Everyone experiences loss and deals with grief in their own way but it’s important that through it all, we keep focused on a fresh start in a new light.  The road to a new beginning after losing someone so important is not an easy one and is something I have experienced personally in my life.

In 2009 my environment changed from comfort and confidence to one of loss and insecurities.  In the beginning, as I began to process my grief, I experienced moments of defeat and began to realize that the loss was permanent.

I looked to different methods to move forward by making small changes and a few large ones to add distraction to each day, however the emotional pain could not be disguised.  Although each passing day was difficult in those early years of loss, each passing year did bring a new hope. As I reflected on my journey I began to see that I wasn’t moving forward.  I was stuck in a place waiting for something to change, unable to move forward.

Trying new things felt like a step in the right direction. I became a yoga instructor, took a deep look at my relationships, and changed my career path.  But I was still waiting.

It wasn’t until I read the book “Second Firsts” by Christina Rasmussen, that I began to strengthen my resolve and firmly commit to becoming a different person.  She states in her book “You decide to put one foot in front of the other, make one choice at a time, and slowly… re-enter the world. Re-emerge into your own life. Not as the same person you were before. As a different person. Stronger. More compassionate. More resilient that you ever dreamed possible.” 

Until now, I was not ready.  I had struggled to find answers during my journey after loss but today things were different.  This was a concept I could grasp and it was also the right time emotionally for me to really move forward and begin anew.  It has been an 11 year journey thus far and I have emerged and truly know who I am.  My experience with loss and the transition to living again brought me to where I am today, New Beginnings, Helping People Move Forward.

Each person has their own journey to new life and it may be a long one. Grief is an essential part of the process and while extremely difficult, you can get through it.  Take it one moment at a time and look for support from friends, family, and formal groups. Make changes that move you toward your new, true self.

Please reach out to me if you need help moving forward.



by Paddy Rasmussen, Organizational & Re-Creation Specialist,
Interior Designer, Allied ASID

Re-energize your space and look to the future.

Bring a surge of energy to your life by detaching from the clutter, identifying a place for everything, and implementing minor changes that have a big impact.

Begin by decluttering your space which not only creates a level of order in your home but also in your life.  Organizing your “stuff” has a positive effect on mental health and anxiety levels that improve overall wellbeing and boost the immune system.

Revitalize your space with a change in lighting and color.  These two elements are a reflection of you and help to create an inviting, happy place.

  • LIGHT: Light can make a powerful statement or bring a calm warm glow to your space. Choosing LED bulbs will reduce electricity usage and provide clearer, crisper illusions.  Consider the color rendering index (CRI) when choosing your lighting. This index measures the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects. It is based on a scale from zero to one hundred; the higher the number the purer the light.
  • COLOR: Fresh paint is an inexpensive way to achieve color in your space along with accessories and art. Choose colors that reflect your personal style and taste and that bring about feelings of joy and peace.  Art objects that reveal something about your personality are sure to energize you and your space.

Work/Life Balance

Define Your Space.  Your home office should be a designated room or space.  Fit a desk behind a sofa, in a passageway, or a nook.  Turn a closet into an office or use shelving as a work spot. Having a clearly defined area that you can come to and work then “leave” is helpful for staying productive and having balance.

Gearing up. Ensuring that you live each day to its fullest begins by creating a routine and setting boundaries for yourself.  A most valuable way to start the day is to spend some quiet time in nature, just being.  Imagine your day and what you want to accomplish.  Visualize and feel your success. Plan a physical activity to release stress and tension.

Taking On the Day. Every day brings unplanned activities that interrupt our routines. While working, it is recommended to plan time into your day to rejuvenate and refocus. Work for fifty minutes then take a ten-minute break to stretch and walk around. Be outcome oriented as you end your day, turning off electronic devices so you can decompress, relax, and unwind for the rest of the evening.  Enjoy your family and friends, even if it’s virtual and prepare for a good night’s sleep.


If you need professional help The Arizona North chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers offers the Interior Design for Hire program with one- or two-hour consultations at a reduced rate. Homeowners are matched with local ASID designers in the greater Phoenix area and northern Arizona. All funds raised go toward student scholarships and educational programs including the redesign plan for our annual charity. Go to



How do you want to color?

Color has an extraordinary affect on everything in our lives from the beauty in nature to the clothing we wear or the car we drive. Color reflects our soul and is a symbol of our emotions. It is a fundamental element in our world and carries with it specific thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Color is the mind, body and soul of visual perception; however, color is more than a visual experience. It is also a psychological influence that can radically affect mood and emotion. It is a classic form of communication that projects your personality and sets the tone in each room of your home.

