Are you ready for a do-over?

posted by Aby Garvey on January 30, 2014 19 Comments

As I wrote about in an earlier quick tip, the New Year got off to a sluggish start around here. The reason? Wintery weather and school closings made it impossible to create momentum and get into a productive routine. I don’t know about you, but I’d love a do-over—a way to start the New Year again.

If you’re ready for a do-over, too, then you’ll love this little fun fact: Today is the Chinese New Year’s Eve. It is traditional on this day for Chinese families to thoroughly clean their homes. The idea is to sweep away ill-fortune, sending it out with the old year, creating room for incoming good luck. (Sounds good to me!)

welcome mat

So today, let’s take advantage of this Chinese tradition and create our own New Year do-over. Take a few minutes today to clean up, clear out and create space for good things to come. If you have housework on your to-do list, picture yourself sweeping away what’s holding you back…limiting beliefs, negative self-talk, ill-fortune, or anything else that has you feeling stuck and lacking momentum. Let go of an unwanted or unloved item (or a bagful, if you’re really in need of a do-over!) and celebrate the space you create in the process. Look at that space as fertile breeding ground for the positive things you want to create in your life. Ahh…I feel some momentum coming on!

What do you want to sweep away today? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program

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  • January 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Yes I needed to hear today’s challenge. Besides the weather, I had a daughter on crutches that needed my help. Another daughter & her family came from KY. They helped, but stayed until Jan 17th which delayed the normal routine & starting of New Year Projects. I printed your Jan & Feb organization check-list & have been doing a little each day. Onward I go…

    January 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Hi Aby,

    This is perfect timing for me. I have been swamped preparing month end and year end stuff for business while learning the new accounting program. Not an ideal new year start but with your message today I think I can still make progress by starting now. Thanks for the encouragement.

    January 31, 2014 at 8:20 am

    That’s right…a little bit at a time is how it gets done!

    • January 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Aby,

      I know I have been keeping quiet as far as comments are concerned, due to an unexpected bunch of things to do (a bit like Pat’s comment) but I am doing a bit each day, and it was really good to start by going around the house and observing it as though it was someone else’s house, and then to do the worksheets and work out how each room could be used, though I haven’t quite got all the storage sorted well enough to be able to know that I can just put all of one sort of stuff away without it in its place without it not fitting there, especially as far as clothes, books and papers are concerned. I still need to get rid of a lot of stuff, which is the hardest bit, though I’m sure it will get easier as I continue with the workshop.

      Due to ongoing changes that my husband has made to the layout of the rooms over the last year, it has been easy for several of the former bedrooms to each become a bedrooms/office/storerooms etc. which had been quite overwhelming. I’m now enjoying not viewing every room as an impossible mountain of my family’s or inherited clutter, but rather as something which can turn into a usable space again.

      I think the fact that my husband re-fitted the kitchen during the fall, and is now re-decorating the dining room, is a boost too.

      The Control Central Binder, is gradually coming together, and becoming a real Household Management binder, which I really wish I had thought of doing years ago!

      January 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      P.S. Sorry I just looked up and saw that I had forgotten to erase the 1st “without it” in the 1st paragraph of my comment!

      January 31, 2014 at 8:21 am

      Thanks for your update Fran. It sounds like you’re making great progress!! Congrats. :)

      • January 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        I used to get so overwhelmed with the cleaning/decluttering process. What is helping me move forward now is instead of looking at the whole room I set the timer for 15 minutes and do what I can. When that feeling creeps back into my thoughts I just remind myself “15 minutes”. It’s amazing what I am accomplishing :)

        January 30, 2014 at 10:38 pm

        Love this approach and will try this too. Thank you.

        January 31, 2014 at 8:16 am

        It really is amazing what can be accomplished in 15 minutes and it is such a terrific approach to use when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Thanks for the reminder!

        • January 30, 2014 at 9:08 pm

          After I put all the Christmas decorations away the rooms seem empty and I can’t seem to find an inspiration or motivation to redecorate them. I have inherited several dishes and vases, some pretty some not, and I don’t know what to do with them except hide them in a cupboard. Thank you for your message today I feel like this will be a very productive weekend…if I can find my inspiration piece.

          January 31, 2014 at 8:18 am

          One of my secrets of staying organized is: Take action and the motivation will follow. If you aren’t feeing inspired this weekend, try doing something anyway and see if you find yourself motivated to do more. (This is where the timer set for 15 minutes can really help.) Good luck! Hope you have a great weekend.


          • January 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm

            I certainly have little pockets of clutter in several areas in which I need to tackle. I also have some old old paperwork that needs to be thrown away. I have been committed to my business, family, my full time job and exercise and these things have taken a back burner. It is my goal this weekend to significantly decrease these areas.

            January 31, 2014 at 8:19 am

            Good luck!! Feels good to clear the decks so you can focus on those other important people and things.

            • January 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm

              I cleaned out a junk drawer in the kitchen. While not HUgE it felt great. I also took time to clean up my scrap desk in preparation of some fabulous creating that will be taking place during LOAD214 and The Walk class with BGC. I’m feeling fresh and ready to get creatively messy. My goal is to use what I have all month and as I work with my stash decllutter things I keep passing by.

              January 31, 2014 at 8:20 am

              This sounds great Susan!! Congrats on gaining control in your junk drawer and scrap desk. Have a fun month creating! :)

              • February 5, 2014 at 5:47 am

                Yesterday I helped my neighbor de-clutter his house. His wife passed away 1 1/2 years ago and her clothes were making him very sad. We gathered up her dressy clothes and donated them to a theater group at our local high school.
                A good dead for a good cause.


                February 10, 2014 at 11:40 am

                How kind of you to help your neighbor with that project, Janet. I bet he feels so much better and it is just awesome that the dresses were passed along to such a worthy cause. Thank you for sharing!


                • February 6, 2014 at 11:13 pm

                  I love the idea of there being a certain day each year devoted to cleaning your whole home. I think I’m going to start that holiday for my own family. We’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year, but we’re going to start now!

                  Thanks for the inspiration, Aby!

                  February 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

                  Thank you Meredith! I’m super excited that I’ve inspired you to start a new tradition!

                  Thanks for your comment – so nice to see you here. :)