Has anyone read....?

tre3June 14, 2007

Gosh I love the library! I was able to check out two books I had seen at a bookstore.

The first one, "It's all too much; An easy plann for living a richer life with less stuff" is written by the organizing guru on Clean Sweep, Peter Walsh. Some of what he writes about you can pick up if you've ever watched a couple of episodes of Clean Sweep on TLC. Still I thought it was a worthwhile read with several nuggets.

It seems very obvious now, but he suggests setting up certain multipurpose areas into zones. This will help me in both the garage and the basement. I can have the gardening zone, tool zone, outdoor xmas zone, sports zone. I had never really thought of it in those terms before.

Another common sense idea ( that had not really ever made it concretely into my thinking) is that the available space sets the limit for those items. If you only have one bookshelf then you can only have that many books. Period. Allow the space to set the limit.

If nothing else the sprinkling of letters from clients and fans is interesting and sometimes motivating.

Has anyone else read this book?

The second book I checked out but have not had time to read is , "The not so big life; making room for what really matters". It is written by Sarah Susanka. I believe she is an architect by training and a proponent and author of "The not so big house". I'm looking forward to reading it and was just curious if anyone else had read it. Maybe we need a book club:)

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No, but now I want to! I'm actually headed to the bookstore later on today with coupons in my hot little hand and will look at both of those. I love all my Sarah Susanka books; she's been a big inspiration to me. Thanks for tip.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 2:32PM
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Claire you make get to read this book before I do! Fingers crossed that it is a good one. Please let me know.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 7:02PM
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Tre3, Thanks for sharing your summer library choices. I've read the introduction to The Not So Big Life and am already completely engaged. Here's a very brief excerpt which makes me think I'm going to love this book:

''It's possible to start living a Not So Big Life of full, rich, vivid moments where everything that happens to us is experienced fully, and where spirit and connection have room to thrive. Just as I gave myself permission to explore beyond the normal boundaries of my particular career path, you'll discover that you too can pursue the aspects of your own nature that aren't being lived but that yearn for liberation.''

I do get weary of everyone thinking they have to go at such a fast pace, and talking about how busy they are. I like the idea of thinking about what really matters, since much of what most people are doing isn't as important as their ''busy-ness'' implies.

I can't wait to read more!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 7:57PM
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Sometimes being busy is similar to having lots of STUFF. I know I am trying to get down to what really matters as far as my possesions and it is just a stepping stone for what really matters in my life.

Thanks for the excerpt. Glad this book strikes a chord with you. I must finish another book before I can pick this one up. It is next on the list!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 10:12PM
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Tre, thanks. They are both on my list for the next library run.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 11:14PM
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I'd checked out It's All Too Much from the library last month and made a few notes from it. Here's what rang true for me:

Opening statement:   
The things you own end up owning you. Â The Fight Club   

2 Kinds of Clutter
1. Lazy clutter  clear this out first
2. Stored treasures  this may take some time

Questions about your home   
1\. Does this house look the way I want it to look?   
2\. Does this house feel like a home to me?   
3\. How do I feel when I come home to this place?   
4\. How do I want to feel when I come home to this place?   
5\. How do family members feel when they come home to this place?   
6\. How do they want to feel when they come home to this place?   
7\. How do I feel when I enter this room?   
8\. How I and other family members want to feel when we enter this room?   
9\. What is this roomÂs function now?   
10. What function do I want it to have?   
11. In order to serve its function, what should the room contain in terms of furniture, contents and open space? 

I liked him on tv because he seemed to understand how to get people to let go of items they thought were sentimental treasures but were really just collecting dust in the garage, or were boxed up in storage, or in the back of the closet. He would say something like, "If this is really important to you, then it should be in a place of honor, not getting dirty and broken over there in the rubble." That makes sense to me. I'm trying to get to the point where I don't have anything like that just stored away. It's either on display or being used.   
The book I've got currently out from the library is Organizing From the Inside Out, which is helpful with paper clutter but I don't like the author's style as much as with the first one.
    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 11:20PM
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Thanks for the book suggestions. I'm a fan of Susanka's Not So Big books, too. I'll have to check my library.

I am pleased to hear you voice some of my similar thoughts, especially when it comes to the purpose of culling and organizing.

