When I started my blog 5 years ago, I had visions of helping myself and others declutter but I also had a goal of making a little side money too. I spent hours getting approved as an Amazon affiliate and getting Google Adsense working. I kept checking my Google Adsense stats, but I wasn’t doing the other things I really needed to do to be successful in either of my objectives. I wasn’t providing much value to anyone and I wasn’t gaining much web traffic. I was not spending enough time decluttering or writing.
It only took me five years, but I’ve figured out I was wasting a lot of time. I doubt many people noticed, but I removed all of the Google Adsense ads a few months ago and I’m glad I did. It was a distraction to me and the reader and, embarrassingly, I’ve never made a penny doing this blog thing. That’s OK though. I hope I can start providing more help to others as I go through the process of decluttering my own house and learning the trade of organizing.
Today, I further simplified my website by removing the pop-up asking for your email address in exchange for downloading my list of websites to help you declutter. There are still plenty of places where you can become a subscriber to receive email updates and I made my decluttering list available for download directly on my Resources page. No pop-ups. No email needed. I’ve also added one to the list and verified all the links work, so if you have an old version go get the new one.
I still have a couple of ads on my website, but they are there for good reason. If you’ve ever thought of making your own website, Weebly has been great for me. I feel like I’m beginning to outgrow it but it has taken five years. If you would like to sign up for a free or paid Weebly account, please consider clicking through the link at the bottom of my website. Second, I can’t recommend Cozi enough. It’s been a lifesaver for keeping my family somewhat organized with shopping lists, packing lists, and calendars. Please consider signing up for a free Cozi account through the link on my Resources page. Finally, I will occasionally recommend a product for sale on Amazon and provide an affiliate link. When I recommend a book or product on Amazon it’s because I really have found it useful and think you might too.
That’s it. Thanks for reading and good luck.
I wanted to write a quick post just to make sure everyone knows I'm still here! Since having our fourth child in February, it's been pretty tough to find time to write anything. My time has been filled with swimming, baseball, softball, maintaining my house, a Baptism and First Communion on the same day, a 2nd Grade field trip to a museum, Cub Scout activities, rock climbing with the kids, the Detroit Whisky Festival, a piano recital, and even my first 5K of the year. Not to mention I have a job to go to every day and I'm still constantly removing things from my house.
A couple weeks ago, our sump pump stopped working right after a weekend of heavy rain. It was by far the most water we've had in our basement in the 14 years we've lived here. Nothing was ruined but we had so much stuff stored downstairs that I took a bunch of it to the garage just so I could move some other things off the wet carpet. It was motivation to purge so I wouldn't have to carry it all back downstairs. I sold a set of three heavy wood bar stools on Facebook and posted a couple other items for free just to get rid of them. Now I have a plumbing job ahead of me to replace the sump pump and install a backup system.
As you can see I've been too busy to do much writing but I have gained a few new email subscribers. Welcome! If you are getting emails but haven't followed me on Facebook, please do. Likewise, if you aren't receiving emails, you can subscribe just by putting your email in the form below. Also, if you ever have a question, comment, suggestion, or just want to say hi, you can email me at Dave@DaveLubke.com or send me a message with Facebook messenger.
Finally, I have one small request. If you happen to be on my website, take a look to the left side of your screen. You should see a small rectangle that says "Reviews" with a green check mark next to it. Please take a second to click on that and then click on the stars to rate me. If you have benefited from my website in any way, I would love it if you left a short review (preferably a good one and 4 or 5 stars). This just lets others know that my website is a safe site that can be trusted and that it's not some sort of scam or phishing website.
Thanks for reading and rest assured I have a few posts already in the works and plan to get back into a regular posting routine very soon.
So my first blog post was one year ago. Woohoo! It was titled “You Have To Start Somewhere” and if I remember correctly, I felt like a complete fraud because right after posting it I went out and bought my kids a piano to go along with the old Hammond Organ we rescued from the curb. Everyone needs both a piano and an organ, right?
In that first post I talked about just how overrun my house was with toys, clothes, and lot of other stuff. One year later as I glance around my house, I don’t really feel like I’ve made a lot of progress but my wife and I just had a conversation this weekend and she assured me that more things have left the house than have come in.
We’ve had Easter Seals and Purple Heart pick up piles of stuff multiple times and I’ve taken two large carloads of clothes and baby stuff to a nearby pregnancy crisis center. We’ve delivered or mailed at least three carloads of clothes and toys to family and friends. Somehow, I still find myself tripping over Legos and cars.
I started taking pictures of the piles of stuff we were getting rid of to have some inspiration when I start to feel like I’m not making progress. Here are a few for your enjoyment:
I’ve learned a lot in the past year about why we hold on to things we don’t need and some of the best methods to let them go. I’ve also learned a lot about running a website. I’ve learned some HTML and some search engine optimization (SEO). I discovered something called Markdown which is a tool specifically for writing content for the internet. You can write in a text editor or an editor made specifically for Markdown and then easily convert that into HTML. I’ve also learned how to use tools for automated emails and where to find quality free images to use on my blog when I don’t have one of my own.
