25 Productive and Fun Indoor Activities for When It’s Cold Outside

things to do when it rains indoor activities

This is my first winter outside of California and I am learning a lot about the seasons and cold weather. I’m still not comfortable driving in snow and icy conditions and am grateful that I work from home and can stay in on those days. My CA friends are experiencing an unusual amount of rain and feeling house bound too.

Wintry weather makes me want to sit on the couch with a cat in my lap and read novels or binge watch Netflix. It feels great for awhile, but I can only sit for so long before getting antsy and wanting to find something to do. Something productive or fun that doesn’t involve putting on a coat or chipping ice off my car. Continue reading

Adjusting to Small Town Life – The Shopping Dilemma

small town shopping

I’m still adjusting to my new small town life in Missouri. One of the things that still has me spinning is the whole shopping thing. Just when I thought I had it figured out and was settling in, fall weather came. And, I heard winter is on it’s way too.

My intention is to stock up and have what I need from the city before Thanksgiving to avoid going there during the holiday craziness. Columbia is 30 to 40 minutes away, depending on what part of town you are going to.  I’m trying to shop local as much as possible, but there are some things that are either not available or cost much higher here. Continue reading

Letting Go of Stuff

Letting go of stuff - releasing clutter life coach linda

The Shipping Cube with What I Decided to Take

While preparing for my move to Missouri, I decided to sell or give away more than 1/2 of what I owned. For some people this may not have been a big deal, but I lived simply and didn’t have much to begin with.

It was interesting observing how my thoughts about the things in my life shifted as my move date neared. It seemed to come in layers:

The Garage Sale – At this point I was still invested in the value of my things. After all, I was going to sell them and get money in return. I felt like I was being bold in my choices of what to include, not realizing this was only the beginning.

The Remains – When the garage sale was over I was faced with leftover items that I still thought were worth selling. I was very uncomfortable with the idea of just leaving things that I could get money for. This started a period of offering items in my city Facebook group and Craigslist. Some sold. Some didn’t.

Giving – And then, I just let the attachments go. This opened the door to my favorite part of the process, giving things away.  And, not just little things. I would go through my house each day and find more and more to give. I fell in love with giving and it made it much easier to release what I owned. It was also a lot of fun.

Leaving – The buyer of my house had said that I could leave things and didn’t have to clean the house. At first, the idea of doing this was appalling to me. But, when the 100 degree heat wave arrived on my last week, I could only do so much. Packing and loading under the blistering sun was getting to me and making me dizzy. So, when I said goodbye to my house, there were still some things left behind. I feel sure they will find good homes. Everything I was taking to my new life was packed into a 6′ by 7′ pod to be shipped to my new home.

Wanting Less – As I am unpacking and settling into my new home I am being very careful about what I invite in. Surprisingly, I will have even more to give away. Some things just don’t fit my new home or life. Maybe living without them for a couple weeks diminished their importance in my mind. Whatever the reason, they feel like clutter and I just don’t want them anymore.

Balancing with More – I love simplicity, but am not sure I am a minimalist. I have made some purchases recently for my new lifestyle, a new washer and dryer and yard maintenance items like a weed wacker. I also plan on bringing in a new sofa that fits with the colors in my new home. What is different is that I am being very careful about what I bring in. I only want things that I use regularly or love. And, I don’t want very many of them.

Moving provided me with the opportunity for a fresh start. I have empty closets and cupboards with only a few items. Everything is organized and makes sense. (Well, almost everything. I haven’t got to the office yet.) I even have an extra bedroom that I don’t know what I will do with. The one thing I’m sure of is that it won’t become a junk room full of stuff.

My experience of letting go has revealed how tightly I held onto stuff that really wasn’t that meaningful to me. I was also attached to the idea of getting a return on what I thought was valuable. It was only when I let go and began to give things away that I felt truly authentic, peaceful, and was able to have fun with the process.

Even without a lot (although I had more than I thought) I was being smothered and controlled by my things. In the simple living movement about 20 years ago there was a slogan that said, “Don’t Stuffocate!”  I think I get it now.

Leaving California

 

Laguna beach california

Am I crazy?!? 

I seem to have somehow turned my life upside down in the last few weeks. Totally topsy turvy. It’s been completely insane, and maybe I am too.

