Saturday, February 28, 2015

Reflections on Peter Walsh's New Book

I am in the process of selling my house and also I am dieting with Weight Watchers. Peter Walsh points out that dieting and decluttering all go together in his book released this past week. Amazon got it to me on the release date, February 24th, and I have been enthusiastically reading it during planning periods while I substitute teach.

Peter also adds a third element to decluttering and eating and exercising--mindfulness. And so he launches a plan to work on all three. In this very thoughtful and might I add organized book, he takes twenty-two volunteers on a six-week program. 
From 9/14/12

My Decluttering
But decluttering has taken/is taking me much longer than six weeks.  Walsh uses a room-by-room approach to decluttering as I did when I went through Mindy Starns Clark's book, The House That Cleans Itself.  15 people got Mindy's book that she mailed me beginning HERE IN 2012.* Those of you who have been following my blog saw me prioritize areas to work on, Alzheimer's proofing the house as I went. Along the way I did get help from Pharis for the outside of the property #9. The last two areas, I never got to--the garage #11 and the workshop #10 as my caregiving days became more difficult and even house maintenance took a back seat to caregiving, a sad fact that I have had to remedy in recent days.  My Huntsville brother and Pharis were the ones to clean out Areas #10 and #11 and give me new purposes for those rooms--the garage has hosted three garage sales in 2015 and the emptied workshop is now the staging area for my move to Huntsville, Alabama (Rocket City) as the above banner suggests. The whole project has become a downsizing with rooms changing and furniture leaving the house as I have been chronicling recently.

My Dieting and Exercising
I started back to Weight Watchers at the end of 2011 as reported HERE. In 2012 I lost 25 pounds and I kept off 15 of it as the caregiving proceeded. Who knows! I might have gained all 25 pounds back! As I reported in that first Weight Watcher post, I chose 7 am Saturday as my meeting time. Spring of 2012 also saw a respite cruise paid for by family and on that cruise I maintained my weight. During the last years of caregiving, I chose caregiving above dieting, realizing that I was called to be there for my husband above all while also having to work to make ends meet. My husband did not want me walking outside and so I did get a treadmill that is going with me when I move and that treadmill might have helped my stress level. I might add that Peter says you don't need a treadmill, but because Huntsville is a colder climate, I might not be able to walk outside in the Winter. 

After my husband died, I went back to that 7 am Saturday morning meeting. Weight Watchers has been for me a great social and inspirational time. Why I even checked out Weight Watchers in Huntsville, Alabama last December.  This morning my total weight loss since 2011 is 31.2 pounds. Here I am today with my Lakeland, Florida leader. I looked all over this computer and my Notebook computer and could not find my "before" picture, but people are starting to notice the change. My weight loss is helping me decide  what clothes to keep as I downsize. 

In Walsh's book, he does not plug Weight Watchers, but I certainly want to and studies have showed that Weight Watchers is the best diet program around. 

This area of the soul, the self, for me incorporates my Christian belief and I have been meditating on Scripture regularly. In fact, with a clue from Georgene who has often commented on this blog, I started typing up numerous Scripture passages to meditate on and apply. 

In my caregiving and in my widowhood, Scripture is precious to me--it sustains my days and nights. I also was helped by Staci Eastin's book The Organized Heart, a book that helps us Christian believers be mindful. See HERE and also HERE where I reviewed it. 

So you can see I totally resonated with Lose the CLUTTER, Lose the WEIGHT--with all three of the author's main points, plus learned so much more. 

New Insights from Peter Walsh
Before Alzheimer's came into the picture seven years ago (by my estimation), my husband worked, I would watch Peter Walsh on the Home and Garden Network's "Clean Sweep" in the summers before retirement when I taught in public school. (Those were the days I watched TV before my husband sort of took over the big TV.)  Peter would produce episodes like this one he has pictured on his LIKE* page in his native Australia. 

