Rating: 2 Stars
I have been toying with this idea for some time. My daughter and I live in a two bedroom, two bath apartment and one of those rooms is not a bedroom, it is a toy room. For the most part this is okay right now, as my daughter and I co-sleep. But eventually we won't anymore, not only because she will age out of it but because she is a GIANT. She's been in the 98-100%tile her entire life and hit four feet tall by her fifth birthday. So, she kind of takes up a lot of space with her flailing around. That means we are going to have to whittle the massive amount of toys down eventually, in order to be able to have her bed moved in there, along with her dresser, night stand, etc. We currently do this whittling thing twice a year, once before her birthday in July and once before Christmas. We always donate toys and clothes to the Open Door Mission, which provides such vital services for our homeless and working-poor populations. I have had a couple students live there at various points and do whatever I can to make sure that Eleanor and I donate items that we know others can benefit from. Plus, it clears out space, even though every year I ask PLEASE, less toys...but it can't really be helped. She is an only grandchild AND an only great-grandchild. I have been asking more for experiences, rather than toys, and this is something that is really catching on, as the author mentioned. Memberships to local museums, the zoo, children's theatre, etc. are all great ways to provide memorable experiences.
I do take some issue with the author when she says about someone needing to look at their underlying issues of why they might hold on to something for sentimental reasons. It comes across as almost feeling like she is suggesting that it is not okay to have emotional attachments to things and it could be some kind of psychological issue. This is not what she says in so many words, but that is kind of the implication how I interpreted it anyway because you know what? Sometimes a mom who knows she is not going to have any more babies wants to keep her only child's baby clothes a while and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Now, as my babe gets older, anything that no longer fits and is still in good condition automatically goes in the 'donate bag'. But the itty bitty little outfit I brought her home in? KEEPING IT.
I did find some useful information and I appreciated the ideas of starting small and working up. There is just so much STUFF everywhere. Part of the "problem" too is that Eleanor and I are big readers (SHOCKING, right?!) so there are books on several surfaces, including end tables, night stands, the coffee table, my desk, and various bookshelves. Books are non-negotiable. Books are not clutter and books will not be viewed as such in this home. When I buy books, it is mainly from Half Price Books, and unless I truly love it, I sell it back after I am done with it. I was completely and totally ready to give this book a solid three stars, though I sometimes found it a little trite, and trying to be too cutesy. Then I read this heading at 89%:
"Reducing Physical Books from Your Life
I know, some people out there (myself included) love the feeling of a good book in their hands. The pressed pages and the physical feel of the book itself both contribute to a better reading experience. These things are nice, but the reality is that for a minimalist, books are largely seen as giant space takers. While it may take some time to get used to reading books on a screen, when you replace your large stock of books with a book reader or other type of mobile reading device, you are able to clear so much of the clutter away."
I'm sorry, but did someone just refer to books as CLUTTER? Sorry not sorry, two stars.
P.S. I did find many of the suggestions helpful and look forward to starting them. Just think about how many more books we will have room for once the clutter is gone! Tee hee hee.