Cleaning House: The Key to Financial Freedom? | The Key to Financial Freedom?


THE KEY TO WINNING AN an extra 50 million dollars is hidden somewhere in this article.

The word “key” has some significant meaning in my life this month. According to financial advisor Suze Orman, the first key to financial success is to remember that your thoughts make your reality. Stop telling yourself you’re poor and come to an understanding of your money beliefs. Oftentimes, she says, your beliefs about money are based on shame, fear, or anger.


The second key to financial success is a clean house. Her house-key advice goes like this: go through your house and throw out at least 25 items. Then go through again and give away at least 25 more.

I am testing this second key to success, but so far my personal space looks more like a tornado just came through instead of Martha Stewart. It is late and I have a bag full of clothes, magazines, and other items which are blocking my road to financial success. It it 10:30 at night but I am feeling a burning desire to have money rain down on me, so I decide to take my donations to the nearest Goodwill-type used article store and deposit them in their outside donation box.

Once there I push open the small swinging door to the box, lift up my heavy bag, and with a mighty heave-ho sail it into the box—along with my car keys which were in my right hand.

You know how your whole physiology sinks when you realize you’ve just done something really stupid? I am on a dark sidewalk, sinking. Not a cruising cop car in sight. You know how when you’ve done one really stupid thing, stupid cells seem to immediately manifest themselves in your brain so that your next step seems at the moment totally coherent but turns out to be really stupid, too? My brain cells start making rationalizations like this:

1) Maybe if I just reach in the box and grab out my bag the keys will have fallen into it.

To make this maneuver I drag over a small refrigerator that someone has left outside the door, stand on it, reach down into the totally dark box—which is mostly empty except for my bag—jackknife myself into the opening, fat butt sticking in the air. Oh, the shame of it.

At this point I subconsciously know that I am still in stupid mode, so I plead to my guardian angel, “Please do not let me fall into the box,” for I fear that my gigantic self will never get out again.

I heave the bag out of the box, sigh with relief, search, and do not find my keys.

Next rationalization.

2) I’ve just thrown my keys into the donations box because psychologically I want a new car.

3) I’ve thrown my keys in the donations box because, really deep down inside, I am a truly generous person who wants to give her car away to some needy person. (I don’t think my few remaining smart cells  buy this for a minute).

4) A policeman will come along. I will flag him down to help me. He will be incredibly handsome and we will fall madly in love and we will ride away together in his white police car. (I actually think this.)

After a while, when Prince Charming does not come along to wake me up, as usual, I angrily walk to a convenience store with the simple plan to call the police to come with a flashlight.

I fish out fifty cents from my pocket and dial the regular police number, thinking with my overworked brain cells that just because I think that being stranded without a way to get home is an emergency, it may not be an emergency to the police. For the first time this evening I am right. The person at the switchboard says that all the police are out and that I can stand out by the box if I want to, but they aren’t likely to come anytime soon.

“Oh,” I say. “Should I wait?”

“You can do whatever you want to,” she says.

I don’t know what she expects, since I don’t have my car keys and my home-sweet, warm, not exactly tidy, cozy home is not within walking distance. I hang up and don’t get any change back. Figures. After all, by this time I am an embarrassed, incapable, and angry person who is concerned about not getting 15 cents’ worth of change.

I ask the convenience store clerk if he has a flashlight. He doesn’t.

I walk back to my heavy bag still lying outside the box. I contemplate the size of the box in comparison to the size of my body. Measure opening with hands. Measure hips. This is depressing. I fear the chances of my getting stuck are very high. Just what I need to add to my already low self-esteem.

I stand on the refrigerator and launch myself into the box. It is dark yet surprisingly warm. I blindly search around the bottom of the box, which is actually a concrete floor, and I hear a little clink as my keys fall from some old but well-loved article of clothing onto the concrete. “Please, no spiders or snakes,” I pray to  my guardian angel, who has obviously been out to dinner all evening or I wouldn’t be in this dark box.

As I reach out into the great unknown darkness of the bottom of the box, my darling car keys come into my hand. Hooray! I immediately zip them into my coat pocket, knowing that if I leave them in my hand I might just as well stay in the box all night, for I will surely drop them again.

The next problem, of course, is to get out of the box. As I stare out the opening, into the dark street, I feel like a puppet in a puppet show. Someone is definitely pulling my strings tonight. Oh, ha ha.

As you recall, I had to step up to get in, but now the relative-to-my-hips small opening is head high and the opening door swings in and down. There is not much space to maneuver.

After much thought, I grab a probably spider-infested ledge just over my head and throw one leg up an into the opening. I have to be somewhat upside down to do this. Naturally, right at this moment some guy is walking across the street towards me. “Hey,” he cleverly says. Just as he says this, from the apartment above the donations store comes a voice, “Hey man what’s happenin’?” The man looks up at whoever is in the window above me and says, “Yo dude, nothing, just people climbing in the box.” And then he walks away.

I am in a box with one leg hanging out and I am being totally ignored. Men! I then squish myself out, heave my bag of clothing and magazines back in, shut the door, move the refrigerator, walk back to my car, and drive to the store to play the Lotto. The rationalization being that I will show the world that I am a wonderful, powerful person by winning the Lotto.

The Lotto machine is broken and I cannot play.

Remember I told you earlier that somewhere in this article is the key to winning an extra 50 million dollars? Bet you didn’t believe me. Therefore, you didn’t find the key to winning the 50 mil, did you? See how that first Suze Orman key works?