Book Review ~ Lessons in Letting Go by Corinne Grant

I usually reserve book reviews for Simple Saturday posts but I have made an exception for this one simply because I really enjoyed it. After reading several self help books about clutter recently it was refreshing to read the real life story of someone who has been there and risen above the lows of hoarding. The fact that the author Corinne Grant is a comedian adds a lightness to the story even though her frustration clearly shows through.

Although I have never been where Corinne was when it comes to clutter, the frustation I felt at times just reading about her struggle to get out certainly gave me a small taste. The joy I felt for her when life’s little slaps in the face turned into her passage out was most satisfying. Her story would give anyone hope that has found themselves in this situation and are struggling to grasp the concept that life doesn’t revolve around stuff. That memories are still safe without saving every little “sentimental” item you have ever attached yourself to.

Some quotes from the book…

“Irrespective of how it may look to an outsider, hoarders don’t just pop out of the ground fully formed. Hoarding isn’t something anyone is aware of until it’s too late. Hoarding sneaks up on you in the middle of the night wearing dark glasses and a false mousache and weasils its way in when you’re not looking.”

“It struck me that the difference between a hoarder and a non-hoarder was not how much of their lives they had failed at, but how many reminders they kept of those failures.”

On TV hoarding shows ~ “If all of this stuff had been wretched from me before I had sorted myself out mentally, you would now be looking for a psychiatric hospital for me.”

“…it didn’t matter that I still had some stuff that was probably worthless to other people, what mattered was that for the first time ever, I controlled the stuff instead of the stuff controlling me.”

The books ends with Twenty-Two Lessons in Letting Go and they are a great set of lessons learned by Corinne during her experience. Many of these lessons sound very similar to what I have been saying here at 365 Less Things for the last two years. You don’t have to be an actual hoarder to enjoy this book it is a good deterrent for clutter in general.

I checked and the book is available on Kindle so no need to purchase the physical book if you can’t borrow it from the library. Read and enjoy.

Today’s Declutter Item

This batch of snoopy items didn’t sell after two attempts on ebay but I am finally rid of them. I sent them to the thrift store.

More Snoopy items gone to the thrift store.

Something I Am Grateful For Today

It was nice to have a sunny day today for a change. The temperature was very pleasant as well, so win win.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

 

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Book Review ~ Absolutely Organize Your Family by Debbie Lillard The full title of this book is... Absolutely Organize Your Family Simple Solutions to Control Clutter, Schedules and Spaces ...now isn't that a mouthful. And aptly titled at that as […]
  • Book Review ~ Lighten Up by Peter Walsh I have just finished reading this book and I have to say it was full of interesting insights and great tips on not only decluttering your life but how to clean up your finances as […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. I love reading books on decluttering. It gives me a shot in the arm and motivates me to see if there is anything else I need to go through myself. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. I want to read this book. It will be great to read. I have always wanted to hear what a hoarder thinks and feels about their stuff.

    • The author, I think, wasn’t the sort of hoarder who kept buy buy buying to end up where she couldn’t walk through her own home. She just placed so much sentimental attachment on everything that came into her life, from the age of 8, that it eventually took over. Her living space was cluttered from that young age and as she got older the spaces got bigger and the clutter expanded with it.

  3. Books again. this is haunting me. And I am changing slowly but surely my attitude towards this issue. here on 365 less things, I found a link to lessons on tackling the issue of books. that was helpful.

    I just bought myself a new book for a 3 hour trainride, read it and then gave it to my friend. I am sure he will enjoy it and I dont have to bring it back. totally new behaviour here. I am still a bit shocked that I did this.
    and now I am somehow hooked: I decided to sell academic books that I for sure wont need anymore. This is new for me as well.
    I am also starting to consider which kind of books I need to have at home and which I want to “just read”. This book above would be one I just want to read, I am sure it would be a great trainride book, and then I can get it out again. hihi.

    They installed a open bookcase in a shopping street close to my place, where you can put your old books in and just take one you want. I will check if this might be an option for me. But even if its nothing for my habits, I like to walk by a bookshelf in the middle of a shopping street. feels like there are still people who are reading books instead pads.

    • I forgot to say that hoarding is maybe rather a symptom of a psychological problem than a psychological problem itself.
      I dont know about other countries, but here in germany tv series about “messie-house make over” got very popular lately, and its not really about the person and the issues but about voyeurism and style. I think thats sad.

      • Lena, Your story about buying a book for the train reminded me of the (wonderful) week I spent in Germany. We were at a busy train station with lots of English speakers, and I had finished my book. I thought I’d just leave it on the waiting station bench for someone else to find and enjoy. That is, until that nice lady chased me down, worried that I would board the train without my book. Of course, I took it back and thanked her graciously. Makes me chuckle just thinking about it.

        • I have done this with things while I have been travelling to but I usually just leave them at the accommodation I am vacating. Because we usually use pensiones and hostels they aften have an area where you can put things, especially books, that you no longer need. As you know we love to travel light so we offload sections out of our tour book as we go and leave it so someone else visiting the area can use it to do their own exploring.

      • Hi Lena,
        you will notice as you go through the archives at my blog that I have touched on the subject of hoarding shows on TV and have been equally appalled by the voyeuristic slant of those shows and how little they focus on the psychological help the people are given. If I were a hoarder watching those shows there is no way I would think of allowing anyone into my home if that is the sort of help I thought I was going to be given. If it were as easy as just point out to the hoarder that they don’t need their stuff and throw it away then they wouldn’t be hoarders in the first place.

