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Category Archives: home

what not winning the lottery let me see

Like many people in the US, last week I indulged in a little Powerball-induced fantasy. I had quite a few ideas of what I would do if I suddenly had millions of dollars, some more outlandish than others!

One of our family dreams/goals is to design and build a house, and I actually spent some time working on lists of things I  would definitely add if our budget magically expanded. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was totally procrastinating working on something else. :)

I got pretty specific about the kitchen…probably because lately I’ve been really unhappy with the one I have. I made a very detailed list about what I wanted in a baking center. I even looked at the baking tools I have now, and decided what would stay, what I’d replace, and how I really wish I could store these things.

(I told you–I was procrastinating!)

I didn’t win the lottery. But the day afterward, it suddenly occurred to me: I could have some of that baking center, right now…without that much effort, and no cost to start.

All I had to do was clean out a drawer, move some things around, and I had part of what I wanted. A sample…a beta version of the baking center I had imagined.

I was talking with my husband about this later on. He pointed out that what I’d done was really no different from all the other things Kel and I talk about on this site…about not waiting for the “perfect someday” to get started. “We all think that since we can’t do the big version of our thing right now, we can’t move on it at all,” he said, “but maybe that’s not true for anything. We just overlook the small things we could be doing to start moving the way we want to go.”

It worked for writing…it seems it works for baking centers too. I believe that imagining what I wanted in detail is what let me see the parts of this baking center I could make happen right now. I think it might be time to look at some of those other big plans and see what teeny tiny steps I might be able to put into play.

I’m curious: Do you have a big dream that you feel like you’d need “magical” intervention to make happen? Have you spent any time thinking about it in detail, or does the size of it keep you away from visualizing what you really want?






PS: I want to congratulate our reader Geni (who guest posted last week)–she and her daughter reached their stretch goal for their Kickstarter project, Mechanical Animals! Congrats, ladies!!

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How I accidentally accomplished something big…

…or, that one time I got rid of over a thousand things. You might remember that Kel set herself a goal of getting rid of 500 things in her home. I never set a goal like that, but I found that rearranging my office to better suit my needs naturally led me to go throughContinue Reading

2 Responses to How I accidentally accomplished something big…

  1. Nin-Carol says:

    Yes! A mindful home. That’s exactly what I’m working toward. Thank you so much, Tracy!

    And, it’s funny. Between the beautiful woman post (I’m working, um, procrastinating, on my own beautiful woman post right now. It’s the next tab over on my bar) and this one, you’ve nailed where I am right now. I’ve gone through my closet so many times but I’m only now really *getting* it – and getting rid of the perfectly serviceable things that don’t really fit (I don’t really fit a size exactly) or make me look washed out.

    Maybe in another year or two, I’ll have this part of it whipped into shape. :P)

    • Tracy Richardson says:

      I think it’s like an onion. (Shrek was right! LOL!) We think we got it, but there’s more to do. I keep finding more to go. I’m glad I’m not doing it alone in the world!

      I’m particularly glad to hear you’re going through your closet as you are. I think not quite fitting a size…and yes, I hear you!…or feeling flattered by the things we wear is somehow grating. Not as painful as a cheese grater, but over time just as eroding to our selves. Dang it, since when was there one size and shape of women? Since NEVER.

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The October Tech Decluttering Challenge…Now What?

October was dedicated to cleaning up my tech clutter.  All things related to my computers and my desk were the target of my scrutiny.  What I didn’t plan on were 2 surprise visits to Wisconsin to visit my 16 year-old daughter who’s in a one-semester boarding school.  I spent roughly the first two weeks ofContinue Reading

2 Responses to The October Tech Decluttering Challenge…Now What?

  1. […] week Kel and I talked about her decision to extend her Tech Clutter Challenge. I personally was all for her doing that. She was enjoying what she was getting out of it, and I […]

  2. carolburris says:

    I’m with you on this one, as it will be three and a half weeks that I’ve been gone. In fact, I’ll probably give myself all of the month of November. :)

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Creating Clarity Challenge update

At the beginning of the month, Kel posted about the October Creating Clarity Challenge, which is tackling our tech clutter. I thought I’d give you a glimpse at how I’m working through it, and what I’ve realized because of it. That is an actual screenshot of my desktop, taken in mid-September. Nice and tidy, isn’tContinue Reading

2 Responses to Creating Clarity Challenge update

  1. Nin-Carol says:

    I so hear you. And I’m also making small steps to get things better arranged for me. After all, I spent an hour and a half looking for something Tuesday – which, by the way, I found last night – and then some time this morning looking for something I saw while looking Tuesday – and still can’t find today.

    That being said, I have organized some of those things from Tuesday so there is a net gain – and a lot of motivation to make it happen!

    My electronic mess is still a mess, though. Not managing this challenge very well – yet.

  2. Tracy says:

    I am pretty certain I won’t be “done” when October ends, either. My mom is coming out for 10 days and I’ll be darned if I’m spending a lot of time on my computer while she’s here! But I figure that 1) anything we do this month means we end it in better shape than we started, and 2) every little thing done now is one less thing we’ve put off until that never-happens “later”.

