Clutter Free Eating

2018-10-29T20:08:34+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

Clutter Free EatingThis is something very personal to me and I have been making changes over the last 10 years, learning more and more each day. I understand this is a life-long process and will be filled with trial and error along the way. You need to respect the process and move slowly to make lasting changes. Remember the last time you read an article then went to the store and bought all “super foods” or stocked up on ingredients to make some great recipe? How many of those items are still sitting in your cupboards unopened. Take small steps to make big changes, over time this will get easier and easier, I promise.

With the TONS of digital clutter out there…even the most amazing information is disorder when in surplus. On top of that, we tend to forget that we are completely unique, so something that works for hundreds of others might not work with our particular body and lifestyle. When reading the newest trend or best meditation practice, really ask yourself if this is something you would actually do or if it’s just something the person you keep trying to be would do? Be honest with yourself and be ok if something does feel right for you…spoiler alert…it’s great to be different, own it!

I’m currently attending a year-long program at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition to further my knowledge for personal gain and for my clients. The program looks at all our primary foods and ways to create balance. I see chaos in a holistic way and want to be the best “clutter coach” I can be. Yes, some days I’m just making spaces look beautiful but others I’m having deep conversation with clients to get to the root of why they are over spending their time and money in all aspects of their life. My goal for each and every client is to have a calm and supportive space, I want them to flourish and I know it’s possible once we are organized.

We all need to fuel ourselves, yet we tend to grab the quickest thing. We are always in a rush and not making conscious decisions. Have you ever started eating and then looked down to see it’s all gone, without any recollection of chewing it… I have plenty of times. A bag of chips or Oreos can be scarfed down without even enjoying a bite. Now Oreos aren’t part of my diet anymore but they will always have a special place in my heart (just like an addict still loves the drug that ruined their life.. Note; studies show sugar is more addictive than cocaine.. scary right?!?)

A good example of this is when a woman gets pregnant. All of sudden she starts eating better, drinking more water and makes a conscious effort to be healthier for her baby. Why don’t we do that each and every day for ourselves, aren’t we good enough and deserving of that? We also give babies the best quality organic foods and 100% organic cotton clothing yet as we age we care less and less about what going into or onto our bodies. It’s all concerning to say the least.

The key to success is making small changes each and every day toward a lifestyle that supports our goals. Every time you make a purchase or eat something, you are placing a vote, you are supporting that thing. Take a look at what you are currently supporting…and omit the items that do not serve you. We all know there are plenty of opportunities for poor choices on the weekends or when we are out and about during the week, so let’s make our homes a safe space to reaching our goals.

Ok, here’s the stuff you have been waiting for…how to:

#1: Toss/donate anything in your pantry that isn’t serving your goals. Any food that is expired let it go, anything that is highly processed (do you really want that in your body?), any items that you know you are never going to eat (don’t hold on to it just to let it expire!)
#2: Make a master grocery list. I have a list of the items I always like to have stocked (Coffee, Greens, Tomatoes, Onions, Bananas, Seven Sons Farm Eggs & Meats, Frozen veggies for quick meals, Rice, Oats and Nuts) Anything I grab outside this list has to be used within 2 weeks… If I find a new product and want to try it out, I actually try it out. How many of you grab all these great ingredients for a recipe and months later the ingredients are all still sitting in your pantry. If you buy it USE IT. Remember this is inventory that you have to manage, less stuff means less work for you!
#3: The hardest part… Sticking to the Plan. Each day is an opportunity to support your new lifestyle. Work towards making more and more conscious decisions and removing the ‘food clutter” from your life. Shop like a European, grabbing the freshest foods every few days and using them up before buying more. There is no need for a full pantry/fridge it just leads to waste!

Quick Tips:
1. Buy greens and fruit in bulk: you can freeze 1/2 for smoothies and enjoy the rest.
2. Leftovers- Eat them… and eat them within 2-3 days otherwise you most likely aren’t going to enjoy them and you guessed it – more waste!

