POH: We Can Do Hard Things

Creating Peaceful Organized Homes in 2014

For those that might have missed the first post in this series you can catch up here but essentially throughout this year one of our main focuses here will center around creating peaceful organized homes (POH for short) so that upon entering we immediately sigh and say “ahhh home!”.   That’s what I want for you and you and you.

For me well I want to lose weight.  And as I’ve struggled with my self imposed “no chip” January rule, it has dawned on me how similar the struggle of losing weight and organizing are.

Organizing comes easy to me because I’ve been doing it for so long and have seen the rewards being organized produces.  However with losing weight not so much.  I know that I can’t tell you to just get rid of stuff the same way a nutritional expert can’t tell me to just stop eating junk.  I already know what I need to do, the same way I’m sure you do.  It’s just so dang hard.  I’m addicted to food the same way someone else may be addicted to stuff.  Correcting the abundance doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s going to take time.  Period.

We Can Do Hard Things

Knowing why we want to achieve something might help as it gives us something to focus on but that can only take us so far.  We have to do the work to achieve the results.  And it can be downright painful.  Like exercise is to me, so could it be the same way for you parting with your Granny’s china because you have no where to store it.  Ouch.  Been there.

We constantly look for the easy way out though don’t we?  It’s why we read blogs or search Pinterest endlessly.  Maybe there is a supplement I can just take to rid me of these unwanted pounds or perhaps there is an organizing trick that will allow you to discover hidden storage so you don’t have to part with pounds of your stuff.  Oh do I get that.  And sometimes there is a trick or a magic formula that works for us temporarily but often it’s fleeting.  Eventually it catches up with us.  Eventually the pounds will come back whether that’s in weight or stuff.


We’ve got to address the stuff.  And by address I mean face it head on and say enough is enough already.

We can do hard things.

I looked up the definition of peaceful the other day and here is what I found out:

characterized by peace, free from war, strife, commotion, violence, or disorder

Free from disorder.  And then I looked up disorder:

lack of order or regular arrangement; confusion

And while I know there are many things that can cause disorder in a home, for the purpose of this blog obviously we’ll concentrate on the clutter and chaos in our homes that is leading to the disorder and disarray.

Last year, some of you might remember, I gave up diet coke for an entire month.  It was hard but I wanted to break my addiction of it and it worked.  I still drink it occasionally but it no longer has a hold over my life like it once did.  The only way I was able to give it up in the first place was by putting a boundary in place.  One month I told myself and then you can drink it again.  Knowing that it wasn’t forever made it easier and of course when the month was over I wasn’t even dying to run out and have one.  I’d lost the taste for it.  It was such a powerful lesson for me to learn.  I can do hard things and so can you.

Now I’m giving up chips for a month and it’s proving to be many times harder than the diet coke.  But it’s ONE month.  I can do this!

For those wanting to “get organized” it’s going to require some parting of some things.  There is no way around it.  People we just have way too much stuff.  So here’s what I’m going to suggest.  How about setting a parameter of your own.  Maybe your addiction to the stuff runs so deep that you might only be able to set a daily goal and take it one day at a time rather than saying you’ll get rid of so many things in a month.  That’s okay.  What if each day you told yourself that you only needed to part with two things.  Does that sound reasonable?  Then the next day do it again.  You might surprise yourself with the fact that it does get easier as you exercise your decision making muscle.

Whenever I get on the treadmill I tell myself I only need to do it for 15 minutes.  If I didn’t do that I would never get on.  Anything over that is overwhelming to me.  15 minutes sounds reasonable to me.  And guess what always happens?  You got it, once I’m on and have done my first 15 minutes, I keep going for another 15.  The last fifteen are easy compared to the whole psychological lead up that is necessary for the first 15.  Oh the mind games we have to play.

Tips for Creating a Peaceful Organized Home in 2014

Are you ready to get serious about your stuff?  Will you share with me in the comments what parameter you’ll implement to start parting with your abundance of things?  This is a community of like minded people so let’s share and encourage one another.

Remember we can do hard things.

Related posts:

Declutter Help for When You Are Overwhelmed

Linking up: Yellow Bliss Road, Skip to My Lou, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Home Stories A to Z

Filed under: Clutter Control, Organizing Basics, Purging, Simplicity


23 Responses to POH: We Can Do Hard Things

  1. 1
    hayconsmom says

    I need your energy! I wish I had a game plan. Unfortunately I want instant results. So instead of working towards them I do nothing. I did the hcg diet. Lost 60lb. It was amazing. I went 2 years without a diet coke or diet Dr pepper!!!! However once I stopped back came the bad habits.
    Sometimes I wish I could just start with a blank slat. No stuff and white walls. But I can’t and don’t need to…I have the tools now I just have to use them. Urg

    • 1.1
      Laura says

      Yes I totally get that. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with things and then do nothing.

  2. 2
    Kelly says

    I started this comment thinking I could do 2 items a day, but then I realized that what would most likely occur is I would purge in batches. So I think that 60 items a month is more realistic, though I realize that it is the same number of items. I have quite a few areas of my home that need organized/ decluttered and will likely only get to 2 or 3 of them in a month, and then there is the never ending cycle of organizing my daughter’s closet.

