A Decade of Discardia

Ten years ago, I created Discardia as a reminder to myself to let go of what wasn't making my life awesome.

For the first year I was focused very much on the discarding part of the holiday, both of physical things and mental baggage, but soon the other aspects emerged as equally important. By the end of 2004 Discardia also served to remind me to be more true to who I am now, and to continually seek ways—even tiny ways—to make my life better. Sometimes those ways have involved acquisitions and upgrades, not divestment and that's just fine. It's not about just having less stuff, it's less of the wrong stuff and more of the right stuff.

By 2005, the year before my post-a-day writing adventure throughout 2006, many of the themes of Discardia had already appeared in one essay or another that I'd posted to my personal site or on Discardia.com. It would take the book writing process (beginning in summer of 2009) for me to pull together a clear and concise overview of the whole framework, but the pieces were there and integrating themselves into my life.

Bit by bit, in decisions and affirmations and recognitions, I have examined and adjusted my life; at first quarterly, but soon constantly and continually for all the years since.

You know what? It works. My life is awesome.

I hope yours is too, more and more every day.

What the Reviewers Are Saying

 

“Instead of challenging the reader to emulate Hercules mucking out the Augean Stables, Sanders approach is to take on bite-sized tasks that conform to three core principles … Even if you don’t feel like your life needs an overhaul, everyone could use some fine-tuning. Discardia, which offers plenty of useful advice, is one of the best ‘life hacking’ books I’ve come across.” – Mark Frauenfelder, editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine, founder of Boing Boing, and author of Made by Hand.*

Full of great solutions and some very good universal truths.” – Mary Carlomagno, author of Live More, Want Less: 52 Ways to Find Order in Your Life, Secrets of Simplicity, and Give It Up!: My Year of Learning to Live Better With Less.

“I was expecting the same advice about cleaning out your crap and maintaining a tidy house you see on every mummy blog out there, but this was so much more than this. It’s not just about keeping the physical clutter out of your house, but also out of your social life, your professional life, hobbies, pyschological clutter… the list goes on. 
This has completely changed how I view my posessions, but also how I approach my job. Don’t underestimate how significant even the most simplest ideas in here can be. It’s stripped stress out of my job (to a large extent) and taken the pressure out of my personal time, to the point that I’m pissing my husband off because my improved quality of life and amount of personal time I’ve been able to reclaim is making him jealous.”*

“I bought the book and I am glad I did. Discardia contributed more to simplifying my life and enhancing its value than almost any other book I had read on simplifying life.*

“This book is an original in a field with a lot of more or less interchangeable manuals. I dig it.”*

“It’s been a great help getting me to purge all the little things that are holding me back.*

I wish this book was available twenty years ago. … I’ve learned lots of what’s in this book the hard way, but believe there is lots more that will be helpful.”*

one of the most helpful books I’ve read this year*

“This is a fabulous little (and enjoyably written) book. Not just about decluttering, but about managing life in general.*

“Engaging, purposeful, motivating, and enjoyable! … The book has inspired me in more ways than I have room to describe … I’m a well-organized person, but the memories associated with “stuff” made me hang onto it. Dinah helped me see that I could maintain the memories without needing to keep the accompanying items. … I don’t mean to sound gushy, but this book has helped me see how the stuff I have accumulated was blocking my path to the life I want to live. Consequently, I’ve changed the name of my “to-do” list to my “to-be” list.”*

“Pretty Comprehensive on the Subject. From time to time I go on a decluttering bender and I was reading this around same time as the Kon Mari method books. This has a wide range of material and topics and deals with a lot of the emotional side of things too. I gleaned a lot of tips from it and go back to it as a reference. I like all the stories and cases of people on this “discarding” and simplifying kick.”*

“this one is full of good advice*

If anyone is looking for guidance and a jump start in organizing your life, this is the book for you !*

“This book was full of well-written, useful and entertaining information regarding methods for making our lives simpler and more enjoyable as a result of that simplification.”*

 

“Discardia, which offers plenty of useful advice, is one of the best ‘life hacking’ books I’ve come across”

– Mark Frauenfelder
Editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine, founder of Boing Boing, and author of Made by Hand

 

“I never really considered myself as a packrat but reading Discardia has opened my eyes to the amount of stuff I have kept over the years and never use.”*

“The author of this book came to speak at our local book store. Bob and I went and enjoyed ourselves and liked her message of living more with less stuff… This book is broken down into easily digestible segments that provide specific direction on how to clear the mental and physical clutter and add more fun into your life.;never preachy and primarily motivating.”*

