Decluttering at the Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle with Stuff, by Dana K. White (Amazon link)
If you want to hear an original and practical voice in the clutter of decluttering books, check this one out. One reason it resonated with me is that Mr. Fixit and I followed very similar methods when we downsized, so we know they can work!
One example: think of your house (or apartment), clothes closet, purse shelf, and dinner-knife compartment as a collection of big and small containers. Each one is designed to hold just so much stuff, no more; so we should keep no more than the container allows. Sounds like a no-brainer, but how many times do we try to keep it all, or to bring in more, rather than working with the space we have? Most of us recognize this reality when we pack a suitcase: it's only so big, we can't take all those shoes plus a hairdryer plus presents for the relatives. But we're often not as careful when it comes to home spaces.
In the past year, for example, I have turned down free drinking glasses, because I knew all our designated drinking glass space was taken, and I did not want to give something else up so that we could have more drinking glasses. But at some point we might decide we don't need as many coffee mugs and we do want more drinking glasses. It's all about choices.
Mr. Fixit's half of our bedroom closet is mostly storage cubes and shelves for things he uses. He has very few hanging clothes, so that's fine with him; or he can hang things in the hall closet. But my side is all hangers.
I was happy to be able to fit in as many bookcases as we did into our apartment space. That is (not counting Lydia's room and Mr. Fixit's closet shelves), exactly three: two in the dining area and one in the bedroom. I do have a small space in another cupboard for university textbooks, and we often have books living on the coffee table. But that's it! There are no good places to put more bookshelves, and the ones we have are pretty full. If I started bringing home piles of books from the thrift store, I would soon have a problem. So respecting the limits of our space helps us stay with "enough" and not "too much."
Check out Decluttering at the Speed of Life for more uncluttered decluttering talk.
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