Paying to Have an Old Mattress Hauled Away – Was it Worth It?


After mphty-mph years, we got a new mattress!

I won’t talk about how long we knew we needed it, or about how old the mattress was that we slept on for our entire marriage until last month.

But I will talk about my excessive cheapness and how that was a major factor in waiting so long.

Mattresses are expensive, y’all. And stressful to purchase since they’re one of those things you’ll spend a LOT of time regretting if they’re not as comfortable as you thought they were. Y’know, in those five awkward minutes of lying down and rolling around in front of an expectantly waiting salesperson/stranger.

But we did it. We finally did it. We rolled and shifted and rolled again and shifted again. We made awkward jokes about the shifting and the rolling and finally made a decision. And we ordered. And we paid.

But at the moment of payment, decisions are required. Because it’s never as simple as just paying for a mattress, right?

What about the old mattress?

Do we want to pay fifteen dollars to have it hauled away?

Really? Fifteen dollars to let someone else take my mattress? Fifteen dollars to basically throw something away? (Because that mattress was beyond redemption or repurposing or any of that.)

And haven’t I heard radio ads from other stores saying they’ll haul away an old mattress for FREE?

Oh, how my frugal brain looks for reasons to procrastinate when forking over big chunks of money.

But I said, “Yes.”

“Yes, I will pay you an amount of money that’s less than what it would cost for us to go out to eat at a fast food restaurant to not have to worry about getting rid of that old blankety-blank mattress.”

The second, wordy version of “yes” is what I said in my head. The first, single-word version is what I actually said to the woman taking my money.

Here’s the thing. I know how things go in my house. Many times, I’ve uttered an Auto No to something that will cost me money.

Many, many times, I’ve lived with large items sitting in my home waiting on me to get them out. Ummmm, didn’t I just write about a big, humongous chair that I stubbed my toe on many times between the time I decided I didn’t want it and the time when it actually left my house?

Sure, we could have saved fifteen measly dollars taking that mattress and box spring to the dump on our own.

Except we’d have to borrow someone’s trailer to get it there. And we’d have to spend a Saturday morning borrowing the trailer and loading up the mattress and driving to the dump. And I’d have to devote an hour or so in the week before to figuring out where the town dump is, and learning what we have to do to be able to dump there.

We’ve never even been to the town dump in this town. In past cities, though, we had to have proof of residency. And I seem to remember needing special tickets that we picked up at city hall.


That’s a lot of hassle, and it was worth fifteen dollars to me to not have to deal with that hassle.

Here’s the thing. If that mattress took up space in my garage for a few months, I’d probably be giddy with excitement to pay someone fifteen dollars to get it out of my way. I’m sure I’d be happy to pay someone fifteen dollars to free up a Saturday that would otherwise be spent hauling it myself.

But for some reason, I hesitate in those key moments when the salesperson asks if I want to pay extra on what is already an overwhelming purchase for a cheapskate like me.

But I said yes.

And I’m so so glad I did.

Because this was the scene in my living room for about 6 hours before the delivery men arrived with my new mattress.

The HUGE mattress in my Living Room, waiting to be hauled away

I’d taken the old one off of the bed so I could use this ridiculously-rare opportunity to clean out under the bed while there was no mattress or box-spring on it.

So worth fifteen dollars to me.

Would have been worth forty.

Thankfully, it wasn’t fifty. I may not have learned enough yet for that amount.

Yay for not moving (and moving around) that monstrosity sixty five times before it left my house.

If you’re horrified, I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve pursed my lips in disapproval at people who “wasted” any amount of money on things they could technically do themselves. But that was before I understood and accepted the value of open space in my home. The value of a Saturday morning without the hassle of a trip to the dump or the dark cloud of needing to take a trip to the dump hanging over my head. It’s been a long road, but I’ve learned a lot.

Oh. And that guy who takes everything I want to donate? The one thing he won’t/can’t take is mattresses.

If you are desperate to change your mindset, and you want home management strategies that actually make sense (to us not-naturally-organized types), check out my new book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. The book will be released wherever books are sold on November 8th, so pre-order now. HowToManage_3D



Dealing with Decluttering Regrets – What if I’ll Need This Again?

dealing-with-decluttering-regretAbout a week ago, as I sat in my friend’s home while she painted my nails (in preparation for promo videos for the book), I remembered she was getting new furniture soon.

I spied a comfy chair in the corner and asked what she was going to do with it. She was keeping that particular chair, but asked me why I wanted to know.

So I told her my sad story of decluttering regret. The living-out of my greatest decluttering fear. The tale of the time when I kindof wish I had paid attention to that mostly-squashed-but-still-there voice in my head that asked, “But . . . what if I need it again someday?”

My sad, sad decluttering story:


There once was a chair. A big, comfy chair. A chair that was part of my very first set of grown-up, never-before-owned-by-someone-else furniture.

I loved that chair. I sat in that chair. I piled things on that chair.

But I also moved that chair.

I moved it once, and then I moved it again. I moved it here and there and seemingly everywhere.

When it no longer had a place in my living room, I considered putting it in the gameroom, but it was too big.

One day, after bumping into it for the seventy-bajillionth time, I thought to myself, “I know! I’ll move it to my bedroom!” I cleared the perfect spot for it next to my side of the bed. I envisioned myself sitting in this chair to read, working in this chair on a summer’s day.

