Moms In Charge

"ONE bite at a time!" ~Organic~Nourishing~Energizing~

Spring Renewal

Special Guest Post by Eric Carlisle L. Ac. of The Giving Chi

Growth concept

Each season of the year brings change in the weather as well as shifts and changes in our bodies. This is part 1 in a series of living in harmony with the seasons, which is an essential part of Chinese medicine. Our energy, lifestyles and eating habits should naturally reflect the energies of each season. Spring is the time of renewal, growth and outward expansion. With this new spring energy we move away from the storage, and hibernation of winter and start stretching out and being more active again, expressing our own self-renewal. The time spent in winter recharging our batteries is required to spring forth with renewed life and vitality in the spring.

This renewed energy often manifests as “Spring Cleaning” in our society, out with the old and in with the new. The same goes for our bodies. In Chinese medicine, Spring is the best time to do your cleansing, especially cleansing of the Liver and Gallbladder organ systems. The energy of our body that has been nourished stored and kept idle for these past winter months. Now that energy is beginning to course from deep within our roots and out to our branches, stems and leaves of our bodies.

If you’re like me, you feel this shift in your body by the food cravings you are experiencing. The cravings move from hearty, meaty stews, soups and slow-cooked meals to light, quickly cooked meals with tons and tons of fresh greens and possibly sour foods like sauerkraut, pickles, or other fermented foods.

A great springtime meal you can implement into your family’s diet is Green Soup or Bieler’s Broth. I want to thank my friend Emily Bartlett of The Holistic Squid for these wonderful recipes and her ever inspiring work with her kids and families.

For some of us it may not exactly feel these cravings or like you’re exploding or “springing to life” with this kind of energy but I can safely say we all notice the changes in nature and the same thing is happening in your own body.

Patients often ask me around this time of year if they or their children should cleanse to help their overall health and wellness. Many questions arise about all the different ways you can cleanse your body and my answer to them is this…

What are you trying to achieve with the cleansing for yourself or your children? They typically say, “So I/my kids can feel better.”

Then they may talk about some type of juice cleanse or raw food cleanse they’re looking to do.Salad with Fork

I am by no means opposed to cleansing the body. In Chinese medicine, it’s been known for centuries that the elements of cleansing (i.e. clearing heat, draining dampness, and eliminating toxins) has been used in moderation to help heal and restore balance in both adults as well as children. In small amounts or done seasonally, raw smoothies, green juices, and raw salads can have a beneficial effect in their proper medicinal role.

That last line is where I have begun to notice that most of my patients falter. In our society if a 1 is good then 100 must be even better. I have noticed in my practice that when people are changing their lives for the better by adding in green juices and more fruits and vegetables, in general, they do so in an excessive manner, meaning 365 days a year.

For some people a diet that is raw vegan, 80% raw and with daily green smoothie/juices may for a time seem to be the panacea for all your ills and chronic disease and for a portion of the population this can be true. However, for many people with a pre-existing digestive weakness this type of diet will ultimately lead to a depletion of one’s health.

Too many raw fruits and veggies will damage the digestion, creating symptoms of gas, bloating, poor absorption, depression, fatigue and more. When the digestion is weakened over time this adversely affects the nervous system, immune system, and adrenals.

Our little ones are especially susceptible to digestive disorders so we need to pay special attention to this fact. As I have mentioned before in previous talks, a child’s body is still developing and learning how to process physically, mentally and emotionally in this world, so we don’t need to burden them anymore than we need to

Ideally, a balance of cooked and raw vegetables consumed with a fat will be best to for your nutrition. (Source)

Which brings me to my next point with the juicing and smoothie movements.

Your body needs the fats in order to absorb the nutrients.

Make sure that when you’re making your green juices and smoothies add some form of saturated fats (coconut oil, coconut cream, full-fat yogurt, etc.). If you’re going to have a raw salad add avocado and full-fat dressing. (Source)

Ginger teaAnother great way to balance the cold raw nature of your salads is to drink hot ginger tea. Ginger naturally balances and warms the cold raw nature of the vegetables and keeps your digestive health strong.

Here is what I would recommend to those of you who either are new to the green smoothie, raw green juice movement or those of you who may be finding that it doesn’t seem to be yielding the results you thought it would.

