Creating Harmony in the Home

Integrity. It's so important and we have covered some of the reasons why in the last couple of blogs.

Would you believe that your integrity even relates to the state of your personal environment? It does! 

It's high time YOU became a person of order, clean living and organisation. It doesn't matter how chaotic, disorganised or undisciplined you have been in the past. 

Today is a new day and you can create brand new habits from now! 

By the way, it's awesome receiving your feedback on these blogs and I'm so glad they make a difference to you! 

This is a VERY special blog as I have commissioned the Master, The Guru, The Go - To Girl, The BEST declutterer/organiser/"make your space literally look like a magazine" EXPERT - my best friend Rachelle, to write an article on this topic.

I've been trained by the BEST! Truly! 

Incidentally, many of you have commented on the beautiful artwork for my last CD - "SURRENDER." This was all Rachelle's handiwork. She can help you throw away things and be organised AND design cool things! She's a keeper. 

Rachelle and I have travelled on many holidays together. I take at least double the luggage she takes. Every time. I don't know if I'll ever overcome THAT reality, and thank God my agent paid my excess baggage on both ends for my recent Japan contract...however I've improved exponentially in being organised and creating order under Rachelle's guidance. And I mean, her physically standing next to me and holding up an item and saying, "See this? It's going." On more than one occasion. 

Rachelle has much wisdom in how to create beauty in your space...and how to let go of things to allow newness to flow into your life. 

May you receive new revelation on how order, clean living and organisation can be a PRIORITY and how much happier you'll be when you evolve yourself into NEW habits to maintain this way of life. 
This is especially for you "creative types" who were not blessed with naturally organised mindsets...or if you feel like the words "letting go" are an assault to your sentimental heart...our tribe is a special take it one step at a time. 


Creating Harmony in the Home

by Rachelle Nappercreative director, serial renovator and yogi... Who once spent an entire year without buying any more “stuff” and saved $30k.

Dorothy said it first, “there’s no place like home”. When we think of home, most people think of sanctuary, communion with loved ones, a resting place, blissful shared meals and moments, thoughts that bring us harmony. The reality for many of us, however, is that our everyday experience is far from our idealized notions of home. Many of us feel weighed down. Hemmed in. Drowning under endless piles of laundry... We live surrounded, sometimes even imprisoned by our things. But we’re warp speed busy. Daily, we’re in performance mode of work, work, work. We rush home to microwave take-out meals, robot ourselves through the kiddies’ witching hour of homework, dinner, bath and bed, then surrender to couch or bed, glued to hours of audio visual stimulation, while accessing multiple devices, seemingly withdrawn from the outside world. Are we?

We have portals everywhere, often in every room. Phones, laptops, ipads, computers, playstations and televisions. We are being entertained (and marketed to) by corporations on a nightly basis. Meanwhile, the stuff of our lives is piling up EVERYWHERE.

It creeps from overstocked cupboards to invade a room, then may infiltrate multiple rooms, marches into hallways, garages and overstuffed sheds... ‘Stuff” overwhelms us to the point of inaction, depresses us, even makes us sick and absolutely slows us down on our path to excellence in life. We emotionalise it and fear it or at the very least, we look away.

If the thought of friends popping in unexpectedly for a cup of tea breaks you into a cold sweat, if hosting an extended family celebration takes weeks of home preparation, or if  the thought of moving home locations instills immediate dread due to the prospect of how much stuff you would need to go through... or you just realize that you can’t easily find anything you’re looking for... then your productivity and headspace could improve with less clutter!

I’m here to suggest some pathways to liberation. I’m here to tell you, you absolutely can throw away our throwaway culture and press Control+alt+delete on what’s holding you back, grab back hold of the reigns, edit your life, grow into goodness and truly treasure the remains of the day and relish the rest of your life.

Now, I’m not trying to sell you on strict minimalism! Or push some up-tight stepford non-reality. As industrial designer/chief design officer for Apple, Jonathan Ive states, “Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.”

We need to find a purpose and place for things. Your things! And acknowledge that a clutter-free home is no simple task. This is a process of not only elimination but also organisation. Here’s the kicker:  in transforming your home, you will transform yourself, your mindset and adhere to your family home values.

I understand and accept that simplicity is the key to life. Living simply has increased my productivity exponentially. It has helped me to instill excellence, freedom, time and space into my life. It has boosted my mental, physiological and emotional health.

Happily, I’m not alone, as many great minds nutted this golden nugget of wisdom out long before me, so we can plough past this idea of ‘simplicity is key’ quickly and assuredly.

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” Isaac Newton

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” William Morris

“Out of clutter, find simplicity” Albert Einstein

Simplicity and organized chaos - is that how the world works?

The goal is SIMPLICITY. Scientists, medics and genius amoung us know that true chaos is always, always organized. It’s nature’s law and it is a beautiful thing!

