Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Organizing versus De-cluttering

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens” - Carl Jung

One of the reasons that de-cluttering books show up in multiple locations in the library is that theoretically there are subtle differences between the content of each of the books. The books that are more specialized, such as a book for those with ADD or one that addresses the home and the office, will find their way to more specialized numbers in the Dewey Decimal System like heatlh and business respectively. This made me wonder if there really was a difference in the approach of these various resources or were they all separated just by the catchy title that the author and their agent applied to the manuscript. I got another book by Julie Morgenstern through Interlibrary Loan and she had made some observations that clearly define for her some of the differences.

On page 12 of Julie Morgenstern’s Book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life (Simon and Schuster, 2008), the author starts a section titled “SHED is Not a De-cluttering Crusade.” She says, “…organizing is not about getting rid of things. Organizing is about identifying what’s important to you and giving yourself access to it.” Ms. Morgenstern’s SHED is a mnemonic device she uses to represent her four step process: 1) Separate the treasures 2) Heave the trash 3) Embrace your identity and 4) Drive yourself forward. She claims that all of the well-meaning people that counsel you to be tough and just rid yourself of your accumulation of “junk” don’t take into account the emotional attachment you may have to these objects and do not give you a reason to part with them permanently. She claims that her SHED principle will “help you avoid the most common pitfalls of de-cluttering: 1) By ensuring you are doing it for the right reason – ‘to get unstuck’ rather than to get organized, 2) By teaching you what you do before and after getting rid of things to make sure your effort lasts and 3) By changing your view of clutter from ‘just junk’ to what I call a Point of Entry – an opportunity for real transformation.”

She has a free online tool (on her website at www.juliemorgenstern.com) where you can determine your SHED Profile.

This is Ms. Morgenstern’s philosophy, although her book on organizing shows up in 648 with the other de-cluttering books, not in 640 with the other books on organizing. So much for my theory…

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