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TOP 50 REVIEWERon April 5, 2016
The first thing to remember about UNSTUFFED is that it is not really about getting rid of clutter. Yes of course, the author does talk about getting rid of unwanted stuff, but that's not the real point. The real point, Ms. Soukup explains, is that you get rid of this stuff so that you can see what is REALLY important in life. It could be relationships, it could be your family, it could be lots of things--but the clutter is getting in the way.

The author freely admits that she really feels the attraction of accumulating things:

I love to get stuff.
I love to give stuff.
I love the idea of stuff.
I love getting a good deal on stuff.
Stuff is pretty.
Stuff makes me happy.

Of course, we should strive to simplify, but here's the key: "Becoming unstuffed, truly unstuffed, is much more than that. It’s changing the way we look at our homes and the stuff we live with. It’s changing the way we look at our schedules and the stuff that fills our time. It’s changing the way we look at our relationships..."

As for the practical ideas, the author presents 10 simple habits, which alone can go a long way to help you simplify your life. They are not earth-shattering ideas; rather, they are simple but effective ways to achieve a lot for a little time. Here are a few: making your bed properly, promptly trashing junk mail, or even just cleaning the kitchen sink. Each of these habits only take a minute or two, but they are a good step to simplifying and de-cluttering your home.

Much of the emphasis in UNSTUFFED is how to deal with clutter in your family--especially in buying your kids things. The author suggests that you teach the kids the value of money, by helping them to associate the reward with the effort. In particular, she teaches her own kids that money comes from hard work.

The entire theme of UNSTUFFED is based on Christian, biblical principles. Ms. Soukoup was confronted with a simple, but profound question years ago. She how asks the reader the same question: "What are you doing with God’s money?" Are you being a good steward, or trying to forever get more and more?

Ruth suggests a simple answer: Instead of chasing after more and more goods, a Christian can simply choose to be CONTENT. Making that simple (but tough!) choice will tend to lessen the urgency of accumulating more and more goods.

Part of overcoming the cluttered lifestyle is to decide to sometimes just unplug. This might mean keeping your weekends free, or it might mean taking a nap sometimes. You give yourself permission to unplug. Just like the Biblical principle: "We were made to rest. I was made to rest. Balance isn’t something I can do, giving myself and my family time for rest is something I can be more intentional about."

At the very end of the book, the author presents a spiritual lesson in how to really achieve an "unstuffed" life: "The only way to become truly unstuffed is to accept the amazing, incredible, unlimited, and totally undeserved grace we’ve already been given and to stop trying to fill that hole ourselves. Grace is the answer we are often too stubborn to believe and too proud to receive."

UNSTUFFED is a surprising book. If you're just looking for a book of practical tips, you might find the spiritual side unsettling. Again, it's not simply a book of tips and tricks to make your life a little bit simpler. UNSTUFFED does indeed have those practical tips, but that's not the main thing, that the author wishes to convey.
In short, UNSTUFFED is a lot more than practical tips. It's actually a philosophy of life.

For a related title by this same author, I recommend Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life.

For another perspective on de-cluttering your life, see, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up.

Advance Reading Copy courtesy of Netgalley.
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on April 6, 2016
I read this book in two sittings over a 24-hour period. It's that good! Ruth writes with honesty from a heart of caring and friendship. I love that she shared her own struggles, most of which I can relate to personally, and how she stepped out of the clutter of life and into the fresh air of an unstuffed life. This is much more than a book on organizing, although you will find that within it's pages, it's a book about freeing ourselves from the things that tie us down from being the best version of ourselves. Ruth covers unstuffing our homes and then expands upon cleaning out to include other things we often drown in: toxic relationships, too full inboxes, too much paper and paperwork, and schedules that are joy draining instead of joy bearing. She also speaks to the whole of our lives by sharing the wellness routine that will lead not necessarily to great abs but to a balanced life. The capstone of her book deals with the state of our spirit and our need for letting go of the need to do overdo. She shares to whom and why we should turn to fill our spirits with the true source of a joy filled life. Buy this book. Read this book. Put its wisdom filled pages into practice and be changed for the better! I feel differently just from reading it yesterday and look forward to putting the practical skills shared into daily use.
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on June 20, 2016
Some great ideas in here about dealing with clutter and too much stuff in all aspects of life. It was worth getting the book, as it was relatively inexpensive. Not all situations apply to everyone, so like all "self-help" books, take what you can use and ignore the rest. Don't expect this to be a strict "how-to" in every area of your life; the author simply shares her own struggles, and things that have worked for her, and I think it's more meant to stir your own thought process about your own life and your own 'stuff.' It was worth the read. I do like the fact that the author seems like a very genuine person. I am on her e-mail list and I actually enjoy reading the occasional e-mails (whereas some e-mail lists inundate you with stuff you just end up deleting).
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on April 9, 2016
If you are a regular reader of Ruth Soukup's blog, Living Well Spending Less, this book is a waste of money.

If you have no idea where to begin organizing your home, this book is a fantastic resource. However, I recommend that you just go to the blog and search for specific topics.

As I read the book, much of the information seemed VERY familiar and that's because much is posted on the blog - word for word. The following blog post ([...] can be found in the book.

I was disappointed, because I was looking for new insight.
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on June 4, 2016
There is some good advice to be had but it's nothing groundbreaking - mostly common sense tips to help get yourself into a routine that deals effectively with the daily tasks that keep your home running smoothly.
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on April 9, 2016
You know how you often feel bad when you see a book about decluttering because you immediately visualize how your home looks? And then you read it and you feel even worse because the author exhorts you to release yourself from everything that is 'unnecessary'? And most of what you own falls under the author's list of unnecessary?

This book isn't like that.

Ruth Soukup walks you through thoughtful exercises so that YOU can determine what is important to you, and what makes your house a real home, where you can live, relax, and celebrate. Soukup shares personal stories of her struggles with 'stuff' and how she continues to find a balance in her own home and life. One aspect of her book that I really appreciate is that she speaks not only of material stuff, but also digital, relationship and spiritual 'stuff.' Sometimes it's easy to deal with the goods in your home, but not as easy to face the friend issues, or the spiritual habits we may fall into. She addresses all of those, and helped me take a look at my own life and where I might need to prune, or conversely to add energy. Soukup is a real person with ongoing struggles in all these areas, just like everyone else. Unlike many decluttering 'experts' she doesn't have it all figured out, but she does share what has worked for her and what she is still working on.

I loved this book. She includes Biblical verses along with personal stories, so it's a nice tie in with a Christian frame of reference, but as someone who has never been a church goer, I was not put off. They just added another dimension for me. If you really want to address the issue of 'stuff' in your life, this is the book for you.
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on May 16, 2016
This book has been life changing for me. Ruth is a great writer and she gets to the core of why we are stuck in the rut of hanging on to our "stuff." I am in the process of "unstuffing" my life and it is very liberating. I highly recommend this invaluable resource.
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on July 18, 2016
Great advise from a spiritual perspective, more balanced than most, including relations with people and God. Although I may not agree with everything she suggests, I would highly recommend it and have passed it on to others.
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on July 8, 2016
Clear, concise, and comforting. Artfully weaving in all aspects of life, home, mind, and soul Into the equation of a life well lived in space that renews and strengthens us to fulfill our purpose in life.
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on May 11, 2016
It is a great book if you have not been following the blog but I felt like a lot of the same concepts you find online were just repeated in the book.
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