New Year's resolution: clear out the clutter

Seira Wilson on January 08, 2020
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2020 is not just a new year, its the beginning of a whole new decade, so I've been thinking maybe its time to clear out the clutter of the last ten years and get a fresh start. There have been a lot of books published about this topic in recent years, as popular thinking has gone from an attitude of accumulation to a more thoughtful approach towards sustainability and minimalism.  But what to do with everything we've already got piled into closets and corners?  I'm usually pretty intimidated by the sheer volume of stuff I've got to deal with, but after reviewing the new titles below, I'm actually looking forward to it and feel like I've got the tools (books) to make it happen.  Get ready, Goodwill, here I come...



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The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff by Marla Stone

Marla Stone is not only a professional organizer, she's also a psychotherapist.  She gets it.  We love our stuff! That's why we keep holding onto it.  But are the things cluttering up our lives actually things that fit into the lifestyle we envision for ourselves?  This is the question Stone will prompt us to ask, taking us room by room through our homes to identify how we can align our space, our values, and our stuff, in a unique approach to de-cluttering.

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Minimalism Room by Room: A Customized Plan to Declutter Your Home and Simplify Your Life by Elizabeth Enright Phillips

A beginner's guide to minimalism. Phillips guides those who are looking to lead a life of less (stuff) through the process of sorting and streamlining.  There are tips on sustainability and getting your attitude in line with your action plan.  Checklists and tracking sheets help with organization and cleaning, with a room-by-room approach that seeks to get us on the road to minimalism without becoming overwhelmed.

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Simply Spaced: Clear the Clutter and Style Your Life by Monica Leed

Monica Leed runs a professional organizing company in Los Angeles and her approach is both to de-clutter and also infuse our revised spaces with style.  Simplify, streamline, curate, and create a living or working space that is efficient and feels good.  I like that Leed not only tackles each room, but also the tricky bits like photos, mementos, and paper.  Plenty of worksheets keep the momentum going and Leed gives tips for creating a stylish environment as part of the process which gives organizing an appeal I don't usually experience. 

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Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: The Book Collection by Marie Kondo

If you haven't joined the Marie Kondo club, now is a great time to get on board. Kondo's Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo was met with unbridled enthusiasm and now there's a boxed set of her books to bring us joy.  The set includes her groundbreaking first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and the follow-up, Spark Joy.


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Less Stuff: Simple Zero-Waste Steps To A Joyful And Clutter-Free Life by Lindsay Miles

Less Stuff looks at clearing clutter and reclaiming our lives from a zero waste perspective.  Sometimes tackling the clutter can feel like staring at a big pile of guilt; all these things we no longer need or use, or maybe should never have bought in the first place. Miles offers solutions for how to give our things a new life--elsewhere.  The attitude of the book is gentle; no one wants to load up the landfill, but Miles points out that if there is truly no re-purposing or recycling for an item, then it's going to waste in your house or at the dump.  Changing our attitude towards stuff will ultimately be the most rewarding for us personally as well as the environment.


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Let It Go: Downsizing Your Way to a Richer, Happier Life by Peter Walsh

This book is different from the rest in that Walsh addresses the issue of clearing out a home because we are downsizing.  Moving, moving in with someone else, clearing out the home of a parent, all of these scenarios require not just a de-clutter, but a complete overhaul with the goal of taking only that which we truly need and want. Walsh offers strategies and support for dealing with the emotional challenges of this kind of purging and organizing, be it in your own place, or a home where other people's feelings are involved.  


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