Transitions & Hope – A Field Trip to Ruth’s House

I have a soft heart.  And I always feel I could be doing more.  Combine these qualities & it’s hard to shake the feeling that I want to do whatever I can to make a difference in the world.  Yet I understand that there are so many things that I can not do – things that are better left to those with a more talent, more skill, more knowledge, more strength.

So to find out what all these amazing people are up to, I have made it a priority to take myself on field trips.

I truly want to understand how our communities work – where the support is, where the need is, who the gatekeepers are, where we find the comforters, the leaders, the change-makers – and a little field trip can offer some insight into those things.

I also want to be a resource of information for you.  You have shown that you care deeply about our world & where your donations are going.  I hear of your desire to find good homes for the things that you no longer want or need – sometimes holding on to things because you want them to be passed on well.

And that’s where I come in.

The more we all know about our community & the needs that are out there, the easier it is to let go & trust that all those items can find their place in the circle of abundance.

This past week I took a field trip to Faribault, MN to Ruth’s House, a non-profit organization which provides transitional and permanent supportive housing to women & children.  I made a call to inquire if they would be another resource for donated items & they graciously invited me in for a tour to answer that question & let me take a peak at how things operate inside the house.

Suzanne, the Development & Operations Manager, took me around the grand white house that was built in the 1890s.  This old house has been set up to provide a safe, stable transition for women & families who face homelessness due to domestic violence, poverty, addiction, health challenges or other issues.

The house is able to accommodate 9  families (women & children) & just like any house, they have lots of systems in place to keep the days running smoothly.  The house offers it’s residents their own bedroom/living space plus community rooms  where they can cook, eat, do their laundry, watch movies & play games, or enjoy time in the backyard.  Not only do the residents have a  comfortable place to stay, they receive support & education during their time at the house from a dedicated staff & wonderful volunteers that share of their talents.

The basement at Ruth’s House has been turned into an efficient little warehouse to store all of the donations & supplies that are used to support the residents.  Volunteers were hard at work sorting through the items that had come in that week.  I was impressed by their ability to keep the space organized & ready to serve the family’s needs – another great system!

It was a great field trip & I left with the image of the artwork that is hanging in the community dining room.  Large, brightly decorated letters that spell out the word HOPE.  Perfect for a space that brings that very thing to our community.

Your Turn…

I left with a short list of items that I will be watching for as we work together & pack up your donation items.  If I notice those items, I will check in with you to see if I can share them with Ruth’s House.

The ongoing donation needs are the typical basics of a family home: toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, laundry soap, dish soap, body wash, lotion, shampoo & conditioner.  They also share a  list of needs in local papers each week and post more info. about drop off times & collection sites on their website.

Because of their limited storage space, it’s best to use the donation list or inquire at their office if you have items that you believe could be useful.

Next Steps…

To find out more about Ruth’s House, learn how you could volunteer, or make a monetary donation, go to their website.

Have a place you think would make a good field trip?  Let me know with your comments below.

TiP for Your TUESDAY!

spring growth

Do the Next Right Thing

When overwhelm kicks in and you don’t know what to do, stop and ask yourself what the next right thing is?  Start there – the next right thing & then eventually you will do the next right thing & then the next and soon you will have created a whole lot of movement in a direction that makes sense.

Watch the trees & plants for inspiration this week.  They are following that next right thing.  The sun shines so they push & extend further.  Then the rain comes, so they take it in & let it nourish their growth.  One step after another in this season of change.

Profiles In Letting GO

Working with Kate: Declutter & Redesign has enabled me to make positive changes not only in my surroundings but in life! I have made room for the things that I love.

It’s amazing how the energy of the space you live or work in can impact your mindset and ability to enjoy life.

I met Kate Buckmeier a little over a year ago. At the time, I was going through some difficult professional transitions. Not only were my day-to-day activities changing, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to work from home much of the time. When looking around my office (also known as a playroom) I couldn’t find the brain space to concentrate on being productive let alone close out my day feeling happy and fulfilled.

