Decluttering and Pets

I have talked about this in the past and I think it is worth bringing up again, because I often see neglected homes, the people in it and their pets. Clearly, if you have no time for yourself it is likely that you won’t have time for an animal- even a goldfish needs cleaning and food!

I am generally talking about all animals; but will refer mostly to dogs and cats in this blog, because they are the most common fury mates living in a house, with people. This write up is also not a suggesting to dump your pet, but asking you to be honest and change for the better if necessary.

To me, a four legged friend has been part of most of my life and it feels right. We have two dogs and two cats in or family and it looks like a pony will be part of the family soon (just checking to see if my husband reads my blogs!). Anyway, since I have moved many times, have children and I often have to manage life by myself, I know the extra work, time and responsibility that comes with a pet. I could just go on and on here, from the cute puppy that does not want to be alone and chews your furniture, the cat puke you step in first thing in the morning, the rat that is brought in the house at midnight and vet bills that accumulate.

Again, the reason I am writing this blog about decluttering and pets, is because I am seeing repeatedly stressed families with chaotic homes and lives that include inappropriate conditions for their animals. Especially dogs need your time, training, a purpose, cleaning, care and good food. Canines are not meant to be left alone. They need exercise, stimulation and a caring pack. I am not saying you can’t go to work and have a dog- what I am saying is, you have to walk your dog before and after work unless you live on a farm. Neighborhoods are full of barking and annoying dogs that are sheltered behind walls. They are purchased or adopted to accompany humans or their children. Dogs are wonderful companions and most likely they will love you no matter what, but that is exactly why people think they can get away with neglect. Just because your dog shows attachment towards you doesn’t mean that he is happy- they don’t have a choice and they need a pack.

If you are overwhelmed and are too tired to care for your animal you may want to change some things. I base my work as an organizer on three pillars: Enough sleep, good food and daily exercise. You may wonder what that has to do with your pet and decluttering. Well, if you get enough sleep you have the energy to exercise, you can exercise with your dog and this will likely lead to a healthy appetite. With commitment, these habits will transfer to basic skills. This accomplishment will launch the capability to newly shape your daily life with less clutter, fewer stress and more time!

There is also help for keeping a clean home with your animals. There are self cleaning litter boxes for felines- mine are outside cats, so I never tried it, but I guess there are also good litter brands that capture the smell as well. Cat or dog doors are a great addition, as long as they are not a nuisance and your dogs don’t run outside and annoy your neighbors with their barking. I have a bicycle attachment to safely ride with my dogs and a mountain scooter to cover some terrain- all just for fun! A tired dog is a good dog! Robot vacuums are also great helpers to clean up after your pet and I highly recommend one to shorten your workload. Order your pet supplies online, this way you save a trip to the store and it is likely you buy only what is needed.

Some of us are not meant to have pets. If you are overwhelmed and you can no longer care for your animal, do not rush to the animal shelter. Do the right thing and find a good home for her or him. Last and least, if you are planning on getting a pet, be honest with yourself and know what you are getting into. There is a reason why the animal shelters are full!

Dogs are such acceptable mates —they do not ask questions and are not critical of you; therefor be good to them because they will try to love you even if you are not.” – FRITZ Space Maker

Flowers, Light and Colors…

It is spring time on this side of the equator! A season that resembles fun, sun and energy. Can you feel it? Make sure you don’t miss it and to let the light in.

When I say “don’t miss it” I mean that now is the time to do a few things before it is too late and fall and winter are back. Time flies and you should enjoy this seasonal leap.

Many of you are doing an annual spring cleaning. It is a great feeling when you are done and satisfied- clearing the dust, clutter and letting go of stuff. Some are too overwhelmed with their mess and rather push it off to an unknown time which is likely to never come. This is somewhat sad, because sunlight is an essential helper for those that are stressed. So clear the clutter and remember that “Less is More”!

Do you live in a tiny or big home? Do you have a garden, balcony or patio? Are you residing in a travel trailer or maybe a house boat (one of my dreams!)? It does not matter, because most likely you have windows. Pull up the blinds- yes, it will show the dirt and dust clearly and start your blitzing and don’t forget to let some fresh air in!