First, listen to your body and the bodies of your children. If raw juicing and consuming green smoothies on a daily basis seems to have reached it’s maximum impact for you then modify to a few times a week or seasonally. The key is to listen to your body. No one is built exactly the same.

The Bieler’s Broth and Green Soup I mentioned above is a great way to cleanse the body for a one or two week period for those of use with a pre-existing weakness in our digestive system.

The season of spring can truly be a transformative time of the year if we listen to our body’s subtle hints and move with the expansive energy in a harmonious way.

Peace, good health and happy springtime!


About Eric Carlisle L. Ac.

Co-Founder of The Giving Chi 

Eric has been helping residents of Southern California for over 7 years now. His background in martial arts led him to study acupuncture and classical Chinese medicine after having a crisis of the heart while working and studying in the graphic design world. Turned off from the advertising world’s manipulative and harmful ways he decided to follow his heart and study medicine.

His approach to health and wellness is one of balance, teaching his patients how to maintain a clear and healthy approach in all aspects of their lives.

  • Licensed by the California State Board of Acupuncture and Nationally Certified by the NCCAOM as a Diplomat of Acupuncture.
  • Masters Degree in acupuncture and traditional Oriental medicine from Emperor’s College.
  • Certified in Esoteric Acupuncture by Dr. Mikio Sankey.
  • Certified Massage Technician in Seifuku Restorative Massage.
  • Certified Instructor in Dan Zan Ryu Jujitsu – Sandan (3rd degree black belt)

Leave a comment »

Juicing Your Style!

Juicing is the new “in thing”!

What once was confined to the back of smelly health food stores and Jack Lalane infomercials has now caught on.

Stars are rocking their green juices down the streets of Hollywood, to juice bars popping up all across the nation.

Joe CrossThe wildly popular documentary film “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” has brought forefront fatsick&nearlydeadattention to the dramatic health and physical appearance benefits gained from juicing.

Juicing is a fabulous tool on a journey to vibrant health.
It can get confusing over when and how much one should juice.
Just like anything in life: too much of a good thing can have the opposite effect.

Guidance with a few key points can be helpful to navigate the maze of the juicing world.

First of all, juicing is a great way to get fast fresh micronutrients and vital enzymes in the body.

Lips sip SmoothieBy juicing only ORGANIC produce, your digestive system is virtually hanging out without needing to do too much work.

The nutrients are readily absorbed if it is consumed on an empty stomach.

Juicing with lots of greens is a great way to start off your day with getting your body more alkaline.
This is important because disease cannot live in an alkaline environment.

Replacing the morning cup of joe with a fresh organic green juice can boost your energy and kick start your body’s nutrient needs for the day in a big way.

??????????????Juicing for health on a daily basis is a great thing to add to a healthy regime. It should not replace other foods like healthy fats that help with digestion and absorption of nutrients and should be integrated into a whole foods based diet.

Although juicing has so many benefits, entire books are written about them, there are a few things to be aware of in proceeding.

For those who have an inactive thyroid, raw greens, like kale and spinach, may put added stress on the thyroid gland and should be drunk in moderation and under the care of a physician, as with any adverse health condition.

Rotating the greens and produce is the healthiest way to approach an ongoing juicing regime.

????????????????????Juicing with the seasons will also bring about the greatest health benefits as well.

During the colder seasons, adding in warming foods like a bit of peppers and even spicing it up withSpices - Cooking cayenne, pepper, and cinnamon are great ways to keep the body from getting to cold and to maintain inner homeostasis.

A great way to start training a palate for greener, more vegetable based juices is to begin with the 70/30 ratio of more fruits to greens.

As the juicing continues, begin to slowly inverse this relationship to where eventually there will be 70% veggies and 30% fruits.

Juice detoxes are becoming all the rage.Healthy juices

This can be a great way to rest the digestive system and cleanse and detox the vital cleansing organs, like the liver and kidneys.

A juice cleanse should be approached with the proper preparation at least a week in advance.

Going from a highly processed food diet, with a lot of toxins like alcohol, coffee and animal products before a cleanse often causes a lot of untoward symptoms of unpleasant detoxing.

Woman feeling down.Irritability, headache, foggy brain, and fatigue are some of the symptoms that can be exacerbated if juicing without proper body preparation.

