Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Books, Organization, Reviews | 2 comments

“Banish Clutter Forever: How the Toothbrush Principle Will Change Your Life”

By Sheila Chandra
My Rating: 3/5

BanishClutterForever225A room by room approach to cleaning and organizing your home so that you reduce the clutter in your life. Chandra explores the idea that your toothbrush is always exactly where it should be, so why can’t everything else in your life? The book details how to not only organize rooms, but other facets of your life like your purse or even your email. The idea is that you should store items where you use them like your toothbrush right next to the bathroom sink. This leaves you less likely to leave things lying around because you don’t have to go far from where you’re using it to put it away.

Chandra also explains how to get rid of all the unnecessary junk. We all keep boxes of memories and keepsakes; if they’re so important, why are they boxed up? Or if they evoke a sad memory, why even keep it at all? When going through your rooms she applies several questions you should ask yourself about where the item belongs and what you should do with it: keep, throw away, donate or recycle?

The book itself was a little dry and hard to read. I had many early nights because I was just getting sleepy and didn’t read as long as I usually would. I skipped a few sections like the home office because that didn’t apply to me, but this book is good for skipping around to sections (which the author even suggests).

In the beginning there’s an activity to start things off where you go into you bathroom and make lists and then organize the room. I didn’t do this because I feel like our bathroom is actually one of our more functional rooms of the house. All of the items we have are placed where they’re used and are always returned to the correct place. Towels are always hung up and we never have dirty clothes lying around. Instead I decided to look at the room and decide what the room needed or what could improve it:

  • Better storage for extra toilet paper rolls. We have this little shelf unit that we bought for the bathroom in our first apartment. The toilet paper sits on the bottom shelf, the middle sits empty and the top collects junk.
  • Organize the main cupboard. It’s full of random toiletries and the typical over-abundance of lotions and shower gels. There’s so much vertical space that I know I should get some of the little wire shelves so that I could store more and manage this mess. This way I could move the junk from the black shelves and get rid of it.
  • Even though we don’t have an issue with clothes, I thought it might be handy to add a hamper to the room.

I tackled the first one this weekend and pulled out the shelves and bought a cute little toilet paper holder for $7.99 at Home Goods (I seriously love that store!). I still need to find a shelf to help organize the cabinet and I may move the hamper from our room in there, but I think I’d prefer one with a lid. So progress was made.

The book suggests that before you get too gung-ho and start cleaning/organizing the areas you use most, the smart thing is to start with your storage areas. You’re going to need room to move the clutter from your other areas of your house, so first you need to make room in your storage room, garage, basement, etc. Of course! This makes complete sense. So my next step is to attack this storage room in our basement. It really is fantastic because there’s SO much storage space. Right now it holds the random unpacked boxes of junk (there may even be a box from two moves ago that’s never been touched). This room is filled with all the “oh, I didn’t realize I still had this” and “Oh, I will totally use this!” even though it obviously hasn’t been needed since we moved in 9 months ago. It’s going to be a challenge.

The rating of this book may change depending on the results of my cleaning/organization and if I can actually keep it up, but the book is filled with lots of great ideas and directions on how to de-clutter your life, even if you’re lazy like me.