The prize draw is open to participants anywhere in the world, aged 16 or over.
All names will be put into a virtual hat, and the winners will be announced on August 31, 2017.
Prize draw rules
The prize draw is for places on the Fast Track Clutter Clearing online course taught by Karen Kingston, September 5-25, 2017, and five winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries received.
No purchase is required to enter the prize draw.
Entry to the prize draw is limited to one entry per person. Multiple entries will be disqualified.
Automated entries, bulk entries, or third party entries will be disqualified.
The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to.
The prize draw will run from August 14, 2017 until 12 noon GMT on August 31, 2017.
The winners will be notified by email on August 31, 2017.
No cash alternative or online course alternative to the prize is available.
Karen Kingston International Pty Ltd is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act and will not pass on the details of any person entering the prize draw to any third party.
Entry to the prize draw is via online form only.
No missed course material can be supplied to any participant after the end of the course in any circumstances, and the content of the course may not be shared with anyone outside the course (this includes Karen Kingston’s posts and other people’s posts, both during the course and after it has finished).
There’s a lot more to having a haircut than most people know, and definitely more than most hairdressers know.
While you’re sitting there having the ends of your hair snipped away, it’s not just the physical strands that are falling to the floor. There is also an energetic letting go of the span of time when that portion of your hair grew, together with the crystallized residues of thoughts from that period.
This is one of the reasons why some orders of monks traditionally shave their heads after taking vows. It’s a great aid to releasing their old life and starting anew.
Having a haircut also helps a lot when you make a fresh start of any kind in your life, and goes very naturally hand in hand with embarking on a major clutter clearing of your home.
I’m not suggesting that anyone needs to take the radical step of shaving their head to do clutter clearing, but having a haircut before you begin or during the process will certainly help it along, and it’s even more effective if it’s long overdue.
Eco-consciousness is much needed in our world, where global resources are rapidly being exhausted.
Forward-thinkers such as Elon Musk are already helping people to heat their homes with solar power and reduce air pollution by switching to electric-powered vehicles. To cover all eventualities, he’s even making plans to populate the Moon and Mars.
For several decades now, we’ve all become more aware of the environment and been have educated that each of us can do our bit to save energy and reduce waste. Recycling has become an everyday habit, and Sweden has taken this further than any other country. It now recycles 99% of all household waste.
This is all very welcome news, and there’s a lot more that can be done.
However, there’s a point where eco-consciousness can turn into eco-neurosis, and this is something I’m seeing more and more these days in the homes of people who have clutter.
Not wanting to create more landfill
Some people are so conscientious about recycling and repurposing that they won’t let anything go unless they are sure it will be reused in some way. They feel so guilty about creating landfill that, over time, they turn their own home into a mini-landfill site. Entire rooms and outbuildings become filled with things they don’t know what to do with. In some cases, it can get to the stage where it starts to smell bad and may even attract insects or vermin.
Their intentions are sincere but, in fact, all they are doing is delaying the process. Whether they eventually send it all to the garbage dump themselves or leave it for someone else to sort through and dispose of after they die, the fact is that some things simply cannot be reused and will have to go to landfill at some point.
New recycling technology is emerging every year. One of the most recent projects is Terracycle, which offers a range of solutions for previously unrecyclable items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, coffee capsules, snack wrappers, pens, various beauty product containers, and more.
It’s an excellent resource, available in 20 countries at the time of writing, and expanding to more with each passing year. It allows environmentally conscious manufacturers and consumers to work together to reduce huge amounts of waste.
How long are you prepared to wait?
Technological advances are happening all the time. Amazing new solutions are being found. The problem is, there is still a long way to go before absolutely everything can be recycled.
No matter how much effort is made by consumers, lasting changes can only be brought about by manufacturers at the top of the supply chain developing better solutions and making more eco-friendly choices about the materials they use. There are signs that the trend is heading in the right direction, but it’s going to take time. It may not be resolved in your lifetime.
If you’re the kind of person who cannot bear to throw anything away unless it can be recycled or reused, what needs to be weighed up is how long you are prepared to live surrounded by these items, clogging the energy of your home and affecting your personal progress. Even though your reasons for holding on to it all are commendable, the stuck energy it creates will be affecting your ability to be all that you can be. If you want to make a difference in the world, it doesn’t make sense to hold yourself back in this way.
How to turn the situation around
The home of one client I worked with was full of stuff, piled on every surface and the floor. She knew the situation had got out of hand and asked for help to let at least a third of it go. However she had such strict, personally imposed rules about recycling and repurposing that after half a day of clutter clearing, she had only agreed to donate three small items to a local group.
We had a conversation at that point to help her understand what had caused her to adopt such a rigid stance and, after discovering that many of her ideas were in fact not her own but the result of other people’s influence, she realized it was not serving her or her long-suffering family to continue living this way.
