April 2004 Anticrastination Tip Sheet
What's the opposite of Procrastination?
THE ANTICRASTINATION TIP SHEET
An Idea and Tip Sheet to Blast Away the
From Rita Emmett
Author of THE PROCRASTINATOR'S HANDBOOK
& THE PROCRASTINATING CHILD: A Handbook for Adults to Help
Children Stop Putting Things Off
Quote for April
If Spring came but once a century instead of once a year, or
burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what
wonder and expectation there would be in all
hearts to behold the miraculous change.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Want to Meet Rita?
Almost all of Rita's presentations are for corporations or private
conferences or groups where she cannot invite her TIP SHEET readers or
anyone else. However, she is giving two presentations this month
for Harper College Wellness Week in Palatine, Illinois on April 20. At
10:15 am she'll speak on HOW TO DO MORE IN FAR LESS TIME
and at 1:15 she presents WHILE YOU TAKE CARE OF OTHERS, WHO TAKES CARE
OF YOU? Both talks are free, last 90 minutes, and contain lots of
information while still being fun and inter-active.
For directions or more information, call Rosemary
Murray (or anyone at Harper Health Services) at 847-925-6268 While
you're there, be sure to tell Rita that you are one of
her "Tip Sheet" readers and watch her face light up :)
Message from Rita: A Million Ways To Leave Your Clutter
Those of you who have been with “The Anticrastination Tip Sheet” for a
while know that our readers are the brightest, cleverest, most
responding, most writing-back, most brilliant (also most adorable and
funniest) readers in the world.
Last month I told of wanting to write about “FIFTY WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR
CLUTTER” but I had only 44 clutter-dumping ideas, so I asked for more.
Naturally, I was hoping for six more … and as you might guess, I
received over 60 fantastic ideas. Also, you might guess that since this
tip sheet comes to you by email, the responses would all arrive by
Nope, not these readers.
Tips and ideas showed up on phone messages, snail mail (one can’t help
but wonder why), faxes, verbally at meetings, and from clients AND their
spouses. Even in the middle of a lovely visit with my friend Sheila in
San Diego, she could not help passing on a tip
about the blissful joy of garbage dumps. To adequately visualize this
tip, let me share two images of Sheila with you. 1. She turned 70 this
year. 2. We did not worry about her during the San Diego fires last year
because at that time she was busy getting a seat
on the last plane leaving Bolivia before the airport was closed during
the most recent violent uprising. Here is her tip in her words:
I have discovered a new favorite pass time - dump runs. Nothing quite
matches the exhilaration of standing in the back of a pick up, lined in
a row with all the construction trucks, and heaving boxes of assorted
debris into the waiting, crunching jaws of a
giant bulldozer. Ah, Rita, it doesn't get any better than that!
And now, more tips from our bright, clever, etc. readers. (Just a
reminder that I included several sub-titles such as “Get Rid of the
Mess, Tess; Choose to Donate, Kate; and Just Give It Away, Ray” so brace
yourself for some more.) Now, more brilliant tips:
Become a Techno Geek, Deke
Hi Rita: Sooner or later, you are going to have to
get computer-savvy. It's the way of the world. For example, you can use
a list-serv of any group you're a member of to post a notice about stuff
you want to give away or sell. You can sell stuff on e-Bay.
I don't HAVE to become computer-savvy because in my life I have a
Computer Goddess named Mickey. Life in the slow lane is mighty fine and
I don't even know how to go to
45. Arrange for a trade, Jade. Barter or negotiate with your friends for
things they want that you have and don't need and vice versa. It's a
How about create an exchange - magazine or book - schnook Take a box to
work and start a swap by placing a sign on the box inviting others to
48. other small items suitable for exchange.
Ok, so Schnook is not a good name - I tried!
Tip Sheet, Pete, Sweet!
- Flea markets
- schools, especially inner city
- homeless shelters, not just battered women's
- foster homes
- raffle prizes or auctions
- Doctors office, or old peoples homes (great
place for those old magazines and catalogues taking up room in your
- second hand stores
- consignment shops
Use Your Imagination, Jason!
ship it to a friend or foe, depending on what it is. hand it down to a
relative or a neighbor, let them store it! be creative -- put it in a
wrapped package and leave it on the side
of the road or at a mall and then watch someone snatch it, quite
leave a mysterious box on a door step filled with your clutter, then
play ding dong ditch or on the same theme...put it in decorated boxes
and have a sale or auction, people bid without knowing what is
inside.....surprise! Its like finding a box in the attic....someone's
trash is someone else's treasure!
I just wanted YOU to know that I have discovered MY best way of
minimizing clutter -- because I'm sure it came from your "50 Ways" list.
It's the habit of doing it immediately if it is going to take less than
one minute to do.
WOW!! Does this ever work for me! I do it all the time now. Most things
take only about 15 seconds, like hanging up a skirt, putting a book back
on the shelf, rinsing a plate or a glass before they go in the
dishwasher, even putting away clean laundry.
