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When Organizing Isn't Enough: Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life
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When Organizing Isn't Enough: Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  663 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Are you eager to make a change but unsure what's next?Organizing works when you know "where" you're going but don't know "how" to get there. But sometimes organizing isn't enough. When you're eager to make a change in your life, but you are unsure of your new destination, you need to SHED.

Expert organizer and "New York Times" bestselling author Julie Morgenstern has develo
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Fireside Books
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Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie MorgensternStuff by Randy O. FrostEnough Already! by Peter WalshClutter's Last Stand by Don AslettEat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
Best Organizing Resources
17th out of 64 books — 40 voters
Getting Things Done by David AllenIt's All Too Much by Peter WalshClear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen KingstonADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith KolbergWhen Organizing Isn't Enough by Julie Morgenstern
Best Organizing Books
4th out of 17 books — 12 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,910)
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Mark Boszko
May 04, 2011 Mark Boszko rated it it was ok
Listened to the Audiobook. Ridiculous amounts of "stories" from four fictional archetypes going through different life changes bludgeon you over the head with the same points over and over, and there's really nothing new here.

- Envision the outcome of your change.
- Does your current status and/or stuff support this change?
- If not, get rid of it.

Organize what's left over according to the "kindergarten" cubbyhole method outlined in JM's Organizing from the Inside Out:

- Everything has a home
- Labe
Debbie Petersen
Unfortunately, a busy work schedule left this library book sitting on the nightstand unread through the three weeks before it was due back, and also the two week renewal. It is several days late and needs to go back tomorrow. I'll have to check it out again.

I liked that it went beyond the normal "organizing" or "throw it all out" books out there. The first step is to separate out your treasures. Next, you heave the trash. What was different was the step where you envision your life right now and
Jun 22, 2009 Joy rated it really liked it
This book was as much philosophy of why people hoard as a how-to on
getting rid of "stuff." The basic premise was:
S eparate your treasures
H eave your trash
E mbrace your identity
D rive yourself forward
Morgenstern encourages 'material detachment and radical generosity.'
Maryann Hershey: "May your walls know joy; may every room hold laughter
and every window open to great possibilities."
William Morris: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be
useful, or believe to be beautiful."
Mark Twai
Aug 03, 2011 Rica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: decuttering
Different from many other books about getting organized: besides shedding physical stuff that no longer serves us, Morgenstern also addresses paring down our overcommitted schedules and our non-productive habits.

I really like her approach, which starts *not* with tossing stuff out out willy-nilly, but with figuring out which "treasures" we want to keep--the stuff and activities that genuinely enrich us and support our vision for the direction we want our lives to take. Only after identifying wh
Oct 27, 2010 adllto rated it really liked it
Shelves: ologies, general
I am fast becoming a connoisseur of books on organizing and this probably is the best so far.

Julie Morgenstern offers important insights and but her key ideas are based around SHEDing: Separate the treasures, Heave the trash,Embrace your identity and Drive Forwards.

Simple and logical but difficult to do. Until she suggested that we should look at this as a change in life. Which of course it is! But to give this change a sense of change we should give the life before a theme or a name. We should
Jan 04, 2011 Heidi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I expected this to be a book that would give me ideas on how to organize the piles of junk threatening to take over my house, but was surprised to find out that is only part of this book's plan. Julie Morgenstern identifies three areas of clutter than overwhelm our lives (physical clutter, time clutter and bad habit clutter) and gives detailed plans on how to SHED them. I appreciated this, because I have bad habit clutter that is leading to physical clutter, so it seems wise to get to the root o ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
Not one to like self-help books, I was VERY skeptical and am here to say this is a fantastic book. Getting ready for a move, I have been trying to clear out junk and it wasn't until I read this book that I could really begin to clean out the house. Morgenstern's point is not to have a sterile, barren home or life but rather to free up your life by getting rid of the irrelevant with some pointed questions:

"How much space or time would you free up if you were to release the obsolete items?"

