Sunday, August 09, 2009

Muse Reviews: Throw Out Fifty Things

Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life by Gail Blanke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you saw the condition of my home office right now you’ll immediately understand why this book intrigued me. It has way too much stuff in it. Bookshelves overflowing. Papers piled in baskets, in computer paper boxes, or just scattered around. My daughter has clothes she wants to sell on eBay, I have hundreds of HeroClix figures and accessories that also need to go on eBay. Scrap wood, library books, old magazines, cardboard boxes, bags and packing material, old printer and computer equipment all stored haphazardly throughout what once was a rather large and impressive workspace.

Ms. Blanke takes a concept made popular by shows like TLC's Clean Sweep and presents an unintimidating method to attack the mind-boggling, energy draining piles of STUFF that we collect and retain under the idea that maybe we should keep this because it will be useful someday. She asks you to consider the value of the object vs. the amount of energy that it sucks up in exchange for its continued existence. Sure, those cheap wire hangers that you have gotten from the dry cleaner for every item that you’ve taken there since 1993 might come in handy someday… but do they need to take up all of the rod space in all of your closets? I have a huge Rubbermaid tub FILLED with just power adapters and cables that I don’t know what to do with. I have no idea what they go to… cell phone chargers, video game systems, computer monitors, portable phones, and more. All of the plugs are different, so when I find myself desperately seeking the proper adapter for recharging the video camera battery, it is never there.

Throw Out Fifty Things walks you through the process of getting rid of the stuff that is draining the energy away room by room and gives you options for passing along items that you no longer use to others or recycling them. Now Michael, you say, I could throw out 50 things in the front entryway of my house… sure you could, except for one little ingenious twist thrown in by Blanke. Any of the same object is considered to be only one object of the fifty to get rid of; Hence, all of those cheap hangers in every closet in the house… one item on the list. That tub of AC adapters? One more item and so on. So say good bye to all of those single socks with no mates, those ugly gifts that you received from Aunt Margret taking up precious space in your hall closets and attics. If it drains energy from you when you see it… no matter what it is or how useful it is… GET RID OF IT.

Among the 50 things that you are going to throw out are psychological. Ideas such as letting go of mistakes from the past, the need to have everyone like you, or having to do everything yourself. All of these things drain your energy that can be better spent elsewhere and contribute to the generation of physical clutter as well.

The book is easy to read and provides space for you to create your own list of throwaways as you work through the book. It also provides many examples from Ms. Blanke’s personal experience and those she encountered working as motivational consultant. Last, the book also provides a resource list for ideas on how to get rid of those things that you might not know what to do with, but are still usable or recyclable. All in all, excellent book with good information. I highly recommend it.

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