Book Review — “Let Go Of Clutter” (PLUS bonus extra: Physician, Heal Thyself.)


Oh Harriet, what have you not taught me to let go of?

This isn’t really a book review. Yes, I read the book, and it’s actually something you might find quite useful: it focuses specifically on de-cluttering as opposed to organizing, so it would be great for folks who need to just plow through and lessen the volume of what they have in heir lives. Divorce decrees, beanie babies, what have you. There are lots of strategies outlined for different sorts of stuff, from precious memorabilia to what might be mostly kindly called junk. She also breaks down the tasks by area of the home, and suggests many ways to keep the in-flow down as you thin the herd. I recommend it. Okay, so I guess this is a review. But what I really want to let you know is that this book forced me to loosen my own claws from a pile of things.

About two months ago, I requested some organizing books from my local library, for my general edification, but also to review and share with you. What I didn’t count on was the freakish efficiency of interlibrary loan, and the fact that I would get about 15 books, just about immediately, and all at the same time.

I started reading them, and a few were easily returned because they weren’t particularly applicable, but many were interesting, or at least seemed like they might have new ideas in them. The weeks passed. I returned the books as I finished them, but the due date on the remainder loomed and passed.

What you need to know is that I never, ever return library books late. What you also need to know is that I can be stubborn, and I was not going to return those books until I finished them, took notes and wrote up a review of each one.

Meanwhile, a natural deadline arose on the horizon. I was leaving town for a week, and I was not letting those books build up another week’s fines, languishing on my dresser. I read faster and faster. I felt guilty and tortured and 75 cents poorer every time I looked at the pile.

So you know what I did last night? I put the books in a tote bag, set them by my back door, and this morning I dropped them at the library on my way to work. I’ll stop by this afternoon to pay the fines. Enough is enough. There were just three left that I’d really like to read, and since I know the library can produce them for me quickly, I’ll request them one at a time when I get back. My contrived oppression is gone, and I feel fresh and youthful just looking at my clear dresser top.

Letting go of stuff: who knew that it would make me feel so much better?

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