walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_The Stuff Cure_, Sproules (kindle)

Subtitled: How we lost 8,000 pounds of stuff for fun, profit, virtue, and a better world Authors: Sproule, Dr. Betty A. and Sproule, Dr. J. Michael
Published Dec 18, 2012, and I _think_ self-pubbed, but not sure (Michelle Manos Design of Pacific Grove, CA)

I read books about decluttering, home organization, time management, personal workflow, blah, blah, bleeping, blah. It's difficult to explain why, beyond that it's a very easy topic for me: I already do a lot of the stuff in these books, I have opinions about a _lot_ of the standard array of tips and tricks but have a generic interest in more, and I'm always curious (I mean _always_ curious) about how people frame the topic area. They are repetitive. You should not adopt this as a hobby/genre focus. Really, trashy novels are much better.

There are enough errors in this book (UTube, Blue Ray) to be annoying, and at times worrisome (asserting that there is no statute of limitations on failing to report all income to the IRS because it is fraud, type of thing). They have a generally good perspective (TV in the living room is allowed, definitely make sure you use the space; get consensus on the process rather than throwing out stuff that belongs to other people in the house) and an excellent sense of humor. They are not afraid to tell stories about other people (and themselves) to illustrate What Not To Do/How Not To Do It. Their pop psychology is about average (they probably oversell the enlightenment angle, but everyone who writes books in this area does that, so I'm not going to lay into them for participating in the nonsense).

In general, these authors are surprisingly up-to-date on transitions that are currently underway, with occasional exceptions -- they are not repeating advice that was out of date in the 1990s (more common than one would hope!), and understand the you-don't-own-it-permanently perspective, valuing access over ownership.

Unfortunately, like many people who write these kinds of books, they came at the problem _after_ the kids moved out. So, you know, useless from several perspectives. Also, it's terrifying how bad they let things get. It's one thing to talk about how most people can't park both cars in their two car garage. Having almost all your wedding gifts in their original packaging, and going through them finally on your 20th anniversary? Ooooooh. Having boxes that don't get opened in a move, hey, that's normal. 50 of them, including one from when one of the authors was _6_? Yikes! I understand wanting to see your old stuff be enjoyed by new owners, but recommending donating Happy Meal Toys?

None of it, of course, as ridiculous as advising the re-use of paper towels.

So, yup, they're nuts (look, if you spend the kind of time I spend on this type of thing, you have to be nuts. Sane people have messy closets, messy houses, and throw stuff in the trash without worrying about whether a charity will accept Happy Meal toys.). But as this kind of books go, it's relatively entertaining.

ETA: And I should add, the authors convey strongly the impression that they are really nice people, who have a fun and enjoyable partnership, good relationships with family and friends, etc. It really adds to the experience of the reading the book. Nutty != bad.
Tags: book review, decluttering, non-fiction

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