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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« 7 Useful Resources That Will Help You Let Go and Get a Fresh Start | What Does Making the Best of a Fresh Start Look Like For You? »

How to Make Conditions Better for Your Fresh Start

You’re in good company if you’re thinking, “How is it already the middle of January?” Thoughts of glitter, parties, and intentions are on our minds. Yet here we are, halfway through the first month of a new year. You might be wondering how to make the best of your fresh start, especially with the time flying by.  If you’re still cleaning up from the holidays and getting those last decorations put away, great! In fact, getting back to square one is an integral part of preparing for a new beginning. Clearing allows us to remove obstacles and focus positive energy towards our next projects and paths.

While the first few weeks of this year have been a whirlwind, there were several external and internal things I did which helped me improve and create energy during this time of year. I’m curious if any of these ideas resonate with you? 


Edit Clothes

Typically, I edit and organize my clothes twice a year. I do the spring/summer and the fall/winter reviews. Even though I had done the fall/winter sort months ago, I noticed that I still had many clothes I wasn’t wearing. So if they weren’t being worn, what were they doing taking up valuable physical and mental space? And while that may seem like an obvious question, answering it wasn’t as simple. So I went further to figure out why I wasn’t wearing them. Was it they just didn't fit? Had they been replaced by something similar that I liked better? Was it just that when it was time to get dressed they never got picked? If I’m not wearing it, why am I maintaining it?

Do you know about the 80/20 rule? We only wear 20% of the clothes that we own. That’s because we have our favorites. So using the “favorites” criteria, I looked again and released more items from my drawers and closet. I’ll continue to pay attention as the winter progresses. Getting dressed will be obstacle-free with fewer decisions and more breathing room for my clothes.


Clear Files

While I have a lot of digital files, I still collect a fair amount of paper. The papers are stored in filing cabinets, binders or boxes, depending on what they are. By the end of the year, there is a group of financial papers that get cleared out to make room for the current year. Typically I’ll do the big paper purge the last week in December or early January. Most of the papers relate to taxes. I shred and recycle as much as possible and move the keepers to a storage area away from my prime office space. Last week I cleared my files. By the end of the year, my drawers get quite full. It becomes challenging to access what I need easily. It felt incredible to remove the old and regain my space. Now every time I open the file drawers, I have an “ahhhh” feeling. There’s no struggle, just room to file and retrieve what I need. This simple act of clearing the paper signaled my fresh start “ready for anything” attitude. 


Calm Mind

Many of you know that I meditate daily. I begin and end my day with this practice. While the point isn’t to clear my mind of all thoughts, it does help calm my mind to be more present and available to others and myself. Every day I have a mixture of positive, neutral, and negative emotions and experiences. My mindfulness and meditation practice provides me with a supportive base. It helps me appreciate the full experience of living.  I love learning about mindfulness through reading, practicing, experiencing, attending workshops, and talking with teachers and practitioners. Last week, I had the pleasure of learning from one of my favorite guides, Amy Reyer Ph.D., who led a Contemplative Meditation workshop, which was the third class in her Art of Well-Being series. Meditation practices can be done in many ways and don’t all involve sitting still on a cushion with your eyes closed while focusing on your breath. I like to experiment with different meditations. Each time I practice, that fresh start is activated. I’m able to press the reset button to pause, focus, learn, tune in, and go forward in a calmer, more open way.


To create optimal conditions for a better beginning, clear your internal and external obstacles. Edit and release what is no longer of value. Edit and release the things that are holding you down. Create space for the belongings and thoughts that support you. Clear to boost to your fresh start.

