I really, really, really like organizing. My life is never as organized as I'd like (because I'd like to have everything perfectly clean and beautiful and orderly at all times), but when you are trying to raise a happy family and you don't want to spend your entire life being a cranky perfectionist, you've got to let some things slide.
My motto is, "Clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be happy."
That being said, our whole family functions better when things are organized. Here are the books that have helped me attain a level of organization that enables me to "cook on all burners," as my mom would say.
#1: It's Here . . . Somewhere
I read this book more than 10 years ago, and I still think of it every day. It shows you how to take a cluttered house and turn it into a simplified haven in a few weeks' time. I love it.
#2: Getting Things Done
This is an obvious one, since I based my whole Mind Organization for Moms program on it, but really, David Allen does for your mind what book #1 does for your house. That cluttered mess in your brain becomes a simplified haven. Brilliant.
#3 Sink Reflections
I heard about this one years ago, but I didn't read it until last month, and I am kicking myself for waiting so long. It shows you how to create simple household routines that basically keep the house clean without ever having a big "cleaning day." I've been teaching the steps to my children, and they're all pitching in. Now, when we're together on Saturdays, we can spend the day playing because the house is already clean.
The "Fly Lady" has also taught me to take more breaks during the day and spend time doing things that I enjoy. I LOVE this book.
#4 Organizing from the Inside Out and Never Check Email in the Morning
These are two books by one of my heroes, Julie Morgenstern. She has such a pleasant writing style, and she's helped me learn to organize with my family's habits (and not to force my family to develop new habits just so I can organize the way I like).
For example, I used to make the whole family put their laundry in my closet--right into our laundry sorter. Well, one of my children kept leaving piles of clothes behind the children's bathroom door. I kept getting mad and saying, "They belong in the laundry sorter! Why do you keep shoving them behind the door?"
After reading Organizing from the Inside Out, I decided to try something new. I put a narrow hamper behind the children's bathroom door, and now there aren't any piles of clothes on the floor (and my children are in charge of bringing down/sorting their own laundry). Case solved.
Never Check Email in the Morning is a brilliant book, as well. Morgenstern shows you how to make a time map, spend your best energy on the most important, creative projects, and not get distracted by email, Facebook, etc.
So those are my top picks. Anyone else have a great organizing book to add?