About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#19: It's All Too Much

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff, by Peter Walsh (New York: Free Press, 2007)

"When you think of what it will take to clean your house, are you so overwhelmed you throw up your hands and cry, 'It's all too much"? Do you dream of having a closet where your clothes aren't crammed in so tightly that you can actually get to them? Is your basement filled with boxes of precious family mementos you haven't opened in ten years but are too afraid to toss? Are your kitchen counters overrun with appliances you've never used? Do your kids play in the living room because there's no room left in their playroom? If somewhere along the way you've simply lost the ability to keep your home organized and clutter-free, then It's All Too Much has the solution you've been searching for. Peter Walsh, the organizational guru from TLC's hit show Clean Sweep, understands how easy it is for clutter to creep into your life and how hard it is to get rid of it. In It's All Too Much, he shares his proven system for letting go of your clutter, regaining control, and living the life you imagine for yourself. Peter has helped clients from every walk of life. With his trademark humor and insight, Peter guides you step by step through the very charged process of decluttering your home, organizing your possessions, and reclaiming your life. Going way beyond color-coded boxes and storage bin solutions, It's All Too Much shows you how to reexamine your priorities and let go of the things that are weighing you down. Clearly and simply, Peter gives you the courage you need to go through your home, room by room -- even possession by possession -- and honestly assess what adds to your quality of life and what's keeping you from living the life of your dreams. Filled with real life examples and advice for homes of all sizes and personalities, It's All Too Much will set you free from the emotional baggage that goes along with clutter and help you lead a fuller, richer life with less stuff."

Table of Contents:
Part One: The Clutter Problem
1. This Is Not My Beautiful House
2. Excuses, Excuses
3. Imagine the Life You Want to Live

Part Two: Putting Clutter in Its Place
Step 1: Kick Start -- Tackling the Surface Clutter
Step 2: Hash It Out!
Step 3: Conquer Your Home
Room 1: Master Bedroom
Room 2: Kids' Rooms
Room 3: Family and Living Rooms
Room 4: Home Office
Room 5: Kitchen
Room 6: Dining Room
Room 7: Bathroom
Room 8: Garage, Basement, and Other Storerooms
Step 4: Maintenance
Step 5: Cleanup Checkup
Step 6: New Rituals
Afterword: Take What You've Learned into the World

My Take:
As organizational gurus go, I like Walsh better than most, but Lighten Up was much better and more useful. This one seems targeted to folks who have a way worse clutter problem than I do; I mean, sure, we could stand to clean out the guest room/ home office, but we don't have a dining table whose top we haven't seen in 12 years. The book's premise isn't rocket science: You only have as much space as you have, so don't hold on to more stuff than you can fit into it. Get a new book or pair of shoes? Well, you need to toss an old one. Saving bins and boxes and even roomfuls of memorabilia with intentions of making it into a scrapbook some day, or because it was Grandma's and you just can't part with it? It's not exactly honoring Grandma's memory if it's in a pile o' junk in the basement collecting dust. Worth reading, I guess, if you've got a major clutter problem and Flylady isn't quite your thing, but otherwise ... just indulging my weird fondness for self-help books, so nothing to see here.

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