My husband recently gave me the book, "A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style" by Tim Gunn, the guy on the Bravo show, Project Runway, who guided the aspiring fashion designers. He was the Chair of the Fashion Design Dept. at Parsons. Anyway, it's a light hearted book, and my husband thought it might provide some inspiration and instruction for my upcoming clothing closet weeding/organizing project. It was a fun read, but I don't know if I need a fashion guru to tell me what clothes I should throw out -- I have you guys!


    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 12:36AM
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Minet the part about honoring your sentimental stuff really hit home for me too. I hope this will spur me on to incorporate these treasures into more of my day to day life. We won't be eating off of fine china or drinking out of crystal everday (LOL) but I am tired of having things around "For good". If it is in my house, I want to use it. It might be putting items in a scrapbook or scanning photos for a digital slide show or having OJ in a crystal goblet, but I am going to use them and make them work for their place in my house/life. It seems reasonable that if I can't be bothered to really care for an item then it is time to find it a new home.

Tina, I love being thought of as a fashion guru. This is a first (and only). I've watched Project Runway and enjoyed it. I'll look for Mr. Gunn's book at the library. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 9:15AM
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" If you only have one bookshelf then you can only have that many books. Period. Allow the space to set the limit."

Boy, I wish I could get my family to realize that!

i feel as though I am always saying, somewhat hysterically, "we have no more room!" Especially for BOOKS!!!

If this is really important to you, then it should be in a place of honor, not getting dirty and broken over there in the rubble." That makes sense to me. I'm trying to get to the point where I don't have anything like that just stored away. It's either on display or being used.

Or, if it's important, it needs to be used, not *just* on display. My mother used to make the point that one's children value the family china because they EAT off it. If it's safely tucked away, out of sight, and even sometimes just out of USE, it gains no sentimental value.

I love love my grandmother's cookie jar because she put cookies in it! I really have never cared about any of her vases. I am using that cookie jar, and hoping that my children will value it someday because I put cookies in there for them.

There's a risk, of course, that it will get broken. I do everything I can to mitigate that risk (it NEVER gets carried; and until they're tall enough to open it, they're not allowed to)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 10:50AM
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I joined PaperBackSwap.com

It's a cheap way to get books, but I'm finding that it's not a fast way to declutter. I have books that I've posted for possible adoption, that no one is requesting.

I want to earn the credits, so I'm holding onto them. But that means a new category of stuff to keep, and to be able to access.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 10:51AM
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I love watching both Clean House and Clean Sweep shows on TV -- mostly re-runs -- but so very fascinating!

DH always says "nobody lives like THAT in real life -- that mess is just staged for the TV!"

The website for "Flylady" is also great basic reading too! There are LOTS of free pages of information there too!

BUT the best thing to read at the Flylady site? The stories from folks about their "found" treasures -- things they found when they cleaned up! ALSO read about the weird and off things that people finally threw away! Toooooooo funny!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 11:09AM
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Ive read all the Don Aslett books in my public library.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 11:30AM
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Tre3, I completely agree when you say Sometimes being busy is similar to having lots of STUFF. I also do not believe in having things saved ''for good''. I want to use everything I have and it makes me happy when I do. What I've noticed is that I am usually the one who entertains my friends, who have often said they like to come here because it is more interesting than being at their house. I think they probably feel that way because I use my ''best'' things. It's part of my philosophy about Living Well. I do wish sometimes though that some of them had a similar attitude so I could be a guest for a change!

Talley Sue, I have been known to just go find another bookcase! Since I recently purged some of my books, it did feel good to have the extra space. Perhaps I shouldn't confess my time at the bookstore yesterday, but there's a part of me that enjoys my ''library'' and having books around me. I just realized that with the exception of my kitchen, I have bookcases in every room of my home! I am finally limited to how many books I can keep now, so that's a good thing.

Tina, I could probably use a fashion guru to tell me what clothes to throw out, but I really need one on the accumulation side. My favorite clothes don't make much of a fashion statement I'm afraid.

Minet, those are all good questions, which I'm familiar with, since I've asked myself those same things quite often. I did like Organizing from the Inside Out and found it helpful when I needed to revamp my home office files. You're right about it being good for paper clutter, which I had too much of.

teacats, I think it's funny that your DH doesn't think anyone lives like that in real life. I think he must have lived a sheltered (yet happy) existence!

