am 11. April 2013
This would be a true 5 star book – if not fort he last chapters…
To my mother’s disappointment, I am not a very tidy person. Though I have no hoarding tendencies, I am a collector of sorts. While I seldom collected anything for the sake of it, I find myself saving things I might put to good use at some point or objects which are in perfectly good shape, so it would be an awful waste to throw them away. It can’t hurt to store a few more towels in the closet, can it? Who knows if a soccer team will be invading my flat to use my shower anytime soon…
The truth is it does hurt. I kept operating under the assumption that my closets and my flats were to small. In fact, it is pretty likely that the hypothesis mentioned in the book is true and that I only use 20% of my stuff 80% of the time. I’m positively sure it’s true for those towels (which, by the way, were all given to me by my mother – explains why her closet is neat and tidy, huh? ;-))
The STREAMLINE approach offers a lot of helpful advice on how to deal with all the stuff that accumulated itself in our homes and lives. I particularly like to “start over”: to take everything out of a drawer or down from a shelf and focus on deciding what gets to stay, rather then what needs to go. Next there is the distribution onto the three piles: Trash, Transfer and Treasure. I dump a lot and I really enjoy the transfer part: a little money here, the smile of a friend or colleague there. The rest is worth treasuring.
I’m also really into the concept of arranging possessions into modules. That way, everything can be easily found and tidied up very quickly as soon as you’re done working with it.
I actually look forward to declutter and organize some more after a day at the office. I had expected to get some useful hints and strategies, but this is much more. I’m actually enjoying the process, not only the outcome.
Why only 4 stars then?
In the last chapters, the author addresses the issue of bad working and living conditions in developing countries and offers a solution: do not buy what they produce. Though I’m always happy to support local dealers and manufacturers, I do not see how her solution will help to improve the situation of workers in developing nations. Right, most of the money we pay goes straight into the pocket of some big fish, BUT this big fish is running a plant. He’ll need some kind of infrastructure, streets, running water, electricity, comforts that many people in those countries still lack and that can spread as soon as there is a foundation to build and expand on. Of course, there are downsides: child labor, lack of living space in the big cities that promise employment, epidemics due to unsanitary conditions. We had all this in Europa during the industrialization period. Assuming that they are where we started, wouldn’t it help them most if we allowed them to be part of the game? I do not say I like the situation as it is, I just do not think that boycott is going to improve it. Neither do I think that a topic this complex can or should be tackled by a book on minimalism.
However, after 3 month of decluttering I feel more at home than I have in a long time. I’m sure that this book will have permanent residence on one of my shelves.