The Courage to DIY

How many times have you started a project only to have it stall out because the next step required a little extra muscle, a handyperson, or a tool that you had never used before?  I see this all the time, which is why lately I have been boosting my DIY skills to be a partner that can help ensure that projects reach completion.

That doesn’t mean I am willing to get in over-my-head.  I know my limits.

And I understand that time, energy and money can be saved when we call in a partner with specific expertise (that’s why you call me, right!).  But what I am talking about is adding some tools to my tool belt (literally and figuratively) & then mixing in a dose of courage to be a better ally to myself and my clients.

Here are a couple of examples 

Earlier this winter, I was working with a client in her daughter’s bedroom & the goal was to hang all of the amazing artwork that had been created over the summer.

This is a project that can easily be put off or overlooked since there can be multiple steps to see it through to completion.  But this client was ready & excited to get this checked off of her list!

During our session we made sure we had the right tools for the job, framed the art, mapped out the placement, organized the arrangements,  & put it all on the walls.  It took a little pre-planning, a little extra measuring, & a little tweaking, but the end result = art hung & a happy mom & daughter!

Another session involved reorganizing the laundry room in a client’s new house.  The space had been set up for the previous owner, but now we were making it work for her small family. 

The ironing board hanger in the closet was taking up prime space that could be used by the brooms & mops that needed a home.  Once again, it was time to pull out a few tools, my courage, and then go for it.

With the right tools, it didn’t take long to take down the ironing board hanger & replace it with a broom hanger.  A project that needed a little dedicated time & a little extra muscle was checked off the list.  Mops & brooms were hung & the closet was ready for action.

The relief of getting these projects completed was conveyed by both clients and I left each session giving myself a little pat on the back for adding a little courage to my tool belt & putting to use some skills that can make a big difference in bringing a project to completion.


Your Turn…

Is there a project that you have been longing to tackle or finish but something is stopping you? 

How could your outlook about this project change if you added a dose of courage?

Do you need a partner to boost your courage & ease the overwhelm around this project?

Tell me about it!


Why I Chose to Dig into Clutter

I believe that living with too much stuff is overwhelming!

Stuff gets in the way of feeling creative, inspired, peaceful, and in-tune with yourself and the world around you. Clutter builds and builds and you can become stuck trying to find a way to manage and store it all. You tidy and sort and then do it again; moving it around, trying to feel better about it.

I believe that if you pare down and think about what really matters to you, you can create spaces that feels light and easy. Your space will reflect your beliefs and how you want to present yourself to the world.

Once the clutter is clear, things will begin to shift in your world. You will have created room for new opportunities & the heaviness that surrounded all of that stuff will be gone.

I believe that it is really helpful to have a partner as you begin this process.

A partner who only wants the best for you and is ready to be of service.

A partner to help you gain clarity around what you are really looking for in your space and life.

A partner that can help you look at things with new eyes and see the possibilities that are hiding in your space.

A partner to keep things light and keep you going.

I would love to offer myself as that partner. I want to help you breathe life back into the openings of your heart and home.

Are you ready?  Let’s make the changes that you have been longing for happen NOW!


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.

What To Do When Summer Puts a Kink in Your Routine

Every summer, I fight between the desire to let my kids have a restful, flexible summer & working to keep us all on some form of schedule.  And usually what happens is that I ignore the voice in my head that is screaming, “remember you all work best with routine & rhythm” and I tell myself, “Oh, what the heck! You can go with the flow.”  It’s summer right?

And then… we hit July.  And all that flexibility & unpredictability has my head spinning. 

The days have been all chopped up and each week has looked different than the one before.  And it feels like we have to find a new routine each Monday morning.  Instead of keeping a consistent pattern for my work, I snatch moments of productivity whenever they show themselves or if I can really push myself, I sneak in some time before the house wakes up.

Summoning the energy to keep it all going in summer is hard work!  I often want to head for the hills, throw in the towel, give up.  But I know that won’t feel any better.  Somehow there has to be a middle ground.  All is not lost, right?

So what do you do when the routine that you had put in place gets thrown off? 

Here are a few things that I vow to try this summer so I can enjoy those spontaneous, summer moments while still holding on to some pieces of the routine that I crave.  See if they resonate with you and your own summer shuffle.

1. Make a shift

When summer hits, I need to make a shift in my usual expectations.  This isn’t a time to expend a lot of extra energy starting, learning or trying to implement something totally new unless it is creative, easily accessible, and/or doesn’t take big chunks of time.  I can still set goals for the summer, but often they need to be a little smaller or come in a different form.

All is not lost if we shorten or shift our list of expectations.  What have you been pushing to achieve that just isn’t happening this summer?  Could you chunk this big goal into smaller, more manageable pieces?  Or maybe you can shift your expectation & let your summer goals be around creativity & curiosity.

2. Seize opportunities

Each day I watch for a chance to keep at least one piece of my usual routine.  Usually it comes in the form of a daily walk.  The time of day when I make this happen is flexible in the summer, but it gives me a chance to have a little time on my own and a sense of normalcy in those unpredictable days.  I get a chance to check in with myself, listen to a podcast, or enjoy nature-all things that keep me sane! 

When you keep some part of the routine, even if you just envision yourself doing it, it will be easier to pick up when life opens back up.  Watch for opportunities to fit in some part of your usual routine.

