letting go

?Question? box your stuff.

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Once a pack-rat always a pack-rat?  Could this be my fate? I am disgusted with all the crap in my new fixer-upper.

Even after all this time of moaning and reasoning, learning, and purging, there is still too much crap!  I give advice like it’s nobody’s business, yet here I am facing a mess.  And when I see it I feel like, “Damn what happened?”

What’s my excuse?  Tell me because I would  like to know.

My guess is that I am fearful.  All the self help books out there claim fear is the strongest of emotions that guide our decisions….so I must be afraid.

Afraid of what?

I am afraid of being without, even though being without is my goal.  So I have a major problem here.

madonna-material-girl-video-cap-0056

I was raised in the material world, with the material girl.  I used to claim to my step sons that Madonna was my sister….they were kids (little kids), they didn’t now any better.  I also told them I was from outer-space  and that was even way cooler than being anyone’s sister.  Point being materialism runs deep in my veins.  I am ashamed to say, one of my nick names was “Shoppin’-Shirley.”

I held no limits and knew few worries.  Whatever, whenever as long as it was fun, and even better if I could buy something. My life was spinning without direction or boundaries.  Anything was possible.  Everything was an adventure.  Things were fun.  Buying was fun.  For me the late 80’s and all of the 90’s were out of control.  And I liked it!

Sorry if I am repeating myself

So fast forward to reality, ugh, do we have to?  Yes we do.  Now I am still on this quest. I call it my “journey to living better with less” but I am in a funk.  I have not reached my goals.  I am slowly pulling myself out of this funk, but that doesn’t make the extra stuff magically disappear.

Now for the: What am I going to do about it question?

I am going to start over.  I am going to the Start Here section of my blog and follow my own advice.  I may skip around the numbers some, depending what I feel like doing.  I am adding a new twist, I am going to hold myself accountable.  Astonishing right?  Accountability. Wow.

I have been lax in taking photos.  So regarding photos, I am going to try something new. I am going to take Reward photos, pictures of stuff packed-up and ready to go.  No matter where it is going.  The rule is there are only four places anything can go:

1. Donation

2. Sale

3.Trash/Recycling

4. ?Question? box. 

empty_box

The ?Question? box is new to me.  It’s my last thin thread of my holding-on tendencies   Items placed in the ?Question? pile can live there a week, and only a week.  Seven days.  After that week is up their fate is sealed.

This is my plan. If you are in the same boat maybe you too can kick-start your journey to living better with less. Wish me luck.  Cheers.

Helpful link: The January Cure.  This is a day by day plan for improvement in one month. Plus Apartment Therapy is an awesome site.

break

Tip: The more you put in the ?Question? box the better.

Inspiration: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

One-day one-thing: Make a ?Question box? or area.

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I have never

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It’s difficult to believe this but I have never sat in a coffee shop alone with my laptop. I have never gone to a library to read. I’ve only once gone to a sit-down restaurant by myself.

I’m no spring chicken. I have done many many other things that maybe someone else hasn’t done. But seriously the simple things are foreign to me.  I never felt I had the luxury of time to do these things, or I would tell myself ,  “I can do that at home.”  Doing simple things at home is never the same as doing them else where, and they rarely happen.

I remember on one vacation I was happy to cook everyone breakfast, no matter what time they woke up.  Looking out the kitchen window there nothing but beach between me and Pacific Ocean.  I determined I could cook there non-stop. At home I might say to the late risers, “I’ve been up for five hours I just had lunch.”

Here is the key, when you get home, there’s always something tugging at you. If not physically then mentally. At least in my case there is. Considering what lives at home off and on; two dogs, two cats, three children, a husband and my mother, tugging at me comes as no surprise.  That’s another reason I am heading to minimalism less stuff to even consider or clutter your thoughts.  You don’t have to bother yourself with items that have to be stored, or saved for another time, or cleaned and repaired.  No.  No Mas. The time is now.

Time to change it up a bit.

I figure I can spare one hour a day, with a minimum of travel time on either side.  So lets make it two hours.  Two hours instantly scares me into thinking I cant do this.  But I know I can if I really want it.  If I want it more than doing laundry today, or lingering on the internet,  I can spare some time to hang with nature.  That’s what I like to do.  You might like something totally different.  Maybe you won’t get to it exactly at the time you wanted, but if you want it, you can get there.

