Friday, February 8, 2013

‘5 Days to a Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space’ by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims - Book Review

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We are still early enough in the year where we are working on our New Year’s resolutions. One of them usually has to do with being more organized.  The latest book on my reading list can help with that! The book is '5 Days to a Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space’ by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims.

Here is the synopsis of this helpful book:

A Clean, Organized and Restful Home is Only Five Days Away. If you’ve picked up this book, you want to reduce the clutter in your home, organize what’s left, and keep it that way. But does the sheer scope of the project give you an anxiety attack? Don’t let fear stop you! Organizing and time management experts Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims show you how, with the right game plan and a healthy dose of adrenaline, you’re just 5 days from your goal.

With their proven team-based approach, even the most overwhelming de-cluttering job becomes doable. Section one shows you how to de-clutter, with each day of the week focused on one reachable goal. Section two shows you how to cultivate time-tested habits that keep your house in the clean, well-ordered state you’ve just achieved. You’ll even learn how to deal with common obstacles such as:

·         filing
·         storage needs
·         health issues
·         space restrictions
·         the car
·         even family sabotage!

So what are you waiting for? The home of your dreams is just a week away.

Here are the biographies of the authors:

Sandra Felton, The Organizer Lady©, is a pioneer in the field of organizing. She is the founder and president of Messies Anonymous; the author of many books, including Organizing Magic; and the coauthor of Organizing Your Day and Smart Office Organizing. She lives in Florida.

Marsha Sims is an international speaker and lecturer on time management and organization.  She is the founder and president of Sort-It-Out, Inc. and Clutter-Free University. She is the coauthor of Organizing Your Day and Smart Office Organizing  and lives in Florida.

I love the ladies’ introduction:

Fall in love with order and beauty. Don’t settle with living in a house whose condition drags you down, makes you sorry you have to live there. Do you wish you could just move to a fresh and lovely new house, leaving all you have behind? You can reinvent your house into that dream. Seek the happiness you will experience by getting the house under control and keeping it the way you dream it can be. You’ll love it! (p. 24)

My marriage is like the relationship of the friends in ‘The Odd Couple.’ I am the messy one; my husband, Fred, is the neat nick! The lack of organization in our home has always been a source of some tension in our lives and our marriage. So this book is perfect for me!

In the chapter entitled ‘The Cluttered Psyche,’ the ladies describe me to a tee:

People like us, who struggle with clutter, have a much stronger attachment to our belongings than most. We see their possibilities, their beauty, and their place in our personal history with a special itinerary. What is simple to others is complex to us. That’s why we have more difficulty making decisions about what to do with the “treasures” that fill our home. (p. 27)

I do have a tendency to be attached to things, so they are speaking my language!

The ladies have an interesting strategy for each day of the week.  They also recommend that a team of friends be assembled. I am sure that is a great strategy, as it will be easier to tackle this big – and emotional – project.

The book is interspersed with testimonies from people who have already implemented the program. Donna was expected to host parties for three high school family graduations. She recruited her sisters to help her, with great results:

And they did the job – using their own version of a team approach. During the process, they got rid of some things Donna would have kept, but she kept her eyes on the final goal. “I worried about wasting things, because they aren’t as frugal as I am. I did have a feeling of loss of control, but I kept going because I wanted it done for the parties.” (p. 65)

Of course, after the clean-up, it is necessary to have a change of mindset in order for the clutter to not return.  Section Two is entitled ‘Keep the Good Life Going.’ The ladies state that the secret is maintenance, and they show the readers how to take time each day to maintain a state of order. Along with maintaining our stuff, we need to maintain ourselves. They suggest several Clutter-Buster Habits (pp. 143-144):

1.   Stow as You Go
2.   Catch Follow-Through Fever
3.   Practice the Thirty-Second Rule

Section Two also includes chapters on managing your house, managing your family, and managing your time.

The ladies have ‘A Final Word.’ They state that this book is a useful tool:

You have some very powerful tools in your hands – tools you can use to finally clear the clutter that has been dragging you down for a long time, and that can empower you to maintain the wonderful harmony and order you are seeking. Furthermore, if you have time and desire, you have what it takes to apply these ideas to helping others in need. (p. 207)

Finally, the Appendix provides helpful resources in the form of websites, books, and blogs.

I have not implemented these strategies, but I plan to do so! I grew up in a household that was much more cluttered than our home is right now, so a cluttered environment is the norm for me. I don’t think it has a detrimental effect on me, but I have no other frame of reference. I think I will take some time to consider the person who would be a good cleaning partner for me (I don’t think my husband would be the right candidate; too much anxiety for a happy marriage)! I will definitely reference this book when that very 
challenging time comes! Thanks to Sandra and Marsha for this valuable tool!  

This book is available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

1 comment:

Anne Payne said...

Great review, Andrea! I was just looking at this book the other day. I probably need this, as I am a clutter person. Down deep I know it's just stuff, but it has so much potential :) Thanks for another in-depth and awesome review! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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