It’s Not a Mongo Start, But It’s a Start

“If you look at your entire house as one unit of junk, you’ll never do anything because the job is too overwhelming. Take it one drawer at a time.”—Janet Luhrs

I spent last Saturday afternoon at Colorado Free University attending a class called “Mongo Downsizing: Making a Fresh Start in a Big Way” given by a very interesting gentleman named Kevin Rhodes. Kevin and his wife downsized from a large place in Evergreen to a small place in Denver. Now that’s what I call really making a fresh start.

While I’m not leaving my two-bedroom south Denver bungalow, I have been here for 30-plus years and have accumulated a lot of stuff. Too much stuff. Way too much stuff!

I intended to spend the summer going through my stuff, sorting and purging, but life happens and I’ve spent the summer instead helping friends downsize their 95-year-old mother’s home. It’s been an eye opener.

I don’t want my kids to ever have to do that for me. I don’t ever want to have to sit back and watch other people make decisions about my house and my stuff and the way I live my life. I want the control to do it myself, and now’s the time to get started.

Today I cleaned out three kitchen drawers: the silverware drawer, the knife drawer and the utensil drawer. And the pig canister that holds the utensils next to the stove that I use often. Or intended to use often.

The utensil drawer clean out is a direct result of Kevin’s class. One of his exercises was to pick something easy to start with, that didn’t have a lot of memories and emotions attached, to kick start this downsizing. I chose kitchen drawers because I didn’t figure there would be a lot of emotions attached to spatulas and whisks.

I was wrong.

Still I persevered, and have gone from three drawers and a pig to two drawers and a less crowded pig. I’ve got a box of stuff to give away and a handful of memories I can’t part with.

There’s my mother’s spatula and tongs. My father’s long-horned-steer bottle opener. My grandmother’s flour scoop. They’re things that give me a warm, fuzzy feeling, and I’m all for warm fuzzies. So they’re staying, but not in the utensil drawer.

I think there’s a shadow box in my future.

For more information about Kevin Rhodes, check out his website at You can find info on Colorado Free University at


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