        • hehe cindy, I would chase you down as well I guess 😉
          I am not sure if I like the idea of just letting stuff behind like this, as you dont make sure where it goes, and there is a chance that this book ends as rubbish on the street… I would prefer to bring the item in question to a second hand shop or just put a sign on it: “for free”, so that it is clear that people are allowed to take it.

          the hoarders shows are indeed pointless. although I saw one where they got him psychological help, and he had to clean his apartment himself instead of the company doing it. That was indeed a good show and the people were real and helpful. But yeah, if telling a smoker to stop smoking would help, there wouldnt be any smokers 😉

    • You are certainly not alone in this Lena. There are many people out there who have a love affair with books. Congratulations on being able to let your train ride book go to your friend and for making the decision to let go of your old academic books. They are both steps in the right direction. I love the idea of the bookcase in the shopping street so people to freely swap and share. What a great way to recycle.

  4. Cindy, i too worry when I intentionally ‘gift’ things by leaving them behind, the same will happen!

    I had a ‘winter’ jacket in Canada that I wasn’t going to need in Cuba, or any other time on my trip (and I’d picked it up at the charity store pre trip). I realised that Montreal airport was too tidy, and someone would hand it back to me, so I went to the bathroom and hung it on the door hook!

    IN Paris, I wore the boots to the airport (Boxing day), and knew in Australia I wouldn’t need them – it’d be hot, I was moving ‘home’, no need for winter boots. So I took them off and offered them to some of the cleaners (rather than them watch me leave them, or worse put them in the bin). They seemed very content!

  5. Hi Colleen,
    Still inspired by your blog…..I continue to be amazed (and amused) by how many snoopys are still in your collection (or children’s). So glad I never went there….I can see (in time, my kids are still very attached) the trouble I might have in passing on of all the matchbox cars!! Today I am going to tackle old filing……why do we keep old phone/gas bills etc?

    • Hi Janine,
      the Snoopy toys could all be decluttered as a bulk lot but I separated them to go on ebay that way and that is how the photos ended up. So I figured since my decluttering is meant to be a thing a day not a collection of things a day why not leave them separated into at least these smaller grouping to make it easier for me to keep up with my thing a day. Cheating possibly, but the amount of trouble I have gone to to make some money for my son out of these and the amount of time I have put up with them in my garage I feel I deserve to milk them for all they are worth and give myself a day off from decluttering here and there. Sounds fair don’t you think? 😉

      Why do we keep old phone/gas bills? The only reason I can think of is to keep the b*****ds honest. There seems to be far too many cases of these companies trying to rip people off these days. We get ours digitally though so we just save them to a file and delete them periodically.

  6. I so wanted to read this book after reading your review, but for some reason, it is unavailable for purchase on the Kindle in the United States. WHAT??? WHY???? It’s all digital, so how can it be unavailable?

    I will have to keep checking back for it. Maybe someone doesn’t want me spending anymore money, as Christmas is straining our budget horribly with “stuff” – I feel as if I have learned NOTHING. LOL

    • I am surprised at this, I checked Amazon and it was there. Will it not let you check out once you choose it?

      Resisting the temptation to buy day to day is one thing, resisting at Christmas can be a whole other kettle of fish. It is doable though trust me.

      • It might be because Corine is an aussie, and our australian copyright laws for books are intense (why we generally pay more for books here than in the US). Might not have negotiated an international deal/price?

    • Chelle: If you click the book, then the “buy” option, it should work. At least it did for me 🙂

  7. I’m in the US and am anxiously anticipating getting a Kindle for Christmas. I hope the book you reviewed is available! I just checked Amazon, and it appears it is. I love reading books that tackle problems with a bit of humor. I think I remember the ideas better that way!

  8. Hi Colleen,

    Glad you enjoyed reading the book, I loved it for the fact that it was a celebrity and she had the guts to face up and then get a better way of life. My favourite part is the bit about the ‘dead sticks’ (used to be a bunch of flowers) I still laugh at that bit!

    Speaking of ‘dead sticks’ I went to visit with my friend for a pre-Christmas catch-up, and low and behold – she’s thrown out all of her ‘dead arrangements’! I laughed when she told me she couldn’t get it out of her mind my comments about displaying dull coloured, dust gathering, dead flowers when you can enjoy a fresh bunch in your house or growing in the garden! I am going to buy her a potted poinsettia to enjoy and then plant in the garden later to celebrate.

    I am also celebrating, my freezer is EMPTY!!! We had a bowl of steamed veggies for dinner and now I need to go shopping for some bits and bobs. The big freezer will be going soon because I just don’t need it anymore. So we have had a very interesting 6 weeks of weird dinners and what-nots. We didn’t have to eat everything though we had a little help in the form of family get togethers and the kids at Dance loved the ‘party pie, sausage roll and mini pizza’ nights I provided. Always grabbed them for late dance nights and never got around to taking them down Duh!!

    Have a great day everyone 🙂
    Dizzy

    • Hi Dizzy,
      we haven’t heard from you for a while and it is nice to have you back. I was trying to figure out who had told me about that book and I guess it was you. Thank you for that as I really enjoyed it.
      Well done with the freezer clean out and even better that you are planning on getting rid of it. That will decrease your power consumption and bills. You should join 1 Million Women, they have an activity that involves both initiatives you are achieving ~ Cutting back on the second fridge (in your case freezer) and better meal planning to promote less food wastage.