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Declutter Strategies - A Book Review

Dec 4, 2007
Let's face it. Clutter can be overwhelming. If you are swimming in clutter, whether at your home or in your office, you know how frustrating it can be.

I decided a long time ago that gathering declutter tips that I can actually use is better than gathering more clutter. "Good-bye Clutter -- Organize and Simplify Every Room in Your Home" by Susan Wright offers ideas for decluttering in every area of your life. But is the information useful? Here's what I found.

-- Do you need someone to tell you the truth about your clutter?

Susan does that up front in the first chapter. I did not find that information as helpful as other portions of her book simply because I have read that before. I was eager to find new declutter tips!

However, if you've never given yourself the chance to discover the 'why' behind your clutter, do yourself an enormous favor. Read "Good-bye Clutter" chapter one and ponder it, honestly. You'll only need to do this once and then you'll be ready to take action.

-- What are your clutter collections?

I admit it; I'm an information junkie. I want to save everything I read that is meaningful to me or that I think I might need to re-read some day. Of course, when I need that information, I either can't find it or I simply search for a new source.

Then one day it hit me. I'm online everyday. I don't even need a dictionary anymore as long as I have a computer and internet connection. I can look up ANYTHING at the click of my mouse. I honestly don't need to keep the information clutter machine running anymore!

Susan discusses clutter collections in her book, too. From knickknacks to photographs, she offers some interesting ways to cut ourselves loose from 'collecting' these items but not enjoying or using them.

If you see yourself here, 'Clutter Collections' might be the chapter for you.

-- A step-by-step approach.

"An efficient, well-kept household is not an impossible dream. Only two things need to be kept in mind: Get rid of things you don't use and put the things you do use in the area they are used or nearby." Susan Wright "Good-bye Clutter".

The author emphasizes usefulness in her organizational structure. Her tone seems to be geared towards someone who is ready to make changes...now. The book goes through each major room in the house describing ways to declutter step-by-step, but not in too much depth.

If you read this book, you'll be asked to think about how you use items and spaces around your home. I know how well this concept works. I recently remodeled my kitchen and I spent hours considering how I work in that space and what items needed to be grouped together. Now all that effort has paid off handsomely as multiple cooks can work in my kitchen with ease and clean-up is shockingly simple.

All because of a new organizing system based on how we actually use our kitchen.

The kitchen section of this book has numerous declutter tips but is overall too lightweight for me. Most women spend a lot of time in their kitchen and need it to flow well and work hard but don't know where to start. Still, if you started with these tips in a month or so you'd probably be ready to declutter even further.

-- Who's to blame?

I love the section in "Good-bye Clutter" on dealing with household clutterers. We all have them! No matter how organized you and I may be, if our family is not, we're going to lose the clutter battle!

Living in a family requires teamwork and nowhere is that more apparent than in the amount of clutter found around a home. Again, while this section is not extensive, it IS very helpful, as I think this idea is important and often overlooked in organizing resources.

Sections on storage solutions, home entertainment and dealing with clothing are included, too. The author has a fairly extensive section on paper clutter and for most of us, this will be welcome news. Unless you run a home office, the information found here will probably be sufficient to get you decluttered and making sense of your paper flow.

"Clutter slows you down and it creates confusion." writes the author and she's right. Her final chapter is entitled "Uncluttering Your Time". If you suspect that you are struggling with a time management challenge as well as a clutter problem, then this section will get you started toward freedom. The trick is, of course, not to get overwhelmed by the notion of all this change and give yourself permission to do what you need to do one step at a time.

"Good-bye Clutter" by Susan Wright is a good place to start if you've never read an organizing book before. (It can be found in your local library or online bookseller.) You will find practical tips to help you declutter your spaces and then you can decide if you want to move onto something more in-depth later on.

And that's fine because the war on clutter is won one step at a time.
About the Author
Colleen Langenfeld has been parenting for over 26 years and helps other moms enjoy mothering more at http://www.paintedgold.com . Visit her website and grab easy declutter tips today.
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