The Stuff Specialist

To Keep It or Not and How

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Weeding Out

Well life was interrupted once again in my world, but when you fall off a horse you get right back on.  Right?

When I started this project, I was consistent for many days.  21 to be exact.  And then I went into hit a miss mode for a long time.  During this time I didn’t keep track of the items that I gave away, tossed or used up.  Bummer.  I would like to know just how much stuff has left this house.  I know it’s been a lot.

Oh well, time to give tracking another try.

My original 21 days resulted in:

  • 23 items given away
  • 7 items used up
  • 12 items tossed

With a grand total of 42 items no longer needing my attention.

Yesterday, I tossed 4 out dated food items in the kitchen.

One of my big focuses this time is going to be the kitchen.  I have way too much food stowed away.  Some of it’s too old, some of it’s too gross, and well some is a mystery.  And once again, after many kids, many years, and available space, I have more than I need or want.

I want to simplify.  I want less choices in the areas of my life that matter the least.  Food matters but not the many ways of preparing the food.  Like dehydrating, canning, and a zillion untried recipes.   What matters to me concerning food now is the nutrition.  And I believe seeking that through whole natural food is better for me than manufactured food.  So my cupboards are going to get weeded out.

What about you?  What areas in your life matter the most?  Can those other areas of life use some weeding out?


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It Took GUTs!

So over the last several years, many kids, and two houses I realize there is a lot of things in my house that just isn’t necessary or useful.  Maybe they weren’t when I acquired them either.  But I won’t dwell on that point.  For now I want to look at the stuff I have.  Then ask, “Is it benefiting my life?  Is it worth keeping?”  If both answers are no, then good-bye stuff.

So here’s the challenge I’m placing on myself.  How many day’s can I give away something, use up something, and or toss something.  And I’m going to make up the rules as I go.  Sounds like a game I can play and win at.

So this was Day 1’s stuff I said bye-bye to:



Gave away:
1. Sticky tack (yes, it’s still sticky)
2. a Hand held air pump
3. a Thermometer (we used for school)

Used up:   0

Tossed (yes, this means threw in the trash):  1.  4 used pencils

I know this is shocking but I really did throw away pencils that still could be used.  I don’t use pencils.   Well maybe 3 or 4 times a year.  I wouldn’t or could not use these pencils up in a life time.

I asked my daughter, who uses pencils daily, if she wanted them.  Her answer was a strong no.  She has a specific kind she likes.

So if I kept them I would simply be storing them for no good purpose.  And even though I’m a strong supporter of giving things away, I just couldn’t see giving used pencils away that may or may not be broken up inside.

Conclusion – Toss them

This took GUTs, really!

G = give away
U = use it
T = toss it
s = all to do with my stuff

So how many days can I follow my GUTs before I run out of stuff?  LoL

Day 1’s challenge completed.





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Defeat the Garage

Well I have to keep my garage, but I don’t have to keep all the stuff that is in it, or the dirt.

My garage is a two car garage.  We have no outdoor buildings, so it not only keeps our cars, it also keeps our yard and garden tools and supplies, besides the usual outdoor play toys.  And I’m sure before I’m done claiming it as mine once again I’ll find things that I didn’t even remember existed.

I have decided to attack the garage slow and steady using a tool I call A Timed Focus.  This basic tool is my favorite go to.  A Timed Focus is simply a preset amount of time to work toward a certain goal.  I usually use 20 minutes.  I use this tool to counter feelings of overwhelm, the feeling of not having enough time, guilt for not doing.  A Timed Focus can also help me break down larger projects into more doable projects by working on them without draining my brain power and my want to.

I’ll use A Timed Focus to work on my garage.  It’s a very big project.  A hot and dirty place to work and frankly I don’t like working in there.  But I can do just about any project for 20 minutes.

Here how it works.  Use a timer that is loud enough to be heard over any noise you maybe making and from whatever space or spaces you may be working from.  Know exactly what your goal is.  For my garage it is to get it clutter free and cleaned.

My first task is to gather all tools, separate them into keep and not to keep, then store what I’m keeping.  I know this will take many Timed Focuses.  But it pleases me to know that 20 minutes a day is doable and I will be making daily progress on a big and yucky job.

Once you defined your single focus and before you set the timer commit to the 20 minutes, just 20, you can do it.  Once you start the timer don’t touch it.  Keep moving on your goal, no matter how you feel.  When the time is over, stop.  Take a good look at what you’ve done and celebrate the progress.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with a project.  Often I can over estimate the time it would take to complete a project.  I then find myself saying, “I don’t have enough time to get it done now.  I‘ll work on it later when I have more time.”  As you have probably guessed I don’t have more time later.  With A Timed Focus I am amazed at how much I can accomplish.

Three things happen in my thinking.

1 – I can do 20 minutes whether I feel like it or not.  There is a beginning and an end.

2 – The guilt is gone for not doing the project to begin with.  I feel good about the progress.

3 – Once I’ve completed my 20 minutes my thoughts are free to focus on other things.  The annoying thought of “I should be ….” is replaced with “I’ve done….”

So garage here I come with timer in hand.  Prepare yourself to surrender.

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I’m Back!

I believe managing our stuff is a lot like a beautiful garden.

Some of us have green thumbs and tons of instinct.  Our gardens never look less than perfect.

Some gardens look really good but there is a section or two that just doesn’t quite complete the picture of a beautiful garden.

And yes there are some of us who don’t garden, but we have one.  It’s full of weeds and some flowers.  One or two of one kind and a zillion of another kind that go way beyond their boundaries.  Somewhere within the space beauty mingles in and out of order.

Mega years ago this was me.  I had a garden, a house.  I had some beautiful things, but you couldn’t find and appreciate them because of the clutter.  There were many things that contributed to the house that I didn’t tend to well.  But I changed a lot of my thinking and my habits and the garden greatly improved.

With many responsibilities and habits yet to develop my garden was average for a good many years.  It had good seasons, great seasons, and please don’t let anyone come in the front door seasons.

Then there was the opportunity to change my garden completely.  We moved from a small traditional home to a much bigger non traditional home.  I loved it, resources were good and I had a lot of time at home.  I was able to create a garden I was proud of pretty quickly.  But a new season came.

And it has been a long season of various problems.  In terms of gardening, consider a hail storm, critters you can see, bugs you can not see, and disease.  And then add an absent gardener.  Absent physically, mentally, or emotionally and the garden suffers.

Yep, that’s where I’ve been most recently.  I’ve been the absent gardener.  But I have returned to the task at hand.  Thankfully I still have areas of beauty.  But there are weeds to pull, flower beds to tame, and new plants to add.

The tricky part is time and finances are still limited.  But isn’t that true for a lot of us.  To find peace we must find balance between our time, resources, and stuff.  Do the best we can with what we have.

I will make peace with my stuff and create an awesome garden.  My home will be one I am proud of.  I did it before and I will do it again.

The professional organizer in me is back.  I’ve brought my tools with me.  And will share them with you as I get my garden back to beautiful.