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Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life Paperback – March 23, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Paperback, March 23, 2010
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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Blanke (Between Trapezes), a motivational speaker and former columnist for Real Simple, shovels aside detritus to make space for cleaner rooms and clearer minds. She challenges readers to follow her example in discarding 50 things; tossed items range from old clothes to the need to be right. The authors suggestions range from the humble (Have a swap party for your outgrown clothes) to the ambitious (Clarify who you are), and her scope and environmentally conscious mind-set make the book a rousing call to total transformation—one mismatched sock at a time. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


Everybody needs to throw out at least fifty things. Just make sure this book isn t one of them! --Linda Ellerbee, Journalist

Blanke's strength is her ability to illuminate simple acts that save time, money and many headaches, in a clear commonsense language. --Gail Sheehy, author of Passages and Sex and the Seasoned Woman --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Pub (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Y6MV76
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,362,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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