on September 27, 2010
UnStuff Your Life, although focused on providing guidance related to organizing your home is really much more than that. In essence, it's could also be titled, How to Relieve the Stress of an Unorganized Life-- truly a self -help book that I found to be one of the best I've ever read. It provides a manageable process on how to reorganize each room in your home, while also identifying the obstacles in your life that have disrupted your personal journey. It is a must read for any stay-at-home or working mother trying to juggle multiple priorities simultaneously. As a working mother myself, I found the book to be so inspiring that i couldn't put it down. I read it on a long plane ride and found myself drawing diagrams of each of my rooms; indicating where things should be relocated. Andrew Mellen's philosophy of "everything needs a home" and put "like with like" is now something I think about daily.
As a birthday, Mothers Day or Christmas gift, Unstuff Your Life should be at the top of the list.
on October 8, 2010
Prior to reading Andrew Mellen's book I would have told anyone who asked - unequivocally - that my life is organized, clutter-free and pretty much seamless. I mean, so what if every once in a while I misplace my keys. Or the receipt for that item I intend to return. And doesn't everyone spend five minutes searching a myriad of drawers for a grater to shave some fresh ginger? And that rsvp card for my niece's wedding. It only took me ten minutes to get my hands on it...that's normal, right? Who needs inspiration to save all of five minutes of time and frustration here and there? Well, apparently I do. And in the highly capable hands of one Andrew Mellen, I'm now as unstuffed as a plush bear in a gorilla cage. Andrew approaches the keys to an organized life with a deft hand, with wit and candor and without preaching. Some of the tips and tricks he offers are seemingly obvious (keeping our house/car keys in one place, and one place only)...yet once deployed there's a strange sense of gratification each time I reach to grab the keys on a mad dash out of the house...they're magically in the same place, no hesitation...no foraging among papers and coat pockets. They're now where they are supposed to be. It saves times and alleviates stress. And it's carried one hundred fold throughout every corner of our home, now that I am an unstuffed diva. I'm so giddy with my newfound organization (read: freedom) that I'm tempted to do two shows nightly: "Step right up! Ask the lady of the house where anything is! Anything at all! No object too big, no object too small. She'll have it in her hands in less than one minute flat!" Beyond that, this workshop in a book serves up a genuine soul and psychic cleansing to detach from certain tangible items. And It makes for a lighter load - practically, spiritually and even fiscally. Well done, Mr. Mellen.
on September 30, 2010
I love this book! It changed my life! I look at all "stuff" in a totally different way now! I don't feel chained to stuff any longer. My house has a lighter feel. The energy of the house flows! Andrew's ideas are great from attic to basement and every room in-between. But it's the rooms in my MIND that really got a good cleaning! Thanks Andrew!!!!
on November 14, 2010
I've read several books regarding the clearing of clutter. Having parents who are hoarders gives me the motivation to stay on top of unnecessary accumulation.
While other books are monumentally helpful in deciding what to keep and what to cast aside, as well as covering the mental attachments to such items, they don't delve far enough as to tell you what to do specifically with the items kept. Andrew's book leads the reader by the hand, guiding step by step through the removal of clutter, and continues through the placement and organization of kept items to the point where they are intuitively found in seconds, not minutes, hours, or even days.
Since adopting Andrew's methods in my home and work space, I no longer wonder where I have placed my keys, phone, wallet, camera, important papers, and even grocery items. No longer will I wonder if I am out of butter, vanilla, or canned pineapple. I look and see immediately if something is missing.
A very important part of Andrew's method is the use of common sense and humor in regards to an often touchy subject. He is never scolding, condescending, or cruel. And, unlike many professional organizers, he allows the reader to ultimately decide where to place things and what containers to utilize, rather than being subject to a laundry list of expensive and superfluous products from The Container Store.
My only regret (and it was a very small one) is having bought the Kindle version of the book. While I am happy to save shelf space, I missed the convenience of writing in the book when doing the exercises. It was only a little inconvenient to write in a notebook, but looking back, the notebook takes up the same space the physical book would have. And in the long run, the monetary savings was only about 40 cents plus shipping.
If you only buy one book to get clutter free and organized, make it this one. If you have already bought multiple books, donate those to Goodwill and get this one. You won't regret a minute spent reading it and utilizing its indispensable advice.
on September 3, 2011
I was very excited about this purchase because of the great reviews. My house is not a disaster, but I have clutter that I just don't "see" because it has been there so long and need some more organization. I liked the first chapter, which has you reflect on your core values and whether your actions and the time your spend reflect those values. That definitely helps with the process of going through clutter and determining what is important to you. I also liked that he mapped out rooms and how they are used in detail, though each house is different and it doesn't always translate to your space. This helps me look at the space I have, stand back, and determine how it can BEST be used, instead of just getting rid of a few things. I also liked the Like with Like and Home for Everything. This is something I had already learn from another book, but like he said, they really are the most important. If everything has a home and you always return it to that home, you are most of the way there to keeping your house in order.
However, there were some cons for me. The second chapter had you find a home for your keys, purse and mail, and then spend a month just putting things in their new home each day. I already did this before reading the book, so I just moved on. I did not agree with the mail sorting system, I think it makes you process each piece of mail too many time - putting in baskets, then sorting from there again. I use the GTD method of sorting mail, there is no presorting. It just all goes in my inbox and gets sorted one by one. I never have to put trash or flyers in a bin, and then touch it again to throw it away.
