We are talking a lot about organizing this month, and now it's your turn! We want to know: what's your favorite book on organization? Is it pictured above, or something completely different? Add your pick in the comments!
Clockwise, from top left:• Unclutter Your Life in One Week• Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure• The Organized Life: Secrets of an Expert Organizer• Real Simple: The Organized Home
(Images: as linked above)
Books & Media,
On the recommendation of many AT commenters I purchased Karen Kingston's "Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui." It was utter drivel and I would've sent it straight back to Amazon if I had not already pawed through half of it. It is seriously the most worthless book I've ever purchased and I ended up abandoning it at my gym's book swap shelf. A combination of deeply bizarre, The Secret-esque wishful thinking plus making aesthetics a complete non-issue... I can't actually deride it enough so I'll just stop here.I've seen several rave reviews or this book on AT, and I just wanted to put out a contrary opinion.The best guy I've gotten for decluttering my apartment is free. The oft-mentioned FlyLady. If you can get past the tone and the appearance of the website, it's a simple system that really works. You really don't even have to do everything since the system gets quite complicated and not all of it may apply to your life (such as the parts about financial messiness). The biggest takeaway from FlyLady are the how-to's. Like, here is literally step by step how to clean your sink. This is a lifesaver for people like me who quite seriously just didn't know where to start or what to do.
Sorry, by "guy" I meant "guide."
I like Peter Walsh's "It's all too much"It ties in the emotional state to the physical manifestation of the emotional state with all your stuff.
Can someone please recommend which of these books (or any others) are best for the - confession here - lifelong completely un-organized person? I feel like every time I pick up an organizing guide, it's written by someone who's never been messy a day in their life. I'd love to see it from the perspective of someone who used to be like me and now has figured out how to reform their habits. I'm not a hoarder, I'm not psychologically damaged (Peter Walsh seems to make me think I have some sort of disease), I just have a much higher threshold for "OMG I need to clean this up" in my house. I don't NOTICE the clutter until it's WAY out of hand, and by then the cleanup will be an all-day event.
My recommendation is to visit your Public Library and take a look there.
I belong to an awesome online community called the Simple Living Forum. Many fabulous stories and suggestions for simplifying one's life, and for achieving financial health... which I am still working towards!http://www.simplelivingforum.net/
MH11180 - lifelong cluttered person here. FlyLady is not just for cleaning... it really gets down to the clutter in your life. Sorry to sound like such a walking billboard. But the system does help get clutter under control (such as the idea of a "surface clean"). It's really hard to get past the folksy tone, I admit, but at its core the system is very functional and easy to follow. It's definitely great for people who are not inherently neat.
I have a business and blog called re-U. One of the things I help my clients do is clear out clutter and create systems to keep order! I was very interested to read this post. I've read/or looked through the unclutter your life in one week and the Real Simple organization books. I honestly think reading a book is not going to solve all your problems. Sometimes you just need the help of a professional. If you are a naturally unorganized person until you develop systems to keep yourself organized it will be a continuous battle. After reading these comments I'm going to have to give "Fly Lady" another try. I went to her site a while ago after a friend recommended it and I couldn't get past the design. I will look again!
I agree on FlyLady. The tone seems kind of tweaked and the site is amateurish, but just taking what's applicable to my life has made things a lot simpler.
I would check out unclutterer.com which also has a great online community. I also recently bought the book "unclutter your life in one week" that gives you a step by step to unclutter/organize your home/work space and found it helpful.
I used to have a messy cluttered place with hand-me-downs I did'n like that I got from people that wanted to get rid of that stuff while I was too polited to refuse it. Everything else than decorating and homemakinge was more important in that phase of my life. There was allways a job or a paper for the uniservity courses I had to finish, something to organize in my community and so on. I was really sad in my cluttered place and was too afraid to have people over. AT, esp. the book by Maxwell on the cure changed that for me. I love its supporting tone, lots of good hints and examples how to establish an own system of decorating, decluttering and housekeeping. The core idea of ATs books for me is, that I am worth living a a beautyfull, comfy and organized place because I deserve it. This sounds so simple but for me it was a big step to understand that no one else exept me will make me a place I feel home. So I learned via AT books and website to take the responsibility for that part of my life that is called a "home". I tried FlyLady before but I instantly felt back into 8th grade with someone setting up silly roules and games to get me to cleaning an housekeeping. I also tried Karen Kingston but I am too sober to believe in feng shui so this didn't motivate me to get the work done. So I really really recommend Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure to everyone that wants to change habbits and get a home.