Already a fan from back then, I enjoyed these gems from his book this week:

  • Somehow, at some point, you became too large for your comfort.
  • Given the environment we live in . . .  How can your body and home not get to this point?
  • If the stuff you own is not helping you create the life you want, then let it go. My main job in Huntsville is to write that counseling dissertation on dementia caregiving. I do not need stuff. 
  • Pitfall #1: Not seeing enough improvement. Oh yes. I can come home and be upset. Yet I look around and it looks so much different than it does before I decided to sell and move. 
  • Pitfall #2: Lack of time. Walsh suggests you schedule tasks like you would any other appointment. I know that perfection is gone, but today I will pack-up my books which are not selling and donate them.
  • Pitfall #3: Resistance from family. Had my husband still been living, I would have had to leave things the way he was used to. But since his death, my Huntsville brother spent time here in January to help me get repair projects underway and to clean out areas #10 and #11 of my home as I mentioned above.
  • Pitfall #4: Isolation. Weight Watchers is such a great group of friends. They cheer you on and understand when you blow it. I do not feel alone. Also, I have learned to ask for help. 
  • Task 2: SEPARATE THE "BENIGN" FROM THE "MALIGNANT" ITEMS. Malignant items are defined as any items that make you feel guilty, sad, nostalgic or angry. 
There are 11 tasks in all,  and this chapter ends with physical activities. The book continues with the bedroom, bedroom closet and the bathroom. 

Then Peter Walsh goes into meddling with my desk and finances. He suggests zones. Zone 1 should be the area by your desk. That has me thinking about getting rid of my four-drawer file cabinet and just keeping selected filing arrangements. Zone 2 represents material that one uses infrequently. I am going to label Zone 2 boxes for my move, put them in the workshop move staging area, and keep Zone 1 material available. The author tells you to back up your computer files. I have already been trying to change my email because I am moving from the Tampa area and cannot have a Tampa Road Runner email. I do like what he says about maintaining your changes and will perhaps discuss this in another blog post or when I move to Rocket City (Huntsville, Alabama). 

So this week I am all into Peter Walsh insights. Shoo away your extra shoes, he says. Yesterday I brought a dozen or more pair of shoes to put here by the music room in the school where I substituted. 


Today we have rain today in Plant City, so I canceled my 7th garage/yard sale and am just working on my downsizing and putting the house on the market today. Besides, the 80th Annual Plant City Strawberry Festival is on and that is the focus in our area now. 

My deadline for having the house go on the market is March 9th and I have to get back to making my rooms look spacious, downsizing and packing. Might try to get to the festival sometime next week with friends from last fall's cruise I invited. Probably will put books into the car to donate when it stops raining, because books have not sold well in my garage sales. 

* One of my blogger friends (also a caregiver whom I interviewed) suggested I form a "The House That Cleans Itself" group on Facebook; that group is not as active as is the Plant City and Friends FB "LIKE" page that I regularly post on and which has 74 members. I am also following Peter Walsh's FB "LIKE" page now and we have messaged each other. His next book, I believe, is on downsizing for seniors or for your parents who are seniors needing to go to a nursing home.


  1. My enthusiastic review on Lose Clutter Lose Weight (different than the above) is now on Amazon.

    Backed up SUV to the garage and loaded it up with books, DVDs and Tapes to go donate them. More people bought movies in 6 sales than books in three 2015 garage sales. Come on people, don't you read here in Plant City!!!

  2. Sounds like an interesting book, Carol! Good review with it!


  3. You're full of energy and getting so much done. I'm interested in what the book teaches about the desk. That is a weak area for me. I know there is room for improvement. May God's grace be yours through this upcoming move!

    1. Weak area for me as well, but working on it. My book is loaned out now, but basically Peter says to have things at hand while you work. I took back a short bookcase from the garage sale so when I get to Huntsville I can have all my books at hand.

    2. Georgene, I cleaned my desk, but it is a "hot spot" that I will have to keep working on even while I am working on the whole downsizing project. I think you have downsized before. Any advice?

  4. Wow! That isn't an easy question. I've made a lot of mistakes in downsizing... mainly that I have given away things that I ended up needing. It was just too hard to know but the neat thing is that the Lord provided for my need a second time. :-)

    I was blessed to not have to downsize from our largest home of 2700 sq. ft. to our current home of 745 sq. ft. in one move. We first downsized to 1500 sq. ft. and then to 300 sq. ft and then back to 745 sq. ft. I kept items in storage from the 1500 sq. ft home to the 745 sq. ft. I had several years to finish the process.. well, I guess I'm still downsizing if the truth be known. I feel my house is still too full.

    I think this is a great idea... clear out one room (or garage) in your house that is close to the space you are moving to. Bring in items from the rest of the house that you will need for your new place. I have a friend doing this right now. This way you have a good visual of the actual space.

    I would also watch any of the 'Tiny House' YouTube videos (or TV shows). They give a lot of ideas how to downsize into small spaces.

    1. You are such a great example of making do. I have to ask myself if I will need something.I guess if I give away too much, I can make do somehow. I have in my mind and on paper how a two bedroom apartment with a dining area might work for the furniture I am keeping.