Peter Elijah Lungu, Executive Director of the Zambian Institute for Sustainable Development states: Organized chaos is a theory, which is applicable in business, politics and life. Organized chaos will always thrive over order because it allows for individuals or groups to define order and the desirable outcomes promoting a sense of ownership. It promotes a principle rather than a rule based framework, which allows for creative freedom. This recognizes that an organization will only succeed when its employees become the best version of themselves. This is possible by creating an enabling environment. This is especially effective in the home. Hello creative freedom! Hola to desirable outcomes! How you doin’ to the best version of ourselves!!!

So... OK, lets move on to understanding why we have so much stuff.

Stuff! Why the heck do we have so much? 

Basically, because the powers that be, want us to. They decided way back that ‘stuff’ was to be our focus. Most people agree that consumerism began in the UK after the deprivations of WWII in 1954. In America, many of the munitions companies became redundant and soldiers returned from war with no jobs to go to. American economists and the government decided to boost the economy by creating a manufacturing culture, aiming to persuade people to buy in order to show off their material wealth, boosting their self-image and status in society. This idea was followed in the UK and Europe and it became known as the Golden age of Capitalism, interrupted only briefly by recessions. Add to that, globalization and 24/7 marketing spin produced by the best resourced and most successful corporations on the planet and you have an intoxicating mix of celebrity and supermodel endorsed feel good buying fizz from storefront to webshop and beyond.

According to a 2007 study by the Siena University in Italy, we all have more money and things but fewer personal meaningful relationships and less time to enjoy the ones we have.

For many of us, stuff and status is taking the place of love and connection. We’re filling the void by consuming “things” cars, food, clothes, gadgets, beauty products, toys, DVDs and health and wellbeing products. Plus, basically we are valued in society, by our governments, our claimable tax margins, our “omg that’s fabulous, is it new?” friends, by what we spend.

However, a constant focus on “things” can erode the purpose of life, or at least dilute the potency and vitality of our choices in life. The hedonic treadmill theory states that our happiness in unaffected by consumerism, in fact we perpetuate more and more consuming because we assume we chose wrong in the first place and the next buying ‘hit of serotonin’ will make all the difference. The American psychology association states, in a recent research paper by Dr Alan Waterman that sustainable happiness comes from increasing one’s challenges in life and focusing on self realization rather than hedonia. Instant gratification fails.

Many have come to the awareness that overconsumption has had it’s day, people are no longer interested in keeping up with the Jones’ or being puppeteered by corporations profit grabs and are choosing to become more mindful in their choices and embrace a more relaxed and fulfilling way of living. People are waking up to their buying power in empowerment and awareness. Choosing integrity over self image and serenity over status. Seeing through the marketing matrix. Choosing their own path congruent to their own values.

The philosophy

Firstly, simplifying your life is meant to make things better, not worse. Getting real about living within your means and buying only what you can afford may be a bitter pill for some. If this is the case it’s really important to meditate on why.

Do you feel entitled to things you haven’t earned? Why?

Are you feeling impatient in areas of your life? Why?

This process is about getting real.

It’s asking questions of yourself that bring awareness to why you live where you live and how you live and if you’re as fulfilled, driven and joyful as you can be. It’s about empowered choices. Living holistically with your life’s purpose. Allowing life to flow seamlessly and peacefully. Creating a higher priority on relationships and events than things. Creating space to clear a path to bigger, more important dealings such as self development and achieving goals. Developing connection to one another. Redefining responsible levels of consumerism. Making the most of what you have. Living in a space that is congruent to your family culture. Keep at top of mind: You are not a victim of your clutter! It’s your choice to keep every item in your home. You want to create a haven for yourself and your family, one that allows each member to live in peace, harmony and synchronicity. Allowing plenty of space and encouragement for one another to grow.

Benefits of pulling the pin on overconsumption.

A de-cluttered space creates room for a) more time for people, b) improved health c) increased financial freedom d) more time for following your dreams e) less time caring for possessions f) less envy g) less environmental impact h) less need to keep up with trends i) more time and space for kindness j) more contentment k) less feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction l) feel-good vibes from donating your surplus to those in need m) more time for sport n) by keeping only clothes you feel fabulous in, you will boost your self esteem o) you can stop working so hard and take the time to form more meaningful relationships with the people you love p) finally realizing quality not quantity q) becoming aware and in charge of your environment r) personal empowerment s) creating calm from clutter and clarity to the blurred pace of over-worked, hyper stimulated, hyperactive living t) developing your growth mind-set and belief that your abilities can be developed u) creating a more joyful pathway into your future v) valuing people over things

Choosing Time Wisely

"To choose time is to save time” Francis Bacon

Time is modern life’s most valuable commodity. Life is moving too quickly to cope. Instead of getting off the hamster wheel, we’re frantically searching for ways to increase productivity, endurance and keep up with the pressure and pace of daily life. When some-one mentions getting connected, we automatically think of devices instead of relationships and people. Our free time, in theory is our own and yet many of us are tossing it away on non value propositions. So listen up. You will need to dedicate time to organizing and simplifying your home. If your next question is how the heck/where the hell am I meant to find the spare time to do that? The answer is surprisingly simple. Prioritize yourself and your family. Decide that right now. Good on you. Best decision of your life. Now. Ways to claw your time back. Ergo your life back.