My grandchildren, son, and daughter-in-law have settled in to small town life in Missouri. I miss them terribly and  thought I would end up there at some point, but always felt anchored to this place where I was born and have lived my life for almost 62 years.

And then, three things happened within a few weeks: 

  • My friend died. She had been trapped in a body she couldn’t move and unable to speak for years and being her friend through this process has been a long road. Now she is free of her earthly body and I found myself feeling kind of floaty with new empty space in my life.
  • The University of Santa Monica (USM) discontinued it’s Master’s Program and I will no longer be needed as a volunteer. I have spent at least one weekend a month in this beloved environment since 2009 and will soon be grieving the loss of these special times and the amazing people I have had the privilege of working with.
  • And then, just before I left for my grandson’s graduation in Missouri, I got a surprise cash offer on my house that was very, very tempting.

I couldn’t resist.

That week in MO was a rollercoaster ride of looking at houses, making big decisions, offers that were too late, looking for rental options when none existed, and a last minute opportunity that I made an offer on.

A few days later I cancelled escrow on the house when the inspection revealed some serious issues I was not comfortable with.

My fear of becoming homeless was getting stronger and stronger.  

But, that same night I negotiated a deal on a “for sale by owner” property I really liked, but felt was overpriced. I was back in escrow again.

Central House cropped

This is a good move for me: 

  • I will be near my family for the first time in years and get to enjoy time with my grandchildren
  • My house will be mortgage free and my financial future more secure
  • My business is portable since it is mostly online and by phone
  • I feel like I really needed both a new adventure and a fresh start
  • Life seems quieter and slower there, which may be just what I need
  • The small town I am in is really cute and only a half hour away from a city that is regularly on the Best Places to Retire lists.

It’s all good. 

And now, I enter a season of goodbyes. To people, communities, my hikes in the hills, places I love, and half of my possessions.  I can live with that because soon it will be a season of hello’s as I make new friends, find my place in a new community, explore the area, and build a home sanctuary.  Thanks to email and social media I can stay connected to all.

I will always love California.  It’s in my blood. I’m just ready for a new adventure. 

Goodbye sweet California. I will miss you.

Simple Abundance

simple abundance

I was going through some books this morning that I have gathered over the years and came across one by Sarah Ban Breathnach called, Simple Abundance.  I let the pages fall open where they would and saw this:

“When we cherish our dream and invest love, creative energy, perseverance, and passion for ourselves, we will achieve authentic success.”

Well said, Sarah.

This lovely book is based on her 6 principles of simple abundance:

  • Gratitude
  • Simplicity
  • Order
  • Harmony
  • Beauty
  • Joy

Just saying them brings peace to my heart.

I think I am going to spend some time with this book again. Apparently, it still has more to teach me.

You Don’t Have to Be a Minimalist or Tidying Up Fan to Create a Clutter Free Home

Declutter, minimalism, tidying up

There are a lot of people feeling inspired to clear space in their homes and lives right now. It’s a hot topic, and one that I can really get behind. I love living simply and creating a life that matters.

But, I wonder if some of the things being put out there can feel too rigid for some of you. Do they hold you back and prevent your getting started?  Or, make you judge yourself as not doing enough? 

I am in a number of Facebook Groups on minimalism and simple living and sometimes I want to cringe when someone asks how to let go of things like their grandmother’s necklace or their childhood Bible. There is always a lot of encouragement from the group to give them away, but I sense that sometimes people are pushing themselves further than they want to go.

I am here to tell you there are no rules. Clearing space and living simply will bring many gifts into your life, AND you get to do it your way. 

Guidelines are great, having a supportive coach experienced in this area is wonderful, but ultimately you need to follow your heart and find the level of simplicity that is right for you. Sometimes people are ready to jump in fully and for others it may be a process of one layer at a time.

Before starting a de-cluttering process I encourage you to spend time becoming clear about your intention and the vision you have for your end result. This intention can guide and motivate you along the way.  And, if you would like additional support, find a friend, coach, or professional organizer who will hold you to your vision in a gentle, caring way.

You CAN do this! Your home can become a sanctuary that is clean, organized, and full of light. And, you can do it your way. Just imagine what that will feel like…

If you would like the support of a professional coach who loves to help people create more simple and fulfilling lives, I would love to offer you a free consultation. Contact Linda

Related Posts:

From Clutter to Clarity: A Client Story

Is Tidying Up the Secret to Happiness?

