BOOK REVIEW: What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You by Kerri L. Richardson

This is a short review for a short book.

It book doesn’t focus on physical side of decluttering but the mental side. Something that I wasn’t expecting going in.

In the introduction the author was discussing one of her clients having a difficult time dealing with the miscellaneous paperwork that lived on his desk (same, my dude). As the two discussed, they determined that the lack of creativity in his day job made him emotionally unwilling to deal with the paperwork. So once he noticed that, he started to chase after more creative work at his job…. and then boom! The paperwork wasn’t an issue anymore.

I didn’t find that example relatable (apart for the paper mess), I found it a little too “woo woo” or “granola” for my analytical brain to wrap its head around.

The rest of the book is more about sorting out what are the blocks in your life that are preventing you from decluttering. She also talks about the three common types of blocks and I will give you a high-level breakdown about ’em since it was the only part I found interesting.

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  1. Unrealistic expectations: maybe it’s the hobby you think you’ll do on when you get time. Or the dress you keep for when you lose that last 5 pounds (will circle back to her opinion on weight further down). But in general, its what you want from the item and what your getting isn’t the same.

Actually that’s a lie, I just reviewed the chapter. It’s about your expectations about how productive you will be when it comes to decluttering.  She’s a proponent of the Pomodoro technique (20 mins productive, 5 min break. Rinse and repeat). You wont lose as much momentum since you wont get overwhelmed as your breaking stuff down into smaller tasks.

I think my misremembering of this idea is also valid and I’m keeping it in my summary. In general, it’s evaluating the things and people around you and determining if it lines up with your current self and the self you are working towards.

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2. Boundaries: Don’t have to declutter it if it never comes into your space in the first place. It’s also about not over extending yourself and not taking more responsibilities to be a people pleaser. She challenges the reader to disappoint one person per a day (about something small) for a week to improves ones ability to say “no” to things that do not bring joy.

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3. Old Beliefs: times are changing, so should our beliefs and the way that we treat people and things in our lives. It’s important to question why you are keeping items in your life. If you’ve moved past a phase and its time to make sure your space reflects.

After that is more woo woo shit about how your purposely keeping clutter, because your afraid to “graduate, spiritually, to the next soul level” that comes with having a cleaner space???

She also says at least 3 things that are pretty much fat shaming. Like your keeping yourself fat because your self conscious and using your weight to hide that. In the section about common places of clutter, the body is one. You know, since fat is bad and definitely something that every person can control 100% of the time… 

An excerpt from the book… Context: this conversation between Kerri and her client who said she would start online dating after her lost a certain amount of weight

I hope you can tell that I was less than impressed by her attitude in that respect. As well, she assuming that the reader would be a woman, by always referring to our inner critic by she/her pronouns. Which was more odd and annoying given the fact that she mentioned clients of all genders. So she does know that decluttering isn’t a gendered issue. Yet still wrote with that assumption.

To conclude, I cannot recommend this book. Even if you like books that more conceptual or emotion based, this book had me constantly rolling my eyes or being mildly disgusted by the authors views.

So please skip it, even if its short. Just read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Both will ask you to say “thank you” to the items your let go. But one won’t call you fat in the process.

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