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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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,123 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Expert organizer and New York Times-bestselling author Morgenstern offers her loyal readers an extreme organization intervention--a deeper approach to life management for people who crave a change in their lives.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Fireside Books
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,123 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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Mark Boszko
May 04, 2011 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 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 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: decluttering
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 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
Jun 23, 2015 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: nonfiction, how-to
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
Feb 19, 2011 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
Feb 10, 2014 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
May 24, 2013 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
Sep 16, 2012 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
Jun 02, 2010 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
Jun 02, 2012 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 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
Jan 26, 2009 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.
Alfred Walter
Dec 07, 2009 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.
Jun 01, 2009 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.
Dec 13, 2008 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 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 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.
Sandy  Kemp
Dec 16, 2014 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
Annette McLeod
Jul 09, 2013 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
Jan 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Didn't finish. Too annoying.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: individuality
"In reality no one lets go into a vacuum. No one lets go of anything without reaching for something else."

"Name the theme of your future: connections, freedom, self-expressions, creativity, developing wisdom, calmness, inner peace, discovery, enrichment, education, authenticity, courage."

"The theme or vision is only what you want to express or how you want to feel, not necessarily what you want to do."

"If no one is watching and there is nothing holding me back, what do I really want my life to l
May 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lots of feel-good mumbo-jumbo interspersed with reasonable guidance on making positive change in your life. I was on the verge of laughing out loud a few times, but I suppose if you're in desperate straits after having made bad choices, any lifeline may look pretty good. I am sure the author meant well, and it's good to know she seems to have gotten her life together after some serious changes were made necessary.
Michelle Lucci
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really like this book. I didn't realize that I needed to re-organize my life. But when I read her book she talked about how major life transitions can be hard to get through. I thought this book was going to be about minimalism, but it ended up to be so much more helpful than that for me. I learned to get rid of things that were helpful for the last chapter of my life but did not apply to this next one. If you are going through a major life transition this is a really good book to read!
Ellen Rosenberger
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll be chewing on this book for a while. And trying to make myself follow through with the changes in my life/space that I want to implement, ha! Very fascinating thinking about different angles to the reasons why we keep stuff (not only material items but activities on our calendars and daily habits). I didn't love the layout - skipping back and forth between chapters was annoying. Pretty practical stuff though!
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, non-fiction
Started this twice, got a good chunk into it and just couldn't get to the end. I don't know if it was a function of the audio format because it was SO slow compared to my reading speed so the general repetitiveness stuck out at me. It's not bad I guess as far as self help books go, but I didn't find that it lit a fire in me like good self help books do. Not useful for me as far as decluttering goes, so I'm decluttering it.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
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!
Jun 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-improvement
Not the most enlightening book in my opinion. It felt like it drug on forever, not good when you are listening to someone go on and on (or at least it feels that way) Disappointing because I am really into the decluttering thing right now and have been really working hard to make progress in my personal and professional life on this front.
Fiona Forthe
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I think I would have gotten more out of this book if I was ready to make some changes, which I'm not really. Also I got this at the library, and I think if you're committed to the SHEDing you probably need your own copy of it.
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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
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. —Goethe” 1 likes
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