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The Life Laundry: How to De-junk Your Life [Paperback]

Dawna Walter , Mark Franks
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Jan 2002 Life Laundry
Everyone has clutter in their home - old magazines, clothes that don't fit, kitchen utensils never used. This junk has a huge emotional impact: clearing it away can be an energizing experience. Storage expert Dawna motivates you to let go of things you don't use and start afresh. Some junk you can turn into cash, or recycle.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; 1st Paperback Edition edition (3 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563534753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563534754
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 18.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Part Feng-Shui, part Changing Rooms and part Freudian psychoanalytic theory, Dawna Walters' The Life Laundry: How To De-Junk Your Life is 100% common sense. Though she's accumulated seven years of experience already in the US and studied the principles of Reiki, the Japanese system of healing, Walters' philosophy is still bound to be scoffed at by some as being "the latest fad from America". They would be quite wrong, however, for beneath the apparently lightweight format of the BBC television series lies an erudite foundation. The basic premise is deceptively simple: clutter weighs you down, physically and psychologically. Letting go of the accumulated debris liberates mind and body: "It is possible to let go of the emotional and physical clutter and move on to a greater awareness of the present moment". The book, Walters states boldly, "will help you restore order in your life". For some, it seems, this is a taller order than others.

Though strict in her ascetic assertions, Walters remains sympathetic, providing a gently building set of goals. Beginning with an extensive questionnaire, she first identifies the type of clutterer you might be. She then creates handy schematic guides for dispensing with each specific brand of clutter: books, clothing and, rather brutally, sentimental items, for example. The writing is pleasant and disarmingly honest, and Walters' simple directness in the questionnaire creates some prescient and resonant questions: "Does your living room reflect who you are?". Once the clutter is eventually sorted, the chapter by Mark Franks (the Handy Andy-style cockney geeza of the duo) helps with identifying, restoring and marketing the wheat once the chaff has been blown away.

Though some may be filled with horror at the use-it-or-lose-it attitude encouraged by this book, one may suspect that these are exactly the kinds of people it's intended to help. And though there may be some rather questionable conclusions drawn--that single women accumulate clutter because they are depressed about being boyfriendless, but that single men accumulate it because their mothers are no longer picking up after them, for example--this is ultimately a useful book for everyone from the most dogged of hoarders to the most organised of go-getters. Ultimately then, though it lacks a little of the humanity that the case studies brought to the television show, this book is also refreshingly free of the sometimes annoying famous-for-fifteen-minutes element, and opts instead to get down to the nitty-gritty of freeing your spirit and beautifying your home. After all, Freud never had such flair with curtains and colours. --Paul Eisinger

From the Back Cover

Do your bills and paperwork stack up? Is your living room littered with newspapers? Can you never find a clean shirt in your wardrobe? In Life Laundry storage expert Dawna Walter shows you how to take control over your possessions, with practical exercises to tackle clutter hotspots around your home. Packed with invaluable advice, questionnaires, quick tips and check lists, Dawna will guide you every step of the way, motivating you to let go of the things you've collected but never used and start afresh--literally use it or lose it.

And once you've started to organise your possessions, you can follow the advice of antiques dealer, Mark Franks, on how to turn your junk into cash, whether it's at a car boot sale, a second-hand shop or an auction house. And, if your clutter is just rubbish, he'll tell you how to recycle it.

