One of the things I like best about Jeff Campbell's books is that he lays down the rules early on. And the rules for clutter control include:
· Use it or lose it. The exact same words that you will hear from many a feng shui teacher.
· Use a file cabinet. He makes a big case for hanging files and I agree completely.
· Items displayed in the house have to pass a test. "After all, you only have so much space. The items taking up that space should justify themselves. It's not a complicated test. They just have to have a valid reason for being there."
· Label things. Including (but not limited to) all storage boxes.
The second chapter, "The Psychology of Clutter," is quite powerful. Here Campbell tackles the three most common excuses used by packrats. 1. "I might need it someday." 2. "They don't make them like this any more." 3. "It reminds me of someone I love or someplace I've been." One by one he offers rebuttals to those rationalizations. He ends this chapter with the best advice I know of for clutter bugs. "Make an appointment with yourself - and then keep it - to spend a fixed and reasonable amount of time de-cluttering: A serious, write-it-down-in-your-book, don't-miss-it-unless-you're-sick-in-bed, kind of appointment. It's the same kind of appointment you would routinely make with a doctor, or with an important client at work."
The bulk of the book is devoted to a huge alphabetical list of places to de-clutter (cupboards, closets…) and particular things (paper, photographs, keys…)
I'm particularly grateful that he carefully explains how to install shelving. Adding more horizontal space (shelves) is truly a key to being organized.
This is an extremely useful book. If your home is less cluttered, it will not only be easier to clean - it will support you in reaching your goals (rather than working against you!)
The toll-free number and website listed below are those of The Clean Team, Jeff Campbell's company.
Dell Publishing, New York, (800) 717-2536, www.jeffcampbell.com, 1992, 0-440-50339-6, 159 pages, drawings, paperback, $9.99