Processing POOP - our Tax Papers - Avadian

Getting rid of POOP flows through other Cluttergories

Processing POOP - our Tax Papers - AvadianIt’s amazing what happens when we take steps to de-clutter.

With tax season coming, we’ve run out of space to file our paperwork.

My husband had removed older records from the filing cabinet, which made it so much easier to file current paperwork.

Now, the IRS requires us to save the last seven years of records. For some of us entrepreneurs, who file Schedule C’s, that means lots of documentation.

What to do?

Store the papers in plastic containers or bankers boxes.

But there’s no more room!

Okay, just buy another container.

Wait, that means MORE STUFF!

The time has come for us to do something about all this POOP—Piles of Overwhelming Paperwork.

Our once-every-three-year approach has resulted in a backlog of POOP.

Surprisingly, hubby agreed to sit down with me for two hours every Sunday, until we clear up more space. Hubby usually doesn’t agree to such things; especially, when I want to take the time to reflect on our past, together. You may remember from the book, he’s a “toss-it-all” kinda guy!

Yet, it’s amazing what two people can accomplish by setting aside a little time each weekend, until we get the job done. The photo at the top of this article is one-week’s carefully digested POOP that’s now ready for the shredder. Imagine how much space we’re creating in our storage container after several weeks of this!

What has happened so far has been unexpected.

I feel the relief in other areas of my life—in those other cluttergories that encroach on our daily functioning, without our knowing (or admitting) it.

I feel lighter.  I’m losing a few winter pounds, too. More importantly, I feel lighter, mentally (mental clutter).

Maybe that lightheadedness is a warning of something else!

Seriously, I feel less burdened by those nagging thoughts, like: When will I have time and the energy to get to it?

We’re gettin’ it done!

And I have the energy to move on.Walk in the Angeles National Forest -Brenda Avadian

I’ve made the time to take more walks in nature.

Next, is the bankers box full of stock and options trades from years past. I actually, look forward to revisiting these records. Although, trading in today’s market is vastly different (more speculative); I expect a goldmine of hindsight within those records—learnings that I may apply, today.

Maybe an article or two… or even a book! 😉

Tax season is here. What will you do differently?

To help you without adding to your paperwork, LISTEN to an audio edition of STUFFology 101.  🙂

For a related article click on: We need to declutter and archive statements more often.



Stuff Happens!

A man’s home is his castle, unless his wife says otherwise.

Does stuff matter? Consider the question in the context of relationships like marriage. What is important to you may not be important to your spouse, and vice versa. Rather than argue, it is sometimes easier to let clutter encroach on a space you consider your own. My garage is such a space.

If a man’s home isn’t his castle, at least his garage is.


My Castle

Is that true? You decide after viewing my garage story (apologies for the video quality).

We share more stories of how stuff matters in Part II of STUFFology 101: Get Your Mind Out of the Clutter. Does stuff matter to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Publishers Weekly Review of STUFFology 101 Get Your Mind Out of the Clutter

WOWEEEE a REVIEW by Publishers Weekly!

For all in the book biz, Publisher’s Weekly (PW) is a BIG DEAL!

Getting a REVIEW by PW is an even BIGGER DEAL.

So, even though we’ve shared our excitement about this via social media, we just had to go on record with this.

… ‘stuffologists’ Avadian and Riddle have spent a lifetime dealing with hoarding’s little sister, ‘STUFFitis,’ the plague of accumulated clutter ‘diverting us from our life’s purpose and what we deserve.’ Using their combined knowledge, they provide tips on de-cluttering your physical space, hard drive, and even your frenzied mind… Avadian and Riddle prove sympathetic guides, revealing personal stories…
 Publishers Weekly Review

Thanks to Eric’s initiative in sending review copies and persistence in following up, STUFFology 101 was reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

YAAAAY! Please help us celebrate this achievement by sharing this post via your social media channels… again.

Publishers Weekly Review of STUFFology 101 Get Your Mind Out of the Clutter


Why Do I Have This?

Have you ever looked at an item in your living space and have no idea why it is there? The reason you have it long forgotten.

In Part IV of STUFFology 101: Get You Mind Out of the Clutter we discuss fun and flexible approaches to eliminate the clutter in your life. One approach is using the Two Magic Questions (Chapter 22).

The first magic question will help you decide what to do with items you own and don’t remember why.


MAGIC QUESTION #1: If I lost this item in a disaster, would I take the time to replace it?

If the suit I haven’t worn for thirty years was destroyed in a flood, would I go out and replace it?

If my Lionel train collection was destroyed in a fire, would I replace it?

What if everything you treasured was driven out to sea during a tsunami or turned into ash during a fire? Which items would you try to replace?

Oftentimes there are things occupying space in our homes that we don’t even remember owning.

