I need hand-holding as I declutter: NOT FLYLADY - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 02:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

I have a huge urge to zen-out my home. I have a few boxes for donation going already, but I'd love a system that doesn't involve a ton of emails and religious overtones.

Any ideas? Something simple, but effective.

Thanks!

Mama to two girls 12/05 and 8/09

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#2 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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I made a list of everything I need to do in my house, it included line items for each task, about 30 items in all. I then wrote down how often I need to do each task. Kitty litter and load dishwasher was everyday. Vacuum stairs was every month. Everything else was inbetween. I then filled out a 28 day calendar with each item, and did 2-3 task per day.

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#3 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 09:54 AM
 
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I use motivated moms. Not so much decluttering as household chores, but over the course of a year you get a fair amount of junk gone.

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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#4 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 10:29 AM
 
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LOL. I know what you mean about Flylady. I get it on Digest and send it to a folder. I only look at it on my terms.

If you are looking for another less religious website and forum there is
My Messy House
http://mymessyhouse.org/
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#5 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 10:35 AM
 
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I really like this book. I go back to it whenever I need a little motivation.
Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

And yes, I realize the irony of suggesting an object to bring into the home when you are trying to declutter.

Mom to Kira March 2009
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#6 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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And yes, I realize the irony of suggesting an object to bring into the home when you are trying to declutter.
Perhaps the op could find it at the library?
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#7 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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Perhaps the op could find it at the library?
or even an e-book. That's what I did with It's All Too Much

Me:
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#8 of 38 Old 05-06-2008, 04:49 PM
 
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My sister generously donated most of a day to help me get started on decluttering . Part of the problem was that I was getting all jumbled up with not knowing where to even start. She helped me look at the situation objectively, decide what the priorities are, and write out a game plan for how to tackle making our home more liveable. Having an outside person there IRL really makes a difference . Anyone who doesn't live in your home could help because their eye will see different things than yours will. Emotional support does help when you're feeling overwhelmed .

sharing life with | 9.5 yo ds | 7 yo dd | love of my life new husband

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#9 of 38 Old 05-09-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Masel View Post
LOL. I know what you mean about Flylady. I get it on Digest and send it to a folder. I only look at it on my terms.

If you are looking for another less religious website and forum there is
My Messy House
http://mymessyhouse.org/
The site owner seems to be renovating, and is behind because of grad school. Do you use this system? I like the lists, and was curious about the 5/5 and what the schedule is for the LROTD, if there is one?
TIA
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#10 of 38 Old 05-09-2008, 04:23 PM
 
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I have a small tip...(really small) I keep a empty box in the garage. when I find something I don't want/need I put in there. Once full I call the Vets.
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#11 of 38 Old 06-02-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#12 of 38 Old 06-02-2008, 07:18 PM
 
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I made a list of everything I need to do in my house, it included line items for each task, about 30 items in all. I then wrote down how often I need to do each task.
Would you be willing to share your list for those of us (like me) who get overwhelmed just trying to make a list?
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#13 of 38 Old 06-03-2008, 07:17 PM
 
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I'll tell you what: I'll help you if you help me! ;-)

I'm serious, though. Isn't this stuff easier to do with someone else? Especially if D and R will go play in the backyard while we're at it? ;-) (Here, anyway; I'm sure R can show off the equivalent at your place.)

A couple years ago, someone on another list I was on had started a secular Flylady clone. Try googling "secular flylady" and see if you can find it, maybe?
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#14 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 12:33 AM
 
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My simple, but effective tip is to start with ONE room in your house. Go sit in there. Sit where you normally sit or wherever is comfortable or bring a chair with you or sit on the floor is that's all there is. Just hang out in there for awhile while not doing anything else and pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel calm? Do you feel restless? Can you identify what makes you feel uncomfortable?

I would just move the item that bothers you right then and there, but that may not always be feasible. A list might help with those things (like light fixtures, as an example). Anyway, spend a few minutes each day in this one room. Invite the family, if you wish, or not. Once this room is the way you want it, it feels peaceful to you, then move to a different room.

