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Year of No Clutter: A Memoir
     

Year of No Clutter: A Memoir

by Eve Schaub
 

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Eve has a problem with clutter. Too much stuff and too easily acquired, it confronts her in every corner and on every surface in her house. When she pledges to tackle the worst offender, her horror of a "Hell Room," she anticipates finally being able to throw away all of the unnecessary things she can't bring herself to part with: her fifth-grade report card,

Overview

Eve has a problem with clutter. Too much stuff and too easily acquired, it confronts her in every corner and on every surface in her house. When she pledges to tackle the worst offender, her horror of a "Hell Room," she anticipates finally being able to throw away all of the unnecessary things she can't bring herself to part with: her fifth-grade report card, dried-up art supplies, an old vinyl raincoat.

But what Eve discovers isn't just old CDs and outdated clothing, but a fierce desire within herself to hold on to her identity. Our things represent our memories, our history, a million tiny reference points in our lives. If we throw our stuff in the trash, where does that leave us? And if we don't...how do we know what's really important?

Everyone has their own Hell Room, and Eve's battle with her clutter, along with her eventual self-clarity, encourages everyone to dig into their past to declutter their future. Year of No Clutter is a deeply inspiring—and frequently hilarious — examination of why we keep stuff in the first place, and how to let it all go.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/23/2017
Schaub (Year of No Sugar), a lifelong collector of countless possessions, decided the time had come for her to take on what she has dubbed “The Hell Room” in her house, which was so full of discarded items and such a source of anxiety that she rarely went near it. She thoughtfully and humourously recounts her fascinating project, getting the whole family involved as she figured out whether she was messy and overwhelmed, a hoarder, or something in between. Schaub raises a number of insightful questions: Are you a hoarder if you have a place for everything, like William Randolph Hearst, who built a castle for his prized objects and is seen as a visionary? If, like Andy Warhol, you have a collection of toenail clippings and boxes of old plane tickets and newspapers that he called cardboard time capsules, are you artistic or eccentric? According to the American Psychological Association, 2%–5% of the population are hoarders, and many have other mental health issues, including Schaub, who takes medication for OCD. Those who, like Schaub, are looking for a way to declutter that encompasses finding homes for discarded items rather than simply going to a Dumpster, will appreciate Schaub’s judgment-free, instructive, funny approach to being a “domestic belonging preservationist” with a place for everything that matters. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Part memoir and part how-to guide, Schaub's book casts a lightheartedly humorous light on the First World obsession with acquisition while showing readers that less truly can be more. A wry account of the author's quest to "pitch, plunder, recycle, and sell." - Kirkus

"Schaub weaves in thoughtful cultural references... her recognition that clutter of the mind is as real as tangible clutter makes this a personal and powerful read." - Booklist

"Those who, like Schaub, are looking for a way to declutter that encompasses finding homes for discarded items rather than simply going to a Dumpster, will appreciate Schaub's judgment-free, instructive, funny approach to being a "domestic belonging preservationist" with a place for everything that matters." - Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
2016-12-26
How a self-identified "amateur hoarder" managed to rid her life of the overabundance of "stuff" that littered her home.Schaub's (Year of No Sugar, 2014) "Hell Room" was the largest room in her home—and also the source of her greatest embarrassment. In it, she kept everything from childhood drawings and college telephone records to "dried, hacked-up hairballs" and "rodent fragments." Eager to rid herself of the burden the Hell Room represented, the author decided to take one year and perform a "clutter-ectomy." However, she soon discovered that cleaning up decades of accumulated belongings was far more difficult than she could have imagined. Almost everything in the Hell Room, including the rodent fragments, had significance for her. Immediately, she began fearing that her choices would lead to regret. Even after she grudgingly admitted to herself that she might be a "hoarder in the making" and had thrown out or given away boxes and bags of old and/or unusable belongings, large piles of stuff remained. Despairing, she writes, "it felt as if the Hell Room were fighting back." As she continued sorting through her collection, Schaub confronted some of her past selves, like the "hippie" and the "punk." Slowly, she began to realize that she had been collecting things as a way of defining herself and fending off mortality; to let go of things was to let go of her past and who she had been. In the end, a much-chastened and more self-aware author managed to almost completely transform her Hell Room—and the rest of her home—into a place where free space became as valued as things had once been. Part memoir and part how-to guide, Schaub's book casts a lightheartedly humorous light on the First World obsession with acquisition while showing readers that less truly can be more. A wry account of the author's quest to "pitch, plunder, recycle, and sell."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781492633556
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
03/07/2017
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

Eve O. Schaub graduated from Cornell and Rochester Institute of Technology. She has written for Vermont Life and Vermont Magazine, among others. During her family's year of no sugar, Schaub blogged regularly and was often a guest on WAMC, New York's NPR affiliate, as well as a regular visitor to Vermont Public Radio. She lives in Vermont with her family.

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