Monday, February 06, 2006

books & systems

I thought I'd write a bit about books and systems available on the subjects of clutter and organizing, but first some words about my husband - he is a very neat person, and does a lot of housework-type stuff. He has been very understanding (most of the time) about the clutter, and I know it hasn't been easy for him.

I offer a public thanks for all he does to keep the matters of the household running!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I took this picture of the dining table this morning:

Guess which side "belongs" to my husband.....

As for those books and systems, I've probably skimmed through them all and bought half of them. I'm not too shabby at devising systems myself, and once I set my mind to de-cluttering, I don't have a terrible time parting with things. My difficulty is (just like with weight loss) maintaining the system. So what I need is not so much the system, but the philosophical/spiritual/psychological shift that will help me change my patterns of acquisition, messiness, procrastination.

Two books which I really find helpful for my needs in those realms are:

Clear the Clutter / Make Space For Your Life by Inge van der Ploeg

The Spiritual Tasks of the Homemaker by Manfred Schmidt-Brabant

Both of these books are European, one translated from Dutch, the other from German, and I got them through Anthroposophical Press originally (they are available on Amazon) if you know anything about Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy you will have some idea of the spiritual sensibility expressed in them. It seems to me to go a bit further than the notion of work, of the keeping of one's home, as a sacred activity, but it is in that realm.

In future posts I'll try to be a little more informative about these books, include a few excerpts that I've found valuable.

And then there is Flylady. Here is her book:

Her site is a virtual life coach for dealing with clutter and housework and organization. And there is a huge amount of practical information and inspiration that is available for free on the site. I am not sure I would want to actually follow her plan (you can jump in at anytime) day by day since I'm such an independent soul that likes to wander my own path. But I'm sure I'll be taking some of her great ideas with me.

I've decided to try to limit myself to those resources - otherwise I'll probably fritter away my time reading a zillion books and websites on "how to declutter" and never do any decluttering!
Here is the mail table just past the entryway. We're looking at 2-3 months of catalogues, and a variety of miscellaneous stuff - my asthma meds, a tape recorder, box of checks, glue I bought to glue the carpet on the porch (6 months or so ago). Underneath are gardening books bought several years ago when I thought I'd try to to some gardening, a nice supply of canvas totes and a basket of ancient receipts. I haven't even looked in the drawer, but it's really small so there can't be too much Stuff in it.

Okay, so I didn't deal with the gardening books and totes. They all seem to be tucked away fairly neatly and seem happy there and the totes are just where I need them, to grab up when I'm running out the door for carry-around knitting, or library books. And our sad little plant needs to be there, too, I think. It was given to us on the sudden death of a beloved family member in 2004 and that's where we put it then and it just seems to belong there.

All in all, it's been a good day - some de-cluttering, some paperwork done...I feel hopeful, even a bit energetic.


Blogger Phoebe Fay said...

I've done the Flylady site/list off and on over the past couple years. I've never followed the entire thing, but I still have found it helpful. In particular, I find the 15-minutes at a time concept wonderful. It makes me focus, and it is astounding what you can accomplish in 15 minutes.

11:46 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger 'Zann said...

Yes - it is! In fact, I pretty much did this task in just that amount of time. I had to pick up my son but didn't have to leave for about 15 minutes, so I thought I'd tackle the mail table. I was astonished to find it almost finished by the time I had to leave. and I felt GOOOOOOOOOOD!!

1:01 PM, February 07, 2006  
Anonymous Jessica Duquette said...

Hi, Zanne, what a great project you have undertaken. I know this is one of your first posts, I am starting at the beginning!

I just wanted to let you know that having a dead or dying plant is not good Feng Shui. I so appreciate how you are using positive words to motivate you. My suggestion is that you also consider if an item is life-affirming or not when deciding if you want to keep or toss it!

all the best,

Jessica from It's Not About Your Stuff

12:00 PM, June 17, 2007  

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