    • 2.1
      Laura says

      Yes I like to purge in batches too :)

  3. 3
    SarahJane says

    I need things to be broken down into simple, small, achievable tasks. One day, while in Target, I had an aha moment. You can read about my “Target method” on my blog above. It’s really helping me.

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      Will take a look, thanks!

  4. 5
    Ice says

    Hi Laura! I love to have those peaceful organized homes! I would try to think for any tips that can help your readers.

  5. 6
    Looby says

    Thanks so much- I needed to hear this message- I was recently put on a very strict elimination diet by my GI dr and was having a bad day and ready to give up when I read this. I am so lucky to be able to eat as much as I still can- this is completely manageable!

  6. 7
    Susanne says

    Oh my goodness, chips are my weakness! I don’t buy them often because I too easily devour them all by myself!

    A peaceful organized home is definitely a work in constant progress around here with many hills conquered and many slips and slides down. But I keep plugging away towards the goal.

    • 7.1
      Laura says

      I love chips, definitely my weakness too. Especially ketchup!!

  7. 8
    Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists says

    I love that you’ve thrown down the gauntlet and just said straight out that doing things like this is hard. So often, I think we try to convince ourselves things should be easier than they are.

    I recently lost 22 lbs and thought at the start of that journey that I just couldn’t do it. It was hard, but it got easier as I went along. But it started out with me being honest with myself and saying “this is hard and you’re doing the work.”

    Thanks for this.

    • 8.1
      Laura says

      Hey Meredith! I followed your weight loss story on your blog, thanks for sharing what worked for you, I appreciate that!

  8. 9
    Crystle Monahan says

    Well, you hit the nail on the head! I can absolutely relate. I wanted my room to be clean, but I didn’t want to purge (I had already purged so much, I’m not even joking.) And yet, when I came across a challenge in a facebook group I had just joined, to get rid of 10 items a day for 6 days, I thought I won’t make 60 items, but maybe I could try for 20. Well, 4 days into the challenge and I’ve already completed it! I’m stopping there, but I also worked on my room while I worked, and it was getting so close to being done… until a shelf of mine crashed and tons of items fell to the floor (it was a big shelf.) Thankfully, very little broke. A setback, yes, but let’s look at the positive: I can now paint that section of wall differently and style it to my liking, hanging things up that are nowhere near as heavy as a shelf.

    • 9.1
      Crystle Monahan says

      By completed, I mean I got rid of the 60 items :)

    • 9.2
      Laura says

      Whoot, that’s fantastic you got on a purging kick like that! Sorry about the shelf though :(

  9. 10
    Rebecca says

    This is your most inspiring post yet, and that’s saying a lot. So many of your ’13 posts got me moving in successful directions. Your 52 weeks idea got us to new baby day in an organized fashion and made the recovery break less chaotic. Your planner tips kept me more on the ball and your app on my ipad has been a huge help in many areas.
    That said, we are still cluttered here, so I am giving myself the goal of an attractive new “command center” for my Feb birthday as a reward for de cluttering the family clothing collection. I have a month, and if I make it and get my new “command center” set up, it should be easier to keep going with the purging.
    This POH idea really resonates with me and my desire not only for more peace of place myself but for my husband and children to feel that way about our home. It starts with me.

    • 10.1
      Laura says

      Oh Rebecca, such nice words, thank you for that! So glad I’ve been able to help in some way. I would love to see your command center when you are done.

  10. 11
    Rachel says

    LOVED THIS! Your analogy is spot on. Thanks for the always encouraging inspiration!

    • 11.1
      Laura says

      Thanks Rachel, you are pretty awesome yourself :)

  11. 12
    Marsha says

    Def ready, its time! I’m joining late, but id like to say ill get rid of a trash bag a week full, but I already have three ready, so that’s kinda cheating…however, I can commit right now, by the end of Feb to FINISH the task and toss the damn bags OUT, not the as of late excuse of, I need to go thru them again and take out the old, ripped, pilly, dated stuff, and donate the rest….really?! I need to toss it, its all either dated, ripped, faded, pilly or ugly, hence me calling it junk, and no there isn’t someone out there who MIGHT need it for material, or rags…ugh! And finish clearing out the closet and changing over hangers from plastic to velvet sp my clothes will stop piling on the floor! I feel like I should be committing to more…!

  12. 13
    Barb Hodgkinson says

    I’m late discovering your wonderful site too. Wish I could bring you to my home for all your terrific motivation!

  13. 14
    Jenifer says

    Thank you so much for this post and this series. We are closing on a home next week and have been packing and purging. But I have had major anxiety and stress. I keep repeating, “I can do hard things”. Before reading this I was feeling like I was not going to be able to tackle this on top of everything else. But, I feel like this is my chance at a peaceful organized home where I can walk in and say, “Aaaahhh”! My goal in to get rid of 2 things per box (at least) when we get to the new place and unpack. I am very excited because I know I am capable of having and maintaining a peaceful home. Thank you for encouraging me.


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