Reactions to color can be subjective, but generally, colors can produce particular responses. Warm colors like red, yellow, and orange can produce feelings of warmth or aggressiveness, while cool colors like green and blue can be calming or depressing.

Applying, adapting, incorporating

While color makes a big impact on your surroundings, it is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to bring continuity to your furnishings and décor. Introducing a new color might be the perfect pop to add a fresh perspective to your room.

Incorporating color into your space can be challenging but these tips will help you get started.
1. Pick your most expensive or larger items in the room such as your furniture and rugs.
2. Review the color palette of those items and select from that or choose a complementary color.
3. Ensure these colors reflect your style and express the feeling you wish to convey.

There are many ways to adapt color to your space and selecting those perfect shades is something I specialize in with my clients. As an Interior Designer, I frequently start by understanding my clients’ color preferences. A good place to start is in the closet? Not only do I grasp their color likes and dislikes, but it also leads to understanding what colors and shades are flattering on them.

“There is a synergy between fashion and Interior Design. Style is a lot like love: even when you try, you just can’t stop it.” -Kim Shui-

Another vantage point of color is to utilize it to express your passions, lifestyle, and hobbies. Life experiences can be expressed through strategic use of hues ranging from bold to barely there.

“Tying color into everyday happiness is exciting,” says Michael Plank, Sherwin-Williams director of color for wholesale markets.

Each year, Interior Designer’s anticipate the release of the ‘Annual colors of the year”. This has become a popular tradition of paint companies as well as the Pantone Color. Founded in 1963, Pantone is an industry leader in color and according to its website, “more than 10 million designers and producers” rely on its products and services for color inspiration and guidance. Pantone’s first-ever color of the year was in 1999 and each December since then, the creative world has eagerly awaited its annual prediction.

How do you want to color? Trends are trends and most are short lived. It is fun to see them unfold but the truth is this is your home, a sanctuary to transition, to de-compress and relax. It is a very personal environment. I focus less on trends and more on building your home with intention and lasting ways.

How do you want to feel? What mood do you want to set? I’m ready to help you create your personal spot that enhances your mood. I am client focused because I want you to be happy and comfortable in your refuge.

“Good design is timeless and less is more.” – Paddy Rasmussen



by Paddy Rasmussen, Organizational & Re-Creation Specialist,
Interior Designer, Allied ASID

Beginnings is dedicated to helping people make their “Plan B” a reality.  Getting to that point takes focus and moving mentally beyond a simple task list of to-do’s to visualizing and believing in the outcome you want to achieve.

Tasks may be the building blocks, but an outcome is a goal that tells a story – to ourselves and others – about achieving our hopes and dreams. It is the key motivating factor in driving us ever closer to living those dreams.  Visualizing the outcome of any situation encourages us to see that end state and to feel the impact of making it a reality. Applying this visualization technique provides an understanding of what could be in our personal lives, relationships, profession, capabilities, and general attitudes and behaviors.

At my company, New Beginnings, “Helping People Move Forward”, we combine Transition Coordination with Interior Design to devise a plan that alleviates clutter, organizes spaces, and embraces a new and positive outcome. Our team takes time to understand what you hope to achieve and helps you implement it in your new space from the moment you walk through the door.

It may sound simple to focus on the outcome, but it is fundamentally a different way of working and thinking about how to get things done. Rather than checking off tasks as you do them to feel productive, we must clearly visualize the outcomes we want and design everything around that end result. 

The key difference in outcome thinking vs task driven living, is that visualizing outcomes gives you a truer sense of achievement.

Pursuing Outcomes

  • Write outcomes not a list of “to-dos”.
  • Be Accountable and have the courage to take action
  • Set a Deadline to achieve your visualized outcome 

In the end, changing our mindset from one driven by completing to-dos to one aligned by the outcomes we want to achieve is about more than a strategy for productivity. It can elevate even the most mundane things we do each day by instilling them with meaning, intention, and narrative power.

Try it. Start your morning imagining what you want to have accomplished by the end of the day, visualize where you’ll be, what that will feel like. Write it down. Now you’re ready to design your day around achieving a sense of productivity and completion far more gratifying than crossing to-dos off a list.

