Thank you for your interest in my new book. The launch has gone ahead as planned and the book is available on Amazon now in two formats: Kindle eBook and as a paperback version.
If you are not sure if this is for you, why not enjoy reading the introduction chapter to get a better idea of what is in store for you.
Enjoy the read!
Why did I write this book?
I believe there are a lot of misunderstandings with regards to decluttering and organising. For one thing it seems that many people fail to see the distinction between cleaning and tidying, between decluttering and taking the rubbish out, between rearranging and removing, and so on. Declutterers and organisers are part of a spectrum that – on its one end – connects to removal companies, maid services, carpet cleaners and similar services, and – on the other end – to therapists, life coaches, business auditors, etc.
A professional declutterer and organiser sits somewhere in the middle. We have the practical skills to deal with physical objects that clutter up spaces, but also a deep knowledge of the human psyche that helps ensure our clients don’t end up in a place they didn’t want to be in the first place, both physically and emotionally. This could be a physical space that is too empty for them to feel comfortable or organised in a way they cannot maintain on their own, or an uncomfortable emotional space they are left alone with after their final session.
Personally, I believe that both parts play equally important roles in any decluttering project, and their relevance varies throughout the project, too! Each session can be completely different: one day it’s all about determining what to keep and what to let go, the next session could be all about finding out why a client has a hard time making choices. Then again, we could be spending hours and hours sorting through papers and organising them in ways that fit the exact needs of the client, we may be exploring the loft or spend the day shifting furniture to more convenient spots.
Why should you read this book?
Many books have been written about clutter and decluttering, what is so different about this one? What’s new?
Letting go of things you have treasured for a (long) time is tough business at the best of times. It can be helpful to understand what makes you tick and what keeps you from making those hard decisions. This book will take a shot at some of the psychological stumbling blocks you may encounter when you first try to pare down your belongings and suddenly become more conscious about what makes you do certain things and keeps you from doing certain others. You’ll also get some insight into other aspects that may prove useful in your own efforts, like how to deal with particular personal situations or specific spaces and locations. You’ll not only be taken on a journey through a collection of practical tips and tricks, but also visit some highlights of the psychology that makes you add certain things and keeps you from letting go of others.
Decluttering tends to be viewed as something difficult and often lacking success. The main thread in this book intends to make you understand that there are times in life when decluttering can be more successful than others, and then give you some ideas how to identify those times and make the best possible use of them. In my experience it can helpful to consider your possessions from a different angle, using new concepts that define certain ‘life stages’ and ‘clutter phases’ that you may find yourself in at any given time. I’ll introduce those concepts in detail, together with some indications on how they can be helpful and how to identify them in your own life.
What is the transformation you can expect?
The main bit of knowledge that I intend to pass on in this book is simple: help you learn to identify times when decluttering may be more beneficial to your physical environment and mental health, and steer you towards ways to make best use of those times once they have been identified. It is obvious even to the non-initiated that a time of personal despair or following a loss may not be the optimal moment to add another worry on top of that. On the other hand, those moments tend to also initiate periods of changes in lifestyle, when different needs come to the fore and long-held habits may turn sour or become less helpful than they have been. All of the above ultimately leads to change on its own, but it tends to take a long time to realise that change is necessary. Following through with this change can be challenging, to say the least.
When change happens in the end, it is often half-hearted or superficial, because the real opportunity has been missed and new habits have formed like new layers on top of old ones, rather than replacing them completely. The uncomfortable truth is this: those pivotal times when nerves are raw and minds are frail are the most conducive to bring about all kinds of changes. Those changes can lead to new arrivals on the list of things you own, but also offer opportunities to review what things have now turned useless by the change in situation. This book will point you towards identifying such times and not waste the opportunities they offer you.
Another goal of this book is to help you better understand your actions and realise why you accumulate things other than for their practical use. There is no real villain in this particular drama, though: there are many reasons to accumulate things, ranging from envy to anxiety, from the need to express yourself to the urge to out-compete someone, from fear to addiction, and many more.
Some chapters in this book may speak more directly to some aspect of your own behaviour – and some others won’t, I’m sure. However, each single subject may highlight one of your own behaviours and allow you to take a good look at yourself and your situation. And then make changes if you feel moved to do so.
What will you take away from reading this book?
In due course, all these elements will help give you a better understanding why you may be having a hard time letting some of your stuff go again. It’s easy enough to accumulate more, be it by buying stuff, being given some, collecting left and right. It all boils down to a single thing: you WANT to keep it. Letting go is an entirely different matter because it’s not enough to simply want to let go: by the time something has been with you for an extended period of time, it has put down roots in your mind, in your space and in your habits. That can turn letting go into a multi-dimensional and extremely complex thing, especially if your personal makeup makes you prone to being unable to make quick decisions, to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each of your actions against each other for a long time. And that is just the start of it…
It is my hope that the content of this book may help you better understand certain aspects of your own thinking and why you decide to keep or discard items, and help you find out what is holding you back from letting go of certain items. Maybe this will even enable you to apply whatever specifics you learn about yourself to other aspects of your life.
Being unable to let go of things has more to do with what you believe than what you feel about items. I know, whenever there is talk of decluttering it often boils down to two main perceptions. Either there are practical reasons to hang on or emotional attachment plays a huge role in your inability to let go. I believe there is a third reason that is based on what you believe you need or don’t need. Some of this ‘belief’ is formed by practical and emotional reasons, of course, but a huge part of it is based on habit.
That habit of having something, that sense of ‘it’s always been this way’ or ‘I’ve had this forever, why let it go now?’ can be a huge stumbling block when you try to determine what can go. Just think of those school course books you have kept throughout your lifetime: if you let them go now, you’ll feel silly for the length of time you have kept them, and the longer you keep them the sillier it will make you feel. Don’t get confused, this is one of the effects of habits all of us are subject to. This feeling of habit is a strong one and it will overwrite practical considerations and even emotional attachment in many cases!
This is just one belief that may hold you back from moving forward at your own pace. This book will allow you to find out more about this notion and many others, gauge them against your own experience and hopefully incorporate the lessons into your own process.
Here's the table of contents to give you an idea what is in store for you in the remainder of the book:
PART I – a bit of theory
PART II – practical aspects
The ebb and flow of clutter
Blank Slate Stage