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Breathing Room: a book about serious decluttering

Breathing Room: Open your heart by decluttering your home by by Lauren Rosenfeld and Dr. Melva Green
Atria Paperback

This book has been difficult for me to get through for a variety of reasons: first, because of lack of time. In order to even begin to think about de-cluttering, you have to set aside an amount of time for the process. We at Home and Living needed to move to a new residence in a limited amount of time and since one of us was in a wheelchair recuperating from a surgery, the majority of the work fell to one person—me—who is already stretched to the limit.

We’re told that managing clutter has become a 154-Billion Dollar industry. There are always plenty of stories to tell us how to sort, pack, organize and deal with clutter. Even though we seek to end this dilemma at certain times in our life—mostly we just wade through stuff and admonish ourselves for the sad state of affairs when we can’t find something, are made to move certain objects to get to other objects, or just naturally try to “sit down” and relax without having to deal with rearranging pillows, throws, magazines, cups, etc.

"...we seek to end this dilemma at certain times in our life ..."

There was the television show about people who hoard things, naturally called, “Hoarders” and one of the authors was a consultant on this feature. We have seen the show only once and were made to feel somewhat better as we sat in awe (and open-jawed) at people who very obviously had major issues with things (…the cat is buried where?) We, and our clutter problem, were not at this level.

That’s why when I was reading Breathing Room:Open your heart by decluttering your home, it became somewhat annoying to have a psychological evaluation about what in our lives was making us have so much. In the case of our home, it is because we have “plenty” and did not take the time to get rid of one object, before acquiring another similar object. I mean, how many blenders does a family need? A serious homemaker-cum-chef may want more than one blender should they be designated for singular tasks, such as a specialized smoothie blender but really only one is needed.

There is also a lot of spiritual guidance in this book because one of the authors, Dr. Melva Green—the consultant on Hoarders—is a psychiatrist. This was the second thing that didn’t fit our lives as we had to steel ourselves to get through what was happening NOW, and didn’t have time (and still don’t) to think about what was happening in the past.

If you need spiritual guidance, feel quite ill at ease about your accumulation of stuff, or just need stories and suggestions about how to proceed, you may indeed enjoy this book. The other co-author, Lauren Rosenfeld, is expert at guiding people room-by-room through the home with list-making and solid suggestions.

Perhaps we can get one of the authors back to help to illustrate important principles on how to get started decluttering or how to use the “slice” method of working on it.

Breathing Room: Open your heart by decluttering your home by Lauren Rosenfeld and Dr. Melva Green, Atria Paperback, 2014. Approximately $16 US/$18.99 Canada