Here’s an example of the Outcome Process for Plan B:

  • Discover – Peace, love and comfort in your new life
  • Boundaries- Set boundaries, letting go of people & things that no longer serve you
  • Believe- Strength of your own spirit, Just Be, Trust your intuition
  • Solitude – an essential experience for mind to organize its processes, a quiet reflection, be in nature, find clarity, just breath


Flowers are utilized throughout every facet of life, from love and loss, to celebration and comfort. All our senses are touched when we receive a floral arrangement or stroll through a garden. Texture, aroma, and color help us connect with this beautiful piece of nature and it evokes great emotion. Flowers and other elements of nature are inspirational in art and design and create a harmonious connection with our surroundings. 


According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, “Our response to color is intensely emotional and flowers can be catalyst for feelings that stimulate more than just our senses of sight and smell.”


There have been many studies on the effects flowers have on our psyche. In one such study, flowers were placed in a room where everyone could see them. The participants experienced a heightened sense of happiness.  According to the Rutgers researchers, the presence of flowers has an immediate impact on happiness and flowers have a long-term positive effect on moods.  Other results show that people who live with flowers have fewer episodes of anxiety and depressed feelings. 

Flowers stimulate social trust in many ways. They communicate the intention to invest effort in a relationship. And they convey a respect for fragility. We feel the impermanence of flowers, and it reminds us that care is necessary to sustain life. Relationships can be as fragile as flowers and the care we give to plants helps us remember the care that our relationships need.



Decorating for the season begins with a plan that pulls together color, style, and spaces.

Determine your strategy by deciding to decorate by theme, zones or décor style. The next step is to create a space that reflects your design personality type. Carry the Theme Throughout your home. Having a unified design helps the look to flow from room to room or tree to table. You might choose a special ornament or sentimental item to build from. Gather up items that are special to you. Decorating themes can come from many different sources. Think about the colors, shapes, symbols, patterns, even a style or mood can shape your theme. Create a consistent color scheme throughout your home. Focus on the colors you have in your home year ’round and select complementary colors that bring out the seasonal feeling. Focusing on shapes or symbols creates a theme enhanced by a central motif. Include a few larger pieces to make a big visual impact without looking cluttered. Harmonize your interior for an easy transition from room to room. Consider which zones will have the greatest impact. Start with the most visible areas of your home to accentuate your theme. Depending on your house, perfect zones to decorate might be:
  • The front door
  • An entry hallway
  • The kitchen
  • Fireplace mantle
  • Office
  • Buffet table
Decorate for The Holidays by Emphasizing Your Décor Style What is your holiday decorating personality type? Are you a Minimalists where less is more or just the opposite Over the Top – Maximalists? Minimalists – Simple style decorating with a few impactful colors and objects. Start with a white background to appreciate every detail. Bring it to the table by using linen tablecloths and napkins. Set your space aglow! Choose candles and tapers in soft whites, creams, and warm metallics to create a neutral, cohesive look. People do lots of seasonal cooking and white dishes showcase the food you’re serving. Mixing all periods, shapes and materials of white—earthenware or porcelain. Instead of festooning the space with many decorations, select a few ornaments to display in a large bowl on the table, thus paring down the sprawling detritus of holidays past to one simple, meaningful centerpiece. Minimalist decor doesn’t mean sacrificing on cozy! Layer lots of chunky knits, sheepskins and warm, textural decor to bring the snuggle factor. Maximalist – Eccentric style, mixing colors & pattern with old and new decorations. Play up pattern when it comes to your table setting — don’t be afraid to mix and match with seriously colorful china. Is the philosophy “more is more” kinda your thing? Have your tree be as over-the-top as you can dream up! Punch up your mirrors and walls with wreaths in bold colors, shimmering metallics, and interesting textures. Nostalgic – Traditionalists in color and a classic style. Big on tradition but small on space? Just add a mini tree potted in an antique brass cachepot! Spruce up your libations station with fresh cut greenery, plenty of winter citrus, and classic linen cocktail napkins. Let your antique ornament collection be the star of the show! Make sure to put the bubbly on ice. Fill antique champagne buckets with everything from booze to festive branches to ornaments! Take your sips outdoors with vintage enamelware mugs & wrap yourself in plaid blankets. Modernist – Clean and crisp style. Warm up sleek serving pieces with plenty of soft linens, richly hued fruits, and ceramics. Keep your overall hues moody but add a pop of lightness to the space with a sweet, Scandinavian-inspired star pendant. This is the time to let your sleek stemware be the star of the party. Gather gorgeous vessels in varying shapes and heights on your mantel, and fill with single branches for a dramatic effect. Turn your tree into a modernist work of art by keeping the overall palette to a few colors and choosing sculptural ornaments that can shine on their own   Modern Glamour – Art Deco in style, with plenty of brass & gold accents. Impress your guests and make your home truly shine bright by bringing out your finest and fanciest serving pieces in shades of metallic. Embrace your wild side with animal print accents, layered in rich, sumptuous velvet and silk pillows throughout your living space. Then sip in style with sleek crystal stemware and lucite ice buckets. Rustic/Industrial – This style emphasizes the use of unique materials. Compose a cozy atmosphere with a cabin theme of flannel, distressed wood, pine boughs, and burlap. Embrace your green thumb! Understated greenery brings a clean, organic elegance to your space. Construct a Christmas tree of copper piping or pennies. Build tree decorations using gears/hex nuts of different shapes for ornaments. Form wreaths by hanging mason jar lids and attach ornaments inside. Fabricate wall versions of rusty hardware & springs turned into snowflakes, the rustier the better.
What Does It Cost To Be Stuck In Your Story?

