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When Your Stuff Owns You

July 25, 2016

The past week had me sharpening my organizing skills as I tackled two major “before and after” projects – one in a busy office, the other a two-bedroom condo. Both the kind of jobs I used to do on a daily basis that left the client thrilled and my lower back screaming for days.

They were the jobs that, while the lessons in my book are helpful, needed more than motivational insights – they needed immediate full-on triage. Instances where the piles had piles. Where “paper mountain” avalanches were common. And where one had to take caution before opening a closet door for fear of something falling on your head. (Remember Fibber McGee?)

How does stuff take over a life? Usually without warning. Maybe health issues, a job loss or possibly depression. Truthfully, it may not matter how it happens, but the point is we are all susceptible.

Which is where I come in. I am Ray Donovan and Harvey Keitel rolled into one pint-sized “Cleaner.” There is no judgment as I fill garbage bags faster than the client can spit out their first, “Buh-bye,” motivated by progress, pushed by the certainty of how they will feel when we are done – free of chains and free to have more time to decide to do what they love.

Inevitably the bad stuff goes away and in its place a system to keep it from happening again. There is often emotion involved. Sometimes tears, but always, always relief. That’s what keeps me going and going and going.




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  1. permalink

    And I have witnessed that cheery “buh bye “!!!! Sarah and I were talking about “stuff” yesterday hanging on to stuff can be a validation of a relationship or an event Or an empty hole inside ourselves that is can never be filled with stuff. And is so very hard to relinquish. Lou has tons of stuff she is gently trying to Help him give away. He is Responding well but slowly 🙂 anyway you cheery farewell to stuff can make all the difference. You GO!!


    Off to Maine in the morning with stop in NYC For haircut.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Joe F permalink

    Looking at your pics, I thought I was bad being a guy with stuff leftover from college (actually 60 years ago). You’ve inspired me to get my cleaning lady to earn a big bonus helping me.
    Wish Meredith a Happy Birthday for me. I don’t have her email address. Hoped you enjoyed July on the Cape

  3. Marilyn permalink

    Sounds good! I’ll try it sometime! Hugs 😘👍

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Wonderful insights, Felice. Over the past two months, I realized what you mean. Because of health issues over several years, my apartment balcony, which is an around the corner, L-shape, became a ridiculous mess. There is a huge maple tree beside my building and the leaves from several years accumulated on the deck. I’m embarassed to say that 2 years ago, I even ended up with a racoon family taking advantage of the very farthest corner of it. But, lung issues and arthritis kept me from dealing with it. So, fast forward to this late spring. I called 1800 got junk, and 3 physically strong young people came and took away the patio furniture that was broken and then swept and swept! They even got rid of a wasp nest that was beginning. All cleared off, I was inspired to get a local balcony cleaner to come in an power wash it. Well, I cannot express the relief I feel I have two very small planters of pretty pink flowers and the rest is just cleaned off (including the glass) patio. It is calm and wonderful. I can keep the clean up now that it is in this wonderful state. The moral of the story is ask for help when you need it. And yes, don’t let the stuff own (and depress) you!!

  5. Auntie M permalink

    You work wonders, I won’t even ask whose closet that is!

  6. richard aberson permalink

    You are a dynamo, A real life Wonder Woman!

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