Reading reviews of “kick the clutter — Clear Out Excess Stuff Without Losing What You Love” by Ellen Phillips has made me wonder if there is a fundamental difference in viewpoint between two sorts of people who are actually out to reorganize the clutter of their life. There are those who believe in making fairly drastic cuts in what is owned and those who are looking to keep much of it.
What got me thinking that way was in how a few reviewers looked at her book. They seemed to only see where the author was looking at ways to organize what a person was keeping and setting that up so that it was in the least cluttered and most useful way possible. The reviewers seemed to downplay to the point of glossing over the parts of the book which gave suggestions on downsizing and making the difficult decision for many to let go of some things.
The author, Ellen Phillips, does have compassion for those who see value in things that many would find valueless and would simply say “chuck it”. She says if it has great meaning to you or value to you, even if it doesn’t to anyone else, it is not trash. She does however speak of finding ways to store it to treat with the value you ascribe to it.
Ellen Phillips also does give some advice on figuring out just how much value a person might have for something and sets out worksheets so that a person might give personal priorities. Phillips also does this in light of the person reading the book actually living with other people. That means that one family member’s trash is another’s treasure. This has to be taken into account of when coping with clutter.
It also does not work if not everyone in the household is involved in kicking the clutter in the household.
Phillips is also big on giving hints and tips in order to keep clutter from taking over after you have worked so very hard to clear out the excess and reclaim your environment.
I personally think it is healthy to take a good hard look at what you own and to think on how much value you place on various possessions and for that matter whether they possess you.
I know for some of us, we become emotionally attached to possessions and thus it becomes an issue of anxiety to even consider getting rid of them. For some of us, some counselling is probably necessary to cope with downsizing or decluttering. I think that is beyond the scope of the book, but it is something that could be done after, before or during working through that book.
I do think that the worksheets that are provided throughout the book and the 5 minute fixes are very valuable for people who become overwhelmed at the thought of clearing out the clutter. For those of us with emotional issues attached with the clutter, this is very important and allows for progress to be made even before possible progress might be made with the emotional issues.
I figure that there are many things I “can” do which will help before I hit the things that I will have problems doing and that those things that I can do will make my environment healthier and perhaps give me greater strength and resilience for the jobs ahead.
Perhaps for some it is a matter simply of setting your mind to it and “trashing” the surplus. But I think that if it were that simple for others, it would have already been done. It is like losing weight or quiting smoking. If it were simply done, would there be so many people who were having problems doing it?