If you have a big mess and you are overwhelmed, start with one window. Clean it and move away all the clutter around it. Make sure you get rid of the stuff that does not serve you! You may want to hang a crystal in the window that plays with the natural brilliance of light. Start treating each window in your home as a shrine- a sanctuary for letting in the rays of life and connecting with the outside world. Again, open the window and let some fresh air in.

If you have a balcony or patio, take a closer look and decide if you are getting some positive use out of it. What is positive use? It should serve you to help relax and enjoy the moment. Savor a glass of wine in the evening, have a cozy spot to read a book, or a space to enjoy good company. Use your outside space as an oasis. Plants are not always the answer, it just depends on your green thumb and your time. You can always send FRITZ a message at I make space and organize as a professional and am available virtually.

Garden? Some of us love to have this little place on earth that we especially enjoy during the spring and summer season. Again, think about how green your thumb really is and how you can timely manage it. I do not enjoy mowing the lawn and after we tried to run our front and backyard accordingly to its needs, we noticed that we spent way too much time on this- more than we really wanted. There used to be a lawn, pond with fish, many plants that needed watering and lots of cutting, clipping and trimming. We decided to change to a low maintenance yard! We love it more than ever, it is “waterwise” and now we have time to enjoy it.

Right now is a good time to start your spring cleaning! Sort out, let go, make space and take joy in what is provided by nature. Don’t miss out to add some tulips and daffodils on your table!

Spring lets the sun put a new layer of joy on your home and heart-
the best time of the year to dust, clean and let go.
-FRITZ Space Maker

Self-Discipline and Acceptance, two powerful techniques for a successful declutter journey.

Life happens even if we try to force it. My clients often ask me how this should work, because our rational thinking can’t make sense out of “If I just accept the mess, how will I get anything done”?

Obviously my customers have collected a lot of clutter in the past and are trying to change. If it is a transformation that is driven by cortisol and adrenaline, there will be a different outcome than changing with intentional planning and accepting. Which one do you think is the better way to find lasting change with kindness to yourself?

I have worked with people powered by these stress hormones and even so we cleared their chaos in record time, it only lasted a couple of weeks. They were extremely pressured and the fact of letting go caused them pain. Their intentions were not clear and they had no plan nor an actual goal, besides getting this done quickly. Shortly after all the work was done, they went shopping and started adding again. They rather fell back into their old chaos -even so it caused them stress- than going through the practice of self-discipline and creating the space they really longed for. Many seem to look for the easy way out…

Maybe discipline sounds harsh, because words like: control, authority, rule and strictness come to mind. I am talking about self-discipline which is really a positive and important attribute. Direction and order are beneficial and they manifest as inner strength. You overcome procrastination and laziness, and you follow through with whatever you do, providing an uncluttered mind, that sets you up for more time, space and happiness.

The skill of self discipline is a learned behavior. Sometimes our parents are really good with teaching us and sometimes they are not. How do you become savvy in this technique? It is simple: Daily practice, diligence and repetition.

Accepting reality next to your practice of self -discipline is part of succeeding. It kind of rubs your nose in the fact that your kitchen is a mess, the laundry needs to be done, your floors are dirty and the rest of the family is not getting the hang of putting their stuff away. There is no quick cure for this, therefor simply accept it and work on the change.

In case you are in a family environment, make sure you share responsibilities. If someone does not do them, they will have to deal with the consequences. Be disciplined to do your part and let go of what is not yours. My kids are the greatest procrastinators and let me tell you, they did not get this from me! All I can do is remind them of their duties. I am leading as a good example and I take care of myself. Hopefully they will learn from my illustrations and benefit from it some day.

If you live in a single household, self-discipline might be easier. You certainly can’t blame anybody else for the mess.

When the feeling comes up that there is no end in sight, you do not know where to start and the chaos seems to swallow you, rest assured that with repetition and practice of self-discipline all will fall into place. It is a process that gets better with time!

Here are some of my guidlines that have helped clients during their declutter journey.

Make a weekly schedule and assign the following duties to certain days of the week and stick to them: grocery shopping, laundry, paper work, cleaning. This way you know they get done when their time comes.

