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Secrets of Simplicity Spiral-bound – Bargain Price, December 3, 2008

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Spiral-bound, Bargain Price, December 3, 2008
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Editorial Reviews Review

Book Description:
Bulging in-boxes, out-of-control stress, and even climate change serve as reminders that when it comes to being happy and healthy, less is more. In this interactive journal, organization expert Mary Carlomagno leads readers on a journey toward release and discovery. Guided by the principle that the way you spend your time and money should reflect your true priorities, Secrets of Simplicity shows how to make practical changes to unburden your closets and calendars and make room for what's really important. Readers can record their successes as they de-clutter their homes and in the process their minds.

Mary Carlomagno's Ten Tips for Treasuring What Is Truly Important

My father grew up during the Great Depression. His attitude about stuff is a product of those times and his upbringing by immigrant parents making their way in a new country. Waste was considered a luxury for the rich, a philosophy he maintains today. One summer, while helping him find something in the attic, I discovered that my father is a clutterer. It turns out that he likes to save things, lots of things. He has all the classic symptoms: saving multiple copies of the same document, keeping copious notes to accompany every transaction, and storing newspaper clippings, magazines, and manuals, most so outdated that they have surpassed any relevance, other than family trivia. He had carefully stored decades-old tax returns, old issues of Consumer, and toys that had belonged to my siblings and me. I asked my father why he kept these things. "I might need them some day. Why throw them away? They’re not bothering anyone," he responded. My mother put up several strong arguments about fire hazards and messiness, but his piles were carefully maintained, exquisitely labeled, and seemingly not combustible.

Among the collection were some definite keepers: my brother’s Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, a red Schwinn bicycle, my Barbie collection, and classic Golf Digest magazines, including the first issue that featured Jack Nicklaus on the cover (a discovery that earned me high-fives from all the men in my family). Now that’s worth keeping, I thought, realizing that these treasures said more about my dad than any old energy bill could.

Ironically, my "clutterer" father had unwittingly taught me the secret to organizing and simplifying: it is not what you discard, but what you keep.

As we go through life, we are all challenged to carve out a healthy relationship with our things. Below are ten tips for treasuring what is truly important, so you can do what you were meant to do: enjoy your life!

1. Value the relationship, not the item. Let’s talk about what’s really important. Can a chest of drawers really replace a loved one? It is nice to keep reminders, mementos, and family heirlooms, but not if they are keeping you from getting on with your future.

2. Know your local antique dealer. Consulting an expert regarding collectibles and antiques will help you better understand what you have, even if you do not want to sell it.

3. Consider local consignment, antique and resale opportunities to recoup money on bad purchases, unused items, and duplicates. Take the money and donate it to a good cause to honor the memory of a loved one. That’s a legacy that will outlast any piece of furniture.

4. Protect what is valuable. Whether you are storing a collection of Hummel figurines or your passports, making space for the things you value will allow you to enjoy them and find them when needed. Consider adding the most valuable possessions to your homeowner’s insurance policy to protect their value.

5. Not sure where to begin with a completely cluttered room? Start with the raw space. Take everything out of the room and before placing it back in. Be brutal, making each item earn its readmission to the room. Invite a friend or family member over to act as judge and jury.

6. The best time to get rid of things you do not need is before you move. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you will get organized at the new place—this is unrealistic and costly. Why pay money to move things you will likely throw away anyway?

7. Consider weather when storing items. Garages and basements are not always weather or moisture proof. Use airtight storage containers, and keep clothing linens, pictures, and documents where they won’t get damaged by the elements.

8. Make a home headquarters for keys, mail, and cell phones. Create involvement by including the family in the project. Inviting input and encouraging consistency from everyone will help ensure that the spot gets used and stays tidy over time.

9. Beware of becoming a replacer, someone who constantly churns items in and out of the house looking for the latest and newest design. Understand that the job of retailers is to persuade you that you need to buy more. Demystify the sales pitch, take stock of what you have, and only buy what you absolutely need.

10. Make sure you purge your home of unneeded items before you buy storage bins and containers; nothing says waste of money better than buying bins to hold stuff that really should be discarded. Purge first, determine what you need, and then head out to shop for storage containers.