3. Get some clarity

It feels like a new opportunity to say yes knocks on the door each day of the summer (and in our case, it literally does since my son has a great group of friends in the neighborhood – plans could develop in an instant!).  That means each day I need a short list of the day’s true priorities that I can keep in mind when faced with a chance to change course.  Then I can make decisions based on how much it will throw a wrench in the things that “just can’t wait” and how much energy I am willing to expend to shift gears or re-arrange.

It is great to be able to go with the flow, but too much accommodating & rearranging can lead to resentment & just plain crabbiness.  Notice when you have reached your capacity for flexibility & be ok with putting up a boundary around your time & priorities.  Or look for a way to reach a compromise so you are’t giving up what you need.  Could you still get bills paid or emails responded to from a chair at the pool? Hmm…

4. Change the game-plan

After seasons of feeling frazzled at the middle of the summer, I knew it was time to try something different, so this year our July does involve more camps & longer structured activities to offer everyone a stretch of consistency.  It’s an experiment to see if a break from go-with-the-flow days will offer us a little recharge or leave us more depleted.

Watch for signs that things aren’t working & make a change.  Sign your kids or yourself up for a last-minute class that provides some consistency or ask the teenager down the street to take your kids for a couple hours each week & create a mini-routine.  A break could be just the boost you need to enjoy the months before we are locked into a school schedule.

Summer can be an amazing time for exploration, creativity & just plain fun when you can make the days work for you not against you.  I’d love to hear what you do to keep a little routine going when summer hits.  Comment below!

What happens to all that waste?

Do you ever find yourself standing by the recycling bin questioning whether or not the item in your hand is actually recyclable?  

I find myself in this situation often.  Wanting to do as much as I can to avoid sending more to the landfill but unsure just how much is really recyclable.  This is especially true as we declutter. 

Which led me to take a tour of the Rice County Landfill, Recycling, and Household Hazardous Waste Facilities.  It was something that I had on my to-do list for a long time & it was exciting to see first-hand what really happens after the trash & recycling leave our curbs.

The tour was led by Paul Pieper, who has 16 years of experience making sure the disposal of our stuff is done efficiently and with care.  We started at the Recycling Center which includes a huge collection shed where trucks pull in and dump the recycling from the county.  36 tons of recyclable material comes through the center a day.  It is dumped, collected & loaded onto trucks to be hauled away for sorting. 


Paul explained that in 2008, Rice County made a shift from sorting at their location to sending it out to be processed.  This coincided with the shift to the single-sort recycling method for households & businesses.  There was a 60% increase in amount recycled with the single-sort method.

As we looked at the huge pile waiting to be loaded, Paul pointed out some of the items that really didn’t belong and that would need to be sorted out at the MRF or Material Recovery Facility.  While there is a great urge to recycle as much as you can, the county advises that we stick to the items on their list.  This ensures that the process can be done more efficiently at the sorting site.  Here is the list of things we can recycle in our county.  

We moved on to the other areas of the facility where residents can drop off items for recycling and proper disposal.  This area collects a wide variety of items, including mattresses, tires, old appliances, and electronics.  There are processing fees for these materials, but it was reassuring to know that our large, unusable items can be broken down & salvaged.  Check out the recycling rates here and the rates for e-waste here


I was so impressed by how organized, efficient & helpful the facility & staff make the process.  Areas are labeled for quick, convenient drop-off and staff was willing to lend a helping hand when needed.

The Household Hazardous Waste area was next.  This is where items, such as paint, rechargeable batteries, and household cleaners, are collected.  The items are sorted and assessed.  If they are still in usable condition then they can be passed on to county residents in the Re-use shop.  The shop offers cans of paint, automotive products, and cleaning supplies for free.  Paul mentioned that their location is convenient for residents that are on their way to Menards for a project.  They can make a stop at the Re-use shop first and save some money on their supplies.



The last part of the tour was to the landfill.  On the way we saw the collection sites for steel, yard waste, and demolition materials.   And then there it was- a huge pile of trash being smashed & shaped as we looked on.  It was a big reminder that our garbage doesn’t just disappear after it leaves our door.


I left the center renewed in my mission- to do everything I can to ensure that we are letting go of the items that we no longer need in ways that are responsible and environmentally conscious, which means I want to pass on as much knowledge as I can about how to recycle, refurbish, or reuse those items.  And keep as much as possible from heading to the landfill.  It might take a little extra energy to make decisions & find homes for your unwanted items, but I know it is worth it.  Every little thing helps.

Your Turn…

I believe that knowledge is power.  Information offers us the power to make informed decisions and do what we can to make a difference. 

When you are ready to get rid of things that you no longer want or need.  Ask yourself these questions before placing it in the trash:

Can I donate it?

Could it be refurbished or repaired?

Is it recyclable? 

Refer to the resources offered by your local recycling center or enlist my support when you are unsure or want the decisions to come easier.

Next steps…

Don’t let the decisions around the what, where, & how stop you from letting go.  When in doubt, make a phone call to your county’s recycling center & get your question answered.  Or set up an appointment & together we can find homes for your unwanted items.

Did you know I can leave with your unwanted items?  For a small fee, I lift the burden and deliver your items to the location that best fits their next life.

Let’s take advantage of the resources that our communities have in place to help us responsibly care for our stuff & our world.