Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2011-05-12 15:48:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Two years ago, Jenny’s life turned upside down. “The Universe,” she says, “picked me up and spun me around.” She landed in Detroit with her computer and a few bags of clothes.

Nothing else.

At first, she missed her books and her photo albums, but none of the other stuff. Not a thing. That came as a big surprise.

Not only didn’t she miss her houseful of possessions, she actually felt good that it was gone. Relieved. Liberated. So she decided not to get bogged down in crap in the future. Now, she can pack a bag and go somewhere, tomorrow. Possessions will never weigh down her life again.

Having less stuff means having freedom.

We get attached to stuff. Jenny’s previous life was relatively prosperous. She had crafts supplies and baking equipment and lots of other things she rarely used. The intention of someday using them kept her tied to them.

“Purging gets easier the more you do it,” Jenny says. “As you give stuff away, you’ll start to feel freer and want to do it more. And your place will look better! When I did my purge, in every cubby, in every closet, there was just shit. Shit I hadn’t seen in years.

“The aha! is how much psychic space things take up.

“I don’t judge my self worth based on the stuff I have, so I didn’t expect to react strongly to getting rid of those things. I certainly didn’t expect the feeling of liberation.”

Me: Now that you have all this physical and psychic room, what has come into your life?

“What hasn’t? It’s opened up so much. When I look back, it seems like I was helpless with all the things that happened, but on the other hand I took charge of my life in a way I hadn’t before. I freed up space for new possibilities and the new possibilities just keep coming.

“Once you realize you can do something like this, you realize that not only are you okay, but you feel a lot better. It opens your mind to a lot of possibilities. Maybe other assumptions you have are wrong too. It was a very strengthening kind of experience.”

Me: How do you resist the lure of the new and shiny?

“There’s nothing to resist. The realization that I felt better having less stuff was so strong for me that it wouldn’t make any sense to start acquiring stuff again.

“In fact, there’s tension and hesitation when I think about bringing something new into my life. I don’t think that collecting junk is anyone’s goal. There’s an unconscious grabbing, buying and keeping.

“Having things is a false comfort. It’s a lie.”

Me: How can people get this kind of freedom without jettisoning all their belongings and moving 500 miles away?

“I encourage people to push their comfort zones and get rid of a lot more than they think they can. You think you’re going to miss it but actually you feel very free and light. It’s counter intuitive.

“I don’t think I would have discovered this if I hadn’t been put into a situation as I did. You don’t have to get rid of everything, but purge just a little more than you thought you could.

“Have the intention of freeing up space for yourself.”


The lovely and talented Jenny B Bones runs an empire dedicated to changing the world through words. Because she pared down and simplified her life, she’s got a laser focus on doing what she loves and what she can help others with. Read her spicy, witty blog here.

In case you were wondering, I help people with purges large and small. Too much stuff in your home, on your desk, or in your head? Click here to find out how much better it can be.

Organize your garage with Monkey Bars!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

organize your garage 8'_yard_toolsWell, these bars don’t come with any cute monkeys to entertain you, but they’re cleverly designed. I really like the way you can have two layers of items hanging parallel to the wall; very creative maximization of space.

I corresponded with Paige Norton of the Monkey Bars Company and she sent me some more info about them:

If you’re ready to rid yourself of the need for an off-site storage unit, or just ready to take back control of your garage, consider the unique Monkey Bars organize your garage cabinetGarage Storage System. The Monkey Bars garage shelving system is the strongest, most efficient and most customizable storage system for organizing all your belongings in the space your garage has to offer.

This shelving system takes advantage of the wall space in your garage and stores your items in 1/3 of the space. Its design also allows for the separation of long-term and short-term storage, storing less frequently used items up on the shelf and hanging more frequently used items below from bars and hooks.

Each Monkey Bars shelf is made of industrial strength steel and powder-coated for superior strength, capable of supporting up to 1,000 pounds in just a 4 foot area. Imagine how much you could store with just one or two shelves. You decide how many shelves you need.

What really makes Monkey Bars unique and sets them apart from other storage shelves is its patented bar and hook system. Below each shelf, triangular brackets support the shelf as well as bars. These bars create support for 11 different rubber-coated hooks from which you can hang yard tools, bikes, skis, ladders, and other items all below each shelf. The bars and hooks create layered storage, allowing you to maximize on the space below the shelf by hanging items in back and in front of the bar.

As your storage needs may change over time, these bars and hooks are capable of adjusting to those changes. The bars and hooks are easily moveable and the hooks can slide from side to side to open up room for more things.

Monkey Bars offers specific racks and accessories to hang a variety of items. This makes Monkey Bars one of the most customizable storage systems on the market. You decide what you need based on your various interests and storage needs. They offer bike racks, ski racks, yard tool racks, sports bags, bucket racks, saddle racks, kayak racks, golf bag racks and more. Their racks hold 3 times more than any other rack system available.

One of the newest features of the Monkey Bars is its ability to be installed inside their new cabinets. Store bikes, sports equipment, yard tools, and anything else you’d like in an efficient way and out of sight with these cabinets.