It was time for a change.

I am no stranger to clutter, or mess. My dad often teased me about the backseat of my car, it often doubled as an office/garbage can/catch-all (now with 2 kids back there it is borderline off-limits to anyone else). My home was no different. I would gather too many magazines and instead of recycling them, I would store the ones I hadn’t read in a tote. More magazines, more totes. I rarely threw away anything that I felt could be used or needed in the future. What if I wanted to read Oprah’s thoughts the best way to de-stress your life? What if this tupperware would be the perfect size for my next left-over dish?

Slowly, as years passed, I couldn’t relax in my own home. I couldn’t fit anymore STUFF in my house. My two kids continued to bring in items — damn those big plastic toys. And I just couldn’t stop buying books. I mean — I have my weaknesses too. Nobody is perfect.

In walks Kate. Bless her soul.

We took a non-judgmental walk around my home. I told her what each room was used for and what I hoped each room would turn into. We made plans. And executed them. Together. She asked questions like, “If this cabinet mainly holds office supplies, why is it in your living room? Wouldn’t it be more helpful if it was in your office?” (Well, yes. Yes it WOULD be more helpful if I printed documents out in the same room as I typed them, Kate.) It seemed so simple. It was so easy when she was there to help sort out my cluttered brain.

After a few “working sessions” we had the majority of the sorting done. I was able to let go of a lot of STUFF. It wasn’t the dish that my aunt gave me for my wedding that carried her memory (I didn’t like the dish), it was ME that carried the memory and I wasn’t going anywhere. I didn’t need 3 different blenders that functioned for different purposes. I rarely use one!

I was able to donate items that once brought joy to me with the idea that now they would bring joy to others. Those items no longer served a purpose for me. And that was OK! It didn’t make me wasteful, or a bad person. I was able to pass along those items to make room in my life for other things.

I did make room. I made room for more clarity. I made room for peace. I made room for play. I became clear on my business goals. We were able to list the home we were growing out of and sell it within 10 weeks. I was able to set new goals for my meditation routine, now that I had a comfortable space to do that in. (And seriously, if you don’t have a meditation routine, you should probably consider it. It changed my life.) I took a couple of vacations. I played with my kids more. I made time for the relationships that mattered.

You may think that some of these areas of life that I made room for have nothing to do with cleaning out your office — but you’re wrong. It’s all connected.

If you have an area of overwhelm in your home, or in your work environment, I’d encourage you to dig a bit deeper. Let someone like Kate come in and guide you through the process of letting go. Let go of excess. You’ll make room for what counts.

Do you have a story of letting go that you’d like to share?or would you like support to get started on creating your own story?

SEnd me an email.

See what happened after I left! It’s amazing!

Last year I was invited in to clear out a family’s porch that had become the dumping grounds for anything that they didn’t want coming in the door (boots, skis, baseball gloves, rocks, empty boxes… you know the stuff).  The desire was to make the space ready to serve multiple functions-  mudroom, occasional play area, space for quiet moments, and room to entertain.

We dug right in and worked up a sweat!  I wrote about the three-hour session and shared some great before and afters in this post Before and After, but what actually happens In Between.

After I left, the magic continued!  Here’s what happened once the space was clear & the client’s creativity was given room to soar!

cozy table

Processed with VSCO with q1 preset

porch ready for a party

I love sharing inspiring pics!

I think they offer a chance to dream about your own space & the possibilities that are waiting underneath your clutter. 

porch after


To schedule your free 30 min. consultation & start dreaming up the plans for your space, contact me below.

Find out for yourself how much we can accomplish together in a short time!

TiP for Your TUESDAY!


Visualize the change

Put your imagination to work & visualize the new space that you hope to create.  Imagine that the changes have already been made & see yourself in the space, using it in the way that you had hoped it would be used.  Notice how it feels & let that image motivate your work!