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is after shamelessly-cheap deals. They are pre- pared to pay very little for anything. ... last-minute deals. I've tried several times to get last-minute. help ...
Simple Living Simple Living W I T H YO U R H O S T, JANE T LUHR S Connecting you with people, products, and ideas that allow you to live more simply JULY 05 | ISSUE 54 From Clutter to Cash I t’s garage sale season again, and many of you time you planted yourself outside in front of are no doubt looking around at all of your your place and had nowhere to go for a whole Janet Luhrs own piles of junk, wondering if a garage sale weekend, or at least a whole day? With just is the best way to get rid of your stuff. a little pre-planning, your garage sale can IN THIS ISSUE: At the last major garage sale I hosted be fun and effective. Here are a few ways to back when I was in my 20s, I inadvertently make it a good one. • From Clutter to Cash . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 wound up selling practically everything I Host your sale on a non-holiday week- owned. I had a little brownstone-style apart- end. Many people leave town on holiday • Shamelessly ment with the door to the street, and set up weekends, so find another date (unless Cheap Travel my tables of junk right outside the door. It your house is on a main route in and out Deals . . . . . . . . . . . 5 was warm and sunny, so I left my door open. of town). As the day progressed and my tables cleared, • Ask Janet: Clear a woman noticed my couch and asked if she Host it with other families. The larger Your Brain’s could see it. “Sure,” I said, and before long I the sale, the more people will be attracted. Inbox . . . . . . . . . . . 7 accepted her offer to buy it! Someone else Plus, you’ll have more fun and camarade- followed and noticed my drapes. “Sure,” I rie, and it’s also safer. Most people who go said, and before long I accepted another offer to garage sales are great folks, but scam for the drapes. And on it went until my liv- artists are not uncommon. One will dis- ing room was nearly empty! tract you while the other makes off with your stuff. Since I hadn’t planned to sell this much of my stuff, you’d think I would have been Always keep your money on you—in seriously depressed, with nowhere to sit, a pocket, apron, or fanny pack. Hide no drapes on the windows, no comforting your larger bills in a separate pocket. stuff around—but it was just the opposite. I You should also start the day with about sat on the floor in the middle of my nearly $100 in all variations of small change. empty apartment and felt an absolute, joy- Price your things about one-quarter or ous freedom. It was a profound sense of so of the cost to buy new, and always lightness and relief! mark your items with a price. To make Even though I eventually replaced the pricing easier, you can use colored mark- couch and a few other things, I never forgot ers and keep a list: all green marks are the feeling of lightness I experienced that .50, red is $1.00, and so forth. day—knowing I could turn on a dime, with Make it festive! The longer you can entice few material possessions to worry about or people to hang around, the more likely weigh me down. they’ll buy something. Play lively music, sell lemonade or homemade punch. You Safe and Festive can also get your kids involved. If they’re Garage Sales old enough, they can make cookies and brownies and sell them—whatever it takes If you like the idea of hanging out, relax- ing, and getting to know your neighbors, to keep people entertained while browsing garage sales are wonderful. When is the last through your stuff. (Continued on page 3) 1 | July 2005 For recipes, back issues, and the Simple Living Café log on to www.simpleliving.com SL0705.indd 1 6/20/2005 1:09:19 PM The Heirloom Dilemma What You Can Do Without For the items you want to give away, start by calling all As if you didn’t have enough trouble keeping up of your blood relatives, followed by non-blood relatives, with your own stuff, what do you do when you inher- friends, colleagues, and neighbors. You’ll feel better in the it another houseful of belongings from a loved one? end if you give these heirlooms to people who have some connection to you. Plus, you can always visit the things Run and hide? Wait! I have some plans for you. I if you want to take a trip down Memory Lane. After you have my own set of heirlooms, and in nearly every have exhausted your search for good homes, try charities talk I’ve given about simplicity, someone in the audi- that have meaning for you, and then keep searching until ence asks about heirlooms. This always sparks a lively you find the best home possible. discussion. I’ll tell you exactly what I tell them. For the remaining items that have either sentimental or Simple living rule #1: Thou shalt not hang on to anything monetary value, take