Racing Against Time

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Newspaper "Try as you will, you get behind in the race, in spite of yourself. It's an incessant strain to keep pace… And still you lose ground. Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment… Everything is high pressure. Human nature can't endure much more."

A quotation from last week's newspaper? No. This ran in the Atlantic Journal on June 16, 1833.

The moral of the story is that the speed of life constantly accelerates. Always has. There were no "good old days." Whatever systems and coping mechanisms you have in place now may not work in five years, or even next year.

Expect change. Embrace it. You can't predict what the change will be, but you can certainly predict that change will occur. Keep your systems simple and flexible. Check in to make sure they're still sufficient and don't be afraid to revamp them. That's how you stay ahead in the race.

Antique newspaper from pareerica's photostream.

Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

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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.

Organizing My Organizing Blog

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The main benefit to being organized is that it makes your life easier. Life is easier when you know where your stuff is and you can get to it quickly. The less stuff, the easier to organize it. I try to keep my blog layout organized and uncluttered, although everyday it seems like there's some new cool link or tool or information I can offer my readers. 

FL lake feet
I went to a meeting about blogging, organized by my lovely Ladies Who Launch group, and was reminded that clarity and ease of use are important elements of a blog. That means explaining things that might not be obvious to everyone.

First, if you want to leave a comment, you don't need to register or join my site. Click on the word "Comments" below the post and type your comment into the box. You just need to add your name and email address and then type in some characters to prove you're a real person and not a robot. I would love to hear from you!

Second, you can have my blog posts sent to you via email or via a reader. Those links are at the top of the right column. The first option is dead simple: just fill in your email address and then respond to the confirmation email (again, to prove you're not a robot).

You can use a reader to collect blog posts from all the blogs you read in one place. I use Google Reader. You have to set up an account, but it's free and very easy to do. Then go to a blog you like to read and look for the orange or blue subscribe button, like the one on the right.

Click on it, then find your reader on the next screen and click on it. For Google, click on Add to Reader. And you're done. No technical knowledge necessary. Bookmark your reader page in your browser and go there to read your own "magazine" of personally chosen blogs.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo Da Vinci

The Seven Deadly Organizing Sins: Greed

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Storage unit Now we’re up to Deadly Sin number 3, greed, which is also known as avarice or covetousness (according to Wikipedia) and even hoarding. Previous entries were about lust and gluttony.

I think gluttony is similar, but greed has an element of wanting to own something simply to have it; not to enjoy it or even use it. This means all that stuff in the storage unit that hasn’t been looked at or thought about in years. It means the boxes in the garage full of things that might come in handy someday. It also refers to those two extra blenders in the back of the cabinet that still kind of work.

Holding onto things that do not delight you or make your life easier with their utility is greedy. You’re not honoring yourself, or your own values, when all your energy is concentrated on acquiring and hoarding.

Step back and see what really matters in your life. Think about how contented you can be when you’re traveling and away from all those anchors, those dead weights (also, think about setting them free for someone else to appreciate them!). See what you can free yourself from and see what other freedoms come from that.

To avoid sin: Stop comparing what you have to what others have, which is a version of comparing yourself to others. I’m not advocating frugality, but just be clear that the things you allow into your life are ones that have a place there and won’t just molder away in a closet.

Crowded storage unit from jarrodlombardo’s photostream.