Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another Clutter Control Book

Last week, I found another clutter-control book in with the donations to the book sale. This one is called Lighten Up! Free Yourself from Clutter: Create the Space for Miracles by Freeing Yourself from Too Much Stuff by Michelle Passoff. (HarperCollins, 1998). It says pretty much the same as the other books but the claim that you can experience Miracles if you clear out the clutter is pretty enticing!

The book is divided into parts, chapters and sections. Part 1 is "Getting Started." The first chapter, "How Did Things Get to be Such a Mess?" is filled with insight as to why clutter happens and some advice on how to psych yourself up to make the control process happen. There is a nice section titled, "There is No End to Clutter" that lays reality on the line: no matter how good a job you do de-cluttering, more clutter will come your way. "As long as you still have blood running through your veins, a stream of objects will keep passing in front of you throughout your life." (page 23) The point of this observation is that recognizing that you will never be rid of clutter can rid you of any associated guilt and fear over its existence and its accumulation. Passoff says, "Rather than think that one day your clutter will be gone forever, I suggest that you instead try to develop a lifelong relationship with your physical environment that makes it a more joyful place in which to dwell." I would say that is a very sound piece of advice.

In the section titled "Becoming a Clutter Connoisseur," (page 15) Passoff identifies six different "varieties" of clutter: 1) Garbage 2) A mass of mixed-up, jumbled, unlike objects 3) Unfinished Business 4) Uncomfortable areas of life 5) Hanging onto or dishonoring the past and 6) Indecision and she says that it is important to recognize and appreciate the differences and to learn the skills to deal with each in order to be fully in control of your environment.

I think I will spend some time on the points that Ms. Passoff makes in this book over the next week or so in this blog. She presents a very positive position on the process that is worth consideration. Let's see if we can create some of those miracles she promises.

For an exercise to do over the weekend, you can try what she suggests as your starting place, to identify what you are making room for. She suggests carving out an hour or so of uninterrupted time "to jot down s0me thoughts about how your life would be if you could have it be any way you wanted it to without clutter in the way." She says to avoid generalizations like "I would be happy" and to be as specific as possible, making long- and short-term goals and identifying objectives and strategies like you would if you were in the business of clearing clutter. You will use this to help you identify later the stuff you will keep and the stuff you will let go of.

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