In the second half of the day, she joyfully filled many trash bags and loaded her car with things to donate to charity. It took several sessions but eventually she relaxed her rules considerably, enabling her to reclaim her home and her life. She continued to do her bit for the environment but in a more considered way, and was finally able to enjoy her house as a home.
Finding the right balance
The secret to a happy life is finding the right balance. When it comes to recycling, the best anyone can do is to keep abreast of new advances so that you know what’s possible and what’s not. For the things you already own, recycle what you can, and let the rest go.
Going forward, make more conscious choices about anything new you acquire. For example, there’s no need to buy fruit or vegetables conveniently packaged in non-recyclable plastic netting or bags. In many stores, you can buy the items loose, and it only takes a few more seconds to gather them and put them in your basket. The choice is yours. You can stop the waste in your own home before it starts.
A healthy, balanced approach to preserving the environment is what’s needed. If you find yourself unduly obsessing about every little thing, you’ve probably crossed the line into eco-neurosis, and especially if you’ve reached the stage where you’re reluctant to throw anything away unless it can be recycled, it would be wise to reassess if you may have gone too far.
Some types of clutter are more obvious than others, but everyone has clutter of some kind. It’s inevitable. Inescapable. Impossible to avoid.
The reason for this is that everything is in a state of change. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, about 50 million cells in your body will have died, become clutter, been swept away, and replaced. From the cellular level up, everything morphs into clutter at some point and needs to be cleared to make way for the new.
Clutter clearing is a lifelong process
Just as the clearing systems in your body will cause health problems of some kind if they break down, so clutter in your home will cause stuckness in some aspect of your life if allowed to build up. So clutter clearing is not a one-off event. It’s an essential skill that needs to be learned, then repeated again and again.
There are levels to it too, which I often liken to peeling layers of an onion. You clear one layer of clutter and your home immediately feels better. That allows you to see things through different eyes, and pretty soon you’re noticing other things you didn’t think of as clutter before, but clearly they are. Out they go, and another layer appears, and perhaps another. And with each layer that’s revealed and cleared, the process gets easier and easier.
After that, the trick is to never let clutter accumulate again but to create daily habits to tidy and clutter clear as you go.
Key tidying habits
My best advice is to start with one or two key tidying habits and then, after these are firmly established, add more.
Two key tidying habits to begin with are:
At least once a day, tidy any clothes that are lying around If you have a lot of clothes lying around your home, I’m not suggesting you gather them all up, throw them in a junk room and close the door. The technique is, at least once a day, to pick them up, put them back where they belong if they’re still wearable, or put them in the laundry bin if they need washing. The optimum time to do this is last thing at night or, if that’s not possible, first thing in the morning. (Of course, for this to work well, you’ll need to have a good laundry system in place too. I’ll write a separate article about that soon.)
At least once a day, clean and tidy your kitchen sink and surrounding areas
The kitchen is the heart of nourishment in your home, so keeping it clean and tidy will improve the feel of your entire space. Ideally, clean up after every meal but, if time is limited, then at least clean up at the end of the day so you can start each morning afresh.
Key clutter clearing habits
Tidying is good, but it’s not enough. It will keep your home ordered, but not up-to-date.
Clutter clearing is the process of sorting through your belongings to keep your things up-to-date with who you are and where you’re headed in life. It’s about retaining the items that will help you on your way and releasing those that will hold you back.
A good analogy for this is that when it’s time for a tree to shed its leaves, it doesn’t try to hold on to the old ones. That would interfere with the cycle of life and bring about its death. The same principle operates in every part of your body, and can be applied equally well to your possessions and your home.
Two key clutter clearing habits to start with are:
When something new comes in, something old goes out Adopting this principle will mean that your clutter never increases. However, if you have far too much stuff to begin with, an even better motto would be: When something new comes in, X old things go out (X being a number between two and infinity that you choose of you own free will).
Do a little each day to keep the clutter away
The way this works is that when you put something away, you take a few moments to scan the space for anything you no longer use or need. If you find anything, don’t wait for your next big clutter clearing purge. Pull it out and let it go right then and there. Keep some boxes on hand to use for anything you want to recycle, donate to charity, and so on.
Start incredibly small
There’s a lot more to tidying and clutter clearing than this but there’s a great wisdom in starting small and building on those successes.
If life has got very out-of-control and the techniques in this article seem too much for you at this time, then start incredibly small. Aim to wash just one plate at the end of each day. Or pick up just one item of clothing and put it away. That’s all.
Most people find this useful trick is all they need to get them started. The task itself is easy. The getting started is the part they really need help with. And one plate or piece of clothing tends to lead to another, then another.
After you’ve established these new habits yourself, teach them to your children. You’ll set them up for life.
I saw a Master Chef TV program recently where a contestant competed against a famous professional chef to cook a dish of their choice. The chef had many years of experience and created a culinary masterpiece. When asked if he had found it challenging to do so in the time allowed, he said the cooking itself had been easy, but what had been difficult was doing it outside the environment of his own kitchen, where everything has its place and he can reach for things without even looking.