Hopefully, you’ll notice some changes for my one-year anniversary. First, I created a new logo. Maybe I’ll have some t-shirts, hats, and coffee cups made up or something! Just kidding. No one needs more of that junk. Also, after a year of posting sporadically I’m committing to posting something at least weekly. Hopefully it will even be something worth reading and I really hope I can inspire others to rid their lives of the extra stuff sitting around taking up your time and space.
Thanks for celebrating one year with me. If you’re new, please take a look around the site and read some of my older posts. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Send me an email. It will come directly to me and I’ll be happy to respond. Cheers!
Now that it's nearly the end of April, I thought it would be a good time to check in on my New Year's Resolutions.
OK, so I'm one for three. I guess I'm not doing so well. Let's review in a little more detail:
I don't usually make any New Year's Resolutions, but I thought this would be a good year to make some. I purposely kept my list short hoping to have a chance at sticking with them, but no dice. Part of my problem is that the company I work for recently closed the office I was working in and now I spend over two hours a day in the car. I thought about using my phone to do some dictation while I'm in the car but couldn't find a good solution. I'm also hesitant since that's not much different than talking on the phone while driving and believe it or not, that's really not safe even with a hands-free device. I once ran over something I had placed on my garage floor while talking to my dad using a Bluetooth speaker. I knew it was there, but wasn't paying enough attention to notice it until I heard the crunching sound. Anyway, I digress.
Maybe the problem isn't that I suck at New Year's Resolutions. Maybe, it's that resolutions are a dumb idea, or at least that I'm going about them the wrong way. I probably shouldn't have picked out things that I thought I had spare time to work on over the year, when my priorities and interests constantly change. I'm going to stick with the first and the third one, but I've decided I'll hammer away at the guitar a little more but may eventually just get rid of it. Then I won't have to feel guilty about not playing it.
Several years ago, a friend from church, who worked at a hospital, came across some handwritten resolutions at work. They were the type of resolutions that I should have made and probably, we should all be making. Each one was a resolution to be more like a character from the Bible. They read something like "I resolve to be more brave like David was when facing Goliath", except they were written far more eloquently than I could ever make them sound. My friend gave me a copy and I kept it for a long time before I finally tossed it out when I was cleaning my desk one day. When my friend passed away last year, I realized it's one of the few things I've ever thrown out that I wish I would have kept. I assumed that like most things, I could find it online somewhere but the list continues to elude me. When I do find a copy, I'll be sure to post it.
In the future, I think I'll skip the New Year's Resolutions. I don't like the idea of making promises that I'm most likely not going to keep. Instead, maybe I'll try one of these ideas from Psychology Today. The article is a few years old, but has some interesting ideas like making a list of your favorite accomplishments from the past year or imagining the highlights of the coming year. The point of all of this is that we all want to be better people than we are now, I think. Except maybe for Donald Trump. He seems to think he's perfect as is. For the rest of us, however, I wish good luck to us all.
Or, at least I used to hate writing.
For some reason though, last year after reading a lot of blogs I decided I would give it a try. I must have some information that’s at least a little bit interesting to someone out there, right? At about the same time, I really got on my kick of decluttering the house so I thought I would write about that and started up my blog. I was determined to write at least one post a week which I did for a short time. Now, I can’t believe it’s been a month since I’ve posted anything. Work has been extremely busy lately but I know that’s a lame excuse. Yesterday, I read a post on Jeff Goins’ blog (http://goinswriter.com/) where he talks about forming a writing habit by writing just 500 words a day for 31 days. 500 words doesn’t sound like much, I thought. I should be able to do that even when I’m running my kids to piano lessons, Tae Kwon Do, swimming, dance, etc. (Look, I already have over 150 words)
When I was much younger, I was always interested in Math and Science. I read some normal books, but I was the kid who checked out science books from the school library. Anytime I had to actually write something in school though, it was pure torture for me. I felt like I was OK at it, but hated doing it. As time went on though I found myself writing more, like 30 page lab reports in college, and eventually as an officer in the Army I had to write frequently. As a Company Commander I found myself writing counseling statements, award recommendations, and memos for all kinds of things. The one I’m most proud of is my command philosophy, a memo officers traditionally publish to their soldiers when they first take command of a unit. I’ll find a copy and post it. The point is that as I have aged, I have found myself doing more and more writing but it never occurred to me that it might be fun to write just because I wanted to.
Aside from the blogs I had been reading, another motivator for me was that I knew a few people who have published books. Check out my friend Rose Bush who has two fiction books that are getting good reviews on Amazon. Rose is a friend of mine from the Army, as is another author, Rick Rouzer. Rick published a book called Fortunate Son about his experience in Iraq as the commander of unit from American Samoa. While writing is not their main source of income, they are ordinary people who have published at least one book. Maybe I’ll write a book someday, but for now I’ll stick with just trying to keep up on my blog. I’m enjoying it, but having trouble making writing a priority. After all, my blog was supposed to be about decluttering, which is something I’ve actually been doing a lot of lately.
Enough about writing, I’m going to give Jeff’s challenge a go. Here’s a banner linking to his post about the 500 words challenge. Check it out. Everyone that has a blog and is joining the challenge has a link to their site. There is a long list (over 2500 last time I checked) so take a look at some of those blogs as well. Thanks and feel free to subscribe and/or leave a comment.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2022
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