pictures of each item and put the out of guilt, lest thine home become a den of overwhelming clutter photos in a nice album. After our beloved grandmother and despair. died, my cousin went around her home and took photos of the rooms, just as they were. This little album means Next, you need to ask yourself the really tough questions: as much to me as the actual furniture, because it brings is it love or guilt? Remember that your deceased relatives back all of the wonderful memories we had in her house. probably could care less about these material things now Even though you can’t take photos in the person’s home, that they are floating in the ether. Therefore, there’s no you can still take them of the items that mean something need to hang on to their stuff out of guilt. They’re free, so to you, but that you can’t keep in your home. why should you be burdened? Finally, sell the things that are valuable, but you don’t want to keep. First, offer to sell them to relatives and Making the Love Distinction friends, and then try public places like ebay, craigslist. First and foremost, you need to distinguish com, or auction houses. (To find a good, local auction house, do a Google search or call higher-end antique or between the heirlooms you really love and the ones furniture stores and ask them who they’d recommend.) that just produce guilt: For example, “My grandma hand crocheted this pink toilet seat cover—how can I get rid of it?” That’s probably guilt, not love. Relish What You Love Now you’re left with what you love. But what if you Be very, very discerning when making this distinc- don’t have room? If they’re that important to you, sell tion. It is much, much better to keep only a few spe- something else in your home to make room for these cial things that you can look at, use, and enjoy than items. Do not try to hang on to both sets of furniture, for trying to hang on to too much. If you keep too much, example, or you’ll start resenting everything. I inherited you won’t be able to appreciate what you have, and my grandma’s bedroom set and for me it was a no-brainer. you’ll start feeling overwhelmed and resentful. ‘Tis a I sold the one I already had to make room for hers. far, far better thing to be left with fond memories of The bottom line is to keep things moving and move your deceased relative—and you can do that by being them as quickly as you can. I’ve known people who very selective about what you keep. wound up with a houseful of things from a deceased Using this filter, place the things you truly love in a relative, and, due to guilt, confusion, and inertia, they separate place. Now divide the remaining items into lived in absolute chaos and clutter for years because they felt paralyzed and couldn’t make decisions. I can’t piles according to value. Garage sale type items go in imagine that any relative who loved you would want you one pile. Medium value items go in another pile, and to be burdened by their material possessions after they really valuable things in a third pile. die, so start letting go. Now decide if you want to earn money from the If you find yourself getting stuck, get help. Ask a friend more valuable things or whether you are willing to or two to come and help you move through your heir- give them away to other family members. Put aside looms. (Better to ask friends rather than relatives, since everything that you want to earn money on. friends have no emotional connection to the stuff.) 2 | July 2005 For ongoing discussions of these topics, visit the Simple Living Café SL0705.indd 2 6/20/2005 1:09:19 PM (Continued from page 1) Provide an electrical source if you’re sell- ings as your own entertainment fund and use SIMPLE LIVING ing anything electric. Bring an extension it for movies, dinners out, plays, and short www.simpleliving.com cord outside with you so people don’t have road trips. Have fun! Author: Janet Luhrs Chief Executive Officer: to traipse through your house or garage to If you want to be more practical, garage Kevin Donoghue check your appliances. sales just might provide the nest egg you President: Edward Hauck Publisher: Robert Kroening Bundle smaller items—especially clothes. need to start investing, if you cannot seem Executive Editor: Kimberly Sue Day Since adult clothes don’t sell well at to save or invest a dime. Subscriptions: www.simpleliving.com or garage sales, you can put a bunch of them Here’s how the investment plan works. firstname.lastname@example.org in bags and sell each bag for $2.00. Make (888) 577-6160 Say you are 30 years old and earn $300 at Subscription Price: sure the bags are sealed shut so you don’t $69.99/year in United States your garage sale this year. You invest it into have people pawing through them. an IRA and get an average return of 5–8 per- Simple Living is published Put up an “ALL SALES FINAL” sign. cent. You add another $300 every year—that’s monthly by Healthy Directions, LLC, Believe it or not, some people do try to only $25 per month, so you have no excuses. 