Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck
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on July 11, 2008
I read a lot of personal development books. There is more practical and useful advice in this book than in almost any book I have read. One area of advice I liked a lot is the Perfectionism Habit Breakers, a few of which are (1) Devise three approaches, minimim, moderate, & maximum, before jumping into anything, and opt for minimim or moderate whenever possible. This helps you to recognize there are more than two outcomes (disaster and perfection) (2) Rephrase the question "how much can I do?" to "how little can I do?" You are not cheating, you are preserving yourself for other tasks, likely ones which are more important and/or more enriching. (3) Stop doing other people's jobs. You can better use the time, and it develops them rather than sending the wrong signal. And, you can always provide coaching feedback later.

Very, very good book
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on October 1, 2008
I can't say enough about how great this book is! I had been in a rut for quite some time, and I didn't really know what to do next. Then I saw this book, and being a fan of Organizing from the Inside Out, I decided to give it a try, though I was kicking myself the whole way home from the bookstore because I bought "yet another" self-help book and I already had a ton of them. Thankfully I didn't listen to my reservations this time, because this is one of the best self-help books I have ever read.

I forced myself to work slowly through the process, reading one part, answering the questions and taking actions, then reading more. And now I stand back, looking at my clean house and schedule, and I have so much energy. Furthermore, I have tons of ideas for moving my life forward in new, exciting directions, things that never would have occurred to me with all of the obsolete clutter in my life.

As I mentioned, I had a bunch of self-help and organizational books (SHEDed those!!) and I felt this one helped me more for several key reasons:
*Picking a "theme" for the next phase of my life. I had spent months agonizing over which career I wanted to do, to no avail, so picking a general theme and not having to make any specific decisions immediately helped me enormously.
*Differentiating between "junk" and "obsolete stuff." My house was pretty much junk-free, but I had a lot of obsolete stuff. For example, I had a huge book "collection" (over 350 books), most brand new, that were still perfectly good, that I would never, even in two lifetimes, have enough time to read. SHEDing these books (keeping only the treasures) lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Morgenstern also guides readers to reflect on why they have acquired the clutter they have, which was very helpful to me. When I reflected on why I had acquired so many books it was easier to get rid of them, and I don't think they will build up like that again.
*Providing exercises after the fact. Most organizing books stop with a clean, organized house, but Morgenstern doesn't let readers off the hook that easy. She provides very helpful exercises for moving toward the life you imagined before and during SHEDing.

After reading this book and working though the process (which has taken me months) I actually feel "unstuck" and I have plenty of ideas for bringing my theme to life. I can't recommend this book highly enough; it's more than just a de-cluttering book, it's a life-changing book, giving you tips and techniques for getting out of the rut and propelling your life forward. Well done Julie!!
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This book works because the author more effectively deals with the psychological aspects of clutter and cleaning up - especially the pain of *gasp* actually getting rid of stuff.

What made the book so effective for me is the acknowledgment that some of our stuff isn't junk but rather hidden treasure. I was also able to forgive myself for the money "wasted" on some things because as the author said, the item served a purpose at the time I bought, but now I am in a different place in my life and I don't need it anymore.

You will probably get something different from the book - whatever it is that you need. But like me, you will find that this book really works (I have culled about 200 books from my collection so far).
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on January 4, 2009
I loved this book! Ms. Morgenstern has a completely unique perspective on 'clutter,' that takes the reader from looking at our physical space to living in the moment.

While she does recommend doing a certain number of specific exercises and tasks, mostly this gem of a book is about looking at your life NON-JUDGEMENTALLY, and simply sorting it out from an objective perspective.
One thing I love is that she does not recommend the somewhat judgemental 'chuck everything' approach. She instead wants you to look at your things, your schedule, and your habits - and notice what is relevant and what is outdated or detrimental to your present moment, now. I highly recommend this book. It is a fun read and a fun way to explore looking at how you set your life up, without making it wrong.

In conjunction with this book, I also highly recommend two amazing books, also about how to live in the moment and look at your life in a non-judgemental way: Working on Yourself Doesn't Work: The 3 Simple Ideas That Will Instantaneously Transform Your Life and How to Create a Magical Relationship: The 3 Simple Ideas that Will Instantaneously Transform Your Love Life by authors Ariel and Shya Kane. These books are astonishingly excellent guides that address the mechanical habits we frequently learn as children and drag into our present, regardless of how relevant or un-supportive they may be to our adult lives.
These books dovetail wonderfully with Morgenstern's chapters on Habit 'clutter' and her lovely chapter on living in the moment. Enjoy!
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on September 7, 2010
This book is the pirate's treasure map and shovel; use these to dig the hole and find the payoff: a free one-way trip from Stuck Island.

Six months ago, while I waited for the book to arrive, I entered the SHED cycle based on information in other reviews of this book. During that week I second-guessed the order - couldn't I declutter and get unstuck without it? The answer is "yes" - after all, the author got unstuck years ago without having this book, but not systematically: she had to figure it out over a period of years. I made a big declutter a couple of years ago but it wasn't on the scale Julie recommends. Although my home looked better, my life didn't get noticeably unstuck. Clearly I needed a systematic, tried-and-refined method. This book offered it.

