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on 4 March 2010
`Banish Clutter Forever - How The Toothbrush Principle Will Change Your Life'

This is so much more than a book about de-cluttering your living space. It's also a self-help book, one that helps you face and deal with any mess there may be in your life as well as your home. It shows how steps taken to improve our living space can lead to a more smoothly run home and life. Once you understand the system - based on the principle that if you can find your toothbrush you can find anything - you're away, with helpful advice regarding the two principle concepts of Zoning and Completion.

The book also looks at why we collect clutter, as well as deeper issues such as debt management. Emotional issues are dealt with, looking at the role clutter accumulated from the past plays on our present, and whether keeping these items brings us happiness. The realisation that some items I had kept from the past brought me sadness helped me give them away and this was a positive clearing experience.

I found the tips on using `sub-bags' (Chapter 8) very useful and now incorporate these into my daily life. Instead of having a huge handbag overflowing in chaos, I now have `sub-bags' inside and everything within each one is grouped logically, making it easier to find each item. You can adapt any of the ideas here to suit your own needs. For instance I now have several `sub-bags' for travelling away from home. They are all ready packed for a speedy get-away and being in clear bags they are perfect for passing through customs with ease. The general advice in this chapter on keeping your wardrobe and make-up orderly once you have de-cluttered is also very useful.

If you work from home, or are considering working from home, you will benefit from reading the chapters on Home Office (Chapters 11 and 12) that are full of great ideas and suggestions and will save you hours, not to mention stress! The virtual in-trays - @ACTION, @PENDING - are genius and something I hadn't come across. This has helped in streamlining my business emails.

This book came at just the right moment as I needed to de-clutter in earnest ready to move house. For this purpose I highly recommend it!

All through this book your thoughts on order versus chaos, productivity versus procrastination are challenged. By rising to these challenges you will see how your life can shift forward, in a positive direction, many times over.

You'll have this book on your bookcase and dip in for reference again and again. Billed as a book on de-cluttering, it's more about a way of life. An inspiring read that will leave you longing for the weekend so you can get started.
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on 21 October 2012
This book has had a real impact on my attitude to housework and my ability to cope with it. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent woman but was born untidy! How friends, colleagues and family members could have immaculate houses, no matter what time of day you called, was a mystery to me. I felt I must be missing a vital gene. Sheila Chandra's book speaks to me like a kindly grandmother, explaining clearly what I need to do and chiding me into doing it. Her emphasis is on time-saving, to allow you more time to do the things you really enjoy. I have never felt such satisfaction in clearing out drawers - and believe me, I have read a lot of books and articles about clearing out drawers. I can now make snap decisions about where things should go and realise that I don't have to allocate huge chunks of time to clear up mine and the family's mess.
This book is not a quick fix - it's a lifestyle change. If you're weighed down with the burden of untidiness (either your own or others in the family) then get this book. It's a lifesaver!
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on 4 March 2012
This book is simply AMAZING!!!!

I have several clutter clearing books, all of which are good, but nothing like this one, this takes everything to a whole new level, and a much better one too!

I came across this book whilst looking for my first ever kindle book, as I was lucky to receive a Kindle for my birthday last month, and all I can say is WOW!

This book is simple like no other clutter clearing book I have ever read, and boy, I have read a few!

It's hard to explain, but I feel I have found a special friend who is firm but kind, gives you the best trusted advise and the nudge you need to help clear your clutter, and the even bigger nudge you need to keep going!

Shelia makes you think about things in a whole new light, but in a very constructive and helpful way, it feels like you have a good friend guilding you through each step of the way, when sometimes things can seem a little overwhelming when trying to face it on your own.

I can't believe this is Shelia's first book, it is so well written, and simply a joy to read, I couldn't put it down.

KEY FEATURES I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK...

1. So well written, and a joy to read.

2. Easy to follow advise, taking things in easy to follow steps.

3. Zoning, which makes perfect sense and makes life so much easier on yourself!

4. Storage, and how to use it.

5. How to organise paperwork in such a easy, simply and workable way, which really does WORK!!!

6. How to simplify my wardrobe, which makes life so much easier, it makes you see clearly what you have and need, value the things that you do have, and makes shopping for what you really need, so much easier.

7. Sheila's simple but firm approach to dealing with everyday clutter, how to keep on top of things, and how having a HUGE big clear out, simply doesn't work. This is an ongoing process, but it becomes easier and easier :)

I am not a hoarder, but mearly someone to struggles on a day to day basis with family clutter, two kids, husband, pets and day to day life, so there is always a little disorder.

I love the calm feeling or being organised and having clear spaces and knowing where to find things.
I have stived for years to become that person, but this often resulted in huge clear outs, which despite my efforts, never seemed to resolve the problem.

This book as changed things completely, I feel I have finally found the key to knowing the secret in how "other" people always seem to have a tidy and well organised home, Sheila has shown me the way. Thank you Sheila, from the bottom of my boots!