--Mary Carlomagno

About the Author

Mary Carlomagno is the founder and owner of Order, a company that specializes in clutter control. Her philosophy has been featured in Woman's Day, Redbook, and the Washington Post. She lives in New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Spi edition (December 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811863948
  • ASIN: B0032FO5DI
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,075,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By S. Spitzer on December 18, 2008
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I am so thankful to Mary for writing this book.

I knew that sooner or later, someone would write a book that was in a lifetime that I could connect with. I am working my way slowly through this workbook, as I love it and I just dont want it to end.

I am a huge fan of simplicity and want to lead a simple and elegant life. However, I need to combine that with working part time, having two young children and living in the city (of Sydney). I dont want to give up my love of clothes and my city passions, but I do want to live simply. Thereby giving myself and my family breathing room and room for spontonaiety.

This book combined with Coveys First Things First, really helps me to live my life according to the values I hold dear. When I do that, I am filled with happiness and joy (really!!!).

The book has a lovely elegant cover and inside is spiral bound, making reading anywhere and anytime easy.

Mary is honest and since reading it I have learnt a few things about myself.

This book is magic, its not a program. More she gently asks you to look at various things in your life. As I have realised, we all lead different lives and have our own values, so instead of her telling us ... she gently leads us. Big difference.

I LOVE this book and will hold it dear for a very long time.

Thank you Mary.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Palla on July 12, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I was rather disappointed with this although I can see that perhaps it would help someone totally new to this concept. I kinda think this is for the newbie novice when it comes to living and thinking simpler whether it be in how you shop, how you keep your house, how you spend money...I am years into the 'journey' of learning to live a healthier, more fulfilling life but this book would be a great beginning place if you don't know where to start or what questions to ask yourself to find out what you really want out of for me, I'll be selling my Ü
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitney VINE VOICE on March 2, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound
I have 2 jobs, one of which I work out of my home and the melding of personal and work space has created havoc in my house. This book is a wonderful guide on how to simplify my life. I envy folks who have clear, simple homes and workspaces and this book gives me the inspiration and the focus to remove all the useless clutter that is taking up my time, space, and mental energy.
In our world where the economy is forcing us to re-examine our preoccupation with material over the immaterial, and the state of our environment which has been damaged by our selfishness needs us to think globally rather than singularly, this book can make a huge difference. It's not about going without, it's about changing priorities and going with that which will truly make us happy. The guide isn't preachy or guilt-inducing, just logical and supportive. Highly recommended.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By K. Ahlquist on March 6, 2010
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I'm not sure why people are excited about this book. This is a basic workbook with lots of illustrations and quotes from famous people. There are a lot of call-out boxes, and few pages have full text (e.g., there is a "My Ideal Day Chart" that is two pages of lines for you to fill in). Notice that all but one picture of this book are illustrations. And the "Look Inside" feature offers the Introduction, which is the most text-heavy part of the book. As an editor, I am used to the tricks of the trade to fill a page requirement for a book. I'm just surprised that they are all used at once here. The author has written for, among other magazines, Real Simple and Body & Soul. And this book feels like a compilation of those sorts of articles, but cuter. I suggest buying those magazines instead.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jean Marie on May 27, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
As my husband and I get older, we have a desire to really simplify our lives and found this book delightful and very helpful.. we have found ourselves buried in "stuff" and the stress and mess of it all is almost laughable - so we have given ourselves two years to downsize and prepare to live our golden years in a stress-free and simple environment...thank you for your help -- highly recommend this book to help give you a push in the right direction - (LESS IS BETTER)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ruby541 on April 12, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound
When it comes to books like this, I have found that each person needs to truly find one that just works for them. I have bought many many books like this in the past only to almost never get through them, or cast them aside because they do not offer exactly what I am looking for. This book is very different and came to me quite by accident too. It is simple to read, not repetitive and makes so much sense, I feel as if she is talking to me. Instead of buzzing through the book, I am taking it step by step and getting through what she recommends before going onto the next step. This helps a lot as I am living the book, not reading it with intent to put it into practice, and then never quite get there. She writes so well and obviously understands that people just do not have time. I also love how in working through each step and putting it into practice I actually get to thinking more about the steps and they end up working so well! If you're still searching... look no further!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. barborak on April 7, 2009
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I thought it was going to be more of an organizational book, instead it is very yoga-ish, spiritual, just not what I expected. Not bad though.
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