Unclutter Your Life in One Week
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SIMPLICITY IS REVOLUTIONARY.
Organization expert Erin Rooney Doland will show you how to clear the clutter, simplify your surroundings, and create the stress-free life you deserve—in just one week.
Her down-to-earth approach and useful, innovative suggestions for tackling the physical, mental, and systemic distractions in your home and office will help you: •Part with sentimental clutter
•Organize your closet based on how you process information
•Build an effective and personalized filing system
•Avoid the procrastination that often hinders the process
•Maintain your harmonious home and work environments with minimal daily effort
•And much more!
- Amazon Sales Rank: #24453 in Books
- Published on: 2010-12-28
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Binding: Paperback
- 256 pages
- ISBN13: 9781439150474
- Condition: New
- Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Tracking provided on most orders. Buy with Confidence! Millions of books sold!
"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
"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
"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
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.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Simplicity is revolutionary.
Being overworked, overbooked, and overwhelmed is passé.
Right now, you have a choice to make. Do you want to live a stressful life controlled by your possessions and the demands of things that don't matter to you? Or do you want to be relaxed and living a remarkable, uncluttered life?
When I made the decision to live simply, it took me fewer than seven days to clear the physical clutter from my life. Unfortunately, those seven days took place sporadically over six months because I didn't have resources to guide me through the process. I wanted a manual to explain to me the hows and whys of simplifying, organizing, time management, uncluttering, and productivity -- but I never found it. I've created this book so that you can unclutter your life in one week. It's going to be hard work, but you deserve to live with less stress and anxiety. You deserve a remarkable life. And, most important, you deserve to experience all the benefits of being an unclutterer.
Unclutterer (un-'kl e-t er- er) n. Someone who chooses to get rid of the distractions that get in the way of a remarkable life.
Distractions, also known as clutter, come in many forms -- physical, time management, mental, and bad systems. When your surroundings, schedule, and thoughts are chaotic, it's hard to move through the day. If you're constantly late to work because you're having trouble getting out the door in the morning, then you may have a problem with organization. If your house is in such disarray that you can't have friends over for dinner, then your problem is likely with physical clutter. If you are overwhelmed with e???mail at work and laundry at home, then you may be using bad processes. If you are repeatedly missing client deadlines, then you may need some time management help. The list of distractions is endless, and only you know specifically how clutter is interfering with your life. By getting rid of clutter and organizing your work and home life, you will free up time, space, and energy so that you can focus on what really matters to you.
As Albert Einstein explained, "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."
An unclutterer lives as simply as he or she can without making life difficult. For instance, I love books and devote an entire wall of my living room to them, but I don't have more books than I can store on those shelves. You might enjoy television, but instead of being tied to the networks' schedules, you record programs on your DVR and watch them when it is convenient for you. Simple living isn't about depriving; it's about enriching. You're getting rid of what doesn't belong to make room for what does.
The official unclutterer motto has been passed down from generation to generation by parents, teachers, and large purple dinosaurs: A place for everything, and everything in its place. Nothing in your home or office should be without a designated living space. Every pair of slacks should have a hanger and space in your closet to hang without getting wrinkled. Every pen in your office should have room in a cup or a container to rest easily when not in use. Think of it this way: If Oprah were to surprise you and say your home or office was going to be featured on her show, you shouldn't have to run around tossing things into a box to get your space to look the way you want. When everything has a proper place, you never have to wonder where something is or think twice about where to put it when you're done using it. This way of living might sound like a big change for you -- it certainly was for me -- but you're totally capable of making it.
I can't force you to become an unclutterer or go through the process for you, but I can give you the tools and information you'll need to make it happen. You're in control here, and you're the one who is going to have to put in the elbow grease if you really want to make a change. The benefits of an organized life are so incredible, though, that all of the sweat you invest will be worth it.
If you think making changes in your life is difficult, you're right. Considering an actual life-and-death situation, only one in ten Americans who has had heart bypass surgery changes his lifestyle to prevent future heart attacks. Most patients don't adopt healthier lifestyles because they receive very limited information and minimal support about how to make positive changes. When patients are provided with resources and the opportunity to learn about the benefits of making significant changes to their lives, the statistic improves from 10 percent to 77 percent. Almost eight out of ten people will make significant changes to the way they live if given the proper motivation and information for success.
So why am I talking about the grim realities of bypass surgery patients in a book on organizing? Good question. I mentioned these statistics because change of any kind -- the life-and-death kind and the not-so-doom-threatening kind -- is difficult. Scribbling "Be more organized" on a list of New Year's resolutions doesn't take much effort, but actually becoming an unclutterer requires change.
This book will be your support system and resource manual as you go through the process of uncluttering and organizing your life. Since I'm taking care of giving you the tools, you're going to have to supply the second ingredient of success: motivation. You need to determine why you want to make a change. What is it that will drive you to keep working even when you'restruggling?
