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.


What STUFF means

What does our STUFF mean?

Better yet, what does our STUFF say about us?

Throughout our lives, we accumulate STUFF for diverse reasons.

We aspire to make a statement.

Years ago, while I lived in Wisconsin, an Indiana-based consultant asked me why I don’t wear a Rolex watch. I told him my Seiko works just fine. He advised me that a Rolex would help create an image of success. I reminded him of the irony that he had driven four hours in his Mercedes sporting his Rolex, because he needed my advice.

We acquire a unique item while on travel.

Coke Bottle from Armenia and The Wooden Spoon 5 - webWhile in Armenia, I brought home a bottle of Coke with Armenian lettering.

Take a moment, right now to recall something you acquired within the last week or two.

What was it and why?

I bought a pair of crop pants on sale at Costco. Why? They were a compromise between too-short shorts and pants. I’ll just roll up the legs to just above my knees and they’ll be perfect.

Then we hold onto the STUFF we acquired.

We hold onto a reminder of a loved one.

I still hold onto The Wooden Spoon. If you haven’t yet, read the story in STUFFology 101.

We think we’ll need it, later.

We paid a lot for the item and can’t justify letting go of it.

Yep, these are some of the reasons we accumulate clutter.

Long after the reason for acquiring an item has passed, we’re still holding on.

What’s with that?

Oh, I’m not criticizing. I do it too!

As a STUFFologist, I make it my business to define my own clutter, but it takes time to get rid of STUFF.

Deciding what we hold onto defines who we are. Our STUFF makes statements about how we see ourselves.

WOAH, you say! Not all my stuff!

I agree.

Over time, we try to find containers to store the stuff that we don’t need, right now.

And even though it’s out of sight, we remain tethered to our Stuff.

I still have recordings and videos from over a decade and a half ago when my husband and I taped my father while he lived with dementia. He couldn’t make sense of his image on TV and insisted we call the station manager because there was a guy that looked just like him on TV. I thought about making a video to help people understand what it’s like living with dementia. Enough time has passed. There are far better videos available, today.

I am ready to let go.

Nooo, you say. You can get them converted by a service!

Again, retrieving all the videos and audio recordings and then determining which items to convert, takes time. However, it bears mentioning, we don’t have to reduce ourselves to an all-or-nothing choice. I may choose to preserve at least one of those memories.

Still, I don’t want to live through another Station Fire to be forced into rush decisions about what I keep and what I let go.

An earthquake? A fire? A flood?

I am letting go of things now, so I don’t leave others with the burden of getting rid of my STUFF.

I Start by defining the clutter in an area, Trust in the process, Understand the cyclical nature of clutter, Focus for a time, and Finish getting rid of my S.T.U.F.F. in that area.

These mini successes encourage me to keep going whether it’s getting through emails, a pile of magazines, books, paperwork, and more. I think of Queen’s refrain: I want to break free. It’s not easy, but if we keep at it, we will break free of clutter.

The older I grow, the less STUFF means to me.


Have Fun With S.T.U.F.F.

Knowing and doing are NOT the same thing. We know we should take time to relax, but often don’t. We know we should spend more time with family and friends, but let work and other obligations get in the way. Clutter is not always black and white.

Step back, take a deep breath, and have fun with S.T.U.F.F.

Our own cluttergories overlap one another, but we can work on more than one at a time. This is where the S.T.U.F.F. acronym comes in handy. START by defining what clutter is for you. For me it has been mental and temporal clutter. Like many of you, I have too much stuff going on! The family and I needed a break, so we went to the California Poppy Festival over the weekend.

I learned some things about clutter at this event, especially in the petting zoo area of the children’s section. The camels reminded me to get over the hump of my mental clutter. I had to TRUST in the process and myself to de-clutter. STUFF-Camel

There was a rainforest animal section too, that contained all kinds of exotic critters. The giant spider made me think about how clutter builds up slowly, just like a web. UNDERSTAND that clutter builds up over time and its removal is a process not an event.

Enjoy the moment and be present. Kids seem to do this naturally. Follow their example and FOCUS on where you are and what you are doing.

And last, but not least, FINISH the area of clutter you are working on. My day of fun with the family reduced the mental and temporal clutter holding me back.

S.T.U.F.F. is a tool you can use to process whatever cluttergories are impacting your life. Try it today!

Grand Piano_Avadian

To Master the Art of Decluttering, Ask Magic Question 2

The art of de-cluttering is similar to any other skill or talent worth developing. If you want to play better piano, you need to practice, Practice, PRACTICE. If you want to be a better basketball player, you need to shoot hoops and practice moves on the court.

Whatever talent you wish to master, you need to respond vividly to the second of two magic questions.

The great masters, whether in music, sport, or any other talent, practice and use visualization to mentally finger the keys or take hoop shots.

Grand Piano_Avadian

We take it a step further.

Visualization is not enough when we have access to five senses.

Master the art of decluttering so that you may join us as STUFFologists.

In over 45 years of clearing the clutter throughout my life, I have found when I clear a physical space; it has a profound effect on how I think. For example, clearing a square foot area of clutter clears my mind and opens me up to unexpected possibilities. It goes deeper than this but I’m limited by two-dimensional expression.