This systematic program allows you to be productive quickly but, because you are doing some intensive psychological rearranging, you must allow for organic evolution. For me it wasn't a matter of doing Step 1, then Step 2 in linear fashion, as the book suggests. There were several steps going on simultaneously. For example naming my theme was not a simple one-week task, even with the helpful examples; it was continually refined thoughout the SH steps.

I naively thought I'd finish all the SH steps within a month or two, but I had to rest after each stagnant area because I was drained. It's not like I had a ton of stuff but there were some significant dead zones. I worked hard throughout Spring and Summer.

Then a couple of curious things happened with no effort on my part: I was transferred to a new job in a less dysfunctional setting and a friend told me about a new beginner-level class that I had been unable to find earlier. This class was perfect for launching the shed's ED phase. These two events were like having previously deadbolted doors thrown wide open for me.

Open doors are a wonderful thing to behold when you are stuck. Someday I just might realize that long-forgotten dream (a hidden treasure) that I remembered while sorting through a box of cassette tapes.

After the SH grind I am more keenly aware of clutter (in all forms) when it first shows up on the radar...and I don't allow it on board.

This book is like having a personal coach on retainer. Julie will tell you that even though you can't see any life-treasures right now they are there, buried under the sands of time. All you need is the pirate's map and a shovel. You will feel reassured when Julie says "Nearly all my clients experienced XYZ during this step." You will be able to gauge your progress when Julie says "You will know you have done enough when ABC happens..." Your determination will be renewed when Julie says "One year later, Client X reported they had more clarity and energy and they felt their life was on track."
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on May 29, 2010
I very much enjoy--and use--Julie Morgenstern's books. I have her Time Management from the Inside Out and Organizing from the Inside Out and have read them several times. Many of the tips in those two books have been tremendous helps for me. And her Making Work Work also has helped me deal with some of the challenges with the workplace.

So, I purchased SHED hoping it would be just as helpful. To me, it is simply a restatement of the insights in her other books. Different acronym (SHED this time), same stuff. And, I also found the acronym very annoying after a while. It seemed like she was really reaching to get the principles she talked about to fit into the language she had devised.

Please, Julie, give us something new in the next book!
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on January 28, 2009
Julie uses an acronym "shed". Shed stands for separate your treasures; heave your trash; embrace yourself, and drive for the future.

The gist of her message is we have too much stuff/junk and that clutter weighs heavily on our mind and stops us from moving forward.

She also speaks about this happening not only with the obvious clutter around the house or the business but with clutter in our schedule in what we do.

Simple message - worth listening to. Sometimes the best books are the simple reminders.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

--Peter Drucker

Off to get rid of some committments and stuff.
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VINE VOICEon May 26, 2009
There are a lot of books out there on reorganizing and decluttering, including Julie Morgenstern's own Organizing from the Inside Out, second edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life Most of these works are very helpful in assisting the reader in getting control back into their lives by disposing of the clutter - physical or otherwise - that holds them back. This latest work by Morgenstern takes the decluttering and organizing process to a new level by assisting the reader in identifying the "treasures" from a cluttered life, i.e. the good things that clutter represented and retaining these treasures - more as attitudes and perspectives than as physical possessions - and applying them to a new life's "theme". This is an innovation in decluttering literature which is interesting and exciting: by identifying a new "theme" in your life, you can then focus your energies (as expressed in possesions, schedules and habits) on those things that will move you towards your theme. So it's not just a matter of getting rid of those tangible and intangible things that hold you back, but of also identifying how you want your life overall to take shape, and only bringing those things from the past with you that support this new life theme. This is different from other organizers' advice who ask you to visualize the role a room should play in your life (a la Peter Walsh, for example, in It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff). This new and different approach will help open reader's lives to new opportunities and to new aspects of themselves that they may have buried alive in their formerly cluttered existence. Morgenstern also gives useful, encouraging and practical advice on how to take on new activities to identify hidden strengths as well as how to move forward with your new life's theme. If you are in a rut or at a crossroads, this is an invaluable book for your library.
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on August 20, 2008
Julie Morgenstern has hit another ball out of the park! This book revealed why certain areas of my life functioned well while others struggled. If there are parts of your life that you want to move forward but haven't been successful, you will find this book incredibly useful. Julie is very intuitive when it comes to helping the reader understand the emotional attachments we put on our "stuff." For me, her chapters on shedding bad habits gave me the tools to finally heave both emotional and physical clutter -- I finally understood how the old habits had value and how to change my behavior to be happier and more fulfilled. This is an excellent guide to making key transitions in life both personally and professionally.
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on June 14, 2010
As a professional organizer I've read a lot of organizing books and thought there was nothing new to be written on the subject. But as she does with all her books, Julie Morgenstern has looked beyond the physical manifestations of disorganization to get to the heart of what's causing the problem. And SHED takes that a step further - it helps one see that disorganization may actually be serving a purpose in the lives of people who haven't figured out where they want to go in life. This book helps people create energy and insight to move forward in life by giving them space to think - not just physical space, but space in their head that will help them change the direction of their life. This is a great book for anyone who feels stuck in their life yet knows there's a better future out there for them.
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