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More from Peter Walsh on clutter, quality of life

Oprah's Clutter Man: "It's Never About the Stuff"

Clean Sweep's Peter Walsh (previously) has a new book out, and Mediabistro had the chance to chat with him while he was out promoting it.

While I wish Peter had held out for a more cromulent title ("Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?" Ouch.), I so admire this guy's grip on what clutter does to your mind. Or at least what it does to mine.

Typically swell quote:

Our show was never about the stuff. I told the producers early on that you can only organize so many closets and garages before people lose their minds... We all have stuff. What we had to do was tell people's stories through their stuff, and see them realizing what their relationship to the stuff had become.

and, later:

What is your vision for the life you want to live, and do your life choices reflect that vision? Specifically: Is your home a space for the life you want?

Ours is a culture based on the idea that whenever you run out of space, you should just pull up stakes and move five miles west. Then you can be happy. Is it any wonder that we seek organization rather than deletion as the solution to an overwhelming problem? Yeah, I think this goes well beyond not being able to find a business card in your junk drawer.

Capacity is only worth building when it'll be used in the service of stuff you really want. Whether that's calendar events, your Fabergé eggs, or those crusty Lean Cuisine plates from last summer, the quality of matter that you allow to stay anywhere in your life eventually starts rubbing off on everything it touches.

mattlatmatt's picture

Vision vs Reality in the clutter wars

In regards to:

What is your vision for the life you want to live, and do your life choices reflect that vision? Specifically: Is your home a space for the life you want?

I would add: is your home a space for the life you have. What are your actions and instincts when you move through your day, and does your space respond well to those actions.

WHICH IS TO SAY: If you use keys to open your front door, do you have a space right inside the door for those keys? Stuff like that.

While I like very much using your space as a way to reflect your vision, it seems to me that for some folks that can lead to vague wishy-washy organizing principles. "I want to be healthy and good to my kids," is a hard thing to act on or organize around. Judo-ing that into an actual action or instinct, however – "I feel best when I've eaten fruit" – might lead you to place a fruit bowl in your pathway from den to freezer where the ice cream lives.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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