How to Clean A Garage in Under Two Months

How to Clean A Garage in Under Two Months

For those not familiar with my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group, each day we have a themed micro-resolution and Friday is F-It Friday, where the F can stand for Fix, as in, I’m going to fix that hole in the wall that has been bugging me for the past seven years.  The F can also stand for the more traditional F-word, and that’s when we just say F-It and give ourselves permission to permanently delete something off of our to-do list without actually doing it, because, well….F-it.

Today’s F-It Friday is brought to you by: My Garage. The F lies somewhere between the two examples above, in that I finally said, F-It, I’m finally going to Fix it before someone gets injured.

I forgot to take a photo to truly capture the depth and breadth of the donation mountain that had taken over, so I borrowed this one from the internet.

Actually, our garage is pretty organized around the perimeter, it’s the center of the garage that has become overloaded with:

  • Hoses, stored for the winter
  • Boxes from a dozen different appliances, we keep “just in case something happens and we need to return it.”
  • Piles of clothes and toys to donate or sell.
  • Broken lawn decor.
  • Outdoor cushions in various stages of being destroyed by the dog.
  • A rug covered by muddy dog paw prints that I need to have the space to lie flat and clean, but I can’t because there’s a pile of stuff in the middle of the garage.

Every time I look at it, I get so overwhelmed that I find any and every excuse to ignore it.

“I can’t sell the Playmobil castle, because it’s missing one of the knights.”

“I need to look up that doll on Ebay, because what if I donate it and it’s worth $100?”

So I just back out of there, pretending I didn’t actually need the thing that’s too dangerous to reach since it’s located on the other side of Mt. Garage.


Unfortunately, I’m running out of time for excuses.  Two years ago my husband put a down payment on a new Tesla and it is supposed to be ready in the next couple of months. Since the Tesla is an electric car which needs to be plugged in, for the first time in the eight years in our house, we will actually need to be able to park a car in the garage.

For some reason, he doesn’t like my idea of parking on top of the pile, so it’s time to address the elephant (or the pile the size of an elephant) in the room.

Since the hardest part for me is dealing with the overwhelming thought of having to do it all, I’ve decided, F-it – I’ve got a couple of months – I’m going to focus on throwing away/selling/giving away just one item a day.

Sure, I would prefer the immediate gratification of having a great before and after photo over the course of the weekend, but I would also like having the gratification of keeping my anxiety and sanity in tact.

What’s your BIG to-do item that you could break down to “one item a day”?  Say F-It, and take that first step today!


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Today’s F-It Friday is brought to you by the Austin Half Marathon whose motto should be: “The Austin Half Marathon: the race that’s impossible to train the appropriate 12 weeks for because the prior 12 weeks include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and every negative weather condition known to man.” (That wouldn’t really fit on a bumper sticker though.)
So today’s F-It is me giving up my hope of illegally selling my race bib to someone else and risk being permanently banned from future races and accepting the fact that, F-It….I guess I’m running a half marathon in a thunderstorm on Sunday!
The additional F-It part is that I’ve given up the hope of *running* it and have accepted that this is going to be a *run/walk* (emphasis on the WALK part) not just because it would probably be impossible to run the whole thing at this point, but also because it’s just irresponsible to risk injury since I haven’t completed the proper training.
Do a little early Wish ‘n Well for me since I’ll be wishing that I’m still well enough to walk on Monday morning.
What standards are you lowing for yourself on this F-It Friday?Join us at my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group and let us know!
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Thank A Teacher

Thank A Teacher

I love teachers.

Sure, everyone “loves” teachers, but I LOVE teachers. I am in awe of their patience and grace under the pressure of handling the demands of 15x more kids than I’ve ever had to deal with, FOR SEVEN HOURS A DAY!  EVERY DAY!

My favorite example: I was once visiting my daughter’s fourth grade classroom to take class photos for the yearbook. The class that her teacher team-taught was gathering, very enthusiastically, in the hall for a class trip to the Nutcracker. She came out to greet me, while nonchalantly holding a trashcan that a student had just puked in and simultaneously arranging escorts to take said student to the office and getting students filed off onto the bus.

To me, even just as a spectator, this experience was so traumatic that I’m still writing about four years later.

To her, it was Thursday.

That’s when I truly realized that even when I’m not there to witness it, teachers are addressing every conceivable combination of child-related issue you can imagine at least a hundred times a day.

And then there are the non-child-related issues: the parents, the administration, the money they have to take from their own pocket to care for their students.

And then there are the truly unimaginable situations: The fire drills. The earthquake drills. The tornado drills. The gunman drills.

And the situations when those drills are not drills.

