In Too Much Stuff, Kathryn Porter challenges us to dig into the clutter of our homes and attack the attitudes and behaviors that allow this chaos to immobilize us. While giving practical steps on how to declutter our houses, she shows us how to declutter our hearts by realizing that God loves us through the messes we make and has a plan for us that doesn’t involve being confined to clutter.
Too Much Stuff includes:
Reflection questions within each chapter to help you assess the extent of your clutter .
Room-by-room de-cluttering techniques and practical advice on how to keep a clutter free, beautiful home.
Homebuilding sections to remind you to seek God and His word as your foundation
Prayer points in each chapter to help you focus on God throughout your de-cluttering journey
Meet the author:
Kathryn is a fourth generation clutterbug. As a full-time home manager, her passion is in creating a beautiful home for her family.
A recovering “stuffaholic,” Kathryn is a popular speaker who shares faith-based messages on how to keep a clean house. She earned her Master’s degree in Special Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She now uses her teaching skills in community workshops to help the “chronically disorganized” transform their homes.
Kathryn is a founding member of Pike’s Peak Professional Organizers (PPPO). She is also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD).
I recently got to interview Kathryn and here is what she had to say:
What prompted you to write this book?
The book came about because I had a message that I didn’t find in any of the other organizing books on the market. I also wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and was looking for a way to produce income while working from home.
Here’s the background: I was raised in a messy home and learned how to keep a messy home. When my husband and I learned we would become parents, I became determined to stop the cycle. In the past, I made excuses for my poor housekeeping, such as “I just need more storage space.” But when we moved into a bigger apartment and then a bigger home, I still didn’t have enough storage space. Now, we had to make room for baby.
I continued to read every organizing and housekeeping book I could get my hands on, but nothing worked long term. Finally, one of my friends gave me some sage advice: “You can’t keep everything and keep a clean house.” That statement changed my life. No one had told me that before, nor was it in any of the books I read. I figured others needed to hear this too. I pursued publication and within less than two years my book was on the market. It even went into a second printing only four months after its release.
Do you follow your own advice? Is your home de-cluttered?
I do my best to create a presentable home following the same advice I offer others. My husband and child enjoy our home because they don’t have to worry about meeting standards of perfection, but we still have specific expectations of clean.
Guests tell me they feel comfortable because they feel a sense of peace when they walk through the entryway. They know that people live here and that it isn’t a showcase home. There may be a stack of mail on the counter that needs sorting or toys on the floor in the TV room, but it’s not an issue. My friends appreciate that I’m realistic when it comes to housekeeping.
What role does faith play in keeping house?
I used to think that faith had nothing to do with keeping house, but now I know that’s wrong. Faith helps me find confidence with every new challenge and contentment when things don’t go as planned.
Our latest challenge is having a new puppy in the house. She’s not housetrained yet and it’s driving me crazy. She will get into anything and everything if she’s not constantly watched. My son also likes to take her dog food and leave little trails around the house like in Hanzel and Gretel. I am confident that “this too will pass” and we will get through this just as we did with previous challenges.
Both work and family keep me busy. Sometimes I have to sacrifice housekeeping for that family time and be content with the way the house looks. For instance, my son discovered his “inner artist.” When I bought him markers, the plan was for him to draw in a notebook, but he has taken to drawing on walls and doors. We currently have Mr. Potato Head on our back door, the itsy bitsy spider on our front door, and Larry Boy from Veggie Tales in our entryway. I haven’t cleaned them off yet because they are kind of cute and I’d like to take a picture of them before I erase them. I’m content to live with our own little version of Rembrandt and enjoy this season in life.
If you could give me just one piece of advice in regards to taking back control of my house, what would it be?
Give yourself permission to let go of some of the things you think you need. It comes down to a choice—we can keep everything we own or we can keep a clean house.
When we get too busy to clean or something happens in life which forces housekeeping to take a back seat to the priority at hand, having less stuff will make it easier to take back control. The less you have, the less you have to clean.
In terms of clutter, it seems that I’m always faced with new challenges, but the underlying mantra that helps me keep things under control is “You can’t keep everything and keep a clean house.”
How do you balance writing with your home and family life?
I do more speaking than writing these days, but balance is an important issue no matter the line of work.
Two things help me stay focused; a mission statement and calendar boundaries. If I have opportunities that don’t align with my mission, then it’s easy to say no. One of the keys to staying balanced is not saying yes to everything. When I’m faced with a lot of opportunities that align with my mission, I’ll then evaluate how they fit with my vision and other elements of my business plan. This helps me to choose between good and best.
My calendar boundaries are my guidelines for accepting work. Notice I said guidelines, not a rigid set of rules. For instance, Sunday is our family day so I mark off every Sunday on our calendar. This is our day of worship as a family and the one day that we don’t make individual plans. Monday is my day of margin. This is my day that when I wake up in the morning, I know I don’t have any commitments on the calendar. I still work, but I don’t schedule meetings, not even lunch dates. Sure, there are times I need to be flexible, but this gives me a structure with which to work.
What are the last five books you read?
I’m a non-fiction kind of girl and especially enjoy books on business and marketing. I read a lot of family and parenting books too. I’m not sure if I can remember exactly what my last five reads were, but here’s a list to the best of my recollection:
Nuts: The Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success
Sam Walton: Made in America
The Big Sister’s Guide to the World of Work: The Inside Rules Every Working Girl Must Know
Mom’s Needs, Dad’s Needs
Love and Respect
What has been the neatest part about being a published author?
The best part about being published is the people I get to meet. I’m not talking about the rich and famous—although I’ve met a few, but everyday Americans. I may meet them in person at a signing or through email after they visit my Web site. Sales figures tell me people are reading my book, but it’s those personal contacts that tell me my book touches people’s lives on a deep level and is making a difference. I love hearing from readers and learning their stories.