Book Review: Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the writer.

In today’s consumeristic society, we have a lot of stuff. This stuff does not just include the physical materials that clutter our homes, but also the mental and spiritual “stuff” that clutters our minds and souls.

In Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul, Ruth Soukup provides practical tips on rearranging your life in three specific areas for a happier you. But she has a whole other book dedicated to the physical work of decluttering: 31-Days to a Clutter-Free Life. In Unstuffed, Soukup asks readers to do a lot more introspection and look at the source of the clutter: our homes, schedules and relationships. What brought the clutter in the first place? What is the root cause for the overload of “stuff?”

Unstuffed is split into three parts. In the “Home” section, Soukup fights against the idea that the more stuff you have, the better your home will be. Instead, Soukup emphasizes your home’s effectiveness over its appearance. So she suggests you eliminate everything that does not fit your vision of how you want to use your home. Soukup also includes helpful tips on how to stop the overflow of stuff coming into our homes after you have successfully cut down the stuff.

In “Mind,” Soukup urges you to tidy up your schedule and home, which both affect your state of mind. Prioritizing work and “stuff” that is absolutely necessary over less important items is important because “when you choose one thing, it means you are saying no to something else.” Soukup also explores how to deal with the emotions surrounding our reluctance to get rid of clutter.

Finally, in “Soul,” Soukup suggests that you should organize your soul by cultivating and prioritizing deeper relationships over superficial ones. Soukup presents different ways of either eliminating or alleviating the damage toxic relationships have on our spirits, as well as ways we can cultivate deeper relationships.

When I first saw Unstuffed, I thought it ironic that a book about decluttering was so long. After all, I was expecting a short “how to” book instead of one that’s 200 pages. But I understood its length after reading it. Soukup’s goal is not to simply help us get rid of the clutter in our lives. Rather, she wants to help us understand why the clutter came about in the first place. Her basic message is not to merely remove unnecessary items. She clarifies:

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

But a fair warning to all: you’ll need a significant amount of time to apply Unstuffed‘s strategies to your life. You have to be very intentional and consciously take time to “unstuff.” But in the long run, Soukup suggests that this time spent will pay off. That being said, this book will only benefit you if you decide to intentionally read and apply Ruth’s recommendations. She even admits that “it’s no small task, but it is possible.”

Also, Unstuffed is clearly targeted to female audiences – particularly in the third section, when Soukup talks about fostering deep relationships and decluttering our souls from toxic ones. She states, “We (women) are amazingly adept at surrounding ourselves with other women we call our friends but secretly don’t really even like.” Then she continues to say, “There is just something about female friendships that has the potential to send us right back to junior high.” Soukup may be accurate in that most of her readers will be female. However, if you are a man reading this book, you might feel a little left out towards the latter half of the book.

Still, it makes sense why Soukup specifies the relationship section to female relationships – it’s because she speaks from pure experience. Every suggestion in her book comes from solutions that have helped her personally. So relating all her advice to her personal struggles and solutions makes her trustworthy and credible in certain ways, but it also narrows down her audience significantly.

Overall, Soukup teaches her readers that our home, mind and soul are ultimately interconnected. If your home or schedule is chaotic, your mind and soul will be too. If your mind or soul is chaotic, it will reflect on your home. Becoming truly unstuffed means:

“Changing the way we look at our homes and the stuff we live with…our schedules and the stuff that fills our time…[and] our relationships and the stuff they are made of.”

So although she may direct some statements or examples specifically to married moms with children like herself, Unstuffed essentially focuses on how becoming more organized can lead to greater happiness and a more peaceful state of mind. So everyone, including people like me in their 20s who are just starting out their own home lives, should pick up a copy.

Liked this? Check out 7 Self-Help Books to Unlock Your Inner Potential!

Written by Diana Kim

Disclaimer: All views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the writer.

In today’s consumeristic society, we have a lot of stuff. This stuff does not just include the physical materials that clutter our homes, but also the mental and spiritual “stuff” that clutters our minds and souls.

In Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul, Ruth Soukup provides practical tips on rearranging your life in three specific areas for a happier you. But she has a whole other book dedicated to the physical work of decluttering: 31-Days to a Clutter-Free Life. In Unstuffed, Soukup asks readers to do a lot more introspection and look at the source of the clutter: our homes, schedules and relationships. What brought the clutter in the first place? What is the root cause for the overload of “stuff?”

Unstuffed is split into three parts. In the “Home” section, Soukup fights against the idea that the more stuff you have, the better your home will be. Instead, Soukup emphasizes your home’s effectiveness over its appearance. So she suggests you eliminate everything that does not fit your vision of how you want to use your home. Soukup also includes helpful tips on how to stop the overflow of stuff coming into our homes after you have successfully cut down the stuff.

In “Mind,” Soukup urges you to tidy up your schedule and home, which both affect your state of mind. Prioritizing work and “stuff” that is absolutely necessary over less important items is important because “when you choose one thing, it means you are saying no to something else.” Soukup also explores how to deal with the emotions surrounding our reluctance to get rid of clutter.

Finally, in “Soul,” Soukup suggests that you should organize your soul by cultivating and prioritizing deeper relationships over superficial ones. Soukup presents different ways of either eliminating or alleviating the damage toxic relationships have on our spirits, as well as ways we can cultivate deeper relationships.

When I first saw Unstuffed, I thought it ironic that a book about decluttering was so long. After all, I was expecting a short “how to” book instead of one that’s 200 pages. But I understood its length after reading it. Soukup’s goal is not to simply help us get rid of the clutter in our lives. Rather, she wants to help us understand why the clutter came about in the first place. Her basic message is not to merely remove unnecessary items. She clarifies:

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

But a fair warning to all: you’ll need a significant amount of time to apply Unstuffed‘s strategies to your life. You have to be very intentional and consciously take time to “unstuff.” But in the long run, Soukup suggests that this time spent will pay off. That being said, this book will only benefit you if you decide to intentionally read and apply Ruth’s recommendations. She even admits that “it’s no small task, but it is possible.”

Also, Unstuffed is clearly targeted to female audiences – particularly in the third section, when Soukup talks about fostering deep relationships and decluttering our souls from toxic ones. She states, “We (women) are amazingly adept at surrounding ourselves with other women we call our friends but secretly don’t really even like.” Then she continues to say, “There is just something about female friendships that has the potential to send us right back to junior high.” Soukup may be accurate in that most of her readers will be female. However, if you are a man reading this book, you might feel a little left out towards the latter half of the book.

Still, it makes sense why Soukup specifies the relationship section to female relationships – it’s because she speaks from pure experience. Every suggestion in her book comes from solutions that have helped her personally. So relating all her advice to her personal struggles and solutions makes her trustworthy and credible in certain ways, but it also narrows down her audience significantly.

Overall, Soukup teaches her readers that our home, mind and soul are ultimately interconnected. If your home or schedule is chaotic, your mind and soul will be too. If your mind or soul is chaotic, it will reflect on your home. Becoming truly unstuffed means:

“Changing the way we look at our homes and the stuff we live with…our schedules and the stuff that fills our time…[and] our relationships and the stuff they are made of.”

So although she may direct some statements or examples specifically to married moms with children like herself, Unstuffed essentially focuses on how becoming more organized can lead to greater happiness and a more peaceful state of mind. So everyone, including people like me in their 20s who are just starting out their own home lives, should pick up a copy.

Liked this? Check out 7 Self-Help Books to Unlock Your Inner Potential!

Written by Diana Kim

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