Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Promise I Don't Smell Like Patchoulli

Several years ago, a good friend told me about a book she was reading that was changing her life. I bought the book mostly out of curiosity (hey, Oprah hadn't endorsed it, so who could blame me?) That book was Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. Now, WAIT!! I know the title is a little.... iffy. It's a mouthful and the whole Feng Shui thing plays such a small role in this book it hardly warrants a front page mention. Feeling better now?

But brace yourself for more panic when you see the cover, which I believe was designed specifically to hone in on any PMS within a twenty foot radius. You know the type: a glowing candle, a couple of droopy (but vibrant!) flowers, all in very coma-inducing earthy tones. Calling all uteri!! Here is some literature for you and your emotional baggage, insecurities, and out-of-control hormones!! Again, WAIT!!

I read this book... and it did indeed change my life. My family and friends will all tell you how notorious I am for giving away the endings to things (OMG, the plants can, like, think and they are killing people!) So, SPOILER ALERT! I'm going to tell you what I learned from this book. Here it is:

When one holds onto things and never lets them go, at some point there is no room left for new things to come into one's life.

Here is how things developed for me. I had been living in the same apartment, same roommate, same job, with the same boyfriend for quite some time. I started doing the exercises in the book. Slowly I began getting rid of books, clothes, and the dreaded knick-knacks. Then all of sudden it snowballed and I started doing huge purges of STUFF that I hadn't even noticed was in my home! I was addicted to the feeling of making more space for myself. I could finally breathe. I started taking art classes, again. And then I found an apartment downtown. A smaller place, but that was okay because I had less stuff. I was living on my own in the neighborhood I had always wanted to live in. Then I applied for a job within my company doing something completely different than what I had been doing, and I got it. I broke up with the boyfriend in the going-nowhere relationship (a story for another day, dears). I ditched a car that had become a financial drain for something reliable. I adopted a dog.

That was three years ago. While I was packing up for my big move to Oklahoma, I came across this book on my shelf and I grinned as wide as what is appropriate when you live alone with your chihuahua-terrier. I was half tempted to draw lips on the cover so I could make out with this book.

If I hadn't adopted this philosophy, I can't imagine I would be a couple weeks away from moving to a new state to start a new job in a new industry. Thank you, Karen Kingston. There will always be space on my shelf for your book despite what it does to my estrogen levels.


Ann said...

Sounds like a great book. I'm currently trying to declutter. For a long time I was moving every 9 months-1 year and I didn't want to accumulate stuff. I've lived in my current house for 3.5 years (the longest I've lived anywhere since middle school) and I really just want to get rid of stuff and I don't know how to do it.

i think i have to check this one out.

Stef said...

Thanks for the book recommendation! I have been wanting to do a huge apartment-purge for a while now, I think this might give me the extra push I need to just DO it finally.

Love your blog, by the way!

Andrea said...

Ahh, yes. And remember our foray into her Creating Sacred Space book? I'm thinking I'll stick with the clearing of the clutter.

I'm a little disappointed that you didn't point out her clutter/poop correlation. But maybe that's a story for another day, as well.

so NOT cool said...

But ... I like patchouli! (My husband hates it.)

This does sound like a great book. I have been decluttering over the last, um, few years. I obviously need to get on the ball a bit. I think I'll add this book to my library list. Thanks for the recommendation. Also, I'm so happy about how it changed your life.

sweetcheese said...


EatPlayLove said...

I love purging, one of the big perks of pregnancy is that whole nesting in overdrive phase, now my 5 year old thinks everything I want to get rid of is "her favorite toy/clothing ever!" aarg!

anymommy said...

I'm a huge purger, but I have to admit I have been stuck in a bit of a rut lately. Your sentence about letting things go to make room for new things is spot on the money. It made me think that I need to do that in a lot of ways, including old thoughts! Thanks for the book recommendation and the timely reminder.