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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Stop Clutter From Stealing Your Life: Discover Why You Clutter and How You Can Stop » User review

"Our stuff is part of us, but it need not define us"

  • Apr 24, 2009
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I started reading Stop Clutter From Stealing Your Life: Discover Why You Clutter and How You Can Stop and then it vanished. I have lots more books so I moved on. When it turned up under the seat of my car, I thought I must need to read it, so I did, and I was gratified to find that while I may be a little messy, my issues positively pale in comparison to the stories in this book.

Author Mike Nelson delivers the clutterer's Bible in this volume, which delves into the psychology behind the behavior of cluttering. He's been there: he is a reformed clutterer who now runs an organization called Clutterless Recovery Groups, Inc. Nelson lost jobs and relationships due to his inability to let things go; his personal story is representative of the  stories in Chapter 8: CLUTTERERS' STORIES.

Nelson breaks the behavior down into degrees, starting with "mildly disorganized," moving through behavior based on rebellion, fear, and procrastination. He lists the groups of people who value time "too much" to clean up, information junkies, chaos junkies, and on to the hoarders; the last is an actual medical diagnosis. He asserts that clutterers are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety disorders than ADD. The book contains many references to the psychology of the problem, and while you may not think that will help you to get organized, he states that understanding WHY you clutter is the beginning of change. He began his metamorphosis when he found a self-help group and discovered he was not alone. "Once I realized that my clutter was an outward expression of my inner conflicts or emotions," he writes, "I was able to do something about the problem and not just treat the symptoms by organizing my mess."

If what you want is a simple plan for organizing yourself, you'll find a high-level plan in Chapter 4: 40 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR CLUTTER. These steps -- many are more like affirmations -- are admittedly Zen-like, but they are intended to focus your attitude about your stuff. He advises setting small goals and committing to 15 minutes at a time, until you have taken control of your environment and your life. He gives us the "HIII" rule: how important is it? What's the worst that can happen if I get rid of this?

Stop Clutter devotes several sections to behavior that has a negative impact in the working world, with many practical routes to organizing paper and computer files; again the key is understanding what stands in the way of good habits. Later sections of the book deal with maintenance of the newly clutter-free environment, how to retrieve from a bout of backsliding, and deciding whether a self-help group can help you.

If you just plain hate this kind of theoretical approach to behavior change, this book won't be for you. But if you have an appetite for understanding what makes us behave the way we do, and especially if your surroundings are out of control by a little or a lot, this book could be life-changing. Beautifully organized and presented, it's a five-star book of its type. Get it, read it, commit to its principles -- and take back your life.

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More Stop Clutter From Stealing You... reviews
review by . March 14, 2009
  A very complete "why" and "how" book on how to combat the clutter you despise and how to work with the clutter personality that plagues you. More than "Ten Simple Steps to Simplify" this book is designed to give hope and answers to clutterers who want to be "recovering" clutterers and more.      I don't know if I've ever encountered a book so dense with information designed to uncover the problems and provide different types of solutions for different types of people. …
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About this book


Clutter is not just a minor annoyance or an organizational challenge. For too many people, it is a monster that can destroy self-esteem and relationships, cause financial problems, and even lead to the unemployment line.

Is "overwhelmed" the first word that comes to mind when you think about your clutter? Are your life and happiness limited by your possessions? If clutter is stealing your life, take it back!

Stop Clutter From Stealing Your Life will convince you that you can truly change your life. Author Mike Nelson overcame his own cluttering behavior and shares his triumphs and struggles with humor and insight. He eliminated one ton of clutter the first year. For seven years, he's helped hundreds of clutterers, founded a support group, and kept his own clutter at bay. You are not your stuff. You are a lot more important.

What's changed in this new edition:

* More practical ways to keep clutter from coming into your home or office.

* Proven ways to eliminate computer, financial, and time clutter.

* Business and home office de-cluttering tools.

* Dealing with inherited clutter from relatives.

Stop Clutter From Stealing Your Life combines practical tips and psychological insights to help you change cluttering behavior--permanently. Just keep it away from your "piles."

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ISBN-10: 1601630085
ISBN-13: 978-1601630087
Author: Mike Nelson
Publisher: New Page Books; Revised edition (March 1, 2008)

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