AUGUST_ Summer is almost over, time to get back into action and reduce chaos/clutter on our lives.


  • If the house was on fire what would you hold on to, why?

  • What are the material things in our lives overcompensating for, if anything?

  • Do you have things you can let go if this year?

  • Is LESS, MORE?

  • Can you simplify your life and make room for more self-awareness in place of material goods?

Enjoy the dog days of summer and stay cool!


The 85% Rule

By Jo Ferranto 

In a previous life, I had a business. My job was to take away the emotional anxiety of preparing a house for market for the children of a recently deceased parent. Sometimes those children were close-by but often were out of State. Either way, dealing with a parent’s belongings causes a lot of stress. It rekindles memories, makes impossible demands on time and the easiest solution is to not deal at all right? One house I was hired to clear had been locked up and ignored for over 20 years following the death of my client’s mother. But Im proud to say, once I set to work, within a couple of days the house would be empty, cleaned and the For Sale sign would be in the lawn. My client’s relief was always palpable.

Every assignment was different from the last. Through those years, I was afforded the privilege of reflection: pondering how we manage to gather up and place so much value on so many possessions. Im uncertain whether this human trait is purely generational, maybe a necessity left over from experiencing much harder times? or perhaps the desire for “comfort”, that feeling of having your success and wealth represented in physical things. But for sure, my clients facing Mum’s four bedroomed house full from floor to ceiling with broken, unused and even unseen stuff, was equal in stress to dealing with the loss itself!

Each house told its story as I worked my way through the rooms. Some houses told a sad story, while others shouted a happy household. The happiest, and which I shall never forget, was a house near Denver. The contents told of a well- travelled family with every item collected from all corners of the globe. Vast shelves stuffed to breaking-point with books on every culture imaginable, and the icing on the cake was the back garden. Coming from a nation of gardeners myself, I appreciated the decades of love and nurturing which had clearly gone into this over-sized pond. That warm sunny morning created a masterpiece of flora and fauna happily going about their uninterrupted business in and above the water. I still think about that pond from time to time. I certainly hope the new owners decided to keep it.

But getting back to the biggest lesson I have taken from my business; I can stand in the center of any room in my house and clearly see at least 85% of the baseboard! I like keeping each of my rooms simple, uncluttered. With only the things I really really really love taking up space. Knowing, in every likelihood my possessions will end up in a landfill the day after I get into an argument with a cement truck.

Thank you Jo for being a part of our Rise & Shine Community and your thoughtful contribution. For comments or questions please contact Jo at