Sydney Avey

Dynamic Woman — Changing Times

Great Giveaway: Motivation to keep going

May 24, 2016 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

Abandoned knitting

A failed knitting project

Five months into my great giveaway project, I am lighter by approximately 150 household items. In the process I’ve freed up shelf and drawer space that I’m not refilling.

Add to the list of stuff I’ve tossed the accounts I’ve closed, subscriptions I’ve stopped, and apps I’ve deleted. I’ve freed up a bit of mind space as well.

Life is starting to feel a little less insane.

As a bonus, I’m learning lessons about motivation that I’d like to share.

Bend the rules to adjust to new realities

My initial purpose was to rid myself of one useless (to me) item per day. Hard to do when I travel and spend several months a year in a small retreat that is already bare of nonessentials. So I’ve determined it’s okay to work ahead, or to play catch-up. In fact, playing catch-up motivates me to dump things I’ve been tempted to hold onto. If it’s a choice between the huge ceramic mixing bowl and not making my goal, the vintage bowl goes.

Ask yourself tough questions

That stuff that snuggles in dark corners? What activity does it support? Whenever my eyes lit on that beautiful, yummy shade of yellow mixing bowl, I pictured myself mixing up cake batter. I never bake cake! In fact, I never bake at all. That means the heavy duty mixer and its regiment of attachments can march to the thrift store as well. (Give me a call if you are a baker in need of such an appliance. It is top quality–hardly used.)

I haven’t worked up the courage to toss all the knitting supplies yet, but if I do I can add more empty floor space and closet shelves to my list.

Get more out of less; scale back on projects

  1. More time: The less crowded my house is with piles of projects waiting in line for my attention, the less time it takes to keep things clean and tidy. And, the more time I have to focus on the the projects I really love.
  2. More peace: The less crowded my brain confronting all my abandoned projects, the more peace I feel.
  3. More freedom: I have accumulated many interests that served me well for a season. It is very freeing to admit I’m a lousy gardener and not all that great a cook. I was privileged to have a mom who excelled in those activities. In her honor, I will pot a few flowers each spring and putter happily in the kitchen when an occasion calls, but if it’s not my passion, I don’t need the paraphernalia.I still have many tough decision to make. My wedding china and crystal that is so pretty and so useless? My grandmother’s Bavarian china serves us better. The made-in-the-USA Revere Ware that won’t cook evenly on the new ceramic top stoves? I balk at getting rid of quality. The place settings of Christmas dishes? It is so hard to give up the greeting-card-perfect image of the family gathered at Grandma’s house in the mountains for the holidays.

Recently a dear friend remarked that she loved being in my house because it is like a museum. Oh no! I thought. I need to throw more stuff away! On second thought, I think I just need to be a better curator of a smaller collection. I’m working on that.

Are you working on a purge? What is the hardest thing you have let go? What motivated you to finally take that step?


  1. sue

    Love it! I bought a bunch of Star Wars stuff in 1999 – collectible I WAS SURE! I pulled it all out on Sunday. The value ones are the LEGO ones so off when 12 other items to the fire department for their xmas donation box – they were surprised to say the least when I said I wanted to give it NOW rather than later – but they had no problem in saying that they appreciated it all.

    • yosemitesyd

      Right! And what about the Beanie Babies? And Golden Books? I donated a big box of Lincoln Logs. Still have some Legos and doll house stuff, but I guess they are next on the list. My goodness, the stuff we’ve accumulated.

  2. Karen

    I have an Etch-A-Sketch (they don’t make them like that anymore). I have my mother’s battered doll, and baby clothes. So hard to let go; yet, it’s taking up space! Good for you Sydney! Many blessings, Karen

    • Sydney Avey

      Hi Karen, I should write about my keepers: A Mme Alexander doll that has passed down through the family; I small secretary desk that belonged to my father; a bronze bust of a victorian lady that belonged to my mother; some baby blankets. We don’t let go of all our treasures, do we!


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