The Red Line

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I watch the weirdest stuff on TV when I’m at the gym, especially if it’s late morning.  Yesterday I got completely sucked into an episode of Hoarders. I don’t know how long this show has been on cable, but I’m guessing they have to keep finding worse and worse examples of hoarding in order to keep the viewers coming back..

I mean seriously, where do you go once you’ve shown the house with the cockroaches, rotting food, boxes and stuff piled to the ceiling? Well, here’s where you go.. you go to the house that has all of those things with the additional roof and septic tank leaks so all of the piles of garbage are wet and covered in “you know what.”

That’s where you go., yuck.

Watching this show actually reminded me of our trip to Charleston a few week-ends ago and a super strange tour we took through one of the historic homes. The Calhoun House belongs to a wildly successful (retired?) lawyer who crosses the globe buying priceless antiques and artifacts. For some reason (taxes?) the man has turned most floors of his home into an official “museum” that is open to the public.

Here’s the deal, billionaires can be hoarders too.  It really doesn’t matter how much the stuff costs, once it reaches critical mass, once it crowds out the rooms, once there is no place to put down your glass of iced know you’ve got a problem.

At one point, as we were all crowded together at a roped off doorway, staring into the over-cluttered study, the tour guide exclaimed, “the owner’s cat is in here!” After about two minutes one of the ladies called out “I see him!” and then went on to help the rest of us locate the sleeping feline who was absolutely invisible amidst all the stuff. I felt I as if I was teleported into a page of “Where’s Waldo?”

Having too much stuff sucks. Whether it’s a collection of crock pots, creepy porcelain dolls or foot stools made out of elephant’s feet (see photo above-it was gross) at some point your stuff starts to own you…

And that’s the red line dear friends, when your possessions start possessing you..







Organizing Life.

This past week-end (at my insistence) my daughter and I organized her closet and drawers. Every square inch was stuffed with wrinkled clothing..much of it too old, too big, too small or just plain way too ugly to ever wear.

I was surprised how much she fussed about keeping some of the stuff. I mean for real, how many high school sweat and T-shirts does one need in order to preserve the memories? She NEVER wore them anyway!

Once we were done, she had oodles of clear shelves, free space and, more importantly, an accurate picture of how much clothing she owned that was actually wearable…and guess what? It wasn’t much..which forced her to face the fact that it was long past time to start building a wardrobe reflective of her age, her job and her figure.

I noticed while we were “mid-purge” that my daughter also had a small bucket filled with loose change on her desk. “How much money do you think you have here?” I asked her to which she responded “Oh, maybe $200?”


That night, as I watched TV, I rolled the coins. I was surprised that there was only $100.50. I thought about how “off” my daughter was about the amount.. She thought there was so much more.  It reminded me of her messy closet and how she thought she owned so many clothes when in reality, she had so few that fit, were appropriate for her age and in good enough condition to be worn.


This is the beauty of taking the time to organize – refining and re-assessing what we’ve got going on. Whether it’s counting coins, getting rid of clothes we don’t wear, cleaning out the kitchen pantry, tossing out expired medicines or re-evaluating some of the activities we fill our days with…

when we step back,

thoughtfully review our lives

and get rid of that which no longer serves us,

the reward is

clarity and reality.

Who wouldn’t want more of that?




Git ‘er done!

Success breeds success. 

I am starting this week riding the momentum train..

train know, that chugga chugga, ready to go forward, burst of energy that the poor Panthers could NOT seem to generate in the Superbowl yesterday…? yeah, that.



Last week was a week of applying some serious design changes in my life.. reorganizing, prioritizing, moving some stuff around to avoid ‘trip hazards’ and creating a more “user friendly” environment specifically structured to maximize purposeful and healthy living . Not only was it one of the most physically productive weeks I’ve had in ages..I got tons of little stuff done and quite literally broke the mental dam on several major renovation decisions that were not only vexing me, but keeping me from making further, secondary choices.

So here’s what worked..

LISTS. I hate to admit it- they work.- pure and simple. Not only did I get more accomplished, that feeling of achievement and completion at the end of the day was pure motivation; stored and ready for use the following morning.



FITNESS GRID. I think I have the outline of a schedule that will work. Every other day is a “STEP DAY”..focused solely on achieving 10,000 steps on my (i-phone app) counter. It’s actually a lot harder than I thought to get to that number as I realize that a BUSY day doesn’t necessarily translate into a high step-count day.  There were two nights that my husband and I took walks in the dark just to get me to that magic number.

Alternate days are gym stretching class, weights and swimming. Believe it or not, it was actually a treat taking that time for myself and getting “off the “grid” for a bit. Having my sister as a work-out buddy is key.

MENTAL FITNESS: Hey- this is where it all starts.  My desire is to lead a life that matters..a life that has a positive impact on those around me. If I want to stay focused on “my mission” and create a day that reflects and supports those priorities, I need to remind myself of, and align myself to, that calling every morning.

GOOD HEALTH- No idea if I lost weight- I did not get on the scale or count calories- I just know my jeans fit. I did though make sure that the food I ate Monday through Saturday was consistent with my overall intent of being healthy. I remembered to take my vitamins (only because I put it on the list) and I did allow myself to indulge for Superbowl..a hot dog, two small pieces of cake, half a beer and kettle corn.  A healthy lifestyle is not dependent on deprivation. In fact, I’m a big believer in the importance of opening an occasional “relief valve” when it comes to successful, long term, disciplined eating.

So here’s to a new week and this wonderful source of energy called momentum..




photo credit: