Tag Archives: Yard sale

Hello Stuff, We Need To Talk…

Dear Stuff (and your friends, too),

I am not surprised you’re still hanging around my house, Stuff. You have lived with me a long time. Some of you have been here since I was a baby. I know a lot of you think that you are the embodiment of a special memory of mine, or that you represent people that I love, but that is simply not true. I have been trying to tell you this for a long time.

I know I send you mixed signals. In the past I have given a lot of you away to better homes. I admit, some of you I said were going to go live on a farm in Ohio actually got tossed into garbage cans. I have said, over and over, that I didn’t want you, and yet, I have kept allowing you to stay and have even added more of your friends to my collections.

Ceramic Vase, I know you think you are my mother, but you are not. You are simply a vase. You are not her words, her hands or her amazing poetry. You just sit on the shelf with the rest of your brick-a-brac mates and make me dust you.

Prom Dress, I know you know I will never wear you again. Why do you make me store you and move you time and again across the country? I’m beginning to resent you.

Beauty Products, there are simply way too many of you. It’s too difficult to keep you in line. I know you said you were using protection, but I swear you guys are multiplying.

Clothing, you are the worst of all. I am afraid 80% of you will have to go. I simply can not spend so much time and money washing you, ironing you, trying to find you and hanging you back up. You will find good homes. You are good Stuff.

Maybe that’s the hardest part about our breakup, Stuff. You are all good Stuff. But this is the end of the line. I am breaking up with most of you. Very few of you will be left here in the house and I want you to know, you are not allowed to multiply. If one more of you comes to stay, one of you will have to leave. One in, One out.

I’m sorry it has to be this way. I know you were hoping with all the distractions I’ve had that maybe I had forgotten about letting you go. I can see how you may have had that impression. I have left most of you in boxes, piled around the apartment, for over a month. But let me be clear, I have not forgotten. These are your last days. Say your goodbyes now, The Greatest Yard Sale of Time and All Eternity is coming soon.

For those of you unclaimed by family or unsold at the end of the day of the yard sale, know this: You will be taken to the thrift store and dropped off.

Thanks for being there for me when I thought I needed you. You may go now and help someone else.



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Progress Report — Day 61

With only 40 more days left of this 101 day project, a progress report is well overdue. Here goes:

1) Shuck the Superfluous Shit: I think I have sorted, priced and tagged almost 40% of what was in the house. I still have 15 or so bins full of stuff in storage yet to sort and then another, ruthless sort to do of all that remains. I estimate I will have around 30 bins full of yard sale items before I am finished. I have eleven packed away so far. I have also sold several pieces of furniture!

Streamlining of my digital life and exorcising of excess electronics is taking a bit longer, but I have all digital devices gathered up for a full inventory. Progress is imminent.

The almost obsessive amount of TV I was watching has been cut by at least 75%. Every day I spend more time on things I love, like playing music, reading, studying and “cooking”. (<– what do real raw food chefs use as a replacement verb for “cooking”?)

2) Face my Finances: I have been keeping a daily expense diary for a few weeks now and am all geared up to build that f*ing spreadsheet of all my debt this weekend. I have been working tirelessly on my goals as a writer, and school is going well. I was going to attend a 16 week course on personal finance, but have decided instead to focus on the myriad webinars, financial blogs and books available that do not require so much gasoline to take advantage of them. I have finished about 30% of “31 Days to Fix Your Finances.

3) Make-up with Morning: I have not been perfect. Mornings and I have been fighting for over 3 decades, and it has been difficult for me to come to terms with Morning’s point of view.  I have, however, done way better than I ever thought I could. I have been waking up around 5 AM for weeks. I love writing in the morning! Running and yoga in the mornings? That’s been a lot harder.

So far, I have succeeded 4 days out of 7 for 2 straight weeks to adhere to this morning routine: 1) Wake-up and write for 2 hours (No studying or electronics. Only writing during that time). 2) Get outside and run for at least 15 minutes and, 3) Do a short yoga practice and meditate.

By March 1st, I will be totally prepped to go 21 straight days. I want to fully integrate this 3-hour habit because every day I do it, the remainder of the day feels so free! It is seriously awesome.

4) Free the Fat: I am totally winning. I may not have lost much weight, but I feel like a million bucks. Raw foodism rules. I am eating at least 40% more calories than I ever have before. My relationship with food has been completely transformed. I can’t help but be convinced my cells are, as we speak, regenerating and rearranging themselves in a much hotter way. Also, I’m already plenty hot. Also, my libido is through the roof. I’m not really sure what to do about that last one. More running?

