Does your closet need a diet?

Has your closet gotten bigger with the passing of time? I’m talking about even those who remove the winter clothes and replace them with the spring & summer duds. Taken together they amount to an ever expanding closet. Why not use a diet plan for your closet?

You may have to invite a friend over so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Here are a few tips to slim down your over abundance of clothes/shoes.Christmas wrapping, dead gifts, etc.,etc..messy-closet

• Invite a bunch of girl friends over for a clothing exchange. Make yourself a deal, you set out things you can let go of and you promise only to take half that number back. 12 out, max 6 in. Newer clothes, less in closet.

• Pull everything from the closet and organize it into piles. You’ll quickly see how many duplicates you have. Take the duplicates to the consignment shop, but if they don’t take them, give them to a hospice boutique or St. Vincent de Paul.

• Create the unbreakable rule that for every new piece of clothing that comes home, one (better 2!) must leave. Not stored–Leave!

Let me know your results, what walls you run into, what worked. We can all share this and help one another to thin our closets.

Part 2 – What to Shred and When

Shredding is great fun but not if you shred the wrong documents. Here’s your guide:


Credit card receipts after reconciliation with the credit card statement. Don’t shred receipts needed for tax purses or warranties. Attach those receipts to either the user manual or the warranty.

Shred cancelled checks and debit receipts [again excepting those needed for taxes or warranties. My bank has a picture, front and back of all my checks, so a paper copy, mailed by the bank is redundant.]

Yearly Shredpaper-shredding-machine1

• Monthly retirement and investment account statements after they are reconciled with their year end statement.

• The monthly bank statement IF you have reconciled with the year end statement.

• Pay stubs after reconciliation with W-2s, 1099s or equivalents, the IRS has their own copy!

• Repeating monthly bill. Check it against last year’s to see that there is not some freak leak. [My utility company gives me a usage graph this year and last year, so I don’t need to do this comparison and I can just shred last years statement.]

After 7 or 10 years:
• Year end bank statements [if  not needed for tax purposes]

• Any titles, deeds, or surveys to any cars and/or property not owned for 7 years.


• Certificates of birth, divorce, death.

• Military service records [I have been hearing a horror story of a retired serviceman who is trying to get disability, only to have the Army “losing” his records….]

• Wills and Trusts, revocable and non revocable

• Power of Attorney documents

• Social Security reports

• Year- end retirement statements and policies

• Loans and mortgage paid-in-full docs

• Diplomas and transcripts

• Medical records

* Current resume

• Evaluation and receipts of valuables [art, silver, jewels]

Many of these documents really belong out of the home. A Safe deposit box is good. But make sure someone else who you trust is also on the safe deposit list and has a key. Why? If something happens to you, you die or are incapacitated, they can get whatever is needed.

Next up: Organize what you have and lose even MORE paper!

Why Push Declutter so much?

Why do I keep talking about reducing/decluttering (however you want to call it)?  It’s simple: one big reason is we are in an avalanche of new knowledge.  If you want to understand just how big that avalanche is, take 5 minutes to watch the video at Your comments are welcome.

Clear the Paper Monster

filing clutterI have too much paper. I think I need to keep it….ALL? No, truth is, I don’t need much of it PERIOD.  But how to do it so I don’t start screaming when I tossed the wrong thing? Here’s my guidance – a first pass if you will – because I, and possibly you, need an effective system to thin the flotsam from the jetsam.

1. Where do I keep my manuals? I go there and toss everyone for products I no longer own.

2. Set aside all the manuals for the major appliances I own. I may need them and  should pass them on when I sell. I use an expandable plastic envelope. (It’s pretty fat…ummm)

3. Go online and check to see if the manufacturer of the appliances and devices have a manual on their site. If they do, download it and put it in a folder “Manuals”. Then toss the paper copies.

4. Shred (shredding can be fun!) the following:

• Credit Card applications.

• Unwanted paper that has my address, account number or access information: birth dates, driver license numbers, luggage tags, medical information, passwords, report cards, signatures, social security numbers, used airline tickets.

• Credit checks on tenants or home helpers. Passports, visas, any old identification cards.

That’s the start. This series will be continued!

PS – when disposing of the shreds (cross cut recommended) toss part into recycle and part into trash. Yes, it’s no quite as environmentally sensitive, BUT it’s a great deal safer from prying eyes.

