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Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home & Reclaim Your Life Paperback – January 16, 2010
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A step-by-step, concrete solution to overcoming household clutter, this book is full of helpful hints and resources. The easy-to-follow program is designed to take the reader through a whole year of clutter control. Barbara Tako's book is loaded with common sense, humor, and good advice. -- Barb Szyszkiewicz of FamilyCorner.com Magazine, Inc
Funny, thorough, and not the least bit intimidating, this book is a godsend for the organizationally challenged. It makes keeping the clutter manageable seem manageable after all. -- Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life
When I began my organizing business 30 years ago, it was based on four simple words: Clutter is Postponed Decisions®. Few of us (even professional organizing consultants!) ever reach the point of being satisfied with their ability to get rid of clutter as it just seems to keep pouring in. Barbara Tako has done a wonderful job of giving her readers practical suggestions for getting rid of the clutter in their lives. Less is more! -- Barbara Hemphill Author, Taming the Paper Tiger at Home
About the Author
Since 1998, Barbara Tako has been a motivational clutter clearing and home organizing speaker and author. Barbara is the owner of Clutter Clearing Choices LLC and the web site clutterclearingchoices.com which features a monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter. Barbara is based out of the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota area where she has spoken at corporations including 3M, Target, Medtronic, and Securian, as well as numerous womens' groups, parenting groups, and church organizations in the Midwest.
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Rather, they are full of it.
The author immediately opens with full nuggets of inspiration on a subject I thought I'd have to push myself to want to read. (Afterall, I blame my clutterdom on lack of time to fix it anyway.) I love this paragraph for example, that sums up so much:
"Clutter comes from our behavior. We shop. We keep gifts out of respect and affection for the giver. We cling to old organizing habits in spite of life changes that would be better served by new organizing techniques. We hang onto stuff because we "paid good money for it," or it still has some "life in it," or it "could" still be "useful" or just because we "should." We put weeding out and oraganizing low on our priority list. And after a while, we find ourselves buried in our clutter."
It's funny that I am clutter-free in many areas then in others like my work spaces and studio are surrounded with TOO much...so is my garage...cabinets...
Yes, it was time to herd my shopping habits, change my mental outlook, and learn the phrase "minimalism". HA! That will never happen...but I can at least deal with the clutter.
And, I'll be totally honest, whether this is a gift for someone who attaches sentimentality to objects rather than memories and clutters their life because of it, or for yourself to motivate change, I can't imagine anything more motivational.
The author lists methods for creating change, making it stick, learning why it happened in the first place, and splices all of the above with wit, intelligence on the subject, and inspiration to make the change.
There is NO doctrine of what you must do...instead, there are many suggestions and, as the author states, "readers are invited to pick and choose what works for them. There is no single right way to get rid of clutter!"
It's kind of like telling someone how to lose weight...there may be many different methods, but you have to find the one that inspires you. This book, in my opinion, offers you all the tools--you pick and choose the one or many that change your life.
So did it?
Yeppers. You'd freak if you opened up my bathroom cabinets now (should you come to my home for a party and do the "peek" that you know your guests do when the door is locked in order to see what's behind the doors like I saw on Candid Camera)...labeled containers, no more scores of old lotions or samples I'll never use. Enter my work areas...shelving, no piles of anything like papers or bills, everything is filed.
In fact, you could do a white glove test throughout my home and make my momma proud it's so dang clean now.
Oddly, I blamed my own lack of organization on my busy schedule and lack of time. However, it amazes me that once I prioritized this task and made time for organizing my entire home, I have MORE time. I mean, like crazy more time these past few days. And less stress.
Who knew? There is a place for everything and no tasks left half done.
And there are also people at the women's shelter rejoicing in boxes of items that I felt others would need more than I did...and 3 bags of shoes went to Haiti.
I haven't missed one of them.
Tako's book reads more like a journal of one person's effort over the course of a year to declutter her life. She divides up the material into four "seasons": Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. As you might expect, certain seasons have different clutter challenges. Winter has New Year's resolutions which often involve cleaning up areas of your life. There's also cleaning up the air in your house (less stagnant), learning to live with less, and (if you have kids) cleaning up the massive numbers of toys that aren't played with on a regular basis. Spring gets into the traditional "spring cleaning", how to more easily maintain a clean home, and even decluttering your diet to eat more healthy. Summer moves to the outside realm, with yard clutter, kitchen organization, and family vacations. There's also the focus on decluttering your schedule (especially with kids) so you can focus on stuff that is important, rather than just being "busy." Finally, fall moves into organization for the upcoming holidays, as well as cleaning up paperwork and other areas that need to be in shape before the winter season keeps you locked up in the house.
Because Tako writes in a very personal manner, you don't get the impression that she's an expert who has it all together. In fact, it's just the opposite... she admits where she struggles, and what areas seem to defy organization for her after repeated attempts. And because it's not a methodology she's pushing, it's not as if you have to wonder if this works in real life. Not all of her chapters seem to touch on clutter as you normally think of it. For instance, cooking simple meals and deciding what you're going to have for dinner by 8 am that day doesn't seem like a "clutter" issue. But doing this can reduce stress and guilt over food prep and choices, and less stress can lead to less clutter...
One aspect of clutter that she *does* touch on which impacted me was life clutter. Decluttering your life might mean getting an exercise and diet program in place to remove the "clutter" of extra weight and lethargy. It might mean ending certain relationships that are sucking up too much time and energy for what you get back from them. Or it could mean addressing a certain mindset that places roadblocks in your way, stopping you from moving forward. Viewing those things as "clutter" is something I've not done before, and it gives me a different perspective and slant on getting solutions and fixes in place to clean them out.
If you're expecting a "steps 1, 2, and 3" approach in Clutter Clearing Choices, you might be disappointed. But if you want to see someone who is trying to fix the problem herself and is open to sharing the struggles, this book works very well.
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