When we see the tragic accounts about school shootings like yesterday’s in Florida, no one is every surprised to see headlines like, “Geography Teacher Died Saving His Students.” We know that in addition to all the gifts of love, patience and learning that our teachers give our kids every single day, that they would not think twice when it comes to protecting their kids from danger.

Because they are their kids.

Quantitatively, they spend more waking hours with our children than we do every day. Qualitatively, they likely know as much about the inner workings of each of those kids as their parents do, if not more.

I hope that I will never have to say “Thank You” to a teacher for giving that ultimate gift of risking their life for one of their students, but I will use this tragedy as a reminder to give thanks to teachers for the gifts that they give our kids every day.

I hope you will too.


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Let’s “Take Two” to Talk About Taking a Number Two

Let’s “Take Two” to Talk About Taking a Number Two

Today, in an exercise in efficiency, (and laziness,) I am combining Take Two Tuesday and Wish ‘n Well Wednesday into one handy post.

In my defense, there’s actually a good explanation for combining the two: My wish for your wellness is that you “take-two“….as in a #2

Yep, as in:

Take 2 For a #2

The inspiration for writing a post about going #2 appropriately came to me in the waiting room of my Proctologist, right about the same time I posted this on Facebook.


I’ve been sitting in proctologists’ waiting rooms since I was in my twenties due to chronic issues with hemorrhoids. Since I have a well-earned aversion to the H-word, I’m just going to call them “Piles” from now on, which is actually the proper word for them. It is also the french word for “batteries,” which has nothing to do with anything, except for the fact that I’m trying to think about anything but piles right now.

How does a woman in her twenties end up having dozens of pile-removal procedures which escalate into the grand finale of having a hemorrhoidectomy at age 40?

Part of me thinks it has something to do with my unnatural fascination with all of the Preparation H commercials that used to play during The Price is Right back in the 80s. I was a bit of a hypochondriac and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to catch whatever it was for. No one in my family would give me an acceptable explanation for what “inflamed hemorrhoidal tissue” was so I was left to rely on a very young Bryan Cranston, and confusing cartoons of “oxygen” bopping into what appears to be a large mosquito bite, to explain it to me.

Like that author of “The Secret” says, what you concentrate on, you manifest into your life….or in my case, you manifest into your anus.

The more likely cause of my piles of piles was a bit of hereditary misfortune combined with years and years of holding it.

Holding it because I didn’t want to poop among all my co-workers in the company restroom.

Holding it because I was convinced that every patron in every restaurant was timing the length of time between me entering the restroom and exiting.

Holding it because I didn’t want some boyfriend to know that I didn’t just store decades worth of food tidily in my intestines.

So, instead of facing a few moments of pooping embarrassment, I’m now paying penance by offering the ultimate embarrassment to the Pile-Gods by sharing my ass-woes with the entire internet.

Since most of you are moms, and you have become accustomed to pooping with a full audience, you have probably let go of your poo inhabitions.

But I’m hopeful that my pain can be your gain, and that you’ll pay it forward to the next generation. If your kiddo is having a poo issue, nip it in the BUTT (I know the saying is bud, but I couldn’t help myself.)

Here are a few handy articles for helping kids not get in the habit of holding it. – When Your Child Just Can’t Go

Today’s Parent – What to do When Your Kid is Afraid to Go Poo

And as a little reminder for all of us from WebMD:

Eat fiber. A good way to get it is from plant foods — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes.

Drink water. It will help you avoid hard stools and constipation, so you strain less during bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables, which have fiber, also have water in them.

Exercise. Physical activity, like walking a half-hour every day, is another way to keep your blood and your bowels moving.

and of course…..

Don’t wait to go. Use the toilet as soon as you feel the urge.


Look forward to the next installment in my TMI butt series: “How NOT to Reflexively Punch Your Doctor In The Face During Your Post-Hemorrhoidectomy-Check-Up.”

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Monday ME-Search – Sharing Our Stories

Monday ME-Search – Sharing Our Stories
I received two pieces of news this week, from near and far, about friends who lost loved ones very unexpectedly.
It has been weighing on me, and I thought about using it to guide today’s Monday MEsearch, but didn’t want to be too much of a downer. Then I remembered the post I did last year around this time as I was traveling to attend the funeral of a dear woman – my husband’s aunt, who I love so much I also claim her as my own. I don’t always believe in *signs* but it seemed like a pretty good hint that this is something worth taking a few moments for this week.
Unlike the news from this week, losing our aunt was not unexpected or sudden, as she had been battling cancer for years. Long goodbyes bring a unique sort of grieving, and although the loss is just as painful, in some cases, there is the opportunity to use each of your remaining moments as a gift, and that is exactly what she did.

The greatest of those gifts was a series of videos that one of her nephews made of her after the initial news of her cancer’s return. He flew across the country, camera and pages of interview questions in hand, and filmed hours and hours of a documentary-style video covering every imaginable angle of her life.

