Ep 0037 – How to clear the clutter without being overwhelmed.

Laurie in a straw sunhat by a tree marked with a trail sign.
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I’m recording episode 37 from my furthest back trail rock under a tree at Descanso Gardens. There was a film crew in the gardens today, so I had to move further back to limit noise.

Podcast Recap

Shout-outs to Abby for her fine review on iTunes, Sandy for her brave support of listener, Gracie, and Cheryl, Abby and Sue for joining and participating in our new Spark People Team for Brave Companions. I talk about my new Compulsive Overeating Diary channel on YouTube and my 30 minute video bike ride that you can see there. Finally, a comments conversation between Sue, Cheryl and me sparks me to think how clutter, overspending and overeating might all be related.

The pretty flowers I saw on my walk through Descanso Gardens today

The pretty flowers I saw on my walk through Descanso Gardens today. More fun than cleaning the clutter! But that clutter remains in the back of my mind.

Laurie's made bed

I like to at least make my bed every day. Then, when I go to sleep at night, I feel like I’m in a B & B instead of in a wad of crumpled sheets. Notice the start of clutter on my night table though. It is a struggle for me, but no matter how crazy I feel, that made bed makes me feel proud of myself.

A bit of a clutter on the dresser.

This is what I see from the bed. I’ve been thinking about clearing this small clutter for about 4 months. I always mean to do it tomorrow. Besides my jewel cases, which belong here, there are boxes from my audio equipment, extra cords and inputs, and many lipsticks that I no longer wear.


Sandy’s comment to Grace

Our clutter conversation on day 36

See Laurie’s bike ride on YouTube

Catch up with Laurie

My Spreaker page. Please follow me there if you are on Spreaker.

My Instagram page at LaurieDreamWeaver

The Spark People Team we created for listeners of Compulsive Overeating Diary who might like to count calories. Welcome Cherry! So far, we’re up to nine team members, and we would welcome some more! 10/22/14- no longer an active team due to lack of participation

My new page with instructions for all of the ways (so far) that you can send audio and lend your voice to this podcast.

New free way to leave voicemail http://speakpipe.com/laurieweaver You can also click the blue button on this page that says ‘send a voice message.’

Bravery Hotline

Leave your comments, questions, feelings and stories on Laurie’s podcast voicemail hotline – 206-350-6445.


Host: Laurie Weaver

Main Theme: I’m Letting Go by Josh Woodward from The Simple Life Part 1

I’m Letting Go (Josh Woodward) / CC BY 3.0

Resource of the day

Flylady.net website This is the place to get tips and schedules and make tackling clutter and keeping your house in shape fun and doable.
Comments box:

14 thoughts on “Ep 0037 – How to clear the clutter without being overwhelmed.

  1. Cheryl

    Laurie, listening to the podcast today really shook something lose for me. When I’d listen to people talk about CONTROL ISSUES and OVEREATING, I wasn’t relating. I know if I’m bored I’m likely to want to stick something in my mouth, but that doesn’t seem like the same trigger to me. But then something you said in the podcast smacked me in the face and I thought, oh! There it is! The IT is the idea of I WANT TO BE THE ONE MAKING MY FOOD CHOICES (even if they’re bad). I don’t want SOMEONE ELSE TELLING ME HOW MUCH TO EAT, WHAT TO EAT, WHEN TO EAT… I realized it has something to do with FREEDOM and being AUTONOMOUS.

    And I knew right away what it was. I don’t recall EVER really being that concerned about my weight during my junior/senior high school years (though I can remember stinging comments from various family members about my weight growing up). I wasn’t cheerleader material by any means, but I wasn’t horribly overweight either. But when I graduated and was beginning to look for a job, my mom hauled my butt to a “fat doctor” so I’d look presentable when I went on job interviews. (In her defense, she thought she was helping, being a good mom.) Every two weeks I got weighed, got vitamin shots, and a two-week supply of a drug called Obedrin(e) which is now illegal. (In the end I dropped so much weight it made me sick.) I’m also going to go out on a limb and assume there was a strict diet that went along with all that. It was nearly 42 years ago.

