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Season of Giving: 8 Clutter Free Nights

Tips to eliminate the clutter and discover a miracle of Chanukah: 1 present that lasts all 8 nights 

You know the drill; its 8 small presents or one big present. That was always the choice we were given as kids. As we got older we came to see quality over quantity was the way to go. We would choose something more meaningful over the 8 small “junky token” presents.

What will you do this year for your kids? Here are a few ideas that will be more enjoyable and will take up less space.

  1. Buy a toy that lasts.
    There are really great quality items that keep my kids happy for hours. Whether it be a pack of Magnatiles, a board game (bananagrams for older kids, double for younger ones) or building blocks.
  2. If you are buying 8 small gifts, choose carefully from the dollar stores.
    Don’t just buy 8 items that catch your eye. Inevitably most cheap products are made to be broken or have many little pieces. Try to locate objects that look more sturdy and have less parts that will get lost after a few minutes.
  3. Re-purpose gifts you are already have and give them a new life.
    That old jug that’s collecting dust in the corner can be filled with chocolate coins and dreidels that provide family entertainment one evening of the festivities.
  4. Have a “chavaya” or a family outing instead of an actual present.
    Take the kids to the new aquarium or to a circus or out for a hike. Or even for an overnight trip! Plan a picnic with traditional Chanukah foods for an extra special day. The kids will love it and the memories of the day will last more than the present will.
  5. Give by giving back.
    Decide to clean out the toy room (or let me help you pair down the stash) and bring those extra, seldom-used toys (that are still in decent shape!) to a hospital, orphanage or a day care center. Your kids will see how meaningful it is to give to those who are less fortunate and will get the warm and fuzzy feel-good feeling of giving a worthy gift!
  6. Make something from scratch.
    Paper mache, a scarf, a framed picture for the wall for the crafty ones amongst us. Just consult Pinterest for inspiration. A gift from the heart that your kids will treasure.
  7. Make it a gift that lasts.
    Something that the kids could come back to time and time again. A coloring book, play dough, or anything that gets their creative juices flowing (and will help them expand their inner imaginary worlds without taking up too much space.
  8. A magazine subscription for the kids who are reading.
    Or even for those who are not yet reading but love to look at pictures of nature, wild life, science, cars- the selection is endless and this is the gift that keeps giving. Every month. Your little one will be so excited to run and check the mail for their newest edition. And… you can recycle it when you are done!

Chag samayach 🙂


10 Bad Habits That Create Clutter

1. “It only costs two dollars.”
Often bargain shopping is the worst type. How many of us see that kinda cool item that we would never buy at retail pricing yet buy it anyway cos we see it was 70% off original price. The way to avoid that is by asking yourself: “would I buy this item if it were full price?” If your still deliberating the answer, then say 70% off retail is still making the store a minimal profit because they paid waaaay less then they are selling to you.
More often you the consumer are not the winner, the store is.

Productivity and Organization

Productivity is something we all strive to achieve. Organization helps us to be the most productive we can be. Here are some tips that I think help to be productive:

Don’t spend time (if at all any) on your phone when you wake up-
You’ll save yourself at least half an hour and not be sucked into it. Wait until you sit at your desk at work and have coffee to check emails and news. Even better turn your phone off for a half an hour in the middle of the day to focus on other things.

Know your peak time for high energy-
Is this first thing in the am/mid am/ afternoon/eve/late eve? Seize the opportunity to do the most you can do in that time. For example, leftover dishes done in the am because you were ready to collapse in the eve.

Get as much sleep as you can-
That way you’ll be refreshed the next day.

Why I Love Decluttering

Is it my OCD personality? The need for order? Its that and much more…

As a busy mother of four kids, I understand how life is about routine and logistics in order to function. The need for physical and mental support is overwhelming and necessary. I have opted to live in the Judean hills and start a life in a country that I am passionate about for my family. My passions include my family, beautiful nature, colors and simplicity. I aim to help you feel passionate about your personal haven- your home.

So, what exactly about the subject of decluttering do I love?
Firstly, this is an excellent economical tool to record what you use, how you use, and how much do you use? For example, keep a pantry list either as a note in your phone, or hand written etc.. This will help you see how you spend and the habits you create.
Decluttering and creating order/systems is both aesthetic and calming knowing that things are neat and clean. A lot of studies have shown that the more organised a physical space is, the more calm the mental space is. With a whole heart I can attest this to be true both as a busy working mother of four children, and an active member of my community with people in and out of my home for shared Shabbat meals.


Who Needs Reorganizing/Decluttering?

Above and foremost everyone needs to be constantly decluttering. It’s a seasonal thing and helps to create manageable and maintainable spaces.

