The Clutter Cure by Judi Culbertson (McGraw Hill, 2007) helped me refocus my efforts at keeping my home nice. In her book, Ms Culbertson helped me identify my weak areas for accumulating clutter, recognize what I really want out of my space, and undertake some easy solutions for eliminating clutter without guilt. As I read her short book about clutter, I felt inspired to walk around my home with a garbage bag and box (for donations).
I should clarify that I fully aware that I am and always have been a rather tidy person. I like a clean surface, I love organization, and even as a ten-year-old, I remember getting really excited about organizing and cleaning my friend’s bedroom closet. (Yes, I remember organizing her closet one day…for fun). I am not a candidate for Hoarders or anything. However, I’ve now lived in my home for 3.5 years, the longest I’ve gone without moving since I have been an adult .1 Add two children, preschool take homes, a husband who no longer travels to work, three Christmases and about ten birthdays for two adults and a child over those years, and we’ve begun to accumulate far more than we need. I’ve begun to feel a bit overwhelmed with the amount of stuff accumulating on every surface, in the closets, and in the basement storage areas. Somehow we got by on significantly less for the 15 months we lived in Australia: I don’t think we need so much now!
Enter: The Clutter Cure. Obviously, no book will be an actual “cure” to any clutter problem. Solving a clutter problem requires action. I loved the approach of this book, though. The first part defined the different kinds of clutter, and I recognized myself in some of them: the gifts we didn’t like that we feel guilty getting rid of; “But it’s still perfectly good!” (although I never use it); the accuracy police (all those college papers I feel I need to keep because some day someone will want to see them). You get the picture. Ms Culbertson is a professional organizer, and it’s obvious she’s heard all the excuses there are.
Her next part of the book is to access what you want out of your home. What is each room used for? What do you want it to be? I have a hard time seeing my space creatively, and trying to picture how it could be different. I need to think more out of the box (and drool over home design magazines, I guess), but I also need to be realistic as I consider how I use the space and will continue to use it. Finally, the conclusion gives some tips on how to label items for giving away or throwing away. I admit this didn’t help me as much as the rest of the book, but I do think it’s nice to have a little reminder that if it’s stained or broken, it really belongs in the trash, not in the Goodwill pile!
The end result of my decluttering spur this week included the following: $1.73 in coins (lots of pennies), 13 scrunchies, 3 bags full of garbage, and 3 boxes full of donations for Goodwill.
It felt so good to reassess my needs and get my home a little closer to where I’d like it to be! I hope I can remember to stop worrying about the “accuracy police” and the other guilt-inducing reasons I save “stuff” so I can get my home looking like I want it to. If you are looking to be inspired to declutter, you may find Culbertson’s contribution to be helpful.
- If I counted the number of times I moved from age 18 until when I bought my house 3.5 years ago, I think it would top a dozen. ↩