1. Turn off the TV. On average, adults watch 52,500 ads per year and over 700 hours of television. The problem with watching these many ads is that it fuels inadequacy and feelings of dissatisfaction. If you can’t turn off the box, at the bare minimum of awareness, mute any ad-breaks that may arise during consumption.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we also spend two months of each year on sedentary leisure activities. Yep, that’s right. 2 months of solidly, recreationally, sitting on our bums. 

2. Switch off the phone. According to a deloitte consumer survey last year, our constant appetite for checking-in, messaging with friends, reading the news and the growing fear of missing out, means Aussies are multi-tasking on their smartphones more than ever before. More than 80% of the population can’t last an hour after waking before checking their phones. Younger Australians are the most digitally connected mobile consumers, checking their smartphone on average 56 times a day and some checking more than 200 times a day. That’s every 4.5 minutes people. Receiving messages releases dopamine into the brain - the same chemical effect as gambling, drinking and smoking. Only it’s without regulations. It’s no wonder phone addiction is rife. Even the phone companies are baffled that users are ignoring the safety warning of such intense use.

3. Shut down your computer. A recent survey conducted by RUOK? stated that Australians are looking at screens for 46 hours per week compared to 6 hours spent with family.

4. Stop working overtime. On average, Australians are working 6 hours of unpaid overtime per week. I suggest, if possible, put that time into the home management bank for you and your family instead. 

5. Realize you’re not a human taxi. If you’re ferrying kids around each day, I suggest reducing their activities and gift them free time to play. Unless you’re parenting a prodigy, there’s no benefit to hot housing your kids before and after school each day. Richard Louv reports that between 1981 and 2003 children have lost 9 hours of discretionary time per week. Naturally this affects the whole family. 

Most people want more time to exercise, get more sleep, spend quality partner time, develop a business or hobby, spend time with family. Prioritize wisely. I’m just going to leave this word here: SIMPLIFY.

The Process: 

This is going to take strength, will and discipline. So bring your game face to the task.

First of all, set a deadline. If it’s your whole house then 10 days is the deadline.

You’ll need 3 piles: 1. Donate 2. Sell 3. Recycle/Bin.

I strongly urge you, unless you genuinely, desperately need funds, to donate absolutely everything possible. There are few greater joys in life than to be down on your luck and discover something of exquisite quality in the charity shop. Think of the joy and dignity that item could bring to someone in need versus a few spare bucks in your pocket and follow your heart. Remember, this process is meant to challenge and re-define you.

Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Queen of organization advises to:

1. Tidy in one shot as quickly as possible. You want to finish it in a short period of time.

2. Sort by category not by location.

3. Pile everything up in the middle of the house. Yes, everything!!! Just do it.

4. Make sure you touch everything and ask the question “Does it spark joy?”.

5. Decide what you’re going to keep and share the rest of your life with. Pile accordingly.

Follow this order:

1. Clothes

2. Books

3. Documents

4. Miscellaneous items

5. Mementos

Aaaaargh! It’s emotional!! Let’s develop our mindsight everyone! Do not back down. Do not give up.

Dr Daniel Siegel, professor of psychiatry at UCLA on MINDSIGHT: “It is a powerful lens through which we can understand our inner lives with more clarity, integrate the brain, and enhance our relationships with others. Mindsight is a kind of focused attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds. It helps us get ourselves off of the autopilot of ingrained behaviors and habitual responses. It lets us “name and tame” the emotions we are experiencing, rather than being overwhelmed by them.”

In clutter-clearing our spaces, we’re actually positively shaping our brains, behaviours and habits.

So, I’m not going to lie and tell you there wont be tears. It’s good to cry. It’s beneficial for our health. Letting go of “stuff” can be hard, especially if you’ve been filling an emotional void with things. Maybe you feel racked with guilt in the knowledge that there are so many people living in poverty and you feel shallow and greedy seeing all your things stacked in one space. Recognizing that this process uncovers feelings like lack of self worth is key. That’s great! You’re growing into awareness. It’s vital though that you maintain the ruthlessness to be brutal. Be swift. Let go and move on. No-one is dying here, no-one is starving, this is not an international tragedy. Developing mindsight will help you contextualise that you are growing into awareness and intention. Donating your overconsumption of goods is going to benefit many, instead of holding on, keep moving! Remember speed is key. Be swift. Jolt yourself out of mediocrity. Move into the positive space of what you can do right now, today and free your mind and your living space to grow into greatness.

I am cheering for you!

Lots of information to absorb! However the first step is deciding that being organised and simplifying is a PRIORITY. 

I hope Rachelle's insights were helpful for you to EDIT YOUR LIFE. Take a step today. Get rid of some stuff. Tidy up. Repeat. 

I also have another GREAT video for you to check out. A STING song called, "Seven Days." 

It's from my jazz album called, "My Romance" which you can order in the STORE. 

Always remember, You Have A Voice! 

Love Simone