Appoint everybody with specific duties. For example: walking the dog, doing their own laundry, cooking, emptying the trash, watering the plants, mowing the lawn…

Start with one room at a time to clear the chaos. Do not move to the next one until you are done.

Stop buying stuff!

Everything should have its place and start putting things where they belong!

Get rid of duplicates, make space and let go!

Get more sleep!

Take breaks, maybe learn to meditate, or find something that soothes your busy mind!

Eat well!

Doing this right you can’t just be self- disciplined in one area, it is an overall gentle practice. My friend Cindy is a “horsewoman” teaching equine and rider how to come to a reliable and lasting relationship. Here is what she said the other day: “It is persistence, not insistence”! Do you see the gentle difference? It is the same as cortisol and adrenaline vs. self-discipline and accepting. Or, let’s put it this way “You can’t make the grass grow any faster by pulling on it”!

Seeking Simplicity

(Übersetzt ins Deutsche unter Blog-D)

It is not very surprising that we seek a slower life with more time, because it feels that life is getting faster by the day.

The sudden approach to find an unrushed way to exist in our western world is just like stopping with your car. If you have been racing on the Autobahn your braking distance will be greater than if you were leisurely driving down the street. So do not be surprised that it may take some time to slow down. It is wonderful to have the Autobahn when you need it, but it is equally important to have the nature trail with a bench to stop and breathe. My job is to help clients put the brakes on without sliding into a ditch and finding a speed that allows them to see clearly out of the window.

Of course, we have to do many things in order to keep the wheel turning. At the same time there are elements we can eliminate that add stress and implement simplifications to make more time.

I know that many of you might get tired of my three pillars that I base my work and life on, but they are essential!

Here they come again:

Enough sleep, good food and daily exercise. What does that have to do with organizing your life? Everything! Try to do without it and you wont see lasting change!

So, if you would like to simplify your life, try starting with “just” that and be realistic on how long your braking way will be. Just like stopping in your car at high speed, the first meters will be the hardest.

Ask yourself what causes the most stress in your routine? We are all unique and each of us have different anxiety levels. For many it builds up throughout the day and in the evening we are exhausted. Preparing for the next day and getting a good night sleep are therefor so important, because it sets you up for a good start. I am a mother and never underestimate the work and stress that is involved in getting children ready in the morning- but having a consistent routine helps and gives the kids security. A good breakfast in the morning, cleaning up the kitchen and making your bed before you leave the house, makes it nicer to come home to at night. In the middle of your day, take a break. Keep your work space nice and prepared for the next work day before you leave.

For many the work place is where they spend max time and it is often the greatest cause for stress. Since it is a must for most to make money,
people often have to take a lot of crap and comply, because they can’t afford to loose their job. If this is your case, steer in the right direction to change it and find an environment you want to work in. It may help to know that you are not alone with this problem, many feel the same way.

Being organized and having simplified down to what is loved and needed will have a tremendous impact in your success of finding more time. I believe that we are longing more than ever to have more simplicity in our daily activities. For many it has gotten to fast paced and there is very little time left in the day. It is important to make space again for fun and rest.

So, how do you unravel? It is simple, just get rid of clutter, room by room, organizing drawers, cabinets and closets. Start giving things away or sell what you have not used in the past year. Stop adding and begin managing your time with a weekly schedule for things like cleaning, laundry, groceries, appointments and paperwork. Turn off your notifications on your phone, stay away from social media and say “NO” to things that don’t serve you. Stop using electronics to check in or relax; alternately do nothing. When you turn on the TV do not watch commercials, instead pick a good movie without any advertisement. Find balance between consume and nature. Take a look at some helpful TOOLS on my website.

Often people don’t ask for help. It seems to me, that especially women think they have to do it all.

If you have a partner, start with sharing responsibilities.

If you have children, give them chores.

If you are multitasking, start single-tasking. 

If it is financially possible, hire a cleaning service.

If you have a garden that is too much work, make it self sustainable.

If you have pets, make sure you have time for them.