Close your eyes for a minute, take deep breaths, and let your mind fill with all the things that make you happy. I know it sounds silly, but do it anyway. Relax and focus on the good things in life.
What came into your mind? Did you see the faces of your friends and family? What were you doing? Where were you? Why did these things bring you happiness?
Now make a list of those things that came into your mind. Group items on your list that belong in the same overarching category. Family, friends, hobbies, personal time, good health, career, vacationing, and spirituality are common groups of items, but your list will be unique to your life. Also, no one but you is going to pay attention to this list, so be honest with yourself -- don't list what you think you should list, identify what really makes you happy. This list is your motivation. These items are the reasons you want to become an unclutterer. This list is a reminder to you of what matters most in your life.
Take your list and put it somewhere easily accessible. Fold it up and put it in your wallet or tape it to the dashboard of your car. There will be times when you're ready to give up on the process and looking at this list will quickly remind you why you're making a change. This is the life you want.
One of the things on my list is travel. I want to drink wine in Bordeaux, ski the Alps in Switzerland, and photograph elephants in Thailand. To make these trips, I have to save my money and be able to clear my calendar on short notice. Budgeting my finances and juggling my work responsibilities require scheduling, time management, and planning. The more organized and uncluttered my life is, the easier it is for me to be able to travel. Experiencing the world firsthand is a powerful motivator, and so is time with my husband, family, and friends, and being able to accomplish the other items on my list. Do a bit of soul searching and figure out what and who matter most to you. What is it you wish you could do more often or with improved quality?
When people talk about what matters most and what they hope to achieve through the uncluttering process, I often hear responses that include the phrase "work-life balance." People need to work, but they want to balance that need for income with a rich personal life.
"Work-life balance" is just a buzz phrase in the business world. As far as I can tell, it exists for the sole purpose of making people feel bad. We hear the phrase "work-life balance" and like Pavlov's dog we're triggered into thinking, "Ugh, if only I had work-life balance! I would be happy if I had work-life balance! It sounds so dreamy!"
Um, it's not dreamy -- it's bullshit.
Seriously, do you want your work life to sit in perfect balance with your personal life? Do you want to be at work the exact same amount of time as your free time? (And, don't forget, you spend a good portion of that free time sleeping.) Since there are 168 hours in a week, you would need to work 84 hours to keep things in "balance." To keep things equal, you wouldn't have time to enjoy the money you would be making.
Put aside the numbers for a minute and think only about the quality of your work. My guess is that you draw from experiences in your personal life to help solve problems in your work life. You remember something you encountered when you weren't at your office or from your past and it helps to spur an idea that advances your work. You can't flip a switch and immediately stop being Personal You when you're in the office fulfilling the role of Employee You. You're one person, not two, and you can't be balanced.
Stop feeling inadequate about not having "work-life balance" and accept the fact that it is unachievable and undesirable. Instead, aim for something you can attain and enjoy: work-life symbiosis.
Work-life symbiosis is what you achieve when all aspects of your life exist together harmoniously. It's as crucial to your achieving a remarkable life as simplifying, organizing, managing your time, uncluttering, maintaining your ideal level of productivity, and exploring your personal interests. In fact, the work-life symbiosis concept is the basis of how this book is organized. Explore a week of your life and see how you can smoothly transition from personal life to work life and back again. Arrive at work on time. Go hear your friend's band play on a weeknight. Fall asleep w...
Most helpful customer reviews
213 of 232 people found the following review helpful.
Read This Book First
By Smart Family Tips
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.
66 of 73 people found the following review helpful.
Needed an editor to de-clutter the text
By Gen of North Coast Gardening
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. My favorite of these was Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much, because he brings his own encouraging, cheerleading personality to the table and helped me feel excited to get going! I also enjoyed Maartje de Wolff's book Clear Your Way to a Clutter Free Life, again because she brought her own uniqueness to the table in exploring our feelings and thought processes carefully...
I think that's really the problem with the Unclutterer book. I expected Erin Doland's personality to shine through more deeply than on Unclutterer's website, and instead it felt like I got less of that special something that makes her tips and advice so unique.
Of course, maybe the layout of the book just didn't work well with my small Kindle 2. Take my advice with a grain of salt and read the other reviews, because I was surprised to dislike this book. I really expected more.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful.
Organization made simple.
By A. Fernandez
When I saw the title for this book, it was with a raised eyebrow. A week??!! Seriously? Well, after the book was finsished, I can see how this could be done. (They do it on tv shows all the time, right?) However, it might take me a bit longer. However, I do think this is a great book and would be a good starting point for anyone who's ready to dive head-first into the clutter that is in their homes. An excellent read with good tips on organization. Another good one is The Big Clean: How to Clean and Organize Your Home and Free Your Mind (Revised and Updated).