On a recent trip to the library I stumbled (naturally) into the 640s. This area, generally speaking, is where you will find your books on Family Living and Home Economics. It is where you will find books on changing your family lifestyle for the better. It is where you will find your books on decluttering and zero waste.
In my browse, I found Peter Walsh’s book It’s All Too Much: an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff. I couldn’t resist having a squizz. Has Peter Walsh worked out things I haven’t yet? How are we going with this decluttering stuff? I took the book away on our summer holiday and found it was so readable that I was happy to dip in and out throughout the week. I didn’t expect to read it cover to cover, but that’s exactly what I ended up doing.
Peter Walsh may be better known to those of you in the US for his series Clean Sweep. I’ve never seen the series, but I presume from the explanation he gives in the book that it is something along the lines of Hoarders but with more success. I’m kind of shy of anyone calling themselves a ‘professional organiser’ because my plan is to have less stuff, not more ways to organise it. Turns out, Peter Walsh should really be called a ‘professional chucker’ because he advocates throwing pretty much everything in the trash. He is a lot more ruthless than I am as a declutterer, but what he says, generally, makes sense. Our attachment to our stuff is out of control.
I enjoyed the earlier chapters the most where Peter Walsh discussed the theories behind why we gather clutter and the excuses people use not to get rid of their clutter. This was followed by instructions on how to decrease your clutter, a room-by-room. The book strongly advocates creating a family approach to decluttering and working towards changing your family values in relation to ownership and things. There are even games in there designed to include your children in the whole process.
I did find it a little disconcerting that he wants you to throw everything in the rubbish. I think that reading this coupled with the zero waste book I’m reading gave it a new slant. If we are responsible for buying a lot of stuff we should also be responsible for where it ends up – and better that the final resting place for our junk is somewhere other than landfill.
I was pleased to see that we had already implemented a lot of the strategies outlined in the book. We haven’t been as hardcore as Peter Walsh would like us to be, but we have come a long way. The book wasn’t really ‘talking’ to me. I felt as though it was designed for people at the very scary beginning of their decluttering journey. I did really enjoy the later chapters which gave real, solid strategies for making keeping yourself on track once you’d done the first big declutter.
Most of all, the book inspired me. I came home and tackled a cobwebby corner I’d been avoiding for months. If you’re in a cluttersome rut, borrow this from your library. It is a fast read and is very friendly with lots of sub titles and grey pop out boxes for info. Read it!