The Marie Kondo of Personal Organizing

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, available in many editions and formats. Link is to Amazon page. You can also visit the Getting Things Done website.

I’ve heard of David Allen and his “getting things done” (or “GTD”) method a number of times in the past and finally decided to read/listen to his classic book which first came out in 2001. I must have been reminded of him recently in some way, although I don’t remember just how, and I got the audio book from the library. It’s read by the author, who sounds very engaging and thoughtful, and I was really fired up by his introductory chapters. Then he kind of lost me as he headed into the chapters that delineate exactly how you’re supposed to do things his way. Most of his work has been done in the business world, and so many of his examples are drawn from that arena. I think that was part of why I drifted away.

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Don Aslett’s New Broom that Sweeps Clean

Clutter’s Last Stand: It’s Time to De-Junk Your Life! by Don Aslett. Available only in paperback and not available at the library, or at least not at mine. Follow the link to purchase a new or used copy; I promise you that it will be worth whatever money you pay for it.

I mentioned this book in Friday’s post when I discussed burdensome gifts, and I decided that I should feature the book in a post of its own. I mention Don Aslett fairly often; he is my cleaning and clutter-clearing guru. He’s actually more practical and useful than Marie Kondo. She is really pretty extreme, I must admit. She’s good for the initial burst of clearing out, but her daily routines are just too much. I’m sorry, Marie, but I’m not going to put my shampoo bottle away in a cabinet every day, thanking it for its service as I do so! The podcast By the Book explored what it’s like to actually live by Marie’s strictures and the hosts were unified in their assessment that she’s trying for the antiseptic more than the livable. (I’m not recommending that podcast as a whole, but this episode is pretty good.)

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Nothing Is Ever Simple!

No, I didn’t do any cleanup for this shot. Can you tell?

Today is Thursday (news flash), and tomorrow U-Haul is going to pick up the pods in the in-laws’ driveway unless we call them and extend our rental for another month. But that will cost TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS. We do not want to spend that money. It’s so frustrating, as we rented them in the first place so that we wouldn’t have to move everything in and then move it back out again when the carpet got installed, only of course, as I’ve mentioned, they’re having to re-stretch the carpet in the main living space and so it all has to be emptied out anyway. At least we don’t have to re-do the bedroom.

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Moving Day Drama

cartoon of man moving a boxSunday evening, May 21: Here I sit on the stairs of our soon-not-to-be-ours house, and I’m so tired that this is the only thing I can do. It’s too early to go to bed, I don’t have any books I want to read, and there’s no TV. And pretty much no internet, although once in awhile I can get a faint waft of Xfinity wifi. So I’m writing a post! Aren’t you flattered!

What a day! And we’re still not done with the packing up and moving, but I think we’re going to be able to walk into closing tomorrow and hand over the keys. There was a point today around 6:30 when I took a look around at all the stuff that still needed to be moved and thought, “We aren’t going to make it.” And then my phone rang, and it was Jim. “Guess who just called me? Jet Movers!” We had decided that we were going to have to hire some movers for the biggest stuff, as we had a wonderful crew but of the guys present we had 

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How Are You Treating Your Future Self?

picture of baby, picture of old womanBefore I get to the subject of today’s post, I have to ask: Did you notice that the website looks different? New lettering and new features on the sidebar and at the bottom. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted about this upcoming change in a previous post, but it has taken a very long time. Jim has labored to get all of my sites onto the WordPress platform, which has its own challenges, but which gives me much more in the way of flexibility and features.

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The Next 52 Days

seeds planted in peat potsI just went over the calendar from now until May 13, which is 52 days (not counting today, but counting that last day). Sometimes we get really ramped up over the very short term (what’s going to happen this week) or the very long term (what’s going to happen in the next year), and we don’t think in the medium term. So it struck me this morning that there are several pretty big events (PBE’s) that are going to take place over these next 7 ½ weeks:


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Where’s the Line between Acceptance and Accountability?

Figure with a key chasing a figure with a keyhole in backPeriodically I’ll get into a discussion about the question above. My dear friend Cecelia and I used to argue (sort of–she’s too nice of a person to really get into it) about this issue. She’d say, “I think you need to accept people the way they are” and I’d say, “But Cecelia, then how will they ever change?” We would have this discussion in particular about a mutual friend who . . . well, I won’t give any details. Suffice it to say that what Cecelia thought of as harmless eccentricities I thought of as remediable faults. (Not that I was being judgy or anything.)

This issue has come up recently in other conversations I’ve had.

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Post-Party Analysis

pile of utensils, ingredients, and bowls on a cluttered kitchen counterAlthough I’ve temporarily discontinued my posting on the “Intentional Hospitality” blog I’m still cooking away. Last night I provided the desserts and punches for my church’s Christmas banquet. This turned out to be yet another one of those “I-thought-I-was-going-to-have-an-easy-time-of-it-but-I-was-wrong” episodes in my life. I had made my famous orange-almond biscotti before the Cherry Creek Chorale’s concert over a week ago with the intention of putting them together into tree shapes held together by frosting, but I just ran out of steam and time, so I ended up putting the baked biscotti into the freezer with the intention of building the trees for this party.

 I kept thinking, ‘I have the biscotti made, so all I have to do is make the cranberry tarts and the chocolate peppermint crunch cookies. I’ll do that Sunday afternoon and still have time to clean up the kitchen.’ What was I smokin’? I worked like a dog all afternoon just to get everything made and still ran out of time for making the frosting for those blasted biscotti. Some very helpful people who came early pitched in, and one woman suggested that we could stack the biscotti plain. I wish I had a picture of the beautiful platter she made. People were saying, “You’re doing Jenga!” It was great.

Well, all was well in the end. I could have done a lot more prep on Saturday and saved myself having a nervous breakdown Sunday. But the important thing is that everything was on the tables, ready to go, and that people had a good time. I’ve now gotten through my two big parties for December, but there’s more to come on the family front. My sister- and brother-in-law get here Friday, and we’ll have many get-togethers during the week they’re here. So I’ll have lots of opportunities to either a) procrastinate or b) be proactive (pro-acticate?).

If the items mentioned above sound intriguing, I do have posted recipes for three of them. Here are the links:

​For the biscotti trees: “A Beautiful Celebratory Dessert”

For the cranberry tarts and pink egg nog: “Second Time Is the Charm!”




Did I Build a Structure?

2 workmen building a foundation

I wrote last week about the fact that structure, properly used, can set us free to do what we really want to do. Knowing the intricacies of a musical composition so well that you’ve built muscle memory means that when you actually get up to perform you can focus on the performance. Your structure is in place; you can now build on that.

So, this past weekend I was once again in charge of the retreat breakfast for my wonderful, wonderful chorale.  I would say there were at least 75 people there. It ain’t quite the same as running a Presidential campaign, but still!

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Don’t Lose Sight of the Small Things You Can Do.

Pine seedling growing in a cup

Betcha been wondering when I was going to refer to the Gretchen Rubin podcast again, right? I think it’s been two weeks or so.

So, for a little background: I am obsessed with the upcoming election. (I don’t post anything partisan on this blog; if you want to know my take on the matter, click on the “Personal and Political” tab above.) I have a couple of news sources that come directly to my inbox, and I find it very hard to get started on my day without reading at least some of the articles posted there.

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