Jo-Anne in Toronto
I just did a major spring cleaning a few weeks ago. We've been holding
onto every piece of clothing my son ever had in case we decided to have
another child. Well, he's three now and we'd accumulated A LOT of
clothing! Luckily, 3 people I know have had sons so I wholeheartedly
gave away more than six full-size trash bags full of clothes.
Once I got started I couldn't stop. I also got rid of toys that he had
outgrown, as well as his crib <sniff> and high chair that we had just
propped up in the corner of his room.
I even found some of my own things I no longer needed. What was the most
surprising were the things that really were no good, but for some reason
or another we just kept them around. Needless to say a lot of things
went into the trash as well.
Now that I've uncluttered the house, it's time to do the same with my
storage room that I use for business. I'm entering a craft show in a few
weeks to unload any discontinued items and clear space for new
inventory. I really love your monthly e-mails because they always remind
me about the little things that I tend to put off. Your newsletter
becomes a planner alert for me - each month it signifies doing something
that I've been "meaning to do" for awhile.
I have a couple to list under donate.
- Animal shelters love getting old towels/linens.
They use them for animal bedding as well as to clean up around the
- Books can be donated to libraries for their
"Friends of the Library" fund raisers, or to school libraries for the
students to use.
- Donate to schools, not just art, but office
supplies, room supplies, class projects. Just remember, just because
we have a specific use for an item doesn't mean someone else will use
it that way. Teachers are some of the most creative people, and with
budget cuts, they are very appreciative of any items they receive and
are able to put to use.
- Reorganize. Sometimes clutter is clutter
because we don't have it organized. Make keepsake albums for kids with
a binder. Include pictures, certificates, cards or letters, and add
your own comments. The child can keep this item in his room and will
come to treasure the memories you are providing. This will also keep
the memories fresh in their minds, and can really be a safe place for
visit when they are having a tough time.
- Find ways to display items we want to keep
because they are special. Shadow box frames are excellent ways to
display many items at once, and they take it off of the desk, counter,
and out of drawers. Make mementos for trip souvenirs, special
occasions, or of school years.
- Rearrange a room. This is geared toward
motivating. Have you ever changed a room around, it really gives it a
fresh new look. This has always been inspiring to me to really clean
out the things I don't need. I look at items and think "when was the
last time I needed this?". Another idea is to look at a drawer before
you open it, and think to yourself, what is in this drawer. If you
can't name what is in the drawer before you open it, you don't need
Along the lines of organizations that collect
things you donate to them - Big Brother/Big Sister is an organization
near me that calls and collects everything from clothes to brick-a-brac.
The nice thing is they seem to have me on a schedule so they call at
intervals. Also many charities will collect old cars whether they run or
not - and you get a tax deduction!
Another way to advertise without the expense of classified ads is
putting flyers on local bulletin boards.
How about having a 'white elephant' party? Everyone brings and wraps
something they don't want. The game is played with dice. Of course the
object here is to bring something to the party and NOT bring anything
Put things on your front lawn with a big sign FREE. It is amazing how
one man's junk truly IS another man's treasure! I have also done this
after a yard sale - rather than cart things back inside, everything goes
to the curb with FREE on it. What doesn't go, can stay there for the
Another place to get rid of your stuff is
are local groups that have an email list where people list their things.
It is amazing what people will come and haul away. I was able to get rid
of an old copy machine this way.
I work at a university and although college students seem to be able to
scrape up enough money to go to Florida for Spring Break, they are
unable to afford pot-holders, towels, dishes, etc. When cleaning out our
closets and basements, we donate a box of "goodies" to students who live
off-campus, who are thrilled with the freebies. Also, the fleece
blankets are really popular right now and many people are getting more
than they can reasonably use. Consider nursing homes as recipients of
these throws -- the residents there always seem to be cold and are very
grateful to get the gift.
Many local churches or quilt guilds make quilts for various projects and
welcome the donation of fabric for those people cleaning out sewing
Aside from the veterans groups you mentioned, you can also donate to the
Kidney Foundation and Salvation Army - they also have thrift stores.
There are 2 more for you!
The hospital where I work collects comfortable gently used clothing
(i.e. sweats, etc.) for people whose clothing is cut off or ruined after
they are seen in the ER. so they can go home in dignity.
For the craft list: Nursing homes are on low budgets and always can use
recent magazines and craft supplies. Better yet, deliver it in person
and visit with a resident who doesn't get visitors. WIN/WIN.
Schools and after school programs are always looking for stuff to do.
Whether its crafts or just something to keep the kids busy until their
parents get off of work. I've gotten rid of a ton of very old dried
flower stuff when I had that business, scraps of cloth from when I had
that business... let's see - I know there's more. Magazines, shoe boxes,
Sometimes small theater groups will take furniture and clothing; sewing
classes at schools will take material and needlework supplies; nursing
homes can always use magazines and small items ( I got rid of 120 Beanie
Babies at Christmas, along with candy canes at one of the local nursing
homes - they loved it and we had fun too.) Magazines go fast in the
company lounge we put in a book rack at work, it has
turned into a nice book exchange or just drop off.
Have a Happy Spring and have fun De-Cluttering :)