Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer. - review

mommabirdNovember 14, 2012

I read this book because someone on this forum posted about it. I wanted to share my impressions with you:

1. Read this book! It is short, clear and very powerful.

2. As soon as you finish it, read it again. That's what I did. I did the exercises the second time through. Amazing!

3, this book is not about how to organize things. It's about how to get to the core emotions around your things. It really helped me clarify how I feel about a lot of "stuff" & then let it go.

4. If you really practice what he says, this book will help you let go of things so you can organize what you really do want to keep.

5. Nothing else feels as good as letting unused stuff go!

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a clutter-busting book with exercises?
sounds cool!

And I like that idea of getting to the core emotions, especially for CLUTTER busting. Because it's not about organizing, it is about being willing to let go of stuff.

I have stretches of being able to let go of things. And then I lose it a little bit.

I'm thinking also it might be good to get my kids to each of them read it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 4:51PM
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Hey Mamabird, I think I may have been the one who recommended it to you.

Great book, huh? Isn't it amazing the clarity you are left with after reading it? Decluttering has become much easier for me since reading this book, though I've become more aware of when I shouldn't keep an item but are doing so for the wrong reasons- which can be frustrating.

Recently, I've read his other book, which is also good, but probably not so if you haven't read this one first. He seems like a very well centered and articulate guy.

Glad you liked it. I'd like to hear more of what you feel you took away from it. Did you have a big old decluttering session afterwards? :^)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Quasifish -

I read it too after your recommendation here. Thanks!

I really liked it as it was about the mental part of hanging on to things. It was also a quick read.

As soon as I was done, I stood up and cleaned off a shelf in my closet of things I was saving that I haven't used in years.

I want to read it again and take notes and do the exercises this time.

The only thing in the book that I did not like was the suggestion about unwanted gifts. He said one idea is to give them back to the person who gave them to you and tell them you don't want them. I cannot imagine doing that!

What did you two think about that?

Also, what did you think about his opinion about photos being "ghosts"? I think it is nice to have current framed photos but would be hard to keep up with. When he was talking about this though, I can envision a grandma's house with their own children's ancient fading senior high school photos in dated frames hanging on the walls. I get that we need to make new memories worth photographing.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 3:46PM
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I loved what he said about pictures.

My brother and I had a surprise 55th anniversary party for our parents this summer. I went through their pictures and put together a PPT to play at the party. They each have about 2 down pictures from their childhood. They have an album from their honeymoon. They have an album that covers from my brother 's birth to about ten then another album from ten to present. It was a joy to sort through because it wasn't overwhelming.

Contrast that to me. I probably took a roll of film every 2 weeks when my kids were babies. I converted the upstairs linnen closet to picture storage. And I never look at them. I try to live on the NOW now, so this closet full of pictures is just a drain on my energy. I want to do something about it but just can't face it.

Now I take 1 or 2 pics per event with my iPod and past them to fb immediately. No clutter and fb stores the albums in chronological order. I love it!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:29AM
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dawnp & mommabird (sorry I misspelled your user name in the other post, mommabird),

I totally agree 100% with you that his idea about giving gifts back to the giver was a little weird. Not something I would ever do either, and not sure I understand the point of doing it.

It reminds me of a few years back when an outspoken BIL told us not to get a particular item for him as a gift after the fact- he didn't say this because we were continually getting this item for him, it was a one time thing. It felt so awkward that he did that and it did sort of offend. Why not just give the item to a thrift store and not mention it? I can see if it is a family heirloom that should stay in the family, but just regular junk, why bother making it an issue? Especially if you buy what the author says that it's just mass produced junk.

About the photos being ghosts, I kind of get that because shortly before reading the book, I had taken down just about all the portrait type pictures in the house. Many of them were pictures put up because of a death in recent years and a desire to pay tribute to that person (or pet's) memory. After taking them down, I realized how sad they had been making me for so long. I also took down a bunch of kid pictures that were nice, but reminding me too often of a different time (in a maudlin way)- now we just have a current picture up. It's funny that it hadn't dawned on me what a drain they were until they were gone. It depends on how you feel about the pictures and if they bring you pleasure to see on a daily basis. For now, I am still enjoying the pictures of loved ones and bygone childhoods in albums, but it is no longer that constant reminder 75 times a day.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Thanks to this forum thread, I reserved it from the library. I have been reading it kind of slowly, and am very impressed with it.
Some of the stuff gets a bit too dramatic for me (like when he talks about how the color in their face improved etc etc- I get the point)
, but I get the overall focus and am finding it very helpful. I am not a real clutter person, and frequently get rid of /give away stuff, but its more the photos and letters and other stuff that I do find troubling to have around. THis book is very helpful. I think I will likely read it again in a few months.Thanks for mentioning it. Hoping it helps others.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I get it. I have about 20 photos of my children in a hallway. All taken when they were infants or children. Most are professional photos that cost a lot back when they were taken. "Latest" are their high school graduation pics. That was 6 or 7 years ago. I'm reminded like 75 times a day of my empty nest. I want to celebrate my children as they are today, not memorialize the past. We still see our kids, they are lovely young adults. Time to get some new memories.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 6:43AM
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