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Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Your purse needs a home. Don't let it follow you around the house from room to room like a lost puppy! - this line made me laugh so hard it was like flipping a switch in my brain. I was always looking for important stuff like keys and wallet and late for work because of it. The humorous imagery Mellen uses to point out the absurdism of living in chaos has helped me understand how my beliefs about stuff were keeping me drowning in it, and then he told me exactly how to deal with all my stuff.
Any additional comments?
I have already listened to it 3 times since purchasing a week ago.
125 of 126 people found this review helpful
Really enjoyed this book. As I go about simplifying my life, I find myself repeating key phrases such as "like with like" and "the thing is not the person". I even lecture myself on returning things to their designated homes when I get careless.
In a fulsome act of disorganization, I soon discovered that I had already read this book about a year ago, but continued with the audible version anyway, and quickly found that I had overlooked much valuable material during my first go-round. As I am already a fairly well-organized person, I had scanned or skipped whole pages during my first reading, figuring that certain sections did not apply to me. Arrogant fool. During the audible version, I discovered that every chapter contains valuable information.
I lost my husband to cancer 3 years ago and letting go of his belongings has been a difficult process. When I was ready, I donated most of his clothing; then I threw out university papers and essays, etc., the accoutrements of a life that were once significant but not particularly personally valuable. For the smaller yet somehow bigger things, author Mellen's advice helps me as I continue to struggle with memories such as theatre ticket stubs, stacks of photographs, his bedroom slippers, his e-mail address. I'm filing and organizing the treasures, discarding the duplicates or the unlovely photos in which my butt does indeed look big, and handing off special items to his family, who I know will value them. In a truly heartbreaking moment, I was forced to throw out the cards, love notes, and other special paper mementoes that I had temporarily stored in a plastic box. In the basement. Too late came Mellen's warning never to store paper-based valuables in the basement. These precious treasures were coated in black mould when I opened the box, and they could not be salvaged. I can only console myself with Mellen's observation that the thing is not the person.
Mellen's delivery is perfectly suited to the material, and he manages to inject humour into the narrative with a pause here and a little emphasis there. Well done.
I will keep the slippers.
329 of 334 people found this review helpful
slow, dull and patronising. Could have been done in ten minutes. don't waste your time...
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about Unstuff Your Life?
Well read by the author, his enthusiasm for the cause of de cluttering is infectious. He systematically goes through the whole house/office with instructions. Surprisingly does not feel too holier than thou or preachy, and I have certainly implemented the mail suggestions. The rest will have to wait but unstuffing my life does seem possible even if the task is still daunting.
What was most disappointing about Andrew J. Mellen’s story?
He is American and some suggestions do not travel
What about Andrew J. Mellen’s performance did you like?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No needed to replay some parts and it was not encouraged!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The good first: as other reviewers have noted, this book's strength is helping you interrogate your reasons for attachment to certain objects, particularly ones that have sentimental value or which feel hard to discard for other reasons (expense, "bargain" value, how you got them etc.) Mellen has a lot of insight into why people can't bear to part from things, and was very helpful for me in getting some perspective about which items are genuinely valuable and why. As a result of reading this book, I was able to part from some items I have been carting around for decades, without regret.
Neutral: be aware that this book seems primarily to be aimed at people with quite large houses/cars and a lot of stuff. That's not to say it isn't useful for an apartment-dwelling person, but some of the spaces and items he describes a lot of readers may not have. Having the print version rather than the audio would make it easier to skip sections that are not relevant.
The not so good: at times, the book can get quite repetitive, especially when he is listing which objects to store where and how in a particular room of the house. It also feels like sometimes this book is aimed at a person so mentally deficient that they wouldn't be able to read, let alone organise a house. For example, the book includes the following pieces of advice:
* turn your computer on before organising your computer files
* don't drink alcohol while driving a car
* don't store illegal drugs in your car (sadly, Mellen doesn't give any advice about where you *should* store illegal drugs ;-)
Some of the computer-related information is also dated in the sense that it assumes many if not most readers will be unfamiliar with computer basics such as re-sizing windows, creating folders and filtering email.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful