A Watershed Moment: How to Get Un-Stuck from Stuff


Enter your information below to enroll in our FREE 7-day Email Course, “7 Days to Simple.”

Today I'm happy to share with you a letter/note I received from one of my Tiny Transition classmates, Jack Daniel.

Jack has thrown himself into downsizing and simplifying - and has caught the tiny living bug as a result (he went to a workshop last year "just to see what it was about" and now he'll be attending another one I'll be teaching next spring).

Jack wrote me this post as a letter - and has kindly given me the green light to share it here. This letter warmed my heart - that sounds cheesy but it honestly made me tear up. It's beyond sweet and touching - it's just amazing to hear about the transformation that is possible when you have the right support and community to back you up.

I enjoyed having Jack in the class at least twice as much as he loved the course and community, so the feeling's mutual.

Thank you Jack for this letter. Thank you.


Dear Mariah,

One of my all-time favorite old-school reference sources, The American Heritage College Dictionary, defines “WATERSHED” as:

“A critical point that marks a division or change of course; a turning point.”

I am pretty sure that I’m not the only person who thinks that the eight weeks our class spent together in your Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course qualifies as a definite watershed event for us.

Our eight weeks ended the beginning of October.  The class started the second week in August, and I had signed up for it in July. (Jack was part of an earlier session).

My father had died in June, so as maybe you can imagine, during the first part of this summer I did lots of thinking about life in general.   And I guess it’s not too surprising either that I had especially been trying to figure out a bunch of stuff about my own life.

One of the things that I kept coming back to was exactly that – my bunch of stuff.

I was feeling weighed down and bogged down, overburdened and overwhelmed, sluggish and slower than molasses in wintertime, and just plain burned out from dealing with all the stuff in my life. 

But then, when I discovered your website and read about your course, it felt something like when a slim little unexpected ray of sunlight peeks its way through the mess of a frowning and cloudy gray day to warm up your chapped and chilly face for even just a few seconds.  It felt good, like Aaaaahhhh….YES!

And once I got rolling in the course -- goal-setting and figuring out where to start (go for that low-hangin’ fruit, gang!); getting a little less clueless about how digital can be at least as helpful as it is scary; closet-cleaning tactics for superheroes; taking a month-long “vacation” out of just one suitcase; stuff-selling strategies and more –- once I got my wheels turning, the whole shebang turned out to crazy-exceed all my expectations.

But most of all, I’ve come to truly appreciate the many, many awesome-terrific folks in my class and from prior classes who continue to be active participants in this most excellent and efficientforum that you created. 

They offer insight and support.  They give thoughtful and gentle advice.  They have great ideas that I would never, ever have thought of, not in a month of Fat Tuesdays. 

These are really good people, and they don’t just care about getting shuck of their stuff or finding the most direct route into a tiny house.

They care about each other.

Which makes me very pleased to be part of what I have come to think of as the Perpetual Tiny Transition Course Community (PTTCC).  You have worked really hard to build this thing from scratch, from way below the ground up, and then you’ve shared it with all of us so that we could enjoy it all together among us and with the people we hold close in our daily off-line lives.

And by the way, I’ll just say this about getting every last bit of what I’ve been hammering my keyboard on and on about, and more, all for under a hundred bucks… you wanna talk about VALUE?!!?  They should put a picture of you alongside the Comet Camper on the Wikipedia page for “Value”.  Period.  End of story.

So I’m writing to tell you that, well - you done good, Mariah.  Real good.  Damn straight. 

Thumbs up.  Thank you.  Thank you for giving us all a place to gather and learn and exchange stories and to cry and smile and LOL over them all together.

The last thing my dad gave me before he got sick was a copy of a little book that we used to read together when I was a little boy.  You may have heard of it.  It’s called “The Little Engine That Could.”

There is one unforgettable page near the end of the book that has a picture of the Little Blue Engine climbing up, up, up the mountain pulling the train with the funny little clown and all the dolls and all the toy animals smiling and cheering as she says, “I think I can – I think I can – I think I can – I think I can.”

A watershed moment is a point in time when nothing that comes after will ever be the same as before. 

Before I became part of our Tiny Transition and Downsizing class, I had no idea how I was ever, ever, ever going to get out from under all my stuff.

But now… I think I can.

Thanks again, Mariah.  And godspeed to you in all your travels, tiny and great!



I want to thank Jack for letting me share his story with you. If you think you could use some help downsizing, join the next session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing. 


Enter your information below to enroll in our FREE 7-day Email Course, “7 Days to Simple.”