You Are Your Memories

Memories

Arthur M. Schlesinger said, ‘Science and technology revolutionise our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.’ Our memories are stored in our minds and we are able to take them with us everywhere we go. They are a part of our identity and often account for a large part of who we are. Different types of our memories are stored in different parts of our brains. We have memories that are about events that have taken place in our lives and these are known as ‘episodic memories’. We also have ‘semantic’ memories that include facts and broad-spectrum information. We also store ‘implicit’ memories that are linked to movement or how our muscles remember how to operate a television remote or how to knit a scarf. We also have long-term and short-term memories; these assist us to navigate the past and present respectively. Once we have affixed a tangible physical artefact to a memory this object becomes a symbolic reminder of the memory we have attached to it. This object ‘becomes’ the memory. The feelings associated with it are what we need to identify before we are ready to let go of this item from our lives.

 

When we know WHY we feel a certain way about an object we will be able to assign it an Object Classification. This classification will be critical in understanding our own relationship to this object. If this is an object we identify ourselves with, we must give it space to live with us. Or we might well be ready to positively let go of this object but still retain the memory that we associate to it. By choosing to let it go we will create a new memory of this object in our minds. For example, when letting go of some of your good quality ‘work’ clothes, visualise the value the new owner may receive from your donation, such as obtaining employment because your no-longer-needed jacket allowed them to look the part for the job. Another example I like to use with my clients is donating good-quality items that have packaging such as crystal vases, candlesticks and sliver photo frames as they may be of great value to someone who needs to purchase a high-end item without the retail price tag. Our tangible objects serve us as physical reminders of these memories that we have attached to them. Ultimately, YOU are your memories.

 

Reclaim Your Space

Find Your Why

Finding your WHY is important for you to hook your motivation and ignite your intention to start your Rightsizing journey. ‘All knowledge meets an end at the question … Why?’, said American author and philosopher Criss Jami. If we know WHY we are doing something this will allow us to fully emerge ourselves in all we do. Drilling down through our WHYs will give us a clear, defined, specific outcome, which allows you to discover what your emotional outcome is. If we know what is in our hearts of hearts, or what our true emotional needs are, we will be able to provide ourselves with a new template to live our lives through. We will achieve our vision to live better with our belongings by identifying the emotional benefits we will experience from changing our physical space. Knowing your WHY is HOW we are successful but also it assists us in WHAT we maintain as lasting successful outcomes.

 

If we think back to our kitchen example, the why behind this could pathway like this:

Why am I starting in my kitchen? > I am choosing to start in my kitchen because I am frustrated as it is so untidy. Why is this frustrating? > Because I am unable to find items instantly. Why is it frustrating when you cannot find things? > Because I need to rebuy items I cannot locate. Why is this a problem? > It costs me extra money. Why would rightsizing solve this for you? > It will allow me to see all my utensils and I could avoid spending extra dollars on repurchasing. Why will this be beneficial to you? > Because I will have more time and money. Why is this important? > Because I will now be able spend both in other areas of my life. Why will this be valuable to you? > Because I will be happier as my quality of life will have improved.

 

This shows how asking ourselves WHY until we have reached our emotional outcome will allow us to verbalise our specific of our own WHY for our project.

 

 

Bespoke Blueprints

Goal Setting

A goal is a well-defined vision of what your project is about. Your goal should set a very clear intention about what it is you wish the project to achieve. French aristocrat and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’ A wish may well be something you can aspire to but without creating a well-thought-out plan to ‘call it to action’, it may never amount to anything more than just a dreamy, distant wish. In Rightsizing, goal setting is how we identify what it is we want to successfully achieve for the project we have chosen. A goal will motivate you into completion of smaller, broken-down tasks that you will set for yourself.

 

The psychological cognitive perspective shows that goal setting allows for conscious goals to regulate and enhance our performance on work tasks for increased motivation. New goals will supersede old goals if these have fallen short to past expectations. When planning your goals make sure that they are achievable, measurable and you are committed to reaching them. If you feel that the goal you have set will be attainable, you will be motivated to achieve it. Allow your goal to be easily measured so you can feel the power behind your accomplishments. When you are committed to really achieving your goal the time you invest to reach your outcome will not be demanding. You will find your energy is recharging you to assist you in persevering to the finishing line. Formulating your own statement of ‘why’ you are pursuing this project, you will be able to focus your attention on the ‘how’ you will use this space better. Knowing ‘what’ will be gained from the Rightsize process will further assist with your momentum. My clients Val and Peter had this to say about Rightsize goal setting:

Val: ‘Once we had used the “pausing” tools we knew it was the front lounge room we needed to start with. Peter and I both had very different  plans for what the end goal would be for this space.’ Peter: ‘This is an understatement! I wanted somewhere for my fishing rods to be stored and displayed and Val wanted to use it for a “good room” to sit with visitors.’ Val: ‘Working together allowed us to create a shared goal of how and what to use this space for.’