Organizing your garage can be a daunting project, but with the use of a strong and efficient system, it’s a task you’ll only need to tackle once.

Bio: Monkey Bars Central Coast/Bay Area is a garage storage and organization company serving the Central Coast and South Bay Area’s homeowners with solutions and tips to organize your garage.

Manage Expectations with Email

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2008-05-29 09:15:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

People put a variety of information in their email signature files, from business phone numbers to favorite quotations to colorful images of their signatures. I recently got an email that had a very clever sig line, as follows:

"I reply to emails at 8AM, 2PM and 4PM.
Calls returned: 10-11AM, 1-2PM and 5-6PM."

Short and sweet, gets right to the point.

If you find yourself constantly interrupted by emails and calls (and can't seem to resist answering/looking at them), try managing the expectations of your correspondents this way. Tack a similar phrase onto the end of your outgoing voicemail, too.

Check Out the Clutter Diet

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2008-06-18 10:13:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Getting organized can be challenging and time consuming. My aim with the blog is to help people with that task as much as I can without actually being there in person. Of course, I'd be happy if you wanted to hire me, but if you have a large project, hiring a professional can be pricey, to be honest.

So, I'm thrilled to recommend my colleague Lorie Marrero's Clutter Diet service. For less than you would pay me to work with you once, you can get a whole year of this service, which provides unlimited virtual access to their team of organizers, plus a lot of other great stuff. The Clutter Diet gives you the education, motivation and support you need to keep going with that organizing project until it's done. 

Am I worried about sending potential clients to this lower priced service? No, because I know that there are plenty of folks who really want to work with me in person and who will get the best results with me right there in their home or office.

And there are plenty of other folks who just want to read my blog and get their ideas and inspiration from that. We organizers realize that all our clients are unique, so we strive to provide as many ways to help them get organized as we can think of. I think Lorie's come up with a winner!

Diet lunch courtesy of Malia's photostream.

Five Ways to Seriously Get Things Done

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2010-06-29 21:25:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do you make notes and lists of all you have to do but still end up falling down rabbit holes of activity that weren’t on any lists? Have you got so much to do that you feel overwhelmed and defeated before you even start? In a world where things are moving and changing constantly, we all need help with this one. I’ve just created a an audio program called Five Ways to Seriously Get Things Done to do just that.

You may think you lack that focusing gene or that you’re just naturally distractible and you may be right. But most of the folks you see around you who don’t seem to have those problems have learned to be productive and they use tools to help them. You too can learn.

The five ways I talk about relate to using a to-do list. This can be a powerful tool, but you need to construct it correctly and use it right. It’s a focusing tool, not a dumping ground. It’s for making progress on your projects, not to list every little daily task. Here’s what I’ll talk about in this audio program:

  • Why you need a to-do list
  • Keep it short
  • Projects are not to-dos
  • The trick to prioritizing
  • Know where your time goes

You’ll also get worksheets to help you define and clarify your projects and correctly write your to-do lists. The worksheet for tracking your time will give you a clear picture of where your time now goes. The review checklists help you analyze and troubleshoot your to-do list and make sure you’re moving forward with your projects. There’s also a worksheet for you to create a “Not To Do” list.

If you keep unearthing old to-do lists that got lost and forgotten, there’s hope. You can start getting things done today and feel that sense of accomplishment. The worksheets will get you back on track until being productive becomes a habit. The program costs $7 and you can purchase it through with the link below. The program is sold through E-junkie and can be purchase with Paypal or credit card.

Add to Cart

Kipple is Clutter

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2007-02-26 17:50:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.”
“I see.”
“There’s the First Law of Kipple, ‘Kipple drives out nonkipple.’ Like Gresham’s law about bad money. And in these apartments there’s been nobody there to fight the kipple.
“So it has taken over completely. Now I understand.”
“Your place, here, this apartment you’ve picked—it’s too kipple-ized to live in. We can roll the kipple-factor back; we can do like I said, raid the other apartments. But—”
“But what?”
“We can’t win.”
“Why not?”
“No one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot, like in my apartment I’ve sort of created a stasis between the pressure of kipple and nonkipple, for the time being. But eventually I’ll die or go away, and then the kipple will again take over. It’s a universal principle operating throughout the universe; the entire universe is moving toward a final state of total, absolute kippleization.”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Sort of a bleak picture, isn’t it? Kipple is the same thing as clutter. And it’s true, clutter will take over if you let it.

But kipple only increases if you leave it lying around. That’s the key. If you don’t leave it lying around, you can keep it in check.

Kipple is also defined as useless objects, or things that have outlived their usefulness. A very good habit to develop is to get rid of something the moment it loses its usefulness. When you finish reading the paper, or even a section of it, toss it in the recycling. When you open a bottle, put the cap in the trash. When you open mail, throw out the envelopes and any other useless mailers they contain.

It’s amazing how much kipple is produced by not taking an action the moment you’ve decided it’s necessary. Start taking action today.

Computer Cord Organizer

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

The MOS organizer is a beautiful thing. I’m guessing its designers are Apple fans because the packaging is equally beautiful and clever; the device sits in a drawer in its box and you pull an orange ribbon tab to slide it open.

