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Making Peace with the Things in Your Life: Why Your Papers, Books, Clothes, and Other Possessions Keep Overwhelming You and What to Do About It
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Making Peace with the Things in Your Life: Why Your Papers, Books, Clothes, and Other Possessions Keep Overwhelming You and What to Do About It

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  163 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Do you spend much of your time struggling against the growing ranks of papers, books, clothes, housewares, mementos, and other possessions that seem to multiply when you're not looking? Do these inanimate objects, the hallmarks of busy modern life, conspire to fill up every inch of your space, no matter how hard you try to get rid of some of them and organize the rest? Do ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 3rd 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Dec 31, 2014 Hallie rated it liked it
I REALLY DO HATE MOVING. And I didn't love this book, which had a few, small nuggets of excellent advice and a lot of dross. Plus the therapy stuff was embarrassingly obvious and shallow and the author illustrated *everything* with stupid, childish named "characters". Mary Spendalot comes home from a shopping trip with five dresses she doesn't even remember buying! While Johnny Hoarder has kept every newspaper since the invention of the printing press! Seriously, there was actually a Somebody St ...more
Marsha Gulick
Feb 08, 2016 Marsha Gulick rated it really liked it
This is another that I pick up, read a bit, get inspired and pitch a few things. If that is all, then that's a lot.
My friend Laurie gave me this book, presumably after she helped me move and subsequently helped me get rid of large quantities of crap I don't need. I read half of it in 2006 when I was supposed to be packing to move to California. I stopped reading it because my partner was going to leave without me if I didn't stop reading and start working.

Fast forward to 2009, and we are moving again. This time we have a bit more time / leeway, so I thought I'd finish the second half of the book and re-skim
Oct 21, 2010 Lisbethlevine rated it liked it
Since the author is both a therapist and an organizer (what every great organizer should be in a perfect world!), she writes from an interesting perspective. I especially appreciated her insights on chronically disorganized people.
But while the book is a good read and full of helpful information about the inner workings of our brains, it's not -- dare I say it? -- well organized. I found it daunting to attempt to use it as a workbook. As others have pointed out in their reviews, Glovinsky overw
May 01, 2012 Bree rated it it was ok
Shelves: help-me, non-fiction
I read a good bit of it before I stopped. It mostly put me to sleep in 10 minutes. I could see this was a different clutter book than anything I have read before, but it still didn't help the clutter in my house. I don't think a book will ever help me or anyone else for that matter. If you have anxiety over the clutter in your house, really the only way to remove the clutter is to get up and go through it. You have to ask yourself, "Can I live my life without this?" and then toss. I know it soun ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Jana rated it it was ok
There were some good points, but overall a very confusing and overly complicated book. If a person is having trouble organizing their physical space, it stands to reason that they might need some help organizing their mental space. This book, unfortunately does the opposite of that.
Aug 16, 2007 Inggita rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: pack rats
Shelves: living
this is more a psychology treatment on paper - i'm way past that! hooray! pack rats on self-therapy might need this - but those who simply need a road map to take action should look for a certified space organizer (ask Oprah or get a PA)
Sep 15, 2008 George rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've been told I over analyze, but this author takes the cake! The over analyzing goes beyond helpful and is nauseating. Reading this book feels like an unpleasant chore with no point to it.
Heather J.
Nov 17, 2014 Heather J. rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
At first the tips in this were helpful, but then they got repetitive. Too much information at once!
Jul 23, 2016 LemontreeLime rated it it was ok
Interesting take, but too scientific for what I was looking for right now. (But I gave an extra star because the author name dropped Kuhn's theory of scientific revolutions. You go, girl!)
Jan 01, 2011 Li rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010, organization
Didn't really strike a chord with me. Didn't find it very useful.
Bethany Lockhart
May 23, 2012 Bethany Lockhart rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
I'll definitely reference this book again and again. Flip through my copy and you will see underlined passages, stars, notes in the margins, circles and arrows.
Although tedious at times, I am so glad I didn't skip through any part because I found gems in every chapter,
I was initially distracted by the names she chooses for character examples: Griselda Backglance, Professor Tightstring, Freddie Whizbang... but in the end it wasn't too big of a deal and I ultimately found a few of them endearing.

Dec 29, 2013 Judy rated it liked it
I read this after a friend asked if I wanted to check it out, not because I was trying to get control of clutter. I think I'm doing okay in that area and I don't think that's denial talking. I thought it was an interesting take on clutter. This book delves into your brain and inner workings that make you the clutter bug that you. I think even people without clutter problems (or Thing issues as the author would put it) can see themselves in various aspects of this book. I know I could relate to s ...more
May 27, 2010 Lia rated it liked it
This is an unusual book about the psychology of our stuff--how we feel about our Things and what we do with our Things, etc. And how was it? A mixed bag. For sure.

