I've read so many organizing books that it's rare that I find one that offers a lot which is new - but Take the U Out of Clutter is one such book.
I'm a big fan of Peter Walsh's book It's All Too Much, where he says, "It's not first and foremost about 'the stuff.'" This book builds on that theme; it focuses on helping people understand just what's going on in their heads and hearts that interferes with dealing with the clutter.
The authors build on their own experiences, saying:
We created lasting change in our exterior spaces by creating lasting change in our interior worlds. Our ability to deal effectively with the clutter that was strewn around our homes was directly linked with our personal stories, and the degree to which these stories empowered or disempowered us.Peter Walsh tells the reader to "imagine the life you want to live" - and authors Mark Brunetz and Carmen Renee Berry also have us create "a vision of the future." But the authors also emphasize that "everything in your home has a story," saying:
Look around your home - it is cluttered with stories. You've got stories stuffed in your closets and jammed into your cupboards; stories stacked to the top of your garage and strewn all over your backyard.Mark and Carmen have us distinguish the bare facts about our stuff from the stories - and have us identify the feelings these stories arouse, and assess how stressful those feelings are. When the items and their stories bring up very high levels of stress, they recommend getting outside help (a therapist, a support group, etc.) before dealing with those items.
They also encourage us to discard certain stories:
You may realize that a story you've told for years is no longer relevant, or that it describes a situation that no longer exists. Perhaps the story communicates an attitude that holds you back. ... If a story makes you feel weary, let it go. Stop telling the story - to yourself or anyone else.This book is well-written and filled with its own stories - engaging stories of people going through the authors' process with Mark.
Many thanks to Naomi Seldin of Simpler Living for introducing me to this book.