I love it when office supplies are fun and nice to look at. No one should have to put up with dull, strictly utilitarian stuff at home or at work. This little gizmo has a very pleasing round edged shape and comes in a matte finish aluminum that complements my Macbook.

The MOS solves a problem I didn’t realize I had until I saw what it does. Now I realize how annoying it’s been to reach blindly around the floor under my desk for my laptop power cord or phone charger. It holds the cords with a strong magnet, so I can pop some paper clips on there too, if I want.

The company is running a Kickstarter program for their next product, a superior audio cable paired with a smaller version of the MOS, the Menos (nice play on the words “mas” (the MOS) and “menos” for you Spanish speakers). Judging from the quality, utility and beauty of the current product, the new additions will be terrific.

In the Kickstarter video, they say they’re waging a war against car clutter. Gotta love that!

You can read about the newbies and pledge money here: MOS Spring and MOS Menos. The campaign ends Saturday, so hop on over.

Shoe Organizer: Creative or Just Weird?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2009-05-01 10:26:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Shoe org Maximizing storage space is always a good idea. Shelves in the back of your closet, off-season clothes under the bed. This wacky shoe organizer caught my eye. I think it’s a clever idea, but the notion of lying in bed surrounded by a fringe of shoes is a little unsettling.

Other suggestions for this cunning item are to stash toys, magazines and remotes in it. Hmm, good place just to hide your clutter, methinks. Obviously, it only works if you’ve got a really poufy bedskirt.

What would you use it for?

Organizing and Creativity

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

Originally posted 2012-12-04 20:19:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

organizing paintbrushesCreative people often shun organizing. Putting their supplies away and having a clear desktop are for accountants, not artists. Inspiration can strike anytime and materials must be out and ready (all of them).

Many creatives don’t produce a whole lot, though, and that’s because they are focussing all their attention on the muse and the flow of ideas, and not enough on how to get those ideas into the world.

Supply chain management is how companies get their products into the world. It includes inventory management and other dull sounding tasks. In the book Making Ideas Happen, I learned that Apple Computer has been in the top five of global supply chain leaders since 2007. Apple, a company known for its gorgeous product design and commitment to thinking outside the box.

In other words, a company known for creativity.

This creativity is followed up by an organizing system to making it happen. So the question is, do you want to simply enjoy the flow of ideas, or do you want to seize one and give it life? Remember Thomas Edison’s quotation: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Try thinking of having an organized work space as a tool for enhancing your imagination. Your supplies are always ready for you and you know exactly where they are. You have plenty of room to work without pushing things out of the way.

This doesn’t mean you have to hide things away.

It’s quite possible to organize your stuff and still have it out where you can see it. It just requires more horizontal space. Piles are allowed. Using the wall and the floor is also allowed.

Creatives can get bogged down in designing systems instead of doing their work so be careful not to fall into that trap. Keep your system simple. Don’t overthink piles.

Green Decluttering

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinby feather

A common concern I hear from people when they’re decluttering is that they don’t want their stuff just to go to the landfill. They don’t want to be responsible for creating more trash, or they feel that their stuff could be useful to someone. They want to be green!

Here are some options:

Sell your stuff
Craigslist is a good choice if you want to sell things locally such as furniture and other large or hard-to-ship items.

Go with Oakland auction houses such as Michaan’s or Clar’s to sell big lots and expensive items. In this economy, people aren’t buying or collecting the way they used to, so selling is also harder. Both auction houses offer free appraisal services.

Selling on eBay means you’ll have to take care of shipping, so make sure it will be worthwhile for you. Check out what’s been paid for items like yours to find out how to set your price.

While selling your stuff seems like an easy way to make a buck, remember that you’ve got to do the work of posting your ad, including a photo (required on eBay and suggested on Craigslist), answering questions and scheduling pickups. Make sure your asking price is worth the time you’ll spend.

For this reason, I don’t recommend garage sales. They’re often a huge waste of time. Only do one if you publicize it well, get other households involved and don’t mind spending the day sitting in front of your house.

Give stuff away
If you can’t be bothered to sell, just offer up your goods for free on Craigslist or Freecycle. This is the fastest way to unload unwanted items. People want all kinds of wacky things, especially when they’re free!

For larger quantities of household goods, donating to local thrift stores is a good option. In some areas, pick-up services are offered. This varies a lot, so call your local store to find out.

Crafty items find a home at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. This store caters to artists and teachers. They accept items that you might not think of donating, such as imprinted stationery, maps, popsicle sticks, yarn and film canisters.

If it’s clothing you want to donate, consider getting together with friends for a clothes swap. This is especially good if what you’re donating doesn’t fit anymore. You’ll be able to replace it with cast offs from friends that do fit.

Don’t forget Oakland’s Bulky Waste Pickup program. This is the way to get rid of trash that’s too big to fit in your garbage bin, such as mattresses, broken TVs, tires and furniture.

Next Step
Make sure you actually get the stuff out of the house! Try not to stockpile unwanted items in your garage where they’ll gather dust and be forgotten about, while still taking up precious space.