“Discardia is basically the intersection of two books I am extremely fond of – Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James and Getting things Done by David Allen, written in extremely accessible, intelligent prose … I’d definitely recommend it”*

Great read! I especially liked the distinction between projects and changing habits – and their different criteria for success. … Read it now – and start doing something useful with your time -> making yourself happier!”*

“Really enjoyed this. Sanders has a great writing style – very ‘tell it like it is’.”*

“…the advice, from decluttering to goal-setting, is sensible, achievable, and well-presented.”*

“What a great book! This goes in the same category as Getting Things Done — it will need re-reading every few months or so.”*

“…this is the best book I have received through First Reads so far. Even if you have read every de-clutter book out there and even if you think your home and life are clutter free, you can benefit from this book.”*

I love this book — my husband teases me about all the self-help books I read. I’m not sure I’m going to need another after this one. Really. … I put Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff in the bathroom last night and this evening my husband told me he’d gotten through two bags of his stuff, and thrown a lot away. These are bags that have been in place in the basement since 2004.”*

“Dinah Sanders has distilled these books down to their most useful essence, saving you the sometimes-exasperating experience of wading through books that are 10% ‘one good idea,’ and 90% ‘expanding upon that one good idea.’ For those who have not read the entire panoply of this sort of self-help book, Discardia is practically a library in and of itself.*

“…an excellent book for anyone looking for ideas on how to lighten their life’s load of baggage, both accumulated physical items, and mental baggage that goes with it”*

 

“Full of great solutions and some very good universal truths.”

– Mary Carlomagno
Author of Live More, Want Less: 52 Ways to Find Order in Your Life, Secrets of Simplicity, and Give It Up!: My Year of Learning to Live Better With Less

 

“…this book is helpful, motivating, chummy, and wise…Everybody needs this kind of help, not just hoarders and the organization-handicapped. I’m pretty damn organized and efficient, but I found lots of helpful tips and motivators here.”*

“While many of the concepts in Discardia weren’t new to me, the gentle and cohesive way that they were presented made them seem fresh. What’s presented here is the ultimate ‘lifehack’ – creating the life you want to have by optimizing the life that you do have. Discardia approaches this in a simple straightforward manner and I found myself implementing many of the ideas immediately with awesome results. This is definitely worth the read.”*

“Just giving small, individual tasks a holiday imbues what would otherwise feel like chores with the importance of life-improving projects. She makes a strong argument that objects require emotional and mental responsibilities, so acquire strategically and discard frequently. Freeing ourselves from baggage opens up space for exploring what could make our lives a little more awesome. Grounded and simple to do, her advice helps guide that exploration.*

“Sanders has a friendly writing style, no lecturing or preaching, just good advice that’s worked for her and other people with more ambition than time. It’s not just about cleaning the clutter from your spare room. She wants you to make the changes that are right for you, slowly but surely moving towards the life you want and away from the life that just happened while you weren’t looking. With that goal in mind, she gives advice and examples that have worked for other people dealing with similar problems, some thoughts on how we end up with these problems and suggestions for how to maintain better habits in the future. I found that the tips and suggestions seemed really appropriate for my life, unlike some other books and websites focused on ruthless decluttering and an endless routine of chores. Sanders’ upbeat attitude was catching, and since finishing the book last week I’ve decluttered my wardrobe, reorganised the pantry to put frequently used things at waist level, and begun taking the stairs at work each day. None of this feels like a hassle, just like a smart choice I can make on the spur of the moment.*

“Treasure trove of suggestions on how to freshen up your life. … Over the course of many pages, [Sanders’] conviction and energy helped overcome my paralysis.*

“Much more than just a quarterly spring cleaning, Discardia is a new way to look at the way we buy, use and throw away the things in our lives*

“It covers basic principles like giving up quantity in favor of quality, making small incremental improvements, and how to decide what to discard. Dinah’s methods are radical, but sane, and easy to implement a little at a time. … I think Dinah’s is the definitive guide.*

“Unlike a lot of self-published self-help books, this one is smart, well-written, clearly copy-edited, and lovingly proofed. It’s a joy to read.*

“I stumbled upon the Discardia blog several years ago, and loved the year of One Discardia Tip a Day. Here Dinah Sanders has put it all together in a book form and I couldn’t be more pleased. Unlike some of the other unclutter books, Discardia really focuses on its purpose: more life, less stuff. The stuff isn’t a problem in and of itself, but it gets in the way of living our lives in a more open, satisfying way. I love that this book puts it all together, and I intend to go back to implementing at least three tips a week. I know it will make a difference.”*

“[Sanders] has has a lovably-nerdy sense of humor and a simple, pared-down way of writing that surely made a few of us in the crowd go home and throw away a few old books and records*

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“… …”*

read more reviews

// –>

 

More reviews and discussion are also available at the Goodreads page for the book.

