Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ A Sense of Wealth

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

Do you feel rich in your possessions or poor? Feeling poor makes it difficult to get rid of things that are no longer needed, wanted or valued. It induces hoarding and the suspicion that you really might need that someday.

Might you really?

Feeling rich in your possessions allows you to let things go. It allows you to feel sure that there’s no lack of items in the world, and there’s certainly not, at least not in the world of anyone who’s reading this blog. Certainly our fortunes may change, but it’s unlikely that anything you may declutter today would mean the difference between salvation and poverty in the future.

My husband told a joke about engineers who like to tinker. The punchline is that none of them ever uses the stuff they collect, and when they get rid of it, they pass it to another engineer to store in their garage.

He went on to tell me what I already believe: That there are few items so unique and so precious that they cannot be replaced if you find you really cannot live without them. While that exact item may be difficult to find, something very similar will surely be available, perhaps at the thrift store, perhaps on Ebay, perhaps in your friend’s garage.

I’m sure most of you read my post commemorating my 365th day of decluttering. I said that the only thing I regretted getting rid of was the cracking lid to a 13×9 metal pan. Amazingly enough, in the Lost and Found cleaned up, there was a perfect 13×9 pan with a lid. My friend Jennifer has one just like it, and she takes delicious mint brownies to all the school functions in it, so I called her to confirm it wasn’t hers. It wasn’t, and now it’s mine. All I needed was 1) to want something and 2) to wait. Everything you need is available to you, and you just have to wait for it to appear.

Jennifer’s Delicious Mint Brownies


  • 4 squares of unsweetened bakers chocolate
  • 1 C butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1/2 t mint extract
  • 1 C flour, sifted
  • 1/4 t of salt

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Cool and add remaining ingredients. Pour batter into a well greased 13×9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Let your brownies cool.


  • 2 T butter
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 t mint extract
  • green food coloring (optional)

Cream the butter, gradually add the powdered sugar. Add the milk, mint and food coloring. Frost the brownies and refrigerate.


  • 2 square unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  • 2 T butter

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Mix well and pour over frosting, spreading until the brownies are completely covered. Cool and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

(For my diabetic friends, I figured these have 775 carbohydrates for the entire pan.)

Today’s Declutter Item

I used to use this file/book all of the time but in reality it is another one of those poor designs that are inflicted on the unsuspecting public. It has a pocket for each month in which you place birthday cards etc for upcoming occasions in order to be ready in advance. The problem is that the spine of the book isn’t large enough to allow for the expansion of the book when the cards are in place. As a result up until about October this file/book is a very awkward shape. After doing a little reshuffling and repurposing I have found a new home for my stock of pre-made handmade greeting cards so this can go to the thrift shop.

Greeting Card File

Something I Am Grateful For Today

Oddly enough I am grateful for the rare but interesting readers comments that have a vehemently opposing opinion to mine. After the initial shock of the passionate attack, for want of a better word, on what I wrote and in some circumstances on my character as well, I find it an interesting challenge to 1. Not be offended and 2. Use it as an exercise in character building.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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  1. Cindy, I have found this to be so true. My mother likes to say that we might need something and that is the reason she doesn’t want to get rid of it. In the kitchen especially, we have a number of things that we haven’t used in the 3 years we have lived in this in home. I’m sure that we didn’t use them much in the previous home (lived there 11 years) either. Many of them are a second or third itteration of something we have. I think of all the room that would free up and also all the people who could have gotten use out of those things and it drives me crazy. Mom’s thought is that we paid for them once and if we need them again we will be paying a second time.

    • Your mother IS right: if you find you need it, you likely will have to pay for it again. But, of course, that’s only IF you need it, and you’re finding you do not. To make sure that I really didn’t need the extra kitchen gadgets that I got rid of, put what I thought were the extras on a tray elsewhere in the kitchen for about 3 weeks. During that time, I took one or two things back, then I felt comfortable donating the rest. Perhaps you could box your duplicates up, but not get rid of them until later. At least that would free up drawer space, and your mother might be more comfortable.

  2. Cindy, I know oh so well that feeling of sinking stomach when you get a really nasty comment about something you write. It’s so hard not to take it personally. If you have any tips on getting to that point, I’d love to hear them!

    I think if I had to say there was anything I could absolutely not live without, it would be my laptop and my cell phone. Other than that (and my kids and animals of course), I think I could really get rid of every single thing.

    Well, I’m kind of attached to my wedding and engagement rings too. So I guess I would have to say yes, these things could be physically replace and, with the computer and cell phone, easily, but there is way too much sentimental attachment and meaning in those rings.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post!


    • Hi Chelle, On days when I write, it’s still Colleen who supplies the gratitude list and the photo of the item she got rid of. When either of us is criticized, I usually get fairly hot under the collar about it – I keep telling Colleen that I’m not as nice as her! Actually, I’m perfectly fine with disagreement. After all, decluttering is a personal endeavor. I don’t like it when people are nasty about their disagreement, but that rarely, rarely happens here.

      I wouldn’t want to lose my wedding ring either. It belonged to my great grandmother, and I got it after my grandmother died. I value it as much as a symbol of my marriage as I do a link to the other women in my family.

      • Cindy and Colleen,

        Since I write on a variety of topics and since I started my blog after I got fired, I got some REALLY nasty comments from some of the women I used to work with when they found it. They sent them under the “anonymous” label, but it was so obviously from them. Then I had another blogger’s fan take issue with my format and writing style, saying I was stealing her ideas and using her exact form of writing. She had me going in circles because she was being so nasty and I couldn’t figure out what I had ever done!