Expect this process to take awhile.

Read that sentence again.

Meanwhile, I subscribed to FLYlady years ago (6-7). I got a lot out of it, but I am actually more of what she calls "born organized" so I didn't keep up with it. I needed it for two reasons: 1) To reframe my outlook on housework and 2) To retrain myself after the chaos of adding an infant into the home. I achieved both of those rather quickly with some guidance.

One thing I do is to make use of the "tasks" in my email program. I have a Mac and I run Entourage, which is similar to Outlook. I'll see about copying and pasting my task list and come back. I like writing lists with paper and pencil, but once I write a list I never refer back to it. It seems the act of writing is enough for me, but it only works for short-term and/or just a few items.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#15 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 03:35 AM
 
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Well, I have tried numerous ways and it looks like I cannot get the list here any other way than typing it manually. It is long! It looks a LOT more complicated than it really is in real life...

I make liberal use of the categories function and code everything:
Business
Daughter
Family
Holiday
House
Me
Mother/Daughter
Playgroup
and plenty more...those are just the ones that apply to my task list right now.

Every task I enter gets a reminder set or this simply would not work for me. I don't go looking for tasks! LOL They pop up on my screen as reminders and I click snooze or completed.

In the 'Business' category (I am using the term 'business' loosely), I have one weekly task that I call "finances/paperwork". Every Tuesday I go through our in box and handle the paperwork that has accumulated since last Tuesday and then I match financial transactions between Quicken, our financial institution (online), and our physical receipts. When the monthly statements are here, I balance accounts. I spend a maximum of one hour and prioritize the tasks. Today, it only took me 15 minutes. Other tasks in this category:
1.Run cash flow report (quarterly)
2.Update financial statement (semi-annual)
3.Taxes (prep in Feb, actual in April)
Um, yes, I have a degree in Finance and worked in the field for years!

In my 'Daughter' category, I have one task that comes up three times a year. I call it "dress up" (a game) and it is basically where she plays model and tries on every article of clothing she owns (over a few days) and we decide what gets passed along to someone else and what she needs more of, etc. It is set for the month before her birthday (so I can let family know what she needs and to allow room for new items), the week after school gets out, and in mid-November. I am currently helping her with a long-term project of collecting postcards from each state, so that comes up every other week.

My 'Family' category has the following:
1.Email family pictures and update (every 2 months; our relatives live far away and this keeps them in touch)
2.Update stats on DD (semi-annual; we weigh and measure her and I type up some details, I keep it as a 'note' in the same program)
3.Spin the mattress (monthly; includes stripping the bed COMPLETELY and washing everything and line-drying)
4.Photo project (monthly; I keep up with our digital pictures this way)
5.Replace toothbrushes (every 4 months; mine don’t always need to be tossed, but DH & DD are harder on theirs)
Any family events I want to research go here, too. When they become planned events, I move them to the calendar on a specific date.

My ‘Holiday’ category has the following:
1.Swap décor (first of the month for the holidays we have décor)
2.Put away Christmas décor (annually; we get it taken down easily, but getting it put away requires a reminder…LOL)
I have a lot of date-specific holiday prep directly in my calendar, such as planning the menus and taking the family holiday photograph, etc.

My ‘House’ category may be all you wanted:
1.Dust upstairs (every two weeks; I dust every week…this guides me on which floor)
2.Dust downstairs (every two weeks; I dust every week…this guides me on which floor)
3.Run Roomba (every Mon & Thurs; it vacuums the kitchen one day and the living room the other…I also do a small space, if needed)
4.Run Scooba (every Tues & Fri; it vacuums and mops the kitchen one day and I pick two small areas the other day…upstairs bathrooms or foyer and laundry/powder room)
5.Vacuum upstairs (every Friday; I do a quickie one week and a better job the next…well, that’s the idea, anyway…LOL...this is very new because I was forgetting to vacuum the upstairs)
6.Home Blessing Hour (every Monday; I just pick whatever needs the most love and spend an hour doing it)
7.Run vinegar through dishwasher (monthly; with a full load)
8.Wipe down ceiling fans, windowsills, and baseboards (monthly)
9.Vacuum sofas and chair (quarterly; we rarely eat outside the kitchen)
I do laundry every day and don’t need a reminder for that. Same with dishes and many other tasks. I use tasks for developing new habits and/or keeping track of the less frequent things.