5) Divorce the Drama: I’d say I am 65% there. This experience has brought up some emotions and feelings I honestly thought I was done with. At first, I thought this meant that I was backsliding. But now I realize I just needed one more round. I already feel so. much. better. about my ability to manage my social life. By taking care of items 1 through 4 on this list, my stress level has plummeted.

6) I Am A Writer and I Act Like One: Done. I have never, until now, said that out loud or really knew I needed to say it. I can honestly say I have been a songwriter for a lot of years, but not until this project have I internalized the fact that I am also a writer with no modifier. I write. I want to be a writer when I grow up. And I am acting accordingly. I’ve been taking classes on-line, studying all types of styles, taking writing and literature classes at school, feeling out local writer’s groups, writing at a prescribed time every day and I have now updated this blog every day for 41 days. Kick Ass!

I have had so many fantastic things happen to me and because of me since I started this project. Conversely, I have also had my fair share of shitty days — days where I was literally trapped in bed, immobilized by the size of the project and wishing, mightily, for a grilled cheese sandwich. If you had told me last year, or even just 3 months ago, that I would be 61 days into a 101 day project of this scope, I would never have believed it. Yet, even though those difficult days have been very real and very daunting, here I am. I am well on my way to successfully completing this project. I am well on my way to achieving Excess Emancipation!

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Major Headway — Everything in its Category

When I woke up this morning, I almost despaired. My apartment had not one square inch of cleared space to spare. My junk was everywhere. I was planning to have some larger furniture pieces taken out to the storage unit today to wait until this spring when they will either be hauled off by family members or sold in “The Greatest Yard Sale of Time and All Eternity.” (Yes, that is the official name of the yard sale I’m hosting this spring.) Alas, these prodigious pieces persist this evening, but I have high hopes they will find their new home in the storage unit by Monday night.

I decided I would focus on taming the mayhem in the house. Because I thought removal of some big furniture was imminent, I had emptied them out, and their contents were strewn about. AND I had had the kids bring in some stuff OUT of storage so I could sort it. Suffice it to say, the place was trashed. It’s still dirty, but I called roll and took some names today!

I feel like I can’t really start shedding more stuff until I know what I currently have. To that end, I labeled a bunch of empty bins with household categories like, “makeup”, “painting and sanding”, “office supplies” and so on. Then I went through all the crap all over the house and sorted it all into those categories. Guess how many scissors I discovered I had… 15! Fifteen scissors! I can safely sell thirteen of them. Guess how many nail clippers I found… 13! I bet I have over a hundred pens. I know I have 12 different types of hair gel. Honestly, it’s a miracle this house has EVER been clean.

As I was throwing everything into its categories with its friends, I did a quick sort. I have about 3 new bins of stuff to price for the yard sale as a result. And now the fun part starts! Now that I have all household items in categories I can leisurely pick a category a day (or every other day) and mercilessly cull. I feel so encouraged by today’s progress.

Thanks to my friend, Manu, who sat and visited with me for 7 straight hours while I worked.

Folks, this is really happening. I really am going to be set free. I can’t wait!

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101 Day Project Timeline

As requested, here is the master timeline of the 101 day project. Have fun deciphering. 🙂

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Project “Shuck the Superfluous Shit” Progress Report

The current state of the storage unit. CRH, Model.

I worked most of the day today on pricing stuff for the yard sale. I now have a total of 9 bins full of stuff ready to go. I can see that this is quickly going to get harder and harder. Or easier and easier. I’m really not sure, yet. I was shocked at how willing I was to let go of almost 20% of my books right off the  bat.

I have let go of about 20% of my clothes as well. And probably 40% of my shoes. I need to do laundry so I can sort through all of that “situation.” I bet I have 20 or more loads to do. There’s no washer or dryer in my apartment, so I’ve been doing it just about once every two months. It feels like I’m doing it all the time. Thank GOD for CRH! She’s so nice to go with me. She’s much more organized than I am and doesn’t really need to use the laundromat. We laugh and vent and solve the world’s problems. It still sucks, though.

My hope is to get rid of so much stuff that I CAN’T wait that long between trips to the laundromat. It’s such a pain in the neck and expensive! I think it usually ends up costing me about $60 a trip. This time, I plan to bring my supplies for pricing and tagging with me to the laundromat along with a couple or three bins. That way, the stuff I decide to sell won’t have to be drug all the way back up to the apartment. I can just drop the bins off at the storage unit. That’s incentive enough to get rid of as much as possible!