The best rule of thumb before juice fasting is to cut out coffee and alcohol at least 3 days before juicing, taper down animal products and gluten the week leading up to the cleanse, then eliminate them at least a few days prior.

Salad with ForkIncrease more raw living foods and decrease the amount of cooked foods over the week before the cleanse, then try to go at least 2 meals of raw foods/day for 2 days prior.

I like to kick off the juice fast with the 2 days prior to all juice, replacing an entire meal with juicing.

By the time you begin your actual complete juice fast, you will have transitioned more easily and started to learn and form healthier habits.

It will also seem less dramatic and extreme to taper down the favorite food and drinks instead of cutting them all off cold turkey.

healthy lifestyleThe ultimate goal should be resting the digestive system so the body can work cleansing the organs that get junked up with our daily dietary and environmental toxins.

The bi-product if approached correctly will be a renewed appreciation for how healthy feels, being able to get the bodily desires under control and ultimately begin changing destructive dietary patterns.

The question many have with learning about the amazing health benefits of juicing is, “What kind of juicer should I buy?”

Starting with what you may already have is a perfect place.

Many already have a juicer that is collecting dust in the piles of unused kitchen wedding gifts or other “too much trouble” appliance abyss.

Dust and wash it off and use it.

The problem with going out and buying the most expensive juicer is, there are many factors to first consider.

Although the intentions are always awesome and the motivation is strong in the beginning, most wind up getting discouraged with the process of the cost of the produce and the time it takes to prepare and clean up the juicer.

Until you are certain juicing is going to be integrated into a solid way of life, a more economical juicer is the way to go.

The issue with the lower priced juicers is their inability to properly extract all the enzymes and micronutrients out of the plants.

Centrifugal juicers (the ones that spin the produce for extraction ) are quite ineffective for getting the most out of the precious greens.

The result is a lot of wet pulp and lots of whole un-juiced produce in the pulp bin.
This can be a bit disheartening to see how so little juice can come from so many fruits and veggies.

The juice from these types of juicers must also be consumed right away after juicing to maintain all the enzymes and nutrients.

However, for someone just beginning their juicing journey, it’s still a great place to start without feeling like there is a huge up front investment.

If the juicing becomes a habit and the results are continued to be felt and seen, upgrading to a masticating juicer is definitely in order.

The juicers like the Omega and Hurom are both reasonably priced and effective masticating juicers that extract the vital nutrients.

The pulp/juice ratio changes and much more juice is made  from less produce and the pulp is minimal and much dryer.
The Angel juicer is very expensive and is a Rolls Royce of cold-pressed juice extraction.

With these masticating juicers, the integrity of the nutrient content and enzymes are maintained for a day or two without the rapid degradation that occurs with the centrifugal juicers.

DottyDrinkGreenJuiceSo, there are a few things to consider before taking the plunge into the juice, but the results are well worth anyway you go about extracting the precious liquid!

If it all seems too much, find a reputable organic juice bar and begin buying the juices from there first until you get in the habit of drinking juices, then make the decisions based of what you feel you are ready for and can commit to!

I like to start my day with my favorite green juice. You can see my recipe posted

here about jump starting your day with juice!

MIC recommends Living Juice and Club Detox.
living juice logo



Both can accommodate daily juicing and full guided juice and detox cleanses.

Happy Juicing!

To your Vibrant Health,

Leave a comment »

Jumpstart To a Juicy, Healthy Day

Green vegetable juice isolated on whiteI love my morning green juice!

I use my basic ingredients and then add whatever else I have on hand. Mixing it up with whatever is in season is the best for your body.

Have fun with it and start your morning off with putting your body at an advantage by giving it alkalizing raw materials.

Disease cannot survive in an alkaline environment. So, keep your body the “danger zone” for bugs and have a healthy yummy day!



