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Clearing My Clutter Takes More Than a Book

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Every week I get a nifty little email from organizational guru Peter Walsh giving me my next assignment for decluttering my house. I’d like to say we’re best buds, on a first name basis, and he emails me because I’m a VIB—Very Important Blogger.

But sadly, that’s not the case.

I signed up at the beginning of that whole Oprah campaign. No, not the Obama bandwagon, but the Clean Up Your Messy House tour. I signed up because I didn’t want to be the only person on the planet living a clutterful life.

So like clockwork, Mr. Walsh (and probably his buddy Hal the computer) shoots me and a gajillion other people an email with our assignment for the month. I dutifully open it, scan through his latest suggestions, then promptly forward it to all the messy people I know.

I wish I could tell you I dutifully perform all those tasks, but after I expend energy hitting the button to forward the email, I calmly leave my computer, shut the door to my laundry room, and ignore the clatter of my clutter.

Then, of course, I have to locate my stash of emergency chocolate because frankly, I find all this talk of decluttering one’s life and this "Clean Up Your Messy House" shebang rather depressing.

Now don’t get me wrong. I certainly admire Mr. Walsh. I find it amazing that someone can earn a small fortune just by telling people to pick up their socks, open their mail, and stop buying junk. Who knew?

It’s just that I can’t seem to shake this feeling that if I were just a tad bit rich, just a smidgen wealthy, I would actually have, as my mother always used to say, a place for everything and everything in its place. Let’s face it, it’s not like I’ve amassed lots of things on my schoolteacher's salary. But you don’t have to be a Nobel Prize winner to know that more space provides more room for more stuff. So I figure, if I had roughly 4,000 square feet instead of my 1,990, well Jiminy Cricket, my stuff would be, well, organized.

Now it’s not that I haven’t tried to live within my 1,990 square foot means. I can live in all the spaces of my home—except the laundry room. Crammed into a 7-foot-by-7.5-foot space are my washer and dryer, a freezer, a nifty Container Store Elfa drawer unit, two hampers (one for whites, one for colors), and a container of dog food. Oh yeah, and the hot water heater.

I even rushed out and bought Peter Walsh’s new book, Enough Already, thinking that would somehow solve my little laundry room problem until I discovered I had to read books one, two and three. Jeez Louise, who knew this cleaning, decluttering stuff would be so complicated and so time-consuming? I figure by the time I did all that, the paramedics probably would find me exhausted and suffocated under a pile of dirty laundry.

I even downloaded the nifty Container Store coupon offering a storewide discount as part of that decluttering tour. (And don’t you just love that store? I have such an appreciation for a company that can market the dream of organization to the messy masses.) Although I spent my fair share in organizational aids, I’m sad to report that my little spending splurge had about as much effect on the decluttering of my house as it did on stimulating the economy.

Instead, I think I need some safety goggles and a sledgehammer. I wonder what Mr. Walsh would think about that. Maybe my teeny, tiny laundry room could be his next assignment.

Heck, I would even splurge for matching goggles.

And, as an added bonus, I would even do my best Ronald Reagan impersonation and shout, “Mr. Walsh, tear down this wall!”

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About Carol Richtsmeier

  • I am very lucky that Carol is my sister! Yep, I am the messy sister (well our younger sister might be a tad bit worse!) Anyway, Carol is amazing. She may not think so, but her house is very well organized, and she is going to get me organized or (God forbid) die trying. She turned me on to Peter Walsh, who is a genius and I would find it a blessing and a curse if he were to show up on my doorstep, because I would be organized, but die of shame at my mess. Listen to Carol, she is very organized and knows what she is talking about!