Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Imitation is still the sincerest form of flattery, isn't it? So maybe Mary DeMuth will forgive me if I copy her game of tag, because I adore book questions.

1. One book that changed your life

Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)--made me think about my own "bucket list" and, even more, whom and what I value and appreciate in my life.

2. One book that you have read more than once

A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson) deserve their permanent place on my perennial Christmas season reading list--they keep the spirit fresh for me.

3. One book you would want on a desert island

I love the NIV Life Application Bible with all its helpful tools such as bios of Bible personalities, but the One Year Bible is hard to beat for reading through consistently.

4. Two books that made you laugh

I have to echo other people's choice of Ann LeMott's Bird by Bird, because she's so real. More recent and as funny as Erma Bombeck is Judy Gruen's The Women's Daily Irony Supplement. My thoughtful hubby got me an autographed copy for Christmas.

5. One book that made you cry

The Kite Runner--both tragic and full of hope, it convicted me and touched me

6. One book you wish you'd written

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen--I never tire of its witty insight into the mores and marriages of those times nor of the characters, with whom I feel intimately acquainted.

7. One book you wish had never been written

The Begotten, first of Lisa Bergren's medieval mystical Christian fiction series, The Gifted-- because I'm hooked by the first book and even more by the second, The Betrayed, but the third's not out yet. Torture.

8. Two books you are currently reading

William Zinsser's On Writing Well--intelligent, insightful, entertaining
Judy Gruen's The Women's Daily Irony Supplement--every woman can relate, and probably men too, to the life experiences that make us crazy but make us strong

Ok, so I'm an ADD reader. I picked up Frances Mayes' Bella Tuscany under pretense it was for my daughter, who takes a college trip to Italy for credit in May. Of course, I "forgot" to give it to her when she left from Christmas break. And I just had to take a peek, which turned into reading the preface. I don't see daughter touching this one till I finish. After all, I want to be able to relate to her about the trip, right?

9. One book you've been meaning to read

Hosseini, The Kite Runner author, has a second book out, A Thousand Splendid Suns. It's on my to-read list, for sure!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Nothing makes me notice clutter like taking down the Christmas tree and hauling empty gift boxes to the curb. This time of year I hanker for the order of Flylady's system and the baby steps I know to take to clear my house into a beautiful and functional home. Here's an article that inspires me as I begin. Hope it will spark a new start for you!

The Art of Purging Your Stuff
Posted on Jul 23 2006

Too Much Stuff

We are overflowing with stuff in every part of our lives. It comes in many forms. It is in our e-mail inboxes, in our closets–all the way out of our houses and even into our cars. It’s no wonder we can’t concentrate. The inability to PURGE what we no longer need from our lives is causing us problems. We feel overwhelmed and sluggish and this chaos stifles our creative, productive energy. Mastering the “art” of purging your stuff happens when you understand the benefits of letting it go. Then you just need the tools to accomplish the task.

Why Am I Keeping the Stuff

One of the most important aspects of purging chaos and clutter from your life is to learn to understand the reasons you are keeping so much stuff. People keep stuff for many different reasons. The emotional attachments make it mentally draining to sort through. Other times we keep too much stuff because we think it makes us feel more secure. In reality, it keeps our minds clogged and our pocketbooks empty. Understand the reasons you make purchases and the reasons you collect. Recognizing and understanding the behavior will prevent you from collecting more stuff after you have finally started purging.

Sorting And Purging: The More the Merrier

One of the reasons we can’t purge our belongings is because of their emotional ties. So be prepared by having someone do it with you, if possible–a professional organizer is best. This person will help you by nudging you to work efficiently and effectively. If you don’t want to hire a professional organizer, then try to tackle one room at a time with a close friend or relative. Treat them to dinner as a thank you or share garage sale proceeds with them as an incentive.

The Choices

When you purge your stuff you have several choices on how you will get rid of it. You will throw it away, give it away, sell it, or put it elsewhere to store it. Try to remember the golden question to continue asking yourself during the purging process: Do I use it? The answer to that question is simple. Notice, it is present tense. If you used the item last year or you are waiting to use it at the right time (ex: smaller-sized clothes) then you are not using it. Again, tough choices sometimes require the help of a professional organizer.

The Benefits

What will you get from all your hard work? What are the benefits of purging your stuff? This is what most people really want to know before they decide to tackle any task. You will gain space–by ridding yourself of clutter, you will create a life free of constant chaos. You will gain time–to do the things you love. You will not be searching for the same items over and over again–because now you can create a specific place for them. You will be more punctual to appointments because you will make clothes choices from a closet where the wardrobe is up-to-date and fits your body–today. Not when you lose ten more pounds. You will gain peace–when you rid yourself of all that is cluttering your life, you provide the cosmic space for new and exciting circumstances to occur. This is because the act of organizing and purging allows you the ability to access your inner yearnings once again because they aren’t buried–literally.
Who ever knew that purging your stuff could be so beneficial! I encourage you to keep excavating–keep searching for meaning in your life as you keep practicing the art of purging your stuff.

(Posted on Jul 23 2006 by Sheri McConnell)

Sheri McConnell is the President of the National Association of Women Writers (http://www.naww.org/). She helps women writers and entrepreneurs discover, create, and profit from their intellectual knowledge! Free reports for writers available with subscription to NAWW Weekly. Sheri lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Seth and their four children. Contact her at naww@onebox.com or her toll free number at 866-821-5829.
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