7811 Montrose Road, Potomac, MD 20854. bring stuff back! With compound interest, you’ll have around Periodicals postage paid Make a rule that nothing comes back $35,000–$40,000 when you’re 60. at Rockville, MD and at in your house—unless it’s something Granted, this isn’t a load of money, but additional mailing offices. valuable that you can sell elsewhere. To it’s money that grew pretty painlessly, and an POSTMASTER: Send address changes make it really easy, schedule your sale extra $40,000 is a decent pile of money, no to: Simple Living P.O. Box for a Saturday so you can still get to matter which way you look at it. Plus, would 2040 Forrester Center, WV 25438-9954 Goodwill or another charity on the day you rather be 60 years old with an extra U.S.A. of the garage sale to unload whatever $40,000, or 60 without an extra $40,000? CHANGE OF ADDRESS: didn’t sell. If the charity is closed, then You’re going to be 60 either way. Send change of address to email@example.com load up your car with the leftovers to be Copyright 2005 by Healthy taken away the next business day. Garage Sale Alternatives Directions, LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not Another option is to leave the items on If you’d rather not spend your time host- be reproduced in whole or the sidewalk and put up a FREE sign. I do ing a garage sale, you can still donate your in part without publisher’s written permission. this a lot without garage sales. I just put stuff—you just won’t do as well financially. (ISSN 1547-8882) USPS 018033 free stuff outside on the sidewalk, and I’m Say your donations have a fair market value always amazed at how fast it disappears. of $100. If you itemize your taxes and are in Know that garage sale fanatics will show the average 15 percent tax bracket, you’ll only up at least an hour early. I’ve made some net a $15.00 savings on your taxes. good sales to these early birds, but if you Garage sales are also not the answer for don’t want the hassle, put up a sign the you if your stuff is more valuable, such as nice night before: “Garage sale opens at 9:00 furniture, antiques, jewelry, heirlooms, and a.m. All items will be sold at a 50 percent so forth—pretty much anything over $75.00. mark-up to buyers who come before 9:00.” That’s because the average garage sale buyer is after shamelessly-cheap deals. They are pre- A Little Extra Cash Never Hurt pared to pay very little for anything. You’ll do Garage sales are also the perfect way to better by listing your more valuable items on earn a little extra pocket money that you sites like craigslist.com and ebay. can blow without guilt. You can earn pretty Craigslist.com has a list in most major cit- decent pocket change—up to $300 or more. ies, and is a free service where people can list If you do get together with a few neigh- everything from bathtubs to jobs. I recently bors or your whole street and host a com- sold an antique oak table on craigslist and bined garage sale, then you can then spend made $250.00. It cost me nothing to post. If the proceeds on a really fun neighborhood you do decide to have a garage sale, you can list party—tequila and Mariachi bands aren’t your sale there, too. cheap, after all! Or you can keep your earn- For recipes, back issues, and the Simple Living Café log on to www.simpleliving.com July 2005 | 3 SL0705.indd 3 6/20/2005 1:09:20 PM Craigslist is where I go first to sell my bigger or more Finally, she added, “We seem to be awfully busy valuable items. If I don’t get a bite there, then I go to here in the U.S. But at the end of our lives, have we ebay. If that doesn’t produce my buyer, I’ll try listing an really achieved more than the simple farmer, and will we ad in my local daily newspaper classified ads, or I’ll try remember we bought 12 pairs of pants instead of 2?” consignment stores in my neighborhood. My guess is we won’t remember how many pairs of pants we bought at the end of our lives, and we won’t The Bigger Lesson give a hoot. Instead, most people seem to reflect on You might earn around $300 on your garage sale, what kind of human beings they were—what kind of but how much did you spend to buy all of this stuff in friend, parent, child, neighbor, or community leader. the first place? If you figure you get about one-fourth They remember their passions, and they remember the of the cost of the original, then you probably spent people and causes they helped. around $1,200 or more. Garage sales can be great fun, but what I’d really like Back to Your Pile you to do is get to the point where you no longer have Since my blow-out garage sale in my 20s, I’ve hosted enough stuff to sell at a garage sale. You can do that by only a couple of small garage sales, and then stopped. fine-tuning your level of discernment—choosing only There are two reasons for this. First, as I’ve gotten more a very select few things that you will allow to cross the aware of what I’m doing as I shop, I buy fewer things. I threshold of your life. ask myself if I really need or love the thing I’m about to buy, and then I ask myself what I’ll do with it, and Trust me on this. You will save yourself an incredible where I’ll put it. I’ll also question whether I want to take amount of time, money, stress, and hassle by learning care of whatever it is. I still buy things, and I still buy to get off of autopilot shopping. That’s because each some things just for the fun and pleasure of it—shoes, shopping trip—no matter how small—takes at the very for example!