Lifestyle Audits
By: Christine Marshall Hersom
Audit.  A word most people fear.  The first thing we think of is the Internal Revenue Service.  Although I am vigilant when I do my taxes and make sure that I do not do anything that is considered wrong or illegal, I still fret about being audited.
I first heard the word “auditing” outside of the tax world when I was a cast member on Season 1 of the Coach Peggy Real Time docuseries.  It freaked me out when she first mentioned it.  I started to sweat and thought crap her coaching is about to get super personal.  I couldn’t imagine what my Wellness Coach would want me to audit.  Per usual, she pushes you into actions steps that often do not make sense up front.  We dove into auditing our lives like it was our job. 
Coach has you start in your kitchen, but it doesn’t stop there – kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, emails and paperwork, relationships and more.  EVERYTHING!  At first, all I felt was a sense of burden and being overwhelmed.  I couldn’t imagine how spending this extra time would directly relate to my wellness goals.  I mean really….I joined this docuseries to get healthier, not clean my house (although deep down I finally admitted it could use it). 
One of the big kickers of her auditing process, is she makes you take before and after pictures.  There is no hiding from this woman!  However, I will now admit, months later, it turns out, auditing your life declutters your body, mind and spirit.  I know it sounds woohoo, but with a decluttered environment, I started feeling other parts of my wellbeing clear. 
We started in the kitchen.  We first removed expired foods even spices and condiments from our cupboards, refrigerator and freezer.  I found foods I didn’t even know we had.  Then we had to go back (yes, go back) and review labels with the intent of reducing consumption of foods with antibiotics, additives and nitrates.  Pretty much anything in a package or bag.  I am not a huge consumer of processed foods, however, this was a bit challenging for me as I live in a multi-generational home, and I also own an in-home daycare business.  My cupboards are chock full of items I do not even consume; others do.  Coach didn’t care.  She said, “If you want to find reason to feed others that crap, that is fine, but I don’t want you eating it.”  So, I had to make a special spot just for my stuff as I was learning to eat healthier.  While it was hard to do at first, I made it more efficient.  I had “my” cupboard, shelf, and drawer.  As a side note, my wellness journey was and continues to be mine.  To this day, I do not push my eating, exercise or other actions on my friends or family.  I choose my goals and I do not make them theirs.   
You would think we would be done with the kitchen.  NO!  We had to go back a third time.  I can’t make this up.  We then had to go through all of our cookware, cooking utensils, appliances, etc.  We had to toss out what was broken, donate what we didn’t use or had ten of and replace what might be broken or missing.  Some of you guys will love replacing your plates or silverware.  Oh, and re-gift that third blender you just had to have and have never used.
The fourth area that Coach had us go through was our bedroom drawers and closets.  It is amazing how many clothes I have saved.  Sometimes the Yankee Thrift is not necessarily thrifty.  I mean why did I still have jeans from High School?  Yes, I loved them…THEN.  However, plunging off the roof of my house still wouldn’t give me the pressure needed to slide into those jeans today.  I also live in a part of the country with four seasons, therefore, we tend to switch out our clothes as the weather changes.  But that didn’t matter to me – I did it all.  I wasn’t waiting for Fall to do that batch of auditing.  I told myself if I hadn’t worn something in the past year, I no longer need it.  As you can guess, I spent hours auditing my clothes and reorganizing.  I had BAGS and BAGS for Goodwill.  I look back at pre-audits, and laugh.  I used to spend so much time every evening “looking” for something to wear the next day.  If anybody had looked in my closet they would have thought I was a remote Yankee Thrift.  After auditing my closet, putting away clothes – and finding them – has become so much easier and more efficient.  I can pick out an outfit for the next day with ease. 
Next, we headed to the automobile.  I drive a pickup truck, and it has lots of cubbies to put “stuff”.  One of the cubbies we use for tools and extra jugs of oil (very old truck with high mileage).  Wandering through the other cubbies, made me feel like I had traveled through Walmart and Blockbuster.  I found broken bungie cords, 20×20 tarp (wonder if I was afraid the roof would leak), and DVD’s (I mean you never know when you will want to watch an old movie, right?).  I had masks for the Pandemic, the good old owner’s manual that you cannot find when you want to find it, frozen Chapstick, and an embarrassing number of empty bottles of water and Gatorade.  What a hot mess.  After emptying the cubbies, I remembered a strategy Coach taught us called Lego stacking where you try to do things simultaneously that can make you more efficient – things that take advantage of time versus wasting it like doing squats when brushing your teeth (I can’t do that one-requires too much concentration).  So, I decided to keep a dash-board cleaner really close by.  All passengers now earn their taxi rides from me: wipe down the dash and all of the buttons during the ride.  Big win for me.
One of the biggest fallouts from the audits is that things get clean.  Cleaning as you go, feels and smells so good.  Checking off areas of your house where you have been meaning to tidy up for months (or  years), feels so good.
Season 2 is being pushed even harder as they are also auditing their emails, paperwork and rumor has it they are headed into “auditing” their relationships.  Coach Peggy’s auditing assignments really do step you into the direction of leading a healthier life.  I feel freer.  I have space to breathe and to think and not just in the physical space we audited, but in my mind. 
I now automatically “audit” every room in my home while cleaning.  If I start to feel closed in in certain areas, I scan the room to see if there is clutter closing in on me.  I ask myself when I hesitate to toss something – why or when I want to buy something.  I didn’t do that before.  Less junk around me literally feels like less junk in my head.  I am really starting to embrace the minimalist lifestyle. 
My current project is my huge bookshelf.  That might sound easy to audit, but I am an avid reader.  I am even an avid re-reader.  Most readers, like me, find it necessary to hold onto all those “really good” books.  My current baby step is organizing what I do have.  And, if nothing else evolves, the bookshelf will be dusted.
     
Christine Marshall Hersom
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC
                                                                  christinehersom@gmail.com