Saturday, April 26, 2008

Small Space Saturday: Free Book Giveaway

On Saturdays I write about strategies for living in 300 square feet

Today I am offering two strategies for reducing clutter and making a small space more livable.

The first is to read about decluttering and organizing. Books and websites that share other people's stories can be very inspiring. For instance, the Organizing Junkie has a feature called the "Monthly Round Up" where her readers submit stories and photos of how they cleaned up their kitchen, garage, etc. Seeing those "before and after" pictures always brings a smile to my face. A well-done clean up makes me want to get up and organize. The really bad ones, well, they make me feel better about myself...

We recently bought the book It's All Too Much, by Peter Walsh. Mr. Walsh is best known for his appearances on the program "Clean Sweep." The book is written in a personable, easy to read style, and offers a concrete method to declutter your home. Normally, this is really my cup of tea, not Sean's. But Sean liked it and said, "Walsh is dead-on about the all the reasons people keep too much stuff." While he also found the book to be a bit repetitive, it was obviously inspiring: yesterday, Sean cleaned four bags of old clothing out of his closet to be given to charity. When you consider that we each have only 30 inches of closet rod space, that's pretty inspired!

Now that we have both read the book, we are ready to move it out of the bus. That is the second strategy: get rid of things you have finished using as soon as possible. We rarely re-read books, so they are an excellent candidate for giving away. Knowing this, we usually buy used books and either leave them at a campground book exchange or drop off at a charity collection point.

For "It's All Too Much," however, I am offering it free to one of our readers. I will pay the shipping costs. The hardcover book was purchased used but in very good condition. It has a pen mark along the top edge, and slight wrinkling of the book jacket.

If you would like this free copy of the book, leave a comment with a sentence or two about your decluttering experiences. It can be something you are struggling with, a tip, or a recent triumph. The winner will be chosen randomly a week from today, on May 3, 2008. Don't leave your address or email in the comment, please, but check back next week for the name of the winner and instructions on how to claim the book.

If you are a visitor from "Works for Me" on Rocks in My Dryer, welcome and good luck.


  1. Wow! What fulltimer can't use some help decluttering! My biggest challenge is my partner. He comes from a long line of hoarders and constantly "needs" things. Please enter me into your drawing.

  2. LOVE your articles on small spaces. I found "The Flylady" years ago and do the "27 Fling Boogie" quite often. I read on your blog if something new comes in the bus, something goes out. That stuck & I'm proud to say I donated several bags of clothing after bringing home new purchases! Thx for the chance at the drawing.

  3. Don't need the book but wanted to say that watching Clean Sweep in my pre-RV days, really helped me deal with the pile of "memory" stuff. Very inspirational!!

  4. Hi Louise....I sooooooooooo need need this book. After 20 years in the house we are moving on....and it is so hard to clean out!!!! But..........after living in our bus for 5 months it should be easy. It is so true that "we only need 4 plates "two dirty and two clean"....RV people always bring their own plate and glass when they come to dinner. It is so wonderful.
    Everytime I go into Walmart I laugh because you told me that now you can go into Walmart and there isn't anything you need...I want to get there.


    Shirley Lewis
    Infinity Coach

  5. Hi Louise. What a great idea. I think my wife and I could really use the inspiration Sean seemed to find in the book. We're about to embark on a kitchen remodel, so we're beginning to think about what we need to box up while the new kitchen is out of commission.

    I'm overwhelmed by the accumulations in every nook and cranny of our cabinets. With two young sons, it seems their artwork supplies have gotten muddled with our vast supply of tupperware (read: recycled plastic containers), the chargers for varied tech devices are mingling in the same drawer as our tin foil and zip-loc baggies, and my wife's tea paraphenalia is slowly taking over our cup cupboard.

    Suffice to say, we need some inspiration on how to declutter, detangle and organize our posessions so that our new kitchen doesn't suffer the same defeat.


  6. I would LOVE to have that book! I enjoy watching Clean Sweep occasionally. We've got a huge decluttering challenge, as we need to sell our home. In order to get to that point, we need to declutter BIG TIME.

  7. Hi,

    I am still relatively new to reading you but I love how you do the small space articles I went back to read them all. My mother died a few years ago and I as many people tend to do when someone they love dies treated everything that was passed down to me as a treasure that could never be parted with.

    I recently moved into a tiny duplex that doesnt even have a dining room and I had to finally take my own mothers advice of "love and memories is something you carry with you forever without the burden of too many material possessions." She told me that before she died because she was finally going to part with all my grandmothers furniture after years of carrying it around and I think she finally came to terms with the idea she didnt need to carry "things" around anymore to love and remember someone.

    Now it's my turn. :)


  8. Hi guys,

    I have begun the first serious decluttering of my adult life. :-) My girlfriend will be moving in to live with me in June and we have been going through my apartment cleaning, arranging, and sorting through 14 years of CRUFT. This includes old bills, papers, receipts etc. Most of which is going to either be shredded or burned, and some thrown away.

    We've also generated a large pile of to-be-given-away material: old computers, games, bric-a-brac, etc. that I no longer want.

    I'm a horrible packrat and B has helped me learn how to let go of all my old crap so we can make way for new stuff and for her stuff! It's amazing how that has lightened my spirit.


  9. A couple of sites you are probably aware of, but just incase. Paperbookswap puts people and books together (kind of like netflix).

    I can't do paperbookswap but I do release books into the wild (still no catches).

    Where are headed in Mexico? You know that May is the hottest month, yes? Zacatecas has an international folkloric dance festival in July that is well worth the trip and the highlands are WONDERFUL this time of year. Once you hit Saltillo you're set at around 5000ft until you come down from Puebla or over to Veracruz or over to Mazatlan. Stay at altitude! :)

    Or come visit us on the Caribbean. :)

  10. I would LOVE this book. I am on my way to having a cleaner, more organized house, but it's slow going. I am getting ruthless about getting rid of things. I recently cleaned out a closet and emptied 5 Rubbermaid containers!


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