You see, I thought I liked lists. Making lists, checking things off lists, stuff like that. But, wow, this book really pushed my list limit. It seems like a very large percentage of the book is lists. And lists and lists and lists. And most of them are lists of questions. Sometimes the questions are very leading, which made them much
May 06, 2009 Gayle rated it liked it
Since the author is a licensed psychotherapist and personal organizer, this book takes a different twist on clutterbugs. Ms. Glovinsky posits that it is not enough to just put things where they go; we must also figure out where our head is, and work with it. Since our brains are hard-wired individually, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing things. I was relieved to know that I'm pretty functional after all when it comes to clutter, and interested in the challenges that others face. ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Tom rated it liked it
A pretty good book that focuses on defining one's relationships with their Things (capital "T"). A little bit clinical, and emphasizes the analysis of emotions that we feel with our Things. A little bit short on the practical methods of clearing out Things, since it really focuses on feeling OK with the Things you have, no matter how many there are. This book is very supportive and talks about changing our habits with regard to our Things, getting at the root cause of clutter. This book is more ...more
Jul 15, 2008 Tanya rated it liked it
This really is about making peace with your things and understanding the psychology behind why these things are cluttering up your life (at least by your perception). I found it helpful because it wasn't a cookie-cutter solution of how to organize, but looked at the root of the problem which is more important for me to understand so that the organizational system that is put in place can be MAINTAINED. That's why it's critical to understand one's own personal reasons behind the clutter so those ...more
Nov 13, 2008 Cindy rated it liked it
I read this book to understand a close relative's hoarding habits but this information on cluttering definitely applies to me, a clutterer all my life! This book analyzes the psychology of cluttering in great detail. There's so much detail, in fact, I just skimmed most of the text. However, I found many of her insights about our feelings about "things" real helpful. If you are interested in decluttering and simplifying your life, this would be a good resource and motivational book!
Oct 14, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it
This book has been really interesting... It approaches the reasons behind different activities and relationships with things. We all know different people who deal with some of these issues. It's nice to read a book that demonstrates a healthy approach to dealing with these issues and relating and encouraging people that may struggle with them in a manner that avoids shame, blame, or temporary, superficial fixes.
Feb 23, 2011 Shannon rated it really liked it
I enjoyed that the writer took a psychological approach to clutter. There are a gazillion books on the how of organizing and cataloging things. Unfortunately those books don't address the why of the clutter, nor how to tackle it from the source, rather than just treating the symptoms.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who's lived a packrat/clutter way of life, and wants to find a way to change.
Rebecca Huston
Aug 27, 2010 Rebecca Huston rated it really liked it
Or, how to cope with all of that clutter. For me, it's books and art supplies -- everything else I can cope with and discard when useless. But books -- well, I'm here on Goodreads, aren't I? This is one of the better books out there, nonjudgmental and easy to get through without too much guilt. I really do recommend this one.

For the longer review, please go here:
Have read maybe a third of this and have liked it so far. Anything to get to a state of ease, flow, and routine with only what I love, need, and use.

And currently I am in a huge purge mode tackling areas all around that is great and long overdue. The organization will follow. Actually a thorough scrubbing will be first.
Aug 25, 2008 Jane marked it as triedtoread
Recommends it for: John Green!!
This looks like a good book, a blend of the "why" we keep stuff and the "how" to get it sorted out and seriously "make peace" with it.
I don't have stuff of my own, I am just married to someone with lots of Things who comes from a family that hold on to stuff.
For instance, when our son was born, his parents sent all the old blocks that they had. Who keeps wooden blocks for 40+ years?
Sally rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2008
Aug 27, 2008 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I tried. I come from a long line of hoarders so I'm sensitive about Thing issues, but I got a couple chapters in and just felt like I am doing ok. I'm not that hung up on my things, but I wish my mother would have read this book!
Dec 03, 2013 Ginger rated it liked it
Shelves: organization
Read this on the basis of a recommendation on Health Month because I think the spring is going to involve a lot of tao of delete for me. It's got some interesting points, but I'm not sure it beats the Julie Morgenstern approach for me personally.
Oct 11, 2010 Linda is currently reading it
Interesting premise--it's not the stuff as much as how you think about it. Why do you dread cleaning out the garage, closet, spare room?
Feb 25, 2008 Jeannen rated it liked it
The capitalization of the word 'Thing' throughout the book was a bit irritating, but I learned a lot about the issues underlying my problems with an over-abundance of stuff.
Jan 11, 2015 Judy rated it did not like it
Too much! Too many questions and thoughts which do not appear helpful. Skimmed.
Jun 12, 2008 Tammy rated it it was amazing
I am learning that I probably should be more mindful about what I bring into my environment . . . um, was that me shopping last night, ha
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“Many ideas and habits we thought we had because we were good or bad, smart or dumb, crazy or sane—or because our parents were—are simply the result of subtle distinctions between brains. If my brain works differently from your brain, then some things that are easy for me may be hard for you and vice versa without either of us being stupid, lazy, or crazy.” 1 likes
“Brain-based thinking applied to Thing management can be tremendously empowering, as you begin to ask yourself specifically what’s easy, difficult, or impossible for your particular mound of gray and white matter to do, and to take this into account in developing strategies. Thinking this way allows you to break out of circular patterns you may have repeated for years with your Things and begin to make genuine progress.” 0 likes
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