This book was not on my summer reading list. I came across it on an adventure to the library, and feeling inspired to make changes in my life by the book I was reading at the time, The Happiness Project, I decided to pick it up.
Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life, is not just about cleaning out closets and donating clothes (Although there are very specific instructions about how to do that as well), it is about letting go of regrets and fears. Throw them away. Add them to your “Throw Out Scorecard.” Hey! That is two things, only 48 more to go!
The first part of the book walks with you through each room in your home and makes suggestions of things to throw away. Have 25 magazines in your living room that you haven’t read for 2 years? Get rid of ’em. But, wait, they are all magazines, so they only count as one item! Thought you would get away easy didn’t ya?
Each chapter gives examples of things to throw away, stories of how throwing out (or donating) the items is for the better, and then at the end a review list of the steps to take for that room.
Throughout the book (and in the Resource Guide in the back) there are also earth friendly suggestions for getting rid of things (i.e. computers, paint, bicycles,etc).
Then we move on from “physical clutter” to the “mental clutter.” As I am one who tends to clean out my closet every 3-6 months, the “mental clutter” was the part that I was interested in reading about.
All the chapter names start with, “Letting Go of…” Personally, I found that the waiting for the right moment and thinking that you have to do everything yourself chapters were most interesting and applicable to me. Again, real life stories of friends and clients of the author are used to convey the positive effects of “Throwing out” mental clutter:
“The past can’t dictate the future. You’re the cause and the effect. You get to decide how it’s going to go. Why not make it good? And make it now.” (pg 187)
“Abandon your old conviction that you’re alone, that the only one who can get it done is you, that you’ve got to figure everything out yourself. Make a list of those situations where you’ve always thought you had to do it all by yourself. Throw them all out.” (pg 206)
There is a scorecard at the end of each chapter, for the reader to literally tally what they have been throwing out. Then there is a chapter to celebrate “50,” how exciting!
The last part of the book is about really finding yourself…
Find your song: What inspires and motivates you.
Create your vision: Who are you? Where do you want to be?
Write down defining moments in your life: At first I couldn’t think of any but once I got the ball rolling, it was hard to stop! Again, she gives examples of her clients (I think she is a life coach), and their lists of defining moments.
My favorite thing, “Clarifying Your Brand.” Who are you and who do you want to be?
“What are you committed to delivering every time?” (pg 91)
“How would you like someone else to describe you, in one powerful sentence? “Oh, yes,” they’d say, “that’s (your name) and she’s the one who…” (pg 91)
I think that is the most important idea that I took away. Throw out all those old feelings of what you ought to be, of what you should be, and make yourself who you WANT to be.
This ties in very well with the idea of “Being Gretchen” from The Happiness Project. Stop trying to do things and be someone because you think people will like it better or because that is what adults “should” do or like. For all you know, all of your friends might feel the same way about reading children’s literature as you do (remember that from the book?!).
So, finish this sentence.
“I’m _________________ and I’m the one who______________” (pg 167)
I highly recommend this book for anyone looking to clear their home and their mind a little. There are great inspirational stories, some helpful hints, and real good ideas to motivate yourself to change for the better.
So, toss out those old ideas of what you SHOULD be reading and read this book. I plan on going through the entire book again but this time actually following the steps for clearing the clutter. I’ll let you know how that goes…
Check out the website where you can find inspirational stories and a workbook to help you on your journey.