Fall Clutter Busting: Books and Magazines

Today we are taking a look at the books in your bookshelves and on your coffee tables, and the magazines in the magazine holders and other various places in your living room.

When I started my job as a clutter buster ten years ago I was amazed at the number of books and magazines people owned. I remember thinking, "Wow, these people must have a lot of time to be able to read all of these." But then I quickly discovered that people's libraries were actually a source of frustration. They were most often big should piles. "I should read this." "I need to read this." "I want to read this." But there was very little reading actually happening. The result was frustration and people's lives suffered. I came to realize we don't do well with too many choices. We get overwhelmed. We function better with less.

So, let's start with magazines. Find a stack of ten or twenty magazines and take them from their current home space and find an open space where you can sit and focus. Pick up the first magazine and ask yourself, "Is there something in this magazine that I want to read now?" Often we save a magazine because something in there intrigued us. But time has passed and maybe the info is no longer important. Or maybe it's interesting, but we're interested in many things, and we don't have the time to read it all and it makes us feel stuck. The main thing to come back to is, "Am I actually going to read this magazine?" Be honest with yourself. Intentions are different than what is. If you're still feeling stuck, notice this feeling of stuckness. That's what the presence of this particular magazine is making you feel. Do you want that feeling in your life?

I worked with a client recently who had a huge magazine collection in stacks on his living room floor. Initially he loved knowing that the magazines were there. He relished the idea of reading them. But after taking a deeper look, he saw that because there were so many magazines, he rarely read any of them. By seeing how he actually lived, he saw the magazines were clutter.

I'm trying to not make these fall clutter busting blog posts too long so I'll say to also use this introspective process with your books. I recently did a video clutter bust with a client who discovered that her three full bookshelves were clutter because she never read the books and only kept them because she felt they made her seem intellectual. She didn't want to live that way anymore and let the books and the bookshelves go.

If you feel stuck and need my help, you can contact me at brooks@clutterbusting.com to set up an online video clutter bust. It can be helpful to have someone help you question your things. Remember, it's your home. You come first. Your things either serve you or they don't.