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It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff Hardcover – December 12, 2006

326 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran "organizational consultant," TV show host and author Walsh (How to Organize (Just About) Everything) has more ideas in his latest book on clutter management than the spare closet has junk, and, even better, it's organized, in-depth and entirely user-friendly. Part One examines the "Clutter Problem": how it happens, how it hampers and how to face it without excuses or discouragement. Part Two presents a step-by-step approach to "Putting Clutter in its Place," which begins with "surface clutter" and developing a household plan before moving on to the bulk of the book, a walkthrough of each room in the home. Also included are ideas for involving other family members, letters Walsh has received from viewers of his TLC show "Clean Sweep," vignettes illustrating how real people deal with common organizational challenges and plenty of charts, checklists and sidebars ("Clutter Quiz," "Yard Sale Planning") for added utility. Walsh is upbeat and funny throughout, treating the task at hand like "a thrilling archeological dig," a "positive and exciting" way to unlock your "ideal home" and "unearth those things that are most important in your life." Entertaining and instructive, this is one guidebook readers should place in their "keep" pile.
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"The best organizing advice we've ever heard!" -- Woman's Day --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (December 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743292642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743292641
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (326 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

What I found most valuable with this outstanding book was that it was about the motivation behind excess accumulation and cluttering. Unless you address this motivation, the clutter is bound to come back, even if you hire a professional organizer and everything in your home is perfect. All of the clutter will creep back.

There are so many outstanding points in this book. For example, with sentimental-type clutter, the author says that the most important thing is to separate the memory from the item. Then the item can be dealt with appropriately. You are not discarding the memory, just the item. Thus, if you have an overabundance of momentos, you can divorce the memory from the item, pick a few items that you want to represent the memory and truly honor them by displaying them in your home (rather than storing them in boxes in your garage), and discard (or digitally scan and then discard) the rest.

In my house, my husband has a wealth of pictures of his children when they were small. These pictures are filling boxes in the garage and our barn. We have all of their schoolwork and many personal items because he loves his children and feels as though throwing away one of their things is throwing away a part of them. They are now adults; however, until this underlying motivation for hanging onto things is addressed, all attempts at decluttering will be futile. For me, the whole book was profound. I'm great at organizing techniques, but the idea of looking at the feelings and problems sourcing the whole hoarding behavior was most helpful.

I am getting ready to declutter my house, as we are bursting at the seams and can no longer function well in our home.
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187 of 203 people found the following review helpful By Fred on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a lifelong "pack rat", I have a problem with clutter. I have bought many books on conquering clutter. Some of those books talk about buying more stuff to organize the stuff I already have too much of. Other books talk about handling your clutter in different ways, such as color coding everything as a solution to cleaning up clutter. I am sorry, I am not going to go there. Still, other books ask you to figure out why you have clutter in the first place, as in psychoanalyzing yourself. Personally, I have not had much success at reducing my clutter by focusing my attention on my dysfunctional childhood or personal frustrations. It just does not work for me.

This breakthrough book, however, takes a truly novel approach to solving the problem of clutter and owning too much stuff. It does not talk about buying more stuff like organization systems or merely re-handling your clutter in different ways. Instead, the author of "It's All Too Much" asks you to look at the space you have and asks you what you want that space for? Simply, "wanting" less clutter in your life is too vague a goal. It reminds me of wanting to lose weight. Wanting and accomplishing are two different things as some wise person once said. In this short book, the author gets right to the point. The author asks you what do you want to do with the space you have. Once you establish what you want your space to do or be for you, you then have a clear path for reaching that goal. For example, is your home office accomplishing what you want it to do, or is it a storage area for things you either did not put away; cannot figure out somewhere else to put it, or; just cannot part with? Sounds too simple, I know. And it is. The author's advice reminds me of something a wise person once said about a sculptor.
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133 of 144 people found the following review helpful By a reader on August 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Better than FlyLady (which, to be fair, is great for what to do after the decluttering), because Peter really goes into the psychology of why it's so hard to let go of things and how to get over that. My house isn't a complete dump--I enjoy giving things away (here's my own hint: I've found that giving bigger-ticket items to a homeless-family shelter or a battered women's shelter is much easier than giving them to Goodwill... it's so much nicer to imagine somebody who's on hard times receiving a nice, brand-new, tags-on dress than to think about how my bad judgment is going to enable a fellow bargain shopper, who's not necessarily in dire straits, to get a ridiculously good deal), but my big problems are 1) letting go of things I haven't gotten my money's worth out of (i.e. stupid purchases that I hope will someday, somehow, be worthwhile) and 2) throwing out my kids' old stuff that has sentimental value. This book has really helped me reassess those two issues.

The book is packed with so many fresh ideas and approaches to stuff that what resonates with me isn't necessarily going to resonate with anybody else--everyone's going to have their own "aha!" moments--but my favorite one is the idea of value vs. cost; things may have a certain value, but they are costing you (in terms of storage space and, more importantly I would suggest, mental energy and frustration every time you see them).

This is NOT another book about organizing the stuff you've got--it's an incredibly helpful way of thinking about getting rid of stuff you neither use nor love. It's more than practical in that way. It truly is a life-changer.

I was brought up to be sensible, by sensible people, and wasting money (oops...
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