Foundations for your dreams
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I think this little cliché has put us into a state of unhappiness. We are hardly ever satisfied with what we have and where we are in life. I am not saying that we should stop dreaming, because I believe that dreams give us hope. What I do want to do is show you that our dreams need good foundations to grow on, and that we can choose to be happy any place we are.
In 1996, Robert and I married. I set out to make his house my home. I would plan and scheme and come up with ideas to remodel. We would go to dinner and draw plans on a napkin. Then I would look at the cost and beat myself up because I was not much of a housekeeper. I would say that unless I can keep what I have clean, then I didn’t deserve a new home. For some reason, I never blamed the house for being too small.
The walls were closing in on me because we kept going to auctions and buying more stuff and not getting rid of anything. At the auctions, we began to upgrade our furniture. We made some lovely selections that matched our personalities. In 1999, I woke up on New Year’s Day determined to “Get Organized,” whatever that meant.
That is when I set out on my journey. It all started with shining our 23-year-old lime-crusted sink. I knew that my all-or-nothing stinkin’ thinkin’ had never got me to the place I wanted to be. So I resolved to be nice to myself, too, not to pile on by doing too much too fast, and develop habits that would stay with me. I had figured out that not establishing habits and taking babysteps was the reason I could not keep house. I wanted to be on automatic pilot, but that took practice. So I put myself in FLYght training school. I didn’t know it at the time, but getting rid of our clutter, clearing out the clutter in my mind and establishing new habits and routines would help me find my life’s purpose.
After nine months of countless 27 Fling Boogies and establishing one new habit a month; our home was staying clean all by itself. I had given birth to a brand-new me. I never dreamed that I could have so much free time. Automatic pilot was giving me the freedom to explore other areas of my life; politics, writing and a remodel.
On July 13, 2000, we started the remodel. I was scared to death that I was going to lose my routines during the process. I had spent 19 months building my routines. My routines were new pathways I had created in my brain. If you don’t use them, you lose them, like muscles. I decided that our bedroom would be my shiny sink with the rest of the house in total chaos. Each morning I would get up and do my routines in our little corner of our chaotic home. Then I would try to stay out of the contractor’s way. Finally at Thanksgiving the remodel was over.
My routines had stayed in place and we had survived a remodel. The best part about the remodel was the dumpster we had in the yard. We discovered many new layers of clutter in our basement. The routines I had established helped me to endure a remodel. I was very happy in the home we had because it was clean and comfortable. The remodel updated our ’70s home with green shag carpet and coppertone appliances, built by a bachelor, to one that reflected our tastes not just mine or his.
I am so happy that I got our little home in order before I started our remodel. Those routines and the habit of decluttering were the foundation for making our dreams happen. Without them, I would have lost myself in the chaos. That was the first year of being FlyLady and many of the essays I wrote that year became part my first book which I wrote in July of 2001.
Construct your foundations for your dreams on solid building blocks of Habits, put together with the mortar of decluttering. You will be surprised to find that the sky is the limit! Your clutter is an obstacle to building your dreams; whatever they are. You can’t organize clutter; you can only get rid of it!
For more help getting rid of your CHAOS, check out Marla Cilley’s website and join her free mentoring group at www.FlyLady.net, listen to her www.blogtalkradio.com/flylady show, or read her books, Sink Reflections, published by Bantam, and her New York Times bestselling book, Body Clutter, published by Fireside. Copyright 2008 Marla Cilley. Used by permission in this publication.