Book Review: A Year To Clear

I was fortunate to attend a presentation a couple years ago to our local NAPO (National Association for Professional Organizers) chapter by Stephanie Bennett Vogt about clearing your home with spaciousness and intention.  Stephanie is a leading space-clearing expert, international speaker, and blogger/author.

I recently read her book A Year To Clear, “a journey of self-discovery, letting go, and transformation.  Each of the 365 lessons – organized into 52 weeklong themes – offers daily inspiration designed to release stress and stuff in ways that lighten, enlighten, and last” (book cover, A Year To Clear).

There is a lot to this book, and if you are serious about using it daily, it is a commitment.  Every single day has exploratory questions set up as open-ended statements that relate to that day’s theme, and sometimes that week’s theme.  I think it’s a great approach for someone who is trying to dig deeper into why they have been holding on to their things, not just physical items, but emotional as well, and what the connections to decluttering are.  

There are so many wisdom nuggets in the book that it’s hard to write a succinct review of it.  Stephanie outlines 4 pathways to clearing/daily routine:

1. Intention
2. Action
3. Non-Identification
4. Compassion

She encourages us to slow down, have more of a yin-yang balance in clearing, more “non-doing” doing.  “One of the key principles you will be hearing a lot (and exploring) throughout this book is that of observing and allowing events to unfold without doing, changing, or fixing the outcome” (page 2).  This can be difficult to do, especially for our goal-oriented/action-oriented society.  Stephanie also talks repeatedly about energy, and how it is connected to what we are doing in our spaces, what we might be holding on to.

I love her definition of clutter: “Clutter is anything that gets in the way of experiencing our true nature and best life….At its essence, all clutter is a form of low-vibrational energy that sticks like a magnet to things, people, and spaces” (page 4).  I think this explains the feeling our clients get at times when they face a cluttered space that they’ve been avoiding for awhile.  Overwhelmed, tired, unmotivated.  They are picking up on that low-vibration energy and it can be a deterrent to dealing with the delayed decisions that caused the clutter in the first place.

You can start this book any time throughout the year; I think the higher-energy times would be as the new year begins (riding the wave of resolutions) or in the springtime when we often have the urge to clean and clear our space.  But really, you could start tomorrow if you were ready, and Stephanie will help ease you into the process gently and with compassion.  Kind of like the Living Peace philosophy!

Let us know in the comments if you have read the book, and what you thought of it.  Did you try any of the exercises?

About Melissa Belliard

Melissa is committed to helping her clients find the organizing system that works for them, with compassion and creativity. She has been helping her friends and family get organized for years, and loves decluttering closets and cabinets, especially for empty nesters and folks who are downsizing. Melissa brings her 16 years of experience as a Human Resources professional to her work, including compassionate listening, leadership, and creative problem-solving skills. Melissa is also a part-time massage therapist, and has raised two great kids. She loves being out in nature, listening to music and dancing, as well as bringing women together in community.

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