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What I know:

It isn't about our stuff.
It's about our connections.

Bigger. Better. More.
Rarely is.

Our best lives create space
in our homes and hearts
for the people and activities
that make us genuinely happy.

You must be present to win.

Limit yourself

You can’t Have it All.
(Where would you put it?!?)

By setting limits on how much time you’re willing to spend, 
how much space you are willing to devote,
how much mental energy you expend, and
how much money you need;
life becomes more manageable.

Limits keep us from the never ending cycle of more, more, more.

It may be as simple as only one shelf for your coffee cups.
Limiting your time on social media,
Saying no to overtime because you’d rather spend that time with family or friends.

Say no.
Learn how much is enough.
Choose less to have more.

More storage? Or not.

Chances are, you don’t need more storage-
you need less stuff.

Don’t spend time and energy organizing and storing things
you don’t need, use value or love.

Just because  things are neatly organized, doesn’t mean it isn’t clutter or excess.

How many is enough?
What activities are important to you?
How do you want to spend the limited amount of time you have every day?

Don’t organize what you don’t need.

Guilt and obligation

The candle scent is over powering.
You don’t wear sports team sweatshirts.
You don’t find time to read the books you’ve chosen.
You already have ten pairs of themed socks you seldom wear.

A gift isn’t a gift when it becomes a burden to the recipient.
Keeping things out of guilt or obligation negates the intention of the giver.
(And clutters your house and life)

Yes, it was thoughtful of the person to give you a gift.
You expressed your gratitude.
That is all you owe the giver.

If your relationship is so tenuous that not keeping, wearing or displaying the gift
will cause problems; perhaps you should rethink the connection.

Would you want a gift you gave to become a burden in someone else’s life?
Don’t let gifts from others become burdens in yours.

(This would be where I suggest giving experiences instead of things)

Standards and expectations

Raise your standards.
Lower your expectations.

Your standards reflect what you value, who and what you see as important in your life,
what behaviors you are willing to accept, and how you hold yourself accountable.

Expectations are the gateway to disappointment and resentment.

Standards are a way to know yourself, and to be aware of how you want to be spending your time,
energy and money.

Expectations often set us up for disappointment in ourselves and others.
Causing us to be unrealistic about our own behaviors and judgmental towards 
the people in our homes and lives.

High standards keep you moving toward the life you say you want.
Lower expectations can make the journey less stressful.

All the clutter…

All that clutter used to be money.

Five dollars here.
Ten dollars there.
The good deal that turned out not to be.
The item that didn’t work out, but you never took the time to return.

Food you won’t eat.
Gifts you never gave.
Clothes you don’t wear.
Books you’ve never read.

You aren’t wasting money now,
when you are deciding to let the things go;
you wasted the money when you spent it buying the unnecessary.

Be a smarter shopper.
Only buy things you need, will use, love and value.

Spend less.
Have more room for life.


Your home is a living space, not a storage space.

Act accordingly.

Less isn’t (necessarily) none.

People worry that letting go of things will mean the will end up with none.
Who they are and what they love will somehow disappear into the trash or Donate bag.

No one is asking you to give away every book, every pair of jeans,
all of your souvenirs, all your sports equipment, or all of your pots and pans.

Decluttering and simplifying means you keep what’s important to you.
What you actually use, value, and love.
Letting go of the extra or excess means what you keep
can be easily stored and accessed, used and appreciated.

You will realize that more isn’t better.
More is just the same thing, over and over, multiple times.

It is totally up to you to decide how much less you are comfortable owning.
How much space and energy you are willing to devote to keep and maintain
what you say is important?

You may end up with only one of grandma’s tea cups.
You may hold on to three of your ten college sweatshirts.
You may give away all of your kid’s Legos.
Sometimes less might be none,
but usually, 
if your are honest with yourself;
​less is just the right amount…

Boxes of photographs

For those of you overwhelmed by the idea of even starting to go through your photographs,
try this.

Grab a timer, a box of photos and two containers.
Set the timer for 30 minutes.
Open the box of photos and begin to sort.
At this point you only have two options:  Keep or Toss.
To make that decision as easy as possible, here are a few guidelines/suggestions.
Toss the duplicates.
Toss the scenery pictures.
Toss the out of focus ones.
Toss the pictures of people you don’t know or remember.
Toss the ones of people or places you’d rather not be reminded of.

When the timer rings.

Toss the Tossers and set the Keep container aside.

Continue this process until you’ve sorted through all the boxes.
(you may need more than one Keep container……just sayin)

If you never get any further along in the process than this initial sort,
at least you know you’ve been intentional about the ones you’ve kept.
And you have far fewer boxes than when you started!

At this point you may want to send the photos off to be digitized.
You may want to scan them yourself.
​You may like the options that having them available on your computer offers.

Or you may want to do a more detailed sort.

The next round of sorting the Keepers is to broadly categorize them.
All the birthday shots together.
All the vacation.
All the Christmas.
All of the single shots of one person or couple.
(No point in trying to figure out specific years)

Oh, and it’s okay to toss more as you are going through the images again.

At the end of this sort, again options.
Put them in albums.
Create a book.
Offer them to family members who might be interested.

The point of this exercise is to edit and consolidate all your photos into a collection
that is manageable, accessible, and that you might even look through!
(and to absolve you of the guilt of yet another ‘should’ project in your life……)

Will it take several 30 minute sessions?
Will it feel like work?
Yes, a bit.
Will you take a trip or two in the Way Back Machine?
Of course!

If it is important to you; you’ll create the time.
If it isn’t; you will find an excuse.
Honestly own either option.

Story telling.

Humans make meaning by telling stories.
We attach stories to all of our possessions.
Which is why it is hard to let go of things 
we no longer use, need, love or value.

Sports equipment we aren’t using holds the story of when we skied every weekend.
(Ten years ago, and not since)
Our stash of fabric holds the story of all the quilts we created and gave as gifts.
(The sewing machine hasn’t seen the light of day in four years)
Our closet of professional clothes tells the story of our climb up the corporate ladder.
(We no longer work in that field, wear that size, or dress like that for Zoom meetings)

Recognize that the story and the thing are two very separate things.
Keep the story and the memories, let go of the stuff.
Where and how are you willing and interested in creating a new story?
How can letting things go gracefully open up space for this life, today?

Done beats perfect.

Stop waiting until you have extra time,
or money,
or the exact shade of paint,
or you take another class,
or you get permission,
or you get an apology.

Waiting for the stars to align,
or you perfect the technique,
or your skill level hits mastery,
or even until ‘later’;
keeps you from enjoying the discovery of a process
and stops you from getting on with your life..
And often creates mental and physical clutter.

Holding out for perfect keeps us stuck.
Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have.
Finish the project with what’s available to you right now, 
or agree to abandon it.
Either is a valid and acceptable choice.
I promise.
Move on.