Why is it that when our name is on something, we think we have to keep it forever?  Don Aslett in his book "Clutter's Last Stand" says, 
"Our name, even our initials, emblazoned on anything seems to be the official stamp of discard immunity."  My husband got a beach towel for his high school graduation with his name embroidered on it.  It is tattered and hardly soaks up the water anymore, but his name is on it, so he keeps using it.  I finally turned it into a rag last summer.  He graduated in 1991. 

I found this doily in a drawer the other day.  I'm not sure I've ever put this out on display.  As you can see, it is almost 18 years old.  Am I keeping it to prove that my husband and I really did get married?  Will I forget the anniversary date without it?  Maybe I will forget our names!  

Our name is a huge part of who we are.  It identifies us before anything else and when we see that name on our stuff, those things feel like they're a part of us.  It almost feels like we're throwing a piece of ourselves away, even more than when we get rid of all that other "no name" stuff, which is hard enough.

The hardest thing for me to admit not getting rid of are my embroidered washcloths/very old and dingy rags. I am not sure who gave me the white one, but the green one was from the set of towels my mom sent with me to college.  If you look very carefully, she embroidered "LMG" on the corner of every towel and washcloth in the set so I wouldn't lose them in the dorm laundry.  That is a great memory for me of how much my mom cared and how much time she took to make sure the little things were taken care of my first year away from home.  Now, I am pretty sure that I don't need an old rag with my name on it to remember how much my mom cares about me, but when it comes time to throw it away, I never can.

Always remember it's the memory we want to hold onto, not the thing.  Memories stay with us forever in our hearts, we just need little triggers to bring them up again when we need them.  Take pictures, save the littlest triggers and let the biggest ones go.  We need space in our lives for making new memories.  
What new memory will you make today?

How many small, annoying things do we live with everyday that would be so easy to change?  Sometimes we have a system of doing something that just needs a little tweaking. 

For example, 11 years ago, we put in a new kitchen.  When I set up my kitchen, I put the baggies and plastic wrap in the big drawer where all the "kitchen stuff" went right by the oven.  There wasn't enough room for the hot pads, so I put them over by the fridge.  That is where they stayed.  For 11 years.  We mentioned it quite often that it made no sense to walk across the room to grab a hot pad, but we never did anything about it.  I also pack lunches on the counter where the hot pads were stored and it would have made perfect sense to have the baggies there.  Well, last week I finally decided the system was broken and I needed to do something about it.  So I did.  It took me 5 minutes to make the switch.  5 minutes.  How many extra steps did I take over the past 11 years rather than make a 5 minute change? 

A couple of observations...  Change is never easy, but if we take the time to stop and think, a small change might make more sense than continuing to do something just because we've "always done it that way."  It's also interesting to note how difficult it can be to change habits even after we realize that they make no sense.  My family and I continue to look for things in those two wrong drawers because we're in the habit of doing things the wrong way. 

Organizing our lives can be simple and complicated at the same time, but it's almost always worth the effort in the end.  What little change can you make today?
There it was.  Staring at me from across the attic.  Begging me to...
to what??  What could I possibly do with a Latch Hook Kitty rug from Jr. High School?  Frame it?  Re-purpose it?  Convince one of my children that it would make a great accent piece next to their favorite teddy bear?  No, no and no.  Even my children are smart enough to know that a yarned cat with dingy white edging has no practical use.  So with one final embrace, I did the unthinkable and sent Latch Hook Kitty to her final resting place in the donation box.  Goodbye dear friend.

What makes us hang onto our clutter?  We all have our own unique and endless reasons for collecting clutter.  
"I made that cat with my own hands and it took a lot of time and yarn."
"It is a keepsake from my childhood 25 years ago."
"My children might want this someday." 
Each of us have stuff from our past that fit into the sentimental category.  But what about you, Mr. Business Man?  What about the plaque that honors you for serving as president of Smallville rotary club back in 1986? That has no more business taking up space on top of your filing cabinet than Latch Hook Kitty had in my attic. Don Aslett says in his book Clutter's Last Stand, "Hobbies and collections can not only be fun but also help us develop discipline and organization.  Yet, too often as time passes, we've outgrown them but the skeleton remains to haunt us in the form of clutter.  Enjoy that hobby or collection and use it, or lose it.  Make sure it rewards you and others."  The question is, what are we really hanging onto?  Do the items that we keep bring value to our lives today?

Today I am launching my new business.  I am so excited, it's hard to sleep most nights -just ask my husband!:)  This process has all happened so fast that I can hardly formulate one idea before the next one pops into my head.  It started as a passing comment about my love for organizing and how I should start a business.  My first thought was, "I have no idea where to start!"  Brian suggested that I find some kind of class to give me a jump start on information.  I was talking to a friend about it one day and she said that her college-friend's-mom teaches an organizing class, so I found it online and signed up that day.  That is how I became a member of The Organizing Specialists Network.  I completed the class in Grand Rapids on June 1st and it has been a snowball effect ever since.  I now feel well-prepared to make my dream a reality.  I am excited to share all of my ideas with you and bring you on this journey with me!


    My name is Lisa and I am wife to Brian, a busy high school principal, and mother to five awesome kids.  For the past 18 years, I have taught voice and piano lessons to many great students.  I am continuing with my music studio, but as my youngest child begins school this fall, I am ready to add a new layer to my professional life.  I have a passion for helping people and I want to use my organizing skills to do just that!


    July 2013
    June 2013