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SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck Paperback – March 3, 2009
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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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
"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
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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."
Excellent strategies and explanations of various emotional blocks behind the clutter/bad habits, but you do have to put in some time and effort.