Verdict: With smart ideas ideas, presented in an elegant and customizable way, CLEAN OUT YOUR LIFECLOSET may just be the compassionate, endearingly quirky companion self-help readers are looking for.
Corbie Mitleid has read a lot of self-help books, and now she wants you to write your own – with some guidance. There are no groundbreaking ideas in this book if you’ve read others like it or gone to therapy, but the ideas are presented in a customizable way that could just make them stick this time. Perhaps the most effective and original method is “thinking like a Martian,” or looking at every situation or problem as if you’ve never seen anything like it. This opens the door to new, more positive interpretations of things that one may have deeply entrenched feelings about, and it encourages less reactive behavior. It’s also such an appealing and sensible idea that it stays with the reader throughout the book, lending every concept raised, as basic as it may be, new dimension.
Mitleid is like your most reliable friend in a crisis – one who says something simple that you probably already knew, but who somehow says it in a way that makes everything clearer. The thing about your best crisis friend is that she’s probably a little wacky, and maybe she casually mentions her “intuitive” work and throws you off just when you’re getting on board with her ideas. Mitleid is great at sharing stories, her own or others’, true or fictional, that are relatable and relevant. When she mentions her “intuitive” – akin to psychic – work, it may be too specific to be engaging to most readers. However, Mitleid never tries to sell the reader on any of these beliefs or methods, and she reveals the relevance of this work in the relationship section when she uses examples from her intuitive hotline job to demonstrate the pervasiveness of poor communication. In a section that feels basic, this adds some flavor.
If there were any risk of appearing preachy, Mitleid negates it with her “Adventure Pages.” Placed at the end of each chapter, these are worksheets that ask the reader what she found useful in the chapter and encourage her to extract only the ideas that will work for her. Mitleid is adamant that readers adopt what methods they like and nothing more. This fits elegantly with the “cleaning out” theme of the book. Throughout, readers are encouraged to re-imagine what could be useful in their lives and to throw out what clearly isn’t. By teaching her readers this, Mitleid also teaches them how to use her book.
CLEAN OUT YOUR LIFECLOSET may just be the compassionate, endearingly quirky companion self-help readers are looking for.
~Madeline Dennis-Yates for IndieReader