My Recipe:

Kale : large bunch

Apples: 1 Granny Smith, 1 Fuji


Lemon ; 1

Ginger: 1/4 inch up to as much as desired


Cucumber ( awesome for the skin ): for added liquid

Pineapple : If you want extra sweetness

Cilantro : big handful

Rotate your greens: kale, spinach, swiss chard, water cress

Leave a comment »

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

By: Nancy Lin DeGregori, Ph.D

When you are expecting, everything you eat and drink directly impacts your child’s health. Because pregnancy affects your immune system, you and your unborn baby are more susceptible to the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause foodborne illness Everyday foods and beverages, even environmental factors, take on new meaning, as some may present a danger to your developing baby. Even if you don’t feel sick, some “bugs” like Listeria and Toxoplasma can infect your baby and cause serious health problems. Your baby is also sensitive to toxins from the food that you eat, such as mercury in certain kinds of fish.

Natural whole foods, and as lightly processed foods as possible, such as whole grains, lean meats, such as fresh wild fish cage free chicken or eggs, seasonal fruits, fresh colorful vegetables and sea vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy should form the basis of your pregnancy diet. Be especially aware of items that you may want to avoid when you are expecting.

Raw or Undercooked Food of Animal Origin

Undercooked animal foods — such as rare meat, raw oysters, clams, sushi, unpasteurized eggs, raw cookie or cake dough, and homemade eggnog, may contain an array of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  Undercooked beef meat may also contain E. coli. Undercooked poultry may contain bacteria such as Campylobacter or Salmonella. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, test the doneness of meat, poultry, and fish with a food thermometer, cook eggs until they are no longer runny, and follow baking instructions, refraining from eating raw dough.

Use an instant-read food thermometer to check the internal temperature toward the end of the cooking time, but before the food is expected to be “done.”

The food thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the food and should not be touching bone, fat, or gristle. Check the temperature in several places to make sure the food is evenly heated.

Compare your thermometer reading to the USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures to determine if your food has reached a safe temperature.

-Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

-Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

-Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

-Make sure to clean your food thermometer with hot, soapy water before and after each use!

-Large-dial oven-safe or oven-probe thermometers may be used for the duration of cooking.

-Because there are so many types of food thermometers, it is important to follow the instructions for your food thermometer.

Hot Dogs, Luncheon Meats, and Unpasteurized Dairy Foods

These foods are prone to Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria that causes listeriosis, which may result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or other serious health problems.

Besides hot dogs and luncheon meats — which include deli ham or turkey, bologna, and salami — other processed meats and seafood that may contain listeria include refrigerated pates or meat spreads, and refrigerated smoked seafood (such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel). These items may be labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.”

Refrigerated smoked seafood is safe when it’s part of a cooked dish, like casseroles. Luncheon meats and frankfurters are fine to eat, only if reheated until steaming hot, says Michael Lu, MD, UCLA professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and public health and author of Get Ready to Get Pregnant: Your Complete Pre-Pregnancy Guide to Making a Smart and Healthy Baby.

Unpasteurized dairy foods are also prone to E. coli or Listeria.

The raw milk controversy highlights that dairy products made from unpasteurized milk, raw milk itself and cheeses, such as Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, blue-veined, queso blanco, queso fresco, and queso Panela may also contain listeria. Eat hard cheeses, such as cheddar or Swiss. Or, check the label and make sure that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk and do your research before consumption and know both sides of the argument!

Specific Types of Seafood and Fish

Typically, the larger the fish — such as swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel, the higher the concentration of mercury, compared to other smaller sea creatures. Mercury is a byproduct of coal-burning plants that interferes with the normal development of a growing child’s brain and nervous system. Fish at the top of the food chain tend to have higher amounts of mercury because their main diet is other fish.

The FDA recommends that pregnant and nursing women eat no more than 12 ounces of seafood a week that is low in mercury, including salmon (farmed and wild), shrimp, canned light tuna, pollock, sardines, tilapia, and catfish.  Because albacore (white) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna, the FDA recommends that pregnant women limit albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces a week, and include it in the 12-ounce limit.

Fish caught for sport in rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams may also contain industrial pollutants that play havoc with a developing nervous system. These fish may also contain parasites or bacteria. Recreational anglers should do additional research and check the safety of waterways with their local health departments.

Raw Vegetable Sprouts

There is much to be scared about eating the once healthy raw sprouts, especially in salad bars and on sandwiches from restaurants– including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts. The reason is that bacteria can get into sprout seeds and are nearly impossible to wash out, as confirmed on the FDA’s web site.  Add that to the low chance that restaurants actually thoroughly wash their vegetables before serving and you have yourself a tall case for food poisoning. Infact, it was May 2010 that raw alfalfa sprouts was linked to a 10 state salmonella outbreak. Try dishes with thoroughly washed and cooked sprouts for a safer meal.