—but I am so much more discerning that I least 30 to 45 minutes, including travel time. Multiply now have less and less to toss, sell, or give away. this by all of the shopping trips you make each day and week, and you’ve spent a huge chunk of precious time. Second, I purge my unused things regularly, so my If you shop more carefully, you could save yourself at piles never get large enough for a garage sale. I simply least three or more hours a week. Plus, every item you take them to my favorite donation store, which sup- bring into your life requires a lot of your time to care for, ports unwanted animals, and get my donation receipt rearrange, dust, and repair. Think you have no time to for a tax write-off. If the item is more expensive, I’ll sell relax? I just found some for you! it on craigslist.com. So take a close look at all of the stuff you are trying to sell or give away—everything that you no longer use Final Thoughts or want—and estimate what you’ve spent on it in terms Before you haul all of your stuff out to the curb for of time and money. Eye-opening, isn’t it? your garage sale, I’d really like you to stop and take a close, close look at everything. Take a mental note of My friend Helen Sherpa has lived in Nepal and the where your time and life have gone in order to accumu- U.S. She once told me an especially poignant lesson that late these things. Then ask yourself if this is how you I’ll never forget. “In Nepal,” she said, “We have need- want to continue spending your time and money in the based shopping. It never occurs to people to buy products future. If you’d like to change course, then after your sale, they don’t need, because there is no advertising, no sales, start fresh by shopping only with a very careful eye. no junk mail, and no credit cards. Also in Nepal, because people walk to the neighborhood store, they buy only what they can carry home, and then make do.” Helen says our lack of connection with the person who made the item encourages waste. “In Nepal,” she says, “You have a tailor repair your garment. In the West, we have no idea who made our things, so it’s easy to give it all to charity—out of sight, out of mind, and, as a result, we generate huge quantities of waste.” 4 | July 2005 For ongoing discussions of these topics, visit the Simple Living Café SL0705.indd 4 6/20/2005 1:09:21 PM Shamelessly Cheap Travel Deals D id summer come around so quickly you They are not good for last-minute deals. were caught off guard with no vacation I’ve tried several times to get last-minute plans? Never fear. You can still pack help from them and the conversation your bags and get good last-minute deals. goes something like this: Here’s how: Janet: “Hi there. Here it is June (or ✔ Find the latest deals by subscribing to December or some other crowded time) free e-newsletters from airlines, tour already, and I’d like to find a good deal operators, and third party sites, like www. to go somewhere on vacation. I’m flexible travelzoo.com, www.smartertravel.com, on the destination, but I’m really trying and www.johnnyjet.com. These third to find out where the best deals are right party sites collect information about all now. Can you help me?” “Don’t listen the sales that are going on everywhere, Travel agent: “Well, you probably won’t be to your average so you don’t have to search yourself. All able to get a good deal now because this of them will send the latest and best travel agent. is peak season and everyone is traveling They are good deals in their free e-letters. The airlines again—almost back to pre-9/11 numbers.” send out their sale prices on Tuesdays, so for business Janet: “Hmm. Well, do you know of any if you’re flexible and you see a good deal travel or for destinations that might be a little better to a place you want to visit, you can be of a deal right now—maybe some out of helping you there by the weekend. plan a trip in the way place where the dollar is down or How will you know if it’s a good deal you’re something?” advance. They getting? Pay attention and check around to are not good Travel agent: “Where do you want to go?” see what average fares are to certain places. Janet: “Anywhere I can find a good