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Banish Clutter Forever: How the Toothbrush Principle Will Change Your Life
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Banish Clutter Forever: How the Toothbrush Principle Will Change Your Life

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  299 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Why is it that even the most disorganised person never seems to lose their toothbrush?

How can this simple fact solve all our clutter problems?

The Toothbrush Principle is a simple yet inspired approach to de-cluttering your home. Whether you live in a mansion or a bedsit, this book will show you how to: organise according to the unconscious blueprint that naturally tidy peo
Paperback, 238 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Vermilion
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Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Embracing the simple yet fundamental truth, that organized people who live in clean spaces are actually just as lazy as the rest of us, Sheila Chandra's method to get your house to work for you involves work, but once you apply it, once you practice it, is actually something a person can maintain.
Although I don't love the way Chandra writes and her analogies reflect some truly cringeworthy biases and misinformation, like the nearly put-it-down-and-walk-away worthy "Does being overwhelmed by you
Eilidh Ellery
One size fits some advice: not very Millennial friendly

It's alright... But like other books of this nature it assumes a certain normative lifestyle. It doesn't take into account actual physical or mental health issues that need addressed or help even though the author grew up in a household of hoarders; she doesn't actually appear to understand the psychology or mental health issues that cause hoarding. The tips about zoning areas and bundling tasks - keeping things you'll use in the place you'l
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found the first half really useful then the second half reinforced an area I am already really good at, so I guess even though I didn't learn anything new from that section, it gave me a boost to keep going :) ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is certainly the best de-cluttering book that I've read so far. The toothbrush principle certainly helped me get rid of old makeup in the bathroom. Most of the tips and suggestions here are very useful. However, I am still having trouble getting rid of books and magazines. A shredder is also necessary.

Chandra writes well and she even manages to make this book interesting. Her book deals with de-cluttering in an extremely well-organised way - she has chapters for each room. It also explains
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A reasonably good decluttering book. Clear principles, good reminders that you must get things out of the house before your job is done, helpful thoughts about how clutter is often a result of deferred decisions.

But the book has some definite slants that may or may not work from you: the work-from-home office, the child-free lifestyle, the British English (some favorite terms here: While Mum's away for the bank holiday, I stopped by her cosy flat to get the post and saw her new shower tidy from
Alyce Hunt
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Painfully repetitive.

Once you've read the first couple of chapters, the rest is pretty much obsolete. Sheila states that other decluttering guides don't take their readers by the hand and walk them through every step, and there's a reason for that: it makes the writing cluttered, and meant I was falling asleep while I was reading this.
I believe it is a great beginners book. If you have not read another organizing or decluttering book this is a good bood to start with.

I've personally read many of these types of books and at some point in time implemented something from each book so starting new and creating a journal to make note of where you want to put everything or what you need to buy after cleaning/clearing takes up too much time for me and I would never do it.

Sheila Chandra's toothbrush idea is classic. It reminds me o
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I can see where this is coming from, but it presumes that you can leave things somewhere and they will still be there when you need them. Which is great if you don't share your house with three small kleptomaniacs. More than half my possessions need to be put where my kids can't find them, so leaving them where they are used isn't an option for me. But if you have a different set up, I can imagine this being useful. ...more
Annamarie Morgan
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a really interesting read and I liked the principle. It got a little bit heavy towards the end. I have, however, adopted the Toothbrush Principle for items and objects in our house.
Anna Andres
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best book ever read on decluttering. Excellent narration.
Short, easy, repetitive, but that's okay. A good walkthrough for getting organized. ...more
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I listened to this and it was helpful.
Hillary Rose
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
For a complete review, check out my book blog:

So you are probably wondering what the toothbrush principle is (or maybe you don’t care at all, that’s fine too). The idea behind the toothbrush principle is this: no matter how unorganized someone is, they never lose their toothbrush. The system behind it is automatic because it is essential to life (or it should be). Chandra defines clutter as “any thing that you don’t feel good about or that stops you using
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
At the beginning of this book, the author says something along the lines of "have you always wanted to be like people in lifestyle ads". Yes! I thought. Yes I have.