What Does It Cost To Be Stuck In Your Story?

Written By Guest Blogger: María Tomás-Keegan is founder of Transition & THRIVE with María and a certified Life Transition Coach for Women, specializing in Divorce Recovery.  She inspires professional women to take divorce in stride at work and at home, while helping them to heal on the inside—and design a new life based on Values, Vision and Passion. One of my stories was, “I’m divorced twice. I’m a failure at relationships. I can’t trust myself to make good decisions. If I’m a failure in life, I can’t possibly be successful in my career.” And on and on, like an endless loop of irrational negative thoughts that beat me up daily. It cost me a lot to be stuck in this story. I felt sorry for myself. My confidence had cracks in it too wide to leap over. Decisions at work became hard—my usual quick assessments, attention to detail and decisive actions were nowhere to be found. A client contract was at risk. My management team, while patient at first, had a business to protect. With great kindness, my manager came into my office, closed the door and asked me to sit with her for a few minutes. We moved to the couch for a very personal conversation. We talked about many things—the business I managed; how my staff was feeling; the attitude of my clients towards me; my future. It was hard to hear. She said something to me that hit home and it has stuck with me ever since—helping me still when I get stuck in my story, whatever it is. “Look what it’s costing you to stay stuck in your story. Is that where you want to stay?” I left work early that day, went home to my quiet sanctuary and pondered her question. The answer was so clear to me. “Of course that’s NOT where I want to stay! The cost is too great to me—and it is costing people I care about, too.” The next question, though, was a tough one to answer. “How do I move past my story?” I asked this same question of the women in my private Facebook community called, THRIVE after Divorce: Your Journey Begins and some of their thoughts and advice is intertwined with my experience in these … 5 Steps to Get Unstuck from Your Story  
  1. Stop Talking About It — The more you talk about it, the more it stays in your present world. Kick it to the curb. Stop engaging in conversations with family, friends and colleagues about what happened to you. Let them know this is not a topic you will discuss any longer. It’s time to move on.
  3. Shift How You Think About It — This much I know for sure … just because you’ve stopped talking about it with others doesn’t mean it’s not still in your own thoughts and feelings. It will be—that’s normal. The choice you have is to think about what happened differently. Where is the blessing in disguise? What are you gaining for yourself? Who can you become now that you are the Leading Lady of your own life? Asking questions like these can bring powerful answers and insights.
  5. Rediscover What You Value Most — So often, and especially if you’ve been married a long time, you lose connection with your own values—you may have compromised them to keep the peace, for instance. Your values are a guiding light and a checkpoint for any choice or decision you make. What are your values? Family? Independence? Freedom? Ask yourself, “Does this choice I’m about to make honor my value of Independence?” Using this checkpoint will help steer you in the right direction. Every. Single. Time.
  7. Care Less About What Others Say or Think — This is a tough one for many women—including me. I’ve been a pleaser since I was a child and it’s hard to let go of the belief that, if I’m not making everyone around me happy I’m a bad person. What I’ve learned to believe instead is, if I’m not happy no one around me will be happy. So, I started to care less about what everyone else was thinking or saying about what’s good for me or what I should do or who I should be. By clinging to my own core values, I was able to let my intuition become my guide. I started making choices that made me happy. And, guess what? Everyone that I cared about followed my lead. Those I didn’t care about didn’t matter. AH-HA!
  9. Dream Big — It’s hard to dream new dreams when the old dreams have been shattered but, to really move on—leaving behind the old story and writing your new story—a big beautiful vision is required. Don’t hold back. Don’t let anything you’ve heard before stop you. Did someone say, “You can’t do that!” Ask yourself, “Is it true?” If it’s not true, you don’t have to believe it anymore. You get to do and be whatever and whomever you want. It’s your dream.

