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Secrets of Simplicity Spiral-bound – December 3, 2008
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Bulging in-boxes, out-of-control stress, and even climate change serve as reminders that when it comes to being happy and healthy, less is more. In this interactive journal, organization expert Mary Carlomagno leads readers on a journey toward release and discovery. Guided by the principle that the way you spend your time and money should reflect your true priorities, Secrets of Simplicity shows how to make practical changes to unburden your closets and calendars and make room for what's really important. Readers can record their successes as they de-clutter their homes and in the process their minds.
Mary Carlomagno's Ten Tips for Treasuring What Is Truly Important
My father grew up during the Great Depression. His attitude about stuff is a product of those times and his upbringing by immigrant parents making their way in a new country. Waste was considered a luxury for the rich, a philosophy he maintains today. One summer, while helping him find something in the attic, I discovered that my father is a clutterer. It turns out that he likes to save things, lots of things. He has all the classic symptoms: saving multiple copies of the same document, keeping copious notes to accompany every transaction, and storing newspaper clippings, magazines, and manuals, most so outdated that they have surpassed any relevance, other than family trivia. He had carefully stored decades-old tax returns, old issues of Consumer, and toys that had belonged to my siblings and me. I asked my father why he kept these things. "I might need them some day. Why throw them away? They’re not bothering anyone," he responded. My mother put up several strong arguments about fire hazards and messiness, but his piles were carefully maintained, exquisitely labeled, and seemingly not combustible.
Among the collection were some definite keepers: my brother’s Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, a red Schwinn bicycle, my Barbie collection, and classic Golf Digest magazines, including the first issue that featured Jack Nicklaus on the cover (a discovery that earned me high-fives from all the men in my family). Now that’s worth keeping, I thought, realizing that these treasures said more about my dad than any old energy bill could.
Ironically, my "clutterer" father had unwittingly taught me the secret to organizing and simplifying: it is not what you discard, but what you keep.
As we go through life, we are all challenged to carve out a healthy relationship with our things. Below are ten tips for treasuring what is truly important, so you can do what you were meant to do: enjoy your life!
1. Value the relationship, not the item. Let’s talk about what’s really important. Can a chest of drawers really replace a loved one? It is nice to keep reminders, mementos, and family heirlooms, but not if they are keeping you from getting on with your future.
2. Know your local antique dealer. Consulting an expert regarding collectibles and antiques will help you better understand what you have, even if you do not want to sell it.
3. Consider local consignment, antique and resale opportunities to recoup money on bad purchases, unused items, and duplicates. Take the money and donate it to a good cause to honor the memory of a loved one. That’s a legacy that will outlast any piece of furniture.
4. Protect what is valuable. Whether you are storing a collection of Hummel figurines or your passports, making space for the things you value will allow you to enjoy them and find them when needed. Consider adding the most valuable possessions to your homeowner’s insurance policy to protect their value.
5. Not sure where to begin with a completely cluttered room? Start with the raw space. Take everything out of the room and before placing it back in. Be brutal, making each item earn its readmission to the room. Invite a friend or family member over to act as judge and jury.
6. The best time to get rid of things you do not need is before you move. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you will get organized at the new place—this is unrealistic and costly. Why pay money to move things you will likely throw away anyway?
7. Consider weather when storing items. Garages and basements are not always weather or moisture proof. Use airtight storage containers, and keep clothing linens, pictures, and documents where they won’t get damaged by the elements.
8. Make a home headquarters for keys, mail, and cell phones. Create involvement by including the family in the project. Inviting input and encouraging consistency from everyone will help ensure that the spot gets used and stays tidy over time.
9. Beware of becoming a replacer, someone who constantly churns items in and out of the house looking for the latest and newest design. Understand that the job of retailers is to persuade you that you need to buy more. Demystify the sales pitch, take stock of what you have, and only buy what you absolutely need.
10. Make sure you purge your home of unneeded items before you buy storage bins and containers; nothing says waste of money better than buying bins to hold stuff that really should be discarded. Purge first, determine what you need, and then head out to shop for storage containers.
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
I knew that sooner or later, someone would write a book that was in a lifetime that I could connect with. I am working my way slowly through this workbook, as I love it and I just dont want it to end.
I am a huge fan of simplicity and want to lead a simple and elegant life. However, I need to combine that with working part time, having two young children and living in the city (of Sydney). I dont want to give up my love of clothes and my city passions, but I do want to live simply. Thereby giving myself and my family breathing room and room for spontonaiety.
This book combined with Coveys First Things First, really helps me to live my life according to the values I hold dear. When I do that, I am filled with happiness and joy (really!!!).
The book has a lovely elegant cover and inside is spiral bound, making reading anywhere and anytime easy.
Mary is honest and since reading it I have learnt a few things about myself.
This book is magic, its not a program. More she gently asks you to look at various things in your life. As I have realised, we all lead different lives and have our own values, so instead of her telling us ... she gently leads us. Big difference.
I LOVE this book and will hold it dear for a very long time.
Thank you Mary.
In our world where the economy is forcing us to re-examine our preoccupation with material over the immaterial, and the state of our environment which has been damaged by our selfishness needs us to think globally rather than singularly, this book can make a huge difference. It's not about going without, it's about changing priorities and going with that which will truly make us happy. The guide isn't preachy or guilt-inducing, just logical and supportive. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very thought provoking book. But I think this one a person should have in paper form, to be used as if it were a journal. Read morePublished 22 days ago by PDR
This way a very good book. Had many valid and workable ideas for paring down wardrobe(!), handling finances and clutter, following one's passion, so many ideas that it was almost... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lorensen's
This book isn't very long but I had a hard time reading it. There are lots of quotes, lots of blank lines to write notes on (pointless in a Kindle book), and no real continuity to... Read morePublished 10 months ago by 70USD
I read this book on Kindle, and there were so many errors, that I sometimes completely got lost. Paragraphs would end mid sentence only to pick up on another page or more later... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Glenda Lynne
I enjoy reading anything that encourages me to live more simply. It's nice to find hints and tips to incorporate in every day life.Published on March 10, 2014 by Rebecca Blashock
It's too simplistic for me. A little childlike in it's explanation of things. Wish I hadn't of purchased it. I do not recommend this book.Published on September 13, 2013 by Kate42
Didn't like the references to various religions. The title was misleading. Seemed to be more about promoting yoga than living a simple lifestyle.Published on February 17, 2013 by Midwest
The goal of this book is to help you simplify your life so you can lead a more fulfilling life and achieve your dreams. Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by C. Hill