What’s a Walkabout?

Years ago I asked my client to take the things we had put in a specific box to their homes around the house. They were items that we found in one area that she wanted to keep but that didn’t belong in that area.

As she picked up the box she said, “I’m off on my walkabout.” And the term was officially coined. I’ve changed it to also be used as a noun, and thus, the walkabout bin/bag/box was born.

As you may have gathered, then, a walkabout is a bag that is used to hold any item that you want to keep but that doesn’t belong in the area you are working in.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are working in your pantry. You’ve pulled everything out, have sorted like with like, and are making decisions on what you want to keep, toss, and donate. You pick up your son’s favorite toy car (that he’s been looking for for weeks, by the way). YES, you are keeping that toy but NO it doesn’t belong in the pantry. So this play toy goes into the walkabout bag. Then you find an important receipt, a hair tie, and that other flip flop. All things you decide you want to keep, but not in the pantry. Into the walkabout bag they go.

After you have gone through all of the contents of your pantry, it’s time to do your walkabout, taking each of those items to their appropriate home. Sometimes these items will go into a pile until you can deal with those areas (you can’t actually do it all at the same time) and that’s perfectly fine. The goal here is to stay on task and finish the pantry.

The walkabout bag prevents the “I got nothing done today” distractions that come from taking each individual item where it belongs each time you find something that you want to keep but belongs somewhere else in the house. (Even that sentence got me distracted – haha!) Again, the goal is to stay on task. When one area is done, you can move on to the next!

Go tackle a drawer or two with your trusty Walkabout bag by your side!

Building a Habit with the 30/30 Program

***scroll down for registration link***

Well, it’s happened again. The other people in your home have successfully managed to disorganize everything you organized and rather than put it back together you want to give up.

Well, hold on just a minute. There is still hope! Now, you and I can’t change other people (though we can teach our littles) but we can work toward building a habit in you to keep up with the organization of your home.

All that hard work that you’ve put in for the past few months or weeks at getting unwanted items out of your house was not for nothing. Let’s keep it going!

Or maybe you find yourself finally getting frustrated with not being able to find things in your home and having to purchase things you KNOW you already own but just can’t find it. Ahem, tape, scissors, glue… anyone?

After working with clients who have diligently been through their entire home side-by-side with me developing little habits of success along the way, I want to provide that for others. While not the same as working with someone, I want to make encouragement and tips and success available to you as well. For that very reason, I’ve developed a program that will show up in your email every day for 30 days. Consider it a little version of me in your back pocket cheering you on for 30 minutes each of those 30 days. I’ve had people ask me to come move in with them to help them with their spaces. This is pretty close!

You’ll learn about the best method to organize fully. You’ll hear from others about the change that organizing has brought to their lives. You’ll have the accountability to work in your home’s disorganized areas every day for 30 days, building a habit that can last a lifetime. You’ll have quick wins along the way. And, best yet, you’ll have a daily cheerleader in me!

I will be popping in every day for 30 days to cheer you on to working 30 minutes in your home every day. Thus, the program is called 30/30! 30 minutes for 30 days. It’s really up to you how much time you spend but the goal is to build a solid habit to either create or keep up with the systems that are keeping your house organized.

So sign up, invite your friends, and make a fun time of it!

Click here and scroll down to register. This link has more information as well as the link to register.

In Case of Fire

I ask a lot of questions when working with people to find peace and freedom in their home. The questions vary by person and situation. “Do you like this item?” “Do you want to keep up with the care and storage of this item?” “Is this item an excess duplicate?” And so on.

One question I ask myself but not others is, “would you rebuy this if you lost it in a fire?”

Maybe you will think this is morbid. At times I sure do. That is exactly why I don’t ask this question of other people. I simply ask, “would you buy this item again?”

I should say that I have never had any reason to ask this question involving a fire. I’ve never experienced a fire myself. I’ve never even known anyone personally who has been involved in a house fire.

That is until this past year when I found out that the house of my friends burned. It was an accident that they had nothing to do with. Each of the seven people in their family made it out safely but hardly any of their possessions did. A photo or two and a small amount of other precious items.

Maybe you’ve known someone or you yourself have suffered this loss. What is the first word that you think of when you hear about a house burning down? I think of words like tragedy, devastation, and loss. Then I think of words like rebuilding, starting over, and community.

There are a few lessons that I want you hear from this as you continue reading. First, from my friend, make a video documentation of what you own because the insurance dealings are difficult and this video will help. Second, the less you own, the less hassle you will deal with both in everyday life and in emergencies or loss. Third, it’s all just stuff and only some of it is necessary and beautiful.

Make a Video/Take Photos
I spent a little bit of time walking through my home recently making a video of all of my belongings. It took some time but it is done. I got serial numbers on things like the TV and my computer. Be sure to get in close on jewelry and artwork, perhaps getting photos of these individually.
As another quick practical tip, have a fireproof safe that you store your important paperwork in as well.

Own Less
Remember that “less” is different from “none.” The less things you own, the less things you have to keep up with in the day-to-day. And, in the unlikely but still real possibility event that you suffer a fire or natural disaster or loss of a loved one (more on this specifically in another blog post to come) you have less to deal with.

