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Unclutter Your Life in One Week Paperback – December 28, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Erin Doland defuses the dreadful prospect of clearing your clutter and breaks the project down into manageable, bite-sized steps. This book will inspire you to get started and see you through to an organized and stress-free home and office." -- Gina Trapani, founding editor of lifehacker.com

"One of the biggest questions people have about organizing is "where do I start"? Erin's wonderful book provides that answer-telling you exactly where to start, and what to do next, and next, and next. Very practical and accessible!" -- Julie Morgenstern, author of "SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life"

"Simple, practical advice that makes one week truly life changing. A great resource!" -- Peter Walsh

"The infinitely resourceful Doland walks the reader through the uncluttering process with patience, understanding, and more organizing tips than you ever imagined. We all need a friend like Doland to give us a good jump start." -- Kristin van Ogtrop, Managing Editor, "Real Simple"

About the Author

Erin Doland is Editor-in-Chief of Unclutterer and lives in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition to her work at Unclutterer, Erin is a twice weekly columnist for Real Simple magazine’s website, has written for CNN.com and ReadyMade, and is in negotiations to contribute a regular column to Fast Company. She borders on having a fanatical commitment to a more minimalist and simple lifestyle.

David Allen is an international author, lecturer, and founder and Chairman of the David Allen Company, a management consulting, coaching, and training company. His two books, Getting Things Done and Ready for Anything were both bestsellers. He is a popular keynote speaker on the topics of personal and organizational effectiveness.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439150478
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439150474
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've read an embarrassing number of books on organizing and de-cluttering and this is the book I wish I'd read first.

When I read a book on this topic, I want a solution. I don't want to be entertained with silly jokes and I don't want a therapist to try to work through my issues with clutter. I'm not looking for an overly familiar, dear-friend type (in an author I've never met) to douse me with warm fuzzies while I get rid of my stuff. Most of the books I've read aren't bad, per se, but there's often quite a bit of fluff (clutter?) in the way of the message.

Erin Doland's book really is different. It's accessible and casual in tone, but to the point. She also acknowledges that different methods and systems work for different people. For each step along the way, she offers several approaches so you can choose the way that best fits your life and your style.

I was impressed by the way she manages to cover home clutter, work clutter and general life clutter. I came away from reading the book with a definite sense that I can actually do this -- and isn't that the point of this type of book anyway? Save yourself a lot of time and money and read this one first.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some great, practical tips here, but I think the author may have gotten confused about who her audience is and what exactly we are hoping to get from the book.

She goes from assuming we are tech-savvy folk who know about or may be interested in using expensive project-management software like Backpack (which is most effective for people who work online with other people who are online), yet feels the need to explain how RSS feeds work. That's speaking to wildly different audiences.

She also spent time giving us tips for how to give an "uncluttered" office presentation, which is really not what anyone picked up the book hoping to get, I don't think.

Then, in the middle of some pretty good, if basic tips about decluttering the home, she stops to give a lecture about having an exterminator visit if you have rats and roaches. EEW! I think anyone who has rats and roaches will know that it is a priority to get rid of them, and won't be reading the book going, wow - it never occurred to me that getting rid of roaches should be important enough to call a professional in to help with!

Little things like that really annoyed me through the whole book. She'd be kicking along with some simple, encouraging advice, and then would talk down to us with stuff that sounded like she was imagining we were extremely dumb. That's not so annoying to have some dumb tips if the others are mostly high-level, non-intuitive things, but most of the book felt like warmed-over advice from other decluttering books, and not like the really interesting, lifehack-style things she recommends on her blog.

I have read two other books on decluttering to help me balance living with someone who likes to hold on to stuff, and to encourage me in a more minimalist lifestyle.
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Format: Hardcover
I found her maintenance routines questionable. She says that she does all of her laundry (granted, it's only 2 people) in 1 hour per week. I don't understand how that's even possible, and she doesn't really elaborate. How can one wash sheets, towels, unclothes, and any casual wear and complete everything in only one hour per week? I found her timeframes throughout to be pretty unrealistic (besides the obvious use of one week as a literary device). She supposedly needs only 20 minutes a week to handle anything that "needs attention" related to pets, cars, garage, AND yard. A flea bath alone would take more time.

The other issue I had was that she's speaking to a very narrow group of people, but she isn't upfront about that. She clearly has no clue what it's like to have children, and the comments she makes on life with children are laughable at best. "Just sit reading the paper unless you're needed" (in the mornings while your children are getting ready for school) or the suggested 20 minutes for bedtime, which includes simply "tucking your kids in." Granted, my children are small, and they'll presumably require less of my time as they age. She really should have given the book a sub-title that indicates she has no experience with or understanding of children and that the book is for adults living in a strict 9-5 world. I don't think this book even applied to my life before kids when both my husband and I work obscene hours without the predictability of arriving home at the same time daily, which is what Doland assumes throughout the book.

The reason I can give the book 3 stars is that she does have a few nuggets of information that I think I can use. I didn't know about Instapaper, for example, though I read often for my job, and this system could be beneficial to me. I also enjoyed thinking through her laundry tips and how we can conquer that beast in our house. Most of the book, though, is incredibly unrealistic.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Feeling weighed down recently, I purchased 4 books about decluttering: Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life, unclutter your life in one week, and The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul. Here is a comparison of them.

Less is not really about decluttering so much as Zen. The book is more about less busyness than less stuff. It is about mindfulness. It is about facing fears. It is business-oriented. For someone interested in cultivating a minimalist approach to living, Less does not have that much to offer.

The 100 Thing Challenge is more the sort of book I had in mind to buy. Written by a man who spent a year living with only 100 possessions, it is an anti-consumerist tract. It has some limited practical advice, but it is more about the experience of doing without things than a how-to.

The Joy of Less and Unclutter Your Life in One Week are both how-to books, but they are rather different in focus. The Joy of Less takes a single systematic approach to decluttering (represented by the acronym STREAMLINE) and shows how it might be applied to decluttering various parts of your home. Unclutter Your Life in One Week has a more shot-gun approach, suggesting a variety of different methods for organizing and reducing clutter. Both books are written by women but their focus is quite different.
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