If Your Life Is Too Stuffed, Get Unstuffed

Another book on decluttering. What’s different about Unstuffed?

It’s about more than decluttering your home. Author Ruth Soukup also includes tips for decluttering your mind and soul, which includes your schedule, your information, other people’s stuff, and relationships.


Ten Daily Habits

Soukup starts off with “Ten Tidy Habits” to incorporate into your daily routine. If you’re not already doing these things, it’s a great place to start. Most of them can be done quickly (at least once you get caught up).

  1. Make your bed (time commitment: 2 minutes).
  2. Clean the kitchen sink (time commitment: 10 – 15 minutes, 3 times a day).
  3. Toss your junk mail (time commitment: 1 minute).
  4. Pick up (time commitment: 10 minutes).
  5. Keep the table clear (time commitment: 5 minutes).
  6. Clear and wipe down your bathroom counters (time commitment: 3 minutes).
  7. Do one load of laundry (time commitment: 3 minutes to start; 2 minutes to transfer; 5 minutes to fold).
  8. Put your clothes away (time commitment: 3 minutes).
  9. Bring your inbox to zero (time commitment: 10 – 15 minutes).
  10. Plan your day (time commitment: 5 minutes).

If you’re new to decluttering, this book is a good one to start with. Soukup hits the basics and gives her philosophy of “unstuffed.”

“In the end, becoming unstuffed ultimately means removing everything that doesn’t contribute to the way we want our homes to feel, while keeping everything that does.”

But to be honest, I wasn’t particularly moved by the actual tips in Unstuffed. And some of the personal stories had more details than I felt necessary. I’ve read so many books already on decluttering (and am currently reading The More of Less) so it’s hard to find anything new. While I certainly still have cluttered areas, my home is reasonably clutter-free most of the time.

So why do I still read these books? Because I want to stay clutter-free.

And I’ve learned that if you don’t stay on top of clutter, it can grow on top of you. Books like Unstuffed help me stay motivated to maintain the status quo in general, while improving in specific areas that are still a mess.


Quotes from Unstuffed

Here are some quotes I appreciated that might help you, too.

“If you haven’t used it in the past year to eighteen months, stop holding on to it.”

~ * ~ * ~

“ . . . the fundamental truth that our consumer-driven society so desperately wants us to forget: We already have enough. To do this, we must be persistent about QUANTITY control.”

~ * ~ * ~

“Our homes are quite possibly the most open and honest reflection of our state of mind that we will ever find. The more cluttered and chaotic we are inside, the more our homes will reflect that confusion. But the opposite is also true.”

~ * ~ * ~

“The key to resting — and I mean really resting — is actually allowing your mind and body to take a break even when there is more to do. Because there will always be more to do. Every day. For the rest of our lives. Look at it this way — if God could take a day off without the world falling apart, so can we.”

~ * ~ * ~

“If you are going to make only one change in your life as a result of this book, let it be getting more sleep.”

~ * ~ * ~

“We were assuming that throwing away someone else’s stuff meant we were throwing away their memory. . . . one day, it finally occurred to us that stuff and memories are not the same thing.”

~ * ~ * ~

“What if, sometimes, we decided to just be okay with good enough?”

~ * ~ * ~

“The only way to become truly unstuffed is to accept the amazing, incredible, unlimited, and totally undeserved grace we’ve already been given and to stop trying to fill that hole ourselves.

Grace is the answer we are often too stubborn to believe and too proud to receive.”

* * *


Free resources to download from Unstuffed on the Resources page.

Do you have a favorite decluttering book? What helps you most? Please share in the comments.

My thanks to BookLook Bloggers
for the review copy of this book

11 thoughts on “If Your Life Is Too Stuffed, Get Unstuffed

  1. Linda Stoll

    Yes, our overstuffed houses are reflective of our overstuffed lives, our overwhelmed souls.

    It seems to be true that when we clear the junk from one part of who we are, the others are more able to follow and do the same …

    Interesting read, Lisa …

  2. Dianna McBride

    What truth are in the quotes from the book that you shared…especially the last one. I know in my own life that when I feel stressed and am just going through the motions of living for Jesus rather than living it from the heart, our home shows it. Learning to be content, as Paul teaches, truly changes a heart.

  3. Barbara H.

    Good thought about stuff and memories not being the same thing. I tend to keep things of sentimental value, but you can only store so much of that stuff, and then how often do I really look at it. And then when I pass on my kids will probably toss it anyway because they don’t know the people involved and don’t have the same attachment to it that I do.

  4. Debbie

    I’ve found the less I have that I can visually see, the calmer my mind stays. Clutter drives me looney. I pick up after myself. My son is currently living with me to save money and my goodness does he have way too many clothes and half of them he doesn’t wear. Will he get rid of them? No. Geez. This is a great reminder and I agree with you…you have to stay on top of it or it will take over! Thank you, Lisa!

  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, and looks like an interesting book.

    It would indeed be wonderful if ‘good enough’ were indeed good enough.

    But I do disagree with two points –

    1) The home is not necessarily the reflection of the mind. It’s more a reflection of priorities, and sometimes of what’s possible in a given situation. Certainly my surroundings are more cluttered than I might prefer, but there are irreducible duties in dealing with the dogs, and an ever-decreasing amount of energy…and Barb’s work obligations are increasing. It’s just life.

    2) I’ve kept a lot of things for far longer than 18 months on the vague feeling that ‘this might be useful someday’. Often it wasn’t, but it’s happened very many times that I had an ‘Aha!’ moment, as in ‘I know the perfect use for that thing in the cupboard!’ Case in point – Barb has a favourite rocking chair with a wicker seat, and one day something large and heavy was dropped on the seat, making a ragged hole. She also had a sombrero she loathed, but as I kind of liked it I hid it so she couldn’t throw it away. You guessed it – the sombrero was the perfect ‘fix’ for the seat

  6. Pam

    Gosh, you are right about the number of books on decluttering! I appreciate the review. It does sound like it overlaps a number of others. Even so, your reviews tend to be spot on so I appreciate each one!

    PS I haven’t yet started the book on exposure, but plan to do so by this weekend!

  7. Susan

    How fun — I was looking over books to possibly review, clicked on your review, and realized we knew each other 🙂 I agree with most everything you’ve written here — I, too, have read many books like this, but keep doing it to remind myself. I love the idea that our homes are a reflection of our mental state. This does make sense.

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