One Man’s Trash

There is a reason why I prefer to work side-by-side with my clients and this picture is one beautiful example of my biggest reason.

When I work side-by-side with my clients we are emptying small areas at a time, sorting like with like, making decisions on what stays and what goes, and then putting all the keepers back in an organized fashion. After working with a client for a few sessions I can usually do a good job of guessing what a client will want to keep and what they will want to get out of their house. I only do so if given permission.

One particular day I was working with a client who was a blast to work with, had a healthy detachment with more things than not (her favorite bed spread had seen better days and she did not have to be convinced to let it go). We happened to be working in her daughter’s things and I was beginning to see a pattern of what she liked (or what her daughter liked) and what she didn’t. Having been given the permission, I was tossing/donating things alongside of her. Then we got to this one headband that I thought for sure was destined for the trash. I mean, there were googley eyes on it. Surely it was a one-time fun craft that happened to make it into the hair accessories.

Nope. I was dead-wrong. Well, I was half-wrong. I was perfectly correct in that it was a craft made for a fun spirit day. I was highly mistaken that it was destined for the trash. This headband wasn’t going anywhere. This headband was beloved. This headband stayed put with the hair accessories. And in the back of my mind I may have thought, “hmm, I wonder when this will be worn again.” (Some of you reading that will immediately read judgement into those words. Let me rest your little minds, no judgement. It was a true wonder.)

Well much to my delight I was checking out the LRSO IG feed and stories and came across this client’s day. A cute picture with a puppy. A picture of her sweet daughter doing a big swing. A picture of her sweet daughter getting ready to delight in a mall pretzel.

And, wait, go back. What is that on her head? That can’t be! It is! That sweet girl is wearing THAT headband! And it wasn’t spirit day, it was just another day out with her mom. Well, well, well. It didn’t take long for that headband to make it’s way out of the house again and I’m tickled that she enjoys it so much!

So if you ever wonder WHY I like to work side-by-side with my clients, it’s because I can’t actually read anyone’s mind even if I might look really good at it sometimes. I ask a million questions to get my clients to make their best decision and sometimes I do throw in a “will you really give this book to that person or will it just sit on this table for 3 more months?” (Again, a true question, no judgement.)

*my client gave me permission to post this photo

How Much Trash is in Your Car?

I recently asked this question in one of the #LRSOMG19 events. “How much trash is in your car?” The first two responses were that the cars had just been cleaned out so their answer was “little to none” but that this was “not the norm.” As I began to think about putting my car’s trash into words in the comments, more and more words came. Here is what I’d like to say about my personal car’s trash that may be helpful for you as well.

  1. I moved around a lot as an adult and my car was my constant. Having a tidy car helped me to feel grounded with my physical possessions. If my new house was ceiling high with boxes, I could just get in my car and breath into the empty, clean, uncluttered space… as I ran to the hardware store for blinds for the bare windows as night fell.
  2. I developed a habit a few years back of bringing out of the car whatever I brought in to the car. About 18 years ago I had a scare with dehydration that has kept me on track with drinking water almost obsessively. I carry a water bottle or have one in my car almost all the time. That could really add up if I only took water bottles out to my car and never brought them back in. BONUS: To help with this I only have 3 water bottles. It is less to clean, less to keep up with, and helps me to remember to bring them in with me because I have to use them.
  3. I have a trash bag that I keep in the front that hangs from my gear shift. When it gets full I take it off, tie it up, and throw it away. Sometimes that’s at my house, sometimes that’s at a gas station.
  4. Speaking of trash, if I am on a road trip or for some reason have take out food trash, I have found that almost every store you stop at (and gas stations, of course) have trash cans outside. So last week when I forgot to bring my lunch with me and had to stop by CFA for a meal and eat in the car (I don’t recommend this on the daily) I was able to drop the trash into the trash can outside of the Target when I was on my way in to pick up one quick thing (and I was successful on getting the one thing!).

There are more things that I could say about my car’s trash especially since I frequently donate items on behalf of clients but I’ll end at 4 today. How do you deal with the trash in your car?

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Dining Room

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the dining room. When I was growing up this is where we had special meals. We might have a birthday dinner or host the family Thanksgiving. Other than that, the dining room was empty. There was always a table lace and center piece but we didn’t even walk into that room unless we were setting the table. Right away some of you are thinking, “No, not my sacred dumping ground!” while others of you are thinking, “There is a dining table, chairs, and a buffet in there. What could I possibly get rid of?” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: every house is different; every household is different. Let’s see what things we can free up from this special eating room.
1. Napkin Rings
For those of you who are younger than 30 or don’t come from a formal household, these are just for decoration. It’s a beautiful little piece of metal or plastic or glass that a napkin is threaded through when a table is set. Seconds after everyone has been seated they relinquish their job of napkin holder and are useful no more. If there are sets upon sets at your house, it’s time to think about letting someone else use these little fellas.
ACTION – have a napkin ring gathering, pick your favorite set or two and re-home the others outside of your home.
2. Candle Sticks
These make beautiful accents or centerpieces when hosting company or serving a nice meal. They are tall and slender and fragile. That is unless they have been used. If they are used they can certainly serve a function but it might be for a power outage instead of a formal dinner.
ACTION – keep all the usable candles together ready to be put in a pretty little holder, move the others to an emergency kit with matches, or toss them.
3. Center Pieces
Anything from a flower arrangement to a bowl with fruit. Through the years these beautiful items get faded, dusty, and rumply making them less than beautiful and a distraction instead of an accent.
ACTION – choose the ones you like and are still in good standing, toss the rest.
4. Placemats
Let’s add chargers, table cloths, lace, and cloth napkins to this bunch while we’re at it. The majority of these items are used to help protect the table which means they themselves get the wear and tear and stains. It also means they are meant to be updated from time to time as well.
ACTION – take a look at your table linens and decide which ones are appropriate to keep using and which ones need to be tossed.
5. Vases
The older you get the more vases that collect somewhere in your home. They come free with flowers that are sent to you; you saw one a decade ago that was perfect for your magnolia arrangement but you don’t enjoy it anymore. Unless you frequently use fresh flowers in vases around your home, you can probably edit your collection down to a few.
ACTION – gather all the vases and choose the ones that you are most likely to use, getting the rest out of the house.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Garage

