Feeling overwhelmed with STUFF? Need help? Read below.
Feeling overwhelmed? Has STUFF invaded your life? Don't know how to begin?

Here's the way I am decluttering and simplifying my household environment. (Warning: This is not an overnight solution. It could take several years but it is working.)

STEP ONE: This is the most important step and the hardest. Make the decision.  I decided to finally solve my clutter problem but with it came a feeling of being overwhelmed. I wanted a more simple life but how can I declutter without going crazy? I had to ask myself some hard questions as I tackled the second step.

STEP TWO: I created two piles: TO KEEP and TO GO. Here’s what I asked myself in deciding which pile.
  • If I die today and my daughters had to decide whether or not to keep this item, will either of them want it? And will the decision-making and decluttering add too much stress to their lives?
  • Did this item bring me joy at one time (ala Marie Kondo) and do I need its physicality in my life to continue that joy?
  • Do I want to keep it for sentimental reasons?
  • Would it make someone else happy?
  • Could it bring me some money?
  • Was it once worth money but is not worth keeping any more--for anyone.
Based on my answers, I added the items to one of the two piles. 

STEP THREE: I put the items in the TO KEEP pile back where they belong.

STEP FOUR: I divided the TO GO items into three sub piles.
  • THROW AWAY. Put it in trash, recycling or make a trip to the local dump. 
    • I'm a photographer and my prints and old slides take up a lot of room. I've made some hard decisions and have thrown out duplicates, photos that just are not good and pictures that no one else would want after I am gone. 
    • I don't need to keep all those old trophies gathering dust from 40+ years ago but I want to have a visual memory. This is when I take photos and store them on my computer or external hard drive. Then I toss them out. No one else is interested in my trophies!
    • Some family photos and documents are taking up lots of space but I want to keep a record of them. This is when I scan these items and store the files on my computer.
  • GIVE AWAY. If it might be useful to someone else, then I donate it. 
    • Partners in Care's upscale second-hand boutique that offers programs and services to support the independence of seniors in their homes. 
    • I also give to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. 
    • Local Freecycle groups help people give things away to people who can use them.
    • I had some historical items specific to Maryland that had been my grandparents'. I did not want to keep them but wanted a good home for them. I contacted the Maryland Historical Society and, after their approval, donated to the museum. I feel good that they are where they should be. 
  • SELL. These are items often with historical value. After inheriting estate items from various family members over the years, I have quite a collection of things with little sentimental value but which might bring in some money. And, since I was born more than 70 years ago, I have quite a personal collection I’ve saved over the years. This is where the real work begins.

(1)   Yard sale? Too much work and too little profit.
(2)   Consignment shops? Sometimes. I’ve sold a few items through Savvy Consignment in Severna Park.
(3)   Sell on eBay? I tried eBay in the past and had some minor success but hated all the detailed worked involved, including packing and sending. It is a huge headache.
(4)   Lately I’ve tried Facebook Marketplace with much more success and collected more than $1,000 which I used toward my trip to Hawaii at the beginning of this month. I'd much rather have experiences than clutter!
(5) I've also sold some items on local neighborhood sites.

The next step.

9 Steps on How to Scapegoat

Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019. Today I think about the strategy for scapegoating. Never forget.

1. Identify collective problems. Rising crime, drug addition and job opportunities.

2. Create a common enemy and name the group you say is responsible for these problems. Illegal immigrants.

3. Instill fear. These people rape your daughters, kill your families and take your jobs.

4. Build up your followers.  Compliment them. You deserve better. Our country can be great again.Offer religion. You are good Christians with family values we need to protect.

5. Create division. Them versus us.

6. Offer a simple solution. A wall.

7. Announce your strength. You are the only one who can take care of this problem.

8. Encourage chants for your admiring crowds. What are we going to build? A wall. Who’s going to pay for it? Mexico.

9. Repeat lies to strengthen your case against your scapegoats.

For a more scholarly piece on scapegoating, read this Psychology Today article:

"The ego defense of displacement plays an important role in scapegoating, in which uncomfortable feelings such as anger, frustration, envy, guilt, shame, and insecurity are displaced or redirected onto another, often more vulnerable, person or group. The scapegoats—outsiders, immigrants, minorities, deviants—are then persecuted, enabling the scapegoaters to discharge and distract from their negative feelings, which are replaced or overtaken by a crude but consoling sense of affirmation and self-righteous indignation."