    I think I must have felt so restricted and regimented in what I ate that in my head after I got married, I decided “To h*ll with this! No one is ever going to tell me what I can and can’t eat ever again.” I’m guessing that’s why with all three programs I’ve tried — Weight Watchers, Calorie King, Spark People — as soon as I’d hit around the 30 lb. loss mark and pushing further got harder to the point of really having to cut out even MORE calories, I’d quit! Just quit. And go eat whatever I wanted.

    This is a bit of a revelation for me today. I’m wondering now how I steer MY CHOICE in a direction that means NOT having to eat calorie laden food is ALSO my CHOICE. Got some things from today to process.
    And, by the way, I can see how that same “regimentation experience” kicks in with the housework. I’m fine keeping the house in order as long as it’s my choice how much I do each day (which I’m guessing is why that one-room-a-day schedule works so well for me). But when house cleaning becomes something I feel I HAVE to do for whatever reason, it’s full stop. Obviously there’s a part of me that turns into a rebel when exterior voices or circumstances say I HAVE to do something, anything. My response, apparently, is “Oh no I don’t!” And I dig my heels in.

    (I can always tell, btw, when I’m overloaded with housework because I start having problems watering my houseplants. I begin to feel like I just CAN’T be responsible for one more living thing! It’s a dead give away that I need to take a few messy days off. LOL)

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Wow, I think you have really gotten some insight there! I know I’m a BIG rebel and I’m going to re-read your post several times as it has so much great food for thought in there. I too was brought to the diet Dr. at around age 8, when I started to really balloon. The thing that strikes me most though, is that afterwards we always stopped for a large Canadian Bacon pizza. What a mixed message. Food in my family is comfort, bonding, companionship. But I knew I was bad for being fat enough to need to go to the fat Dr. So much in me (and you, from your message) wants to yell out to the heavens, “I’m good enough AS I STINKIN’ AM!” and in a way, sticking with a diet, healthy eating plan, what have you, feels like we are colluding against ourselves with the enemy. Today I had a very healthy lunch, but didn’t realize it until after I had eaten it. After months of the same nachos, I was hungry for broccoli. You heard me right, broccoli! I went to Trader Joe’s and bought a big carton of luscious organic strawberries, some ginger-carrot soup, beautiful broccoli and some rosemary parmesan rolls. I steamed up the broccoli perfectly al dente, and bright, bright green. It was so spring time sweet. I added a pinch of fresh parmesan to it, had the soup and a toasted roll. The roll didn’t need butter, it was so flavorful. Then I had a huge bowl of strawberries for dessert. Afterwards I entered the meal into Sparkpeople just to see what it was calorie wise – 357. This whole, entire, filling lunch was less than a Lean Cuisine, and made up only of food I love to eat. Food I picked out today because I love to eat them. I will easily be in range today, even though we are planning Steak and wine tonight for dinner. But Cheryl, I didn’t eat my lunch to be in range. I ate what I wanted to eat and it was healthy! OMG, I can’t believe it. I went to Trader Joes and the broccoli and strawberries called my name. Somehow, I think this is the long term answer. Find your voice, express in other ways what the food has been saying, find what you want to eat and choose to eat that thing.
      Remember I said my nachos and ice-cream lunch wasn’t the healthiest? I just recently began tiring of the ice-cream bar and wanting fruit instead. I just today craved broccoli instead of nachos. My body is starting to tell me what it wants, and what it wants tastes better than any stuffed down, sneaked in cookie or chip or pastry in my life. So post away, Talks away, anyway you can communicate, let it be! Eat what you want until you want something else. (of course you want to watch your blood sugar), but I think, our bodies really DO tell us once we’ve cleared out enough space to listen.