Try out MAGIC QUESTION #1 on that mystery item today!

Giving up Television_Avadian photo

Letting GO to Welcome In

Giving up Television_Avadian photoLast week, I cancelled my satellite TV subscription.

Two years ago, I suspended service for two to three months. Since then, I wanted to let go of subscription TV but hit a roadblock—my husband.

When he suggested giving up TV completely, recently, I jumped and cancelled our service.

The following day, I received an unexpected gift.

When my neighbor and I walked the 0.7 mile down to our mailboxes, she received a postcard. An announcement about a play– Great Expectations. I got EXCITED, because Charles Dickens’ story of Pip and Miss Havisham was one of those childhood stories that left an impression on me. Time to see the play after reading the book several times and seeing the movie.

When ONE door closes, ANTHER DOOR opens.

Or, to using another cliché:

You can’t get to second base with your foot still on first.

In order to take a leap of faith, you must be willing to let go.

We don’t realize it: We watch more TV than we think we do.

Couch-Potatoes_AvadianI would have guessed that I watched only one to two hours, some nights, but the truth was,  I could watch three or more. After a hard day of work, I enjoyed being a couch potato. With all that TV watching though, this spud was going no where.

All those hours lost… watching TV

All those hours watching actors, actresses, news broadcasters, documentaries, and even some reality TV.

All those hours of distraction taking never-to-be returned hours from finishing the tasks that would give me peace of mind and reduced mental clutter.

Things I look forward to doing as I get used to this new schedule without TV—

  • Reading an hour
  • Walking an hour
  • Telephoning a friend
  • Catching up with emails
  • Catching up with some online reading
  • Making progress on the stacks of paperwork accumulating on my worktable, mail shelf, and desk

Saturday afternoon, while shopping, we bought a DVD and watched a movie that evening. Two hours of TV in five days. WONDERFUL!

Sunday night, instead of watching the line-up of shows, I took two-and-a-half hours to review the past minutes and Bylaws for one of the associations for which I serve as a board member.

Exciting, huh? Not really.

What’s worse is seeing the folder on my L-shaped desk over the past seven months. I realized if I review the papers again, after having served on the board for seven months, I‘d have a clearer context for our work going forward. I’ll need to devote at least an hour more before I can file the folder for future reference.

We have a choice.

We can spend our time in front of the TV or spend it catching up with the things that pile up in our lives.

If we take at least ONE hour each evening to catch up with reading, imagine what we will gain, in one month–thirty hours of knowledge and progress reading books and/or magazines.

I don’t suggest marathon reading.

Our brains won’t be able to use everything our eyes gloss over. Marathon reading produces similar results as overeating at an all-you-can-eat buffet. You’ll feel upset and won’t be able to use all the information/nutrition at one sitting unless you take time to reflect or digest.

Taking time away from TV to to sit and talk with your spouse during dinner, talking a walk, and reading an hour each day, will have a cumulative effect on your life. I’ve also noticed, I’m less distracted. It’s like my brain isn’t buzzing with thoughts. I can focus and see more clearly. Who would have guessed this as on outcome of giving up TV? Again, after only five days!

If you give up something similar, let us know how it goes.

We can all learn from one another.

It’s not easy to give up something we’re used to in our lives—but as the saying goes (cliché alert): If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. Most often, getting what you’ve always gotten,  isn’t good enough.

For a related perspective, read, WISDOM of the AGES.


START (again)

Does an area you like to keep clean and tidy suffer from clutter creep?

My home office desk area suffers from clutter creep as it is the repository for all household paperwork, and assorted other items. Even a dedicated STUFFologist has a hard time keeping it free of clutter!
I share this because I like to keep it neat and tidy as much as possible. When it accumulates like this, I define that as physical clutter in my living space. If I let it pile up, it becomes mental clutter weighing me down!

Often we forget to take our own advice when we get busy with life. I am no different. In the book we advise people to START small and ”…define clutter in one area at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.” It is time for me to START in my home office (again).

I also consider clutter removal to be an ongoing process, not an event. Don’t beat yourself up if clutter reappears. Take a deep breath and START again in that area.

Some stuff takes longer to complete than other stuff. Digital clutter is a hit or miss issue for me. The same advice applies to de-clutter what is weighing you down in the digital realm.

For example, we like to share the eBook version of STUFFology 101 on different social media platforms and book websites to help people get their minds out of the clutter. We recently STARTed to use a feature called BookShop from our eBook distributor as part of that sharing process. Once we have it finished, you’ll be able to purchase the eBook from multiple platforms (like iBooks) from one location. We will share that on the blog in News and Views when it is completed.

If clutter creep happens to you, remember to START small and focus on one area to avoid being overwhelmed. Doing so will get your mind out of the clutter.