deal.” for last-minute Then you’ll be ready with your suitcase when you do see a good deal. Travel agent: “Well, where do you want deals.” To keep your inbox from overflowing with to go?” all of these e-letters, set up a separate yahoo Janet: “Uh, I’m flexible more or less and or hotmail account just for your travel I’m just wondering if certain parts of the news. This way you won’t be bombarded U.S. or certain parts of the world might with emails in your regular inbox, and be a little cheaper right now.” when you know you’re going away, you’ve Travel agent: “I can’t help you unless you got all of your information in one place. tell me where you want to go.” ✔ Be flexible about where and when you Janet: “Who’s on first?” want to go. If you simply must go to Venice ✔ Use out-of-the way airports. For exam- between August 2nd and 19th, you probably ple, it’s often less expensive to fly into won’t get a good deal. But if you are open to Midway than O’Hare, Newark instead of finding a place that has a sale going on for JFK, Oakland instead of San Francisco, or one reason or another, and your dates are Orange County rather than LAX. Most somewhat flexible, you can do much, much of the major travel sites such as Orbitz or better. You’ll also do better by leaving on Travelocity will allow you to search for air- a Saturday or midweek when the skies are ports within 70 miles of your first choice. usually less crowded, and, thus, more likely to be discounted at the last minute. ✔ Be willing to make more than one stop. You’ll probably get a better airfare if ✔ Don’t listen to your average travel you’re willing to make one or more stops, agent. They are good for business travel or if you’re open to having an overnight or for helping you plan a trip in advance. layover in between. For recipes, back issues, and the Simple Living Café log on to www.simpleliving.com July 2005 | 5 SL0705.indd 5 6/20/2005 1:09:22 PM ✔ Stay in business hotels on weekends. They dis- count their rooms when the business travelers Good Deals—Right Now go home on the weekend. You can find them by searching around business, convention center, or Costa Rica downtown areas. You can go to this beautiful country for seven ✔ Check out last-minute vacation rentals. These are nights—including round-trip airfare from Miami, plus often privately-owned condos, cabins, and cottages hotels, for $549 through www.jetawayholidays.com. and usually rent by the week, rather than by the night. Most owners would rather heavily discount The Caribbean their place than have it sit empty. Summer is considered “shoulder” season in the To find them, do a Google search (type in “vacation Caribbean, because June 1st is the start of hurricane rental” and the city), call local real estate agents or season. However, most hurricanes don’t start heat- tourist offices, or check online at www.vrbo.com ing up until the end of August, so you can find some (vacation rentals by owner) or www.laterooms.com. great summer deals now. By the way, you usually have notice that a hurricane is coming, so you can move to ✔ Check out Web sites that specifically cater to a safe place if one does show up while you are visiting last-minute travel. My favorite is www.site59.com your island paradise. (owned by Travelocity). It works with over 4,000 partners, and offers real time updates on the latest Play Politics last-minute travel. You can book three hours to When I wrote this, the euro was getting battered 14 days in advance. What you’ll often find is that because of European Union politics. Your job as a you can get last-minute packages for the price of sharp-eyed last minute traveler is to pay attention current airfare. If you’re ready to go tonight, you to this kind of news and go while the going is good. can get really good deals because the hotels and Euro down? Go to Paris. Canadian dollar down? airlines want to get rid of their surplus inventory. Go to Banff. Here are two examples from www.site59.com from my hometown in Seattle, on June 3, 2005: The Asian Coast • London, England: London in the Lap of Luxury. My travel advisors tell me that the best way to Hobnob with the nabobs, or just look like some- support the Asian countries that were devastated one who does, as you peruse London’s posh by the tsunami is to go there and spend your side. Includes round-trip flight from Seattle to money. Check for deals to places like Thailand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, as well as other Asian London with a luxury hotel: Depart June 17th, countries, such as Vietnam. You’ll spend a few returning on the 19th for $1,334.00 per person, bucks on air, but once you get there, you can get including two night’s hotel, airfare, and all fees really nice hotels, food, and domestic transporta- and taxes. Orbitz has this—flight only—start- tion for a good price. ing at $1,092.00. • Los Cabos, Mexico: Desert on the Sea. At