      1. Cheryl

        “But I knew I was bad for being fat enough to need to go to the fat Dr. So much in me (and you, from your message) wants to yell out to the heavens, “I’m good enough AS I STINKIN’ AM!” and in a way, sticking with a diet, healthy eating plan, what have you, feels like we are colluding against ourselves with the enemy.”

        Oh Lordy! What you said right there resonated with me SO much. I am floored at how that made me feel. OMW!

    2. Sandy Seufert

      What a great post, Cheryl! I really appreciate hearing about your insights. Both you and Laurie have shared about this rebellious spirit that comes up when you feel you are forced or pressured into a choice. I have a different response and secretly wish I had more rebellion in me (though I do feel there is hope for me to grow!). When I am faced with the “have to” and “should do” situations, my default mode is to plod forward with a sense of suffering and resentment. Now I ask you and all of our Brave Companions, how is THAT healthy? I may be efficient and get the job done, but at what cost? Thankfully I do this less and less, but I still struggle with choice vs obligation. Lately, I am empowering myself to make different kind of choices, including shifting my attitudes and beliefs around what I “should” or “should not” be doing. But like you, just being aware is huge. I hope to get a little more rebellious like you and to step down off the cross.

      Regarding my insights to this episode on clutter, I had a huge realization as well, though mine was about the chaotic and impossible situation going on in my closet. What a metaphor! I keep things very neat and tidy on the outside and I am one if those annoying people that love to clean – except my closet, which should be red tagged as a hazardous zone. That is no surprise. To me it represents the deep work I have before me to embrace the issues I don’t want to look at. So thank you, Laurie and Cheryl for sharing and today I may even open that closet door and not feel overwhelmed but rather feel hopeful.

      1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

        Hi Sandy, today must be closet day! I’m about to tackle our upstairs bedroom closets as well as wash all of the bedding and curtains. For me, cleaning takes energy, but sorting and donating takes nerve. But despite my resistance, I know how great I’ll sleep tonight surrounded by a sense of calm. Our environment, as well as our bodies, can give us clues to how we’re feeling, no? I’m just so tired of lugging extra stuff around – on my body AND in my home. Enough writing, back to cleaning.

      2. Cheryl

        OMW! Sandy, when I read the word “chaotic” in your reply I felt like someone zapped me with a cattle prod. I would never have thought to use that word in relation to food, but when I read it I knew that was EXACTLY the way I feel about the food we have for fellowship time at church. It’s a real dilemma for me. I can self-talk myself to death all week about only choosing two cookies on Sunday and that’s good enough. Then Sunday rolls around and it does feel exactly like that inside me — chaotic. I walk up to the table and see all those snacks and reason is just gone out the window. I can’t even think straight. That’s the second Aha! moment this week. I’ve got to mull this over. Thank you for posting your thoughts. Your words lent a whole new dimension to my thought process here.

    3. wearinganapron

      Obedrin . . . this is slightly hysterical, since I just rummaged through the phone book drawer to find the old, yellowed, laminated Obedrin Menu Plan give to me some 40 years ago. (I was 19, pregnant(!!), and gaining weight faster than my fatherly OBGYN wanted. He gave me this little menu plan AND the drug, each tablet consisted of 12.5 mg methamphetamines, 50 mg pentobarbital, 200 mg asorbic acid (diuretic), and a little thiamine and riboflavin and niacin, to lively you up. Can you imagine?! The diet plan came out to around 1000 well-rounded calories. But, of course, not nearly enough for a pregnant woman.

      All these years, I’ve held onto the plan, as a guideline to use when I get too burdened by my excess poundage. It’s a tiny amount of food, but is fairly well-balanced, I guess. I just slap it up on the fridge, and alter it, or ignore it, as I like, but it’s a point of reference.

      My husband and I are both feeling the need to pare down, for our own comfort, for our own mobility. Sometimes I think, the weight I’m carrying is like going through life carrying an air conditioner. That much. I want to set the air conditioner DOWN. Not for vanity, not for anyone else, but because I’m 61yo and tiiiiiiiiiired. . .

      So I was wondering if the menu plan was being used anymore (thinking I could print out a new clean one), and I googled the phrase. It brought up lots of medical journal magazines with pharmaceutical ads, Obedrin being very prominent. The photograph covering the ad was showing, from the waist down, a married couple hugging. He is in suit slacks (obviously just home from work), she is in her Donna Reed apron, straight skirt, and high heels, spindly-yet-shapely legs, one ankle slightly flexed in some sort of love-ecstacy. Obviously, she got skinny on Obedrin, so her husband will kiss her hello, and kiss her well! Or maybe the message was, if you stay skinny with Obedrin’s help, you have a hope of keeping your man. It was pretty silly stuff.

      It was thus that I stumbled into this blog. And having not yet read the blog, what I just wrote may be out of place or inappropriate, but just had to comment to Cheryl. You weren’t alone, m’dear. : ) My parents were the dearest, most loving people, and yet, I remember eternally and vividly some of their stinging remarks about my weight. The constant reminders that “plump people shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes,” or “My, that skirt is very slimming!” The compliment stung just as much as the criticism, you know?

      1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

        Hi There Ms. Apron, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments about your Obedrin story. Compulsive Overeating Diary is a safe place for people to talk about their issues with food and any issues in life that lead us to use food instead of dealing with them. This website is based on my podcast diary about my 50 years dealing with compulsive and binge eating. Also my many bouts with dieting over exercise etc. It has the show notes and some blog posts. You are very welcome to stop by again, and please, if any of this resonates with you, give the podcast a listen as well. Many of the listeners and commenters are “lifers” where weight has been a long-term concern, and many are those who began dealing later in life. However, I think it is safe to say, we’ve all had the stinging remark experience, both from the positive and the negative side. It is amazing how attention from others about our bodies can cut both ways. Thanks again for taking the time to reply and to add to our understanding of the Obedrin experience.
        Take Care,

        PS, you share another attribute with Cheryl, both of your ways with words are fantastic! She’s a wonderful writer and I’m betting you have some writing in your life as well 🙂

      2. Cheryl

        Oh good heavens! You bring back so many memories about the parental comments! My mother seemed to gauge everyone’s worth on what they looked like. Being older now (63) I get it that she was judging herself just as harshly, but oh my goodness the damage that does to your kids. I’ve been so careful about that with my own kids.

        I don’t recall having a plan to follow. I seriously doubt the doctor she hauled me to gave a hoot. In fact I never felt like I needed to eat at all. I skipped breakfast, had a candy bar and a coke at the snack bar for lunch, then ate supper. Dropped about 30 lbs. fast and it set off issues with my gall bladder which I ended up having out when I was 20.

        It’s so deja vu and kind of scary to read your post. But I’m glad you commented on it. I wasn’t sure I even had the name of the drug right. Are they STILL prescribing that stuff? It’s been banned here for years.

        1. wearinganapron

          No, it was an old vintage magazine. Obedrin is illegal here, as well.

          This particular ad was immediately followed by one showing a haggard-looking woman, crying at a table. “I cry and cry and cry . . . and I don’t know why I do . . . ” Then the ad suggested she had “Psychic Tension,” and recommended Valium!

          Hmmm . . . no wonder they were the Good Old Days . . . we can’t even remember them! lol

          1. Cheryl

            ROFLMBO!!!!! That’s so true. Lordy! Utah is the Valium capital of the states! We moved out here from Ohio when I was 12. I love the country here, but sometimes I just wish we had stayed put!

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Heavens, don’t apologize for expressing your feelings! I think that is the next topic for me, Why do we keep saying “Sorry” when we have something to say? I do it too, and sooooo many of the Brave Companions apologize in emails etc. I know that I always felt I was intruding to share my thoughts OR my feelings. Gal, what you have written is golden, and I’ll betcha, that it helps another brave companion when he or she reads it. Hugs! Hugs! Hugs! 🙂


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