Don’t forget to leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

How to Discover and Prevent Hidden Money Leaks

bandaid-piggy-bank

Money is a touchy topic. Having money brings a sense of security and safety and allows us to keep up appearances so we feel more acceptable in the world around us. We can use it to look good and feel good, or even comfort ourselves when we are feeling low.

And yet, most of us feel some level of shame around it, even when we handle our money well.

Either we don’t feel we have enough or we judge ourselves for how we spend what we do have.

Feeling peaceful about money comes from using it in a way that is in alignment with your values and making conscious choices when you spend. It comes from finding the sweet spot between thrift and giving occasional gifts to yourself.

What usually happens though is that we get all fired up by someone’s expert marketing or something someone said and our mind convinces us that we “need” to buy things. Not necessarily big things, all the little things add up to.

And in the end. we find ourselves with a lot of stuff we didn’t really need and probably don’t use.

How much could you have saved last year if you avoided these extra purchases? Let’s find out.

Get a notepad and pen and walk through your house listing everything you have purchased in the last year that:

  • You don’t wear regularly
  • Doesn’t bring value to your life
  • Are not using
  • You don’t really like
  • Forgot you even bought it
  • Didn’t live up to your expectations
  • You could have gotten free, like books from the library

Look in your closets, drawers, and on your shelves. You might be surprised what you find. When you have your list, go through and estimate how much money you spent on each item and then total them up. Shocking isn’t it?  Keep in mind that this is meant to open your eyes to new opportunities for saving money and no self-judgment is allowed.

The first step to changing our habits is awareness and just imagine how much money you can save this year by shifting this pattern. Make a new commitment to using your money in ways that do not allow advertisers or the people next door to run your financial life.

What about the things you bought last year? They have become clutter and don’t belong in your home. Selling or donating them can help you anchor what you have learned and reinforce your new decision to play with money in a way that is in alignment with your values and goals.

If you would like the support of a coach to help you improve your relationship with money and take control of your finances CONTACT LINDA to schedule a complimentary consultation.

How to Spark Joy in All Areas of Your Life (Not Just Clutter)

Marie Kondo books

When I first read Marie Kondo’s book about tidying up I wasn’t all that impressed. It felt too harsh, rigid, and maybe even a little OCD, but for some reason I felt drawn to checking out her next book called, “Spark Joy”.

One of the things she suggests with her Konmari method is to hold each thing we own and ask ourselves, “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, we let it go.

While making us joyful is a pretty high standard to hold all of our possessions to, the real value of this question is that it opens the door to awareness and allows us to make conscious choices about what we fill our lives with.

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves if what we do sparks joy in other areas as well.

  • How we spend our time
  • What we do with our money
  • Commitments we make to others
  • Our schedules and calendars
  • What we do when we have free time
  • Our relationships, friendships, and alliances

Maybe there is more to this tidying up trend then I realized. By letting go of things that no longer serve me and focusing on what brings me joy, my life is becoming richer and more meaningful.

Care to join me?

Don’t forget to leave a comment! I would love to hear what you think about tidying up our homes and lives.

The Tidying Up Website

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Spark Joy

The Pros and Cons of Simple Living

simplicity

I have always felt drawn to living a simple life. It feels peaceful to me and helps calm my scattered mind.

At first living simply was a matter of necessity. I was a young single mother with limited resources and every penny counted. I could not acquire a lot of stuff and lived at a level based on needs with a few little extras thrown in.

Now, my simple lifestyle is a choice. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not perfect. I have “things”, but not as many as most people do. I gravitate toward light, color, room to move around in, and things that feel soft and snuggly.

I even joined the simple living movement and attended Simplicity Circles in the past, but there really wasn’t much interest and the groups eventually fell away.

That seems to be changing now as people are feeling more overwhelmed by crazy busy lives and brains that are overloaded. Clearing clutter, simple living, and minimalism are getting a lot of attention again.

Choosing to live simply is not about scarcity and living without. It is about discovering and focusing on what we find meaningful, beautiful, and useful. Our lives become full and rich because we have cleared the way to reveal what feeds our soul. 

There are pros and cons to choosing a simple life, but as you can see by my list below, for me the scales are definitely tipped in one direction.

