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

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  849 Ratings  ·  102 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 are unsure of your new destination, you need to SHED.

Expert organizer and New York Times bestselling author Julie Morgenstern has developed the fou

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published September 18th 2008 by Tantor Media, Inc. (first published June 3rd 2008)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mark Boszko
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 24, 2013 Marsha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 02, 2010 Kbord rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nancy Keay
Jul 19, 2012 Nancy Keay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 26, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alfred Walter
Dec 07, 2009 Alfred Walter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
• 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.
Jun 01, 2009 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Nov 02, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
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.
Annette McLeod
Jul 09, 2013 Annette McLeod rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Abandoning. Mired in too-detailed example stories and static writing. Good message lost in the execution. Get a dynamic ghost writer next time.
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
Jennifer Heise
Jan 28, 2014 Jennifer Heise rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Didn't finish. Too annoying.
Oct 27, 2016 Leesgoodfood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved her first book on organizing, discovered many many years ago and found it very useful. This one is also useful - there ya be a little more self-discovery than I am interested in, but her chapters on sorting out treasure, then heaving the rest to free you up of your life, were very useful. I liked that she covered not just physical clutter but also schedule clutter and habit clutter.
For simplifying and organizing, Stephanie is the best!
Jan 10, 2017 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: homemaking
the four example people in each chapter were annoying, she repeats herself a ton!
May 13, 2010 Ruthmgon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 05, 2016 Isabel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
I'm sure this approach works great for some folks, but this isn't my style. I think I was hoping for something a bit more psychological, to understand why we hold onto stuff that no longer serves us. This wasn't that for me. The best part of this book was simply the acronym S (eparate the treasures) H (eave the trash) E (mbrace your identity) D(rive yourself forward). and the accompanying questions: What is truly worth hanging onto? What's weighing you down? Who are you without your stuff? Which ...more
Janet Barclay
Apr 13, 2015 Janet Barclay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2016 Donnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 12, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2016 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last book in my Julie Morgenstern marathon. This book goes well beyond organizing. It's designed to people who are feeling stuck in their life. My favorite parts were her tips on heaving schedule and habit attachments. I appreciated her inclusion of perfectionism as a bad habit - I have recently realized that is my core problem. These were some of her tips for breaking the perfectionism habit: Ask yourself "how little can I do?", devise three approaches to every task (minimum, moderate, maxi ...more
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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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