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This summer, a dear friend came for a visit. And over scones, coffee, and quiche at a cute little bakery — she told me I need to get this book.

 

My daughter promptly drew on it with crayon. That gives you some idea of the conditions I was up against.

Now, you know she has to be a good friend in order for her to suggest (flat-out tell me) something I already knew — and was deeply ashamed of.

 

I have a clutter problem.

 

Since I love this friend — think her house is always adorable — and trust her, I bought the book.

 

I don’t know exactly what I expected, but it wasn’t really what I got.

 

First, I did start to notice all the places of clutter. But instead of feeling empowered by the book to get rid of it, I felt overwhelmed, and more ashamed.

 

There were a few things I took from it that I loved:

 

First — folding clothes. Not every drawer is done, but really, this makes SO much more sense. My undershirt drawer is so easy to navigate.  Maddy’s skirt drawer (pictured) is so much more navigatable. (Is that even a word? My spell checker says not. Oh, well. It works.)

 

Second — I DID get rid of some things. I truly did. I got rid of so many clothes. Not how she explains to do it — there is no dimension in this galaxy in which I will pull every piece of clothing and place it in my living room, and go through it piece by piece. And I did actually offload quite a bit to my single sister who is raising two teenagers — all of whom could wear pieces of my clothing. (And they do NOT have a hard time getting rid of stuff. So it worked!)

 

 

The third helpful piece of advice was to get rid of books that you hadn’t finished reading, and know you never really will.

 

That especially was helpful because I have to admit, I’ve only read HALF of this New York Time’s bestseller — and I have every intention of giving it away guilt free. Why? Because I touched it, and it brought me no joy. (Oh the irony.)

 

I guess Marie Kondo just felt like the kid-free cleaning goddess, to whom I could never compare. She was a magical person who spoke to other magic people. Like my friend who introduced us. She is strong at ways I’m not.  
I could not BE Marie Kondo. I could not HIRE Marie Kondo. I could not (with my busy schedule, natural inclination to keep EVERYTHING, and 3 kids who daily trashed all the rooms I cleaned) actually DO the Konmari method.

 

I would never have invited Marie Kondo to my home for fear that she would hate it.
Maybe to a coffee shop. But I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it because I’d be so afraid I would not measure up in some way. Yes, I now officially have the Konmari Complex. (It’s a thing.)

 

So I thanked Marie for the gift of organized drawers, and a few garbage bags less of clothes, and went back to my cluttered ways. And avoided the rest of the book like the plague.  
(Thankfully, she already gave me permission to ditch her book. Thanks Marie.)

 

 

A few months after our brief encounter and our sad break-up, I applied for an internship with author Kathi Lipp, whom I didn’t know very well. But I knew the writing internship presented an opportunity that would be too good to pass up.

 

To my (slight) despair, her book — and therefore the majority of my assignments over the next year — was Clutter Free: Quick and easy steps to simplifying your space.

What in the world did I just get into?????

 

I was Clutter Failure. Not Clutter Free.

 

I procrastinated as long as possible on getting her book. After listening to a few of her Periscopes, she did kinda have me intrigued. I mean, maybe there is a simpler way to clear clutter without taking 6 months and going through every single thing in one fell swoop.
Maybe — just maybe — I could do this without losing my ever-loving mind or my sense of dignity.

 

So I bought the book. Took the plunge.

 

And shocker of shockers, I had the whole thing read in less than 24 hours.

 

For real. It was that simple to not only understand, but to read. The examples she used were from her own life, and from one best friend. It wasn’t the hall of shame of clients she had pulled up from their hoarding nightmare. Just one woman who battled clutter herself, battled even a childhood based in hoarding, and has managed to come on the other side victorious.

 

My favorite takeaways include:

 

  • Asking yourself three questions in deciding whether something is going to stay or go:
    • Do I really love it?
    • Do I currently use it?
    • Would I buy it again?

 

  • In order to be creative, you need to create a blank canvass. Create blank space so you can create something beautiful.
  • How to let go of things you have heavily invested time, emotion or finances into.
  • How to repurpose sentimental objects without losing the sentiment, only the clutter.
  • How to take control of your space, so you can take control of your life.
  • How to actually ENJOY and relax in the home you already have.

 

 

Kathi became my partner in this thing called wrangling a house into the shape I always dreamed it could be.

 
Or maybe, the shape I had given up on dreaming it could be.

 
She’s the one willing to roll up her sleeves, dig deep into the physical clutter and spiritual clutter clouding up my space.

 

She would be the person I’d invite to coffee. And not just out to coffee, in a perfect outfit, with a perfect handbag … but to my house. In all its various states of clean and cluttered.

 

If you find yourself wanting some help de-cluttering — and maybe finding that blank space where you can CREATE your dreams — I cannot recommend her book enough.

Here are some of my areas I’ve tackled over the last few days — and areas where I still have some work to do:

 

 

And Marie. I’m sorry for the breakup.

 

It wasn’t you. It was me.

This book review was done entirely based on my own opinion and by my own budget. I have not been compensated for reviewing  Clutter Free either in money or brownie points.  But one day, I do hope I’ll have the chance to have coffee with Kathi in person. So maybe, one day, it will pay in a coffee date.  ðŸ™‚