Discardia Events

August 2012

Reading, mini-workshop and book signing:
Wednesday, 1st: at the Western Addition Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 7pm.
Tuesday, 7th: at the Anza Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 7pm.
Saturday, 11th: at the Potrero Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 4pm.
Monday, 13th: at the Sunset Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 7pm.
Wednesday, 15th: at the Mission Bay Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 6pm.
Wednesday, 22nd: at the Glen Park Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 6:30pm.

July 2012

Reading, mini-workshop and book signing:
Tuesday, 24th: at San Francisco’s indie bookstore Books Inc Opera Plaza, 7pm.
Thursday, 26th: at the Richmond Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 6:30pm.
Tuesday, 31st: at the Bernal Heights Branch of San Francisco Public Library, 7pm.

Discardia flyer via Booksmith

 

May 2012:
– 4th: special guest at San Francisco’s indie bookstore The Booksmith’s Bookswap “Get Lit!”. The theme this time is booze so this will be a joint appearance of Dinah in her roles as founder of Discardia and as co-author of the cocktail blog Bibulo.us. Joe Gratz, who also writes Bibulo.us and who did the book design for Discardia will be there too! (Details and ticket info)

March 2012:
– 11th: reading/presentation at SXSW Interactive in Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX. 3:30-4pm. (This will actually be a short presentation intended to provide immediate value, rather than just me reading from the book). There will be a book signing following this presentation at the SXSW Bookstore.
– 14th: reading/mini-workshop at San Francisco Public Library, Main branch, in L/H Community Meeting Room, San Francisco, CA. 6-7:30pm. Bring some books/CDs/DVDs to donate to the Friends of the Library! (Normally they encourage people to bring their donations to the Donation Center at 431 Treat Ave. in the Mission, because their storage space in the Main branch store is extremely limited, but they’re going to do an extra donation pickup the morning after our event. Hooray!)

January, 2012:
– 25th: Book club discussion at 2 Sisters Bar and Books in San Francisco, CA, 6-8pm.
– 28th: Reading/workshop at Four-Eyed Frog Books in Gualala, CA, 4-5pm.

November 20, 2011: Consumerism Commentary podcast.

Q&A

Is a sample chapter available?

Yes. You can read the introduction here on Discardia.com or check out the sample available from the ebook links above (e.g., Amazon’s Look Inside on the Kindle version or Barnes & Noble’s sample for the Nook).

What category does it fit in?

Personal Transformation and Happiness are the two which make the most sense to me. You might also find it with books about motivation, self-help/self-improvement, stress reduction, simplicity, uncluttering, or philosophy. (If you have a bookstore and you shelve it somewhere else, I’d love to hear what is the best fit for you and your customers!)

Why is now the right time for this book?

It’s time to let go of what doesn’t make your life awesome. It’s time to reinvent simpler living for 21st century life. It’s time someone wrote a self-help book that’s inspirational without the sappiness.

Is this just a packaged set of blog posts?

Definitely not! I’ve been working on this book for two years, defining and clarifying the three core principles behind Discardia and setting them out with specific tips in a clear framework to which you can refer again and again. I made use of a large team of beta readers and hired professional editor Joanne Shwed of Backspace Ink to insure that the finished product provides you not only good ideas, but good writing. I strongly recommend Joanne’s services; they contributed greatly to the final quality of the book.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Though I would have been happy to work with a publisher, it has been a nervous year or two for the industry and I did not want to delay publication any longer. As a former product manager and a productivity coach, I knew I could deliver the book without the traditional infrastructure behind me.

The pricing surprises a lot of people, particularly with the professional editing I also had done for the book, but my goal is to get the ideas out there and make no less per copy than I would have if I went through a traditional publisher. Ebook economics are so author-friendly, I have been able to price the ebook version at less than a fancy coffee while still making my fair share.

Where can I get it?

See the links at the top of the page. It is available as an ebook for Kindle (mobi format) from Amazon and for other ereaders such as iBooks and Nook (EPUB format) from iTunes and BN.com. Trade paperback copies are available through my Createspace storefront, Amazon, and other bookstores listed above.