Letting go can be hugely rewarding, freeing up your time for the things that really matter. Practical, inspirational and liberating, Life Laundry will both improve the quality of your life and help you achieve a clutter-free home.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
204 of 206 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
As a self-confessed de-junk pro I was drawn to this book out of sheer curiosity. I take regular trips to the charity shops, keep on top of my paperwork and my whole house is a clutter-free zone. I really thought I had the whole process down to a tee, until that is, I read this 'bible' from cover to cover.
I would urge everyone to go straight to the 'life laundry survey', which is comprehensive, well thought out, and dare I say it, quite revealing. It uncovers every possible 'clutter zone' and even asks you to list items such as clothing, dvd's and kitchen appliances that you haven't used in the last year. Once I put pen to paper there was no stopping me! When you see all your 'junk' in black and white, it really makes you aware of the problem areas, therefore, making the whole process easier to tackle.
Other posing questions ask you about your attitude towards everyday household tasks such as making the bed and dealing with the laundry, down to even how you organise your wardrobe. It seems they have left no stone unturned therefore confronting every possible aspect as to why we all have a tendency to hold on to things that prevent us from moving forwards. Another interesting chapter deals with the varying types of circumstantial clutter, which although I did not fit into any of the categories I recognised many of my friends and family who did.
The section entitled 'Clutter Hotspots' clearly maps out whether you should 'use it or lose it' - this can be anything from books, entertainment, children's toys through to sentimental items. The authors guide you with a common sense approach, which even a complete novice could follow.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Washed, cleaned and emptied the ironing basket 30 Aug 2003
By E Judd
Well I had heard about it, seen the reviews and finally bought it. I was sure that somewhere in the last paragraph it was going to say 'stop buying referenece books like this one and get on with your life'. It didn't.
It all makes perfect sense. Most of it is plain and obvious so why do we let it all pile up.
I have two 4 year olds, I have reduced their bedrooms by half and they can see and choose their toys properly. Their clothes have all been passed on to either relatives or the ACeBabes charity. I have even sold their buggy - why keep it they walk now.
I have also bagged and binned piles of our clothes that I never wear and keep 'just in case'.
As with Mrs R Wilson, cards were a problem for me, after reading Life Laundry, I have cleared out years of sentimental cards.
Just need to go in the loft now, am imagining it as a weight on my shoulders, leaning down on me. Must do it soon.
I feel so more refreshed and they book was worth every penny. It is now in Florida, in the holiday bag of a family member as I have used the Life Laundry formula and passed it on to another needy person.
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109 of 112 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is for you if, like me, you have begun feeling 'oppressed' by your possessions. I have even coined a term for it, 'the thingy-ness of life'.
The book is a tie-in to a BBC programme of the life makeover kind. It starts off with the reasons why we need to de-clutter our lives (just in case you don't know already) and the varieties of people and the clutter they hang on to. Myself, I'm an empty nester. This is followed by a survey of the problem areas in your life, which is very comprehensive. The only problem I had with this was seeing it through to the end, because I kept wanting to make a start on the actual clearance. After advice about how to get started, the book takes you through different categories of belongings from both books to sentimental items, then through the rooms of your house. The underlying principle is use it or lose it.
There's also valuable help on letting go of emotions and finally how to distinguish between trash and treasure and ways to dispose of it.
I think the book an excellent one with an easy style, but not trite. I am hooked on both it and the TV programme and this spring I am going to invest time in liberating my house, my mind and my energy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening stuff - but what about recycling? 23 Oct 2007
I bought this book, as though I have recently moved (and thus disposed of most of my junk) I am a complete hoarder and thought it might help me to keep on top of my new tidy and uncluttered home!

It is true to say that most of the advice is obvious, but of course cluttered homes are not created out of logic, and sometimes the obvious does need to be pointed out.

To my sheer horror, after reading this book I discovered not only had I not really de-junked my life properly when I moved, but also, that only 3 months after moving I am already slipping back into old habits, this book has helped me get back on top of things and gives good advice on how to keep up the good work.

My only gripe is that almost every other sentence says BIN IT, as a keen enviromentalist and recycler I think this is irresponsible advice. For a start, many of the items the book suggests you bin (such as old blankets, surplus towels and sheets etc) could be used again, and I don't understand why the author does not recommend these are items are donated to charity shops or other needy organisations, OR sold on ebay, which would perhaps generate some cash for much needed storage for those things that don't have a place.
It was the "Bin your Blankets" (cause we have duvet's and don't use them anymore) that bothered me the most, as woolen blankets are not readily available these days, and are in fact quite valuable, particularly if they are of an unusual design. If you can't be bothered to sell your junk at least let the charity shops benefit from your laziness!

I like this book a lot and believe anyone who has a cluttered home will benefit greatly from following it's advice, just be a little bit more eco friendly and money savvy in the process!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you want to think more clearly?
Do you have rooms filled with 'sentimental junk'? If so and you want to move on with your life read this book and follow Dawna Walter's ideas. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Allie Barnicoat
4.0 out of 5 stars good cd
The Life Laundry: How to De-junk Your Life I think this is a great CD to listen to before spring cleaning. It helps to motivate me into action. Read more
Published on 12 Mar 2011 by angel
5.0 out of 5 stars Motivating
I find this book really motivating and read it - or a relevant chunk - whenever I need to get a grip on household clutter. Read more
Published on 19 Sep 2010 by Waxwing
4.0 out of 5 stars Not All Junk
This is the second book I've been reading recently while de-junking my life and found it the more stimulating of the two. Read more
Published on 8 April 2009 by Neutral
5.0 out of 5 stars What harsh reviews! I LOVE this book and I've returned to it many...
This book is great. It's the closest you'll get to having Dawna come round and help you out. The advice is clear and the systems are logical. Read more
Published on 21 April 2007 by speccy reader
5.0 out of 5 stars This book does make you identify why you are addicted to clutter
Buy this book!

I like this book because the format is easy to read and understand, and it does make you address the underlying emotional issues of how you have let your... Read more
Published on 31 July 2006 by P. Cleary
5.0 out of 5 stars Top up for 'Clutter Queen.'
I was dejunked by Dawna Walter two years ago on the Life Laundry programme.
I bougth this CD to play in case I slipped. Read more
Published on 19 Nov 2004 by Theo
2.0 out of 5 stars This book has too much clutter
I got this book to help with tiding up and getting a life environment that doesn't weight me down. I agree with the premise of the book: clutter makes life difficult, simplyfing... Read more
Published on 25 Oct 2004 by "doniphon"
4.0 out of 5 stars How to de-junk your life
I read this book in a few hours and was raring to go. I found it really motivating to make a start on the 'Big Clear Out' of my home. Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars No real balance
I thought I'd check this book out just in case it had some sensible information, but unfortunately the author fails to understand the notion of balancing chaos and order, and also... Read more
Published on 9 May 2003
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