As I look around my living room I realize that I have about 2 bins worth of miscellaneous stuff to sort through still this week. I’m also suddenly really anxious to get rid of some big items. I love my Dad’s desk, but it is enormous and heavy. It always weighs on my mind. It’s just such a monster to move and soooo BIG. I’m trimming back the number of electronics I have and I really don’t need it. But because it’s so huge, it is going to be difficult to get someone in my family to take it off my hands. Maybe my relatives in Menan (Idaho) would like it… I’ll ask.

I have two medium sized bookcases I don’t need; a huge, four-drawer metal lateral file cabinet; and a giant rolling cabinet-thingy from Ikea I could let go. I just sold my little living room set to my sister, Jenny, and I want to get that up to her (in Pocatello) ASAP. I’d like my living room to be open, sunny and easy to clean. I can’t wait! Maybe a next step would be to clean the storage unit and put some of this furniture in there to get it out of here sooner.

Or maybe one of my siblings will suddenly have need of this giant desk and will want to help me get it and Jenny’s furniture to their new homes… Are you listening, Universe? It’s me, Rebecca.

All-in-all, I’d say things are moving along swimmingly. I’m so excited to finally be shucking all this superfluous shit! If anyone has any great tips, I’d love to hear (read) them.

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“Buddy” Calls

I was really very surprised last night that I had actually accomplished my goal of getting at least one more bin full of priced and tagged items ready for the yard sale. I woke up pretty stuck. I felt overwhelmed just thinking about the living room. Then I had my daily buddy call and I was revived.

A “buddy” call could not be more different that its cousin, the “booty” call. It is a daily prescription from the Outlook Development folks. When I first heard about buddy calls I was completely horrified. You see, I hate the phone. I truly do not believe there is a man, woman or child on earth who loathes the phone more completely than I. Intellectually I am very grateful for all things of modern convenience, and the cell phone has been there for me when I needed to find Hannah, or get help because I ran out of gas, etc. But I miss the 80s.

Remember the 80’s before everyone had cell phones? Remember the anticipation you would feel as you walked in the door, after having spent the day running errands, and checked to see if that red light was blinking on your answering machine? That was awesome. It was fun, back then, to get messages. I think getting messages all day long has taken some of the fun out of it.

And then there’s the part that where it used to be you could spend a day (or even two!) away from the phone and when you finally returned all your calls, no one was mad at you. You would simply say, “I was running errands all day yesterday.” Or, “Hannah and I drove out into the desert and decided to stay in this hilarious motel we found.” And the person on the other end would say, “Oh, did you have fun?”

In addition, I firmly believe that but for those people who live far away, the phone should be used as a tool for planning to meet up in person to discuss the minutia of the moment. As soon as someone wants to discuss in detail the nuances of another negative experience I simply shut down. Not ever with the real stuff, but always with the drama.

This is, in part, due to my awesomely, unconventional brain which doesn’t process audio as well as video. My brain shares some qualities with those of the ADD brain. (I hate it when people own a diagnosis by saying things like, “My ADD…”) I have a difficult time staying engaged in a phone conversation and tend to drift off. I understand things I read and people I can see MUCH better than I understand things I only hear. For instance, when playing trivial pursuit, the odds of me being able to access the answer to a question goes up exponentially if I’m allowed to read it.

Nowadays I often take “Phone Vacations,” where I’ll put the phone on airplane mode to have a whole day (or more! gasp!) when I am actually unplugged from outside stimuli. And my subconscious does me favors like leaving my phone in my purse or the car or at home or what-have-you. The universe is on my side. Most of the time I wind up with a phone that shuts off the ringer on its own in my purse when I’m not looking.

On the whole, this has lowered my stress level about the phone. But there are days when it just. doesn’t. stop. ringing. and this aversion, or what I like to think of as “this boundary,” has gotten me into trouble. I’ve missed many a communique from people that I love who really needed someone to talk to. I’m not worried about the doctor’s calls I’ve missed, or the phone calls from my father’s industry folk, or even those from school-mates and work. But I hate not being there for those who matter most. And it’s so much worse now than the 80s because, no matter what you say about your phone habits, people tend to think you’re dodging calls. And when someone is in need of a shoulder to cry on, they are especially prone to believing you’re dodging their calls…

Luckily, my sisters, brothers, CRH, Mom, Dad, and a few others who know me really well, don’t take offense when a text message may take days to be returned, and a phone call sometimes over a week. They know that my phone phobia is not personal. They know that as much as I love everyone, I have a daily threshold of electronic chatter I don’t force myself to cross.

