Hints and methods for decluttering and tidying can be found almost anywhere these days -- magazines, videos, televisions and dozens and dozens of books. Organizing experts have sprung up across the country, even in mid-sized towns. Truthfully, our home isn't the scene for the next hoarders episode, but there are areas of disorganization and overabundance that could use some work. So when I see new books and articles about taming the stuff, a bit of guilt begins to gnaw, and perhaps that it is why I borrowed UNSTUFFED by Ruth Soukup through interlibrary loan.
The first part of the book has some very simple commonsense steps for decluttering your belongings, most of which I had already heard. What stood out is Soukup's written time schedule for going through one's house in ONE full weekend. Clearly this would be a full, exhausting weekend, but if her plan is followed, you'd end up with a neat pantry, orderly pots and pans, and no orphan plastic dishes or lids. And that's just the kitchen. Imagine a medicine cabinet with no expired pills, lotions, or nasty, unwanted creams and a bedroom closet with no lone socks or skirts two sizes too small.
What makes the book even more useful is the author's perspective on our over-scheduled hectic lives.
She points out the connection between unrecognized anxiety/exhaustion and our compulsion to always be adding more to our plate. I am quite sure my husband and I have passed that exhausting phase of life now that we are retired, but just reading this book brings back memories of the late nights finishing laundry, the severe headaches that wiped me out for a day or more, and whole weeks without an evening sans activities. And I felt we tried to see that our lives were NOT overscheduled. All families with working parent(s) and kids in activities could benefit from reading Soukup's book, even if you have heard similar messages elsewhere. Soukup goes on to show how our compulsions to shop, to have more, and to keep abreast of the newest technology all work to make our lives more complicated, not better.
Again, I can't say that the author said anything that I had not already read or thought myself, but still I really enjoyed the book. I am thinking perhaps I need to read something similar every couple months to keep me focused on simplifying our lives. And now for my goal for this week -- going through all the bathroom drawers and linen closet. Threadbare washclothes and broken combs, you will be tossed!