How can I make the ebook feel more like a book?

For optimal appearance of this (and most) ebooks, turn off Full Justification and Auto-Hyphenation if possible in your ereader.

Who is on the cover?

One of my role models in being awesome, Miss Modesty B. Catt. The photograph is by her father, Reverend Dan Catt. The cover design is by B.J. West, from an initial concept by me.

What’s the hashtag, if I want to discuss the book on Twitter?

Thanks! You can use #Discardia for the holiday (and philosophy) as a whole, or #Discardiabook if you want to refer to the book specifically.

Is the book available outside the United States?

Yes. You can get the ebook (in English) in the Apple iTunes store in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Does it have Cataloging in Publication?

Yes, with thanks to Rice Majors.

Sanders, Dinah.
Discardia : |b more life, less stuff / |c by Dinah Sanders ; edited by Joanne Shwed ; cover design by B.J. West and Dinah Sanders ; cover photograph by Reverend Dan Catt.
p. digital, PDF file
ISBN 978-0-9839980-2-0 (trade paperback)
ISBN 978-0-9839980-1-3 (Kindle)
ISBN 978-0-9839980-0-6 (EPUB)
“Let go of everything that doesn’t make your life awesome! With three key principles and numerous practical tips, Discardia—a new holiday—helps you solve specific issues, carve away the nonsense of physical objects, habits, or emotional baggage, and uncover what brings you joy.” – online description
Contents: Three core principles — March Discardia: Getting started — June Discardia: Core principle #1: Decide and do — September Discardia: Core principle #2: Quality over quantity — December Discardia: Core principle #3: Perpetual upgrade — Onward! — Glossary — Resources.
1. Success. 2. Motivation (Psychology) 3. Conduct of life. I. Title.
BF637.S4 S253 2011
158/.1–dc20

How about a MARC record?

020 978-0-9839980-2-0 (trade paperback)
020 978-0-9839980-1-3 (Kindle)
020 978-0-9839980-0-6 (EPUB)
090 BF637.S4 |b S253 2011
092 158/.1 |2 20
100 1 Sanders, Dinah.
245 0 Discardia : |b more life, less stuff / |c by Dinah Sanders ; edited by Joanne Shwed ; cover design by B.J. West and Dinah Sanders ; cover photograph by Reverend Dan Catt.
260 San Francisco : |b Dinah Sanders, |c c2011
300 ___ p. ; |b digital, PDF file
520 “Let go of everything that doesn’t make your life awesome! With three key principles and numerous practical tips, Discardia—a new holiday—helps you solve specific issues, carve away the nonsense of physical objects, habits, or emotional baggage, and uncover what brings you joy.” – online description
505 0 Three core principles — March Discardia: Getting started — June Discardia: Core principle #1: Decide and do — September Discardia: Core principle #2: Quality over quantity — December discardia: Core principle #3: Perpetual upgrade — Onward! — Glossary — Resources.
655 Electronic books.
650 0 Success.
650 0 Motivation (Psychology)
650 0 Conduct of life.

Buy The Book

eBook $2.99

Looking for EPUB? The iBooks and Nook links above sell DRM-free EPUB files.

 

Trade paperback $14.95

Get it from Amazon or an independent bookstore through IndieBound.

Best of all, support me and your local bookstore. Discardia is sold in the following stores (and is available for ordering at most others):

 

Retailers: If your store unable to get the book through KDP/Createspace or Lightning Source/Ingram, and you want some copies, please contact me by emailing Dinah @ this domain. Thanks!

Administrivia: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the iTunes Affiliate Program, affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. In other words, a good way for authors to make just a bit more per copy on their books. These use code or cookies to track my participation but do not collect any personally identifiable information about site visitors.

//

Media Kit

On a deadline? Email me with a subject line beginning “MEDIA INQUIRY:” to help me prioritize my response.

About the author

I am a post-boomer/pre-digital native who spends as much time online as off. Currently self-employed as a writer, I have worked in jobs ranging from bookstore owner to senior software product manager to productivity and happiness coach. When my work hasn’t centered on organization and effective flow, it has been anchored around the reading life, whether on the printed page or a glowing computer screen. A constant theme throughout has been streamlining processes to help achieve goals better, faster, and with more enjoyment along the way; in other words, increasing awesomeness.