Time to let yourself know, you make the your decisions.  Face it, when we make excuses many times we still don’t even do “the excuse” of why we couldn’t do what we wanted.  Time sucks are everywhere.  You need to identified and destroy those time-leaks.

For a while I was taking the dogs to the park , throwing down a blanket and sketching with my colors pencils and reading.  With this small outing, took my hectic-life and I made it stop.  I was there.  Nothing else was allowed to tugged at me.  It was pretty awesome.

Start simply: here’s an idea you can do at home tonight.

How about a  luxury bath?  Even if you don’t usually take baths, try this on for size; 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of baking soda, and 10 drops of lavender oil to bathwater as hot as you can tolerate.

I am doing this tonight.  I think I will light a few candles as well.  Love to hear how you like it , if you do it.

Cheers!

Tip: Start small, little changes every day is the best way to change your life, but don’t allow yourself to miss even one day no matter what.

Inspiration: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”- Buddha

One day – one thing: Take ten minutes, close your eyes and visualize your life as you want to live it.

Waiting

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Waiting is hard.

Have you ever found yourself waiting and getting irate, grumpy or even snippy. It’s all a waste of your time life. You end up hurting those around you and also making everyone miserable including yourself.

Right now we are still waiting on our final contract to buy this house Project1923. We have signed everything but they made one error on the original, and boom everything stopped. One box was checked incorrectly. I could finish that correction in a nano second, but we are dealing with people who have thousands of these deals hitting their desks everyday. We dealing indirectly with Freddie Mac, they own the majority of the foreclosures. The banks just unload those properties to the government. We were warned. Everybody told us that it’s nearly impossible to deal with them.

Before we notice that incorrectly checked box, we were working at rapid speed. They “required” a 24 hour turn around from us, and we gave it to them. Unfortunately, they made a mistake. And now we wait. They have to correct it, and send it to us. Whenever they get to it.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

This is were I am working really hard at patience. I try not to think about it. I just tell myself everything will be okay. And actually to my own surprise I am not at all concerned or worried. I think time and life events have beat me into submission. I can recall so many instances waiting. Usually waiting for something so important that I could not sleep or eat. And now, I don’t give it much thought.

Why? you ask. Because I can not do a damn thing to change it. I couldn’t change any of my previous “waits” either.

This is one of the many keys to life. I would classify this as a big huge key to life. I am not an alcoholic but AA sure has it covered with that “Serenity Prayer” they quote.

So let it go if you can not control it. As you practice this habit of letting go over time you will come to the realization there is very little in life you actually control. That is, except your very own peace of mind. Think about it. Then live it.

I guarantee you will love it.

Cheers!

Tip: Practice being the person who doesn’t make sour faces while waiting in line, smile instead.

Inspiration:” Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.”- Barry Neil Kaufman

One day – one thing: Patrice breathing at stop lights; count to 2 as you inhale- to 4 as you exhale, and increase as you are able.

Sale time, yet again

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I am getting pretty good at organizing garage/house sales, and brother do I kill it with the signs.

I use Craig’s list and signs on major intersections.  That’s it.  I have a sale kit with a staple gun and signs and wire stands from old political signs.  All you have to do is take the political sign off the wire holder and turn it inside out and tape your awsome sale sign to the plastic.  So easy, and they go into the ground perfectly.

I never hold my sale if the weather is bad, and now because you can place ads for free at a moments notice that is easy to accomplish.

My signs are always florescent poster board, sometimes with added reflective wrapping paper.  It makes a difference having a great sign.  People always tell me they love the signs…lol.  Some of my best slogans are: ” Don’t MISS this SALE”  or “Something 4 Everyone Sale,”  “Best Sale Ever,” ” Turn Around Cool Items. ” Often my signs are a shapes, maybe a circle or the shape of a dresser if we have furniture.  Stars cut outs on top of the signs in a contrasting bright color also helps grab attention.   And note: If you tell someone not to “miss” something they just can’t resist.

But this sale I am going in for the kill!

Eat your heart out Storage Wars.

I am planning to have a table of “Name Your Own Price” items…..who can resist that??? Another sign will say,  ”  HAVE 2 HAVE sale” sign.   “Useless stuff Sale. ”  “TOO BIG wont FIT” Sale…. for my new house.  And a “too little SPACE Sale” sign…..”Help me I’m a Hoarder, Sale.”

