“It’s all Too Much” is a book by Peter Walsh, the professional organizer from TLC’s hit series “Clean Sweep.” The book is billed as an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff. I loved his show and similar shows like “Clean House” and “Hoarders.” I watch them often to make sure that I will never be featured on the show.
For the last three years I have been holding on to a mauve sofa that I bought in the ’80s. I was thinking of using the sofa in my game room/home theater but I couldn’t get it through the basement door. It ended up in the garage and was there to greet me every evening when I came home.
After reading Walsh’s book I decided there were some things I had to get rid of. With the help of a friend I pushed the sofa out to the spot where I put my trash on Monday nights. It rained that night. I was so hoping that someone would see how stylish the sofa was and give it a good home. The sofa had history. I bought it at the Horne’s warehouse sale for $89. The sofa retailed for $800. It was kidney shaped with one long pillow seat, truly one of a kind. But the mauve was outdated and it was time to move on.
When I came out the next morning the sofa was still there under the tree, no one took it home. A few birds had made it dirty and it was damp from the rain. Yes, I did try to sell the sofa and even give it away before throwing it away but no takers.
I can’t believe I thought about this sofa while I was at work. Would the trash man ignore it as well? When I came home from work the mauve sofa was gone. It’s over I can move on.
Walsh says to make the trash can your friend, your very hungry friend, feed it and keep it full and happy. Take pride in how much you can throw away. He says to remember the goal: you only want to keep the amount of stuff that makes sense for your space. Will all the books fit on the bookcase? Will all the papers fit in the file cabinets? Will all the dishes fit in the cupboards? Will closets be used to hide away items you never use or to properly store items you use regularly? Why are you emotionally tied to that pile of material goods? Are these your prized possessions? Is every single thing in this pile something you need, honor and respect?
Peter says get rid of the junk using F.A.S.T. Fix a time—schedule a time and make it happen. Anything not used for 12 months—out the door. Someone else’s stuff—return it or get rid of it. Trash—gone forever.
From outward appearances I don’t have that much junk, it is well hidden. I noticed some paint cans with Ames and Hills tags on them in the garage. Can you remember the last time there was an Ames or Hills in this city?
I want to be on a reality show but I don’t want it to be “Clean House” or “Hoarders.” I’m ready to start my F.A.S.T.
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.)