Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review - It's All Too Much

I am reading It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh. It's a very easy read with a few attempts at humor along the way. I am using this book at a guide to declutter my house this summer, so I thought I would share some of the highlights with you too!

In Part I - The Clutter Problem, Walsh addresses why clutter is a problem for so many people. In fact, he even includes a "clutter quiz" you can take (I was a "Clutter Victim" - suffering from some clutter problems, but still able to dig my way out). Americans are suffering from a "clutter epidemic" - we have too much disposable income and the MALL has become the "new town square." There is a huge emotional cost associated with too much clutter (like embarrassment) and Walsh promises to give us a step-by-step guide to overcoming the clutter problem.

Think you have a good excuse for using your kitchen counter as a storage shelf? Or keeping your cookbooks in the guest bathroom? Or filling your child's playroom with so many of his outgrown clothes that he hasn't found his Hot Wheels in months? Walsh goes through a list of the top 9 excuses, and shows us that we are really only fooling ourselves.

Why we keep things
  • "I might need it one day" - it's smart to think ahead to the future, but clutter can "stop us from living in the present." (He specifically discusses those of us who keep clothes a size or two too small - just because we *will* lose 10 lbs soon!).
  • "It's too important to let go" - These are things that have sentimental value (Grandma's tea towels), family history (your child's first pair of shoes) or mark personal achievements (all of your cheerleading awards from high school). "Clutter makes us forget what's really important." (Have you ever not had family over to visit because your house was too messy?)
  • "It's worth a lot of money" - Things with a great perceived value are sometimes the hardest to get rid of, but "Clutter robs us of real value" when we live in a messy home filled with things we don't use.
  • "My house is too small" - There is nothing wrong with wanting to better your situation and have a bigger home someday, but you can't live for the next house. "CLutter steals our space."
  • "I don't have the time" - Sure, we're all busy, but think of how much time you'll save if you are not hunting for keys, permission slips or other lost items.
  • "I don't know how it got like this" - "Clutter takes over" - for some reason, we hand control over to our things. Take back the control!
  • "It's not a problem, my husband only thinks it is: - We must communicate about clutter issues. If one person perceives it as a problem "clutter jeopardizes our relationships."
  • "It isn't mine" - Other people's clutter robs us of opportunities that should be ours. Stop storing things for others - reclaim your home!
  • "It's too overwhelming" - It IS overwhleming, but the result of being clutter-free is a HUGE emotional benefit. "Clutter denies us peace of mind."
Walsh encourages us to "look beyond stuff and imagine the life you could be living." Picture your ideal home. Do you have a romantic get-away in your Master Bedroom? A Family Room that encourages the family to work and play together? Think about how you want each room to be used, and be sure to communicate this with others in your household. If you aren't on the same page about how you want to use your Family Room, the list of "necessary items" will be vastly different!

So - that's Part One of the book. Are you ready to declutter?

As I read some of the excuses for clutter, I could feel myself getting embarrassed! I have said so many of those excuses time and time again! I have given some thought to the life I want to live too - I want to be a stay-at-home mom to my children. I want the freedom to have at least half of each day to playing and enjoying being with my kids. I want weekends and evenings to be reserved for family time. I want my kitchen to be ready to prepare healthy meals for my family. I want my family room to provide entertainment and relaxation for the whole family. I want the living room and dining room ready to entertain any surprise guests, and I want the dining room table available so that I can sit with the kids and help them with their homework.

Our basement playroom is where the kids can play, movies can be watched and Craig and I carry out any office duties (bill paying, filing etc). The master bedroom will be a relaxation sanctuary - no toys, no storage! my closet will only hold clothes that fit me now, so that I don't need to waste 20 minutes trying on clothes every time I get dressed!

I have a plan in place! Tomorrow I will blog about Part II - which gets into the FAST way to clear clutter. It's a great way to start and results are immediate! I can't wait to start (even if I am a bit short on time until after our vacation). Who's with me????


  1. Me me me! I'm with you! This ties in nicely with some of the things I am working on. Deep thoughts are in the air or something! :) We can definitely keep each other on track.

  2. Aaahh! Too funny...this book is on my library list! I just saw it the other day and thought it looked glad to hear that someone else liked it...can't wait to read it!

  3. I am enjoying it! Let me know if you have other favorite titles for home organization - I'd love to read some others too!

  4. I was wondering if his book was worth the read -- sounds like it is! Thanks for the review, and I can't wait to hear about how your decluttering is going. Very inspirational!