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50/50: How to lose 1,000 pounds without trying

‘I think we should just pull a dump truck up to the front door and start shoveling.”

I’d volunteered to help Mom and Dad clean out their huge Bismarck home. It’s so much fun when it’s not your stuff.

There are several questions to ask when decluttering, and in 1999, they went something like this:

“What IS this?”

“Do you even know what this is?”

“Do you remember who owned this?”

“Do you have 25 others just like it?”

“May I please throw it out?”

I was a machine, zipping through that house like a garbage bag-wielding, organizing demon.

So when we bought our lake home, I was confident we’d be able to make the move in one, maybe two, fell swoops.

I started a little pile in our library, you know, of Lake Stuff. The little pile soon took over, first reaching the piano, then crawling up the bench and onto the keys, then balancing precariously on all sides. Everywhere I looked in our Fargo home, I saw things “that would look SO precious at the lake!”

Hubby looked at the needlepoint saying my mom had done in the mid-’80s – “Divorce? Never. Murder? Maybe.”

He didn’t say anything, just raised his eyebrows at me.

“What?” I asked. “It’s PERFECT for the lake!”

As I walked from room to room with what I now call my Lake Eyes, I started to see a theme. We have too much junk. Just too much of everything.

“Let’s organize everything!” I cheerfully yelled last night at my husband.

He tried to slowly back out of the room, but I had locked eyes with him, and there really was no escape. He sighed, and I could tell I was going to get a good workout hauling and lifting.

We have 20 sets of sheets. Twenty. Flannel and cotton. Four sets for each room, and we have four bedrooms. We also have at least 40 blankets. I have no idea why we have so many blankets, but I think it may have something to do with our mild fascination with the zombie apocalypse and how blankets will be an important part of survival.

We have 10 tote boxes of dishes. Don’t ask me why. I don’t even know.

Because I’m a fashion consultant, I have clothes. Not a LOT of clothes, but seeing as I get a whole new wardrobe twice a year, camis can really pile up. I quickly found a whole rack of beautiful clothes I never wear. Besides, that Japanese kimono was never a good idea.

Three hours later, we had piles. Dress for Success, Boys Ranch, garbage and the lake.

Plastic hangers, dusty candles and wool pants covered in dog hair blocked our path to our bedroom, so as Hubby returned to the TV room to calm down, I bagged up everything and put it all in the kitchen. Of course, then we couldn’t see the kitchen table, but I could feel the energy lightening in the house.

I noticed it before when we’d return from our lake home, or Heaven, as I call it. I always have a lot of energy when I’m there – pulling seaweed, going for long walks, vacuuming, sweeping, cooking. But as soon as I walk into our Fargo home, I feel tired. Could it be that all of our possessions are weighing us down?

Hubby pulled a blanket from the giveaway pile.

“We could use this at the lake,” he suggests softly, ending the sentence on a higher note, as if it may be a question if I choose to think it’s a question.

“No,” I firmly reply. “We have enough blankets. And enough dishes. And enough CDs. And enough books. And enough clothes. We can get rid of what we don’t use. We can help others who don’t have a lot. We can know where everything is, and we can be free to walk through our house without tripping on unhung pictures and turtle statues.”

Today is Get It All Out of the House Day. And I’m quite certain I just lost 1,000 pounds.

Maybe part of lightening my body weight is lightening my life weight. Moving toward living a balanced, organized, lean life? Yes, please.