 

I can confirm that Val and Peter now use this space as ‘their living room’; they spend time in here together in the evenings to watch TV and relax. And … they each got a wall for display: fishing memorabilia on one wall  and Val’s artwork on the other!

 

This is a great example of how collaboration when goal setting can bring people together through a shared vision. This room now adds to the value of their lives as they can showcase their legacy objects and spend time together in a space that they are proud of. Your vision will be how you feel about the space and the benefit it will provide you once your project is complete.

Life By Design

Space

Our home is where we take shelter, make our memories and how we communicate desirable versions of ourselves to others through our belongings. ‘Your home is your living space not your storage space’ says Francine Jay, author of the book titled The Joy of Less. This, I could not agree with more! Stowing things that impact on our space for living in is counterintuitive for healthy living, as we now know that existing in an overly cluttered environment is an unhealthy place for us to inhabit. It impacts negatively on our concentration, productivity and adds extra anxieties to our lives. When Rightsizing SPACE is considered an area that is unoccupied, empty and/or free. When we begin discarding objects from our lives, this opens up space for us to enjoy what really matters. The act of creating more space in your home will require action-based dividing and sorting of the belongings no longer required.

 

Space feels good when you start to make it in your home. I can become a key motivator in the Rightsize process. One project I recently worked on was with an intergenerational family all living under the same roof. The Rightsize project we had decided on together was to clear the clutter from the guest bedroom to  make space for a new baby arriving a few months later. Bill, the patriarch of this family, passed comment to me about his thoughts on space. He said, ‘When we were living with so much around us it felt our lives were full. A life lived because we had so much to show for it. But now with more pockets of space throughout the house, I still feel full but also free. None of us were expecting that.’ 

 

This perfectly illustrates how they were all unaware of how living in both a crowded and cluttered environment had impacted on himself and the family. As Bill has described there was this sense of feeling lighter because of the openness created by discarding their excess. This is a great motivation igniter, as space is addictive. When someone has lived in a cluttered home for a long time the effects they encounter during the removal process is very powerful. Pausing to reflect on how you feel about your home emotionally is a proactive task to do, before the planning phase. It allows you to gain a perspective on how you live currently with the things you own.

 

Revising your floor plan will be useful to see if shifting your furniture around may be beneficial in creating more space, using the measurements of your floor plan as a guide to what can moved around to suit your space better. Think about what you will ‘keep’ and how these items could add to the aesthetics of your space by creating ‘interior stories’. These stories will function as decorative statements to show who you are, what you like and even where you have been. Make these revamped changes by hanging objects, showcasing shelf stories and envision a feature point or focal piece for your rooms. Gather all your like objects together to allow them to be the focus or theme of the room, such as geometric patterns for the guest room, a nautical theme for the entrance and one-block colour for your office. Thinking about creative ways to hang photographs on the wall together as a feature, whereby leaving flat areas clear. Cluster items that are precious in odd numbers such as  groups of  three and five. Arrange a carefully curated collection of items in height order for a streamlined look. Storing items out of sight, yet making them easily accessible when you need them, is a way of reducing the excess stimuli in our space so our homes can become our happy place! The way you style your belongings around your space will evoke your memories, allow you to feel connected to your world through your ‘keep’ items and show off your creative side!

 

Elements for design are:

Colour ,tone, texture, line, direction, shape, size, proportion

 

Principles for design are:

Balance , rhythm, unity,  repetition, harmony, contrast, dominance

Divide and Conquer

Setting Priorities

Projects that we embark upon will be even more successful if we prioritise our tasks. A priority is how much time we attribute to each of the components involved in completing a task we are engaged with. Priority-setting is simply the breaking down of your project into sequential and manageable steps. When priorities are clearly mapped they enable our focus and offer achievable outcomes. As your project starts to materialise, setting in place the order of priorities becomes a stepped structure that you can customise your time around. Progressively you will be able to see which steps are to be taken first and what is the natural order to complete them in. This allows you to track the progress of your project as you tick off the assigned tasks. The benefit of applying this type of planning is that you will achieve the management of your time efficiently. Priorities should incorporate some sort of flexibility. Life can get in the way of even the best-laid plans, so look at the opportunities when this happens and stay focused on your overall vision.

The main things to consider when setting priorities are the following points:

  • Concentrate on the most important things first—When we are Rightsizing, we look at the items we know we would like to KEEP before addressing the items we would like to discard.
  • Know what you do well—Focus on what you do best and ask for a helping hand with those things that may be more challenging. For example, moving heavy items or listing items for sale online.
  • Be realistic in your planning process—Your ultimate perfect Rightsize outcome will take time to complete. Set yourself reasonable goals that promote success within you own capabilities.