Do You Have the “Clutter Gene?”

A Review of Declutter! The 7-Day Declutter Bootcamp
by Vanessa Johnson

Anyone who has watched the television show Hoarders: Buried Alive with a combination of horror and fascination will greatly appreciate Vanessa Johnson’s new book, Declutter! The 7-Day Declutter Boot Camp: Minimalist Strategies to Organize, Simplify and Declutter Your Home and Life. In the introduction, the author shares openly her history growing up in a chronically cluttered house, and the effect it had on her. When she set up housekeeping on her own, she succeeded in keeping her house clean, but the “clutter gene” seems to have won out at least for awhile: she simply couldn’t keep up with the boxes of miscellany, out-of-place items, and piles of laundry all over the house. Finally learning (through a concerned relative) that she was perpetuating the clutter from which she’d come, she came up with a method for keeping her home both clean and clutter-free. This book is her way of sharing her method with others. For those who have found their yoga and meditation practices hampered (no pun intended) by a disordered external environment, this book offers an excellent method for regaining order.

The word “method” is used advisedly here; the author has evolved a quite methodical means of keeping a clutter-free home. Any reader with a sincere desire to clean and organize her household—and the willingness to follow through with a seven-day program—will find this a most useful book.

Johnson has titled her book Declutter! A 7-Day Decluttering Boot Camp; it lays out a program for getting one’s home entirely clutter-free in one week. Accordingly, she devotes one day (and one chapter) to each household task: Laundry, Kitchen and Pantry, and so on, until the entire house is covered. This is a useful approach, and one just about anyone can use as a template for reordering a chaotic home. My only critique is that an important oversight managed to slip through the editorial process. In the conclusion, a sentence reads, “Living in a clutter-free home is like living in chaos.” Obviously the author meant “living in a cluttered home,” as will be clear to any reader.

Those who are struggling to keep their homes both clean and navigable; those who can’t seem to keep up with the laundry; those who find themselves stepping over piles of boxes and sidestepping piles of junk that seem to reproduce of their own accord—will all find Declutter! A Seven-Day Decluttering Boot Camp very useful indeed.

The book’s subtitle is interesting: Minimalist Strategies to Organize, Simplify and Declutter Your Home and Life. The “minimalist” concept refers to Johnson’s philosophy of keeping household redundancy to a minimum. For instance, if you have a batch of household cleaning products under the kitchen sink, you don’t need another collection in the pantry. A full array of laundry supplies belongs in the laundry room; there is no need to stockpile another batch in the basement. By adhering to this household “minimalist” approach, the reader will find the task of maintaining a clutter-free home a much less overwhelming a task.

Written in a conversational, confessional, and colloquial style, Declutter! The 7 Day Declutter Bootcamp: Minimalist Stratgies to Organize, Simplify and Declutter Your Home and Lifeoffers an accessible and easily-applicable method for imposing order on a chaotic household. All those in search of the peace of mind that comes from household organization and order will find Vanessa Johnson’s book both informative and inspirational.

Best regards,


Copyright © 2012 by William K. Ferro, All rights reserved

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