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Let Go of Clutter
by Harriet Schechter
Hardcover 288 pages (1 December, 2000)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education;
ISBN: 0071351221

Bon Journal

Drowning in clutter - part 1

I have known for some time now that I have a problem with clutter. When I found the book "Let Go of Clutter" in Manhattan last month, I thought I had found my saviour. The author Harriet Schechter calls herself "The Miracle Worker." Although she hasn't yet worked a miracle in my house yet, I am about to follow her advice.

Notice that she didn't title the book "Getting rid of clutter." This must have been deliberate. Before you can get rid of your clutter, you must first learn to let it go. And letting go, just like breaking up, is hard to do.

Take tonight, for example, I finally took up the courage to look inside the closet in my study. It's a place where I stuff everything small in different laundry tablet boxes and cotton cloth bags. The "stuff" composed of amenity kits that I collected from hotels and airplanes, the free sample make-up that came with purchases over $30, and name badges that I saved from the conferences I attended in the last couple of years.

I broke up the amenity kits and resorted the contents into a bag for the little bottles of body lotion, a box for the little bottles of shampoo and conditioners, etc. I decided to chuck out the name badges, but not before counting them: 31 name badges, all saved in case I'd like to have my own conference one day. I had even saved all the ear plugs and aromatherapy balms that Virgin Atlantic gave me. I don't need a dozen used ear plugs! And the balms don't even work on me! So why in the world have I been transporting them around the world? Saving them for a rainy day?

No, I've been collecting all these trivial things because they were given to me. And they were free.

I bought my make-up only when they came with free gifts.

Four hours of my precious Saturday evening gone! And my closet? The ear plugs, aromatherapy balms, and name badges are gone. But everything else remains. Relocated in different containers, but they are still there.

Who is to blame for my behaviour? The first part of "Let Go of Clutter" advises readers to understand their clutter background. Mine started when I was encouraged by my parents to collect stamps. It certainly taught me organisational skills. But it also taught me to save everything, especially everything that was free.

Interestingly my sister doesn't have clutter. She doesn't keep anything. She even gave away my classical guitar to the Salvation Army. She sold the car I gave her. If I ever want to get rid of anything, she's the one I'd give to.

In contrast, my brother keeps everything. He's the one I gave all my stamp books to. My sister never collected stamps.

9 February 2002 Saturday

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