My mom passed away in 2004, less than 2 months before my daughter was born. Due to the circumstances of her death and the 2 year legal mess called probate that followed, I kept everything small of hers that I could. My mom was a pack rat herself and also the keeper of items from the estates of my grandfather, grandmother and great grandmother. You can only imagine the amount of sentimental clutter that became mine! After the legal battles were done, and less of that part of her life consumed my thoughts, I finally began seeing all of the 'stuff' that was there. It took another year before I realized that keeping these things to remember them by was not actually doing its intended purpose. I wanted things that spoke about who they were but I was keeping stuff like crystal sugar bowls and probably their long forgotten cookware.

During my last 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge, most of the sentimental clutter became the possessions of someone else. I did my best to pass on the good stuff to people I knew who would use or love it and the stuff that we all just accumulate was given to a charity.

I've actually added an item to the 'sentimental objects' that I'd retained...which are no longer called sentimental clutter, by the way, because each one is either used, needed, wanted or loved! Sometime last fall, I purchased a small bottle of Chantilly Lace perfume (still in the package) at my neighbor's garage sale. Every time I hear that name, see the bottle or smell the fragrance, I *always* think of my mom. It smells alright as it is but it smelled heavenly when worn by her. The most cherished memory I have is of being hugged by her. She was always very warm (probably due to her high blood pressure) and I can still recall the memory of smelling her perfume while being wrapped in a warm hug. The bottle sits beside the perfume I wear, and near them all is a seashell night light that I'd given her as a souvenir from our trip to Hawaii. I get to think of her every single day when I see them both. On days when I'm feeling nostalgic, I spritz a bit of the perfume into the air and remember her warm hugs.

Another great read courtesy of Unclutterer is 3 uncluttering activities you can complete in five minutes or less. I love to see inspiration to make the most of the little they do inspire further action that wouldn't have happened if nothing had been done at all. As a bonus, here are 3 more ideas used by my household plus a general 'good practice' tip!

When I am putting away the dishes, I look at the shelf where I am putting the item to see if there is anything there that I no longer want, use, need or love. If so, I take it out and put it in the bag where I accumulate items to give to a charity. Then I celebrate another day of staying true to my 365 Days of Decluttering Challenge!

When my kids (5 and 8 years old) are putting away clothes or toys on a weekend, I ask them to see if there is anything they want to share with someone else. They have been taught to clear clutter as much as possible and usually something ends up being put into the charity bag.

During a trip out in the car, I attempt to put anything that needs to go into the house with me (trash, water bottles that need to be refilled, a cast-off jacket, etc.) on the passenger side. When I go in, I gather and go. I really like doing this little bit of clutter-clearing to keep the car looking better overall.

One of the things I've tried to instill in my husband and kids (who are the messies of this house) is to "look behind you" look behind them as they are leaving an area to see what needs to be thrown away or put away. My belief is that it's always nice to leave the area looking tidy right when you leave it instead of having to come back and do it later. After all, there's only so much later and there's always something else to do!

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

Photo Credit: Iron Design
Photo Credit: Thinking About Money

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