"Clutter builds a barrier between you and the rest of the world. But when the clutter is cleared, you have more space for everything--activities you love, people you love." (Kathi Lipp)
So you all know I've been reading this book Clutter Free, Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space since just after Christmas (has it really been that long already?!).
And while my foyer and entryway will probably never look like the one above (they must not have kids! wink. wink.), I do want my home to say "welcome" and not "watch out" when people, my family included, come through the door.
Reading this book has brought me steps closer to that goal. I've shown some photos, offered a few words and promised a more formal book review, so here it is.
If clutter has in any way made your life more complicated, challenging and hard to live to it's fullest then you will benefit from this encouraging book. Clutter Free will help you to re-think what you are keeping and throw away (or get rid of) what you are not. It will not happen overnight, but by reading this book you will be encouraged, motivated and offered the tools you need to tackle issues that may have become so big (literally) that you have began to feel that perhaps there is no help at all. This book will help you to overcome what can be overwhelming and in the process help to re-establish peace into some of the chaotic areas of your life.
Alright, I know that sounds a little infomercially, but I happen to really think it is all true when it comes to this book (I'm not one to write reviews about things that I don't passionately believe in!).
While my house still looks messy a lot of the time (there ARE five people living there after all-- three of whom who are still learning what it means to pick up after themselves and one of the three who much prefers to dump buckets of things all over the house than actually pick anything up, but I suppose we'll give her some time), I've adopted a whole new attitude and perspective on it all, which is HUGE in my world.
So, while there is SO much more I could say, I really think that if any of this resonates with life at your house you just need to read the book. It's the best $10 you'll spend all year! (You'll end up saving you at least that much once you realize that your buying habits might be adding to the problem!).
Lipp challenges us to get rid of 2,000 items when we take this de-cluttering task on. While I thought that sounded absurd at first I now realize it is a completely attainable goal (If you're a mom you can probably rid yourself of 30 things right now by rifling through your kids toy bins and pulling out all of the old junky Happy Meal or broken Dollar Store toys hiding in there!).
I've been tallying my purges though haven't yet added them up (they're on little post-it notes around the house!). If I were to guess I'd say we're at 500-600 items so far.
So, here are 4 things I've learned and several favorite quotes. After that you simply must just go buy the book.
4 things I've learned:
1. The cluttered areas in my life can be attacked, little by little in 10-30 minutes a day. Seriously. One small area a day...every day. I used to think I needed to send my kids to camp for three weeks so that I could get the house back in shape before allowing everyone back in. While that might be the easiest way to get things done, I really would miss everyone after the first week, and have realized that progress can be made in small spurts. It's the turtle and the hare mentality...slow and steady wins the race (;
So, instead of zoning out on Facebook or watching another episode of House Hunters (my way of vicariously living in someone else's house because mine is driving me nuts!), I'm trying to pick an area and tackle it. Sometimes I even jot the area down the night before so that I'm intentional about it the next day.
2. There is a spiritual side to clutter. When our space is perpetually disorganized and overstuffed we don't feel the freedom to engage in other projects, ministries, or volunteer work that God may have for us. Sometimes we don't even feel free to fully engage with the people right in front of us (our families!). Less stuff = more time and freedom for other things.
3. I have a more realistic framework for assessing what I should keep and what I might consider throwing way or giving away...Over and over again Lipp encourages us to ask these three questions:
1.) Do I currently use it?
2.) Do I really love it?
3.) Would I buy it again?
These are great questions to start the process and have helped me to get rid of things I don't use, love or wouldn't buy again.
4. There is a difference between "mess" and "clutter". I've realized that even as I've been working on this de-cluttering process that the house still...lo and behold...gets messy.
Here's the difference...in the past I used to interpret the "mess" from a few busy days, or kid-projects etc. to mean that I was failing in my efforts and goals to create a more orderly and less cluttered house. I would get discouraged and start to mentally throw in the towel on the whole thing. The fact of the matter is that a lot of that mess was clutter because we, as a family, were hanging on to a LOT of things we didn't need.
Now we're just hanging on to some things we don't need (;
It's a process.
We're accepting the mess sometimes, attacking it at others, and always trying to de-clutter in-between. Its an ebb and flow I'm learning to live and groove with.
Some of my Favorite Quotes:
"When all your 'put away places' are bursting at the seems, you will stop putting things away."
"When you save everything, you can find nothing."
"You don't know where something goes, so instead of forcing yourself into a decision, you put off deciding. This leads to piles of decisions that need to be made. And when is a good time to deal with that? Never."
"Being a good steward of your resources means, much of the time, giving those resources away."
"Stuff is a short-term fix to a long-term longing-- to have enough. The problem is what we're longing for can't be satisfied by our stuff."
When we actively practice an abundance mentality, we set our hands to share the very things we held on to so tightly in the past; money, things, time, and recognition. "
"We only have a finite amount of space, time, energy, and money. We can't keep collecting things and lying to ourselves about our capacity to care for them."
Wow! Good stuff, isn't it!
So good that I have one copy of the book to offer to one of you...
Clutter Free Giveaway!!
As I mentioned in my previous post I found this book to be so beneficial that I purchased an extra copy to give away! If you'd like to be entered to be the lucky beneficiary simply leave a comment below, or on my Little Writer Momma Facebook page beneath the link to this post (I know commenting here is complicated for some!). You can comment any time between now and Friday at 9 p.m. I will randomly pick one name and will post the winner on my Little Writer Momma Facebook page on Saturday morning (you'll need to have "liked" my Facebook page in order to see who won)!
Good luck and three cheers for de-cluttering progress!