My ‘Me’ category:
1.Rotate toiletries (monthly; I get bored with the same old thing, so I rotate within my own stash; I enjoy ‘shopping’ in my own cabinet; I tend to use things up now and buy far less)
2.Music project (monthly; I am working on my music list)
3.Project day (weekly; Wednesdays tend to be my most open day of the week, so I pick a project on Sunday and make sure I have the necessary items by Tuesday evening…these range widely from volunteer research to scrapbooking to home improvement projects to gardening to helping a friend and event planning and so forth)

In my ‘Mother/Daughter’ category:
1.Manicures/pedicures (every two weeks; at the very least, I trim all 40 female nails…LOL; sometimes we extend this to be more pampering and fun; massages and fun hairstyles and just general girly stuff)
2.Hair cut (quarterly; I cut DD’s hair or at least assess the situation)
Other things come up that I put in for DD’s school breaks. She's on a year-round schedule. I use tasks as a holding place for ideas without specific dates. Specific date items go on the calendar.

Lastly, I am the captain of our playgroup, so I research and plan events and type up/send out a monthly calendar for the group. I survey the group annually.

Oh, I volunteer a lot and research projects go here, too. I happen to have finished those recently.

Goodness, I hope this helps someone! LOL It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it was kind of fun to see my task list in a different way.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#16 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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This won't include ANY emails, but I love the book "House Works" by Cynthia Townley Ewer. She's also the editor of the OrganizedHome.com website. When there used to be forums on this website, she said she wanted to help people declutter, not sell them cheap plastic water bottles (like FlyLady is always pushing) or overwhelm them with emails.

This book is FAB! Maybe 200 pages, paperback, lots of colorful pictures, funny, too! You can get it used on Amazon for about $10, and new is just a little more.

While her website doesn't have forums anymore, there are lots and lots of great articles, plus all sorts of printable forms if you need help putting together a household notebook.

www.organizedhome.com

House Works book:
http://http://www.amazon.com/Housewo...2601230&sr=8-1

No religious overtones at all! And not overly emotional like FlyLady, either!

HTH!

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#17 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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sunnysandiegan- WOW your list is amazing! It makes so much sense...and I see quite a few of my problem areas (PAPER/photos/etc) on your list as well as some that I strive to be better at (family updates/general cleaning/etc).

I will really try to adopt some of these ideas and categories to help in the flow of our house!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

ETA: Just thinking on this more- did you do a paper list or something in Word to get all your ideas/chores down before adding it to your Calender program? It just seems that I need a starting point, I might just jot stuff down pen and paper and then transfer it to word and then to my calendar (overkill maybe, but I want it easy to change edit as tasks change etc) I'm planning on using Outlook for my reminders and I could sync it with my Palm (something that sense has gathered dust waiting for me to USE it again!). It would be great for me to have it when away from the house. Any tips on the best place to start or the best area to start. I have the problem where I want everything to be perfect and if its not perfect I have a hard time implementing it- its a MAJOR problem in my organizing and decluttering, ugh!
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#18 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 03:24 PM
 
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sunnysandiegan .... you are amazing!

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#19 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 04:28 PM
 
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I have a small tip...(really small) I keep a empty box in the garage. when I find something I don't want/need I put in there. Once full I call the Vets.
I was just going to post that same tip. I also keep a large plastic bag in my bedroom for clothing donation. When I sort laundry or go through the dresser, I create a pile for donations or to keep for hand me downs.