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30 Small Steps to Tackle Office Clutter With Humor-A Guest Post

The following is a comment sent to me by one of our long-time readers, Andi-Roo.  The really hilarious part (besides her list that follows!) is that she sent this to me the day before we posted our list for tackling tech clutter for the month of October.  I guess it is true:  great minds think alike! 😉 Continue Reading

3 Responses to 30 Small Steps to Tackle Office Clutter With Humor-A Guest Post

  1. Aw, guys — you turned it into my offhand comment into a great post! Thanks so much for the encouragement to “do the work”. Have I told you lately how much I LOVE your blog?!?

  2. miri says:

    OOH, who was peeking in my office? Anywhat, thanks for making the list for me!

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Paper Trail–4 Lessons I Learned From My September Paper Declutter

“We tend to think of decorating as adding things, but one of the best ways to get started on your living-space autobiography is by subtracting – ridding your home of objects that make you feel bad.” –Martha Beck (Note: I did not start my changes by decluttering. I started by adding something I love toContinue Reading

6 Responses to Paper Trail–4 Lessons I Learned From My September Paper Declutter

  1. Nin-Carol says:

    I guess I’m dealing with paper clutter, too, this month, in the form of a huge pile of quilting magazines. What I’m doing (right now, in fact!) is scanning what I want to keep and then taking the rest to my quilt guild meetings where other quilters are happy to take them home. What doesn’t get taken after two months goes to the library book sale. I think I’ve gone through about 2/3 of my pile now. It’s only going to clear off a small part of one book shelf, but the psychological space is much bigger than that.

    • Kel Wilson says:

      I agree with your last statement so much Carol. The psychological space created by dealing wtih some of this stuff is enormous. So many books, magazines and piles that I would look at and think, “I really need to…(read it, save the pictures that I want, file, etc.)

      I find it interesting that this month has resulted in the most noticable amount of peace and simplicity in my life.

  2. Thank you for sharing my post, Kel. I’m glad you found it helpful!

    • Kel Wilson says:

      I’m not sure you remember, but we met in the hallway in Portland at World Domination just before entering the class rooms. :)
      I adore your blog and have found it SO helpful.
      Thank you for all the tips and help you give.

  3. Isn’t it nice to have everything you need for a certain task in one spot? And where you know it should be? I am enjoying having all my crochet stash (yarn, books, etc) all in one room and organized! Kudos to you, Kel, for getting all that paper weeded down and under control!

  4. […] paper clutter-files, books, magazines, art word, receipts, and general piles of white stuff.  You can read more about this category here, and here. […]

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a decluttering conversation with Kel and Tracy

We decided to step out of our comfort zone this week and do an audio post!  Hearing your recorded voice is always a little weird but mine really is this time. I have a pretty bad sinus infection, and it sounds pretty hoarse. But since being perfect has nothing to do with making change and pushing your boundariesContinue Reading

7 Responses to a decluttering conversation with Kel and Tracy

  1. Nin-Carol says:

    Loved hearing your voices and the give and take of the conversation. Helps make you into real people. I also liked the summary that you had in the blog to go with the tape.

    • Kel Wilson says:

      Thanks Carol!
      We were a little nervous about doing it but thought we would just give it a go and ended up having fun doing it.

  2. Did I hear the word “Beach”??!! So jealous!

    I enjoyed your conversation and, like Carol, it was nice to hear your voices. I may have to listen again, though. I’m such a lousy listener that I rarely remember the high points unless I take notes! Other than that word “beach,” of course! That I will remember.

    • Kel Wilson says:

      I KNOW! It’s totally unfair that she is there on a beach and we aren’t there with her! LOL
      So happy you enjoyed it. I tried to highlight some of what we were talking about to help with that. I think there is a way to get a transcript of the conversation. We’ll have to see if we can do that next time.

  3. Bronwyn says:

    It’s a great motivator hearing your podcast on decluttering. I’m ramping myself up to do a SERIOUS declutter of my home. I have done some decluttering over the past few years but it has been too slow and I’m tired of ‘stuff’ taking up my visual and mental space! I have finally found that actually setting up a schedule with set times to do things during the day works better than just making a list. Also dealing with office or organisation tasks 1st in my day works better than doing cleaning 1st and the rest later. My mind is too tired later in the day and I get a greater buzz out of making progress earlier on because lets face it, housework is ongoing and is often a bit like treading water! I am not naturally organised and can be quite a big procrastinator so I am so happy this works for me. After homeschooling for some years I finally have some time to play catch-up on all those major tasks I’ve put off and have decided to focus my attention on just 3 main areas of tasks I have to do (aside from housework) and decluttering is top of that list. When any big task is completed and only then, can I add something else. Aside from that I have printed off your workbook and plan to make ‘me’ time during the day :o)

  4. Kel Wilson says:

    Girl Friend!
    You said, “I’m tired of ‘stuff’ taking up my visual and mental space!”
    I am SO with you on that! That is the exact reason I started getting serious about decluttering.
    I think your thoughts on house work in the afternoon/evening is brilliant! It doesn’t require the same amount of brain work as the other stuff so it’s easier to putter with it then. Love that!
    So happy you have joined us here!