I'm fond of Sorted by Lisanne Oliver... she's an Australian professional organiser.I really like the fact that she's divided the book into areas in your home that you need/want to look at. For me it worked well with Apartment Therapy (the book)
Somebody (a fellow reader) on A.T. recently recommended the book "The Fast and Furious 5 Step Organizing Solution: No-Fuss Clutter Control from a Top Professional Organizer". She said that it was the organizing book to end all organizing books. Boy was she right! I used to have a pile of organizing and decluttering books cluttering our bedroom, but I got rid of them all (except for Apartment Therapy, of course) ;), just as soon as I started reading this book. This is all I need. I was able to learn about the various pitfalls that I frequently fall into, and once I read about those and was able to recognize them, I was able to pull myself out of them before falling too far. As a result, my husband and I have done more decluttering, purging, and re-organizing in the two weeks following the purchase of the book, than we have done in a very long time. If ever. That's the other great thing: This is the book that finally inspired my husband, as well! It spoke to him too, and he was able to let go of so many things he has been holding onto for no good reason. I have been able to say to him "Remember this rule in the book? Let's follow that... ", or "You have fallen into pitfall number 2, babe. Remember the book?", etc. And he likes it so much, that as soon as I remind him of the words of wisdom from this author (Susan Pinsky), he says "Yeah, you're right. Let's get rid of it". So we are BOTH getting through the apartment with lightning speed. In only two weeks since having ordered it, our bathroom, our living room, our hallway closet, and our son's closet have been completely reorganized. And we have sent about five boxes of belongings to the local thrift store down the street. We have been recommending it to all of our friends. Many thanks to that reader who first recommended it!
@MH11180 - so true! "Organizing From The Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern is the only organisation book I've seen where the writer seems to have any idea what it's like to be messy/disorganised. She shared some funny examples of her formerly chaotic existence. All the other organising books I've looked at have been full of idiotic tips about colour-coding your purse contents etc. This one talks about dealing with the fact that everything you own is on the floor in heaps. It's not a pretty book with magazine-style photos. But I think it's got some really useful and insightful stuff in it.
@REALLY? - I am going over to B&N to check that one out NOW! I bought "Throw Out Fifty Things" and I found that the best thing I threw out in that exercise was the book itself. I jokingly call Real Simple magazine "Real Shame" because it just gives me an enormous sense of guilt and embarrassment just because I happen to not have a super-low tolerance for things out of their assigned spaces. I think there's hope for me, but the shame tactics might just make me stick my head in the sand until A&E decides to film a Hoarders episode at my house!
Another vote for Julie Morganstern's "Organizing From the Inside Out." I read it years ago, I'm still using her techniques, and they still work. Amazing.
Mom2theMonk- glad you love it, too! I'm the one who mentioned the book earlier! Seriously, everyone: THE FAST AND FURIOUS 5 STEP ORGANIZING SOLUTION. It gets into what is going on inside your head which prevents you from being organized/clutter-free, like no other book I've seen. I think this book is not yet well-known? But it should be! Check it out! Susan C. Pinsky rocks!
Really beat me to it - I just took out Organizing frm the Inside Out frm the library and was shocked that I finally found a book on organizing that acknowledged color coding etc isn't the end all be all for everyone. The key to what she says is that you cannot simply apply a system and expect it to work bc it worked for someone else, rather you first need to find out how you work best and the reasons behind the constant disorganization. From there is where the systems originate. I'm purchasing a copy this weekend and recommend it to anyone who's tired of the same old "find the right storage container" style organizing book.
The ULTIMATE BIBLE on organizing is "What's A Disorganized Person To Do". Practical problem solving and genius solutions for those of us that weren't born with the organizing gene. The author Stacey Platt offers solutions to everyday problems in a very organic way. I keep it out next to my desk because I reference it constantly. It offers help on everything from the junk drawer to cord clutter to how to stack wood properly. Absolutely comprehensive and 100% inspiring/motivating! Her voice is supportive and she makes it seem like anyone can be organized..there is no lecturing and it doesn't indulge in the self-help voice that some other books have. ..I Love it! It has really changed my home and my life.
Simplify Your Life by my friend Marcia RamslandOrganized With Confidence by my friend Elizabeth HagenLiving a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty, and Joy to Every Day of Your Life by my friend Alexandra Stoddard101 Things I Hate About Your House by interior designer James SwanHope you enjoy these books as much as I have!
I remember reading the AT book when it first came out (and re-read it every several months, to go thru the de-cluttering steps). I found it not only inspiring, but also enabling. 'till that point, I had no idea I could get rid of unusable things so I could make room for things I loved instead. It didn't just give me random ideas for organization, but most importantly, it gave me the reason why it was necessary to keep things in a particular order, whichever worked for me, not a cookie-cutter-shop-for-more-organizing-equipment!!!-"answer" (which I think is RealSimple's biggest flaw). It allowed me to come up with solutions of my own to save time, and skip avoidable headaches. In short, it wasn't a decorating book as much as a gateway to high quality living, so I'd recommend it, rather than its high-gloss prop-picture counterparts.
Strongly recommend the newly published Hoarders book by Robin Zasio, host of the TV show (which I've only seen once). This book, which received an excellent review in the NY Times, categorizes hoarding behaviors along a spectrum, and offers excellent advice for those seeking to shift themselves to a more benign point on the spectrum.I was so shocked after reading it that I immediately cleaned out our coat closet.
Got a tip, home tour, or other story our readers should see?