What are you ready to clear? What obstacles are you about to remove? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (12)

Three great ideas for hitting the re-set button! I love the thought of "releasing" the clothing (or anything else, for that matter) that we don't use or wear anymore, as opposed to just discarding or donating. You have inspired me. :)

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSara Skillen

My husband started doing some clearing in our basement. I have two old printers to get rid of on the floor of my garage. I am kind of excited about this because we are finally moving into some more remote spaces that we haven't touched in years. I hope we can keep up the momentum and dig a bit deeper while waiting for spring to arrive:)

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

I usually do something similar with my file cabinet drawers in late December. I was thrown off my timing because I did a big kitchen renovation this fall which was completed just before Thanksgiving. While it is fabulous (I really LOVE my new kitchen) putting it back together and getting ready for Christmas pushed some of my other regular tasks off my to-do list. I'm back from a wonderful holiday now and ready to push that reset button, get back on track, and dive into this new year. Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions, Linda.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Sara- So glad you like the reset button ideas. Isn't it fascinating how a shift in word choice can make all the difference as you noted with "releasing" as opposed to "discarding" or "donating?" I had a similar experience last week during the mindfulness workshop. The leader offered up the word "allow" instead of "accept." She said that accept implies that you are OK with something that you might not be. Allow lets us notice and create space for that awareness. So often all we need is a different word or concept to enable us to move forward.

@Seana- Ahhhh. I can feel the relief and excitement as you and your husband move into some of the hidden spaces. Do you remember when Sandra Wheeler spoke about these types of spaces in her Feng Shui workshop at NERCPO? The value of releasing things from the corners and depths of spaces creates better flow in various areas of our lives. Happy sorting and releasing!

@Diane- It was wonderful reading your posts and seeing the before and afters of your big kitchen project. And of course, it makes sense that a project of that magnitude (and disruption to daily life) while amazing, also would change some of the normal patterns. I can sense the excitement and readiness in your comment and wish you all the best as you hit the reset and "dive into" 2019.

January 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I'm ready to get rid and simplify my memorabilia. I revisited my albums from my elementary and high school and college days and started sending family event photos to family members so they can keep them. This is just a little start for me but I feel it is a necessary process so I can move forward in the process of minimizing. With 7 binders from my childhood, I think I will be able to reduce it to 4 when all is done. Memorabilia is a tough one for me to get rid of because I have become the 'go to' person family members contact to see if I have the date of this event or someone's birthday, etc... But, it's now time to streamline and I am so ready for it.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Sabrina- You're not alone with "memorabilia is a tough one for me to get rid of..." Your reason why stood out. Very often my clients (and myself) have a challenge letting go with memorabilia because of emotional and sentimental attachments. You brought to light another reason, which is letting go of being the person in the family that is the history keeper. Kudos to you for recognizing this and for deciding that while it might have served you well in the past, that role no longer supports your larger mission to "streamline." Inspiring!

January 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love your system for going through your clothes. Although I also do that on a regular basis, I've often found myself keeping things for a long time because I only asked myself whether I might wear them in the future instead of why I hadn't been wearing them. I'll definitely try that next time!

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- Thanks so much. I'm glad you found a process and question that will be helpful for you. I just read Audrey Cupo's latest post about "need vs. want." In thinking it over, it reaffirmed my belief that the quality of our decisions comes from the quality of the questions we ask. Excellent questions paired with being well-rested when making decisions is a winning combo. Lack of sleep or decision fatigue works against us.

January 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I had a snow day today and guess what I did? Clean out my files! Recycling and shredding done. Just as you said, I feel so much better with the clear space.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Schiesl

@Janet S.- Way to go! There's nothing like a snow day to motivate us to do some organizing and clearing. Enjoy your clear space (and the snow!) I'm in New York, and we haven't had any significant snow yet, just a dusting here and there. I love looking at the woods out back when there's a fresh layer of snow. It's such a peaceful feeling.

January 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love these three areas to focus on. They are perfect for where I am at right now. Clothing is on my list this week to get started. I realize now that I am not going into an office every day, I will be making some big changes with what I want to wear. Files and office space. I have an old computer and I haven’t needed anything off of it for quite awhile. I worry about photos the most. I love how Seana talked about those dark deep corners. Yep getting into them.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKim

@Kim- In your post this week, you wrote about the significant transition you're going through right now. And what an excellent time to focus on clearing and redefining the spaces to be in alignment with this part of your journey. You said you "worry about photos the most." What are your concerns?

Best wishes as you dig into the "dark deep corners" to create your new path.

January 14, 2019 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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