Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reviewed: Clutter Busting

I just finished the 2009 book by Brooks Palmer, Clutter Busting. The book's subtitle is Letting Go of What's Holding You Back and that is the book's essential premise. Palmer, using anecdotes culled from his "clutter busting" professional organizer practice, explains how important it is to let things go. People are sacred, he reminds us, not things.

The content of the book is rather similar to Gail Blanke's Throw Out Fifty Things. Palmer, like Blanke, shows how mental clutter and our internal problems lead to our external clutter problems and our desire to hold onto stuff that no longer fits our life. What differentiates this book from other "get rid of everything you don't really use, need or love" books is the tone. Palmer is straightforward and direct with lines like "You are born with nothing, and you will die with nothing." He puts things in such a way so that even the most uncomfortable idea seems obvious to the reader, yet he does it in a nonjudgmental way. Instead of feeling guilty for buying stuff because you think it will make you happy, you feel refreshed and transformed at the possibility of being able to stop the cycle and change your life. I especially liked his reminder that we, as individuals, are enough to sustain us in life. Ourselves and our loved ones are what make life worthwhile, not a single thing that we own.

Brooks Palmer has a blog, called Clutter Busting with Brooks Palmer, that I think is required reading. His bio states that he is a stand up comedian, and from time to time reading his stuff I laugh out loud due to some terribly apt description, but for the most part the tone is calming, and encouragingly matter of fact. Of course, you don't need all that stuff that is cluttering up your living room. Of course, you are capable of letting it go and creating room for new joys and experiences to come into your life. Of course, you should pick up a copy of this book or borrow it from your local library (which is what I did.)

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email 

No comments:

Post a Comment