We watched a few portions of the video at her memorial and it was so incredibly healing to be able to laugh and cry along with her stories and insights on life. This will be a gift that her daughter can treasure forever, and even potentially share with her own children someday, giving them a glimpse of the spectacular woman who raised their mother to be the strong and incredible young woman that she is today.

Although our aunt had a medical diagnosis that drove the urgency to get her stories on tape sooner than later, the news I received this week was a reminder that for many people, the urgency is there and they just don’t know it.

As this week’s ME-search, I encourage you to take a step toward sharing your story or asking someone you love about theirs.  Yes, it will probably feel awkward and uncomfortable. I cannot even imagine the courage it took for the nephew to contact our aunt and basically skip asking permission and just tell her, “this is what we’re going to do,” before showing up on her doorstep with a camera and tripod.

  • What two things do you want to make sure your kids know about YOU.  Not just how much you love THEM, but something about YOU.  Your favorite book when you were their age. What your first school dance was like. How you met their father. What you wanted to be when you grew up.  What made you follow/not follow that path.
  • What two things do you want to know about your childhood that only a parent, relative or childhood friend can answer for you?  Ask now.
  • What two things do you want to know about that parent, relative or childhood friend?

You don’t need to do a full video documentary to make this a valuable exercise (although that was truly amazing.) Just a phone call, an email, or even a text.

As I mentioned in last year’s post, life is unpredictable – live and learn to your fullest every day.


This post is from the Monday MEsearch series over at my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook group.  Join us there for more daily prompts for micro-goals and resolutions.

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Say No So Someone Else Can Say Yes

Say No So Someone Else Can Say Yes

Women are notorious for saying yes to things that they have neither the time nor energy for, (or even any interest in.)

  • Taking the volunteer position at school when your plate is already full.
  • Accepting an invitation to an event when you want a night off at home.
  • Taking a promotion at work instead of pursuing another field you’re interested in.

There are hundreds of articles out there trying to convince us to start saying NO to help with our sanity and stress levels, yet we continue to say YES because we’re more worried about letting someone else down than our own well-being.

After all, it’s hard to convince a people-pleaser to look out for their health and happiness when nine times out of ten, they will base their choice on what they think will make someone else happy.

Perhaps we’re thinking of this the wrong way.

What if when you say no, you are making someone else happy?

By saying no, you are giving someone else the opportunity to say yes.

Did you ever stop to think that there’s someone else out there who would love that volunteer position that you just begrudgingly took on and are going to do a half ass job at while neglecting the things you really want to be doing? By saying yes, you just took away their opportunity to say yes.  By saying no, you would have given them the chance to say yes to a role they would have been excited about and would have brought 100x more energy to than you will.

Maybe when you said yes to that concert you didn’t really want to go to and spent the whole week complaining about how much the ticket cost, you actually were taking the ticket from someone who loves that band and has been dying to see the sold out show.

When it comes down to it, by giving yourself the permission to say no, you’re not just doing yourself a favor, you’re giving someone else out there the chance to say yes.  That should be a pretty compelling argument for all of us people-pleasers.

So the next time someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, do everyone a favor and just say no.

Note: I did not come up with this wisdom all by myself. I recently spent an amazing girls’ weekend at the Strawberry Pines Ranch and Retreat where a dozen writers spent the weekend sharing ideas, advice, laughs and lots of cheese products. This Yes/No idea was shared as advice from a pastor of one of the women at the retreat and another woman had heard something similar on the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast, and I SO needed to hear it and thought maybe you did too.  

This post is from my “F-It Friday” on my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook group.  Join us there for daily micro-resolutions focused on taking time for, and getting to know yourself. Join us!

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Take 2 Tuesday – 2 Minute Stretch for Your 10 Pound Head

Take 2 Tuesday – 2 Minute Stretch for Your 10 Pound Head

Before you jump into “Taking 2,” take 1 second and notice how you’re standing or sitting.

My guess is that you’re not sitting in a perfectly aligned, yoga like position and instead your head is jutting forward over a phone or keyboard, putting 10 pounds (YES 10 POUNDS) of pressure on your poor neck. We shouldn’t be surprised when our backs and necks hurt, we should be surprised when they don’t!

Now that I’ve posture-shamed you, it’s time to get into our “Take 2.”

Here’s a great little video demonstrating a series of stretches you can easily do at your desk in TWO MINUTES (and if you have 6 more minutes to spare, the guys go into a bunch of reasons you should be stretching after the exercises.)

If you don’t have 6 more minutes to spare, here’s a quick list of reasons it’s worth “Taking 2” to stretch today (and every day.)

