Book Review: It’s All Too Much By Peter Walsh
This book found me a thrift store, like most of my books on my bookshelf. And it is the best how-to declutter your home books I have found. The book is not so much about minimalism but getting rid of a lot of stuff fast.
Its an oldie but a goodie. For example, I am sure some of the tips on purging VHS Tapes are obsolete for most of us. Well, maybe not for some.
In the first few chapters
Peter really digs into the issues behind the clutter. What he calls the “epidemic of clutter” in our society today. And how our need for organization relates our personal response to feeling out of control in our lives and in our society.
He tackles the hard questions that often other minimalist books don’t. Why are we holding back? What is stopping us? Not with cleaning up the clutter, but in all aspects of our lives. And how it all relates to our homes.
“You want change? This is where it all starts: Your home. Where you live, breathe, rest, love and create.”
Not just if an item brings you joy but what items mean to you.
“The things you buy, the items you value, the positions you hoard are all a reflection of you, your life, your relationships, your career, and your aspirations”
“You are not your stuff but your stuff reveals a great deal about who you are”
One of the main premises that is repeated in this book is that “you cannot create more space that you have.” And I love that he doesn’t suggest going out and buying bins to store your stuff. He focuses on the “value” of space in your home. To use it wisely and for things that create the life you want to live. Not in the future but right now in the present. Plus he adds “just because you have the space, doesn’t mean you have to fill it.”
His first suggestion is to imagine the life you want.
He says “With a clear vision in mind, you have the criteria for deciding what stays and what no longer is needed”
And that “its about keeping things that make sense for your life – your real life, not a fantasy one of what was or could be”
He follows up by saying that clarity follows when you solve the clutter problem. And that makes sense.
Cost of Clutter (not just financial)
Peter asks the reader to answer the questions like
What is your clutter costing you emotionally? He says that “our possessions can remind us of a time past or someone we have lost” but no one should ever feel stressed out in their home because of stuff. And that your home should be your sanctuary from the stresses of the world, not add to it.
Is your clutter costing your health? Your enjoyment in life? Relationships?
Quotes I loved from Chapter 2: Excuses
“Everything in your home is there with your permission” You either brought it in yourself or allowed others to bring it in.
“It’s hard to let go of things that don’t seem to have fulfilled their purpose.” AKA Clothing that just doesn’t fit right now, but will when I lose 10 lbs.
“Clutter stops us from living in the present” We spend so much time focusing on those “just in case” and all the what-if scenarios that we have little energy left of focus on the present.
I love this passage about holding on to things from our past because we are afraid of the present. “The only way to find out what the present holds is to actually live it; clinging to the past seriously endangers your enjoyment of the present
Notes on Part Two: Putting clutter in its place
This is the part of the book that gets to the nitty-gritty of clearing your space. It starts off with a quick start of your surface clutter or what he calls the “lazy clutter”. Then it is broken down into easy to follow steps for each room of your house.
Why it’s the best declutter your home book!
- The dedicated focus of the underlying issues with clutter
- Easy to follow steps
- Lots of practical tips with working with family members and partners
- Specific tips of items, like socks.
- A bit outdated (maybe there is an updated version)
- Little focus on recycling items
This is not just decluttering your home book, it’s a how-to declutter your life book by starting with your home. It really demonstrates the power of decluttering with real-life stories from his clients.
For me decluttering is about clearing space for the new. New experiences that I could never imagine. When I find myself struggling to let something go because I might need it one day. I remind myself that my life is abundant and I will always have what I need when I need it. Its a shift in my mindset that took me a really long time to get the hang of and I still struggle with believing it sometimes. But I haven’t been let down yet.