Creating a new you gives you the power to be who you want to and start afresh.
New shifts in life force you to do this.


My 10 Rules for Home Organization/Design

My top rules in home organization/design, in no particular order:

1 Light light light-
Make use of natural light and if you don’t have use tricks such as mirrors to reflect the light. Open your blinds too. Not healthy to be in the dark in the daytime.

2 Open all windows every AM-
its super important you make this a daily habit like brushing you teeth. Your home needs to breath. It needs fresh air and to get the stale smells out. Odor creeps in and ruins your furniture and couches. There are everyday smells such as sweat from sleeping, cooking and animals in the house. Even if its a cold day, open just for a few minutes eliminating the odors and letting your house breath.

3 Close bins/garbage cans-
Again emphasizing the freshness point.

4 Use what you have without spending tons of money-
Before deciding what you need/want, take out all the things you’d rather live without. That way you clear the space for the new chapter- what you’d like. Re purpose things such as baskets, empty ice cream tubs etc. as dividers within the drawer.

5 Wish lists-
We all have a wish list for the home. Some things are more achievable then others. I like to have this goal because its definitely something to work towards- short term and long term goals.

6 Sorting-
In order to see how to make categories (socks, hair things etc) pull out an entire drawer on a clear empty space such as a bed. Sit comfortably and sort into piles- keep, throw and donate. Wipe down that empty drawer and place back in. It’s easier to see what you have when its all in front of your eyes.

7 Use what you have-
Even if you have a lot, its important that it all gets used and doesn’t lay dormant.

8 Save up for something (even inexpensive) that makes you love your home even more-
A new rug, new coffee mug set, a a painted accent wall, a new herb garden, a spice set. The list is endless – just don’t get too carried away. Once you get the new- be out with the old.

9 Display your assets –
We all have stunning one-off pieces. Perhaps its a side table, a plant, a Judaic item. Often those items are not displayed in the correct way and have been placed in the corner or buried with piles of laundry, or paperwork. No money is involved in glorifying your house – just know how to show it off in the correct way.

10 Have pride in your space –
It says a lot about your character and values.

Your home is your haven. Its somewhere that makes you safe, feel familiar and warm. Make it the place you want to walk into after a long hard day at work. Make it really great!

Mimi’s Journal

We went to see some apartments under construction in the neighbourhood, thinking perhaps the time has come to consider downsizing into a single level dwelling
No matter what we decide, we may as well get started on the elimination of extraneous possessions. It will take time, which I don’t always use wisely I get side tracked. I’d rather do any number of things other than plough through my possessions. Professional help is needed and coming over tomorrow!


Case Study: Sarah

Sarah takes me up the stairs through the hallway and to her master bedroom. Along the walls are the pictures of her children when they were much younger. “This is Alice at her bat mitzvah- I still have the dress”
Alice, the oldest is now 37 and has a few children of her own.

Sarah, like many of my clients has successfully raised 3 children and is now a doting grandmother free to sleep in as late as she wants, and practice yoga every morning as she pleases. At a later stage of their lives, Sarah and her husband John are now vegan, and enjoy travelling overseas. Time has transformed from plastic proofing every inch of the home to how can I be minimal yet feel full?

As Sarah leads me through the house and tells me the stories behind the weird and wonderful items in her home, I feel privileged that she has decided to let me into her life to be a part of the memories.

The morning of my visit to help Sarah, her daughter gets divorced that very day. How ironic that my job is to divorce Sarah of her clutter.

Decluttering is not only deciding how to make order and getting rid of things that are no longer needed. We all know the rules. I often repeat: “If this hasn’t been worn for over a year, time to rethink this”. What I love is sharing the journey with the client and hearing the stories behind each item and how the family grew over the years. As we sort and discuss, the process is both therapeutic and enlightening.

Jedi strength to declutter

Believe it or not, catching up on old Star Wars movies has made me think majorly about decluttering.

Whats the connection- you ask? Surely it makes sense that Star Wars makes one think about such issues as good and evil, or sci-fi as a genre, or perhaps the art of combat?

Don’t Passover without “Decluttering”

Design/Declutter helps people to reorganize and declutter their spaces. Being clutter free and organized allows one to feel a sense of clarity and ease, knowing that they are not owned by their possessions. As my dear brother Allon puts it “your possessions end up possessing you”.

Pesach preparation is a time of physical and mental exhaustion and chaos for many Jews- especially working mothers who only clean in survival mode once the kids are asleep. In order to overcome this “fear” one needs firstly to NOT think of the cleaning as a month’s straight work- from the end of Purim up until Pesach.