Wendy - mom to dd1(11), dd2(7), dd3(3)
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#20 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 05:48 PM
 
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sunnysandiegan- WOW your list is amazing! It makes so much sense...and I see quite a few of my problem areas (PAPER/photos/etc) on your list as well as some that I strive to be better at (family updates/general cleaning/etc).

I will really try to adopt some of these ideas and categories to help in the flow of our house!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!
You are very welcome! I am so happy it will help you!

I'll come back later to answer your ETA questions. (I am headed out the door for a couple hours.)

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#21 of 38 Old 06-04-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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sunnysandiegan .... you are amazing!
Aw, thanks!

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#22 of 38 Old 06-05-2008, 02:55 AM
 
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sunnysandiegan- <snip>

ETA: Just thinking on this more- did you do a paper list or something in Word to get all your ideas/chores down before adding it to your Calender program? It just seems that I need a starting point, I might just jot stuff down pen and paper and then transfer it to word and then to my calendar (overkill maybe, but I want it easy to change edit as tasks change etc) I'm planning on using Outlook for my reminders and I could sync it with my Palm (something that sense has gathered dust waiting for me to USE it again!). It would be great for me to have it when away from the house. Any tips on the best place to start or the best area to start. I have the problem where I want everything to be perfect and if its not perfect I have a hard time implementing it- its a MAJOR problem in my organizing and decluttering, ugh!
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I've been busy with my project day!

No, I did not do a paper list or a Word document to get started. I just entered them directly into Entourage (like Outlook). It is super easy to delete or change or add tasks and there is no need to do all the extra steps.

I sync my iPhone (like a mini computer) with my laptop and my reminders pop up on my iPhone, too. I don't pay much attention to them, though. When I had a PDA, I disliked syncing it and specifically disliked the way the reminders came up. Mine was really, really old (circa 2002) and was cumbersome.

As for ideas to get started, I have a few...

1) Just pick one area of your life you wish to get more organized. Maybe housework? Maybe communication? Whatever it is, just focus on that area for now. You have to build your habits slowly or you'll just crash and burn. I speak from experience! LOL Tackle a new area each month. It takes 21-28 days to form a habit, depending on who you ask. Once a month is usually easier. Once you pick the first area, get those tasks into your task list in Outlook (or on your calendar or wherever). If you want to write all the lists and do a document first, go for it. I can tell you it isn't necessary all day, but only you know yourself. Just do whatever it takes to get it done. It won't be perfect until you do it for awhile. There is a learning curve. Personally, I went from way too many tasks (drove me crazy with reminders popping up all the time) to too few (nothing I wanted to get done was getting done) to finally building it slowly and it has been working very smoothly for a few years now. I literally scrapped the whole thing a few years ago and started completely over from scratch. My goal now is to never have more tasks than will fit in one full-size window, so I can see them all at a glance. I normally keep them in date order and delete them about once a week (only completed items). Most of my tasks are recurring and automatically create a new task for the next occurrence.

2) Start with your most pressing concerns and get those in first. Be sure to prioritize and stick to the MOST pressing. Start small. Maybe set up 5 this week and 5 next week, then take a break and get used to those. Set up a task to add new tasks!

3) Not exactly what you asked, but related nonetheless. Perhaps it is time to examine your need for perfection??? Figure out where it is coming from and let it go. You'll ultimately become FAR MORE efficient and organized, I promise you!!!