Drinks to Limit or Avoid

Alcohol (beer, wine, or spirits) robs developing cells of oxygen and nutrients, preventing normal fetal development. The effects of alcohol exposure in the womb on intellectual abilities and physical growth are permanent.

According to the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) and the March of Dimes, there is absolutely no level of alcohol consumption that’s known to be safe at any time during pregnancy.

Unpasteurized juices, such as cider purchased from roadside stands, at farms, or in stores should not be consumed, either. These products are prone to germs, including E. coli. Check the label to be sure juice is pasteurized.

Lead is linked to low birth weight, preterm delivery, and developmental delays in children. If you have an older home with pipes made of lead, it can leach into your tap water, and home filtration systems may not prevent it from reaching you. Levels of chlorine and fluoride are also added to most of the treated water in almost all 50 states. Ask your local water treatment plant for the most recent water report and look into what is in your tap water or have it tested. Bottled water isn’t necessarily purer; it’s often repurposed municipal water. Invest in a water filtration system that suits you and your family best. If you can find access to fresh mountain spring water (, or fresh well water, those would be best. If you are like the majority of Americans, your water source comes from municipal water supply, so get a filter (any filter is better than your body being the filter!) Reverse osmosis filtration system (though this does de-structure the water and remove almost all contaminants but also most of the beneficial minerals but can be solved by adding in Himalayan salt), and carbon filters.

Caffeine from coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy beverages, and other sources may increase the risk of miscarriage, reduced birth weight, and stillbirth, but the research is conflicting. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that there is no harm in drinking a very small amount (less than two cups) of coffee or other caffeinated beverages per day during pregnancy. The March of Dimes recommends limiting caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams a day. That’s about the amount found in 12 ounces of coffee.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

BPA is an industrial chemical used to make many hard plastics and the liners of many canned foods. It’s an endocrine disruptor that could disturb normal fetal development, Lu says.

The FDA is studying BPA and has not recommended that pregnant women avoid BPA. But in January 2010, the FDA stated that “recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.” Most of those tests have been done on animals, and the FDA says there are “substantial uncertainties” about BPA’s effects on human health. The plastics industry has maintained that low levels of BPA exposure are safe.

If you choose to avoid BPA while pregnant, a wide range of BPA-free plastics and glass containers are available.

Herbal Teas and Supplements

Herbal teas are caffeine-free, but their safety is unclear when you’re expecting. There are no reliable human studies on the safety of herbal preparations, including supplements such as Echinacea and St. John’s Wort, during pregnancy. The FDA does not routinely monitor the quality of dietary supplements. Tell your doctor or midwife about any supplement use during pregnancy, because there may be herbs and other supplements that can be used safely to support a healthy pregnancy.

Herbs that contain stimulants or caffeine-containing supplements, especially those that are intended to promote weight loss, guarana, kola nut, betel (Piper betle), Citrum aurantium, yohimbe, theobromine (cocoa extract), Garcinai cambogia should be avoided. Other botanicals to avoid while pregnant include golden seal, Cascara sagrada, black walnut, wormwood, tansy, pennyroyal, senna, saw palmetto, pao d’arco, MacKay says.

Women who are pregnant, or who could become pregnant, should not take 10,000 or more IU per day of vitamin A because of the risk of birth defects.

The bottom line: Talk to your obstetrician or midwife about any herbal supplements or vitamins before taking them during pregnancy.

Foods That May Cause Food Allergy

If you, your child’s father, or one of your other children has allergies, your baby is more likely to have food allergies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that avoiding certain food allergens, such as peanuts and peanut products, during pregnancy and when nursing a child may reduce allergy in susceptible children.

But there is little, if any, benefit to avoiding allergens during pregnancy and breastfeeding for everyone else.

Before changing your diet, talk to your doctor about your family history of allergies and asthma, and speak with a registered dietitian who is knowledgeable about food allergies.