  5. […] been to eliminate some of the things that don’t really matter so much.  This year I have “cleared out” 500+ things, 100+ books, and pounds of paper from my […]

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It’s not the change you’re procrastinating…it’s the decision

I talked for months about changing my office to make it a more focused place before I found the key that propelled me into action. Guess what that was? I had to decide which wall in my living room I wanted to paint. Sounds crazy, I know. Here’s how it played out. I had bookshelvesContinue Reading

6 Responses to It’s not the change you’re procrastinating…it’s the decision

  1. Once again, you have nailed it!

    “The decision might be about what you really want or need. It’s easier to go through your books once you’ve decided that you’ll only keep the ones you love AND will read again. Until you’ve made that decision, you keep getting hung up on your love for books and what they meant once upon a time.”

    Ever since I did my big clean/declutter/move in the spare bedrooms last month, I have been debating whether to get rid of a certain author’s books that I have collected over the years. I love his writing and I’ve read all the books, but I really really doubt that I am ever going to read them again. I’ve had some over ten years and not reread once, whereas I’ve read the complete Outlander series three times in those ten years. Something tells me I can get rid of those books safely, which will make room for those few left stacked on top of the bookcase!

    Thank you, Tracy!

    • Tracy Richardson says:

      You’re welcome! Books are a big struggle for me too…and to complicate matters, we HAVE the space and both my husband and I like the look of a library! But that doesn’t mean I have to keep them all. So I really needed some rule of thumb to help me get over the debate!

      I’ve been playing with this “revelation” for the past month or so, and I keep finding it to be true, whether it’s about something I believe (I can choose NOT to anymore, it turns out!) or about my stuff.

    • Nin-Carol says:

      But, but, but, I’ve only recently started to reread books. For years I insisted there were too many new books I wanted to read to reread old favorites. But now, sometimes, I need the comfort and familiarity. So if I’d gotten rid of them all before, where would I be now?

      Now that I’ve shared my whine, the true of the matter is that I’m doing the same thing you are. I am getting rid of books I know I won’t reread – and even a few that I haven’t read for the first time. I have a pretty good idea which ones I might reread and which ones I never will.

      That being said, I’m stalled in rereading the Outlander series because I just don’t know if I can read the Stephen Bonnet stuff again…

      • Kel Wilson says:

        One of the things I did was to look up some books at my library. Many, many, MANY books I was holding on to are super easy to pick up at almost any library. Now, if you like having a wall of books or a library then by all means keep the books. But if your keeping them to read one day, maybe you can by just borrowing it from the library?

        One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my decluttering this year is to TRUST. Trust that if you want something again it will be easy to have again. Trust that you can find it, that it will cross your path again. Lots of not letting go is is not trusting the future.

        Just throwing that out there. 😉
        With Love,

      • Tracy Richardson says:

        You know what the best part of rereading books is? You can SKIP the stuff you didn’t like the first time around. Like, Stephen Bonnet. (I’m with you on that.)


  2. Nin-Carol says:

    I had to come back and tell you what I had to decide about. Thursday evening I was in a mood and nothing suited me. I couldn’t even figure out what I wanted to do. So, while I was trying to figure that out, I got out a small quilt top that only needed borders and it would be ready to quilt. I’ve been auditioning fabric for that for months, literally. So, inspired by your post, I just added the first one, which I had decided on, and then just went to my stash and pulled out something else which would work. Next morning I layered it while talking to my son on the phone and tomorrow I plan to start quilting it.

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Kel’s Decluttering Saga Continues–The Paper Purge

Adding something you love to your life doesn’t just bring a whole lot of enjoyment to your days, it brings a whole lot of clarity as well. When I started painting everyday, I loved it!  So much so that I wanted more of it.  As I looked around my life I found a lot ofContinue Reading

3 Responses to Kel’s Decluttering Saga Continues–The Paper Purge

  1. Kel, I made a list of things to take care of in my office… each item is tiny, like “organize top left drawer of desk”… there are THIRTY small tasks! Just in ONE room! I haven’t started yet, but reading this post gives me incentive. I think I’ll start on Oct. 1 & just mark off one per day. How cool would it feel to reach the end of the month & have an organized office, with barely any effort daily yet so much accomplished over 30 days?! “Baby Steps”… right? If this works out well, maybe I’ll make another 30-item list for the following month, in a different room… hmmm… what to conquer next??? X.x

    • Kel Wilson says:

      I love this! This is exactly what I’m hoping more readers do. Just make a list of little tiny things. I think you will see a HUGE difference at the end of the month. It’s funny that you’re writing about this because we are starting a “tech” clutter challenge tomorrow that includes our desks, so very similar!

  2. […] might remember that Kel set herself a goal of getting rid of 500 things in her home. I never set a goal like that, but I found that rearranging my office to better suit my […]

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