Just for clarification, my tasks are NOT directly in my calendar. I've tried that in the past and it drove me crazy. Ultimately, "tasks" are voluntary to me and I don't always do them exactly when I scheduled them. Just because it pops up doesn't mean I need to drop everything to do it. I use my calendar for date-specific appointments and such and I consider these more important than tasks. I rarely change appointments, but I postpone and alter tasks often enough for me to consider them more fluid and free-flowing. Anyway, "tasks" is a separate section of my email program called Entourage. It has been a long time since I used a PC, but I recall Outlook being very similar. I have the following sections in Entourage: Mail, Address Book, Calendar, Notes, Tasks, and Project Center. I use everything except the project center and I have tried that out in the past. "Tasks" looks like a list with one line item per task: task, due date, and category. (You can have more columns show, if you want.) I just completed a few and deleted them, so the next few on my list are:

Run Roomba; Tomorrow; House
Run Scooba; Friday, June 6, 2008; House
State postcards; Friday, June 6, 2008; Daughter

I don't usually open this section, though. I only see the reminders. In my program, I have my "day" set up to be 8 am to 8 pm. My default reminder is 12 hours prior to the task due date, which means they generally pop up at 8 pm the night before. I glance at them (in order to be prepared for the following day) and snooze them until the following morning. My calendar items also show up in the nightly reminders, so I get items ready for the next day between putting DD to bed and going to bed myself or at least make mental notes. When DD was a baby, I literally got every single thing ready at night or I would never make it out of the house! LOL

I hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions. You can do it!!!

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#23 of 38 Old 06-05-2008, 11:18 AM
 
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Thank you SO much! I will be back with more- I'm trying to get the house running smoothly this morning, and must finish that before I spend more time on here
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#24 of 38 Old 08-10-2008, 02:06 AM
 
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Zoomom - I am wondering how you are doing???

Also, someone else asked this type of question, so I am bumping this up so I don't have to retype or copy/paste.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#25 of 38 Old 08-10-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Oh my goodness! Sunnysandiegan, your list is amazing!! You really wouldn't know it from looking at my house, but I'm kind of a born organized person too, according to flylady. Ever since bedrest with my last pregnancy, I haven't been able to get it together again. I'm trying really hard though because I know I'm happier when things are going smoothly, which makes me a better mom too.

I don't have Outlook, but have Windows Mail which looks similar to my Outlook at work. I think I'll see if I can find a tasks program there. So do you literally put every single thing in there, even daily stuff (dishes, floor, laundry, etc) or just the occasional things?
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#26 of 38 Old 08-10-2008, 07:24 PM
 
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Hi Kristi!

No, I don't literally put every single thing in there, but I did try that at one point in time. LOL It drove me bonkers real quick!!! I put in the things I am trying to make a habit. Once it is a habit, I give it some extra time and then delete it. I also use it to remind me to do those random jobs that just aren't done often enough to become habits. It works really well for releasing "stuff" from my brain, which allows me to relax more while still getting a lot accomplished.

I highly recommend starting small. Make a few select HIGH priority items your focus for 'x' amount of time before adding a few more, etc. The amount of time really depends on how often the 'task' is being done. The higher the frequency, the shorter the amount of time required to make it a habit. On the other side of that, though, is you can schedule the random, low frequency tasks in larger batches. Just balance it out so you create an achievable scenario.

Best wishes! You can do it!

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

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#27 of 38 Old 08-10-2008, 07:29 PM
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Get the audio book of It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. VERY motivating.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#28 of 38 Old 08-10-2008, 07:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Get the audio book of It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. VERY motivating.
I actually bought the paper book a couple weeks ago. I've been decluttering for awhile, but it helped me decide to go through again. It's a great book!
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#29 of 38 Old 08-10-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MaClaire View Post
Hi all,

I have a huge urge to zen-out my home. I have a few boxes for donation going already, but I'd love a system that doesn't involve a ton of emails and religious overtones.

Any ideas? Something simple, but effective.

Thanks!
sooooooo i know you say not fly lady BUT you can set it up so you only get one email a day from her...

also, i'm not sure i've ever seen anything religious in her posts...maybe she says like ''thank god'' or something? but really i'm not even sure i've seen that!

me, dh and 2 boys = our family (oh and a cat...who is also a male...lol)
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#30 of 38 Old 08-10-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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subbing to reread sunnysandiegan's super tips again later...

mom to G 6/19/03 and M 9/9/06
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