Monday, July 23, 2007

Clearing the clutter~

I'm always impressed with bloggers who post a "Books I'm Reading" list. I'm impressed with their books, some of which I have never heard of, but they sound impressive. Just the titles alone impress me.

If I had a list, it would be eclectic, with some embarassingly non-impressive sounding titles in among the impressive ones. There are some impressive books I read. I'm impressed anyway.

I'd never list the Cosmopolitan Magazines I find beside my daughter's bed when I take a nap in her room, or the magazine slop I fall prey to in the supermarket checkout line; I don't call that reading. That's how I numb my mind to fall asleep, and learn-- yet again that there is no way at all to lose belly flab without diet and exercise, along with learning a few more things "men secretly desire."

Along the lines of an embarrassing book to admit reading, I grabbed a copy of "It's All Too Much" off the "new release" shelf when I went to the library to pick up my impressive titles.

I'd seen the author Peter Walsh on Oprah. He's handsome with emerging crow's feet and short chin beard thing. On the book jacket photo, he has just a touch of gel in his hair, and an appealing close-mouthed half smile. He had me at "Hello."

Peter is an "organizational consultant" who helps people clean up their clutter. I started reading in bed; another put me to sleep book, I thought. He said he would dig me out "from under the overwhelming crush of my own possessions." He described people who lived with mountains of stuff, stored, and overflowing until their living space was invaded.

Poor things, I thought smugly. My house looks neat. If you don't open a certain closet or two. Or go into the storage space down cellar. Or the attic. Or my underwear drawer, I thought with a jolt.

I didn't fall asleep with this book tented across my chest. When I did put it down and turn out the light, it was with new resolve, a new mindset.

I'm dumping a little each day: things I never use, will never use, have never used, don't even know how to use. I've given away clothes, jewelry, shoes, pocketbooks, and other things that haven't seen the light of day for a long time.

But there are still the items that have sentimental value. Handsome Pete makes a good point. If they are is so important, why are these items sitting in moldy boxes in the cellar? My sentimental objects are not in my cellar. Nor are they moldy. Still, Pete is merciless. "If they are so important to you why are they in drawers or on closet shelves?" he demands.

Great point, Pete. I'm working on the sentimental things. But meanwhile, you should see my underwear drawer. Now I call it my "lonj - er - ay" drawer.


BookClover said...

I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only one who gets impressed (and sort of terrified) in front of lists of books people are reading (especially when it's huge lists)...but having said that I guess I should not point this out since I managed to read Harry Potter in a day and few hours which was quite impressive according to a few friends (I just couldn't stop reading, what's impressive in that?;-)

Dawn said...

I'll have to check out Pete's book. Thanks! Have you ever tried Fly Lady? She's online and has books and seems to be everywhere. :) She has some good suggestions. But, like a fly, she can get a bit pesky at times.

Janice Thomson said...

I guess I'm not very important Ruth for I don't have a 'Book's I am reading' list. :>) But I can vouch for how important it is to rid oneself of junk and clutter. I live a very simple life with none of the many gadgets, dust-collectors etc etc some have in their homes. I once did though but through a few unexpected moves and just being plain tired of dusting too many ornaments etc I decided to rid myself of all things never used.
What a difference it made in my whole lifestyle. When one loses attachment to material things there is room for much better things like compassion, love, knowledge and wisdom. I have never looked back...and that was 20 some years ago.

Ruth D~ said...

I don't have a book list, but I do have a book pile beside my bed.

BC~ Harry Potter isn't in my pile. My daughter finished the book and filled me in, but I can't say anything until my son finishes. He's almost done. His girlfriend, who also finished the book, is patiently keeping a poker face.

Fly Lady? Never heard of her. I may not even need her. Pete is working out well.

Janice~ You learned a a lesson early on. I'm by no means a cluttered person, but it is amazing the odd little things that I just keep holding on to. I'll keep working on it.

Jennifer Curtis said...

Love it! Are you still dumping? My mother and I have this long standing joke, and she actually asked me if I shared it with you last week when I told her you visited.

When I was moving (one of the many moves over the last few years) from Mass to Florida in 2003, my mother encouraged me to get rid of a LOT of stuff I had accumulated over the years. She said, "Jennifer, be ruthless. Be without Ruth."

So, I guess you are too, Ruth, being without Ruth.


Ruth D~ said...

Try as I might I can never be "ruthless." For the obvious name reason, ha, ha, but for the "I just don't have it in me reason." That's why I have saved-- he would kill me for saying this-- the little plastic cap from my son's circumcision. And I mean little. How can a mother throw that out?

Belladonna said...

Wow - thanks so much for directing me to this post AND to the book.

Sounds like you and I operate very much alike - house as a whole may be neat as a pin but OH THOSE CLOSETS!

Belladonna said...

by the way, MY "Books I've read list is VERY eclectic. Yeah, there are some classics but also plenty of fluff. I like to mix my genres. At least half of what is listed there was listened to on CD while commuting back and forth to my job. I haven't seen much purpose in making the distinction between those and the ones I read in my hands. But I am starting to recognize that I do process them differently...I'm not about to go back and recatalog the 2007 list. But maybe for next year's log I'll keep a running count of which is which.

Ruth D~ said...

Books on tape/CD most definitely count. I have a 40 minute drive to work, and if I'm lucky, I have something good to listen to. Sometimes I listen to the books that would put me to sleep if I actually read them, the ones with all those foreign names and such. They are much easier to listen to than read.