  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Increases circulation
  • Increases energy levels due to all that great circulation
  • A great mid-day pick me up
  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves your posture

You only have one you – take care of it.

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MEsearch Monday – It’s all about ME!

MEsearch Monday – It’s all about ME!

What is MEsearch?

It’s taking the time to explore and investigate, (aka research,) about “ME”! (Not, ME-me – that would be weird, I mean YOU-me.)

The point is to take at least 1-2 hours a week to do something BY YOURSELF in an effort to learn more about yourself = MEsearch!

Think of at as a date with yourself. Have fun planning it & anticipating it.

Rules: (I’m type A, sorry, there are rules.)

  • It has to be BY YOURSELF (not like alone in a forest, ‘yourself’ – you can go to a restaurant or something, but you can’t go WITH anyone else.)
  • Don’t use it to check something off your to-do list. This isn’t about being practical, it’s about making special time for yourself.
  • Choose something that is outside the norm or your comfort zone.
  • Don’t think you have to spend a lot of money. There are tons of free options.

Use Mondays to brainstorm and research our MEsearch date for the week.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Take a walk through a park you’ve never visited before
  • Have lunch at a restaurant that serves a type of food you’ve never tried before.
  • Try something you’ve had a million times a different way. Always have eggs scrambled? Try one poached this week!
  • Go to one of those ‘drink wine while you paint’ classes.
  • Attend a book reading at a local library
  • Attend a craft event at a local community center.
  • Play miniature golf.
  • Go bowling.
  • Try a trapeze class.
  • Try a hot yoga class.
  • Try a zip line.
  • Go to a film with subtitles.

What are some things you’ve been wanting to try but have been hesitant to do? Get it on your calendar and leave your ideas here in case anyone else needs ideas.

Get more daily micro-resolutions over at my Dusting Off My Parachute Group.

F-It Friday: Transform Your Life in 5 Minutes By Saying F-It

F-It Friday: Transform Your Life in 5 Minutes By Saying F-It

For those who are new to the Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group, F-It Friday can have a wide range of goals.

Some are of the more foul-mouthed, F-It variety, like when you finally decide that you are NEVER going to get around to super gluing the broken Christmas ornament that has been on your kitchen counter for three years. On F-It Friday, your mission is to say, “F-It”, toss it in the trash and make peace with the universe now that you don’t have to have a little porcelain tree staring at you as a reminder of every failure in your life every time you go to the kitchen to steal from your kids’ snack cabinet.

There is also an F-It with an F as in Fix It. This is when you finally do the one stupid little thing that you KNOW will only take about 30 seconds to do, and nags you every time you see it, but for some reason you have let snowball into this mentally monumental task. (Aka – the tiny unpainted part of the wall from where the baby gate mount was removed that took me 4 years and 2 minutes to fix (4 years of glaring at it, 2 minutes to actually take a Melissa & Doug paintbrush and dip it in the can of paint in the garage and dab it on the 2″ spot on the wall.)

Today, my F-It Friday felt SOOOOO GOOOOOD! Every morning, I make a bowl of oatmeal because Oprah told me to once, and because my cholesterol is the level of an 85 year old man. Every morning I dig through my measuring cup cabinet and spend 10x as long as necessary sorting through all of the cups to find my 1/2 cup. Sure, it only really wastes about 10 seconds of my life, but it wastes about 50% of my patience for the day.

The other day, while doing my favorite thing in the world, (wandering aimlessly through the Costco office supply aisle,) I came across a jumbo pack of these 3M hook-y things that usually cost more than I’m willing to splurge on a measuring cup hanging project, for a total bargain.

In under 5 minutes, I not only transformed my measuring cup cabinet, but I have transformed my daily breakfast ritual. Ahhhhhhh.

What little task can you say F-It to today?


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Thank You for Saying Thank You!

Thank You for Saying Thank You!

How many times a day do we remind our kids to say thank you to other parents, camp leaders, etc?

Now, how many times a day do YOU properly say thank you to people? Not a quick, “thanks” as you’re walking off, looking in the other direction, but a look-in-their-eyes, “thank you” that makes the other person feel like they are truly appreciated.

One of my best friends is amazing at this. She should come take your kids to the zoo for the day, clean your house and make you dinner and somehow thank YOU in a way that made you feel like you really did her a huge favor letting her do all those things for you. She makes saying “Thank you” an art form.

So today, say “Thank you” (and “you’re welcome” for that matter) like you really mean it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

At the grocery check out: “Thank you for not putting the ground beef on top of the strawberries, I really appreciate it!”

To your kids: “Thank you for remembering to not take your pants and underwear off at the same time so they’re wearing each other in the laundry.”

Saying Thank You makes other people feel valued and makes you realize how many kind and helpful people there are in our lives every day.


Thank you for helping make the world a more thankful place today.


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