More Small Steps to a Better Year…

| January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

By Ann Needle
Last week’s Independent gave you small, do-able—and effective — steps to take toward your New Year’s resolutions. This week you can read more tips from local experts about the simple ways you could shore up your living space and mental health in 2014.

Ann Deluty, Stow Away Organizing

Whether your attic harbors UFOs (unidentified free-floating objects),or you’re downsizing to a smaller home, Deluty offers the following tips to starting to put it all in order. Her business specializes in organizing everything from closets to computer files. Deluty even offers one free consultation, if you mention this article.

• Pile it up: Start sorting things into piles. Good items, such as clothes with the tags still attached, go into the yard sale pile. “Okay” stuff goes into bags for donating. Things that are broken or stained or wrinkled go into the trash. If you have not ironed, mended or fixed something after one month, you never will. Nobody does.

• Choose just one: For an even simpler approach, pick a category (books, clothes, kitchen items, etc.) and sort what you haven’t used in the past year. Donate it to a suitable charity.

• Check the date: An easy way to get into throwing things out is to start checking the dates on food, spices, medicine and cosmetics. Once you fill a trash bag with useless, outdated or tasteless things, the satisfaction will give you a boost.

Mental Health/Relaxation
Sara Steele, MSW, LICW, Town of Stow. In November, Sara Steele became the town’s first licensed social worker. She has some suggestions for treating yourself to more inner peace and relaxation.

• Be thankful: It s always easier to say you’re thankful, rather than to practice it. But, if you force yourself to register a few moments of being thankful for something every day, big or small, that can lay the groundwork for a positive outlook. Being thankful could be as simple as realizing you can get up and do tasks every day that need doing.

• Calm down: Identify what brings you a sense of calm or peace, and set a goal of trying to practice that once or twice a week. This could be reading, taking an evening walk, or a bubble bath – whatever brings you to your “happy place.”

• Do what you can: There are those who can no longer do what brings them that advised clam and peace, such as gardeners who have downsized a home, or older readers having trouble with their eyesight. In these instances, growing window pots of flowers, or listening to audio books, could bring satisfaction.

Education/Self Improvement
You may be looking to get out of the house in winter, or out of a rut in your routine. Either way, learning something new is a terrific route more self improvement, or just plain fun.

• A new hobby: Hobbies are far from just kid stuff. Knitting, crafts, painting, writing, woodworking, cooking; name it, and there’s a following for it, along with others eager to help you get started. If you know what you want, and want a class to teach it, there are dozens of adult education classes available in the immediate area. Here are a few:

• Stow Recreation Dept: Winter classes are getting underway this month for yoga, martial arts, and more. The catalogue is on the town website under recreation department. For a paper copy, and to check class availability, contact Laura Greenough at 978/461-1411.
• Assabet After Dark Continuing Education: Whether you have always wanted to be a belly dancer, or a licensed plumber, Assabet After Dark likely has the course that could bring you peace, or maybe change your life. Most courses take place at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, 215 Fitchburg St., Marlborough (intersection of routes 290 and 495). The catalog is at, or call 800/537-6663.
• Acton-Boxborough Community Education: Lose weight, learn the ukelele, or give your children something new to do, with this vast collection of courses designed for all ages. The courses take place at various locations, mostly in Acton. For more, go to, or call 978/266-2525.

• Minuteman Community Education: Minuteman Regional High offers Continuing Education courses with more than 100 classes that encompass career training, computers, health & fitness, in the kitchen, online learning, youth programs and much more.  Visit for details.

Category: Features

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