Excess Calories

The famous quote, “You’re eating for two now” doesn’t mean that you need twice the calories. Gaining too much weight threatens the health of pregnant women, and may increase the risk of childhood overweight in your future child.

In the second trimester, add 340 calories a day to your pre-pregnancy calorie needs, and 450 a day more in the third trimester. But if you are very overweight at conception, or if your physical activity level drops, you may need fewer calories during pregnancy. Still, pregnancy is not a time to try to lose weight.

There is room for treats like ice cream, chips, and cookies during pregnancy, but it’s important to choose foods that do double duty by providing the additional calories you need, as well as the extra nutrients that maximize your baby’s development. Excess weight gain can not only make you feel more tired and achy during your pregnancy, but studies have found that women who put on more than the recommended weight are at higher risk of being obese later in life—especially if they fail to take off the weight after childbirth.


Originally seen at

Nancy Lin DeGregori, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of (operating through Truth N Health, LLC) and has spent the last twelve years studying nutrition and wellness for babies, children, adults, and seniors. She is the author of the book, An Etiological Theory of Chronic Disease: The Paradigm Shift of Modern Medicine, and is a personal fitness and nutrition consultant. Nancy develops individualized one-on-one life changing plans and empowers her clients to reach their goals through nutrition coaching and personal training.

Leave a comment »

Does Your Garage Pass The Test?

ImageSpecial Guest Post By: Erica Duran, CPO and Productivity Expert

Have you ever had to move your household?  If you have you probably couldn’t believe all the stuff you had accumulated over the years.

If you know me at all you know I LOVE moving!  Most people dread moving but every spring my lease seems to be up and around February or March I start getting excited and looking around for new places – except for when I spent eight years on the beach – that place was hard to leave. 😉  If I don’t move one year, I actually pretend that I am moving and go through every cabinet and drawer to de-clutter and have it deep cleaned.  Anyway, the point is, when I go new home shopping I ask for place without a garage!  For me, a garage is a potential place for clutter to start breeding!

What is the state of your garage?  Is it serving its purpose?  When you drive up to it do you feel like the walls are closing in on you and your energy is instantly drained?

Take my Garage Test and see how your garage is serving you…

Keep count of how many questions you answer in a “Yes”.

1.  Is your $10,000++ car living outside because you are storing things that are not good enough to be in the house in your garage?  I am sure those exiled household items are not worth what you spent on your car.

2.  Are there a lot of plastic storage bins or other types of boxes?  I always tell my clients, “If it has to go in a bin, it isn’t used frequently enough, and you should REALLY consider passing it on to someone else.”  Plan a day to go through all your bins and really access if the items are worth the space and upkeep.

3.  Is there excessive holiday and seasonal decor?  Is something you display once a year worth all that hassle of storing, unpacking, setting it up, taking it down, cleaning it, packing it back up.  And, when you really think about it does anyone else really care how many holiday decorations you have out?  Is there a way you can use natural items instead like flowers, pumpkins, and pine cones to get in the holiday spirit instead of plastic or ceramic decorations?

African Americans,boxes,cardboard boxes,carrying,couples,females,heavy,homeowners,homes,iCLIPART,lifting,males,men,moving,packing,people,Photographs,stacks,teamwork,women

4.  Do you have items from an abandon hobby stored in the garage?  Our lifestyles change so gradually sometimes we don’t even know when we gave up a hobby we once enjoyed.  Did you golf? Camp? Have a fish tank? SCUBA? Ski?  It is OK to sell these items or give them away.  You are probably not going to get re-interested in the hobby and when/if you do there will be a whole new kind or technology out there so you have the latest and greatest gear.  Getting rid of these abandon interests renews your energy by not staring at you when you open your garage making you feel guilty.  Make room for new interests and experiences in your life.

5.  Do you have anything that belongs to someone else that you are storing in your garage?  Let’s say your child went off to college and you turned their room into a yoga studio.  But, they told you they would be back to get their “stuff” for their new apartment.  Problem is…that was four years ago and the stuff is still in your garage!  Call or email the person who you are harboring the stuff for and give them a deadline to come and get it.  If they don’t make the deadline, let them know that the stuff will be sold or given to a charity.

6.  Are there any large items that are seldom used?  A Ping-Pong table?  An air hockey game?  A table saw that was bought with good intentions of fulfilling a long honey-do list?

