Conquering a move and the excess baggage of life

There is nothing quite like moving to remind you just how much stuff you have in the hidden corners of your home.  Things seem to procreate over time and that one small pile of papers to review on your desk now has another pile on the dining room table and yet another in the kitchen.   The task of sorting, organizing and purging can be overwhelming and might even provoke a disagreement or two with your spouse.

While moving is frustrating and is listed amongst the top life stressors, it can also be a time of purging your life from all of the excess stuff that has gathered.  The benefit of purging is a feeling of freedom from the responsibility to care for the stuff.  Oddly enough, our lives can become just as cluttered with excess activities, friendships, responsibilities or commitments and it too can use a good cleansing every now and then.  However, you must have a plan to attack either the stuff or the excess in your life.

Essential items.  The first items to identify in your move or your life are the essentials.  These are the things you need daily and cannot live without.  In a move it may be your toiletries, a favorite pot, a book you are reading or your computer.  In life it may be a hug from your kids, spending time in God’s word, exercise or a favorite hobby.  Whatever it is put these items aside knowing that they are the most essential items you have.

Keepsake items.  Next comes the items that you love and want to keep but are not essential.  These are the things that you would miss if they were lost, would like to pass on to a family member, or deeply regret not having in the future.  In a move it may be your photo albums, a wedding dress, books, china, or a collection of baseball cards.  In life it may be an annual family reunion, a date with your children or spouse, a convention, or a commitment to work with the homeless.  The trick is keeping your keepsake items to a minimum as not to be adding too much to your plate after the essential items are established.  If you are not sure it is a keepsake, move on.

Throw-away items.  Now you are ready for the throw-away items which should be easier to identify once the essential and keepsake items are already sorted.  These are the items that you can really do without and drain your energy.  In a move it may be old tablecloths that you have not used in a while, old clothes that have not been worn in years, or old newspapers that are collecting dust.  In life it may be a charity that you are no longer passionate about, a hobby that you have lost interest in, or a friend that is more draining than helpful.  Don’t think too hard about these items, if your first instinct is to get rid of it than do it.

Repeat again and again.  Finally you are ready for the last step which is to repeat the first three steps over and over until everything is sorted.  Nothing should be left without a final decision as to which category it belongs.  In a move as in life it is important to analyze the things you are holding onto and examine them to see if your interests have changed.  As you get older, it is natural to have changing interests and your house as your life should reflect the change.

A move is time-consuming but it is helpful to sort through all of the stuff that you have accumulated over the years.  Your life likewise accumulates responsibilities and commitments that may no longer reflect your interests.  Taking the time to purge your home and life of the excess items will free you to spend more time with the things that really matter and ultimately decrease your stress.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Marriage Counseling: Cheap Date Nights

There is a conversation between Harry and Jess who are married male friends in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” during a football game in which one of them says to the other, “I got married so I could stop dating”.  Too often we are under the same assumption that once you are married you do not need to date your spouse.  After all, dating is work and it requires your time, energy, focus, money, a fun plan and a good attitude.  And when you are married, you already know the good, the bad and the ugly so why go through all that effort?

Why?  Because your spouse deserves to see the best of you and to see the person they fell in love with in the beginning.  This is what helps to keep a marriage interesting and adds spice to your relationship.  However one of the biggest objections to dating your spouse again especially in this economy is the cost.  So to help your relationship out, here are some favorite cheap date nights.

  • Matinee movies – Who said your date needed to be at night?  Many movie theatres offer discounts for early movies, if you look hard enough you might be able to find movies for under $5.00.
  • Breakfast out instead of dinner – Generally speaking, eating breakfast out instead of dinner is far less expensive and can be just as enjoyable.
  • Library movies – You can borrow movies and TV shows for free at your local library.  Just purchase the popcorn, candy and drinks at a grocery store and you can have your date night at home.
  • Go to the airport, mall, or local attraction to people watch – This can be a fun activity as you can sit and watch others go on their way, making up stories about their lives just for fun.
  • Purchase special bath soaps and massage oils – Do a little reading about how to give a good massage and exchange massages with each other.  Do not forget a fragrant candle to enhance the mood.
  • Free outdoor concerts – Most cities have free outdoor concerts that you can enjoy the atmosphere even if the music is not up to your taste.
  • Picnic at the park – Pack a picnic basket and go to a local park for an enjoyable time together.  Taking a walk afterwards is a nice touch.
  • Be a tourist – Find a tourist activity in your town or city that you have not done and spend some time there.  Often, there are discounts for residents.
  • Flea market shopping – Walking around a flea market and look at the fun and interesting items that are for sale.  Sample some of the local food for a change of pace.
  • Walk or bike around the neighborhood – Just getting out of the house and walking or riding down a different street than your normal route can help to change-up things.
  • Appetizer/desert meal – Make a meal out of a shared appetizer and desert instead of opting for the more expensive entrée.  This can be a great way to try out a new restaurant or sample food at a more expensive one.
  • Night out with friends – Some of the best dates are nights when you go over to a friend’s house and hang out with a couple of other married couples.  The entertainment is often your conversation and everyone pitches in with a different part of the meal.

There is one idea for each month of the year, so you can at least begin with one date per month and increase your dates to once a week.  The extra effort in dating your spouse even on a budget will in the long run improve your marriage though shared experiences and help you to remember the things which first attracted you to each other.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.