My Happy Place


I’ve spent the last 3 weeks decluttering my house. It’s part of my getting rid of things that no longer serve me, which includes the first 15 lbs I’ve lost on my new program. I feel lighter, happier, more energetic than I have in a long time. I’m letting go. Not long ago, I would have panicked to see the things I’ve accumulated leave, having worked so hard for them. In my marriage, I had to fight for everything I wanted and needed, so when I went off on my own, I started to acquire things. These things made me happy for a brief moment, followed by regret, but still they represented something to me – my freedom. But now I don’t need these tangible things to make me feel I am the one in control of my life. I have that inside feeling of peace (finally). It’s all coming together, or should I say, leaving together – the things, the weight, the regrets and anger and resentment. I’ve found my happy place.

With the help of my sister, my niece and my nephew, I’ve transformed my work area from chaos and clutter to cool. The mood is chill, the air smells like calendar and peppermint that I have diffusing in the room, and the lighting is subtle – white Christmas lights. My dog is snoring on the landing just above my desk, one cat is in her cozy bed at my feet and the other is draped over the couch behind me. All around the room are the things that make me happy and alive. Here are just a few of the things in my room:

Pens and inspiration

Pens and inspiration

Cubes from Ikea

Room with Penny





What’s No Longer Serving You?

5 Random Things to get rid og

I’m hearing this phrase a lot lately.

Get rid of what’s no longer serving you.

I’ve reached year 44 of this life and I can tell you, I am loaded with things that are no longer serving me. Maybe you are carrying those things along with you, too.

Both literally and figuratively, I am loaded with the burden of the things I carry that I no longer need….supplies from past hobbies, books and materials from former careers, baby clothes and toys that my 19- and 14-year olds have long since grown out of, relationships that are long past their expiration date…all types of weight from unhealthy choices. I keep asking myself, why is it still there? What am I afraid will happen if I get rid of this ‘stuff”? Is the guilt of still owning these things stronger than the guilt that I spend money and time on them and that I will never use them.

I think what is no longer serving me is a combination of foolish spending, worry that I might need these things some day, and living in the past . And, I’m not talking about the real past, I mean the past as I hoped it would be when I was just out of college, or a newlywed, or even as a newly-divorced single mom. It’s time to get over it, let it go, move on….

So, I’m putting all those things I’ve accumulated, but no longer need, on notice…this year, you are out! I’m reclaiming my life, piece by piece. In no particular order, totally random and not a complete list, here are some of the things I’m getting rid of this year:

  • Old spices – because really, I don’t cook enough to warrant 28 different spice jars in my pantry. Most often, I throw a little garlic Mrs. Dash on the meal and I’m good.
  • Gadgets that I have no intention of using or have never used – quesadilla maker and fajita cooker, I’m looking at you.
  • 2 personal relationships that are past the point of being healthy – they’ve weighed down my heart with their broken promises and mixed signals long enough
  • All previously mentioned supplies and junk from former careers and hobbies – teaching supplies that are taking up room in my garage, things I picked up at conventions, and (gasp) scrapbooking supplies.
  • 64,488 emails in my Gmail inbox (cringe) – 1) what if I get rid of something I need? and 2) this is going to take a REALLY long time.

Pushing these things off my plate, I’m hoping, will clear the way for a little peace and clarity.

I’ll keep you posted. I’m happy you are sharing this journey with me.

What do you commit to getting rid of?

January Reading List

January 2016 Reading List january reading

(This post contains affiliate links.)

I used to be a voracious reader. My nose was always in a book at times I should have been doing something else. I hear from teachers that my kids do the same thing I did…book in my desk at school faking like I was paying attention when I was really just reading. I always had a book in my purse, or bag, or car, just in case I could steal a few minutes and read a few more pages.

Then life happened…kids, job, other interests ate up all my time, but the piles of books I want to read never stopped growing. I’ve had to cull my stash and start selling them to used book stores…I have no more room and it makes me feel guilty to see them piled up, inside and outside my bookcases.

I have to do something about it. This year, I’m making a modest goal to read at least 2 books a month – 1 novel and one other book.

I’m also challenging myself and a friend to choose books from different buckets…this month, it’s a book you’ve started but never finished. I have hundreds! The one I’ve chosen is A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon. My friend is going to try to get through the first Harry Potter again.

Other books on my reading list:

It’s a hopeful list – mainly focused on the home and creating a place you love to come home to – even the novel is about addressing clutter. That’s something I’ve always tried to do, though sometimes it feels like I’m caught up in a revolving door: pick it up again, clean it again, didn’t I just do this? So far, I’m enjoying my selections (though I haven’t started Daring Greatly yet). With 12 days left of January, and a cold snap in Chicago which makes me not want to leave the house, I might actually finish 2 or 3!

How about you? What book have you started but never finished? Isn’t it time to give it another try?