Argentina the end of the Baja California Peninsula, dos Argentina is also a good value now because their Cabos—San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San economy is weak. Our summer is their winter, but Lucas—unite for a singular seaside adventure. in Buenos Aires, you’ll find temperatures that are Depart Seattle on June 17th, returning on the similar to a typical Southern California winter—fairly 19th from $617.00, includes flight, hotel, taxes, mild. Look for good deals on air, hotel, and food. and fees. Expedia has this—flight only—to Los Cabos starting at $610.30. Check out the “real deals” section, where you’ll ✔ Budget Travel magazine (my find loads of last-minute discounts and packages. favorite for this kind of informa- This site is updated daily, and includes offers that tion) just launched a public Web came in too late for publication of their printed site—www.budgettravelonline.com. magazine. 6 | July 2005 For ongoing discussions of these topics, visit the Simple Living Café SL0705.indd 6 6/20/2005 1:09:22 PM ✔ Go off the beaten path. Find the places if you’re willing to go a few miles away where the crowds aren’t congregating. For or even to the next town, you can get instance, instead of the Mediterranean side a much better deal. of Spain, go to the Atlantic seaboard side. ✔ Be willing to take a red-eye flight. Most Go to Languedoc instead of Provence (less people would much rather be in a com- known to Americans). Go to Southwest fortable bed overnight than sit crammed Crete instead of the Amalfi coast. Visit into an airplane seat, but if you want a Ljubljana instead of Prague. good last-minute deal, you’ll get better ✔ Find secret gems for less. Again, ones by taking the overnight flights that Budget Travel’s job is to keep up on no one else wants. these deals. In their June/July 2005 ✔ Be nice. I got this tip from travel expert issue, for instance, they’ll tell you how John DiScala, the founder of www. to stay in Tuscany for $94.00 a night, johnnyjet.com, who says that agents and rather than the usual $200.00. flight attendants can make or break ✔ Choose a hotel that is away from the your travel experience, so it pays to be main tourist area. If you want to go nice. He brings chocolates along on his to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, this trips and gives them to airline agents summer, you’ll pay top dollar if you who have been helpful to him. stay in a hotel right near the park. But, Ask Janet: Clear Your Brain’s Inbox Q I recently got one of those “urgent” Second, if you want to save yourself and emails from a well-meaning friend, your friends a huge amount of time, stop send- announcing the following: ing, and even reading, bulk emails! You can “Starting June 1, 2005, all cell phone numbers always tell which of your friends are the least will be made public to telemarketing firms. So efficient by the amount of bulk email they send Before this means as of June 1, your cell phone may around—forwarding all sorts of inspirational you forward start ringing off the hook with telemarketers, but quotes, adorable photos, copies of speeches and various bulk unlike your home phone, most of you pay for your articles extolling a particular political point of emails or cute incoming calls. These telemarketers will eat up view, and the like. pictures to your free minutes and end up costing you money friends and in the long run.” Enough, already! If it’s you doing the family, ask forwarding, please stop. It’s great to keep in yourself this: The email then gave a deadline when I had touch with your friends, but if they mean that to call the national Do Not Call Registry, if I Would you much to you, then send a personal email or send these wanted to avoid paying charges for all of these soon-to-be-incoming telemarketing calls. Is this make a phone call once in awhile. You’re not things if you a hoax, or is it for real? —Kathy only overwhelming your friends, but you are had to put wasting a huge amount of time fussing with stamps on A I looked into it, and found that this email all of these emails. If you are someone who them? is somewhat of an urban legend. I’m telling says you don’t have enough free time, then you about it for a couple of reasons. here is one place where you can probably free up a good hour or two a week or more. First, it’s always good to check with sites like www.urbanlegendsabout.com or If you are on the receiving end of bulk www.snopes.com to find out if certain emails emails, tell your friends you love them, but you receive are urban legends. You’ll do your you just don’t have time to read so much, and friends a huge favor by checking these things ask that they send you only personal emails. out before passing them on, since we certainly don’t need more junk email to contend with! For recipes, back issues, and the Simple Living Café log on to www.simpleliving.com July 2005 | 7 SL0705.indd 7 6/20/2005 1:09:23 PM Streamline Your Mental Clutter Remember, it’s not just the time and addiction that Except for the occasional bulk email that catches is important. You should also be enormously discern- my eye, I simply delete 99 percent of them before I ing about what you let into your brain. Unlike material even open the email. It’s not only that I don’t want to clutter, it’s not as easy to see what happens when you let take the time to read this much email, it’s also that I too much mind clutter into your brain—but it’s equally like to streamline the amount of mental clutter that I insidious, if not more so. allow into my already overloaded brain. A lot of adults these days are being told by the phar- In the past, I’d often open those inspirational emails maceutical companies that they have adult A.D.D., but I and print them out, thinking I was going to do some- seriously question this. Surely some people are afflicted, but thing with them—that the article or quote was somehow most of us simply don’t know how to tune out all of the going to change my life. What happened? These copies information, choices, and stimulation that come our way. simply added to my burgeoning pile of paper clutter, and So start learning how to be discerning with your email. I’d always end up throwing them away—a total waste of time and printer ink. In the end, all it would do was add Say Ta-Ta to Telemarketers to my stress, since I’d look at that pile of papers thinking Now, back to your question about the cell phone I really should be doing something about each one. registry email. The fact is, there is a grain of truth that you can act on. The part that’s true is, if you don’t want It’s not enough to just stop printing these things, to be bothered by telemarketers, you can and should get though. It’s just as important not to read them. Part of all of your telephone numbers off of these lists. the reason why we’re all so stressed and overwhelmed is because we are bombarded beyond belief with informa- It’s also true that most major wireless phone provid- tion. Our brains are working overtime, constantly try- ers have announced their plan to establish a 411 direc- ing to assimilate all that we take in. tory of customers’ cell phone numbers beginning in 2006, but they say those numbers will only be available Can You Be Email Free? with customer consent. Another safeguard for you is You also might want to consider setting “email free” that, under FCC regulations, telemarketers are already days for yourself. Pick a day or a whole weekend when prohibited from calling cell phone numbers using auto- you don’t turn on your computer. If that sounds scary, mated dialers, which is how they make their calls. then you’re probably addicted to it. Eeek! What is not true is that some of the emails say you Judith Wright, author of There Must Be More Than must call the Do Not Call Registry by a certain dead- This, calls this sort of thing a “soft addiction,” which she line or forever lose your chance to do so. In fact, you can defines as anything that you get the heebie-jeebies over call any time to get your number taken off the list. not doing. Other soft addictions include watching a lot of If you haven’t already done so, it’s a very, very simple television, playing computer games, participating in chat and fast process. Just call 888-382-1222 from the phone rooms, shopping, collecting, following celebrity news, you want to register, and follow the prompts. It takes all endlessly checking sports stats, and so forth. of about one minute, and supposedly keeps your number As a life coach, Ms. Wright noticed that many of her protected for five years. It will take 31 days for it to take clients weren’t getting anywhere in their lives because full effect, and they’ll tell you that if a telemarketer calls they were wasting so much time on these soft addictions. you after 31 days, you should get their name and phone Her clients would try to justify their behaviors by saying, number and file a complaint at www.donotcall.gov. “After working hard, I need to escape,” or “It’s just harm- That’s it! So while your friend’s email was mostly less fun,” or “Everyone does this,” and so forth. accurate, I hope you’ve realized the bigger lesson. Only There are also endless studies which show that when forward emails that are factual and necessary. The rest people are given a deadline, they are more efficient. So, is simply superfluous mental clutter. if you tell yourself that you are not going to check email Yours in simplicity, at least one day a week (or perhaps the whole weekend!), you’ll likely find that you get more done, feel calmer, and create more free time for yourself. Service Code 50985E 8 | July 2005 For ongoing discussions of these topics, visit the Simple Living Café SL0705.indd 8 6/20/2005 1:09:24 PM
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