        Forgiveness is a tough thing and I still have a hard time when I get a nasty comment, but I feel that since I put out there what my issues are, I should expect to get nailed on them occasionally by the occasional nasty person. I keep telling myself “karma” and know that what comes around goes around.

        I love your website (obviously) and have made great progress in decluttering since I found you. So for that, I thank you. I will continue to work on getting the amount of stuff down to a reasonable level. It is going well with my getting my debt down at the same time! Any money I make from selling items makes paying debt all the more easy!


        • Hi everyone! I don’t understand why is it that people have to write nasty comments at all! If I don’t agree with something that is written I can either point out politely that I disagree and why or I can choose to not say anything at all. I think pepole are nasty because their lives are a s*** and they have to take it out on someone else, that can not put them down for their mistakes. Whatever we have to say we can say it in a way that doesn’t offend anyone. So Chelle don’t get upset, because you should only care about the ones that comment to add something useful not to those that just want to show themselves being nasty.

  3. I can honestly say i havn’t missed a single item i have decluttered, and we are pretty sparse around here these days. What i have found is the more i gave away the more oppurtunitys for things i really needed came along. One day i sent 6 bags of beautiful childrens clothes to a refuge, all too small for my children. That very same day my lovely friend and neighbour asked me if i wanted her printer. It won’t scan but printer was still in full working order, exactly what i needed. Karma? who Knows….
    Sharron x

    • Hi Sharron,
      I’m inclined to believe in the Karma of generosity returning to reward you. Although I don’t expect anything in return left seems to deal me some pretty lucky breaks, I like to think they are in payment for my good deeds.

    • I think when you are generous, generosity comes to you. Nice story Sharron.

  4. Hi Colleen, I was going to write you next week (It is my birthday and I’ve been decluttering since January) and tell you how much I love your blog, but than I read your grateful for today message, so I decided to send it today. I have had the most fun and so much success following the mini missions every week and reading the archives. I had set a goal to have everything on the main floor of the house done by my birthday and thanks to you and Cindy and comments from your other followers I’m finished and I have started on the second floor. That part is easier as we are empty nesters and it’s just 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. If I could figure a way to send you flowers I would. Please don’t change how you do your blog because of some people, if they don’t like it they can do their own. I’ve seen some of the comments about naming it less things versus fewer things but I think less things just sounds more fun. Anyways I feel like I’m rambling, but thanks again for taking the time to do this everyday, it really is appreciated.

  5. I have that same card book and had the same reaction to it. I also bought the box with dividers and it wasn’t big enough for my cards (no more than 3-5 per tab). The book is at school so I always have a card when I forget a birthday or learn about a death. The box is being used to hold postcards (I used to collect them to send and never sent them) and the dividers are in a cardboard box that had baby wipes.

  6. Hi Cindy! Great post! I came to this conclusion (about nothing in our house being irreplaceable) when I made a little mental exercise: if my house burned down, apart from living, what object would I save that I could not replace? I could only think about my photo albuns, and that was it. Even things I don’t want to declutter would go, and I would never replace them. So I consider myself “plenty rich” because I have everything I need (and a lot of extras I am decluttering :-D).

  7. Hi Cindy,
    I do agree about your attitude (wealth versus poverty) being the decider for hoarding; also I think, our upbringing by those who had those attitudes means we can grow up with the habit of hoarding – high time to be losing it!
    I had to smile at your recipe though – I am right now going through my recipes for the second time in three months, thinning them down, so thank you but no thank you,…
    Hi Colleen (or is it Cindy?),
    In your gratitude section, I was gutted to think anyone would abuse you for your views or comments. I have found them so helpful, and I alway enjoy them, even on those few occasions that I don’t feel I can apply them to me. Please: don’t stop, and don’t take any rudeness to heart.
    Best wishes,

    • Ann, You sure about that recipe? They’re pretty yummy! I have to confess I’ve never made them; I go enough functions where Jennifer brings them that I have my fill that way.

      It is Colleen who adds the decluttered item and the gratitude section. It was she who was grateful for the occasional detractor. I’m not nearly as patient as her; I expect people to be nice or go somewhere else.

  8. I love the reference to wealth vs poverty a being a way to access your level of hoarding/willingness to live with less. You’re right- it’s a matter of fear…fear of the future. Will I be wealthy enough in the future to own everything I need? What a difficult way to live your life, in fear of the future.

    Also, I commend you for your great attitude toward negative comments. You are truly wealthy in friends so don’t be concerned about the little blips of negativity.

    • Thanks Willow. I like how you tie my thoughts to fear. It is fear, isn’t it, that makes us want to hang on to every little thing “just in case.”

  9. Another thing that might make decluttering a challenge–and it goes along with whether you feel wealthy in material things or not–is the precarious situation the U.S. is in now.

    Much as our government would like everyone to think otherwise, things are NOT getting better with our economy, and it looks like they’ll probably get a lot worse.

    Keeping the “a lot worse” in mind, sometimes it’s tempting to hold onto things anyway, just in case they really AREN’T available later, or at least not available at a price we can afford.

    This is where the feeling of having “enough” right now can also run right into wondering if we’ll still have “enough” later.

    We just have to trust that we’ll be taken care of then, just like we are now.