STUFFology 101 copies of Korean edition

WOWEEEE the Korean Edition of STUFFology 101

STUFFology 101 Box of books from Korea I had the pleasure of picking up a gift that arrived from South Korea, yesterday – a box of the Korean edition of STUFFology 101 – Get Your Mind Out of the Clutter.

As an author of nine books, I’ve had the pleasure of having books translated in German, Spanish, Korean, and Slovenian. It’s always a treat to see how publishers of different countries handle the design and translation.

STUFFology 101 copies of Korean editionThis is an exciting time for us. Imagine writing a book that people from around the world express interest in. I feel a little giddy with excitement imagining how my co-author, Eric must feel. This is his first published book, which became a top-selling title and it is now available in the Korean language. WOWEEEE!

What’s next?

There’s no telling what’s around the corner. As we wrote in the Unexpected Gifts chapter of STUFFology 101, if you keep working toward your goal, you never know which unexpected gift will come your way.

That’s what happened with this edition. We exhibited copies of STUFFology 101 at the Frankfurt Book Fair through the Independent Book Publishers Association. Although more publishers and agents expressed interest in this title than my previous books, the world’s economy remains tenuous and no deal was forthcoming. However, unknown to us, Cheombooks, a publisher in South Korea was searching for books on Amazon when they discovered STUFFology 101And here we are!

STUFFology 101 a peek inside the Korean editionAll we can do is focus on helping you and who knows what’s next.

How about a little serendipity? I opened the book and paged through until I found a nice image of the inside pages I could share. What did I choose? Chapter 17 – Focus on Doing One Thing.

In our demanding, multi-tasking, and fragmented world, the best road to success with S.T.U.F.F. is to Start, Trust, Understand, and FOCUS in order to Finish.

Will you JOIN us?


It’s Our Third Anniversary and We Finally Sign a Post-Nup

For nearly three years, Eric and I had been working together without nuptials on S.T.U.F.F.

“What,” you ask? “You’re not even married.”

Weeeaaaall, in a way we are.

You see when you commit to work with someone, it becomes like a marriage.

Three years ago, we made the commitment to collaborate on writing a book about decluttering. We felt like book spouses, marrying our ideas together during weekends as our vision for the book took shape. And just like the newlywed phase passes, we too had differences. Despite our disagreements, we remained committed to seeing the birth of our baby (book).STUFFology 101 Get Your Mind Out of the Clutter book  Avadian + Riddle

STUFFology 101: Get Your Mind Out of the Clutter was conceived early July 2012. She took nearly two years to be born. Like most parents, we felt PROUD and JOY at her birth on April 1, 2014.

Yes, that was April Fool’s Day. We believe it’s best not to take ourselves too seriously. We also felt relief: No more labor pains! Ask Eric about indexing.

We knew she would be a FUN child so we launched her into the world with a FUN party.

She’s 14 months old now and remains a FUN child.

Since then, STUFFology 101  was released as an eBook, and later seeing her influence spread (worldwide English Audio rights sold) and recently Korean Language rights, we’re happy to see her make a path in this big world of ours where many ideas are shared.

Eric Riddle and Brenda Avadian sign their post nup agreementTo ensure we progress according to our initial vision and that should something happen to either or both of us that our “heirs and assigns” will be confident in carrying out our wishes, we retained a Los Angeles-based Intellectual Property attorney to draft our post-nup.

To think, how many partners can agree to a pre-nup much less a post-nup. But this ability to see eye-to-eye is how Eric and I started working together in the first place. We agree on most things–the important ones being integrity and a stable with both-feet-on-the-ground approach to our business and marketing decisions.

We also believe in keeping lines of communication as open as humanly possible. Some days (weeks?) it’s harder than others, but we’ve managed to reach our third anniversary.

When I reflect on it, it’s almost like following our apronym S.T.U.F.F. Instead of letting go, we let in and developed our ideas until we created a book.

We simply got Started.

We Trusted the process.

We Understood how each step builds upon the next.

Sometimes we struggled, but we maintained Focus on each area.

And eventually, we Finished.


Which type are YOU when managing emails?