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Clearing Clutter From Your Morning Beauty Routine

2018-10-04T19:29:17+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

Organizing Your Beauty RoutineThis week I started to look at the products I use every day and decided it was time to remove the excess and organize! Seeing that I make conscious decisions at the grocery store to buy all organic, sustainable sourced and local foods, why am I not doing the same with the product I put directly on my skin?

I made a quick list of the products I use everyday: shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, make-up, body lotions, toothpaste and mouth wash. Once I started reading the labels I realized even with my minimalist approach to having less, each product had a mile long list of ingredients, many I couldn’t read.

If my goal is to only own items I love and respect, then I needed to start with my morning routine.

FYI I did not start by toss everything I owned and buy the first sustainable product I found. I did a lot of research and looked at reviews so I could make the best decision possible. Note, there will be trial and error in this process.

The reason mass produced chemical based products do so well is because the chemicals in them make the product last longer, less clumping and have a silky smooth texture. Know you can find this with natural & organic products, but also know that you need to find what works best with your skin type and your personal preference. There are plenty of great sources online that have already done the research for you, take a look at Aillea, which seems to be a great place to buy conscious products. I’m sure there are many others as well.

When I’m looking for a new product this is my process:

1. Check if its a sustainable sourced product (where is it made & where did the ingredients come from)
2. Is it tested on animals – This is a no brainer for me. Are you aware that animal testing is required by law in China for all foreign cosmetics companies. This means that all the major American and European cosmetics brands that are currently sold in China, must undergo animal testing. Do a quick search you’ll be shocked at how many are on that list!
3. Chemical free, & organic when possible.
4. Read the reviews, and take these with a grain of salt. I find most people only review for things they either HATED or LOVED, many people truly enjoy a product but never feel the need to leave a review.
5. Lastly, I decide if the cost for the product makes sense for my budget. My products last me a long time even though I use them everyday. So if a foundation cost $60-$80 over 9 months that is well worth investing in. (Hint: you should think this way for all your purchases.. cost per use)
6. Test each product as you get them and if they don’t work, return them. Don’t loose money in this process and/ create more waste. Most companies have a reasonable return policy.

I suggest making changes one at a time. The clutter in your life didn’t happen over night so respect the process and take it slow, allowing you to create new and healthy habits in all aspect of your life!

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Kids Play Room… an area to cultivate creativity or a space to encourage anxiety

2018-10-04T19:29:17+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

An organized child's play roomParents with kids can all relate, even if you are a functional minimalist like me, that it’s nearly impossible to stop family and friends from over buying all those small adorable toys and clothing pieces for your kids. Many studies show children with fewer distractions, or toys in this case, play longer and have more focused time in their play room than children with a plethora of toys to choose from. We are learning that multitasking isn’t as efficient as we once thought so giving children too many options only leads them to less concentrated focus. The long term effects of excess toys and distractions could stunt their potential for future success. Without being able to focus on one task at a time, these areas could be lacking later in their life. As an example let’s look at time management, studying for an exam, and meeting deadlines depend mainly on how organized a person is and how focused they can been when needed. If habits are created over time don’t you want to start your kids off on the right foot?

My suggestion to parents with growing stock piles of toys is to go through them every two to three months and donate the gently used items so that others may enjoy them. More importantly, let your friends and family know that you are working towards a minimalist lifestyle to ensure a successful future for your children and family. Hopefully they will respect those wishes and purchase less; because when you have less, you are opening up space for your kids to learn a couple of very important skills. Those skills are focusing on specific tasks until complete and giving them a space to cultivate their creativity not their anxiety! Oh, and did I mention, less means clean up time is going to be that much easier too!

I work with so many clients that say these exact words “my parents didn’t teach me how to be organized.” Isn’t it funny that if we on teach our children to put their toys away regularly it can help them 20 years down the road in all aspects of their life. The simple task of putting their toys in a bin can rocket them towards success years later.