Transform to live deeply and fully again

by Paddy Rasmussen, Organizational & Re-Creation Specialist, Interior Designer, Allied ASID The rebirth of spring always follows the death of autumn and the stillness of winter. Beyond mere coping or finding a sense of peace, the transition of a loved one can bring about opportunities for emotional and psychological healing and divine growth. Overcome your fear and grief by having courage to act and transform your life. Peak experiences may mark a time of spiritual emergence and self-realization. By surrendering to the process, you can awaken spiritually, reborn into a greater definition of yourself and open a new meaningful chapter to your life. These practices take many forms from formal meditation or prayer to a mindful approach to gardening or walking in nature. Transformative practices include intention, attention, repetition, guidance and acceptance. Intention: First, we can bring our intention to learning and growing from our pain or loss. Open yourself to the pain, allow yourself intentional moments to transcend your mind & body with meditation or prayer to experience an inner sense of peace, joy and well-being of where you are right now. When we take the time to cultivate greater awareness, we can align our intention to guide us to our highest potential. Attention: We may stay connected to our loved ones in our hearts and minds. Beyond merely having faith in the afterlife is the experience of surrendering to a loved one’s continued presence in your life in spirit form. The wind rustling the branches of a tree, a butterfly fluttering above your head, or a dream of them comforting you are all signs of the continued connection and communication between your souls. Honor these communications and know your loved one lives on and may have signed up to guide you. Repetition: By engaging in transformative practices in a systematic and repetitive fashion, we can build new habits or responses to our own fear and grief. Certain events or times of the year trigger reminders of someone we miss, especially during anniversary dates of their passing. It’s normal to have moments just don’t dwell in it too long as it won’t help you move forward. By remembering with gratitude, you are filled again by those very experiences you so cherished. Writing entries in a journal about how the person inspired you and added to your life but more importantly the process will fill your heart with appreciation. Through gratitude new meaning is brought to the relationship. Remember: Nothing they added to you can be taken away with their passing because they left you a gift. Guidance: Revise your assumptive world, do more than survive, flourish through your grief awareness. Reinvent yourself! Build a support system with family, friends, church and community to help you move forward and transition. I used my faith and my yoga practice to help me through my grief with its mindful meditative breath work and attention to poses and repetition of them. It was a great healthy de-stressor for me to empty my mind and just to be. I always felt so much better and enlightened after my yoga class Acceptance: Acknowledge the reality of the loss. The gift of acceptance allows us to experience life on its own terms. “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” To let go doesn’t mean you forget or go on with your life as if their passing meant little to you. Letting go means letting go of them to embrace yourself and the life you envision for the future. If the life of the person who departed was truly meant to bond others more deeply by a common thread, then reaching out and coming together not only fosters strength and support, but also honors the life of the one who brought you together. People engage in different practices to honor their lost loved ones. Such practices are used to help transform grief into an honoring of life. In this process, grief becomes a tool to help us grow and thrive in the face of death. I honored my husband’s life through creating stability for my children by sustaining them in their lifestyle and their home until my youngest daughter graduated from high school. Two weeks after his passing, I returned to school to finish my college education and graduated with honors. On the day of his passing, I honor his life by celebrating him on that day. Books and songs, websites of poetry, forums for the bereaved, and organizations founded in memorial to someone are all examples of the meaningful ways people put their creative impulse to good use. To cope after the death of someone suggests merely surviving but to create something lasting is to renew your life and contribute something meaningful and beautiful in memorial. I have learned to transform my own grief into a gift that has served to help my life and my work through the transition of others and their space. Learn and grow from your pain and loss. There is no set formula for moving through the grieving process with grace, however these divine keys may be just the ones you need to help ease your grieving heart and transform a difficult time into an internally meaningful experience. Live deeply and fully engage in life again.