The Pros

  • It feels calm, peaceful and less constricted
  • You are surrounded by things you really love
  • It’s easier to clean
  • You have more space and less clutter
  • You can find things quickly when you need them
  • It saves time and energy
  • Your ability to focus improves
  • Your focus will be on people and experiences before things
  • You are free from trying to live up to a false image
  • You know what you have and where it is kept
  • It’s good for the environment
  • You have more money in the bank
  • It’s less stressful
  • You can afford quality when you minimize quantity
  • You have more time and money to do what you love
  • You attract people who like you for who you are, not your image
  • You can cultivate more meaningful relationships and spend more time with family

The Cons

  • You have fewer things to give or donate to people in need
  • People may perceive you differently when you stop playing the image game
  • You may see them differently
  • You may trade old friends for new ones who are more open
  • Can you tell I’m really having a hard time with the cons list?

Living simply is not an all or nothing thing. You can try it out in a small way and if it feels good move forward at your own speed. If you are like me, each step you take will lead you to a more peaceful life.

In the meantime, you might enjoy these blogs about the simple life:

Be More with Less

Becoming Minimalist

Hip Diggs

The Minimalists

Joel Zaslofsky

The Simple Dollar

Don’t forget to comment! I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

4 Ways to Feel Abundant & Attract More Money

abundance wayne dyer

If you are a human on this planet Earth, you probably feel like you don’t have enough money.

Since money represents security, safety, and worthiness in our culture this can be a real problem.

The very thought of it can trigger thousands of voices in your head that make you feel afraid for your future or not good enough.

And then, there is all of the programming you received as a child. Money is the root of all evil. It’s selfish to want money.  Our family will always be poor.  Rich people are the enemy. Continue reading

Is Tidying Up the Secret to Happiness?

clutter

Not too long ago I found myself feeling kind of low. I was in a funk. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and read novels with a cat on my lap.

This felt great for a couple days, but eventually I knew I needed to get moving. I was turning into a slug and I wasn’t sure how to become human again.

As I drove into my garage one day after running an errand I could feel my energy drop. My garage felt heavy, like something that weighed me down. While mostly neat, piled along the left wall were all the things I was saving for a garage sale. Over time that area had become, shall I say, messy.

When I realized how yucky the garage made me feel, I knew what my therapy would be. I started going through the cluttered piles of things and after a couple hours of sorting, organizing, throwing away, and generally tidying up, I felt good about what I had accomplished. Even now, pulling into my nice and tidy garage makes me smile.

When our car, house, or office look uncared for it can be a sign that we are: Continue reading

Infobesity: 5 Ways to Prevent Information Overload

information overload - infobesity

The internet, email, and cell phones have enhanced our lives in many ways, but they have also filled our brains with more information than ever before, creating an epidemic of infobesity.

For many of us, the new tools of the information age have an addictive quality that can stress our brains and limit our success in other areas of our lives. We may not even realize that our lives are centered more on technology than participating in real life.

Whether you feel addicted or are just trying your best to keep up with the world, this mass of information coming into your brain can impact your life with: Continue reading

15 Money Saving Tips that Help You Avoid Impulse Buying

shopping impulse buys

If you want to avoid impulse buying it may feel like the odds are stacked against you. Advertisers, stores, and even your peers are masters of hypnosis.  They hypnotize you into believing your long term goals don’t matter and there is nothing more you want in the world than to buy their product.

You become their puppet, disconnected from who you really are and what you really want.

Unless, you utilize the following tips …   Continue reading

From Clutter to Clarity – A Client Story

woman with flowers

My client Carol came to me for support with some big decisions to be made with her upcoming retirement.  She felt unclear and overwhelmed as to what to do.

The situation became even more interesting when during our first call she described her life as “itchy”.  I hadn’t heard that one before, so I asked her to tell me more.  She shared that her home felt like a burden instead of a sanctuary, volunteer work and other obligations were filling up her time, and she didn’t feel like there was space for her in her own life.

No wonder she was having trouble making decisions.

Carol was surprised when I shared that external clutter (things, people, or activities) could be contributing to her feeling of being overwhelmed and blocking the clarity she needed to find her answers.  I could tell that she was doubtful at first, but something inside of her knew it felt right.

So, we created a plan to simplify her life. 

We began with a journey through the things she owned.  While her house was neat and well organized, she had a lot of stuff.  Each week she cleared out an area and sent me before and after pictures.  Her goal was to only keep what was meaningful, beautiful, or used on a regular basis.