Quick Tips
1. Let people know you are working towards a minimalist lifestyle
2. Sort through the toys every 2-3 months and purge
3. Teach your children the importance of a tidy space… knowing this will help in their future success

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Small Appliances And Gadgets In Our Kitchens

2018-10-04T19:29:17+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

An organized pantry with kitchen gadgetsIt seems we have a desire to own every gadget out there to make cooking and baking at home “Fun & Easy”. Well, that’s what marketing tells us at least. There is a huge push to cook at home, know what you are eating, and shopping for the best produce. All these are great goals and we all have the best intentions to follow this new lifestyle. Unfortunately, our kitchens become filled with gadgets and tools that are never actually used.

Some of my personal favorites that I use almost daily are my Vitamix, Bodum Electric Kettle and Bodum French Press. Since I use these items daily the cost of “storing” them is well worth the expense. Appliances I see more often then not, stored and not used, are the following: KitchenAid Mixers, some how th

ese big guys have found their way on every registry, part of the perfect brides starter kit. It’s a home staple yet I find most people never plug them in. Other items include rice cookers, dehydrators, food processors, popcorn makesr, bags of cookie cutters, garlic peelers, choppers, spiral tool for veggies, and the list goes on. These items as a whole take up a sufficient amount of real estate in your home. I like to look at each appliance or tool and ask a few questions to ensure the space it holds in my home is warranted. To be clear I’m not saying to ditch all these great tools, just ask a few questions first.

1. How often do you use this?
2. Do you enjoy using this?
3. Looking at how much space this tool takes up, could I use something else in it place that is more multi-functional. For example a food processor and a Vitamix. A Vitamix can serve both purpose for the average cook and baker. Look to get the most value out of one household item.

Once you have taken a moment to review the pros and cons; decide what to keep, sell, or donate. Then take a look at what is in your keep pile.

Finding a location to store these items is key. If they are in a space that is easy to access the chances of you using them are much higher.

Lastly, small appliances tend to come with guides and cookbooks. Look over these and toss the material that you know you won’t use. I pull all my recipes off the internet so these are an easy toss for me. YouTube has everything you need anymore.

Look to purge even the smallest items.. they add up, I promise.

Quick Tips:
1. Take a full inventory of your appliances
2. Ask yourself a few questions
3. Organize your appliances and tools in a way that you will enjoy using and accessing them

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Memory Box… more like a Memory Trunk!

2018-10-04T19:29:17+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

I would say 90% of my clients own boxes of memories. What are boxes of memories? Well, anything from photos, cards, mementos, jewelry (that they will never wear since it’s in this box and not with their other jewelry) along with other odds and ends. Are you one of those people? Don’t be shy – It’s ok if you are, as I mentioned above, most of us fall into that category at one time or another.

Firstly, let’s talk about those hundreds upon thousands of printed photos we have under our bed or tucked away in a drawer. It’s bad enough that we have endless storage on our phones and computers filled with photos you will never look at but having photos that take up physical space in your home can be remedied. Let’s take a moment to sort and purge the excess. Take all the photos out of the frames, purge the frames that are no longer your style and save the others for future use – see I don’t want you to just throw everything away.

Take all the photos and start sorting by “Life Chapters” for example High School, College, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s.. 1st baby, 1st grandchild, you get the point. Once you have sorted these, go back through the images by pile (stay focused on each pile individually otherwise you can become overwhelmed…I’ll talk about the pitfalls of multi-tasking another time). Really look at the photos, do the people in them still mean something to you, does the image make you laugh, cry or feel any emotion? These feelings will be your cue to keep or discard. Take a hard look and do some real cleaning here because the goal is that after this process you will now have a place to enjoy reminiscing rather than feeling overwhelmed which only leads to grabbing the shoe box top, putting it back on and shoving the box where you found it.

Secondly, old notes and mementos; if there isn’t anything terribly memorable or if it doesn’t trigger a good memory let it go. If you are holding onto an item that you just love but aren’t sure why, maybe just take a photo and then discard the item, still allowing for a memory, but opening up more organized room in your home.

I’m a huge supporter of people creating photo books using Shutterfly, Snapfish or a similar company. This allows you to make a beautiful book displaying your favorite photos and memories. This is also a great place to insert the photo of your memento along with other memories. When you take the time to make a photo book you will actually enjoy walking down memory lane and it will reduce the physically clutter in your home.