One of the exercises in The Not So Big Life, is to think about what inspires you. I asked my DH to give this question some thought this morning. Sarah Susanka suggests going back to your childhood and remembering those significant moments for a clue to discovering yourself. It's true that finding inspiration is what will move us to act on changing our lives. Her thoughts aren't new to me, yet a good reminder of how to open yourself to possibilities. There are several things I'm ready to see change, and I'm loving this book!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 1:42PM
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I have been known to just go find another bookcase!

except that I've already done that! And I'm out of floor or wall space.

I have 2 walls full of books in the living room, an extra-large bookshelf in the bedroom (though to be honest, that has mostly office stuff and LPs), and a big bookcase in the kids' room. I also see that most of the books aren't actually used.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 5:12PM
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I just finished Organizing From the Inside Out this morning and was less than impressed. The author is rather obsessive-compulsive, in my opinion, and although she mentions "purge" as one of her steps, she really is all about organizing your things into looking tidy on the surface and just storing out of sight/out of mind things that you don't use.

In some parts of the book she advocates renting offsite storage units for overflow items, and using the attic and closets for in-home storage of unused things, and yet in other parts she talks about clearing out and giving away things. She can't seem to make up her mind.

Plus the editing is bad and some sentences don't even make sense.

My thoughts about this book are: "it's ok to keep everything as long as it's in a pretty box, with an attractive label, and organized within an inch of its life. And then put it up into the attic so your work spaces are clear."

Her mantra is SPACE: Sort, Purge, Assign a home to each item, Containerize, and Equalize (maintenance). She's very fond of the containerizing part, more so than the purging.

For me, I need to work on weeding out things, not just organizing them and putting them into the attic or shed.

I might use her categories for a home office filing system, whittled down to fit my life.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 6:18PM
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Oh, I don't think anyone can actually organize very well without weeding (or purging in this instance.) Yes, the author is probably a little OCD but it sounds like she used to have a problem before she got her act together. I think all of us take what we need from books for inspiration and leave the rest. She's also big on labelmakers (no offense, Talley Sue!) where I just want to open a drawer or closet and see instinctively where things should go because it's so obvious.

My spaces might be clear but my attic is not, and I seem to be lacking attractive storage containers! I would never rent storage unless I was selling my home and needed to make it more open...and had to pack moving boxes anyway. The office filing was most helpful to me because it was my biggest problem, along with the maintenance of paper.

TS, I find I tend to keep a lot of reference books; cookbooks, gardening books, design books, etc. Yes, I could get rid of quite a few, but I'm fortunate to have a lot of built-in bookcases and as long as they still hold interest for me, I don't mind keeping them. I could easily cull them when the time comes for downsizing my space. It's only stuff after all!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 9:10PM
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I'm reading Fit to Live by Dr. Pamela Peeke, She has some good decluttering ideas, along with advocating methods of staying alert and vertical into old age. It got me moving more and trying all vegetarian meals.
We are unpacking boxes and moving back into the house as the remodel is almost finished. So I need all the inspiration I can get.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 11:51PM
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Marge I image that just being almost finished is quite a bit of motivation. Congratulations! I would guess that as you unpack your boxes you'll find things that you know longer want. Take one of those boxes and mark it give away. Put those unwanted items in there and take them out of your newly remodeled space.

Alert and vertical sound good. I'll have to add this book to my always growing list of things to look for at the library.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:59AM
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We've lived with the "finite space theory" for several years and it works very well. For videos and games, I purchased a 3-shelf bookshelf. I was pretty proud of myself for having the space measurements in hand before I went out to find the bookshelf. For once, something fit just right. We have assigned one shelf for games like mancala and monopoly. One for parent type movies and one for all kid movies. These shelves get culled on a regular basis since I won't allow that stuff to exceed it's assigned space.

I use this concept all over the house. Bath toys have one small bucket. One basket for magazines. I refuse to have a storage shed, so the garage can only hold the basics if I want to put the vehicles in there. More T-shirts than the drawer will hold? They have to go.

This works for us.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:46PM
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There is something about this "finite space theory" that I find comforting. For me, one of the hardest decisions, "how much to keep?" has already been decided. All (LOL) I have to do is decide is "what to keep?".

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 3:01PM
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