I have to admit I was a little sceptical whether this book would teach me anything. I've read a few books on decluttering/home organisation and they all tend to follow similar territory ie Visualise what you want your spaces to be like. Be ruthless about throwing things out. Keep things that you use often close at hand. Create zones.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
First of all I must admit that this book that seeks to help people to become more orderly getting rid of all the things accumulated in excess, it is not just directed at me, since I consider myself a pretty organized person, but most of all I feel great joy in throwing away things accumulated, so maybe my problem is the reverse. Returning to the book, however, I found it very clear, starting from the Principle of the toothbrush (no one has ever come to lose their toothbrush) to switch between th ...more
This is the best book I have read on organising and the only one I have come across that deals with the emotional/psychological reasons for clutter in any sort of detail. (Most just mention we shouldn't hold on to too many things for sentimental reasons) This looks at why we might hold onto things and offers practical suggestions for working through these type of problems.

That being said, it isn't heavy at all. You get the feeling the writer is really speaking from personal experience, but all
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Well, it's no life-changing magic of tidying up but I wasn't expecting it to be. It had never occurred to me that I've never lost my toothbrush and trying to apply that principle to other objects was interesting. (Though, I have actually lost my toothbrush before because sometimes it migrates between two bathrooms...)
However, once this idea had been discussed a bit, there wasn't a lot more to say. The step-by-step guide to Chandra's decluttering method became quite tedious to a fan of the Konmar
Jun 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know that I'd call the idea that we all always know where our toothbrush is a "principle" and try to expand it into an entire book on managing clutter, but this book is fairly decent out of the many clutter books I've read. A place for everything and everything in its place is not exactly a new concept in clutter books so the analogy that I already know how to use and apply this principle because I know where my toothbrush is becomes fairly weak when applied to an entire house full of mu ...more
Rebecca Emin
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I can see that this book would be very useful to people who spend a long time looking for things and wading through clutter. However I personally felt that the tips were mostly things I already do.

If I'm honest I do think that the information in this book could be given faster - personally I would rather be actually using the time to tidy than spending the amount of time reading the book that it takes.

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Glenda Lynne
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is well written and orderly, much like we want our homes to be. It contains lots of background information and various systems to help yourself clear out clutter. If you are just beginning to deal with clutter, it would be very helpful. I have read many books on the subject, so I found only a few new ideas that intrigued me, which is why I gave it only three stars.
Karen Swift
I'm always looking for ways to be more organized but this book is for the person with the serious clutter problem - which isn't me. Probably would be helpful to those who live with others in keeping everyone's stuff organized. ...more
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this a useful and interesting read. I am going to go back to it and use it to clear out some of the clutter in my own home. I understand the principle now, I think, and applying it should make keeping things organised a lot easier.
Tracey  Wilde
Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Some good ideas in this book especially if your work from home or have a home office.
Paddy Dalton
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book for anyone who needs to get rid of "stuff"!! ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
This is my favourite 'clutter' book. Such a friendly author with a light, cheerful manner. I will be taking on board some of the ideas from this book. Library book. ...more
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sheila has good ideas. They're basic but often 'basic' is over looked. Easy to incorporate. I glean at least one great idea in every de-cluttering book I read. This one gave me several. ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This version of cleaning up clutter seemed to suit me quite well. Probably should read it again in a year.
Jenny (rapid tortoise)
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not exactly lived up to my expectations but still a decent book on the subject. 3,5 stars
Not the best book I've ever read, but am hoping it will give me the kickstart I need to finally and comprehensively declutter my house. And the toothbrush principle was a lightbulb moment for me. ...more
Jessica Tattersall
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Easy to read and follow. Great ideas. Helpful to all.
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Renowned World Music singer Sheila Chandra turned non-fiction author in 2010, following voice problems which forced her to retire from her international music career. She says writing has become her 'second voice'.

After being urged by friends to share her secret to living clutter free despite having a demanding career, she wrote Banish Clutter Forever outlining her own system for home organizing -

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