I recently 5 Days to a Clutter-Free House by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims. I have never read anything by these authors before but managing my home well has been something I've strived for so I eagerly agreed to read and review it.
I began this book with high hopes. I have recently moved from 4000 square feet to 900. As you might imagine that meant I had a lot of extra stuff that would not fit in my new home. Despite my efforts we still had clutter in our tiny little apartment. But I was quickly disappointed, I found the authors to be condescending and their approach did not seem at all to fit into my situation.
In all fairness, I think they were writing to a different audience. Sandra and Marsha seem to be writing for hoarders. Literal hoarders, people who have every surface in their house covered in stuff. So I decided to give the book another shot. A friend had asked me for help decluttering and organizing her closet. The closet needed some serious help. The principles in this book did help with that project. I am approaching it with the methods that the authors suggest. Consequently we have made tons of headway.
So, in conclusion, while their approach may not have worked for my house, there are many situations where I think they would be very helpful. I think the authors could have used a more affirming tone in their writing style and perhaps an approach that fit a wider audience, but I still believe there are many out there that could benefit from this book.
This of course leads me to the topic of how full our lives are... isn't that everyone's normal reaction? No of course not, I know I'm not normal. I always make the spiritual mental emotional leap, if it has to do with our physical life, doesn't it have a metaphysical corollary? I have decluttered a lot of stuff out of my life in the process of moving from 4000 square feet to a place less than 75% of that. But have I been also letting go of all the junk that can't be put on a shelf in my life?
Have I thrown away anger?
Have I thrown out jealousy?
What do I do with my sex drive now as a single woman? Does that go in the 'store for later' box or is there something productive I can do with it right now?
Are there still negative thoughts about myself that I'm allowing to take over my brain?
What do we do with these things that clutter our lives and delay us from making the progress we need to? I have found a box in my brain for some of these things. It's a big black box with a heavy metal lid and there's a lock on it when I close it. I actually visualize putting some of these things in there shutting the lid, locking it up and walking away.
I feel free when I do that. They don't cease to exist when I do that, I just have them in a controlled place where they can't create disaster. I still might think awful things about myself, but when I become aware of it, I know just what to do. Send it to the box, unlock the box, put it in there, lock it up, and walk away.
There is other things that clutter my life that I'm not ready to do that with. It's not that I don't want them to go away, it is just that I know I need to deal with them. My nightmares - I gotta handle that. I can't just put them in a box and walk away because they disrupt my sleep and without my sleep my life becomes impossible. With those things I have a different approach. They have to go sit on the couch.
The couch is in my therapist's office, yes, I go to therapy. Wouldn't you if you were me? I literally visualize her couch and send that stuff there. It actually works. I have given the necessary time to it, but I'm not allowing it to take over my life. It's a win win. I'm not never going to deal with my nightmares, I'm just not going to allow them to freak me out whenever the hell they decide to show up.
Your clutter could be bills laying all over your dining room table or it might be obsessive thoughts about a perfect person in your life. It might be self-defeating patterns in your life that you know you have to get rid of because they are holding you back. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. You want life to change, you have to change your approach to it. If I want to be thin again, if I want to have a healthy relationship one day with a man, if I want to achieve my goals... then I have to change the way I have done things in the past, possibly change the way I'm doing things right this moment. I have the ability to do that, there is nothing standing in my way that can not be overcome.
My encouragement is to take a 5 day approach to a clutter free LIFE. Don't just file that paperwork and get it off the table, but attack the destructive ways you are living and put them in a black box and walk away from it. You can do it. God is on your side and so are all the people who love you, including me.