Is your bedroom floor covered with piles of things? Do you wish you had a dollar for every broken action figure in your children’s toy box? Do you own two dozen of something “just in case” you might need it someday, and “someday” has never arrived? Is clutter causing fights or making you feel overwhelmed?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Many people have clutter, and no one wants it! But now there is hope: and that hope is Peter Walsh, the Professional Organizer on The Learning Channel’s show Clean Sweep. In his book “It’s All Too Much,” Walsh shows that he understands the frustration that comes with too much stuff. Even better, he explains what to do about it.
Walsh’s book begins by explaining why people get clutter in the first place: it’s hard to part with things we might want to use later, or with keepsakes of the past. In everyday, straightforward language, he tells us why these ideas can cause our belongings-and frustrations-to pile up. He counters the excuses we have for not getting rid of things. “I don’t have the time” to clean up is one of them. Walsh counters this by asking how much time you lose by not knowing where a bill is, or how long do you spend trying to find your keys? The bottom line is, if you want to change your clutter, no excuse is good enough. Get in there and get started. But how?
Don’t worry: Walsh will help you. He guides you through the process to freedom. The steps are not complicated and it’s much easier to start than you would imagine. From the basics (get rid of actual trash) to deciding whether to keep those towel sets you’ve had for two decades, Walsh explains how to decide what to keep, what to toss, what to give away or sell. Do you stare every morning at a closet jammed full of clothes, half of which don’t fit you anymore? It doesn’t have to be that way. Walsh tells you to ask yourself a few questions about every piece you own, like does it fit well. If the answer is no, out it goes. And if you do lose weight later on? What better reward than buying some new clothes!
The book doesn’t stop with telling you how to eliminate all your clutter, though. Once it’s gone, there is another, equally important task: keeping it out. Here the keys are doing maintenance and developing new rituals. Again, the advice is feasible and easy to understand. When you take something out, put it away when you’re finished with it. Hang things up. Keep trash thrown away. It’s almost common sense advice, except that when you are stressed and overwhelmed it’s hard to realize what do to without help.
Walsh’s writing style is straightforward and sympathetic. He spells things out in a no-nonsense way that tells you why you should use his advice, and leaves you feeling like you can. He helps you to redefine what each room is your home will be for, and what should be in it. From the kitchen to the basement, he shows you how to take charge of your home and your life.
Book published by Free Press, November 6, 2007, 240 pages