On A Clear Day: The Clearing Exercise

Pam and Peggy's third book, The Sidetracked Sisters' Happiness File is packed with power concepts that can jumpstart your "little hen" S.H.E.™ cardfile system into a mighty tool for whole-life change. One such idea is "clearing". It's simple, quick and effective: so effective that a single clearing session has been known to keep DH's busy for months!

Clearing's goal is to look at your home, your surroundings--or yourself!--with new eyes. When you disconnect yourself from what you see, you become open to new ideas. As S.H.E.™'s know, sidetracked brains become immune to disorder and disarray.

By clearing, you wipe the slate clean, and give yourself the power to change, to simplify, and to enjoy!

Here's the how-to. Clearing is a timed exercise, so gather your S.H.E.™ notebook, pencil and a timer. P&P recommend that you begin at the front door. Set your timer for 30 minutes to an hour. Now, pretend you are a stranger, looking at a house you've never seen before. Look at the door, the wall, the windows, the art, the tables--pan around the room, just like a movie camera. Just observe--and take notes:

Fingermarks on the switchplate
Door needs oiling
I hate that picture of dogs playing poker!
Hall tree covered with winter coats (in July)

Move around your house, observing and taking notes, until the timer bell rings. Don't worry if you don't finish! This isn't a race--it's a discovery, so take your time. Don't open drawers, clean out closets, or move furniture.

When the timer goes off, shift mental gears--it's time to take action. Sit down with your list. Look at each item and decide what action to take. Some will be simple additions to your routines. Are there "fingermarks on the switchplate"? Then make a new weekly card, "wash switchplate" (and since it's a mini, don't forget to mark it Delegate!). "Door needs oiling" gets a new monthly card.

Other items on your list will require more complex action. You truly hate the picture of dogs playing poker? (Don't laugh! CEO's Dr. DH has this very picture on order at this moment. I'll deal with it when it arrives!). DH, on the other hand, loves it. Some negotiation is in order: can DH hang said picture in his den? His workshop? List possible solutions on a 3 X 5 card--and start budgeting for a new hall print.

Other items on your list involve broader family issues. To solve the hall tree problem, you'll have to discover whether there's another place for winter coats to hang, and make one if there isn't.

You may decide to use a variant on the "infraction game" to encourage family members to keep this area tidy. Again, brainstorm your solutions, and write them on a 3 X 5 card.

Clearing gives you new eyes--and a new approach--to old problems. You can "clear" an entire house, or just one dresser drawer! By taking a step back, and looking at your house, possessions and life through a stranger's eyes, you free yourself from old habits and preconceived notions, and galvanize yourself for action.

Is there a pink card labeled "Clearing" in your cardfile? Give clearing a go . . . and get organized!