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Have Unexpected Positive Results with an Open Mind

By April 18, 2021June 6th, 202418 Comments

Here I am again, organizing my home and preparing to move. This cycle of moving every 4 to 5 years has been part of my life for a very long time. Every time I move I think, this is the last time I’m moving. Then something unexpected happens and there I am again planning another move.

Cleaning out

One of the things on my lengthy list of things to do is to clean out the shed in my backyard. I have a plastic caddy on a shelf in the shed which holds my small tools. I use the caddy as I walk the paths in my garden to trim shrubs, cut flowers, tie up plants, and do a little digging. It’s so handy to have all these small tools at the ready so I don’t have to walk back and forth to the shed to find the tool I need.


When I looked inside the shed the other day to begin this process, I saw a big ball of pine straw in the caddy. I wondered to myself why on earth I kept a big ball of pine straw. Then, I took another look and saw that a little bird had formed a sweet nest. The big ball of pine straw had 2 little eggs buried deep inside! What an unexpected and wonderful find. I love the way nature constantly surprises me with little treats like this. Gently, I picked up the nest using a trowel and moved the nest outside the shed into the top of a nearby shrub.

Lots of tools

As I clean out the shed, I am cleaning all the tools. I have lots and lots of tools. In addition to basic shovels, a hoe, rake, and edger I also have supports for all sorts of plants. I will not have a garden where I am moving so my plan is to clean these tools and then offer them to my friends and neighbors. These tools have been my trusty helpers for decades and I know they will be well-loved by those who own them next.

No garden

If you have been following me for some time you know that I love to play in the dirt and garden. So, it is probably unexpected and surprising for you to read that I am moving to a place with no garden. Well, it came as a surprise to me too. I will still play in the dirt as I plan to have container gardens on my 2 balconies. But I am entering a new chapter in my life and honestly do not want the responsibility of maintaining a large garden.


Large gardens have distinct areas that can be labeled rooms. Each room in the garden like the rooms in your home needs a maintenance plan in order to stay weed free and orderly. You create a schedule for weeding, feeding, and trimming each distinct garden room. Just as you create a schedule for doing laundry, dusting, and organizing.


I have talked about rightsizing homes before. Rightsizing does not necessarily mean downsizing. It can mean changing the environment to be a better fit. For some people it means moving to a larger home to accommodate a growing family. For me at this time in my life it means that I am removing the responsibility of maintaining a garden from my list of things to do.

However, this new home is in a community which includes 12 acres of dedicated natural parkland with walking trails. My dogs and I are going to be very happy walking and exploring around our new home. The landscaping around the homes is just beautiful and I am not responsible for maintaining it. That is an unexpected relief for me.  The past couple of years I have felt such stress over squeezing in time to work in the garden.

Unexpected Positive Results

It is very easy to do things the way you have always done them. There’s an expression that goes something like this: change is good, but no change is better. I understand because change, even positive change, is uncomfortable.

It takes a leap of faith to make changes in the way you do something. I always appreciate the trust my clients put in me when I ask them to change a routine or to replace a habit. Small changes yield results and continued small changes toward a specific goal can yield even better results. Some results are expected, and others are unexpected. The other day a client told me that she now realizes that empty space can be a beautiful thing. She no longer feels as if she must fill it. She can leave the space empty. She surprised herself with this unexpected self-discovery. I am so very happy for my client.

In Conclusion

When you open your mind and accept that things do not have to remain the same just because that’s the way they have always been you open yourself to unexpected and positive results. It is not easy. It takes practice to honestly hear and evaluate options that come your way. And it takes faith in yourself and in those you trust.

I am happy that I opened my mind to a different sort of home. It’s one that I would not have considered even a couple of years ago, so I am taking a chance and making a change.

Are you ready to make a change in your routines or habits? If so, consider joining the Clear Space for You clutter support group I run with Jonda Beattie. You can read more about it here.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization. Contact Diane for a free phone consultation. Diane and Jonda Beattie are the best-selling authors of: Filled Up and Overflowing.


  • Julie Bestry says:

    So many beautiful messages here. I was surprised (and momentarily distressed) to hear about your move, so I’m relieved you’re staying in Sandy Springs. I hope the mommy bird is happy with her family’s relocation, just as I hope you will be happy with yours. And I loved what you said about being at peace with empty spaces; whether it’s in our homes or schedules, the change to experiencing (and embracing) empty space can be fraught, but ultimately rewarding. Thank you for this beautiful piece.

  • And here is another wonderful post. I love what you said, “It is very easy to do things the way you have always done them.” I’ve learned to trust in the leap of faith. Some of the changes that I dreaded, thinking they were the worst thing in the world, turned out to be the best. I just couldn’t have known that until I looked back.
    I understand that change can be the best thing that ever happened to us, we just need to take a leap of faith.
    Congrats on your courage and your new adventure. I am so happy for you!

  • Good luck with your move. I’m a gardener, and while I have two college students right now, I still feel the need to make my garden and lawn special. Not so much for anyone else but me. I appreciate my time with my garden, just me and nature working together and making the world beautiful. If I move into a home without a garden, I will most likely do what you are doing and have a potted garden, especially for herbs.

  • Lucy Kelly says:

    “When you open your mind and accept that things do not have to remain the same just because that’s the way they have always been you open yourself to unexpected and positive results.” Such a beautiful way to look at change, Diane. Wishing you an exciting and stress-free move!

  • LISA GESSERT says:

    Wonderful blog Diane! Something of a must share to my followers….letting go sometimes is easy…and sometimes…not so easy!

  • I am not a gardener so containers have always been my go to. I’m sure you will still enjoy those. I hope you are able to find a community garden to share your talents with. Hood luck in your new home.

  • This IS a big surprise! You have written so much over the years about your garden, and I don’t remember you ever talking about the burden of it. However, I get it. Last year when I experimented with my tiny garden, it was just that. I set up several pots to “garden” in, and I loved it. It was manageable, and it flourished. I am so excited for you and this next journey that you are embarking on. I am also so impressed how you can up and move every 4-5 years. I’ve lived in the same home for 35 years. And honestly, unless we have to move, I’d like to stay put. But at the same time, I understand how enticing it would be to live in a place where someone else took care of the maintenance. So as I like to say- never say never.

    I wish you all the best as you rightsize, edit, and prepare for your beautiful new home. Will you be staying in the area or moving far away?

  • Seana Turner says:

    Wow, this will be a big change for you. I am surprised to hear that you are leaving your gardens, but my Dad now lives in a place where he has a community garden. Truth is, this garden is in full sun, and he is having so much more success in this garden than he ever did around his home. There definitely can be surprise blessings if we are open to them! Love that you found that little nest – what a sweet surprise. Best of luck with the move! I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your new “digs.”

  • A very powerful and enlightening essay! Changing up certain aspects of your life can be so freeing. Letting go opens up many more possibilities.

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