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BOOK REVIEW: Clutter Intervention – How Your Stuff is Keeping You Stuck by Tisha Morris

| 22 May 2018 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Clutter Intervention – How Your Stuff is Keeping You Stuck by Tisha Morris

Llewellyn Publications, U.S.
February 2018
Paperback, $35.99
Reviewed by Natalie Salvo

Non-Fiction / Mind, Body, Spirit

5.5/10

Writer, Benjamin Law once described his childhood home as like a “Lasagne of shit.” There are a lot of homes waging a war on space with the average American house reported to contain in excess of 300,000 items. Tisha Morris has written Clutter Intervention – How Your Stuff is Keeping You Stuck to address this common problem. She also gives readers a series of New Age explanations with respect to why we hold on to our useless things.

Clutter is the best evidence to identify what our blind spots are, where we are staying stuck in the past out of comfort and fear, and what identities we are still attached to that are no longer a part of our present life or desired future life.

Tisha Morris is a Feng Shui consultant, interior designer, life coach, yoga instructor and energy healer. Morris was inspired to write this book on clutter after penning some chapters about this in her previous volume, Mind, Body, Home, which she references here. It should come as no surprise, given Morris’ energy healer credentials, that she emphasises the relationship between the vibrations or connections people experience with their possessions. This idea is an interesting one in theory but there will be some people who will balk or struggle to see their clutter as anything more than inanimate objects bearing no major influence on their spiritual lives or some other such thing.

Our home is an energetic extension of ourselves with every aspect reflected somewhere in it. This is made even more exact by the stuff we possess. Every item is an expression or extension of our mental and emotional selves. This is why decluttering can be such an arduous process. You are literally letting go of mental and emotional aspects of yourself. The only variable is how active your emotional connection to a particular item is. Has it passed its expiration date in your life? Is it supporting you or keeping you stuck?

Morris also uses some Feng Shui techniques here and these won’t appeal to some readers, only those who believe in such practices or those with a very open mind. In one chapter she describes burning sage in order to purify energy. While this could help some readers make peace with how they feel about their belongings, there will be others who might find this practice and other information like the below to be a little loopy.

At the root of the law of attraction is energy or vibration. Like energy attracts like energy…
You have manifested everything in your home with your thoughts and emotions. You wanted a comfy tan couch and made it happen by shopping, ordering, purchasing, and having it delivered. Everything in your home was a vibrational match to you at some point, and you attracted it to you. Yes, even your spouse or roommate. Your home is a giant composite of you. It’s also a giant emitter of your energy. Think of it is a living vision board.

This book does include some step-by-step instructions on how to declutter but Morris emphasises the possible reasons why people find it hard to part with their superfluous belongings in the first place. The text is more like pop psychology and it can get a little repetitive at times, but she does cover various reasons for clutter like: people hanging on to past identities, associations, jobs and relationships, as possible causes. She says that people can be categorised by the things they collect and that these people differ from those keeping sentimental objects like unwanted gifts or presents from deceased people that are loaded with emotions.

At any point while decluttering emotion-filled items, if you don’t feel comfortable letting something go, then don’t. This simply means it’s not time yet. This may be contrary advice to other decluttering books. Getting rid of an item before you’ve processed the energy around it is a missed opportunity for healing. Some items hold layers of memories that may take several rounds of decluttering before you can eventually let them go. A wedding ring following a divorce, for example, may take several rounds of processing before you decide to sell it.

Declutter Intervention also includes a chapter on digital clutter, which makes sense and is becoming a pertinent issue in this modern time. The notion of an identity crisis is also an intriguing explanation for hoarding clutter because Morris is of the view that the clutter is a physical manifestation of this disconnect. This idea is one that differs from the school of thought prevailing in psychology where they liken hoarding to obsessive-compulsive personality traits and individuals who are more likely to experience anxiety and depression.

If you have a high volume of clutter, it’s likely a subconscious distraction tactic to cover up regret, resentment, or remorse. The clutter contributes to keeping these heavy, dense emotions anchored in and covered up. The negative energy is simply projected back onto yourself and is in essence a form of self-betrayal. This is a toxic pattern that can eventually lead to physical disease.

For many people, knowing where to begin with the decluttering process is one of the biggest and most important battles. So perhaps Morris’ approach of explaining the reasons why one clutters is handy but not the complete story. The final chapter gives the reader some steps with respect to how the problem can be addressed and this is by far the most practical and useful section in the book. The tips she describes include the following:

– Create one area you love
– Ask for help
– Remove easy things first
– Make a list
– Be present
– Set aside time
– Divide and conquer
– Decide on undecided items
– The body knows best

It is obvious that this final chapter could have done with being expanded on in more detail. Morris could have drawn on her experiences with clients and given more practical examples or case studies to support her claims. This would be more relevant than the sometimes sweeping generalisations she makes at times that aren’t referenced and seem to lean on anecdotal evidence. Morris treads into murky territory when she describes the differences between the sexes, something that may not necessarily be applicable to all people:

Men tend to hang on to mementos relating to their identity from their early days of feeling free prior to settling down with marriage and children. They may also be drawn to keeping items relating to family heritage and legacy as it relates to successes. Women on the other hand, tend to identify more with their close relationships. This is simply a reflection of the thousands of years in which men were the hunters and women were the nurturers.

For those open-minded folk who honestly believe in the interconnectedness between sentient beings and inanimate objects then Clutter Intervention could be of use because it attempts to describe the root of the problem through a series of simple chapters and easy prose. For the sceptics, they should probably stick to a more scientific commentary that examines the definitions of hoarding as prescribed by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Clutter Intervention is proof that while clutter may be a common problem, it’s also a very complex issue for different individuals and that there really cannot be a one size fits all approach for everyone.

Natalie Salvo

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

About the Author ()

Natalie Salvo is a foodie and writer from Sydney. You can find her digging around in second hand book shops or submerged in vinyl crates at good record stores. Her websites are: http://nataliesalvo.wordpress.com and www.myshitdate.com

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