But I digress.

Rewind to four weeks ago when Doug announced that we were all assigned a “buddy” for the duration of the Power-90 program. I was gripped with horror. How could I possibly manage ANOTHER demand on my phone time? And then. And then. And then, I ended up in a group of three! Yikes! The only thing that kept me from refusing entirely was that I love the women I was put with.

A buddy call is a phone call that happens five days a week. It is an opportunity to re-state your goals and be accountable for the baby steps you’ve committed to for that week or even that day. Some last 30 minutes, others much longer.

I know that once I’m on the call, I love it. I seriously love my buddies. But, I have been through every emotion about this. I went through denial (lost my phone for a couple days); bargaining (maybe I can just text them every day); anger (why am I being bullied?); and now acceptance (how did I get so lucky?).

I have turned out to be the biggest offender of over-chatting in our gang. I get so much of a lift from my ladies and partners in positive power. Which brings us back to this morning. I was stuck in the space of what I call, “the feeling of impending doom,” about purging my possessions. Then one of my buddies reminded me that I am JUST tagging and bagging stuff for a yard sale. She reminded me that I would have another chance to veto selling some shit. This completely took the pressure off of my day and I was able to accomplish my goal and a little bit more.

So here’s a shout out to my buddies: Karen and Sheri, I love you both and feel so blessed to be on this journey with you. Thank you for being patient with me and not having our calls at dawn when I can’t speak, but only write. You’re unconditional acceptance of me and the strength of purpose you demonstrate daily is a gift. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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The Exorcising of Exess…

So here I am. Suffocating with stuff. How I ended up with so much shit is in part due to moving 3 times in 2 years without really unpacking. (We just kept replacing whatever was in the boxes. Very smart. Well thought out.) But mostly it’s due to my emotional attachment to things.

I used to be great at letting go of stuff. I gave away belongings with reckless abandon. I’ve always wanted to live more like an aesthetic than an aristocrat. But I lost a lot between 2008 and 2010 and by the beginning of 2011 I found myself unwilling to let go of ANYTHING else. Not my diet soda twice a day and certainly not my possessions.

I was able to let go of the excessive part of a 20-year-long emotional attachment, which was definitely the biggest achievement of 2011. I wasn’t fully aware of my unwillingness to part with my playthings until I did that, and then suddenly it was in my face. I totally freaked out. Am I a HOARDER?! I watched episodes of “Hoarders” and was convinced I was just three more empty shopping bags away from becoming one.

Still, I was overwhelmed with the prospects of culling through the crap and set it aside. I was preoccupied with my daughter’s emotional health and my grades at school.

But I had been formulating a plan in my subconscious. So when Hannah and I started the “Power 90” 90-day radical goal achievement program hosted by Outlook Development, I decided that along with fixing my health, I’d fix my house and face my finances. (more on finances later)

The plan looks like this: Every week for the next few weeks I will be going through every single item in the apartment. I will ask myself: if I LOVE it and if I USE it. If I only answer one of those questions with a “Yes!” then I have to decide if I can live without it. So, if I can indeed survive without it and I only answered once in the affirmative to, “Do I love it?” and “Do I use it?” then it goes!

Next, I decide if it should be offered to a family member or if I can sell it. I have a bin set aside for family members. If I decide I can sell it, I price it, tag it, and put it in a bin marked “Yard Sale.” I have one filled so far!

After a few weeks of going through the house and emptying out storage areas, etc. then I will begin to bring bins of stuff inside that are currently out in storage. The idea is to sort through their contents and those items that are truly important we save (like Hannah’s and my cheerleading uniforms, hellooooo!) will be put away IN THE HOUSE. Then those bins will be filled with more yard sale stuff until 50 to 75% of everything is in bins, in the garage, priced and ready to sell.

The due date to be DONE with the Super Sort is March 15th. The yard sale will be in the spring — once it warms up.

Why did I choose this method rather than simply donating or giving away our stuff? Mostly because we need the cash. Partly because our stuff isn’t actually shit. But also in part to help me emotionally let go. Like I said, I lost a lot in the last few years. Making some money from the excess will soften the blow of letting go of some of the more difficult items, like tokens from past loves, or trinkets from travels.

For today, I am doing a “quick sort” of my closet. I’ll let you know how many bins I get priced and sorted.

Wish me luck!

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