Book Cover Book cover art for web use (2nd printing version, with review quote)
Book Cover Book cover art for web use (no review quote)

Book cover art for print use

Author Photo Author headshot for web use

Author headshot for print use (note: 8MB file)

 
Contact information

About the Book

From the Introduction:

We are all busy people—busy with work and projects, busy with play and dreams, busy with our communities and friends and families. We look at our homes and think “What a mess! There is no way I can get this clutter under control without spending weeks working on it full time!” We look at ourselves and think, “I’m a mess! What am I doing with my life? What do I even want to be doing with my life?” It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the seemingly vast distance between the way things are now in our lives and the calm, clear lives we’d like to be enjoying.

We know we don’t have everything we want. We know we have things in our homes and minds that don’t match the ideal we want for ourselves, but the idea of adding anything or taking on more to-do’s to change things is overwhelming. We view that dreamed-of excellent life as a thing we need to squeeze into the overcrowded chaos of the one we live now. The good news is that it’s already in there, just buried and hidden under a bunch of stuff we don’t need or want.

The quarterly celebration of Discardia—a new holiday—is the time to carve away all the nonsense that isn’t making us happy, and uncover what does. We don’t have too little; we’ve piled too much on top of ourselves. When we steadily scrape away the junk with one good decision at a time, our true selves begin to shine through. Discardia doesn’t require us to radically change course; rather, it is the simple practice of leaning the boat in the direction in which we want to sail. Little adjustments lead us to wonderful new places.

Letting go and lightening our loads create positive motion; when combined with a light touch on the rudder—a little leaning of the boat—we have the ability to turn our lives in better directions.

The tips in this book, plus the supportive community of Discardia fans (whom, for convenience, I’ll refer to as Discardians) found in multiple online locations, will help you put your energy where it counts: in making your dreams real and in living a less stressful life full of awesomeness.

Read the rest of the introduction…

About the Book

Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff is 282 pages in paperback form; in ebook it depends on how large you like your fonts.

ISBN: iBooks/Nook/EPUB: 978-09839980-0-6; Kindle/mobi: 978-09839980-1-3; trade paperback: 978-09839980-2-0.

Published September (ebook) and October (paperback) 2011

Other Discardian writing (old sidebar links)

I'm starting to revamp the site in preparation for the book release later this month, so here are these older links saved in a post in case we want to find them later:

Discardia.com update – what do you want to see?

Hi gang!

I'm working on updating Discardia's website. I want to build on what I've done before, but more importantly to create a home base for what comes next. I've got the rough draft of the book ready – working title Discardia: Making Room in Your Life for Awesomeness – and am about to start approaching agents and publishers, but whatever happens at whatever speed on that front, I'm activating the Discardian community online.

What's that old ad slogan? Something like What can Discardia do for you? 🙂

Let me know. I'm listening.

In the past I've heard people say they'd love daily tips again like I did during 2006. I've started that up with @Discardia on Twitter.

I wouldn't be a Discardian if I didn't know I need to keep from overwhelming anyone, so I'm keeping the volume of tweets down. Quality over quantity, that's the plan. Let me know if you're getting too little or too much. It's been busy on Twitter and Facebook the past few days as I get things going, but I want to steady down to a comfortable pace.

I know everyone isn't on Facebook and that's why I'm going to be working to ensure that any content I create is available to you where you want it, in the format you want it. Posts will be on the website and in Facebook. You'll be able to subscribe to them in a feed reader or by email if you'd rather read them there – though I hope you'll come to the site or Facebook to share your thoughts and ideas!

Tweets will be shown on the website and on the Discardia page wall in Facebook. That means a little redundancy, but they're short and easy to skim over. Or at least that's what I'm hoping. Figuring out how to get things out to people where they like to have them without saying the same thing too many places is going to be a balancing act. Keep giving me feedback and I'll iterate and improve.

Thanks again for celebrating Discardia. I am looking forward to helping everyone have lives they love more and more all the time.

Dinah

Great be-honest-with-yourself reminder from David Allen:

“But, to be exact, with those stacks, you could conceivably be
‘organized.’ It’s all relative—if you truly have decided that fifty
pounds of miscellaneous paper material piled up all around your office
is reflective of what it really means (these are all things that I just
want to feel slightly pressured by but not actually do anything about,
that I want to be able to find in a relatively short period of time, if I
have to), then you’re organized.” (from Productive Living)

Heh. Yeah, I’m not so happy about “feel slightly pressured by but
don’t actually do anything about” in my life.