The Necessary and Beautiful
When my friends started rebuilding their belongings they had immediate needs. They made a list of all the things they would need and their amazing community stepped up in beautifully unexpected ways. Yes, I used the word “need” in that last sentence correctly. They needed clothes, basic kitchen items, and basic furniture. But we also thrive when we have beauty around us. They might not be the first things we buy after a fire but they are probably on the wish list just the same.

I’m not asking you to get rid of everything you own except that which you would need right after a fire. I’m asking you to think about what you own and WHY you own it. Do you want to keep 3 sets of fine china that you wouldn’t purchase again if it was all broken? That is totally fine. Just know WHY you are keeping it. Chances are they are sentimental items and we all know those can’t be replaced. (I’m also not saying you need to keep everything that is sentimental but that is for another time.)

Just in Case: The 20/20 Rule

There are dozens of tips and questions to ask to help you decide what to keep in your home. There are too many to say all at once while in a decluttering session. Some, however, hold more bang for their buck. One of them is the 20/20 rule.

I first heard the 20/20 rule from these guys. And now I use it frequently with others. The basic idea is this, if you are holding on to an item just in case you might need it one day, you can let go of it if you can get it again in less than 20 minutes for less than 20 dollars.

One example might be that you have 16 rolls of tape. If you are holding on to these just in case you might need some tape, you can apply the 20/20 rule. Since you aren’t using this tape definitely (it’s a just in case item), and it will take you less then 20 minutes (on your next grocery run) and it will cost less than $20 (you can get the brand name for around $3) you can let someone else have it. Otherwise those 16 rolls of tape are taking up valuable real estate in a drawer and in your mind (another topic for another article).

Another example might be a bundt pan. “I might make a bundt cake next year. Maybe. I should probably hold on to it.” A bundt pan takes up valuable space in those kitchen cabinets. If you are holding on to it just in case you might make a bundt cake at some point, you can let it go. It falls into the 20/20 rule but also, you can probably save even more time and money by borrowing this item if you ever decide to bake that bundt cake. Then, not only are you not buying a pan that you probably won’t use often, you are also building community, saving money, and freeing up time and space in your home and head.

What items are you hanging on to just in case that are taking up valuable space in both your home and your mind? What can you let go of today to help bring more peace and freedom to your home?

#LRSOMG2020 February

How is your goal of decluttering your home in 2020 going? Let’s work together to keep that momentum going!

I just didn’t realize how much stuff I had that I didn’t need anymore.

– DW, #LRSOMG19 participant

Starting February 1 we are back for our third year and fourth round of The Minimalism Game hosted by Little Red Stool Organizing (#LRSOMG2020).  I’m inviting you to join the LRSO community to play along with thousands of others who have played this game before you. The Minimalism Game is a great way to have fun while bringing more peace and freedom to your home. And it’s completely FREE!

Whoo-hoo!!! I think I did every day….. My house feels a little lighter but there is still so much more to go! Are you doing another challenge soon?!!! 

– JD, #LRSOMG18 participant

Before we get to how the game works and how you can participate. I want to address one thing. The word “minimalism.” Throw what you think of the word “minimalism” out for a minute. Now think about how nice your house would feel if you had a few less things. I can just picture you with your eyes closed, a deep sigh of relief and peace, and a rested posture. THAT is what I want you to think about the word “minimalism” from now on. 

On to the basics of the game!

On the first day of the month you will get one thing OUT OF YOUR HOUSE. On the second daytwo things. The third day? You guessed it, three things will leave your home. That’s how we are going to play. You know you. If you can only get items out of your house once a week because of work, etc. then make a box/bag that WILL leave your home at the end of the week. If you can’t trust yourself to get rid of that bag at the end of the week, get it out the same day.

Day 11 from participant

Each day I will post 2 graphics. One graphic will be a short list of ideas of items you can consider pairing down in your home. These are only ideas not requirements. This is the post you will comment on with your photos to get points in the game. The other graphic will be a tip or encouragement of some kind. Interaction is encouraged. So keep your eyes peeled for those helps!

Not only is this a FREE tool for you to use, and community for you to participate with, we will also have PRIZES!!!

Click here to go directly to the Facebook event.

Entries look like this:
1. (Required to be entered) RSVP “yes” to the Feb 1 event on FB.
2. (Required to be entered) subscribe to LRSO’s newsletter.
3. (Required to be entered) “Like” Little Red Stool Organizing’s FB page.
4. Comment “done”  on the corresponding day’s post when you’ve completed the day. (1 point/entry)
5. Post a photo on the corresponding day’s post when you’ve completed the day. (2 points/entry)
6. Post a photo on your personal page tagged with #LRSOMG2020, post must be tagged and public for points to count. (3 point/entry)
7. Partner up with someone AND let us know who your partner is. Both partners must participate for at least 10 total days to receive points. (5 points)

Winners will be announced Saturday, March 2, 2019.

The Minimalism Game concept is from The Minimalists. The content in this event is from LRSO. This contest is in no way sponsored by The Minimalists or any social media platforms. Anything posted as a part of #LRSOMG2020 may be used for future marketing for LRSO.