Becca Anderson has written a new blog post for her Blog of Awesome Women on how being organized can make you happier with your life.
Do you come home every night and feel a bit guilty about the stacks and piles of clutter? Is something blocking your creativity or the get-up-and-go you need for all your household projects? Does your energy feel “stuck” in certain rooms, even impeding a good night’s sleep in your own bed? Is your desk or workstation hopelessly cluttered? Do you go out or order in dinner all the time, not even wanting to cook in your own kitchen? If any of this rings true, I wrote this book for you.
Your home and office should feel like a sanctuary. We should be able to walk in the front door and immediately feel a sense of comfort, refuge, and safe haven. There are lots of things you can do, both large and small, that will make a tangible difference in the way your home feels and functions. Getting rid of anything you no longer use will increase the functionality of your home by making it easier to clean, increase orderliness, and improve energy. I made a breakthrough discovery two years ago when I decided to unpack boxes I had never opened since moving in six years before. While they were tucked away, unseen in the basement storage area, I knew they were there. One
weekend, I decided to take the plunge and open those boxes. Going through our things can be an emotional experience; I remember finding a card from a friend who had passed away and immediately becoming misty-eyed. Powered by a triple latte, I plowed through the boxes and placed objects into three designated areas: Donate, Trash, and Keep. The goal was to have as little in the “Keep”
zone as possible. I am proud to say that even less was in the trash, and that was only a few items that had broken during the move. “Donate” became several carloads to the Recycle and Reuse Center. Once I got the knack of it, most of the “Keep” pile ended up there, too. After the whirl of activity, something unexpected happened: I felt suddenly very buoyant and much lighter. I realized those unopened boxes had caused an invisible cloud of guilt; they had weighed me down. When the cloud lifted, I experienced a kind of effervescent joy. It was simply wonderful. I ask you, what might be holding you back from being utterly happy at home or at work?
If managing your life feels like a war, then half of every battle is getting things in order. For me, it’s no fun at all. I have this nagging feeling that I have two lives going on simultaneously: the fun stuff and the rest of it. For example, I love to cook but despise washing dishes. I love the feeling of paying off the monthly bills, but often can’t get myself together to do it until a week past the deadline, and then I feel miserable about the cumulative effect on my credit score. And any upheaval—a move, an emergency, or just getting a bad head cold—throws me for a loop. How did I let this go?! I ask myself, crazed. Why is my house filled with paper?! (One in every five pieces is really important, I swear.)
Well, it’s time for a detox, a deep cleansing, and a spring cleaning. Doing your taxes. Clearing and sorting your wardrobe. Getting rid of the magazines you’ve been unwittingly storing since college. What a wonderful release. Now, those are the big projects, and don’t worry yourself into trying to do them all at once. Just pick a project each month and do it a little at a time, or else set aside a whole weekend to blast through, whatever suits your style.
And for the rest of the month, take aim at the little, repetitive, everyday stuff. Work hard to make it a habit to sort your mail right away, clean out your pockets and purse every day, and dream up new ways to multitask effectively. Train yourself to make a difference in tiny ways all day long, and soon you’ll forget it’s an annoyance because when it all adds up, you’re way ahead of the game. If you can coax yourself into making the art of organization second nature, I promise it will serve you forever.
The Hunt for Captain Kidd and How He Changed Piracy Forever
Crime and punishment. During his life and even after his death, Captain William Kidd’s name was well known in England and the American colonies. He was infamous for the very crime for which he was hanged, piracy. Rebecca Simon dives into the details of the two-year manhunt for Captain Kidd and the events that ensued. Captain Kidd was hanged in 1701, followed by a massive British-led hunt for all pirates during a period known as the Golden Age of Piracy. Ironically, public executions only increased the popularity of pirates. And, because the American colonies relied on pirates for smuggled goods such as spices, wines, and silks; pirates tended to be protected from capture.