"How di
Feb 20, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to clear the clutter in their lives
Shelves: nonfiction, 2011
I'm not sure what made me borrow this book. I am sure I saw it here on Goodreads and thought it might be interesting and helpful. I'm not much of a self-help fan, but I do have a lot of clutter and am willing to take steps to reduce it. I'm probably a good candidate for one of her consultations and should take her words to heart. The fact that I read this immediately after I finished Saint Maybe, where the main character Ian marries a professional cleaner/organizer got me thinking that perhaps t ...more
I liked the early parts of this and got all fired up and started thinking about a theme to organize my decluttering effort and was so motivated that I tackled a drawer, getting rid of bunches of stuff, before I got very far into the book. Then I got bogged down. I could get my head around the S (separate your treasures) and H (heave your trash) but somewhere on the road to the E (embrace yourself) and D (drive for the future), I got frustrated. I didn't want to take time to do activities that wo ...more
Jul 10, 2013 Marsha rated it really liked it
I don't read many self help type books, but I found this one especially relevant to the little life changes that I'm going through now. I loved that it didn't say "throw all your stuff away and downsize", but rather suggested that you first figure out where you were heading and keep the treasures that will be use in your new direction. The author used a little zen story that I loved....a man is journeying/hiking through wilderness and comes across a river that he must get across. He builds a str ...more
Nov 05, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
This is not your ordinary trash the "stuff" book... she really helps you get to the core of the matter. I have read my share of self help books...(one of these days the messages might stick) but this one is a tad different...I'm not great at explaining the nuances..but suffice to say she "shed" some light on some issues!
Jan 24, 2016 Jerry rated it liked it
Not exactly the most interesting reading, but organizational guru Morgenstern has some great advice for people who are suffering from clutter in their lives, including the non-physical kind. For the right person, this book could be very helpful.
Mar 11, 2014 Cathy rated it liked it
Oh how I love to throw things away! I even still watch the garbage truck come every week - it's just so exciting! I admit it - I should avoid the middleman and never get some of my junk in the first place. I've read many books on clutter, and my favorite clutter guru will probably always be Don Aslett. Julie Morgenstern's view is unique in that it doesn't really just tell you to throw it all out. She suggests coming up with a theme for your goals in life and then seeing what stuff, time, and hab ...more
Jul 06, 2010 Kbord rated it really liked it
Julie Morgenstern has a way of making you feel good about yourself in spite of your self-described flaws.

I saw this book on a shelf and grabbed it on impulse. My mother is a fan of Julie Morgenstern from seeing her shows on television, so I picked it up.

This book shows the process she goes through with several people to clear out their junk--emotional baggage making a physical presence in a person's home, or cluttering up their schedules.

I didn't read the whole book cover to cover (it's not nece
Sandy  Kemp
Dec 16, 2014 Sandy Kemp rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Too complicated. And the "Drive Yourself" brings to mind an overseer cracking a whip. ugh
Jun 05, 2012 Crystal rated it liked it
I listened to the audio of this book over the last three days as I've been cleaning out my study/studio/extra bedroom. While I'm not a hoarder (I don't fit the clinical definition by another book I'm listening to written by a psychologist! Thank God!), I do tend to make clutter and become overwhelmed by clutter. I thought this was a great approach to thinking about how clutter can hold us back from our potential. As with any "self-help" book, one should take what one needs from the text and forg ...more
Nancy Keay
Jul 19, 2012 Nancy Keay rated it it was amazing
This wonderful book from organizing guru Julie Morgenstern has changed my life for the better. Usually this type of advice says "do this, do that..." but this book aims the arrows into the heart, which is where we all need to start. And then she guides you into discerning the next steps. Her book - "Time Management from the Inside Out" is great as well, helping you get hold of how you really want to be spending your days. The trick to appreciating her SHED book is actually doing the work, not ju ...more
Alfred Walter
Dec 07, 2009 Alfred Walter rated it really liked it
• The “SHED” program enables you to get rid of the possessions, time commitments
and bad habits that have become burdens in your life so you can start anew.
• Use the program to make a change or when unwanted change is thrust upon you.
• SHED stands for “separate” your treasures, “heave” your trash, “embrace” yourself,
and “drive into the future.”
• Before you shed, develop a new theme for the life you want in the future.
Feb 05, 2016 Donnie rated it liked it
I was looking for something to inspire me to get rid of a lot of stuff. With a name like SHED I thought this book would be perfect. It was different than I thought--at first I wasn't interested but it did start to pull me in. It is a book written for someone facing a real life change--marriage, divorce, unemployment, retirement.... The author apparently has written several books on organizing one's life but this one was developed when the author realized that it is important for people to first ...more
Jan 26, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
An excellent book for anyone feeling like they're not sure what to do with their current life. I read it in spurts, so I sometimes lost the flow of the example clients referenced, but I definitely plan to reread it. Offers lots of insight into discovering your own unique identity & creating a life theme that fits you. I liked how she helps the reader work out the personal whys behind clutter &/or bad habits.
Dec 13, 2008 Kirsti rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am taking the first step toward organizing my life . . . by jettisoning this repetitious, simplistic, and blindingly obvious book, which is cluttered with "case studies" that are really just the whining of feckless cake-eaters. Go work in a soup kitchen, you dithering upper-middle-class types, and you'll know how good you have it.
Jun 01, 2009 Barb rated it really liked it
I was thinking of my messy basement when I checked this out of the library. This book surprised me ~ both in content and delivery. It made me think more about my mental clutter.
I almost think it would be a valuable book to have on everyone's shelf as a reference guide for clearing out home and head.
Annette McLeod
Jul 14, 2013 Annette McLeod rated it did not like it
Abandoning. Mired in too-detailed example stories and static writing. Good message lost in the execution. Get a dynamic ghost writer next time.
Jennifer Heise
Feb 17, 2015 Jennifer Heise rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Didn't finish. Too annoying.
Janet Barclay
Jul 31, 2015 Janet Barclay rated it really liked it
I’ve always heard that “it’s not about the stuff” and thought I understood the concept. I knew how a client’s personality type could affect his or her organizing style, but I didn’t grasp the big picture until I read this book.