I think you get the idea, I am not planning to have many more of these sales, so I am going to have fun. I am thinking I might sell sodas as well.  If it’s warm and the sun is out, I can make .75 cents a can. Plus it keeps people happy, they stay longer and might just buy something.

In our town, garage sales are the ultimate signal that summer is near.  Garage Sale-ing a ritual, every Thursday is always the first day of any sale.  People map out the sales they are going to hit and make a day of it.  I like to be open on Thursday and Saturday.  I cant stand Friday because it  is too slow and Sunday people are too cheap. We’ll see how it works out this time.

My real issue here is most the stuff I have is what I decided to keep.  Ouch.  Now I am going to have to measure each room and be realistic.  It’s going to be a challenge, especially since, this is it.  My last chance.  I am not moving all this stuff one more time, not going to do it.  Minimalism here I come.  That has been my goal all along, but talking and doing are two different things.

The tough cuts await……I have to empty the storage unit and a garage….ugh.

This was the first day of having a storage unit, it looks so naive.

And you know what’s in those three containers?  Pottery made by students and professors from Cleveland State.  More average pottery than anyone ever needs.  At the time,the pottery was the most important thing for me to pack up and protect, err to hoard.  I still love it.  Every item was made by someone learning about design and clay.   Sigh.

Tip: Price everything, people are shy and don’t want to ask.

Inspiration: “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.” – Eric Hoffer

One-day one -thing: Remember the every decision is an action, and action is how you create change.

Mean people

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For life of me I do not understand mean people.  I know what bitchy is, and I know what angry is and I am fine with both those in limited quantities.  I mean that’s just part of human nature.  Who among us hasn’t had a bad day? But mean is something I will never comprehend.

I am getting a first hand lesson in the power of mean.  But I have also realized that I can take away that power of mean simply by stepping outside my feelings and observing as if I were a third party. Let me tell you what I have seen as that third party.

I have seen the depth of despair and confusion in the eyes of the mean person.  I have witness someone out of control, unable to stop themselves long enough to find the right words.  I have seen the face of hate.  In their state of meanness, which to me is void of all love, they scan their brains quickly taunting me to engage.  But I don’t.  I have learned to step outside of myself, and observe.  It’s a weird position, and quite new to me.  In the past I would definitely shoot back and lose no matter what.  No one ever wins in “mean.”

It’s shocking to me, because now I see it so clearly.  Before now I would engage and not be able to think straight.

I don’t want someone in my life that treats me poorly.  I don’t want someone in my life that holds anger and hostilities towards me.  For whatever reasons, unknown to me, I am the one that receives what ever sh*t they want to throw.   I have even received the silent treatment, which is hysterical to watch from afar, as if I care to talk to someone so mean.

Mean people don’t seem to know about love.  They just don’t.  They don’t know how to show it, give it, receive it or feel it.  They may have read about it but it’s just not in their nature.  Unless they chose to learn about it and change their core beliefs, they will continue to live on with the weight of bitterness, hate and anger baring down on their souls. I don’t even think they know they are missing out on anything.

You see it’s not about making points, or winning an argument, it’s all about what you want in your life.  A cold loveless existence just isn’t for me.  As I declutter I am purging my thoughts that someone else will ever change.

Instead I have changed.  I have changed by not taking in the hostility anymore. I find this approach both powerful and liberating.  Any sadness I held for what could have been is gone.   I have throw away all my “could-have-been(s).”

Cheers!

Here is a more in depth look at “How to Combat Emotional Warfare and Root Out the Manipulative, Abusive People in Your Life” (this article showed up in my email just now-weird)

Tip: Learn to protect yourself;  just walk away if someone is treating you unkindly.

Inspiration: “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”- Mohandas K. Gandhi

One-day one -thing: Stop thinking about what could-have-been.

Sleepless Reality

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Everything seems possible when you can’t sleep, except of course sleeping.

No one bothers you but yourself on sleepless nights.  But the worse part for me is knowing how awful I will feel the next day.

Well, today is the next day, I have a mild headache and have a list of “must do’ errands.   Winter arrived during the night and there’s a few inches of snow covering everything, and I am sure it’s in the teens with the wind chill.

What did I learn last night?