7.   Are there any baby clothes or baby furniture in your garage?  Thinking that you may have another baby someday, or can’t bring yourself to get rid of your little one’s clothing?  In reality, you know you will get new gifts when a new baby is on its way.  And, what if your next baby is the other gender?  Pass these items on to babies in need and create space for a new life.

8.  Are you holding onto items just because they belonged to a loved one that has passed away?  Sentimental feelings are strong, but the deceased wouldn’t want you to be crowded out of your own house!  Keep one or two things that you really enjoy having and remind you of the person and display them in respect – no need to keep their life treasures in a dusty garage.

9.  Clothes that no longer fit, have stains, have holes or rips, or have a bad feeling or emotion associated with them.  Clothes with stains and holes should not even be donated – those poor people have enough problems!  Bad memories associated with your high school sweater or prom dress?  Now is the time to let that stuff go both emotionally and physically.  Are you holding onto clothes that no longer fit?  When you do loose the weight most likely your body will be in a slightly different shape and the clothes won’t fit you as well even though the weight is gone.  Reward yourself with new clothes as an incentive to your weight loss goal.  Also, clothes that have been in storage just don’t seem right when you take them out.  They are usually musty and faded, etc.


10.  Do you store old cleaners, paint, car stuff, etc.  Most garages have an excess of old cleaning products  – and I know your are using the environmental and hormone friendly ones, right?  Old paint?  You can always take a paint chip to the hardware store and get a fresh batch mixed.  Old car care supplies for a car you no longer have or you no longer use because you found it more productivity-minded to have the dealer take care of your car needs.  Just be sure to discard the old paint, cleaners, and car supplies at an authorized eco-friendly location.

11.  Scraps and extra parts taking up space?  Saving pieces of wood in case you can use it “someday”?  Still have all those extra screws and parts from a piece of IKEA furniture you put together years ago?  These items are just taking up space and energy in most households and I am betting that if you needed one of those extra screws you wouldn’t be able to find it anyway.

12.  Gardening and lawn care items still lurking in your garage but you’ve opted to have a landscaper take care of your outside living space?  You figured out that it was a good idea to not spend your hard-earned Saturday taking care of the lawn, but your gardener brings all his own supplies as part of his service.  Pass these items on to a neighbor that could use these supplies.

So, how did you do?  Add up the number of questions you said “yes” to.  Here is the scale:

9-12 questions answered in a Yes = I am sorry but you have a major project on your hands.  This will not, and should not be tackled in one weekend of overly ambitious thoughts by taking everything out of the garage at once to go through, sort, decide what to keep and then trying to put everything back in an organized fashion.  Attempting the all-or-nothing approach will be too daunting and exhausting for one weekend.  For this escalated clutter situation, you need to break your garage into zones and then schedule yourself to work on each zone in four-hour increments so as to not get overwhelmed or burnt out on your garage transformation project.

5-8 questions answered in a Yes = Be careful!  If you’ve lived in the same home for a number of years this amount of clutter is understandable but not necessary.  It is time to nip it in the bud!  Go through your items in your garage and make sure everything is serving the life you are living now!  Be tough with yourself!  It may help to ask yourself “If I were moving next week, would this item be worth the time and money to pack, move and unpack?

1-4 questions answered in a Yes = You are doing great!  There are a few items in your garage that are rarely used but I bet they are pretty well organized.  You know what you have and where to find it.  You are good at regularly going through your stuff and weeding it out for a sale or charity.  But, I challenge you to just go through everything and double check for things you can release out of your life.

About Erica Duran:


Erica Duran is a Productivity Expert and Certified Professional Organizer CPO®. She has been a veteran entrepreneur for over 21 years consulting large companies and creating several of her own ventures.

She is working with Franklin-Covey Orange County to include a planning system in all her productivity packages including a set of 12 customized tabs outlining in detail her Streamline Your Success® program.

Erica Duran is the creator of BrainStorm™, where groups all over the world meet for networking and master minding.   She is also the Area Coordinator for The Heart Link Network of Newport Beach & is a member of NAPO, BCPO, and NAWBO National & Orange County, CA.

For more about Erica, visit her website at: 

Leave a comment »