The acronym SHED stands for:

Separate the Treasures
Heave the Trash
Embrace your Identity
Drive Yourself Forward

There are three chapters devoted to each of these steps, complete with case studies. But what’s key to it all is the introductory section about setting long term
Jun 02, 2010 Ruthmgon rated it liked it
Shelves: decluttering
This one is a hard read for me, she does not seem to be able to break the book down into little chunks like the other books in this genre seem to.I do come across some interesting bits here and there.

She advocates a slower approach to tossing your stuff, That if you keep certain things, that they are inspirations and clues to your new life ahead. She has you name a theme for your life previous and your life in future. She has you keep only 10 percent of a type of thing, like 2 things from your
Jan 24, 2016 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How did I get so much stuff. It's time to move on and lighten the load. Julie's advice is clear and rational. Actually, I have been doing most of it naturally. Her method is a little more formal, but that formal process helps when trying to figure out where to start. Also, Julie has good advice on figuring out what to keep and what to heave. This is not a book to read and put away. It takes time to work through all the steps. I will be coming back to this book several times over the next year as ...more
Dec 18, 2014 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
Best "self-help" book I've probably ever read. It's an ongoing process, but has helped tremendously with eliminating things from my life that no longer serve me. The "things" I've discarded have ranged from clothes, books, anything hiding in cabinets I didn't really need, to behaviors, thoughts, and people. What I love about this book is that through this process of elimination, I have found clarity, and feel as if I'm living with more intention.
Feb 02, 2015 Adriana rated it really liked it
Recommended to Adriana by:
Get rid of your clutter so you can have a fresh start to your life. So many of us don't realize how clutter affects all areas of our lives. I don't clutter, but I did work as an organizer for a while, and purchased this book along with it's companion, to see if I could refresh my ideas and learn some new tips from her. I highly recommend this book for a fresh start.
Nov 25, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
I've read some of the other reviews and they're right: there is a little too much time spent on the "real people example" here. None of them fit me and my situation, not even by mixing-and-matching.

Having said that, the practical stuff worked for me. The idea here isn't a didactic How You Organize Your Stuff, it's ideas on how to SEPARATE, HEAVE, EMBRACE and DRIVE your stuff. And not just your physical clutter stuff (like those old tax receipts, the thimble "collection" you picked up when trave
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Julie Morgenstern, dubbed the “queen of putting people’s lives in order” by USA Today, is an organizing and time management expert, business productivity consultant, and speaker. A New York Times bestselling author, Julie's five books are timeless reference guides that are insightful, reader-friendly and jam packed with innovative strategies. Each volume features techniques and observations culled ...more
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