On December 29, 2011, Seattleites found themselves with a new Toll Bridge.

While the bridge itself wasn’t new, the toll was.

For those not familiar with the Seattle area, we have two bridges that span Lake Washington – connecting the city, itself, with the suburbs and outlying areas.

I think it’s safe to say that hundreds of thousands of commuters rely on these bridges every single day.

So, enacting a toll was a really big deal.

Here’s what has happened since. Many commuters have simply refused to pay the toll. Instead, they are driving well out of their way and finding alternate routes.

They either travel across the second bridge – whether or not it is convenient to where they live or work – or they circumnavigate the lake completely.

What surprises me most about this, is that the folks who have chosen to drive around the lake or find alternate routes, don’t seem to be concerned about the extra distances they’re driving, or the additional expense for gas.

Meanwhile, for those who opt to pay the toll, the route into the City is straight sailing all the way – a huge improvement over snarled traffic jams that used to be the norm.

Of course, whether to pay the toll or not, that’s up to the individual and their unique circumstances.

In the end it’s all about choices.

The analogy here, is that we often make similar decisions when it comes to buying new furniture – whether to go all out and invest in superior quality and a better experience – the equivalent of paying the toll – or settling on something more affordable that fits our budget here and now.



I’m sure you know the story of Aladdin and his famous Lamp.

All Aladdin had to do, was rub the lamp and a genie would appear to grant him three wishes.

As we all know, he was not granted an infinite number of wishes – only three.

If you stop to think about it, if you had an unlimited number of wishes it would be really hard to decide on anything.

It could even backfire, if you happened to wish for something unpleasant in a moment of anger.

With just three wishes, you will likely stop and think about the consequences, whatever they may be.

Making decisions works the same way.

Being faced with too many choices can be overwhelming.

Do you sometimes have trouble making decisions?

Perhaps it would help to narrow down the choices? Let’s take a moment to re-evaluate your situation.

Begin by choosing from one of the following categories to see which personality best fits your profile. (To make things easier I’m limiting you to just three choices).

Go ahead, which one are you?

The Empty Nester

If you are downsizing to a smaller home, you are likely dealing with a lifetime of memories.

The amount of accumulated stuff can be vast. Trying to decide which possessions to keep and which ones to get rid of can sap your energy in no time.

A similar scenario awaits you if you are dealing with the estate of a deceased family member. You are likely overcome by grief while at the same time being faced with a multitude of decisions related to the deceased’s estate.

Where do you even begin?


The Pack Rat

Then again, maybe you’re just a pack rat.

In your fifth decade of life you find that you are still holding on to many childhood treasures, including your English notebook from third grade and award-winning projects from grade school to college.

Clearly, your pack rat tendencies need to stop, but trying to unload years of accumulated clutter can be a challenge.

The Waffler (You Simply Can’t Decide. Period)

You want to paint your living room, but can’t decide on a color. There are just too many choices.

You need a new dining set, but can’t decide on the correct style for the breakfast nook. You’re terrified of making a mistake.

In this instance, being faced with too many choices seems to launch you into overwhelm.

Overwhelm can be paralyzing.

Whether you are dealing with household clutter, day to day decorating decisions or the mammoth task of downsizing your home, these decisions are clearly challenging.

My advice is to start small. Take it one step at a time.

Next week, I’ll offer some specific guidelines to nudge you along.