Is your home a disaster? According to professional organizer Peter Walsh, creating a space you love begins with eliminating your mess—and unearthing your most meaningful possessions. Nate talks to Peter about the importance of organization and about his mission to help people rid their homes of clutter.
Best known for his role on TLC's hit series Clean Sweep, Peter says his job is to go into people's homes and try to dig them out from under the piles of stuff they've accumulated. He also spells out his declutter strategies in his book It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. "I thought it was about time to let people know that they can actually live a richer, fuller life with a little less stuff in their homes," Peter says.
Peter says it's not how much space you have, it's what you put in it—or more importantly, leave out. Nate, who owns a sparsely decorated 550-square-foot apartment in New York City, says he agrees with Peter's "less is more" philosophy. "It all comes down to having a space that creates the life that you want," Peter says. "If it feeds that life that you want—it can just be the best space in the world."
In his work, Peter says he comes across a lot of junk that people try to pass off as collections. He says there's a big difference between having a collection of prized objects, and just amassing a bunch of stuff. "A lot of people don't realize that the line between 'collectable' and 'clutter' is razor thin," he says. "Just because you have a lot of things that are of the same type doesn't make you a collector in my view. It's how they're honored, how they're respected and it's very much about the joy they bring to your life."
So what causes people to live in disarray? Peter says it has to do with the false notion that more is better or that material things amount to happiness. The result is that a person's "stuff ends up owning them and all of a sudden they're robbed of peace of mind, of calm, of being centered, and that's where everything goes off the rails," Peter says.
According to Peter, every item in your home should be meaningful—something that evokes special memories or brings you joy and comfort. "If the stuff in your home doesn't make your heart sing, what's it doing in your most intimate of spaces?"
Printed from Oprah.com on Wednesday, June 19, 2013