Doorway open to cluttered roomWhen Eve Schaub sees an opportunity for improvement, she takes a year and works on the problem. That is what she did in her 2014 book “Year of No Sugar.”  Now she is tackling a “Year of No Clutter.” A monumental pile of clutter housed in what she affectionately calls “The Hell Room.”

I always thought I had a clutter problem, but I do not have a whole room dedicated to things I cannot let go. Who knows? Maybe if I had an extra room it would fill up the same way all empty countertops in my home magically attract piles of paper. Schaub treated this room – a large room by her description – how others treat the guest room closet or the space under the bed. Don’t know what to do with it? Throw it in, quickly close the door, and think of it no more!

The problem is, she did think of it. Clutter has a way of nagging in the back of your mind. So she enlisted her daughters and declared this the year they would clear the room, sort the stuff, find it a new home, throw it out, recycle it, file it. Particularly funny are the daughters’ efforts to keep things she is trying to re-home. Or her husband’s delaying tactics when it came time to make decisions about his own contributions to the Hell Room. The more she tries to find a place for her unwanted items, the more she seems to collect from others also trying to divest. It’s the circle of clutter.

This isn’t a manual on how to create order from chaos. There are many other books for that (and Schaub admits she owns most of them.) This is Schaub wryly exploring her relationship to stuff.  She ponders the tipping point between clutterer and hoarder, and explains how sentiment can make you keep things like (no kidding) a dead mouse. This is a good book to read during your own organizing efforts as a reminder you aren’t alone under that pile of rubble.

Published March 7, 2017

An advance galley of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion.