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Year of No Clutter: A Memoir Paperback – March 7, 2017
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
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"Part memoir and part how-to guide, Schaub's book casts a lightheartedly humorous light on the First World obsession with acquisition while showing readers that less truly can be more. A wry account of the author's quest to "pitch, plunder, recycle, and sell." - Kirkus
"Schaub weaves in thoughtful cultural references... her recognition that clutter of the mind is as real as tangible clutter makes this a personal and powerful read." - Booklist
"Those who, like Schaub, are looking for a way to declutter that encompasses finding homes for discarded items rather than simply going to a Dumpster, will appreciate Schaub's judgment-free, instructive, funny approach to being a "domestic belonging preservationist" with a place for everything that matters." - Publishers Weekly
"Schaub approaches this topic with humor and honesty, just like her former book. I'd call it more of a memoir of her personal exploration of this issue in her own life than an inspiring how-to, but I definitely enjoyed it." - 5 Minutes for Mom
"This isn't a how-to book, it's not about helping you clear your clutter. It is one woman's open and honest journey through her own battle with clutter but in the process of reading you will probably recognize yourself in Eve, as I did, and it will spur you on to deal with your own clutter." - Rather Too Fond of Books
"I found wry wit and laugh-out-loud humor as the author delves into her memories while coming to terms with the truth about stuff...and her tendency to keep it." - Finding My Inner Kate
"Just like her previous memoir, Year Of No Sugar, her latest is inspiring and humorous along with the odd 'wait, what?' moment (the story of the mouse, that's all I'll say)." - After the Rain Comes Sunshine
"Everyone has their own Hell Room, and Eve's battle with her clutter, along with her eventual self-clarity, encourages everyone to dig into their past to declutter their future. Year of No Clutter is a deeply inspiring--and frequently hilarious -- examination of why we keep stuff in the first place, and how to let it all go." - Chelle's Write
About the Author
Eve O. Schaub graduated from Cornell and Rochester Institute of Technology. She has written for Vermont Life and Vermont Magazine, among others. During her family's year of no sugar, Schaub blogged regularly and was often a guest on WAMC, New York's NPR affiliate, as well as a regular visitor to Vermont Public Radio. She lives in Vermont with her family.
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Top customer reviews
Surprisingly it fit what I was experiencing in my own life. I didn't need a book to tell me how to declutter, I needed a book to help me deal with the distress of decluttering. My mother recently passed. She was a borderline hoarder, my family is full of them. I have struggled my whole life with not keeping those "useful" things. Faced with decluttering my home of my mother's and my belonging froze me...physically and mentally. This book gave me the thoughts needed to move forward. Two and half truckloads of "clutter" gone and still going. Thank you.
I enjoyed the later chapters more than the early ones, because Eve takes a good long time to really get under way. She starts to sort papers - reading - and she goes to visit a more cluttered house. This seems like deferring her own work as she only has half days and Saturdays. Her younger daughter was, as in a book I read about a year of no internet, young enough to accept what the parents said. Her older daughter was a fantastic help, a whirlwind of activity. Her husband wasn't much help but was polite about Eve's hoarding issues; then it turned out of course, that his photography work had been stored in the art room too. Years of it.
Eve discusses her own family and asks whether she inherited her behaviour, and why she finds it hard to make decisions about throwing things away. Her dad turned out to have stored Betamax recorders. Other family members were downsizing and offering her bulky furniture. Some cherished items she uncovered triggered family memories so she wanted them. Eve realised that if she didn't separate out what actually held personal value for her, after her death everything would be dumped by others.
I really liked Eve's craft week when she brought old clothes she had loved, and cut pieces from them to make into a quilt. Cutting them up must have felt like a betrayal to her. But this way she could keep a small bit to remind her, and the rest could go. She donated bags and boxes full and recycled constantly all year. The whole house was becoming more cluttered looking with items awaiting disposal - and then with a guest to arrive, Eve realised that yes, every room had been holding other clutter all along. The art room just had the oldest stuff.
There are some amusing scenes in the tale but often they are amusing and dreadful at the same time. I like that Eve's mentality was realised to be a problem and she retrained herself to make decisions. The account may seem too extreme, but there is a touch of collector in all of us, so we need to realise that not everything that has been useful is continually needed. As I said the cleaning work speeds up towards the end so keep reading and don't forget that young people do copy adult behaviour. I would have liked more creative suggestions about re-using materials but we see a lot of shredding and hauling away in the car boot.
You may also like 'Throw Out Fifty Things' by Gail Blanke.
I downloaded this ARC from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.
While this is not a self-help guidebook, the book offers several notes of advice on how to handle and reduce your clutter, just not as straight-forward, but to be found in between the lines (actually, there are even one or two lists that might come in handy for the reader).
As for the rest, the book really reads like a kind of memoir (I wondered why it was categorized there) and it got very personal in the process. There were many small anecdotes which at first I deemed 'clutter', but which make reading this book such a likable and honest thing. The author is not some self-proclaimed expert on organizing or cleaning up, but she is one of 'us' - a person that has experienced clutter herself and decided to do something about it, while at the same time admitting she will never be a neat-freak. It was consoling to see so much similarities in her way of thinking and behaving. While I do not have something as large as a complete Hell Room, there are several corners and boxes in my home that have mysterious clutter-magnetic powers. I could relate to the author's outbursts of clearing frenzy as well as her phases of depressed numbness very well. There are certain days where sorting is the easiest thing to do, while on others I can't seem to part with even the smallest thing while at the same time feeling overwhelmed by all the clutter in my life. So I decided long ago to just roll with the tide and do my clearances only when in the right mood - otherwise I will only end up shifting things from one place to another without actually achieving something. Usually spring is my perfect season to declutter, so it was a good thing I read the book now as a reminder and motivation to start another round of me vs. clutter.
While any actual practical advice taken from this book was not new to me, the author put in clear words how I feel about my clutter but which was always slightly fuzzy - one thing is the past of things, the memories and feelings they represent and which is hard to let go, even if it means only physically. The other is 'it may be useful to someone some day'. I absolutely share this reluctance to part with stuff that is not broken and still perfectly usable, even if keeping it or trying to find someone who has use for it takes up lots of space and time I could spend in better ways.
So while I often feel slightly intimidated by expert guidebooks and sometimes even wonder how they can give advice on something they haven't experienced personally (ha! it's easy for them to talk), this book meets you on 'eye-level', so to speak, and I'm more willing to take advice that has actually been put to the test. While it seems my review got a bit cluttered itself now, I only have good things to say about this book, so I guess that's OK ;)
Most recent customer reviews
The author shares her battle with clutter and how she learned that it really isn't about all the stuff. It's a deeper thing.Read more