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When Organizing Isn't Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life Hardcover – June 3, 2008

104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Morgenstern, a professional organizer with clients like Time Warner, shares advice and anecdotal revamp stories for anyone who ever needed to clean out a drawer, closet or personal planner. Her guiding principle in fighting clutter, over-scheduling and bad habits is called SHED: Separate treasures, Heave the rest, Embrace identity from within, and Drive yourself forward. Morgenstern's chatty advice includes ways to let go, develop a "theme" for your future and "heave" successfully (with lists of places to send stuff). Her theory is that, although one may miss certain possessions or habits, freed-up space will inevitably open unseen vistas, allowing the new you to move forward. Morgenstern supplies timelines, entire chapters on living in the moment and breaking the mold, as well as quizzes and work sheets. She also examines, in-depth, typical emotional reactions to shaking free of the old, and encourages small steps toward revolution: "Don't be so quick to reenact the Boston Tea Party." Client case studies pose intriguing challenges, from obsessive email checking to good but unfulfilling jobs to an overabundance of shoes and accessories.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Absolutely brilliant!" -- Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"This book will help you to recognize what you really value in life so you can let go of everything that's keeping you from reaching your true potential." -- Larry King

"I've always been amazed by the way Julie Morgenstern can organize everything -- but until now, I didn't realize that included human minds, hearts, and souls." -- Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Own North Star --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743250893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743250894
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Julie Morgenstern, founder and owner of Task Masters, is the author of the New York Times bestseller Organizing from the Inside Out and Time Management from the Inside Out. Her column, "Getting Organized," appears monthly in O, The Oprah Magazine. A speaker, media expert, and corporate spokesperson, she lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

309 of 312 people found the following review helpful By Terri Rice TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Not one to like self-help books, I was VERY skeptical and am here to say this is a fantastic book. Getting ready for a move, I have been trying to clear out junk and it wasn't until I read this book that I could really begin to clean out the house. Morgenstern's point is not to have a sterile, barren home or life but rather to free up your life by getting rid of the irrelevant with some pointed questions:

"How much space or time would you free up if you were to release the obsolete items?"

"How difficult would it be to let go of the obsolete items?"

"Is it invigorating to my life right now?"

"What practical value does this item provide?"

Every time I was hesitant to clear away what I thought might be clutter, I would ask myself the questions that Morgenstern asks in her book. so for example, when I came across my grandmother's antique metal curlers that I had held on to for decades and moved about in the back of the closet, I was able to ask myself, How much space would getting rid of these free up? Not a lot. How difficult would it be to get rid of them? It would be easy to get rid of them. Is it invigorating to my life right now? No way! What practical value does this item provide? None! Done. Out go the curlers and I move to the next item. In fact I become a little embarrassed that it took me so long. Then on to that stack of books, clothing in my closet, the knick knacks that I dust, for what?

Morgenstern contends that we can't move productively into the future unless we SHED the stuff that is weighing us down and keeping us from making changes.
And this really cut to the core: "A perfectly arranged dresser drawer filled with clothes you haven't worn in years is still clutter.
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146 of 148 people found the following review helpful By David J. Singer on July 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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115 of 117 people found the following review helpful By :) on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By One can never have enough books! on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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