I disagree with Joe Pinsker’s article in the Atlantic that “Those who can comfortably ignore unread notifications, and those who feel the need to take action immediately.”

A Third Type of Person

There’s a third kind of person when it comes to email messages and I find myself among them. We are those who check our email inboxes throughout the day to respond to important, urgent, and sometimes quick emails. We are those who consciously decide what to subscribe to and what to let go. We are those who may have multiple email addresses. We are those who access our emails when we want to and, in some cases, turn off the notification sounds to avoid annoying Pavlovian bells.

Judging from the comments to his article, others agree.

In 1995, I had one email account with AOL. I received about 35 a day and replied within the hour and in some cases, within 24 hours. Even then, colleagues lamented the fact that they couldn’t respond quickly due to a deluge of 35 emails a week!

Ahh, it’s all relative, isn’t it?

Over the years, my email input has grown and leveled off at about 100+ emails daily. I respond within the day or 24 hours—sometimes, just to acknowledge receipt and that I’ll respond by a given date. (This assures senders that their email was received and the ball is now in my court.) I’ll hit “Reply” then add a note in my calendar or in brackets at the start of the subject line of the draft reply email  such as [PROMISED Reply by #/##/####] before saving it to my Drafts folder.

Emails and Volleyball

I view email correspondence like a game of volleyball. When the ball’s in your court, you need to return it.

Sure, there are people who insist on making others play volleyball by themselves. I’ve heard my husband say, “If you really need to reach me and I haven’t replied to your email, call me.” Others place the burden on the sender with an automated reply informing them of the hundreds of emails they receive and if they don’t reply, to resend them the email. Again, this places the burden on the sender to run to the other side of the net and serve, to keep the ball/email in play.

Organize Emails

To organize the emails I receive daily, I use nine email addresses: six for work with two different websites ( and and my publishing company; two personal email addresses; and a Google account I use twice a month.

We have our own methods to organize our emails, just as we organize our sock drawers. However, a little inspiration and new ways of organizing can go a long way. While some use all the bells and whistles (tagging, filtering, flagging, categorizing), I go so far as to create subfolders in Outlook. I find these especially useful when I’m corresponding with a client on a project. Once the assignment is finished, I delete the subfolder.

Lost Subfolders

Brenda Avadian's Outlook folder - Digital declutterEarlier this month, after work-related travel subsided, I directed time and energy to two old subfolders with a combined 200 emails. They included Los Angeles County emails, environmental studies, initiatives, reports, and related correspondence from my work last year as a town council president. I was shocked to discover they were gone. GONE!

I back up every week, but I just noticed this, which means I’ve since backed up Outlook with the lost subfolders. Besides, in one week I can get through 1,000 emails. Restoring last week’s backup would mean redoing a LOT of work. Just a thought for you to consider when relying on backups.

A visit to the online forums indicated that Outlook subfolders do have a tendency to disappear. This is the first time this has happened to me without my being aware of the cause.

At a crossroads and in a quandary

Is this one of those unexpected gifts?

On the one hand, I’ve saved myself a lot of time, because these data-intense emails will no longer take my time.

On the other, what about the lost records?

Those who can DELETE

Some people, you may be one of them, easily delete backlogs of emails when they grow too large. One publisher/broker wrote to tell me his Outlook froze after having tens of thousands of emails. YIKES!

One of our readers wrote that she deleted 4,000 emails since 2010. I’ve learned in most cases, when people tell me this, it’s usually because they haven’t deleted those sales announcements, newsletters, and other non-essential emails that fill their inboxes daily.

What I’m writing about are those emails that require follow-up during the course of business, day to day.

In STUFFology 101, I shared my goal to reduce all top-level emails to less than five carried over to the next day. I’ll achieve this goal this year. It takes disciplined effort during days, evenings (without TV), and even some weekends to dive deep. Not letting the ball drop and surprising people (even after a year) are worth it to me, an old-fashioned person who believes in following up. After losing touch with some, they’ve ended up becoming clients.

Reducing emails brings me clarity of mind, increased focus, and a feeling of lightness that comes with reducing digital clutter in order to have less mental clutter.

