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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Decluttering: the 'series'!...and a giveaway :-)

How many times have I mentioned 'de-cluttering' in posts? Lots! that's for sure. I've de-cluttered my wardrobe and the cupboard in my sewing room over 2011.And I've been working enthusiastically on  this task over the last few weeks. I think that it's a 'throw-back' behaviour to when I was working. The long Christmas school holidays were always my 'spring-cleaning' time. I'm not alone in this almost passion for de-cluttering. Tasmanian Minimalist is a dedicated de-clutterer with a number of posts with suggestions/ideas and challenges on this topic. 'Tas' also has a list of items that she has removed from her home day by day over the last year. When you read through it, you wonder just what has she got left lol!

A bag being filled with items for the Lifeline Bin

DH and I would have probably 15 of these large containers; gradually emptying them.

The book which has made a lot of sense to me

On my knitting forum page that I belong to, there is even talk of de-cluttering there. This de-cluttering calendar  link was included on the forum page today and looks quite useful. Through the reading of blogs I became aware of this book, 'It's all too much' by Peter Walsh and on the spur of the moment, I bought it earlier this year through an online bookshop based here in Australia. When it arrived I thought, 'Why did I waste my money on this?' I even commented that it would be the 'same old, same old' self help type of book. But I did read a bit of it before we went overseas and I had time to mull over Walsh's basic message. This is a blurb on the book from Amazon:-

When Peter Walsh, organizational guru of TLC's hit show Clean Sweep and a regular contributor to The Oprah Winfrey Show, appeared on national television shows and told people how they could reclaim their lives from the suffocating burden of their clutter, the response was overwhelming. People flooded Peter's website ( with success stories about how his book had changed their lives. Peter's unique approach helped people everywhere learn to let go of the emotional and psychological clutter that was literally and figuratively choking the life out of their homes.
With his good humor and reassuring advice, Peter shows you how to face the really big question: What is the vision for the life you want to live? He then offers simple techniques and a step-by-step plan to assess the state of your home, prioritize your possessions, and let go of the clutter you have been holding on to that has kept you from living the life you imagine. The result is freed-up space, less stress, and more energy for living a happier, richer life every day.

I especially like that last bit!
The main things that his book got me thinking about was the 'Why' of what makes people keep stuff and continue to add to this stuff and his advice of how to stop being sentimental about some belongings. My mother was a hoarder...she had a wooden tea chest (a cube shaped box about 3ft by 3 ft by 3 ft) full of recipes clipped from the old Telegraph newspaper over a number of years starting in the late 40s. She never made anything from those recipes. She had every copy of the English Women's Weekly for over 30 years; later she was to also buy the Readers Digest, New Idea and Woman's Day and keep every copy of those. When I was in my early teens, she discovered Mills and Boon're probably getting the picture here? Then there was her 'fetish' for handbags and

For a few years our children have been saying that they are not looking forward to when DH and I die, for all the usual reasons...but they also add that they are not looking forward to emptying the house....even adult children can be quite 'guileless' and straight to the point, saying it like it is, eh? DH and I in 2002, compacted 2 1/2 households into one medium sized home. Since then we've found homes for lots of excess furniture and appliances. But we still feel cluttered and behind cupboard doors lies lots of clutter and excess belongings. Peter Walsh is very helpful in helping change my 'mindset'...just because I've had something for years doesn't mean that my children want to inherit it.

DH and I were storing crocheted throws made by his mother; we weren't using them. DH's girls were happy to have one each plus another grandchild  in Canberra loved the idea of having one of grandma's throws.

Just because I love a piece of fabric (dress weight) and have kept it for 25 years without sewing it, why would there be any chance that I may sew it any time soon? Why am I keeping wedding and engagement cards from my first marriage? Peter Walsh suggests taking photos of items if you love them but move them out and on if they have no use...I don't agree with doing that with everything but believe me, there are a ton of things that I do see the sense of what he says and I'm moving them out. When my best friend sabotages my efforts by insisting I take her boxes of fabric, I now point blank refuse as the book has helped strengthen my resolve.

I need to go through my boxes of photocopied quilt and knitting patterns...some have been in the box for years...what are the chances I've forgotten what's in the box and what are the chances I still want to make those items?...move 'em out. Same with my recipe drawer and recipe books. I have several years of 'Australian Stitches' magazine...some useful articles but most techniques are online these days, so they are moving out to either the SOS 'table' or in a charity bin. DH and I need to go though our CD, video (soon outmoded) and DVD collection and if we don't want to re-watch a DVD, we'll move them on.

Peter's book also has a chapter where each room of the house is discussed and suggestions made. I've already got some ideas for de cluttering the kitchen as well as the hutches in the dining room which are overloaded with dishes and bowls that we never use. For many years I've continually bought 'new, bigger and improved' storage boxes/crates and read up on clever innovative places to put these overfilled storage boxes in the home. Walsh points out that that does not solve the problem of clutter, it actually exacerbates the problem...he urges that people get rid of items so they don't actually need extra, new  storage containers. So far I've moved a lot of stuff out of our home but very little has gone into land-fill (in other words thrown in the bin), most has gone to charity shops and some has found new homes in the family.

From being quite dubious at first about the quality of Walsh's book, I ended up being a fan. As I previously said I ordered the book online last year. When I returned from OS, I found that had sent me yet another copy from their UK shop...go figure??? So if anyone would like a copy, I'm giving this second one away; after all if you're serious about de-cluttering you certainly don't have 2 copies of the same book!!! Just leave a comment saying you'd like it and non bloggers are included as well of course.


Linn said...

While reading your blg I was thinking that I need to get a copy of that book! We have been decluttering the house for the past few weeks and I keep saying to myself "if we were to move would I take ths with me? It seems to be working. We have been in the same house for 33 years and have accumulated too much. It's time for some of it to find a new home!

Anonymous said...

Good for you! It's not easy to de-clutter for sentimentalists like me, but I'm been getting better at it. It helps to live in a small house too particularly making a decision about bringing in something new or keeping something.

Becky said...

This book sounds fantastic! I'm planning to work my way though my "stash" this year and am hoping to have only one or two tubs of fabric by the end. No more buying fabric or yarn until what I all ready have is gone. I desperately need new clothes and have the fabric to make probably two ward robes full so I just need to get busy! Perhaps next Christmas will find me putting together gift baskets of knick knacks and craft supplies that I don't or won't use.

Humble wife said...

I am commenting but please consider the others for the book. I am a declutter fool! About every quarter I do a major overhaul. I am not big on the extras.

Yet I do collect a few things. I have several pyrex dishes and I also have about 6 measuring spoon sets. LOL

Have a wonderful time decluttering!


Lea White said...

have not read the book, but I am in serious need to declutter around here. Sometimes I miss the days just after we arrived, but in the last 7 years we just collected so many things.