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the garage. Contrary to popular belief, garages are designed to house cars, not to be an entire storage unit. Now, you can certainly use it to store things as they usually have wonderful vertical space. Here are just a few things that you can get on out to start making room for your car again.
1. Lightbulbs
Any lightbulbs you have on hand should be the wattage and size and type that you currently use in your home. Most lightbulb boxes tell you how long they should last. If you have a box of LEDs that are supposed to last 8-10 years and you just replaced them all… you might need to donate the others to someone who can use them now. This will free up space in your garage and benefit another household. Here are some other bulbs that might not be in use anymore: nightlights, twinkle lights, anything not LED, black lights, fluorescents, and disco lights.
ACTION – gather all those lightbulbs, check out which ones you need in the next year, donate the rest.
2. Scraps
Do you happen to have a scrap pile in your garage? Maybe a large pile of wood or recyclables take up a corner that keeps your car from pulling in. If you aren’t a regular on creating with these things I can think of a few places where it will be better kept. A local school’s art or science department, any kids, or even the recycling center.
ACTION – give that wood or cardboard some organization or get it out of the garage.
3. Cleaners/pesticides
Garages tend to house a collection of car wash supplies, wasp spray, and fertilizers. Considering their poisonous character, the garage is an excellent out-of-the-way location. Similar to the laundry cleaners mentioned a few weeks ago, you’ll want to figure out what you like and use it. For those you don’t like, ask a friend or read the label to know how to dispose of them properly.
ACTION – gathering all the cleaners, pesticides, and fertilizers, toss what you don’t want and place the rest together on a high shelf.
4. Holiday Decoration
Every year at the same time comes these days that are celebrated by masses of people… holidays! Whatever holidays you celebrate, chances are that you don’t go through the decorations for these each year. How about you just pull it out and go through it all now? No? Okay, when the next time comes to decorate then. If you do this each year, you will always like what you have and know where it is.
ACTION – pull out all of your holiday and seasonal decor, decide what you want to keep, organize what you’re keeping and label it.
5. Paint
Unless you just built your house, there is probably a stash of paint in your garage from the years and coats of paint used in that particular house. If it isn’t a color that you are currently using, you can let it go. If your paint cans aren’t labeled with color, room it was used in, and year it was used, take the time to label. It will save time down the road.
ACTION – go through the paint cans, toss, and label.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Laundry Room

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the laundry room and in areas to help mainstream your laundry. The writing of this article *may have* come after I totally washed a red sheet with non-red items. Thankfully the problem was easily solved… this time. Here are 5 things you can get rid of to help you with the laundry monster. Let’s tame the beast.
1. Red items
Seriously, unless you have a lot of red and are committed to always washing them together and waiting until you have a loads worth to wash it, let them find a new home. It will save you the headache of probably ruining other items that you use more often and would have to buy to replace.
ACTION – look around the house for red things that can be re-homed out of your home; buy color catchers for the rest (not an ad).
2. Hard to match socks
We’ve talked about socks before but this one is a little different. And this might be a little different than a quick toss. To make sock matching and wearing easier, choose one brand/color for each size/gender sock in the family. For example, if you have two boys that can wear the same size sock, buy 2 packs of the same sock and let them both wear them. Best colors? White for kids, black for dress socks. If you have a member of your family with a good sock game, let them match their own socks.
ACTION – choose a type of sock for each family member, gift your good condition socks to a local charity that will put them to use for someone else.
3. Old stain removers and detergents
If you have a growing mountain of stain removers and detergents, you’re doing it wrong. Maybe you’ve tried different solutions in hopes of whitening your whites or just giving your clothes a good clean. That leaves you with cleaners that you don’t like and won’t use. Figure out what you like and use it. The rest? Use them up first, ask some friends if they want them, or read the label for how to dispose of these properly.
ACTION – open the laundry cabinet, toss what you don’t want or put the cleaners you don’t love in the front to use them up first.
4. Hangers
There are all different kinds of hangers. The clear plastic kinds that come from the store, the wire hangers from the dry cleaners, tubular ones, satin covered, velvety… the list goes on. Let’s be honest, the wire and plastic “free” hangers are incredibly cumbersome and tangly. Toss those (or donate to a place that can use them). Think about what kind of hanger you like best. Do you like a more sturdy wooden hanger? Do you like the fun of purple hangers for your daughter? While all of one type of hanger is easiest, it might not be what will fly with your spouse. Maybe you have all tubular hangers and he has all wooden hangers. Great!
ACTION – gather all the hangers you don’t prefer (remember to check in the coat closet as well as the laundry room and each clothes closet in your home), invest in all the same type of hanger or one for each person in the family.
5. Safety Pins, change, buttons
This is kind of a catch-all. Those little things that are some times found at the bottom of the washer or dryer after the clothes have been removed are likely just trash. Safety pins and buttons can live with the other sewing items if you keep them at all. That spare change can be put to use right away by putting it in your wallet or family/kid piggy bank.
ACTION – put all of the loose items around the laundry room in a place where they live in your home.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.