He was missing what is known in the cheffing world as mise en place, meaning having all the necessary tools and ingredients to hand. It reminded me of a story my husband, Richard, often recounts about the intense three days of mise en place preparations he once made in order to single-handedly create a 33-course banquet for the 33 guests of a wealthy Italian family he once worked for as their private chef. Each guest was invited to choose one of the dishes that made up the menu, and they were to be served with hardly any waiting time between courses at all. You can’t deliver that level of excellence if you have to hunt around for where you put the salt!
I listened to this TV chef’s words with some sympathy, not because I’ve ever worked in a kitchen, but because, when Richard and I moved this year from the UK to Australia, what I really missed during those two in-between months, when we lived out of suitcases while buying a new home, was the mise en place of having all the things we use each day around us.
Moving home can be a destabilizing experience, and moving continents even more so, because a much greater learning curve is involved, figuring out how to do even the simplest of things. So, during this period, we’ve been looking for ways to ease the process, and I thought I’d write this article to share some of the methods that have worked for us.
Clutter clear long before you move
Letting go of anything you will not need in your new home makes the process much easier, so we did this months before the big move, to avoid getting stressed out nearer the time.
Take your own bedding
One of the best decisions we made was to bring our own feather duvet and pillows so that we wouldn’t have to sleep with cheap synthetic ones for weeks. They weigh very little and squeeze down to almost nothing at all if you pack them last thing and use some gentle persuasion (sit on the lid) when zipping up the case. Having these with us made a huge difference to the quality of our sleep wherever we stayed.
Pack your own kitchen knives
We brought with us a large knife and a small one, packed in our check-in luggage. They don’t weigh much or take up much space, and make a heck of a difference when cooking in a poorly equipped kitchen.
Stay in self-catering accommodation, not a hotel
When moving to a place you’ve never lived before, an important part of house-hunting is to get to know the different areas, to find a location that works for you. Staying in a hotel doesn’t allow you to experience what it’s really like to live there. It offers creature comforts but buffers you from having to shop for your own food and find your way around the neighbourhood. We found that renting self-catering accommodation gave us a much better feel, was much more affordable, and much more spacious too.
Humans are territorial animals and we rest our consciousness in the place that we live and on the things that we own. Trying to live out of suitcases while travelling doesn’t allow you to own the space or feel fully landed. So the first day we arrived in each new place, we fully unpacked our suitcases and found places to store all our things. This is one of the easiest ways to make a temporary place feel more like home.
A much deeper level of owning a space can be achieved by space clearing, to remove the energies of previous occupants and instil new, higher frequencies for yourself. For this, the most essential piece of equipment is a high quality Balinese space clearing bell, which is one of the first things we always pack when travelling. We rented three properties during our house-hunt and space cleared each one, making them more nurturing for ourselves and for those who stay there after us.
Invest in stationery
The paper trail created by selling and buying a home, closing and opening a business, and moving from one continent to another is copious and can’t be done entirely paper-free. We brought laptops, pens and paper with us, but they weren’t enough. Soon we were juggling piles of documents and receipts, and had no idea where anything was. So pretty quickly we found a stationary store and bought some essentials – a small printer, some paper, some files with dividers, a stapler and a hole punch. It was a small price to pay for sanity and order.
Buy a car
Buying a car in the first week rather than renting for a couple of months was a no-brainer for us. Richard had already done the online searching and had a shortlist before we left the UK.
And we seriously needed a car. Here in Perth, house hunting is a mammoth undertaking, covering a region that is 5386 square kilometres (2080 square miles) in size, stretching 123 km (76 miles) from north to south and 60 km (37 miles) from east to west. It’s the second longest city in the world, soon to become the longest if it continues to expand at the same rate. We drove 5000 km (over 3000 miles) in our first four weeks to thoroughly explore, decide where we wanted to live, and look at properties in those areas.
We bought a cheap run-around that had a few scratches, so we fondly nicknamed it Scruff. It did its job and, a few weeks later, when we found the car we really wanted, we sold Scruff for almost the same price we bought it for.
Maintain your sense of purpose
During the whole process, bear in mind the reason why you decided to make the move in the first place. For Richard and I, it came about because we realized we had achieved everything we had moved to the UK to do, and it was clear that new possibilities would be open to us in Australia. It was also very cheering to remember, with gratitude, that we were between homes rather than homeless, and to view the whole process as an adventure rather than a hassle.
Keep your sense of humour
This was probably the most valuable thing we brought with us. It weighed nothing, and helped us to surf through all the challenges along the way. Mostly the process unfurled beautifully at every step, but for the times when the going got tough, and “boo” just wasn’t enough, the punch-line of this clever little skit by Scottish comedian, Fred Macauley, reminded us to keep our sense of humour and move on…
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