Globe West People

Life, free from clutter

Lisa Wessan will speak in Groton on “decluttering.’’ Lisa Wessan will speak in Groton on “decluttering.’’
By Cindy Cantrell
January 3, 2010

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A DECLUTTERED LIFE: Lisa Wessan says it’s common for participants in her class, “Declutter Your Mind, Home & Office: A Holistic Approach,’’ to be “choked’’ with shame over their inability to control clutter. For that reason, she said, a big part of her work is helping people accept and forgive their imperfection so they can move forward in focusing on physical spaces.

Wessan, who is offering her workshop Thursday night in Groton, uses an acronym - Should Have Already Mastered Everything - to help students release their shame, giving them the energy to create room, in their mind as well as their calendar, for new activities.

The North Chelmsford resident encourages participants to concentrate on the feelings of relief, relaxation, peace, and freedom they would experience by clearing a particularly untidy area of their home, office, basement, attic, or garage. To get to that point, she suggests partnering with a clutter buddy to serve as a source of support and feedback for organizing, recycling, donating, or trashing items.

“Very often, people have so much trouble with clutter because of unresolved grief, loss, or another emotion that needs to be talked about,’’ Wessan said. “Instead of being embarrassed, tell yourself it’s perfectly fine to be starting at this time, in this place. You’ll get through this.’’

“Declutter Your Mind, Home & Office: A Holistic Approach’’ will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Groton Wellness Center, Mill Run Plaza, 493 Main St. $25. . 978-455-0660,,

FOR JULIE AND HER FRIENDS: After 40-year-old Julie Paige McAvinn succumbed to ovarian cancer in 2004, her friends and neighbors in Wellesley asked her family what they could do to help. Soon thereafter, her husband, Peter McAvinn, organized a meeting through which the Juliefund for Women’s Cancers was launched.

According to Julie’s mother, Judy Paige of Wellesley, the Juliefund was inspired by Julie herself, who often expressed concern for other cancer patients who were without the support she was fortunate to receive from family, friends, and community members.

“The response was incredible. Julie became very sick very quickly, but her kids never missed so much as a soccer game,’’ Paige said of her grandchildren, who were 9, 7, and 2 years old at the time.

In the past five years, according to Paige, the Juliefund has raised $1.5 million to help cover nonmedical expenses for families of women battling cancer, cancer research, and education on the symptoms and treatment of women’s cancers. While the Juliefund has primarily benefited patients at Massachusetts General Hospital, it expanded last year to include Newton-Wellesley Hospital and North Shore Medical Center.

At the Juliefund’s recent High Five Gala in Boston, McAvinn’s husband and parents were presented with a plaque from Dr. Michael Birrer, director of medical gynecologic oncology at Mass. General. The plaque, which recognizes the Juliefund for “providing hope and help to women with cancer,’’ will be installed in the Boston hospital’s Cancer Center.

“It’s a very nice honor,’’ Paige said, “and a good feeling to know that this money is making a real difference.’’

DRAWING ON POPEYE FOR ADVICE: A Popeye fan and memorabilia collector, Watertown resident Fred Grandinetti is also a big believer in good exercise and nutrition habits. So it comes as no surprise that Grandinetti has helped develop a coloring book emphasizing the importance of both for children.

Grandinetti wrote “A Cuyle Carvin Coloring Book’’ starring Cuyle Carvin, a New York-based actor who has appeared in dozens of films, theater productions, and televisions shows such as the soap operas “All My Children,’’ “One Life to Live,’’ and “As the World Turns.’’ The coloring book was illustrated by David Hudon of Tyngsborough.

In the coloring book, Carvin climbs out of the television to show a little boy how much fun it can be to exercise and discover healthy foods to eat. Together, they go running, bowling, swimming, and golfing, play basketball, and volunteer at a food kitchen. Grandinetti even gave his hero a cameo, depicting Carvin serving the boy a bowlful of Popeye’s canned spinach.

Grandinetti says the coloring book is a nonprofit venture, with 300 copies planned for free distribution to children’s hospitals, boys & girls clubs, and Teams for Kids, a New York-based organization that raises funds for youth fitness programs.

“It’s an honor for me to be working with a dedicated young man who is concerned about the future of our children,’’ e-mailed Grandinetti, whose long-running local cable-access television show, “Drawing With Fred, is shown in Watertown and Needham.

“Cuyle is following in the tradition of Popeye,’’ a character that “I’ve spent most of my adult life helping to keep in the public eye. I’m sure the spinach-eating sailor is proud of our efforts.’’

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