Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Throw It All Out

Back in 2008, I thought my books had finally toppled from their precarious perch on my dresser but it was an earthquake and, while I would like to say that the earthquake was a wakeup call, I can't say that...

I came across Gail Blanke’s Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life and to say that I adored Blanke's book is an understatement; it rocked.

About kitchen drawers, in general, Gail Blanke talks about the multiple bottles of dried up Krazy Glue et al.:
There are keys in there that haven’t opened up anything in decades. But you think it’s not nice to throw away keys. They’re heavy and make a clanking noise when they hit the bottom of the wastebasket. Never mind. Throw them out. Throw it all out. (xviii-xix)
This passage hit home because I have three bottles of Elmer's Glue at various levels of fullness. See, I'm a glue bottle half full kinda girl.

There is always one Suze Orman statement that I remember and I'm paraphrasing here:

You lose money by not being organized and by being unaware of what you already have because you end up buying multiples or you literally misplace checks and money.

Blanke’s book is divided into four parts:

  • Part One: Getting Rid of the Physical Stuff

  • Part Two: Your Office: Paring Down the Professional Clutter

  • Part Three: Attacking the Mental Mess

  • Part Four: Stepping into the Clearing

  • In chapter one, Blanke talks about bedroom clutter and, like a mystic, she knows what’s in there; she also coaches you about throwing away stuff and sets down the rules of disengagement:

    If it – the article of clothing, the shoes, the lamp, whatever – weighs you down or makes you feel bad about yourself, or if it just sits there taking up room and contributing nothing positive, it goes out. (3)
    Blanke notes the disengagement of several of her clients including Tara who threw out all of her clothes. Blanke acknowledges that most people are not in a position to start anew with a wardrobe. In addition to ridding herself of the contents of her closet, Tara ends up changing her hair color and she starts to work out as well. Blanke describes her metamorphosis as a toned up persona.

    I love the concept of having a toned up persona and I do feel like that’s what happened to me after stepping on this health journey.

    I appreciated it when the author talks about going through her own bathroom and cleans out old medicine:
    Suffice it to say, surrounding ourselves with a lot of old medicines is negative, robs energy, and may even warm the way for those old ailments to remake their homes in our bodies. (16)
    One of things that I absolutely valued about Blanke’s book is her Green Tips. She even talks about how the old method of discarding medicine is not acceptable anymore.

    The perfectionist in me salutes Blanke’s steps for letting go of disappointment etc.:

    2. Perfect just isn’t in the cards. A few pitchers have pitched perfect games; no one’s pitched a perfect season. Throw out perfect. (146)

    Other wonderful steps:

    Steps for letting go of needing to be right about how wrong it is…(157)

    Steps for letting go of needing everyone to like you…(167)

    Blanke on courage:
    Here’s the thing about courage. It isn’t given. Which is good because it can’t be taken away. (185)
    Chapter 18 was possibly my favorite one because of this sentence:
    When you think about it, we weren’t meant to live tidy, predictable lives with everything neatly laid out in front of us, like all of our clothes for the next week. (191-192)
    Sometimes I need to hear the obvious. I remember reading M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and the first sentence is: life is difficult. I was so relieved after reading that line which is obviously not profound or original but I felt like Peck acknowledged the elephant in the room.

    Taking Energy From Your Defining Moments (Chapter 22) and Find Your Song and Sing It! (Chapter 24) were also memorable.

    My song? It was hard to pick just one but I’ve always been moved by Nina Simone’s Ain’t Got No…I Got Life.

    What’s your song? You know – that one that makes you pull through the workout, face the day or emerge from a blue funk...

    I'll document what I threw away in an upcoming post.


    1. Throwing keys away, freaks me out. I can never remember what the key went too and the thought of it being a key I need...scary. I have some keys on m chain now...can't remember what the went too. where did they come from? omg. lol

    2. I love decluttering but my hubby - not so much. He goes through the trash after I declutter and he finds lots of treasures he still needs. I need to read that book.

    3. @Nicci@NiftyEats,

      I understand what you mean. There was stuff that I threw away and I knew that I didn't need it but there was something so final about tossing it in the trash and sending it away to the landfill.

      And, by the way, I have thrown quite a few things out but not a single key yet. ;)


      OMG, that is funny about your hubby. I have family members who do the same thing.

      It seems odd to say it about a decluttering book but I enjoyed it.

    4. I love this post! I'm pretty good, though, I throw away stuff regularly. Junk drawers, old makeup, that kind of thing. I do feel weighed down when there's too much stuff.

      My eyes aren't what they used to be, especially in the morning, and this is what I thought the first sentence of your post was: "Back in 2008, I thought my BOOBS had finally toppled from their precarious perch..."

      Speaking of books, one weird thing I do pack-rat is stuff I've found in books (I buy a lot of used and get library books). Photos, airline tickets, shopping lists... obviously this stuff has absolutely no use and no relevance in my life, but I like to preserve it.

    5. gingersnapper,

      Thanks woman. It's amazing how we read things a certain way. ;) I do it too but it's not just a morning thing.

      Half of my belongings are books. I also have plenty of photo albums. I've toyed with the idea of getting a digital frame but they don't move me the way regular frames do. Plus, a digital frame would just be another drain on electricity.

      I plan to scan photos and articles when I get a chance -- whenever that is...

      Re: the airline tickets, mine are sometimes in the photo albums. So many mementos...

    6. Love this post 'Drea.

      "Here’s the thing about courage. It isn’t given. Which is good because it can’t be taken away."

      WOW. what a quote. I'm going to need to need to put that up on my blog. WOW. what an inspiration and how absolutely true, in my own experience.

    7. Diane,

      It is a pretty cool quote, isn't it? And, as you said, it's true. I definitely think that you have to find characteristics within yourself.

      I love this Mari Evans' poem and I will never forget this one section:

      I will bring you someone whole and you will bring me someone whole and we will have us twice as much of love and everything...

      I truly believe that you cannot expect for someone to make you whole -- you have to do the work yourself.