August 2013
The Anticrastination Tip Sheet
From Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook and
The Clutter-Busting Handbook

Quotes for August

When you learn to trust yourself and ask for help, the world gets a whole lot easier.
--Wyatt Webb

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day. --- Sally Koch, author

What I know for sure is that when you declutter—whether it's in your home, your head, or your heart—it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family. — Peter Walsh

Message from Rita

Do you need a Dorothy? Maybe.
Does everyone need a Dorothy? Maybe.
Is it ever OK to lie for a good cause? Maybe.

Here's the story:
Many, many moons before writing The Clutter-Busting Handbook, I finally decided to end my Pack Rat ways. My clutter was a mess and my life was a mess. I would decide to clutter-bust a specific mound of clutter, then I would come up with -- not excuses, not rationalizations -- but reasons why I should keep it all.
Real reasons.
Many reasons.
Oh …. the reasonable reasons.
And so my clutter remained.

Eventually, I got to the point that I could toss out some stuff and fill a few bags to donate to Good Will.
For some reason, those bags would sit in the hallway for weeks.
Then for some reason, they would move to the car and eventually the trunk.
Then for some reason, they would be dragged back into the house & I would decide to look through them.
Then for some reasonable reasons, I would realize I needed everything in the bag.
And so my clutter remained.

One day, I was whining about my clutter to Dorothy, my neighbor who lived two doors away in her clutter-free house. She offered to help.

Her help consisted of making up lies about someone who needed and would love, appreciate and yea verily….CHERISH… my stuff. And then she would take my stuff away. And it became easy to give it to her …. partly because her lies were so sad and so detailed and partly because the people's stories were always so pathetic.

For example, Dorothy asked about seven toasters lined up on a shelf in my garage. I told her they didn't work. She asked why I kept them. Ever armed with reasonable reasons, I said, "Just in case the one in the house breaks."

Dorothy said, "But if they don't work now, what do you expect to happen if the one in the house breaks? Do you think they will rise from the dead?"

I stuck with my reasonable reasons and she dropped it. Two days later, she came over with a sad story. She met a man who was laid off from work. No income, five hungry kids and a wife struggling with illness. He was supporting his family by repairing broken appliances …. like toasters. He said that those seven toasters would provide enough money to buy food for his family for eight days.

I still remember standing at the front door, watching Dorothy walking home dragging a red Flyer wagon stacked with seven shiny toasters glistening in the sun.

I knew she was going to throw them out.

Weirder than that, SHE knew that I knew. But at that stage of my clutter busting, I could not have thrown out those broken toasters. I needed help.

Eventually, I was able to throw out clutter all by myself. I told Dorothy that she didn't have to lie any more. She was mightily relieved.
And so my clutter remained no longer.

You might need to show this to one of your clutter-free friends and ask them to become your Dorothy. It will likely be only temporary. Odds are that after a while, with practice, a bit of help and … some lies, you too will be able to get rid of clutter ... all by yourself.

The flip side of this coin is that some day YOU might need to be a Dorothy to someone. A friend said, "My mom plans to move to a Retirement Community. Her house is filled with tons of clutter and she has a really hard time getting rid of it. She offered me boxes of her stuff. I don't need that in my life."

True, but his mother needs his help get rid of her clutter. If it is stuff that needs to be trashed, he can say, "I'm trying to streamline my life, so I don't need anything. But I know the perfect place where ALL this stuff belongs." If he can bring it straight to the Salvation Army or Good Will then he could say, "I know where all this stuff will be appreciated and cherished."

If you feel the noble calling to be a Dorothy for someone, you must be at the point that you will NOT be tempted to keep the stuff you are schlepping out for them. The plan is NOT to help them get rid of their clutter and ADD to yours. The nobility of being a Dorothy is that you help someone free themselves from the imprisonment of clutter and you contribute to a deserving charity (or fill up trash cans) while at the same time NOT adding to your clutter.

Sad to say, you might need to come up with an occasional lie to help them relinquish some of their cherished treasures … such as seven broken toasters. But if it helps Pack Rats clear out their lives, don't you think they will forgive you and appreciate it in the long run? I know I did. Those kind-hearted lies helped me change the mess of my life. And now my life is good … AND clutter-free.

God bless the Dorothys of the world.


Our son has authored a terrific western novel called From the Ashes written under the name David Michael Karder. It is available on and is about a gunslinger who starts off in Chicago just after the great fire and heads west.

The book leaves you feeling as if you are witnessing the Old West as it begins to expand -- the people who care and the people who kill, the friends and the enemies, the battles and the loves that emerge amidst the chaos and lawlessness. It is well researched and Dave is an engaging story-teller. I don't even like westerns but I loved this book.

You are right. It is NOT going to help you blast away procrastination or conquer clutter. But if your son wrote a book, wouldn't you do what I'm doing -- brag a bit … and maybe encourage a few people to buy it?

Please share this Tip Sheet with 2 or 3 friends who would be interested. And feel free to use this message in your blog or newsletter, as long as you include my bio and contact info:

Rita Emmett
Author of The Procrastinator's Handbook,
The Clutter-Busting Handbook and
Manage Your Time to Reduce Your Stress: A Handbook for the Overworked, Overscheduled, and Overwhelmed
2331 Eastview
Des Plaines, IL 60018

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