After experiencing how great it felt to clear out the first areas, Carol became motivated and moved quickly through her home.  Some areas were easy and others a little more challenging.  Going through her photographs brought back joyous memories and also facilitated healing around the death of her husband.

Before moving on to other areas of her life, we clarified her core values and personal intentions.

This gave her guideposts she could use as she reviewed her calendar and the people in her life.  She was surprised to see how many people were draining her energy and how many things she did out of a sense of obligation.  She started making changes.

Carol says that simplifying her external life gave her that space she craved for herself.

Clearing the clutter brought a sense of peace and clarity into her life.  The answers to her decisions became clearer and clearer as she made space for them to come through.

She decided to sell her larger home and continue her journey of living simply in a smaller space.  Her time is focused on her grandchildren and re-connecting with her love of painting.  She feels like this process of right sizing her life has allowed her to be happy and live whole-heartedly for the first time.

Most people don’t realize that feelings of being overwhelmed, stuck, or indecisive can be related to their physical space.  Clutter is a symptom that can show up in both your environment and your mind.  Clearing one often helps the other.   So, if you are feeling stuck with a decision or project, check your space.  Taking a few moments to de-clutter may be just what you need.

You don’t have to wait until you are challenged.  You can de-clutter your life now as a preventive measure and start experiencing that same peace, calm, and clarity that Carol found.

Cleaning out your junk drawer has just become your new therapy.

If you would like support in resolving a challenge or creating a better life, please feel free to contact me for a consultation.  I would love to talk to you. 

Thank you Carol for allowing me to share your story.

Feeling Scattered or Overwhelmed? Try This…

women with puzzle pieces falling away

We all have a lot going on in our lives and it is easy to get caught up in it.  The result may be feeling overwhelmed or like pieces of you are scattered all around.  Some of my clients describe feeling drained, not fully present, or just stressed about all they are trying to do.

The following visualization has supported many of my clients in returning to a more peaceful and empowered state.  I hope it supports you, as well.

  • Find a quiet, peaceful place (if possible)
  • Take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to come into a relaxed state
  • Visualize pieces of yourself scattered around you and maybe even at a distance
  • Form an intention to draw them back in and become whole again
  • Breathe in deeply and as you breathe in visualize the scattered parts returning to you
  • Sit quietly for a few minutes breathing in and out and enjoying the feeling of wholeness

How to Clear Out Your Wardrobe When You Don’t Want to Let Anything Go

clothes 400

With the change of seasons (not that it is very noticeable here in CA), I decided to pull out my winter clothes and see what I could piece together for my cool weather wardrobe.

I have to admit that while I am not a big shopper, I do like getting a good deal.  This has resulted in my having a hodgepodge of clothes, many of which do not go together.  It is challenging for me to clear some of them out because they are nice and might fit with something new I pick up in the future.  So, even though I don’t have a ton of clothes there is a sense of chaos.

What I want is a closet with nice, well made clothes that go together.  I want to open it and see a few complete outfits as my choices for each day.

And then, all I have to do each morning is ask them, “Who wants to come out and play?

This weekend I tried to tackle the project of clearing my closet.  I must not have been in the right mood for it because I kept putting back things that had been placed in the donate pile.  Instead of pushing myself, I simply accepted where I was at and chose an easier process that might work for you as well.

  • I discarded anything stained or damaged.  My two cats have a habit of putting holes in my clothes when they do that pawing thing before laying in my lap and I’m not really a fan of the shredded bag lady look.
  • I stashed summer clothing and things I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be wearing for a while in the back of the closet where they would be out of my line of vision.
  • I put together a few outfits for casual, business, and exercise/lounging with what remained and gave them center stage with lots of empty space around them.
  • I then turned all of the hangers for this season’s clothing backwards. When things are worn and laundered they will be hung the normal direction.  In a couple weeks it will be easy to see what I truly enjoy wearing.

My closet looks much better and the chaotic feeling is gone.  My choices are more clear each day and I am only wearing things I feel good in.  It feels very peaceful to have a simple wardrobe, even when I haven’t cleared it all out.

My intention is to return to this project for phase 2 in a couple weeks and move out all those items that I am not really wearing.  The experience of enjoying a simple organized wardrobe will make those choices much easier.