Be honest with yourself when it comes to making space. Again, you can say NO to things that add too much to your load, no reason to take it all on.

Another question to answer yourself is how much of the day, as a percentage, do you spend distracted, lost in thought? I am asking this to emphasize on the importance to give your busy brain a break, because a cluttered life and mind go hand in hand! Not sure how to do this? This may sound weird, but simply learn to be mindful, slow down, take breaks and get enough sleep. There are different ways to acquire the skill of slowing down and mindfulness and you should find a way that works for you. If you are searching for some ideas you might want to look at Headspace and give it a try!

Last, do not diminish the significance of single-tasking. It is the practice of dedicating oneself to a given task and minimizing potential interruptions until the task is completed or a significant period of time has elapsed. Basically, you are learning to be aware and mindful, which declutters not just the moment itself, but also the task and thoughts. If most of us would just focus on one quest at a time and finish, before starting a new one, we would feel less overwhelmed on our journeys. 

What is in your refrigerator?

(Übersetzt ins Deutsche unter Blog-D)

If you buy a new refrigerator they get fancier and pricier as you go down the aisle. Lots of them are with build in WiFi and are so called “Smart Refrigerators”.

It is not very likely that you need a smart cooler. My mother’s refrigerator is half the size of mine. She stores only what is necessary in there and the rest is in cool stock room in the cellar. Not all of us have a cool storage room, but that does not justify to stuff your fridge with unnecessary food- because really, that means that your are stuffing yourself.

So, if you open your fridge, do you see things you are not eating or using on a weekly basis? Some stuff my clients love to collect are: salad dressings, sauces of all kinds, glazes, spreads and dips. Used once and then they sit in there way past their expiration date! Question what you are purchasing. The supermarket I shop in is huge, but in my opinion 95% of the groceries in there are no good.

Just like with your wardrobe, you should try to go through it. Empty it completely and clean the shelves and storage areas. Only put back in, what you are going to eat in the next week or so- ketchup, mayonnaise and yeast are some of my exceptions. Do you really want to feed your body anything that lasts more than a couple of weeks in your refrigerator? I even go to the next step and don’t store anything that has more than five ingredients.

Many items in your fridge can be easily made by yourself with fresh ingredients. The best examples are dressings. Here is a simple recipe that is done in minutes, even by the kids:

Fresh pressed lemon juice, olive oil and mineral salt. You can fancy this mixture by using an oil of your choice (sesame, hemp, sunflower…), sweeten it with honey, blend with an avocado or yogurt and add some fresh herbs or spices of your taste. Depending on who makes the dressing in our family, decides on its flavor and ingredients.

Same with dipping or simmer sauces. They can easily be done by using what is in your storage. Use fresh herbs, onion, garlic, spices and mix with sour creme or yogurt, or simmer in coconut milk or an oil of your choice.

The freezer compartment is another place that turns quickly into a black hole. Again, only store what you will eat eventually and try to make it a healthy place as well. Take a moment to empty your freezer and clean it out, putting in only what is eatable. The USDA recommends tossing uncooked roasts, steaks, and chops after a year in the freezer, and uncooked ground meat after just 4 months. Meanwhile, frozen cooked meat should go after 3 months.

When you come to our house on a Wednesday, it is very likely that the fridge is pretty much empty. We go grocery shopping on Thursdays and try to use the food all up. Very seldom do we go out to lunch or dinner. We cook almost every evening. Pizza, pasta, fish, meat are secondary to fruit, veggies and legumes. Our kids open the fridge often and say: ” there’s nothing to eat”. Well, I know there is, it just needs a little preparation.

You should involve your family to go grocery shopping and prepare meals and by the way, who says it is a women’s job? My husband was overwhelmed with just making breakfast; now he has his specialties that he prepares- not sure if he really likes it, but this is besides the point. Same with the kids. Whoever cooks, decides on what and doesn’t have to participate in the clean up later.

Grocery shopping should be done with a list to avoid buying things double or without a purpose.

I believe that an organized refrigerator, stocked with healthy food, is an important step in creating a simpler and better way of living.

In my line of work, I see the kitchen as the heart of the home”. -FRITZ Space Maker

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