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145 of 145 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars toss it! (your junk that is)
Throw out fifty things? That sounds easy until you understand that your whole magazine collection counts as one, your dried up nail polish bottles that clutter up a whole shelf also count as one, your sock drawer filled with miss matched socks and single gloves, yep you guessed it, one. However room through room the articles add up as you go from bedroom, to bathroom,...
Published on March 20, 2009 by Bethany L. Canfield

versus
74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably the incentive you need to do it, but its more applicable to women.
Okay, first off, I'm a guy who accumulates. Yep, I said it. I used to "collect" but after a while I acquired enough "stuff" -check out George Carlin's riff on stuff on Youtube at: [...] - to make it an accumulation. I got this small book with the hope of helping me "clear out my life a little". Well, actually it did!

The author is a motivational speaker and...
Published on November 15, 2009 by Steven I. Ramm


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145 of 145 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars toss it! (your junk that is), March 20, 2009
Throw out fifty things? That sounds easy until you understand that your whole magazine collection counts as one, your dried up nail polish bottles that clutter up a whole shelf also count as one, your sock drawer filled with miss matched socks and single gloves, yep you guessed it, one. However room through room the articles add up as you go from bedroom, to bathroom, living room, dining room and finally to the horrors of your attic and garage.

This is a new approach in that it doesn't just stop there. Gail Blanke, a life coach and internationally known motivational speaker takes you through all four stages in which you release yourself from more and more stuff that really making you feel heavier. Her four parts are: Getting Rid of the Physical Stuff, Your office Pairing Down the Professional Clutter, Attacking Mental Mess, and Stepping into the Clearing. The first two are possessions, the second two stages are getting rid of unwanted mental mess or feelings, labels and poor self image.

Her main slogan throughout Throw Out Fifty Things is: if it doesn't make you feel good, get rid of it. I was a little shocked the first time that she mentioned that you don't need to go on value, worth or purpose, that even if you use it-and yet it makes you cringe, get rid of it! That is different than where I was thinking this all would go. I am very practical, and I have never thought that things that have no purpose should remain to collect dust while things that you use (even if you hate them) should be gotten rid of, but I see the logic in it after reading this book. That you should surround yourself with pleasing environments, places and rooms that you enjoy, that you want to be in, and clothes that you feel good when you wear.

After just looking at the title, I was nervous that she wanted people to actually 'throw out' all the stuff. But that is really not what Gail intends, she makes sure that you understand that you should only actually throw away things that are broken, useless, or something to which pieces or parts are missing. The rest of the stuff can go to someone else who will love it, to a secondhand store, or you could resell it to get some of your money back. I appreciated her practical take on that. And throughout the book Gail Blanke makes it a point to discuss green methods of discarding pait, batteries, an old AC, and other such toxic waste items.

What did I get out of it? Well, I got the crazy urge to clean my house and get rid of things that I had been holding on to for no reason other than that I didn't know what to do with them (or felt guilted into holding on to!!!). Gail mentions that if it is a very hard decision, that means you just need to get rid of it, and that most of the time we don't get rid of stuff, but we just move it around our homes and garages. That rang a bell with me, we have been shuffling junk for SO LONG! I am in the 'get it out of here' mode and now I know how to attack the problem thanks to Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke. It sure does make me feel a lot better inside when I get my junk out the door. This was a very helpful, and practical guide to getting rid of things. If you want to throw out your junk but can't seem to figure out the practical aspects of the process, or just aren't motivated to do it, read this!
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176 of 179 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Need To Lose The Clutter?, March 15, 2009
If you chuck useless items into a corner of the closet to deal with later, agonize over whether to donate that dress you bought five years ago with the intention of losing ten pounds, or feel overwhelmed by the clutter in your home, Gail Blanke will teach you the questions to ask yourself that will empower you to just let it go. You could certainly start decluttering after reading the first four words of the title, but many of us need a little more encouragement than that, not to mention a place to start. In a book helpfully organized by room/area, Blanke excels at repeating advice and guidelines in slightly varied ways that will reach different people. For me, the clear, bulleted lists at the end of each section were the most appealing, but others may prefer Blanke's motivational discussion and inspirational anecdotes. An invaluable resource guide at the end of the book lists donation/recycling/disposal ideas for many different items, from bicycles to computers, to old paint, to allow the reader to actually follow through on throwing out those fifty things. Why fifty? At that point, you'll begin to see a real difference and have the motivation to continue (and to prevent more useless items from even entering your home). More than half the book is "Clearing the Mental Clutter," a more self-help type of writing that will appeal to anyone looking to bring focus and purpose to more than just physical surroundings. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to declutter who isn't sure where to start.
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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably the incentive you need to do it, but its more applicable to women., November 15, 2009
Okay, first off, I'm a guy who accumulates. Yep, I said it. I used to "collect" but after a while I acquired enough "stuff" -check out George Carlin's riff on stuff on Youtube at: [...] - to make it an accumulation. I got this small book with the hope of helping me "clear out my life a little". Well, actually it did!

The author is a motivational speaker and the book reads like one of her presentations. She's there as your "coach" to get you motivated and takes side trips to tell stories of her friends so that you can relate to her approach.