I am working through each step and and finding real success, and yes, it is getting easier!
I feel I have you, and your book to help me through it, and know that if ever I need your helpful advise along the way, I simple have to dip into your book, and you will be there to guild me through. Thank you Sheila!
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on 15 June 2013
The simple idea of the toothbrush principle has greatly reduced the number of times i lose my keys.
I had tried to keep,them on a peg in the kitchen, but often failed as they were deposited/pocketed/put in a bag after i had opened the back door.
Now i put them in a little basket in the utility room, which is where the back door is.
I alos try to have my fone charger there so my fone is der too.
It has helped to apply the toothbrush principle to other situations ie leave it convenient, where you use it, replace it to the same place. This is so worth the effort!
Has also helped with buying stuff.
Ask: have i someting like this already, will it bring me joy, can i afford it.
Another useful tip is to say u will do something for 10 minutes - the hardest part is making the decision to start.
This book has helped me be a little less lazy and a lot less disorganised.
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on 7 March 2010
At last....I have the missing piece of the jigsaw! I've read the books on de cluttering, understood why I would love to stay clutter free. But this is the ONLY BOOK that has taught me how to do it and keep it that way. (It has a step by step guide that even I can follow) My house is now well on its way to becoming the home I have always wanted, and this time I am armed with the knowledge of how to keep it that way. Thank you Sheila
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on 3 March 2010
This book is packed with down-to-earth advice on how to create a more harmonious, organised lifestyle. I would particularly recommend it to anybody who seriously wants to find a simple step-by step system to fundamentally change their home environment for the better.
Ms Chandra has written an easy to follow book in a friendly non-preaching tone which is positive and motivating. Using the simple principle that most of us know where to find our toothbrush; (as teeth cleaning is generally a firmly embedded habit) the reader is taken on a tour of the home with a view to applying this system - a place for everything and everything in it's place.
Read the whole book through first to give yourself a good overview of the system then go for it! You won't look back.
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on 23 July 2010
I'm an old hand at decluttering (and recluttering) and this book gives the best advice I've read on the subject. Sheila Chandra doesn't just exhort you to clean up your act, the way too many magazine articles do. She explores why we allow our space to become cluttered in the first place, and how to prevent it happening again. Her book isn't about 'tidy', about making your home look like something out of a magazine; she accepts that some people like a 'busy' visual style just as some prefer a more minimalist one. Everything in her book is about arranging your space in a practical, intelligent, user-friendly way, so that your home suits you and provides whatever you want from it, rather than being a minefield of clutter and guilt. The basic idea is to find a way of arranging each room so that clutter is less likely to form. Her advice is common sense, but common sense developed and considered in a way that few of us clutterers ever get round to, and some of her ideas are brilliant, such as the one for managing email. She is very specific and quite demanding at times(this is a lady with high standards!) but the tone is friendly and often witty. Each part of the house is dealt with in a separate chapter. She has two sections on home offices, one about managing the process (email, diary etc) and one about clearing and organising the room itself. Ms Chandra is very 'hands on' and encouraging. If you follow her principles you will never need another decluttering book.
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on 8 May 2016
I am only part way through reading this book but it has helped me so much already. After years of suffering with depression my house had got as cluttered as my brain and I couldn't motivate myself to get rid of the clutter. It is a slow process but it is working. The principal is to look at the reasons behind your hoarding, you work through those as you work through your house room by room. One of my problems was to put things aside to sell online, but I never get round to listing them. Now they go in the charity bag and it's got rid of before I can change my mind!
I am not one for reading self help books but this really has changed my way of thinking and I recommend it highly.
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on 4 March 2010
I had already made a start on decluttering my laptop, but I have to say that by following one simple tip in this book, I have completely transformed my email clutter in just 5 minutes and am now much more productive in the mornings. Next my office space. This book offers a wealth of information and advice on decluttering and the toothbrush principle and it's "zoning" system really work. If you have clutter you simply must read this book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 February 2014
At the beginning of this book, the author says something along the lines of "have you always wanted to be like people in lifestyle ads". Yes! I thought. Yes I have.

I have to admit I was a little sceptical whether this book would teach me anything. I've read a few books on decluttering/home organisation and they all tend to follow similar territory ie Visualise what you want your spaces to be like. Be ruthless about throwing things out. Keep things that you use often close at hand. Create zones.

Chandra puts a lot of emphasis on what she called her "toothbrush principle" (to the point that I half expected it to have a TM sign). What this means essentially is putting things in places where i) you use them and ii) you can always find them. She talks about the fact that we always have our toothbrush & toothpaste handily located by the bathroom sink. When we travel, we put them by the sink where we are. When we move house, we unpack them early and put them in place. We always know where to find them and we are never tempted to leave them lying around somewhere else in the house. The moral of the story is therefore to only have things in each room that you actually use in that room.

This is an appealing and logical idea in theory but it raised immediate questions in my mind. Like firstly, what if you need more things in a room than easily fit there (my home study comes to mind)? And where do you store all the other things that don't belong there?

Well one thing she suggests - simple but genius - is to start by decluttering all the storage areas in your house, so you make space to move things to. Don't hang onto things that you don't use (she makes exception for stuff like ski gear if you definitely plan to ski, but not if you just have this vague idea that maybe one day you'll do it).

She also spends a lot of time talking about organising your home office - not just what's in it, but how you operate. She has a system for email organisation and using your diary, which is simple but makes sense and yes, it will get rid of clutter and leave you feeling more organised. In fact, this book is much more about getting your life organised rather than the singleminded focus on clutter than the title suggests. Will it change my life? Probably not, but I've taken away a number of very helpful ideas and a lot of inspiration to get started.
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