Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Favorite Organizing Books

My sister was asking me about my favorite organizing books this week, so I thought I'd put them up here on my blog (and ask for your suggestions, as well).  Honestly, I'm dying to write about all the "real" stuff going on in my life (because I'm learning and growing more than ever before, and I'd like to share it), but our Power of Moms Retreat is this weekend, and I have too much to do between now and then, so for now, here are some thoughts on organizing . . .).

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?

9 comments:

  1. I love half those books too and am excited to read the other half. Great post. Thanks for the tips. Have you read Making It All Work by David Allen? It's in my to read pile. Just wonder what you thought about it.

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  2. Thanks for all the recommendations, April! I checked some out from the library and am excited to read them. Bob was teasing me that, "you know you need to get organized when you can't find your organizing books."

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  3. I feel like I need to read all of these…have any copies lying around that I can borrow? :) I sooo need to get organized!!

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  4. I can't wait to hear what's going on in your "real" life as well. I appreciate these book suggestions. In my pre-M.O.M. life I would have put them all on hold because I wouldn't want to forget about them, been too overwhelmed to read any of them, returned them late to the library and paid a fine. Then I would have forgotten about all of them. Today, however, I am going to put one on hold and the others that I have not read already will be written on my Someday list. If you are excited about them, they are probably going to help me too. Wish I had more to add. Thanks!

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  5. I love Don Aslett's "How to Have a 48-Hour Day." Not every idea works for me, but there are so many true principles in there, it's a must for anyone trying to have more organized TIME. Can't wait to meet you and learn your awesome system on Friday at the retreat!

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  6. I also love Peter Walsh's books, especially "It's All to Much." I wish you would write a book on M.O.M. because David Allen's books are so darn tedious to read and listen to! And that's coming from someone who LOVES organizing books--maybe even more than organizing! :) I keep reading his books because I know there are great nuggets in them, but I find my mind drifting off. . . I love your "translation" of his concepts!

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  7. Thanks for your kind words, Janika. I'm excited to check out Peter Walsh's books. They sound wonderful. It is a dream of mine to work with David Allen and put together a book called "GTD for Moms." Maybe you could send him an email and let him know :) His books ARE great. It's just that he's writing for a different audience. I think moms worldwide would benefit from his wisdom if it's delivered in an easy-to-digest way. Thanks for connecting through my blog!

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  8. I love Don Aslett's "How to Have a 48-Hour Day." Not every idea works for me, but there are so many true principles in there, it's a must for anyone trying to have more organized TIME. Can't wait to meet you and learn your awesome system on Friday at the retreat!

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  9. Thanks for all the recommendations, April! I checked some out from the library and am excited to read them. Bob was teasing me that, "you know you need to get organized when you can't find your organizing books."

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