I breezed through this book because I'm a guy. Why? Because the author starts in the bedroom and her closet. What's she sorting through? Jewelry and shoes. Let's face it, guys can be disorganized but how many pieces of costume jewelry and shoes do they have? Blanke's stores about these issues have little similarity to my life. Next we go to the living room and dining room. Lots of talk about candles and things like that. Breezed through that too. (A also noted by then that very few of her side stories involved men.) When we got to the bathroom and especially the medicine cabinet, she got me!. Okay, no cosmetics to deal with but certainly lots of outdated over the counter drugs and way too many little bottles of shampoo brought home from hotels. I put the book down and headed for the bathroom! Okay, not 50 things (as defined by Blanke) but a start.

I used her techniques for the garage and celler (I have no attic) and the thrift shop will be happier.

The whole section "mental clearing" (personal emotional baggage) belongs, in my opinion in a separate book. It's a psychological issue. So, though I read it, I found it a bit padded.

In summary it's a good book and probably more practical to women than men. But, if like me one chapter motivates you to clean out one space, its still a step in the right direction. Hence, the three stars.

Steve Ramm
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131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Throw Away This Book!, March 10, 2009
If you ever come to visit me unannounced, your reaction would be "OMG packrat!" Because yes, I am that type of person that can't bear to throw things away. I could keep receipts because I like looking to see things I had purchased from back in the day. I would clean out this big cabinet under my desk once a year, and there are still tons of papers and binders left over from high school days (you never know when you'll need Algebra notes you know?) So this book was definiately something that I needed to read! It's a really great book as it tackles both the physical and psychological problem as to why we tend to keep things forever. The book starts off with the physical things that need to be cleared up. Each room in the house is taken into consideration with the author telling what she threw away and the reader has the same opportunity to write down their clutter finds as well. Then the book moves onto the mental issues we need to get rid of. And boy were there some good ones! A lot of the reasons why we're so down on ourselves or can't seem to keep up with everything is because we have so much clutter in our heads! The final section ties everything together as now that you've gotten rid of all the physical and excess clutter you can finally begin to really live your life. I really enjoyed reading this book. There's lots of great stand out tips throughout the book and the resource guide at the end is really handy. It's another book everyone should have in their house but not one of those you should be throwing out!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It may surprise you what this can do (with Kindle version notes), November 12, 2009
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Kindle quality (as of 11/2009): Font is very readable: excellent. Formatting has occasional lack of capitalization: very good.

You might look at this, as I did, and think, "Ok, the gist of everything is right there in the title. Why do I need the book? Can't I throw out 50 things without buying the book?" Well, of course. However, Gail goes into so much more about the psychology of keeping things we don't need, including mental clutter. That might sound like a hokey cliche, but she really hits on some important points and does it in such a way that it sounds and feels original.

The author starts you in the bedroom. Using her criteria, I hit my first 50 on the bedroom alone! Man that felt good. I had a growing pile ready for a charity pickup. Moving on from room to room, I must have gotten rid of more than 100, maybe even 150, things. And what Gail said would happen did: It wasn't just decluttering for me. It was a more profound emotional clearing as I let go of things that had somehow made me feel heavy when I looked at them or thought about them. Perhaps a warning is that you may be unearthing and reliving some old memories. It's cathartic, but it does cause some upheaval. For me, it was well worth it.

The last few chapters deal exclusively with ridding ourselves of mental clutter. They're not fluff, though. There's nothing filler in this book, no useless exercises or scored quizzes. It's all direct and practical. The author directs you to her web site on several occasions at which you can record how many items you're throwing away. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more activity on the web site since it was mentioned as a tool to be used in concert with the book. Still, it is available for use to document your progress. And you might want to keep a record of all of the things you're giving away for tax purposes alone.

This is a well written book with interesting examples throughout. And there's something more that happens here than just giving away 50 physical objects. If you're like me, you'll find you're not only living in a decluttered home, but you're also lighter emotionally for getting rid of old baggage. Highly recommended.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great motivator, April 15, 2009
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Unlike most organizing books where I read the first few chapters and never finish them, I read this one in 24 hours. I put the ideas into practice that weekend and am still using them. I love that it gives you practical ideas for your physical clutter and then the second part goes through mental clutter. The website that she mentions fequently in the book is new and still needs work but you don't need the site to follow the book. Great sense of humor. Story of the dog still gets me though.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changed How I Think and Live, May 22, 2010
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I saw this book in a bookstore and was drawn to its title. My grandmother is a hoarder and my mom and aunts have some of her tendencies. My cousin and I have sworn to each other that we will never become like our grandmother although sometimes we do admittedly have extra stuff. Gail helps you not just get rid of extra stuff but the emotional and psychological stuff behind the stuff. I ended up giving away things that reminded me of bad memories and it was so freeing. Then she tackles the mental clutter. Wonderful book if you actually do what she tells you to do. Her catch line is, "When you get rid of the physical clutter, you clear your mind. When you get rid of the mental clutter, you clear your soul." Great words and a great find for anyone wanting to feel lighter and lift burdens that you didn't know were there. Thanks!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear your home and soul!, March 22, 2009
By 
Molly (Seminole, FL United States) - See all my reviews
Gail Blanke has inspired me! I read this book recovering from an illness and could not wait to get up and get going! Blanke's step by step approach, one room at a time, makes seeing progress easy. But it doesn't stop with your physical "stuff." Blanke challenges us to get rid of our mental clutter as well -- all the negativity that holds us back from our true potential! I am hooked!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cleaning out the clutter in your life, both physical and emotional..., October 10, 2009
This is a book I *really* needed... Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke. I look around my office (aka, the "mancave") as well as my house, and I see plenty of "stuff" that needs to leave. Blanke uses a very personal, chatty style of writing to walk you through her process for decluttering your life. And beyond just the physical clutter, she also helps you "throw out" emotional clutter that may be keeping you from reaching your goals.

