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Extreme Downsizing… So Tempting!

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I had just returned from a week’s vacation in Arizona and was feeling footloose and fancy free. Then I read Sean Ogle’s guest blog on Unclutterer entitled “Less stuff, more adventure”. It brought back memories of my first year of marriage to my Army Lieutenant when we could fit everything we owned – literally!- in the back of a Chevy Vega.

Tiger Balm Garden, Hong Kong

Sean went a step farther and sold the car! Now he is a world traveler living out of a backpack. He was writing from Bangkok, Thailand.

Obviously, Sean is not living in a tent and he must have a bank account he is drawing from. He is making his living with freelance writing and other online ventures. When not punching a computer keypad, he is meeting the Thai people, learning their culture and enjoying the bustle of a very cosmopolitan city.  Read Sean’s article here. Very motivating to lose the stuff that ties us down!

Did you visit the Tiger Balm Garden yet, Sean? Jeff and I were there in 1976, great place to celebrate the Bicentennial. Congrats on taking the steps to follow your dream!

Is Your ADD Showing at Work or at School?

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The tickler for the latest ADDitude magazine article  caught my eye: “When the System is Against You, Overcome ADD Obstacles at Work and at School.” Some of the best people I know have ADD.  I often work with folks who have organizational problems as a result. This was information I wanted to have in my tool kit.

The article gives strategies for working through ADD, how to manage with and without medication, and highlights the hidden benefits of a limiting condition.  Better still, this advice comes from five top executives who persevered despite being labeled as losers in school. I couldn’t stop reading the personal stories of  David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways; Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s; Diane Swonk, economist and author; Alan M. Meckler, Chairman and CEO of Jupitermedia; and Charles Schwab, founder and chairman of Charles Schwab & Co.   Each overcame their ADD obstacles to make a difference.

Very inspiring stuff!  Read the entire article here:

Are Good Things Crowding Out THE BEST?

Friday, March 5th, 2010

“But, this is still good.”

Meaning : I can’t part with it while it has utility. I invested money and energy into this.

Sadly, the gaggle of what is only “good” – whether that is information, possessions, intentions, pursuits, or desires – disguises and crowds out THE BEST until we can’t distinguish what THE BEST is anymore.

Does that statement sound too philosophical to be practical? Think about clothing in your closet or dresser as an example. How many are clothes you used to love that either don’t fit, are too ragged/faded from use, need alterations or repair, or are simply out of style? Odds are you will never wear them again, but they are “too good to give/throw away!”

When you look for something to wear, those leftovers are in the way, confusing your choices and slowing you down. What if you kept only the clothes that you wear constantly and make you feel great about yourself? You could shop your closet much more effectively and be more confident in your appearance every day.

Credit: Supagroova/flickr

Credit: Supagroova/flickr

Now think of that area in your life that is bugging you and seems overwhelming. In the same way, is there physical or mental clutter that is blocking your progress and success? These questions may help clarify your thinking:

What represents THE BEST for you in this area? Hint: What do you want to see in 10 years?

What things and attitudes do not support THE BEST for you? Will you have the courage to let go?

What three actions can you take to pursue THE BEST? Pick one. Start doing that today.

Is there someone who has experience in this area from whom you can learn? Don’t think you have to do it all yourself. Surround yourself with a supportive team. Trade time with a friend who can help you with something you aren’t good at and vice versa. Call in an expert to get you started.

Don’t let what is good rob you of THE BEST!

What to Do About the Hobby I Used to Be Passionate About?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Have you had an interest in the past that has been pushed aside by family or job responsibilities? You plan to get back to your sewing projects, sports collection, history books, scrapbooking, genealogy, _____________________ (fill in the blank) someday.  Meanwhile, that mound of yesterday’s projects is a distraction at best, at worst a symbol of failure to execute.

Topps 2010 Baseball Cards

It is possible that your interests simply have changed and you have outgrown that pursuit or hobby. Do you ever read the first half of a book and decide you learned all you wanted to on that particular topic?  The same can happen with any interest.  There is nothing wrong with deciding to change direction or to learn a new skill. Like the book, a hobby or activity can be set aside and the materials given to another avid follower.

Do not allow that stalled project to rule your emotions or take up precious space.

If you truly want to pursue a past activity when your time is freer, box up the project materials and store in a remote location. That will clear both your mind and your space of extraneous clutter. All your materials will be intact when you are ready to begin anew (or to gladly pass it all on to a grateful friend.)

No guilt or regret need apply!

Making Clutter Decisions – Swing, Batter!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The Paper Tiger lady, Barbara Hemphill, wrote, “Clutter is postponed decisions.”  That is a profound four word sentence that sums up the reason clutter happens. Does that statement resonate with you as it does for me? These are decisions that I struggle with that – left unanswered – clutter up my life and the surfaces in my home / office!

  • How should I answer that email?
  • What is the best place to keep this so I can find it again?
  • Where can I put this so I will not forget to RSVP?
  • Which of these projects should I work on first?
  • Should I mail this now or wait?
  • Who can I give this to who might appreciate it or actually use it?

The pile of things to do grows each time I don’t make a decision on how to deal with that item, email, or piece of paper. That is clutter, the result of my postponed decisions. In addition to physical clutter, my brain sends messages reminding me of those things still to take care of , producing mental clutter!

It helps to envision myself as a baseball player up to bat. The ball (a decision to make) comes my way. I can choose to do something with that pitch or let it go by for “ball one.”

The team manager (me again) reminds me that I get three strikes before I am OUT. I encourage myself to take a stab at the next ball (decision.) I may connect the first time. I tell myself to do it NOW!

I may make a few mistakes. I may flub a few decisions the first time. But I  learn more from the mistakes than from making no decisions at all. The best part is – the piles of clutter are disappearing little by little. Hooray!

What If You Could Do What You Love?

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

There I was, barreling down the highway with furniture piled in the back of a pick up truck.  All I needed was Granny and I could have passed for a member of the Beverly Hillbillies fan club.

Put together these clues:   a) it was August, b) my youngest had graduated from H.S. in June, and c) she passed me with a wave because she didn’t want to go that slow.  Yep, you guessed it.  I was delivering furnishings for the Freshman college dorm.

Honestly, I didn’t mind because my sister, Becky, was with me in the truck.  We rarely get to talk for two hours without interruption.  It was great to have that oasis carved out for sister time.

That was the day I asked Becky THE question, “If you could do one thing KNOWING that you could not fail, what would that be?”

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