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February 8, 2020

The Clutter Free Home by Kathi Lipp ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

It is almost time for Spring Cleaning! Though I prefer to do my big clean out in the fall and over the winter months when I'm stuck in the house, I usually do a bit of cleaning to welcome the new season. After reading The Clutter Free Home, I realize what I'm doing is more decluttering than cleaning (though I do wash the windows so that the sunshine can sparkle into my house). If you find that you have stuff everywhere and not sure how to tackle the dreaded "junk drawer", then Kathi Lipp's new book is for you.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

February 2020; Harvest House Publishers
978-0736976985; ebook, print (208 pages)
nonfiction, self-help
There are a lot of books out there on getting your home organized. We've all heard of Marie Kondo or the KonMari method, which advocates for a more minimalist lifestyle (only having 30 books in your house, gasp!). Lipp is quick to point out that she isn't advocating for a minimalist lifestyle but wants to teach you how to sort through and organize your stuff, or clutter, so that you can actually enjoy it and the life you are meant to be living.

Whether you have piles of laundry on your couch needing to be folded and put away or struggling to keep up with the never-ending flow of junk mail into your home, you will find helpful tips in this well laid out, short book. There are even worksheets to guide you in decluttering each room of your home and setting goals for what you want the room to be like.

While a lot of the tips are ones you have probably heard before, and maybe are already employing in your home, Lipp provides a more unique perspective on decluttering and using the spaces in our homes. She isn't telling readers how to have magazine perfect rooms (though if really followed all her tips to a tee and had nothing else in life to do, you could probably achieve it), but how to have rooms that you are comfortable living in - rooms that you aren't embarrassed to invite the unexpectant visitor into.

Why did The Clutter Free Home appeal to me?

Part of the appeal of this book for me is that I have unused rooms. I'm single with a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house (I didn't want to live in an apartment because I don't want to be that close to people). When I first moved in 17 years ago, one bedroom was set up to be my office (I was in graduate school at the time and it was where I wrote my dissertation) and the other spare room was going to be my craft room/guest room. I no longer have a desktop computer but use a laptop so I rarely use my "office" for anything but file storage. The "guest room" has become the cat room where new cats are sequestered until they are fully integrated into the family.

In addition to the normal tips of decluttering (i.e. having bags and totes for trash, recycle, give away, and goes in another room) she also encourages you to really think about the purpose of the room. She goes beyond just setting out what you want the room to be (i.e. a craft room), but she tells you to detail how the room appeals to each of our senses - sight, touch, sound, smell, taste. (This is where the worksheets come in helpful.)

I'm pretty good about keeping the everyday clutter cleaned up (except for the dishes in the sink), but it is the "storage" areas that I have trouble getting to. So Lipp's reminder to "space block" your decluttering was timely. Space blocking is when you pick one small space (i.e. the junk drawer) and focus on it. My "space" for this weekend is the tubs of plastic containers in the kitchen cabinets. Since switching to glass containers I rarely use them so they are just taking up space, space that could be used to store my irregularly, but often enough, used canning supplies that are currently sitting on the floor.

Speaking of not using items...

I really liked Lipp's chapter on Use It Up, Make Do, and Do Without. I have spent the last year really trying to reduce my food waste and recently I've extended this to my makeup (my sister was a Mary Kay sales rep for a while so I had several random makeup items taking up space under my bathroom cabinet). Since I hate spending money, I've not had to do a "spending ban" to make me use up stuff but that is a great tip for someone that likes to try new things but often discards the item - and not discarding it properly (by giving it to some who will use it or throwing it away).

Again, much of the things talked about in this chapter I'm already doing, but it was edifying to know that it isn't just me depriving myself, but that it is a wise lifestyle choice for reducing waste and clutter. A lifestyle choice that frees me to do other, often more important, things.

The Clutter Free Home has motivated me

Probably the best thing about this book is it has motivated me to get serious about decluttering the "hidden" spots in my house. Like I said above, except for the dishes in the sink, the "surface clutter" is under control. (Like Lipp, I hate dealing with the dishes. Unlike Lipp, I don't have a husband to do them for me.) I realized that reading the book was motivating me to declutter when I opened the supply closet at work the other day and it was so disorganized (notebooks, sticky notes, pens were in 3 different spots instead of being grouped together by like item). I took a few minutes to put it to rights.

As I mentioned I'm planning on sorting through my plastic containers this weekend. I have a tiny kitchen and I've been trying to figure out where to store the appliances I use often enough to need to keep them, but they are used irregularly so they don't need to be on the container top. For you, it might be the turkey roasting pan that is only used during the holidays. For me, it is my water bath canner, large stockpot, and empty canning jars. I've used them 2 or 3 times this past year (and I have plans for making orange marmalade and strawberry jam in the near future). While reading The Clutter Free Home, I had a lightbulb moment. If I got rid of the plastic containers that I no longer use I would have space there for my canning supplies.

My Recommendation

Whether you are needing a little motivation to get your spring cleaning started or have no clue how to tackle all the stuff that has crept into your life over the years, The Clutter Free Home will help you.

Side note: As a community of book readers, I'm sure you are curious about Lipp's take on keeping books. She has a much more reasonable approach to deciding on keeping or discarding the books piled up in our homes. She recommends keeping the books you refer back to (or re-read often) and books that you have plans to read. She recommends giving away books that you are never going to read (that book that when you pick it up you wonder what you were thinking when you bought it) and books that you read but don't intend to re-read or need for reference in the future. Also, one of the important tenets in her book is to dedicate your space for a specific purpose. I want a home library and one of the things on my sight list for that space is to see lots of books!

If you are needing more help in decluttering your home, Kathi Lipp has a podcast: The Clutter Free Academy.

Buy The Clutter Free Home at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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  1. This sounds AWESOME! I'm always looking for tips to help me declutter. Clutter makes me feel wicked anxious. I'll have to pick this one up. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

  2. Fair enough, will read, yet usually in life i put cart before horse; tell me some good tips from the book, i'll get my clutter cleaned, then I'll have wherewithal to read the book, and in hindsight see if I did it right.

  3. Oh now I see, this is extensive and helpful; at first I thought it was just intro paragraph. thx

  4. Great idea for unused room. Clutter and letting go has been a huge weakness. I like this idea of when you bring one new thing in your home, you should try to take one 'old' thing out.

  5. Even with my Kindle now holding most of my reading material without taking up extra space, I don't think I could ever cut my book stash down to just 30 books.
    I have been doing "space blocking" for years. The problem is, I do very well through the first few blocks, but it seems by the time I get closer to the middle of the blocks, the early ones already need redone. In this way, it is like the laundry, never-ending. :-) At least for me.