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Archive for February 7th, 2010

Five-a-Day Giveaway

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Sometime in the last month or two, I started really going through my things to lighten the load. The goal is to let go of 5 things every day.

There are many reasons, some of which are:

  • Too many clothes to fit on clothing racks at once
  • An intensified allergy to polyester
  • A friend who works for a homeless day shelter
  • A realization that I have more abundance than nurtures me
  • A realization that my excess can help others

In January, I acquired a to-do list “app” (program) to run on my relatively-new iPod Touch. It has really  helped me.

socksgiveOriginally I saw this gizmo as mostly a portable calendar (I had a palm device for years, and this was how I thought of the Touch). It was a bonus that I could use the same thing to play podcasts through my car stereo system when I was on long car trips. I did not feel a need for it to do anything else.

But I am learning that this gizmo is a magnificent machine. It is far more computer than the first computer I owned, by leaps and bounds.

I can look things up on the internet when I’m near a wireless connection. Sometimes that helps me teach a student, by showing them an example of something out there. And I can use a to-do list which has tasks that repeat themselves automatically (something like a calendar system for remembering things).

Background… it relates, really.

When I was a secretary at Michigan Education Association in 1987, we had computers with 5.25″ floppy disks on our desks and every secretary had their own printer at their workstation (with a sound buffering box over it). The programs I ran regularly on that computer were WordStar, Lotus 123 and dBase III+. However, I was in charge of one boss’ email (I printed it out for her and put it in her in-box… really).

I do not think I had my own email address at the time. It was mostly used between professionals inside the organization. However, the law office did correspond with outside law firms using email, so there was some use of the internet for that (I did not know how to do it).

The program we used to send mail was, amazingly, called e.mail. And I discovered a “hidden” feature nobody else seemed to use. It had a to-do list with dates and priorities available.  I became a much better secretary after I found that feature.

My former, beloved, portable gizmo.

When I had a Palm device, I had a program which was supposed to work as a to-do list but it was far too complex to be helpful to me. I used it for calendar and addresses, and that was wonderful. It was dependable… until VISTA forced me to “upgrade” to a different model which did not work for me.

I had a hunch this would work.

The Touch is about the size of my old Palm. On my old computer, I had a task list but it stayed on my desktop. However, I work more out in the field than at home. It had limited use for my lifestyle.

sockstrashWhen I got the Touch, I tried to find something I could use to synchronize with MS Outlook on my desktop. I found a few, but their reviews were not promising.

So I went for one with many good reviews. It’s called Toodledo. I like it, for my needs, though there are a few odd things I’d do without.

I extra-like that I can back up my list to the Toodledo.com site in case something happens to my precious Touch. (Her name is Miss Piggy, I like to name gizmos after strong grrls/women/Pigs?)

But why am I telling you about a to-do list system when I was talking about letting go of things?  Because it is helping me let go of more, more often.

My method, to avoid madness.

You see, I set up a list item which repeats every single day. It tells me that I need to let go of 5 items. Today. Not later.

I am motivated by the need to check off items on a list. I do not know why it works. I mean, I’m even doing laundry and dishes more often by putting those tasks on my list, too.

You should see the results. A few days I had to skip it, but more often I find seven to 10 items instead of “merely” 5. It was hard at first. Now it’s more routine. Some days are harder, some I get on a roll. It’s all good.

One closet rack is already benefiting (I have 3 racks upstairs and one partly-full one in the basement). The one rack now can handle my hang-up sweaters and jackets without wrinkling. Score! It sounds small but it is real progress for me.

A team plan?

Does anyone want to try this with me? You could try one a day, or 5 once a week. Figure out what works for you.

Here in my house, clothing is the easiest thing to deal with first. On better days, I look in the kitchen in the very back parts of the cupboards where bun warmers and the like get stored. (Well, bun warmer… singular, not plural, but yes we have one in Avocado, for the record. And not letting go of that right away.)

Tell me how this sounds to you. Is it scary? It was to me, a few years ago. Now it’s freedom. I can find things better already, and I had the guts today (my second day off in a row) to tackle the top drawer in the bathroom.

It is amazing what one finds in a drawer like that. Most of that went straight into the trash, I’m afraid… how many stretched-out hair elastics does the planet need?

Are you in? What sounds good to you? What can you really do?