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Unclutter Your Life in One Week Hardcover – Nov 3 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; 1 edition (Nov. 3 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143915046X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439150467
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.1 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #351,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Erin Doland is Editor-in-Chief of Unclutterer and lives in the Washington, D.C. area. In addition to her work at Unclutterer, Erin is a twice weekly columnist for Real Simple magazine’s website, has written for CNN.com and ReadyMade, and is in negotiations to contribute a regular column to Fast Company. She borders on having a fanatical commitment to a more minimalist and simple lifestyle.

David Allen is an international author, lecturer, and founder and Chairman of the David Allen Company, a management consulting, coaching, and training company. His two books, Getting Things Done and Ready for Anything were both bestsellers. He is a popular keynote speaker on the topics of personal and organizational effectiveness.

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Customer Reviews

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ShePenguin on Oct. 16 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read the book first before actually implementing the recommendations - that will happen when I read it again. It will take MUCH longer than a week. The author is thorough and brings to light many questions we don't always ask of the things we keep in our lives or choose to save. Good pointers and tricks are given on every page and I love how the author shares personal experiences to let you know that they aren't just spouting words, that they believe in what they wrote and have implemented it all into their own lives.

A good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angela Thomas on Jan. 9 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this book to a newlywed couple that was struggling to effectively organize all of their stuff into a new living space.

I also have used this book to organize my own life (ongoing, certainly not in one contiguous week of effort).

Great for figuring out how to live a more streamlined life, this book is useful for people who travel frequently, who can't afford to keep buying things they have "somewhere" but can't find, or for people who are downsizing or moving in with another person for the first time.

I am a pack rat, but this book is helping me to see the errors of my ways and to learn what to do about it. Be sure to check out the author's website, [...] for a taste of Erin's writing style.
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By danielle deline on Feb. 21 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good info
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susanne Nielsen on Oct. 26 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is full of useful ways of getting a handle on the clutter in my life. I look forward to having my home and office in top shape soon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 82 reviews
355 of 378 people found the following review helpful
Read This Book First Nov. 3 2009
By Smart Green Media - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've read an embarrassing number of books on organizing and de-cluttering and this is the book I wish I'd read first.

When I read a book on this topic, I want a solution. I don't want to be entertained with silly jokes and I don't want a therapist to try to work through my issues with clutter. I'm not looking for an overly familiar, dear-friend type (in an author I've never met) to douse me with warm fuzzies while I get rid of my stuff. Most of the books I've read aren't bad, per se, but there's often quite a bit of fluff (clutter?) in the way of the message.

Erin Doland's book really is different. It's accessible and casual in tone, but to the point. She also acknowledges that different methods and systems work for different people. For each step along the way, she offers several approaches so you can choose the way that best fits your life and your style.

I was impressed by the way she manages to cover home clutter, work clutter and general life clutter. I came away from reading the book with a definite sense that I can actually do this -- and isn't that the point of this type of book anyway? Save yourself a lot of time and money and read this one first.
234 of 255 people found the following review helpful
Needed an editor to de-clutter the text April 20 2010
By Gen of North Coast Gardening - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some great, practical tips here, but I think the author may have gotten confused about who her audience is and what exactly we are hoping to get from the book.

She goes from assuming we are tech-savvy folk who know about or may be interested in using expensive project-management software like Backpack (which is most effective for people who work online with other people who are online), yet feels the need to explain how RSS feeds work. That's speaking to wildly different audiences.

She also spent time giving us tips for how to give an "uncluttered" office presentation, which is really not what anyone picked up the book hoping to get, I don't think.

Then, in the middle of some pretty good, if basic tips about decluttering the home, she stops to give a lecture about having an exterminator visit if you have rats and roaches. EEW! I think anyone who has rats and roaches will know that it is a priority to get rid of them, and won't be reading the book going, wow - it never occurred to me that getting rid of roaches should be important enough to call a professional in to help with!

Little things like that really annoyed me through the whole book. She'd be kicking along with some simple, encouraging advice, and then would talk down to us with stuff that sounded like she was imagining we were extremely dumb. That's not so annoying to have some dumb tips if the others are mostly high-level, non-intuitive things, but most of the book felt like warmed-over advice from other decluttering books, and not like the really interesting, lifehack-style things she recommends on her blog.

I have read two other books on decluttering to help me balance living with someone who likes to hold on to stuff, and to encourage me in a more minimalist lifestyle. My favorite of these was Peter Walsh's It's All Too Much, because he brings his own encouraging, cheerleading personality to the table and helped me feel excited to get going! I also enjoyed Maartje de Wolff's book Clear Your Way to a Clutter Free Life, again because she brought her own uniqueness to the table in exploring our feelings and thought processes carefully...

I think that's really the problem with the Unclutterer book. I expected Erin Doland's personality to shine through more deeply than on Unclutterer's website, and instead it felt like I got less of that special something that makes her tips and advice so unique.

