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The Life Laundry: How to De-junk Your Life Paperback – 3 Jan 2002
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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.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
I feel confident that people, who proclaim to have a clutter-free household as well as those who are knee-deep in chaos without a clue where to start, could benefit from this easy-to-follow book. The tv series serves as a compliment to this useful manual and is sure to make people take a long hard look at their lifestyle and habits. Only the truly disciplined die-hard minimalists need not purchase!
Just when I thought I only possessed items I wanted to keep along comes this book and now there are now five refuse sacks ready to go to the charity shop and I feel utterly cleansed. This is one book I won't ever be taking to the charity shop!
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.
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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