At the “end of the world”

No, I don’t think the world is going to end. There is a large misunderstanding about what the Mayan Calendar ending today means. Those who understand the language of the calendar tell us that it is the end of an era and the opening of a new. Not so different from Vedic tradition which says this is the end of the Kali yuga and the opening of the next yuga (only 20K years long!)  But if this is the end, let it be the end of all that which does not serve us. And from the Buddhist  tradition of Metha here is a variation from Gwynne Warner in Portland. Use it to help yourself and all those less fortunate:

“Step 1: Breathe in suffering. The worst thing that ever happened to you. That sunk feeling. That thing you wish you could take back. Recapitulate it in breaths. The blackness, the sickness, the fibrous seething rage, the sticky-scratchy, inconsolable weight of it. Take in the unbearableness. You may want to escape. Press on. Go beyond the embrace. Inhale the pain in to your every cell. You won’t die. You’re going to expand. Keep breathing in the misery.

You’re on the verge of a miracle.

Step 2: Now breathe out joy. Soothing golden warmth. Luminous flying birds of clarity. Electric rays of smiling karate chops. Feel your lungs as powerful creative engines of healing and righteousness. Pulsate rapture. Let happiness emerge from the fractures. Let scar tissue become bridges that lead to a festival of relief and dancing. See joy. Feel joy. Hear joy. Sing joy. Breathe love into every cell of the situation.

Now do it for other people’s suffering. Please. For that homeless man on the street, in winter. Cold and demoralized. Inhale his agony. Exhale comfort and transformation. The jobless folks with families to feed. Cancer patients fighting to live. People gone mad. Soldiers who kill and the families they destroy. Take in the wreckage. Turn it into light and give back compassion and tenderness.

When your heart is heavy, when you want to feel alive…
Acknowledge the dark. And take the light into your own hands.”

Fall Colors and You

Here in the Pacific Northwest we have had a spectacular Fall. The variety and intensity of colors has been beyond magnificent. I found myself resonating with the golds and the reds against the green backgrounds. Have you resonated in this way?  If you have, you may been learning what colors make you feel positive, happy.  If the golds and the reds lift your spirit, consider your wardrobe. How much of it reflects those colors?  If they don’t, not to worry. Review the year and think of the colors in which season got you stoked – and then take a look at your wardrobe: how much were those colors reflected?  What you’re doing is learning the Feng Shui use of color which can help you realize you most effective, most nourishing way to dress. Play with this and let me know what you discover.

Unusual Beauty/Changeable Chi

It’s strange to me how we, mostly in the West, cannot appreciate what Nature does without our help. This fall, particularly here in the Northwest, has been especially color rich. Such glorious combinations speak of positive chi, but chi of a different nature. Fall is a time of transition with a glorious procession of events: first the leaves put on their spectacular show and then they reverse place – from on the tree to on the ground.  They present us with another incredibly wonderful picture of beauty, HOWEVER We then get out the rake or blower and get all those pesky leaves out of sight. How bizarre!   Now there is another beauty – and more chi. Were we sensitive to what nature has to tell us, this is a time to take another look at our life, to quiet ourselves and to go inside. I suggest we can learn much by paying attention of the every changing chi in the progression of the seasons.  Remember, I Ching says everything is always in a state of constant change. [And Feng Shui developed from the principles contained in the I Ching.] Let that change in and let you life be filled with the richness of the colors of fall.

It’s amazing how serious sickness or surgery can change our lives. I recently had spinal surgery (five weeks ago) and watched my life move in a radical new direction. Email was no longer important. Cleaning the house took a backseat. Many of the things I thought were important, lost their importance. What emerged instead was massive attention to this body that carries  my spirit through this ephemeral world. Connections with friends achieved prominence in my attention and appreciation I have not known before. In other words, priorities got rearranged in a massive way. Not that I won’t return to the business of feng shui, clutter elimination, and reclaiming our lives, but then will have a different order in priority. I invite you, dear reader, to share any stories of this or a similar nature. It may prove to be a valuable lesson for us all.

Synergize the new system

Diving deep into our excess ‘stuff’ keeps showing me more and more levels on cleaning and healing that need sto happen before ou lives can Really be under our own control. But many minds are so much better than just one. Are you willing to jump onboard and help me? I want to know where you have the most problem – where you get caught as you try to clean up and clean out the clutter in you life.  Be specific so we can explore it together.  This is a very rich field, one ready for the mining. come help me unearth the Gold!  Many thanks.

Our Lives are flooded

We’re flooded, and I don’t mean Louisiana! As I prepare for a multimedia presentation at the Ashland Coop, Monday, September 17, I become overwhelmed at the multiple facets of what’s weighing us down! It is simply too broad to try and cover in an hour, to show a way out. Anyone with a storage unit knows they have more stuff than fits in their living space. and that’s just the tip top of an iceberg of gargantuan size. My newsletter, coming out this week, takes on one area that is counterproductive – that of garage sales. If you don’t already have a subscription, I hope you click on the box to the right and subscribe. If you’re in the Rogue Valley, I hope you will attend the co-op talk. This is a huge subject. It’s a worthwhile undertaking. I say let’s get our lives back, get out from under, actually reclaim our lives. I hope you’ll join me.