Clutter is a problem for nearly everyone – one many of us have been trying to solve for years, often by using the latest organizational tool or system.
If you’re like me, you’ve found that no tool really cuts it, and the only thing that has any real impact long term is getting rid of stuff. That’s often easier said than done, so to help, I’d like to introduce you to Peter Walsh and his amazing book, It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff.
The great thing about this book is that all of the title claims are actually true – the plan is easy, he offers many concrete tools for getting rid of stuff, and he provides incredible motivation – living a richer life. The best part is that he does not focus on organizing the stuff – he doesn’t recommend a more comprehensive kit for scrapbooking supplies, for example.
Instead, he focuses on creating a vision for your life first, then seeing how your home and stuff supports that.
“The key to getting – and staying – organized is to look beyond the stuff and imagine the life you could be living,” he says as his first advice. He’s very much like a life coach in that he begins with creating a vision for your ideal life. Not where you are necessarily receiving an award at the VMAs, but your own ideal life.
When you have some idea what that might look like, you start asking additional questions about how you would live this life, like how you spend your time, how you use your home, how you interact with your family, etc. Once you have a basic idea, you then imagine your ideal living space from the view of your ideal life.
I have been working to reduce clutter for more than ten years now, and despite having maybe 10% of the clutter I did then, this exercise still floored me. I can imagine how much easier my entire stuff-reduction ‘journey’ would have been with this starting point!
In order to help with visioning your ideal home, check out this sampling of the questions Walsh offers:
Does this house look the way I want it to look?
Does this house feel like a home to me?
How do I feel when I come home to this place?
How do I want to feel when I come home to this place?
What is this room’s function now?
What is the function I want it to have?
In the ideal version of my current home, my dining room/home office would be a sanctuary where I could set the table for a beautiful meal or begin writing this blog with a sense of peace and purpose. In reality, I lamented not having my laptop charged enough to head to Panera to write this post, because the dining room/office is where all of my clutter collects and I wanted to write this without staring at a cluttered desk. The sad, sad irony.
The upside is that reading this book is helping me to see why my office is the way it is, and what I can do to fix it. Peter Walsh comes across as a very kind and compassionate man who does not judge his clients or his readers. Instead, he offers real solutions to very complicated problems, and gentle encouragement to remember what really brings us joy in life. I highly recommend this book to anyone with issues with clutter – from very mild to severe, I think he can help you. He’s certainly helping me!
Which room is your biggest clutter challenge? Leave a comment and share it with us.
To give you a taste of the tangible tips in It’s All Too Much, I’ve prepared a single sheet with a few of Peter’s ideas for dealing with clothes. You can get it here: It’s All Too Much: Clothes Advice. Enjoy! If you’d like access to my full library of tools and guided audios, sign up for my newsletter below.