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Let Go of Clutter Paperback – December 25, 2000

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A must-read for clutter victims. Schechter makes a complex subject manageable and fun. Her fireside chat writing style will make you laugh and get you motivated to put the kibosh on clutter. Case in point: Reading Let Go of Clutter propelled me toward several nasty mountains of filing that had been crying for my attention. Kansas City Star 20010213

From the Back Cover

Stop being a slave to stuff!

An internationally acclaimed expert provides a total program for conquering ALL the clutter in your life

Maximize your life by minimizing what's in it with "Miracle Worker" Harriet Schechter's tried-and-tested techniques for eliminating clutter. Let Go of Clutter answers the most frequently asked question, "Why do we keep all this stuff?" and shows you how to let go of clutter­not just reorganize it.

Based on Schechter's two decades of helping thousands of people worldwide get uncluttered, Let Go of Clutter explains why "stuff" seems so hard to let go of and demonstrates how to shed objects and information without anxiety or regret. This fresh approach to clearing our cluttered lives provides a painless process for letting go and shows you how to overcome future clutter by managing the innate urge to acquire and accumulate.

Discover new ways to:

  • Quickly plow through piles of paper
  • "Speed Weed" your files
  • Manage mementos and memories
  • Clear out wall-to-wall clutter in the garage and other areas
  • Get rid of excess clothes, supplies, and "To Do's"
  • And much more!

Dispensing equal doses of help, hope, and humor, Harriet Schechter provides effective and realistic options for anyone juggling too much stuff, too many decisions, and too little time. Featuring easy-to-use forms and checklists to help you decide what to jettison and what to keep, Let Go of Clutter also includes action plans to lighten your load by conquering all types of clutter­ past, present, and future.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 193 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (December 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071351221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071351225
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in New York City and raised in San Diego, California, Harriet perfected her time management skills at San Diego State University where she received her BA in Comparative Literature at the age of 19. After graduation she worked as a proofreader before becoming a writer and editor. She held positions ranging from managing editor at an award-winning community newspaper to editorial assistant at The Journal of Immunology, an internationally acclaimed biomedical journal.

In 1986, Harriet decided to make the leap from editing words to editing time, space, and clutter: she founded The Miracle Worker Organizing Service in San Diego. As one of the pioneers of the field of professional organizing she developed a reputation as a top organizing expert. She became a popular speaker and workshop instructor, developing courses on organizing and time management for adult education providers such as San Diego State University College of Extended Studies and The Learning Annex.

Organizing, consulting, and speaking led her back around to writing: in 1995, her first book was published in hardcover by Dutton. Provocatively titled More Time For Sex: The Organizing Guide for Busy Couples, the book was subsequently published in a Plume/Penguin paperback edition and several foreign editions.

In 2000, her second book was published by Simon & Schuster: Conquering Chaos at Work. This was quickly followed in 2001 by her third book, Let Go of Clutter, published by McGraw-Hill and available in German and Japanese editions.

Harriet is happy to answer questions about organizing and storage solutions through her blog, Her websites are and .

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Sonia E. Schlenger on April 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a professional organizer for over 20 years, I tend to be tough on the new organizing books that come out. It's easy to call yourself an expert and dispense advice, but for me what counts is the "understanding" behind the advice. And Harriet's approach, along with excellent pointers that are well-organized themselves, manages to combine a real compassion for the reader/client that is missing in so many "how-to-do-it" books that are on the market today. Harriet obviously understands the people she works with and teaches, and presents this understanding in a way that is not at all condescending. By combining her humor-filled observations with very practical step-by-step directions, she demonstrates that people learn best when they're treated with informed intelligence and respect.If your problem is clutter (and that includes most of us!), this is the book you should read.
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89 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Say Grace on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am very interested in the concept of ridding oneself of clutter, as well as the art of Feng Shui. My 2002 new years resolution is to free myself of one third of the "stuff" in my home. I am truly thankful I have found Ms Schechters book. She explains why we collect, from a sociological viewpoint. She also admits that this book is NOT for packrats (which I think is very big of her) unless of course they are really willing to change and their hoarding habits are causing real pain to them.
I didn't realize this was an obsessive compulsive disorder and may really require professional intervention.
I love all the helpful hints like..."Use large waste containers that stand up" instead of itty bitty ones or just a floppy large plastic bag. There is real joy in tossing "lotsa" dust collectors away in a sturdy container. All of these gems (and there are many) of info really do add up to a happy successful clutter purging. I also like the fact that she does not go into things like "how to organize your closet" etc. You come to realize that your precious time will be free of "organizing" when you are free of all the overabundance in your life. Since I do clean my own home "decluttering" makes this job much easier. Any surface that has no knicknacks takes just seconds to clean and dust. If Harriets book doesn't motivate you to happily want to "declutter" I dont think that another book out there would. I have read many others, and I feel this one is the best.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Julie Hood, on August 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Conquer your clutter. Stop being a slave to your stuff. Understand why it's so hard to get rid of things.
What would your life be like if you could accomplish these three things? How much happier would you be? How much more peaceful would your life be?
Author Harriet Schechter gives you a step-by-step solution in her book, Let Go of Clutter.
In the first chapter, Why Letting Go is So Hard to Do, Schechter explains why we may be biologically programmed to accumulate, why the fear of regret keeps us from discarding stuff, and how society encourages us to gather more and more.
Chapter 4, Purging Paper and Preventing Piles, is another favorite chapter. The author walks us through the method she uses with her clients to quickly sort and purge paper piles. She recommends a File Index, and shows you how to set it up for your household.
The last part of the book looks to the future and explains how to keep your home clean once you've decluttered it.
This book is filled with lots of fill-in-the-blank forms and step-by-step pathways to take you from clutter-filled to clutter-free.
If your clutter is taking over and you've reached the end of your rope with no idea where to start, check out Let Go of Clutter.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Carol C. VINE VOICE on February 8, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a workbook, complete with checklists, that will help you assess & conquer your clutter problems. I've read many books on this subject; this is one of the better ones. I found her sections on "purging papers" to be particularly useful -- as papers are often an overwhelming problem area. Schecter also discusses the value of being choosy, and give tips on how to maintain a clutter-controlled environment once you've established it. I found this to be a useful tool book, with solid, practical tips. For motivation to get started decluttering, for inspiration and funny (as in "yikes, that sounds like me") stories about people with serious clutter issues, read Don Aslett's "Packrat" and "Clutter" books -- they're very entertaining & you'll want to stop every chapter or so to clean out a drawer or closet. Follow up Aslett with this book, which has more practical tips
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By odesigns on April 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've read many books on decluttering and organizing, but this one was by far the best. It was the first one that really helped me to get the clutter out of my life. It is well-organized and easy to read, with some excellent motivational tips as well as practical tips.
One of the ideas I liked best was to take "before" photos of all your cluttered areas. In my case, I photographed my entire house! The photos really open your eyes to how much clutter you really have, and serve as a wonderful comparison when you've finished with an area.
The book has helped me tackle one of my most difficult areas - my office. In a few days, I threw out several boxes of papers and other useless clutter. I never thought I would get this room in order again, and just seeing my progress has given me motivation to tackle other areas.
I recommend this book for anyone just embarking on de-cluttering, as well as people who have read other books on the subject without success. Whenever I feel myself backsliding and need inspiration, I just re-read parts of this book. It keeps me on track, and I can't wait till the rest of my house is finished.
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