Lastly, cards…. we all have the urge to send them and people do love getting things in the mail outside of bills! Display your cards for 7-30 days and then toss them in the recycle bin. I’m a bit of an extremist so I understand seven days might be too short for most! Unless someone has really taken the time to write something special inside the card let it go with ease. Again, look for that spark of real feeling or emotion, let that guide you. Another option for more personal notes, snap a photo and save it on your computer under a file called “special cards” this makes it easy to find when you want to re-read it and keeps your space clutter free!

Quick Tips:
1. Sort Photos by “Life Chapters”
2. Make a Photo book using Shutterfly, Snapfish or a similar company
3. Cards, Only keep them if there is a special personal note

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Cocktail Clutter

2018-10-04T19:29:18+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

Organizing Your Cocktail Cart

For everyone 21 and older, let’s chat about your bar cart or cabinet. Everyone seems to have a handful of half empty bottles of unknown brands and tastes from a variety of events; your house warming party five years ago, your 4th of July barbecue, oh, and last New Year’s Eve party are just a couple of examples – do you know anyone like this?

Whether those bottles are pricey items that you hope to enjoy years down the road or others are just taking up space with the hopes someone will finish it off at your next gathering; the fact of the matter is nowadays people always bring their own bottle or twice as much as they need to when attending a party out of common courtesy.

You know these famous bottles that friends and family bring over like “because it looked interesting” or “I just wanted to try this” bottles – but they just become FILLERS on our carts and in our lives don’t they? We have so many “fillers” in our lives already and my goal is to chip away at these “fillers” with each of my clients during our sessions together. It takes time to learn new habits and be a more conscious consumer.

I’m not one to waste anything…ask my husband…but I would like to think life as we know it wouldn’t even shift if you purged your random bottles – you know, those we all identify no one is going to ever drink. Everyone surfs the web looking at perfectly curating spaces…”liking” all of them and day dreaming of have it for ourselves, but then we are on to something else.

Here is the dirty little secret…own less and your space will start to reflect the beautiful spaces you see on Pinterest and Instagram.

Quick Tips:
1. Decide what you will actually drinks…trash the rest (OR make a homemade cleaner with Vodka)
2. Remove any bartending tools or drink decor…only display the items that aesthetically work within the space
3. Remember… LESS is always MORE!

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

Living with less… and loving it.

2018-10-04T19:29:18+00:00By |Categories: Organizing Chicago|

We all want it, but don’t want to put the energy into actually doing it. It’s like wanting a six pack, you can read all the articles and print out all the workouts but until you overhaul your refrigerator and actually make it to the gym nothing is going to change.

For the past two years I have been conscious of my spending and have been trying to live as a functional minimalist. Only bringing in what is needed and really thinking about each and every purchase. This allows me to never have the feeling of … “ugh, it’s that time of year again I need to purge and FREE myself of all my clutter” It’s empowering to finally let go of that story and make daily decisions towards owning less.

I remember in the past I’ve told people I’m a minimalist and by some peoples standards maybe I could have been seen that way. The reality was I was constantly buying and then constantly purging. Hangers would open up and then within no time be filled again. I was always surprised as if I hadn’t done the shopping to fill them back up.

While working with my clients I continue to remind them of their habits, not in a mom nagging way (sorry moms, I know you get a bad rep even though you are just trying to help!) but in a way to make them aware. My favorite part of each session is when the light bulb goes off and they learn a bit more about themselves. Its amazing how little we know about who we are and what habits we have.

Once you simplify what you own, other areas of your life start coming together. You will stop avoiding tasks and just get them done. I’ve seen it happen with a number of clients, and it always makes me smile at how surprised they are with the internal transformation throughout the process of decluttering!

If you take one thing from this.. stop reading articles, stop thinking about what you need to do, stop making excuses… START doing. Pick one task, turn on a timer for 30 minutes and START. Or call me and I’ll put you though a little decluttering bootcamp. Looking at the mound of stuff you own isn’t going to make it disappear, just get in there and start letting go.. its liberating.. I promise!

Sarah Parisi – The Clutter Curator
Chicago’s Premier Home Organizer

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