The earliest known Great White Shark fossils are about 16 million years old

Drinking coffee after not drinking coffee for a week – is a bad idea.  Either commit to it or don’t, because it really does effect your body.  I have had three sips today, and I think that’s going to be all for me, okay one more sip, but that’s it.  Maybe the caffeine is stronger when I use my french press? Or maybe it was the Jamaican coffee, or maybe it’s because I recently switch to a 66% raw diet?  But that’s it for me, no more coffee. That last sip was extremely unsatisfying.

I found out my best friend when I cant sleep is my iPhone.  I didn’t have to get out of bed, and it took minimal effort to read, browse news, tumblr and comment on blogs.  Connect then disconnect with people who were awake, where ever.  Then I would attempt to sleep again.

Tossing and turning is the worst. I  convinced myself that laying perfectly still would be the closest thing I could do to sleep.   I did that exercise more than once.

I figured out that that guy that was on “Shark Tank” episode last night probably didn’t sleep for months after losing 200K in less than 2 minutes.  Offer to hand me a check for 600K for my company free and clear, I say, ” Hell yes  and thank you!” in a New York minute.

During my sleepless night, I decided I didn’t feel right about putting in an offer on house #6.  Needless to say, house #5 rejected our offer.  The #5 house was the best one so far, in the big picture.  We signed all the #6 papers yesterday, and I told my Husband this morning it was a no-go.  He said, ” No problem, we’ll trust your instinct, there will be more houses.”   Was it instinct or exhaustion? No one knows.

Which brings me to this conclusion: no one knows anything.  We only think we know.  We act like we know.  We speak like we know and we listen to others like they may know.

We don’t, they don’t, but we all try to varying degrees to “know.”  Give “not-knowing” a try today.  It’s kind of fun.

Cheers!

Tip: Question yourself.

Inspiration:” We are now at a point in time when the ability to receive, utilize, store, transform and trasmit data — the lowest cognitive form — has expanded literally beyond comprehension. Understanding and wisdom are largely forgotten as we struggle under an avalanche of data and information.” – Dee Hock

One-day one-thing: Errands, as simple as that.

Happy Birthday Batman!

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Today is one of my dog’s 9th birthday. Batman is nine. He is a gentle soul, a loyal buddy, and his is big fluffy and hug-able.

He has his faults, as we all do. He has a weakness for cats and not in a good way, but other than that no one could ask for a better dog. I have a photo of him when he was just a puppy with my entire family. Now I can tell how old we are were in the photo, because before I couldn’t quite peg it by sight alone. My children were 10,12, and 13 in that photo, it was taken during spring soccer season, right before my youngest turned 11.

Batman and my youngest son 9 years ago

The photo is somewhere in all my stuff that was shuffled out of our home while we dealt with the nastiness of the recession.

Our “situation”, it doesn’t change quickly because what some people don’t seem to realize is when all the work is done and you are out of the house the rebuilding starts and that takes time, a lot of time. On the contrary, nine years just flew by when I was living a normal life. Now time seem to seep away slowly as if I have a tiny leak in my soul.

I have stopped expecting anything good to ever happen, or even wishing or hoping. Too many tremendous let downs recently. I am making it through each day but I barely feel like I am here, but I know I am here because I can’t get away.

I am thinking about my escape, and I am thinking real hard, because what I am doing right now isn’t cutting it. It may be unconventional, but I am going to fix this so that I can stand the “situation” until we find a house.

Right now we are waiting to hear back on the 5th house that we have bid on. I quit looking at photos of the home, because I have really talked myself into liking this one. It ended up with multiples. Funny how that’s now happen twice with this same lister. Any time there are multiples, someone appears to get an inside tip as to what the amount needs to be offered to win – we never win. I personally think it’s like insider trading and it’s a huge scam.

In any case, one way or another, I am existing in this temporary situation. It’s temporary. It’s temporary. It’s not a healthy living environment for me or my animals. Temporary has now become too long.

Happy Birthday Batman, I love you.

I have left this environment two other times in my lifetime; once when I alone and single, and once with my entire family cutting a holiday visit short. Always because of the same reason.

Why in the world did I think that it would be any different this time?

Tip: Forgive people, but don’t forgive so much that you forget what you had to forgive, or it might just happen again.

Inspiration:

Even after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

– Hafiz of Persia

One-day one-thing: Learning what I already knew.