The books is When Organizing Isn't Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.
It caught my attention because I'd love to have less stuff. I'm really frustrated that there's a room of crap in our basement that we never unpacked. And when we moved last March, it got really overwhelming toward the end. We started out being organized... I went through closets and boxed up stuff to donate, I threw things away, I was good. But towards the end it all went to hell and we were just throwing crap in boxes without time to think. And honestly, I wanted to TORCH it.
And I don't feel like someone who has tons of crap, I like to think that I am organized. But it still frustrates me.
Anyway, the book was kind of self-helpy for me. It was more about changing your life than shedding your stuff. The author wants you to identify the deep issues that drive you to have too much stuff, to think about phases of your life or previous traumatic events that cause you to hoard. Honestly, I think some people are just lazy.
The idea of a life "theme" was kind of interesting... she says that it's easier to let go of your possessions when you know what your life is about right now. If you want to be more creative, you don't need closets full of shoes. If you want to explore the world, you don't need piles of newspapers. She had these case studies of people, like a woman whose kids were moving out of the house and she couldn't bring herself to get rid of all the crap accumulated through the years. The woman finally realized that she was clinging to it all because that was her old life, surrounded by a house full of family, but it wasn't really what she wanted now. She found the discipline to get rid of the stuff when she identified what it was she did want.
Personally, I'm in a "survival" phase of my life and I know it and I think the author of this book would tell me to chill out and don't worry about organizational projects. 2010 is a year I've just decided to write off. We bought a house, we had a baby. I've thrown the budget out the window and run the credit card up a bit. I haven't exercised in way too long. I've let that room in the basement just be there. When Josie's awake and I'm looking her in the eye talking to her, listening to her coo, I say to myself "This is what's supposed to happen this year. This is the only thing that needs to happen this year. That's okay."
Maybe 2011 will be our year to go through the basement. It's sort of weird that this book about organizing just made me feel better about not organizing, but something tells me the author would understand.