04/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Why Getting Rid Of Clutter Might Not Make You Zen

If a person's belongings are a reflection of her mind, then I am a person of many "multitudes," to quote Walt Whitman. I collect Fiesta ware, Eva Zeisel pottery and glassware, Bauer Pottery, red cocktail shakers, cool cocktail shakers, Ianthe silver plate, globes, books on forensics, whisks, wooden Christmas ornaments, collectibles from the years the Kentucky Derby falls on my birthday, old cookbooks, dream catchers, owls, pint glasses, Hess trucks (for my son), Dallas Cowboys collectibles, snow globes and anything with Marilyn Monroe looking sad. Oh, sure, I would lose track of the occasional set of keys, but I had my stuff under control. That is, until my husband moved it. We had so many fights, I began hiding my stuff and he began throwing it away. It's allegedly in storage; but I'll believe that on the day my cat Mowgli comes home from the farm.

I never even considered changing my ways until The BlackBerry Incident. The phone was lost in my laundry pile for three hours despite nonstop looking. If acceptance is the first step toward recovery, then let me say here: I buy too much stuff. So it was with great excitement that I read "Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life" by Gail Blanke, a professional motivator and contributor to Real Simple magazine. Her premise, namely that stuff is just "life plaque" holding us back from achieving our true potential, was thrilling. My collections were hindering my progress! Forget about 50 things, I could throw out 500 things (in an hour). My Pulitzer Prize awaited.

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