Tag Archives: chic from home

My Four Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

4 Favorite Cleaning and Decluttering Books

It doesn’t matter the time of year. It seems everyone is always cleaning, decluttering and organizing their homes, and looking for new and better ways to do so.

I admit, I’m guilty. Right now, I’m doing a major cleanout and it’s refreshing to see open space where once there was something that collected dust.

It seems each season brings a host of new books advising how best to clean through your stuff. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of them, but it seems I still go back to these four books. Here are my favorites:

  1. Move your stuff, change your life by Karen Rauch Carter

I discovered this book in 2007, and it sits within easy reach of my desk. Carter approaches cleaning and organizing from a feng shui perspective, but she’s so much more than that. She takes a very holistic approach to life and is continually educating herself on how our homes can best and most healthily support us. She even wrote a sequel called, Make a Shift, Change Your Life.

Since we’re talking about cleaning and organizing here, I love her approach to working through the process. She suggests defining your perfect life in great detail, then checking to see that you have items in the house that support it. If it doesn’t, out it goes! She’s even conducted annual decluttering workshops to kick start the year.

Whenever I need something positive to keep me going as I declutter, I check out her YouTube channel or Facebook posts, and I’m motivated once again.

  1. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

I know, this is another feng shui book, but Kingston does an amazing job of getting down to the psychological and emotional reasons you keep things, and how to move past them. I was fascinated when I read this and still feel this is one of the best books of its kind. Decluttering somehow makes sense with this book.

I read the original, but there’s now an updated version, which I will also purchase. Kingston’s ideas are simple and effective, and you will refer back to it time and again. Like a good novel, once you get to the end you want to start reading from the beginning.

  1. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The Fly Lady

Although there are many good people out there who can help us to declutter, The Fly Lady teaches you how to clean! Not just deep cleaning, but how to maintain a clean and healthy home without spending your Saturdays washing floors and scrubbing toilets. It all comes down to routines.

For as long as I can remember, most people I know have spent their Saturday mornings cleaning for hours. What a lousy way to start the weekend! The Fly Lady agrees and aims to help you keep your weekends free for the important people in your life. Setting up a control journal is crucial to becoming successful here, but it’s super easy. I’ll try to do a blog post in the future about this.

There are references to people whose homes are in complete disarray, but even if you’re already a neat person, you’ll still pick up a few pointers.

I also highly suggest signing up for her newsletter. You’ll be flooded with messages, but there is good information and it keeps you on track.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, I had already begun doing many things in this book before it was written. I used to move a lot when I was young – a lot! – and everything just got thrown in boxes and oftentimes never got unpacked at the next location. Finally, when I had some time, I started to gather like items together, so I could determine how many of a particular item I had. It was mind blowing! Plus, items that would go into one room in one house might be used completely differently in the new one, so it was important to gather, then decorate.

I was quite open to Kondo’s approach, but I was also deep in the throes of caring for my Mom when I discovered this book, so I wasn’t able to finish going through my entire house the way she suggested. I do have an appreciation for many of her suggestions, but after living with it for a time, not everything works for me. For example, she suggests folding clothing like tops, sweaters, pants – depending on your closet and storage space. So, I folded my tanks, camis and t-shirts. It created much more closet space, but since those items now sit in drawers, I completely forget I have them! I only look in those drawers when I absolutely need those items. I would rather they hang in my closet so I can be more creative in putting together outfits. For me, out of sight, out of mind. I just need a bigger closet…

There you have it! My four favorite cleaning and decluttering books. I’d love to hear about yours! Add your comments below.

Be sure to join my mailing list and follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home: Fashion vs. Comfort – What to wear to your home office

Fashion versus comfort – What to wear to your home office

Working from home definitely has its advantages, but there are a steady stream of challenges as well. Surprisingly, one issue that crops up time and again is what to wear to your home office!

In general, corporate office attire has become more casual over the decades although some companies still require strict adherence to a formal suit and tie dress code. Casual clothing in the workplace has swung so far away from professional attire that some people opt to up their game in the fashion department because they realize dressing well for work makes them feel better and co-workers give them more respect. Your physical appearance, after all, is the first way people form an opinion of you.

Regardless of how you dressed when you actually left the house for a job, once you work from home you have total control over your wardrobe selections. And, depending on your circumstances, it can vary widely from day to day and may change significantly over time.

I know many people who work from home and their daily fashion habits run the gamut from rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee and working in their pajamas to full-on hair, makeup and business casual outfit. The current trend of athleisure wear lies somewhere between pajamas and casual dress, so if you truly get to stay home all day, you can look a bit more together in your hoodie and compression capris. However, at some point you will encounter the outside world. Ask yourself, if you have to open the door for a delivery or run out for coffee, do you want to be known as the lady in the pink pajamas?

