Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke:
I usually have a good memory for how I discovered or heard about a book, but for this one, I am at a complete loss. I suppose it was kismet that this book found me: it was way beyond time that I did a de-clutter.
The first part of the book challenges the reader to clean out their physical stuff: all the papers, clothes, books, toys, etc. that pile up and accumulate over time. Boy, do we have a lot of this around here! Since I have this thing against throwing stuff away (the equivalent of an eye twitch), I tend to just let it pile up. Our author encourages us to just let it go, and gives us permission to throw stuff away (as well as giving lots of great tips on how to get rid of your old stuff in an environmentally friendly way). Blanke walks us through every room in the house, telling us what she's getting rid of, sharing lots of personal stories, and helping us unload. After that, we head to our office to ditch all the junk from our professional lives.
The next part of the book deals with mental junk that also needs to get thrown out. Here, she helps us let go of thinking the worst, waiting for the right moment, needing to feel secure, among others. I enjoyed reading this section, but I think some of these things are much more difficult to let go of, and will take a lot more work than just writing it down on our list of 50 things.
Here are a couple of quotes that really stood out for me:
"When we throw out the physical clutter, we clear our minds. When we throw out the mental clutter, we clear our souls."
And this one (in the chapter entitled Letting Go of the Need to Have Everyone Like You):
"The truth is, the world belongs not to the one who fits in, but to the one who stands out. In music, art, architecture, entertainment, politics, and life, it's the maverick, the one who gets carried away, who wins the day. Every time."
So, I've been working on getting rid of the clutter. My focus has been the physical junk, but I hope to attack the mental mess too - Gail Blanke has inspired me. Here's a shot of our front porch, full of clothes and toys and other stuff we just don't need anymore - waiting for pick up by a local charity. And guess what? After this picture was taken, I kept adding stuff. And even better, after it was picked up, I continued to add stuff. Now, we need a second pick up!