De-Cluttering Your Space

by Paddy Rasmussen, Organizational & Re-Creation Specialist, Interior Designer, Allied ASID So how do you start? First, you need to be in the right mind frame. Then you need to recognize the energetic impact that your thoughts and emotions can have on your living space. How do you feel when you walk through your door? How do you want to feel? Clearing old habits and resisting behaviors takes time. In our Western culture, we’re taught to be productive, always doing, going, staying busy but sometimes you need to slow down and just be. Sometimes you need to let go of things and thoughts that are no longer serving you. It’s about letting go to allow yourself to live in a peaceful place that creates a feeling of calm & order. So how are you going to create a system or a process that works for you? Clearing is an inside job that begins and ends with you. Secondly visualize how you want the space to look? The best way to start decluttering is to schedule it on your calendar. Pick a time frame that works best for you don’t worry about blocking off a full day for the job. Choose a small chunk of time, whether it’s 15 minutes or three hours, and really go for it. Set a timer if you need to. Listen to your favorite music. Start with the area that will impact your daily life the most! Visualize how the room will look uncluttered. Then figure out what is essential and get rid of the rest. Notice the big items creating chaos in your space. What are the most essential pieces of furniture? The placement of furniture in a space like your coffee table, sofa, bed etc. can often contribute to visual clutter and make it more difficult to stay organized in the long term. If you have too much furniture in a room or there are large toys that haven’t been used in a long time (over a year) then move those items out first. What doesn’t belong in the room but has just gravitated there? What is on the floor (hint: only furniture and rugs belong there) and what is on other flat surfaces? Reorganize the space and this will invariably motivate you to keep going. Next, get your house so that all flat spaces are clear of clutter. Start with visible surfaces like tops of counters, tables, desks and dressers Wherever you start, make a rule: nothing can be placed there that’s not actually in use. Clear off everything possible, except maybe one or two essential things. Everything else must be put away! Papers often account for a lot of our clutter. Designate one spot for incoming papers. Create an inbox tray or spot, this little change will transform your paperwork. Then set up some simple folders with labels & categorize your papers. Once you’ve created your system, learn to file them quickly. Go through your pile of papers one at a time starting from the top working down. Make quick decisions: trash them, file them immediately, or make a note of action required then file that in the “action” file. Don’t put anything back on the pile or put them anywhere but a folder or in the shredder or recycling bin. Once you’ve cleared the clutter from those areas, you can dive into your drawers and cabinets and closets. Ask yourself do you use it regularly, love it or if not then lose it? Use the four box method: trash, donate, keep or relocate. Take baby steps – one drawer or cabinet at a time using the same technique. Categorizing things as you go through them and keeping like things together forces you to organize your home. It’s crucial to find a designated space for every item you own. If you don’t know exactly where things belong, you must designate a good spot. Store like items close to where you use them. When placing items back into the drawers try adding dividers or small containers so you can store like things together. Once you’ve created order, always put those things back where they belong. This will save you time by reducing frustration in your daily life. Decluttering closets is therapeutic but it’s no surprise that we are prone to stuffing or leaving things we don’t want to deal with in closets. Out of sight out of mind! The process of going through clothes, shoes and other long-forgotten belongings will help you cleanse your house and your mind of any emotional baggage that may be connected to these items. Start from the Bottom of the Closet and Work Your Way Up. Cleaning up and clearing out the mess at the bottom of the closet will free up space in which to work. When sorting clothes and shoes, ask yourself: does it fit, is it damaged (stained, torn, faded) and has it been worn in the past year. If your answer is “No” then put it in the box to either donate or trash. If you have something that is sentimental or only wear it on special occasions, put these items in a storage bin to free up closet space. The same goes with shoes.  Install another shelf at the top of your closet for storing mementoes and out of season clothing. To weed out the rest, try the “backwards hanger” trick over the course of the next year. Start the year with the hanger tips all facing the front of the closet (backwards). After you wear something, put it back in the closet with the hanger facing the back. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to easily identify the clothes that just aren’t worth keeping anymore. Clean Up Closet Shelves Remove everything from your closet shelves, wipe down the shelves and then get rid of anything that isn’t adding value to your life. Visibility is key, use clear storage bins for smaller items. You should be able to see everything in your closet without moving too much. If you are decluttering a closet that you don’t use to store clothing, it can be really tempting to stack, don’t do it! Consider adding more shelving above things that you may keep at the bottom, like a vacuum cleaner or storage bins. You can also add hooks inside the door for brooms, mops and dustpans. It’s a daily journey to keep order in your home by consistently picking things up and putting them away in their place, a habit to instill over time. You should expect regular upkeep, but just be glad that the new system is far more efficient than the old one. The goal is to set up a space that works well for your needs and ultimately makes you calm and happy!