Of course, maybe the layout of the book just didn't work well with my small Kindle 2. Take my advice with a grain of salt and read the other reviews, because I was surprised to dislike this book. I really expected more.
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
For Only A Small Group Dec 12 2010
By B. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I found her maintenance routines questionable. She says that she does all of her laundry (granted, it's only 2 people) in 1 hour per week. I don't understand how that's even possible, and she doesn't really elaborate. How can one wash sheets, towels, unclothes, and any casual wear and complete everything in only one hour per week? I found her timeframes throughout to be pretty unrealistic (besides the obvious use of one week as a literary device). She supposedly needs only 20 minutes a week to handle anything that "needs attention" related to pets, cars, garage, AND yard. A flea bath alone would take more time.

The other issue I had was that she's speaking to a very narrow group of people, but she isn't upfront about that. She clearly has no clue what it's like to have children, and the comments she makes on life with children are laughable at best. "Just sit reading the paper unless you're needed" (in the mornings while your children are getting ready for school) or the suggested 20 minutes for bedtime, which includes simply "tucking your kids in." Granted, my children are small, and they'll presumably require less of my time as they age. She really should have given the book a sub-title that indicates she has no experience with or understanding of children and that the book is for adults living in a strict 9-5 world. I don't think this book even applied to my life before kids when both my husband and I work obscene hours without the predictability of arriving home at the same time daily, which is what Doland assumes throughout the book.

The reason I can give the book 3 stars is that she does have a few nuggets of information that I think I can use. I didn't know about Instapaper, for example, though I read often for my job, and this system could be beneficial to me. I also enjoyed thinking through her laundry tips and how we can conquer that beast in our house. Most of the book, though, is incredibly unrealistic.
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Straight talk and simple solutions Nov. 29 2009
By Marte - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not the kind of person who could get my whole house (or my life) uncluttered in one week. But neither am I the kind of person who takes a book's title too literally. :) No matter what your problems with organization or clutter might be, you will find something in this book that speaks directly to you. The day-by-day approach is a simple, logical way to begin to get organized and works well to keep the reader from feeling overwhelmed by the task. You don't actually have to get the whole job done in one week (and the author makes that quite clear at the beginning). If you haven't seen the Unclutter web site, you should make it a point to check it out. This book is a great companion to the site and a great inspiration for anyone who wants to get started on uncluttering.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
comparing 4 books on minimalism/decluttering April 10 2011
By cxlxmx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Feeling weighed down recently, I purchased 4 books about decluttering: Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life, unclutter your life in one week, and The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul. Here is a comparison of them.

Less is not really about decluttering so much as Zen. The book is more about less busyness than less stuff. It is about mindfulness. It is about facing fears. It is business-oriented. For someone interested in cultivating a minimalist approach to living, Less does not have that much to offer.

The 100 Thing Challenge is more the sort of book I had in mind to buy. Written by a man who spent a year living with only 100 possessions, it is an anti-consumerist tract. It has some limited practical advice, but it is more about the experience of doing without things than a how-to.

The Joy of Less and Unclutter Your Life in One Week are both how-to books, but they are rather different in focus. The Joy of Less takes a single systematic approach to decluttering (represented by the acronym STREAMLINE) and shows how it might be applied to decluttering various parts of your home. Unclutter Your Life in One Week has a more shot-gun approach, suggesting a variety of different methods for organizing and reducing clutter. Both books are written by women but their focus is quite different. The Joy of Less is addressed primarily to women. Its style is like that of girlfriends dishing, and the examples it references (e.g., beauty products cluttering up the bathroom) are clearly women's concerns. On the other hand, Unclutter Your Life in One Week is addressed primarily to men. It talks about suits and business matters, and its style is bullet points and talking points. Another significant difference is that The Joy of Less is oriented toward a total lifestyle, including environmentally-friendly purchases, while Unclutter Your Life is more narrowly focused on organizing one's life. One book is written by a NYC gall and the other by a DC gall. Can you guess which is which?

Are any of the books worth buying?

What I was really looking for was a book that would delve into research a little and identify what areas of life make the most difference in minimalizing and what that difference might be. None of these books took that approach. The how-to books are based on sensible advice and suggest that you will feel better by living in a simpler, more organized space, but that is all hearsay. Maybe you are a creative person with a lot of hobbies. Will throwing things out really improve your life?

These books might be helpful to you if you aren't good at organizing your things already. At one time or another, many of the suggestions in Joy of Less or Unclutter Your Life are things I figured out on my own. I think if you have a natural propensity to live a minimalist and organized lifestyle, none of these books are going to have anything of value for you. But if your living space is overflowing with things you can't figure out how to deal with, you might learn something from either of these how-to books. If your problem is that you buy too many things, you might want to check out the 100 Thing Challenge. Other than Less, all of these books also have accompanying websites such missminimalist.com, unclutter.com, and guynameddave.com

If you are interested in the sustainability impact of minimalism, you might also be interested in No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process or Better Off : Flipping the Switch on Technology (P.S.).