Unfortunately, the placement was also convenient for other, less warm-and-fuzzy things. I couldn’t sit down to read because the chair was always always inaccessible under the piles of clothes and other set-it-down-just-for-now stuff.

So I finally decided to get rid of the chair. 

Decided, but didn’t. I removed it from the spot by the bed, but didn’t actually get it out of the house right away. Instead, I moved it into that “lovely” open space in my master bedroom.

Which meant the open space wasn’t open anymore.

This was only temporary, but the temporariness lasted much longer than I expected.

I assumed I would get it right out as soon as I had a little lifting help. But the chair was soon covered in my husband’s clothes and other lovely randomness, so my Slob Vision kicked in and I never rarely thought about it again.

I only thought of it when I stubbed my toe in the middle of the night.

Because it was in the middle of the master bedroom floor.

So, when a local friend who is a teacher asked if anyone had a big, comfy chair for reading that she could have for her classroom, I immediately responded.

“I have the perfect chair, and you can have it for free!”

She and her husband came to the house, loaded it up, and hauled it off. I was so pleased with myself and loved my mostly-cleared space.

And then, about a month later, I started thinking.

Thinking about my dining room. And about the advice I’ve heard (from some of you) that the best way to keep the dining room table from continually being a dumping ground might be to assign a different purpose to that room.

And I started thinking how nice it would be to take the leaves out of the table (to make it smaller), move it to one end of the room, decorate it nicely, and create a reading nook with the remaining space in the room.

A reading nook.

Oh, how nice that sounds, right? I just need a big, comfy chair.

Just like the one I gave away a few months ago. 

Ugh. I felt the familiar pangs of regret, kicked myself for not having thought of every possible use for that chair before I gave it up, dreaded looking for another one and wondered how much another comfy chair might cost.

And that’s why I asked if my friend was getting rid of hers. I told her my sad, regret-filled Chair Story, and she said, “Yeah, that happens to me all the time.”

And she kept on painting my nails.

Like my heart-wrenching story of Decluttering Regret was no big deal.

Maybe it’s important for you to understand that this friend’s home is beautiful, uncluttered, and never, ever out of control.

It’s the kind of house that makes people like me wonder, “How do some people keep their homes so nice and uncluttered all the time?”

Her casual statement sums up exactly how she does it. “Yeah, that happens to me all the time.”

Regret happens. Decluttering regret happens. And life goes on.

To take a quote from my own soon-to-be-released book, “People whose homes are always clutter-free prefer living with regret over living with clutter.”


Even though I could totally use that chair now, I’m so glad I got rid of it. That chair being gone freed up a large amount of floor space in my master bedroom and my toes are better off. The open-space-months I experienced between getting rid of the chair and thinking of another perfect use for it are more valuable to me than the price of a new-to-me chair that I’ll have fun searching for at a garage sale.

And I’ve seen that chair in its new home. It looks happy there.


Have you pre-ordered How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind yet? In less than seven weeks, it will hit the shelves (or the mailboxes of those who pre-order). In it are my hard-learned mindset changes and decluttering strategies and habit-creating-practices to help you get your home under control. Go here to find out more about pre-ordering.



From Our Mailbox: Not “Messy Bessie” Anymore


I loved this story from one of you!

Hi there!
Just wanted to take a minute to share while my toddlers are asleep.
My clutter has always been a major source of shame. As a kid my nickname was “Messy Bessie.” Sentimental stuff kept piling up. Things I didn’t use but thought I should. It lasted through my college years. There wasn’t a visible surface anywhere.

Marriage? Same problem. When hubby & I moved from our 1st apartment to our house, my clothes piled up at least 4 feet high the whole length of our guest bed. We travel with hubby’s job & trying to pack all of our stuff into motel rooms or apartments was a pain, not to mention packing. I was constantly seeking help & growth. I hated it. When I read your container concept something clicked. I started applying it & a selling/donating/trashing revolution began!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. We decided that since travel is part of our lives we might as well buy a camper. My friends panicked. How would the girl with all the stuff live with 2 kids in such limited space?! Last night I took pictures for a virtual tour for curious folks at home. I realized we are only using about 75% of our available storage! This is with buying things like diapers & paper towels in bulk! I know I still have a lot to learn & a long way to go but the realization that I could even BEGIN a 3 month job situation with this small amount of stuff amazes me.

My container is smaller than ever but the concept still applies. Thank you so much for spelling out such a simple but profound concept.


Beth. Just Beth. Not Messy Bessie anymore - From Our Mailbox

In a follow-up email, Beth shares more:

Our house at home still has a long way to go but it is wonderful to see tangible progress that I am changing how I think. Every time we go back we find more to tweak. Sometimes I look back and remember feeling people may be thinking “you aren’t good enough. You are a bad person. Whatever else you accomplish, whatever honors you achieve, you are STILL horrifically messy.” Thank you so much for helping me laugh at myself & to realize that being a work in progress is perfectly ok.

Dana here: I love this so so so much! Viewing a home (ANY home) as a container is such a game-changer. (Oh, and this isn’t a picture of their camper, just a picture of a camper.)

Speaking of game-changers, have you pre-ordered How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind yet? It comes out in less than 7 weeks! In it,  I teach all of the game/home-changing mindset changes and strategies I’ve developed for getting my home under control. Go here to find out more.





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