Decluttering Tax Records Avadian

Using S.T.U.F.F. to DeClutter

While dealing with the STUFF of LIFE, we could use a helping hand with clearing the mental clutter swirling in our minds or the physical stuff that stops us from going after what we really want.

When a helping hand is not an option, an inspirational reminder can lift us over the obstacles created by clutter.

To help you declutter, we use the word STUFF as an apronym.


The only difference between an apronym and an acronym is that in the former, each letter actually spells a word. I admit, I recently learned this, myself.


When you find STUFF getting in the way, it’s because you haven’t Started yet.


Once you decide to START, define an area of clutter, and then do something about it.

Your one action will make it easier to keep going. A little progress is better than no progress and means one less thing you need to add to your growing To Do list for tomorrow.

Decluttering Tax Records AvadianAfter five consecutive Sundays of going through old paperwork for two to three hours each time, my husband and I took a break this past weekend. We’ll  return to reducing the clutter of old tax records, next Sunday.

It’s harder to Start than it is to continue. So get started with even one small step.


When you hit that wall of resistance, you’ll need to TRUST the process and yourself.

As you build trust in the process, you’ll gain self-confidence.

I made progress in spurts over the years. The older I get, the more I realize that I need to devote the time and effort to getting this done.

I trust that the process will take time and it’s a bit easier sharing the misery while going through old tax files and statements with my husband. During five consecutive weekends, we reduced our records by eight inches. That’s a lot of shredded paper!


Progress helps give us strength to UNDERSTAND the nature of how STUFF accumulates. This is why it’s important to go through the process of decluttering in order to learn the important lessons, which will help us prevent clutter from accumulating.

For lasting results, we can’t expect to get rid of years of stuff in one weekend.

We understand that the small steps we have taken each weekend means we’ll be finished decluttering our old tax records before the end of this month. YAAAAY. This encourages us to define another area of clutter in order to continue the process.

To avoid a future of toxic clutter, we understand now the importance of scheduling regular intervals to manage our records. Drinking wine helps make the process easier.  🙂


In our information-overload world, it’s hard to keep FOCUS.  Watching television becomes a major obstacle for many of us. When in a decisive moment, my hubby decided he was ready to let it go, I cancelled our service.

I didn’t realize all the mindless thoughts filling my brain until we stopped watching TV.

WOW, is Geraldo’s ego really THAT big? His almost rivals Trump’s on Celebrity Apprentice! How much gold do we really need on Gold Rush? Look at all that pristine Alaskan wilderness being torn up just for gold dust! Is Hillary going to run? What’s the deal with Kim Kardashian’s butt?

In the scheme of life, what substance do any of these thoughts add to the contributions I choose to make in our world?

Nothing. They prevent me from focusing on what matters and that is to get my life in order. FOCUSED effort on decluttering one area at a time will free my mind of distraction so that I may help you from a place of focused strength, rather than scattered weakness.


Finally, understand that this is an organic process–things come in, they turn into piles, and then they need to go out in order to keep life from becoming toxic.

If you manage your clutter, your progress—cleared space on your desk, space in your file drawers and storage bins, will bring you a feeling of lightness and freedom from not being tied down by too much stuff.


What are you waiting for?

Start decluttering your stuff. Trust in the process. Understand how clutter accumulates. Focus on one area at a time and you will Finish.

For more information, click to read Start (again).


While Eric and I are happy to give you a helping hand…

You must first define YOUR clutter.

Old books  Avadian

What you define as clutter, I may enjoy as a walk back into time—such as reading a book or letters from the late 1800s.

While you think I should delete all my older emails, I may value following-up with an old acquaintance not forgotten. 😉

If you haven’t yet, pick up a copy to read STUFFology 101 first and then send us an email for Today, our virtual communications allow us to help you almost anywhere!





FOCUS is the ‘F‘ in S.T.U.F.F., FOCUS on doing ONE area at a time.

Don’t be tempted to work in too large of an area or in too many areas at once.

You want to be successful. If you focus on one area that takes an hour, your achievement will spur you forward to tackle the next area.

Finishing a small area is better than making partial progress on a larger one.

For more information, review the BONUS STUFFologist’s Guide of (click on): STUFFology 101 on