Contents:
Introduction: Fueling the Urge to Purge; Making It to Fifty; Getting Started
Part One - Getting Rid of the Physical Stuff: Your Bedroom; Your Bathroom; Your Kitchen; Your Living Room; Your Dining Room; Your Attic; Your Garage
Part Two - Your Office - Paring Down the Professional Clutter: Clarifying Your Brand; Keeping What Works, Eliminating What Doesn't; The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes
Part Three - Attacking the Mental Mess: If You Think You Can Separate the Physical from the Mental Clutter, Forget About It!; Letting Go of Feeling Inadequate, Irrelevant, and Just Plain Not Good Enough; Letting Go of the Type of Person You Think You Are - or Aren't; Letting Go of the Regrets and Mistakes of the Past; Letting Go of Being Right About How Wrong Everybody and Everything Is; Letting Go of the Need to Have Everyone Like You; Letting Go of Thinking the Worst; Letting Go of Waiting for the Right Moment; Letting Go of Needing to Feel Secure; Letting Go of Thinking That You Have to Do Everything Yourself; Making It to Fifty - The Celebration
Part Four - Stepping into the Clearing: Your Vision for the Future; Taking Energy from Your Defining Moments; Being Unforgettable; Find Your Song - and Sing It!; Your Declaration to the World
Appendix: Your Throw-Outs
Resource Guide
Index

The basic plan for the physical clutter is easy... You get three trash bags, label them Trash, Donations, and Sell, and start cleaning. Blanke advises that you keep a running list of what you've cleaned up and how many things you've trashed. You don't get to count every individual item on your way to fifty. For instance, if you have 100 old magazines, throwing them out equals one item, not 100 (sorry!). Once you start going and you see the numbers add up, the momentum can carry you into all the other physical areas. Conceptually, I like the idea that Blanke puts out there, and I think it will work well for me as I declutter the physical stuff in my areas.

When I picked up the book from the library, I *wasn't* aware that she also included emotional clutter in her program. I agree that getting the physical cleaned up can lead to a cleaner emotional life, but she goes beyond that. Her emotional cleanup requires a whole lot more work than just dumping things in a garbage bag. Her ideas here are as valid as the physical decluttering, but the results will be more difficult to dig out and make your own. It's easy to say I won't imagine the worst anymore, but it's something else entirely to actually follow through with that promise the next time you're faced with something you dread. It's worth the effort to work towards those outcomes, but it won't be fast or painless...

For purposes of getting physical clutter removed from your life, I'd definitely recommend Throw Out Fifty Things as a way to jump in and see quick results. For emotional clutter, it's not quite so easy or quick. Cleaning out emotional clutter is where the bigger and deeper changes will occur, but just be prepared to work at it.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really helpful book, August 3, 2009
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I was looking for a book on organization, here on Amazon and in B&N since I've been feeling overwelmed by clutter lately. I browsed through the organization books and realized, I don't need a book to tell me use a calendar, empty your handbag etc. Or maybe I do need that too, but that isn't where I'm at right now. I was feeling stuck among my three rooms of clutter (I live in a apt. in NYC). So, I took a look at books on deCLUTTERING, which isn't the same thing as organizing. This is the perfect book to get someone started. I started with her suggestion, walk in a room, look around and what immediately stands out as making you feel bad or drags you down and took it from there. Over the past weekend, I've bagged several piles of non fitting clothing, emptied the kitchen "junk drawer" threw out random keys that I have no idea what they opened(they were in the junk drawer), cleared out knick knacks that people gifted to me, that weren't even things I liked, cleared out my night table and placed my relaxation cds in it(no more cds on the furniture.) You get the idea. It rained and I had all day to do this. Once I started I was on a roll, and it felt great listing the more than Fifty things. I found I was so much more relaxed last night when I went to sleep. The room felt calmer and there were no shadowy piles of stuff standing out annoying me as I tried to fall asleep. I don't mind that she also focuses on the mental clutter. I have that to spare also, so it would be great to find new ways to get rid of it. I also recommend Julie Morganstern's SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life. I'm reading that as a companion to this book. It's more methodical from what I can tell, but I like it. I can happily recommend Throw Out Fifty Things, I think it can help anyone get rid of "stuff" that's bogging them down.
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Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life
Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke (Paperback - March 23, 2010)
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