I have a confession: I hate my living space. I know the power of words; “hate” is a strong one but it’s appropriate for my current emotional state. My home is not a sanctuary. It does not bring me peace. There is no part of it that brings me joy.

The brutal truth is that I can only think of two times in my life when I have loved the space I’m in – the first was my freshman dorm room; the second was the apartment I moved into after my first marriage ended.

Purple velvet coach with "clutter free in '15" written above it.

I’ve taken Kathi Lipp’s challenge to be clutter free in 2015.

What do those two homes have in common? They were fresh starts in a new phase of life. They were mine and mine alone. They contained few possessions, but I loved each one.

Fast forward to now, and I have stuff in spades. Expensive stuff, cheap stuff, my stuff, other people’s stuff – no matter where I turn, I trip over stuff. I thought I had a housekeeping problem. Then I hired a housekeeper and discovered that a mopped floor was not the issue. It must be the house. It was too small and poorly designed. My husband and I decided to actively save for a move. Then I got pregnant, he lost his job and our priorities shifted. We let the housekeeper go and focused on doing more with less.

This is when I discovered minimalism. I was intrigued by the concept of folks content with spartan digs. I became a voracious follower of Becoming Minimalist and The Minimalists, and others who practiced variations of minimalism because they seemed to have such freedom. The simplicity sounded divine but also unrealistic. Living life with one pair of pants, two shirts and single pair of shoes didn’t jibe with my varied lifestyle. Cocktail attire is just as critical to my wardrobe as business suits and workout wear. There is no way a single pair of pants and shoes could multi-task that well.

I wanted to jump into this new world with both feet, but I didn’t know how to swim. So I dipped my toe. I embraced the idea of minimizing my consumerism and shelved the rest until I could figure out how to achieve my dream of a peaceful existence. That time has arrived. I have discovered “Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space” by Kathi Lipp.

Here’s the gist of what I have learned: The house isn’t the problem. I am the problem.

This isn’t an organization system. It’s a guide to getting to the root of why people buy and keep stuff that has little meaning and how to get rid of it. It’s a playbook for winning the war against clutter once and for all. I am embracing “Clutter Free” as my battle cry for 2015 and using this book as my guide. Want to join me? Text FINALLY to 33444 and sign up for Kathi’s Clutter Free emails; you’ll get all the free resources to start your journey.

This is the first in a four-part series on learning to love my living space utilizing strategies and concepts from Kathi Lipp’s “Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space” (Harvest House 2015).

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