So, how do you decide what is best for you? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Dress casually. If you have an opportunity to have one or two really casual days of just sitting in your office to work, then enjoy yourself. How casual you go depends on your circumstances. If you live alone, it’s your option. If you’re married or have children, you’ll probably at least need to get dressed lest you encounter negative comments from your spouse or kids.
  2. Dress fashionably. If you are a social media devotee, you’ll probably have to do hair and makeup on a daily basis. If you’re a fashion blogger, I suspect you look forward to it! Also, if you do video webinars or meetings, not only will you need to look good but all the surroundings that appear on screen will need to entice as well.
  3. Dress professionally. If you attend a number of meetings outside of your home, I would suggest dressing professionally unless that’s deemed taboo in your industry. Professional dress shines a positive light on you, and your main purpose for being a business owner is to make money and be successful.
  4. Dress for you. If it makes you feel good to always look your best, it doesn’t matter what others are doing in their home offices, it just matters how you feel.

Your relationship with your personal work environment and wardrobe will likely evolve as you define yourself as a business owner. Whatever makes you feel your good will reflect in your business.

How do you like to dress for your home office?

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home – 3 Must-Haves for Business Travelers

3 Must-Haves for Business Travelers

No doubt about it, traveling for business it tough! Whenever you can find small items that will make a huge difference in your travel experience, it’s worth it to find the precious space in your luggage to bring them along. Here are three items that will definitely help to ease the travel pain. Links are at the bottom of the post.

  1. Hunter Personal Humidifier. This thing is awesome! The air is always so dry on airplanes and in hotel rooms, this little baby solves that problem. It’s only about four inches high and uses regular tap water in a one liter water bottle. Just flip it upside down and turn it on. It runs quite a few hours on one bottle so you could get a whole night’s sleep before you need to refill. It also works well in an office or dorm room, or even a hospital room. During my mom’s last hospital stay, I put it near her bed and it took all that dry, static air away. I couldn’t believe the difference! This is worth every penny.
  2. Personal air purifier. I’m a big fan of Joy Mangano, so these next two items are from her. This little machine is a workhorse! It not only purifies the room but it also infuses it with one of her Forever Fragrances. Great on the road or at home.
  3. My Little Steamer Go Mini. Joy is the queen of steam! This steamer has great power considering its size. No need to pay the hotel to have your clothing pressed. Just a few minutes with this little machine and you’ll be ready to go. It’s often sold in sets of two, with a larger steamer for home and this one for travel. It takes up about the same amount of space as a hair dryer but can save you a ton of money in pressing charges. As all Joy Mangano products do, it comes in a wide variety of colors.

I purchased all three of these from HSN.com but they are available at a variety of retailers. I’ve included links to Amazon and HSN below for your convenience. Some of these links are affiliate links but all opinions are my own.

What are your favorite travel must-haves? I’ll share more favorites in the future!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Amazon links:
Hunter QLS03-RD Ultrasonic Personal Air Humidifier, Red

Joy Mangano My Little Steamer Go Mini Hand Steamer in White

Joy Mangano Forever Fragrant Odor-Eliminating AirFLO Purifier – Meadow Green by Joy Mangano

HSN Links:
Hunter Personal  Humidifier

Joy Mangano My Little Steamer

Joy Mangano AirFLO Purifier

 

Planning – 3 Business Rules for 2017 and Beyond

Normally, once Saturday Night Live is over, I’m busy doing something. As a night owl, I’m often off the sofa and into my office to work on my lengthy to-do list. But, a few weeks ago, I was a bit tired and didn’t get up before the next program began. And, I’m very glad!

Immediately following SNL, at least in this market (Las Vegas), is Your Move with Andy Stanley. Now, I’d only seen the program a couple of times, but that night’s talk really hit home, with one slight twist. Stanley was addressing viewers to make changes in their personal lives. However, I had my business hat on that day and before he spoke a word, once I saw the bullet points on the screen, I immediately went into entrepreneur mode.

Stanley wanted you to look deep inside you to make the changes necessary to become the person you’re desiring to sit across the table from you, the perfect mate. If viewed from the other’s perspective with your checklist, do you match up? I’d heard this advice before, but my business brain was running a mile a minute on his bullet points. So let’s take a look.

Here are Andy Stanley’s Three Rules:

  1. Get out of debt
  2. Stay out of bed
  3. Clean out your closet

Now, aside from the first one, you may be wondering how the next two apply to business. Let’s take them one by one.

Get out of debt. Some people advise you to leverage, leverage, leverage. When it comes to debt, I’m advising to be debt-free. The less debt you have, the more control you have over your company. As a solopreneur or small business owner, if you don’t owe anyone money, then you have more money to keep the doors of your business open longer. You’ll make wiser decisions because if you’re spending your money and not someone else’s, you are apt to be very cautious when signing on the dotted line. If you’re debt-free with savings in the bank, you have a more solid foundation on which to grow your business.

If you have a type of business that requires a large capital outlay and it will be a few years to get those loans down to zero, at least pay off your personal debt. Your individual credit score might be required in order to secure financing for your business. And, if you’re looking to woo a potential partner, investor or company to acquire your business, the prettier the balance sheet, the better chance you have of finding that perfect one that checks off all the boxes on your list.

Stay out of bed. Here, Stanley was suggesting you not sleep around, and while that’s good advice for the business environment as well, I immediately thought in different terms. If I were to use this bullet, I would say Get out of bed.

So many people start a business not knowing the immense amount of time and effort required just to get it off the ground, let alone maintain. If you’re lying in bed instead of working on your to-do list and reviewing your goals to see where you can move forward, your business is doomed.

You don’t even have to own a business to make sense of this advice. Taking the time to improve your skills, get a better education, network with people in your desired industry, research requirements for the job you want – they all require that you spend some time in the full upright position.

I’m not advocating you never take time off. On the contrary, rest is essential to having the endurance to be a successful business owner. Lazing around and complaining that nothing ever goes your way will have quite the opposite effect.

Clean out your closet. Dealing with past emotional baggage was the point Stanley was making here, and that’s not bad advice for a business owner. However, I took it literally. Clean out your closet. And your basement. And your garage. And any other place that’s cluttered! Clean!

Why clean? First of all, a clean environment is healthy and conducive to inspiring thought. If you only see clutter around you, your brain has a hard time slogging through the mess before it can focus on creativity. If you’re looking at a clean and organized interior landscape, surrounded by things that make you happy, your starting point for work is significantly better.

Some people say they can’t find the money to start their business. Well, it might be sitting in your garage or the back of your hall closet. Clean out and sell items you’re not using. You might fetch a few thousand, or at least a few hundred, which could be enough to get your website going and business cards designed and printed. Accomplishing a whole house cleanout will also boost your confidence to accomplish those sometimes-scary business tasks. Just don’t waste the money you gain. It can dribble in as things may sell one by one and take a period of time for everything to sell. Set the money aside so you have all the dollars ready to work for your new business.

As you can see, the same words can mean different things to different people, depending on your perspective and state of mind at the time. Andy Stanley was working on your spiritual self while I saw the words from a business perspective. Still, good advice whichever side you’re on!

What are your thoughts? Can you relate to any of these three scenarios? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Cindi’s Thoughts – KonMari – Does your house have a set point?

Does your house have a set point?We often hear how our bodies have a set point for weight, that no matter how hard we try to lose, it will always work harder and harder to get back to a weight that it feels comfortable maintaining. Much the same, we try to keep our home organizing in check with the one in – one out rule: For every new item we bring into the house, something has to leave.

So, as I’ve been going through my house with the KonMari method, I noticed that as I was getting rid of things, others somehow were making their way into newly found spaces. I got rid of clothes and shoes, but I had to replace some and I added others. Not as much as I had before, definitely, but I felt a little on the skimpy side when I opened my closet doors after the initial cleanse.

It wasn’t only the closet that was affected. I now have a collection of photo props, things I might have considered tossing, or things I needed to buy, just to improve my business photography, plus other small tech items for my business.

Then, there are new sheets (I went all white) and a quilt because I’d been trying to replace one I received as a gift several years ago. When I found it, I felt joy. Isn’t that the whole point of this KonMari exercise – surround yourself with things that bring you joy? Now, it’s possible the things that bring you joy were buried under those that didn’t, but if that’s not the case, you will find a way to bring in the joy.

Once you clean through your house, you open up the space to allow new, wonderful things to happen. Want to learn to play guitar or keyboards? There’s room. How about learning to paint? An easel will fit. Need a home gym? There’s lots of space.

I’m sure when this whole house is KonMari-ed and I’ve finally sold everything I want to on eBay or Amazon or wherever, my house will have significantly less contents. And, I hope to be able to find and use everything I keep. After all, I quite enjoy the fresh air and free space I get when I clean an area and I have no intention of putting something new in its place.

Still, I wondered: How many of you have cleaned through your house and felt great, only to have to return to doing it again a year or two down the road? Kondo says that if you use her method, you won’t experience that again, but I don’t believe that. People change. Circumstances change. People move. Things break.

However, I think that once everything has a home and we’ve all developed new Kondo habits, we’ll be more aware when things are starting to get out of hand and address the issue quickly. List something on eBay immediately when we determine we no longer want it. Have a donation box in our closet. Throw something in the trash when it’s broken and not just relocate it to the garage. Sounds simple but will that initial KonMari elation fade over time?

To me, deep cleaning is like peeling back the layers of an onion. You remove the first layer or two of items you no longer want, only to realize you can go deeper and deeper still. Items you thought brought you joy actually don’t. Over time, you get better and better at realizing what makes you happy.

As the unjoyful leave us, there is room for the joyful to enter. I suspect there are people who feel the need to be surrounded by material possessions, but the point of KonMari is to connect with what you have. Items are not created to sit on a shelf or in a box. They are made to be used. Without the utility, the circle is not complete. Using might mean something as simple as enjoying a piece of artwork; if it’s hanging on the wall, it’s being used but if it’s sitting behind a dresser, not so much.

Not only should we surround ourselves with things that spark joy, we should be grateful for the joy that these items bring us. And, of course, remembering that the joy in life comes from many different places: relationships, experiences, even challenges.

But that brings us back to the opening question: does your house have a set point? In my heart, i believe homes can get along just fine with less filling. They just need to feel loved and experience love within their walls. What do you think?

Enoy!

Cindi

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!