But the biggest problem for me was that he asked me to take out everything from my kitchen cabinets. I have two kids (including a 1 year old who likes to get into everything) in the house and work full-time. I don't have time, EVER, to take out everything from my kitchen. I need a process that I can work on a little each day after the kids go to bed, and this was not it for me. I don't know how I would ever implement the system as he designed it.
I will take some positive things from this book, but will have to actually do the organizing drawer by drawer after standing back and assessing the best use of the room (as he helped me do in this book).
on January 19, 2012
I was suspicious of the reviews on here, and not wanting to buy into a scam, I checked out the book from the library. I also checked out another organization book I found on the same shelf at the Library at the same time. The other book is what you might call a marketing campaign for the Container Store and I promply returned it. With Unstuff your Life I have completed organizing the kitchen, office, bedroom closet, and storage closet and I haven't spent a dime. The author often emphasizes that you don't need pretty organization containers and also not to hide away all of your stuff in containers without going throught the purging and sorting process first. I've actually lost 5 lbs since beginning the book from all of my intense cleaning. Because I can now easily find my clothes in my closet, I assemble fashion worthy outfits in seconds, I know longer have to fumble around the house looking for that bill due yesterday, and I know exactly where my keys, purse, phone and coat are as I walk out the door. I now get ready for work in the morning in minutes, not hours. I also went ahead and bought a copy for a family member for christmas, and she loves it as well.
My only complaint. You can kind of tell this book is written by a man because where is the chapter on organizing your bathroom clutter? For ladies like me, that room is the worst of them all. But in seriousness with the advice from the other chapters I should be able to create a plan for that room on my own.
on December 31, 2010
I bought three copies of this book after a casual conversation with my friend, who knows Andrew Mellen, and had attended one of his talks. What intrigued me about it was the simple concept of "everything needs a home", something that my Dutch grandmother always said. The good memories of her cheerful and organized home, and the mindful approach of this book, inspired me to reclaim that sense of serenity.
I gave two copies of the book to my grown children for Christmas and my 24 year old son enthusiastically called me the very next day, saying he know had a home for his keys!
So far, I worked 2 full days, starting in the kitchen (nothing left on the counters!), the computer area and some living room storage. The following day I tackled the hell that was the hallway closet, the dresser drawers and...my clothes closet. The author was talking in my head as I looked at each item of clothing that had survived previous attempts to purge. Really, do I need the leather pants from 1999? Do I need my "fat clothes" just in case? I better not! They will now go to Goodwill, together with impulse buys, as well as items I have loved and worn but I am ready to let go and be loved by someone else.
This book is inspiring, not only because of the useful tips, but because it makes us think about what "stuff" is and what it is't, what our relationship is with things old and new, and how to live a more deliberate, mindful life. I highly recommend it, with one caveat: you might not be able to stop. I now have an overwhelming urge to fold some linens!
on October 14, 2010
As an organizer, I always read any book on the topic of organizing. Andrew's book is in a league of its own! It's so much more than tips and techniques. It is not a band-aid approach but really digs into the root causes of why we let our "stuff" rule our lives. I look forward to passing it on to all of my clients!
on September 15, 2010
I generally do not read self-help books, but this title caught my eye at the library and I decided to check it out. I am not a terribly disorganized person, but there are a few areas in my home/life that have been in need of an overhaul in terms of organization. As good as my intentions have been, good intentions do not get the job done. Enter Andrew Mellon's new book. I took out this book intending to just read a few sections to help me with problems areas in my home. But once I started reading the introduction, I was hooked and read the whole thing in about a week. The writing style is accessible, down-to-earth, inspirational, and funny all at the same time. It was like having a good friend talking to you - a friend who tells it like it is, gives great advice, understands where you are coming from, and in the end wants what is best for you. Andrew really helps you change not only your physical spaces, but the way you think about your stuff. Andrew advocates working your way through the book slowly, one chapter at a time. Personally, I did not do this. I read the book in its entirety and then tackled various projects around my home. I have been frequently referring back to the book as I make changes in my life and my home. This book is a real treasure for anyone looking to improve the quality of their life by tackling their clutter once and for all and making time and space in their lives for what really matters. If you too have good intentions about cleaning up your home/life, but are still in need of some practical and inspiring guidance, get this book.
on February 27, 2012
I happened upon this book in a random search in the kindle store and tried a sample. After I couldn't put down the sample, I bought it. Now I've bought it for my mother and a friend. Andrew Mellen writes as though he is standing there with you, looking at your stuff and guiding you through the process of taking back your life.
I am a mom with a busy schedule - two kids, 3 hrs of commute, full time job and a couple of volunteer jobs to boot. I had started collecting all of my kids art work, taking too long to sort through the mail, gathering craft supplies in the basement, etc. and keeping track of that stuff was taking up time I could be spending on fun things with my family. This book helped me put it all in perspective and step by step weed through the piles of mail, kitchen gadgets and boxes of 'to be scrap booked' stuff, and get it more under control. Andrew doesn't ask you to solve the problem all at once either. He builds in time for you to practice good habits before moving on to the next problem area. I'm still working through the book but it has helped immensely thus far. Also, my anti-clutter husband loves the changes.