Imagine what we can accomplish room by room in an entire home or office!

Clutter will never totally disappear. It’s part of our natural cycle of life. Just as you eat to digest the nutrients in your food, and then eliminate, there will always be a cycle of clutter in our lives. We accept this as the natural course of life; especially, while we’re focused on other tasks leaving clutter to accumulate.

We can control our clutter by answering the two Magic Questions.    

In Chapter 22 of STUFFology 101, we address the Two Magic Questions.

Eric Riddle wrote about the first Magic Question in Why do I have this?

This article invites you to step up the challenge of answering Magic Question 2: What would the area I am focusing on look, feel, smell, or sound like if I cleared the clutter? 

Your ability to feel the answer deeply will yield lasting success. In other words, visualize the area but go beyond to imagine using your other senses.

  • Do you notice how clean an area smells after you’re finished dusting?
  • Do you remember feeling a more open mind after clearing an area of a stack of papers?
  • Have you noticed after emptying a room of stacks of boxes, that you are able to hear sound more clearly?

Where do you begin?

Click to Start with S.T.U.F.F. Define an area you want to clear of clutter and get started. Focus on how you feel, what you smell, hear, touch, or see.

The more senses you involve, the greater your success.

Over time, like a virtuoso pianist or a star basketball player, you will master the art of decluttering.

And who knows?

In the physical, mental, digital, temporal, and even sensual space created, you may find an unexpected gift. There is no telling what it will be. That’s what makes it unexpected. I have found if I observe closely and keep an open mind, I usually find the answer to a question I’ve been mulling around awhile or a find a solution to a challenge I’ve encountered.

File Cabinet Drawer Open Avadian

We need to declutter and archive statements more often.

File Cabinet Drawer Open Avadian

The truth is my husband and I archive our records once every three years. Thirty-six months of accumulated paperwork is all our file cabinets can handle.

By this time, our files have grown so full that even the hanging folders lose their grip and collapse from the weight of being overstuffed.

It’s also about this time that my husband and I hate filing papers. It becomes a chore to try to stuff one more balanced credit union statement, one more receipt, one more paid utility bill, one more… In years past, we’d start a pile in front of the file cabinet. But we learned painful lessons over the years when having to file all that accumulated paperwork.

Late last year, my husband, David, removed all the pre-2014 paperwork and stacked all those sheets of paper into a neat pile on a shelf.

Time to Archive

It was exactly three years and one month this past weekend, when we pulled out the banker’s boxes and plastic storage bins in order to archive this paperwork among our older records.

Eeeeewwwwww. There was even a dated note on one of the bins: 12/18/2011 This bin is full.

 We need to let go of our older records.

As a STUFFologist, the thought of buying a new bin did not occur to me. Instead, using Nature’s process as noted in “Input Throughput Output,” Chapter 21 in Part Four of (click on) STUFFology 101, we needed to let go of some stuff.

It took the better part of a quarter hour to decide what we would let go and then the better part of three hours to get the job done.

We keep records of the last seven years. Anything prior to that, we reviewed and reduced to make room for the newer records.

It’s a slow process at best because it’s not simply a matter of tossing records from 2006 and earlier. You may recall I have a need to look through my paperwork one more time before letting go. So, the process will take a bit longer.

For one thing, I purchased a few stocks over a decade ago that I still own. I need to look through my paperwork to see if I still have those records. It would be much harder to get them from the brokerage as I’ve changed brokers over the years, too. I’ll need this information to calculate the long-term capital gain when I’m ready to sell.

This is the process of dealing with (click on) S.T.U.F.F.—we need to Start, Trust the process, Understand that it will take time, and Focus, in order to Finish.

David and I decided that we need to archive and de-clutter statements more often.

In one and a half weeks, we’ve set aside time to return to this process of removing our older records. This time, it should be easier since we’re not waiting three years to review and be reacquainted with our filing system. Over time, I have faith that the process will move faster as we feel strengthened by saving only what we need.

How about you? What area do you define as clutter and how can you get started with decluttering your STUFF?


FINISH with S.T.U.F.F.

FINISH is the final ‘F‘ in S.T.U.F.F., FINISH what you START.

Just like the Thanksgiving example from START, you wouldn’t leave the dishes everywhere after the meal. You would FINISH putting the food away and do the dishes.

The process of de-cluttering is the same, FINISH the area you started. With successful results, you can define another area of clutter that you will process within a reasonable period of time.

Think about it like Newton’s Second Law of Motion: A body in motion will remain in motion long enough to clear the clutter.

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



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



UNDERSTAND is the ‘U‘ in S.T.U.F.F., define what clutter is for you.

Understanding why various items are in your home will help you de-clutter. Do you have memories and emotions associated with something? Do you really need that item?

Oftentimes, these memories and emotions produce obstacles to getting one’s mind out of the clutter.

Only you know what is really important to you.  Take a hard look at each item, it may be easier to donate (or toss) that item than you think.

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



TRUST is the ‘T‘ in S.T.U.F.F., and is the most important component of the de-cluttering process.

Trust in yourself, things will work out after you have started in just ONE area removing clutter.

Clutter builds up over time; Clutter removal is a process not an event.

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