Book Notes from Debbie Smith

September 21, 2020 9:43 AM | Carolyn Thompson (Administrator)

Debbie Smith, Keep Your Stuff Simple


I had something kind of cool happen to me book wise; a journalist, Jennifer Howard in DC, who was writing a book about clutter and organizing contacted me last spring to interview me for her book. Heather Cocozza had referred her to me and had also spoken with her. I happily met with her and didn't really know what to expect. (As a woman I'm always happy to chat with another woman and help them with their questions)

As an only child she was left to clean up after her mother who had been put in a facility for memory care with dementia and it took her 2 years to clean up her hoarding situation in the home. Her emotional journey through this endeavor led her to researching and writing a book.

About 2 weeks ago she sent me an email that she'd had the book published and wanted to send me a copy. She did, along with a very nice note. It's called, 'Clutter, An Untidy History'.

https://www.jenniferhoward.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Clutter-cover.jpg

I was surprised to find myself listed in the back under her acknowledgements and then a whole chapter about the business of organizing, mentioning NAPO, NAPO-WDC, me and Heather Cocozza, quoting us and giving Heather a great shout out for her business. I came into the kitchen to have my Mom read the chapter since it mentions my mom 'in her 90's' having been a Navy wife and teaching me all about being organized in our many moves. There on the front page of today's (Sept 15th, 2020) Washington Post Style section was a huge write up about her book. Surreal.

The WP write up did say she came across as a bit bitter and resentful in her book, but I would say the person that said that has never had to clean up after a parent ~ it took this woman 2 years to get her mom's house sorted out, all the while raising 2 kids and working. Her mom had, obviously, emotional and brain based issues for a while or she would have never been a hoarder, which also tainted their relationship over their lifetime.

I've not finished the book yet, but Jennifer really did a great job on getting to the history of why there's so much clutter, where it all started in the consumerism/commercialism and need for more, more, more and how we got to realizing we needed less. Much less! Good for us and for the environment. Check out the book, it's not a huge read and NAPO-WDC/organizers got a good shout out!

The author also quoted material from Susan Kousek's September 2019 NAPO-WDC chapter presentation and mentioned the NAPO Washington, DC Chapter by name and references one of our wildly successful chapter meetings.

Congratulations to the NAPO-WDC Board to have the operations of a NAPO chapter meeting highlighted in a published book.  Jennifer mentions my invitation to the meeting, the number of attendees (80 people), the catered dinner, networking, Susan Kousek's time management presentation, and talking with various professional organizers at the end of the meeting.  You never know who will be in the audience during one of our amazing chapter meetings!

Great job NAPO-WDC!!

Debbie Smith, Keep Your Stuff Simple for more information.

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