I have been reading It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life by Peter Walsh. I have read many different organizational books in my day, many of which have worked for me for periods of time. Inevitably, I tweak and tweak the system until it no longer resembles that which I originally read about. Lately, I have ditched any and all systems as none of them seem to be cutting it, store bought or self made. Many of you know the feeling that it takes every bit of energy each day just to make three meals and clean them up, let alone organize and declutter. That is where I am at. I can try to organize my calendar, my chore system, my daily routine, my lesson plans but the most important thing I can do right now is to eliminate those things which are dragging us down and making my home unwelcoming.
You may wonder why I am taking the time to tell you about this book when I have just admitted that I have read many of them. What makes this book different? In the introduction alone, Walsh tells his readers that he is not going to talk about the "stuff". He claims that organizing rarely starts with the "stuff" but starts by visualizing the life that we want to live. "Does the stuff we own contribute to the lives that we are hoping to achieve, or is it getting in the way of that vision? If it's impeding our vision for the life we want, then why is it in our homes? Why is it in our lives? Why do we cling to it?" These are questions that Mike and I will be asking ourselves in the upcoming weeks.
There is a quote in this book that really sums up my organizational problem. "You can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic as many times as you'd like but the ship is still going down." You see, I have been moving clutter around for years. I do not have many knick knacks or chachkis but BOY do we have books...and wooden toys...and playmobil men and...fill in the blank. Peter Walsh explains that most people spend an inordinate amount of time, organizing their clutter into handy, pretty storage bins. Rather than get rid of our clutter, we buy another storage solution. He mentions that while families have (sadly) gotten smaller in the past thirty years, home sizes have grown by half. We have bigger homes and less people living in them. Ten percent of Americans have a self storage space off their own property. That is a lot of "stuff".
We live in small bungalow with a relatively unusable basement which floods several times a year. We have very little storage space, like most homes built between the two World Wars. People were not hoarders back then and they repaired much, rather than replacing items. Two of our bedrooms have a single door width closet and two bedrooms share a closet which is slightly larger. We have a shallow linen closet on the main floor and a small crawl space in the attic eaves where we store our Christmas decorations. I am not complaining about my home, believe me. However, we have a very small home. That's a fact. This is the space we have been given and I need to make it the most pleasant place I can. I need to declutter and make some "breathing room". I want to turn our home into a source of comfort rather than a source of stress.
I will be sharing my thoughts on this book as I continue to read it, along with any and all projects that we tackle head on. It will be an exciting adventure, believe me. :)