The clutter! The disarray!

While our daughter was home from graduate school this summer for a debilitating knee surgery, her room and, I’ll admit, parts of the whole house became cluttered and disorganized. It came to a climax when our house cleaners actually quit because of “the clutter!” and “the disarray!”

This was quite a shock to yours truly as I spend my life, it seems, picking up that house. I’ll admit that I like order so much (and what librarian doesn’t?) that I recently spent a lovely evening organizing our linen closet. I just wish that I had a ‘flip and fold’!

I like to believe that I’m not as obsessive or as compulsive as Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Do you remember this episode when Sheldon can’t refrain from cleaning Penny’s apartment in the middle of the night?

Now that our sweet domestic cyclone has returned to school, I can get back to being orderly and organized. But how? Naturally, I turned to the library for help and inspiration. Here are some of our great books on organizing your home and life.

The Easy Organizer: 365 Tips for Conquering Clutter by Marily Bohn is a fantastic little book. If you’d like an organized (ha!) book about organizing, this is the title for you! This is a ‘nibbler’ book; you can pick it up and read a little at random. It’s bursting with ideas to get organized. Some tips are the kind that make you want to slap yourself on the forehead for not thinking of them yourself.

200 Tips for De-Cluttering by Daniela Santos Quartino is a hefty little coffee table book full of photos of orderly and organized spaces. Look at this book as pure inspiration. This is what your home would look like if you didn’t live in it and had no clutter (or life). Still, we all need something to aspire to and the tips are basic Rule number one in the kitchen is to keep everything near the area where it is used.

Home Organizing &Closet Makeovers is from Sunset Magazine and is not only beautiful, but is also chock full of real world advice and solutions. This book shows you how to tackle each room and every closet, finding great organizing and storage solutions at every turn. There are a lot of great tips on each page next to numerous bright and colorful photos.

Secrets of an Organized Mom by Barbara Reich. The title says it all. Everything in this new book, from the basic ten commandments of organizing to the Easy-Does-It Mantras at the end, is so logical and creative. This book isn’t just for moms, but for anyone wanting an organized and functional living space. Two thumbs up!

The 8 Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds has a very appealing premise: You can do something to organize your life in eight minutes. This is the organizing book for the busy person and who isn’t busy these days? I haven’t had time to read it all, but I’ll give it eight minutes per day and get back to you.

Next up is a title from Lauri Ward who specializes in books on decorating with what you already have – without purchasing new items. Downsizing Your Home with Style is a good source for decorating ideas for small spaces. Her before and after photos are super informative and the highlighted tips are both creative and on the money. This is simply a fun book to read since the solutions seem so easy and yet powerful.

If you’re the type of person who just can’t get rid of all of that good stuff which some people call clutter, this next book is for you. Realsimple 869 New Uses for Old Things shows you how to use that lint roller in a couple of new ways. If an item is useful, it’s not clutter, right? If you love Realsimple magazine, you’re sure to enjoy this book.

After reading all of the above books, you may be ready for: How to Start a Home-Based Professional Organizing Business by Dawn Noble. The back cover claims that: From estimating start-up costs and finding clients to how to stay profitable even in slow economic climates, this book takes you through every aspect of setting up and running a thriving home-based professional organizing business.

If you must attack your linen closet right now without the help of these books, I’ll post some tips gleaned from them. These may help you stay organized:

  • One in, one out. Come home with a new package of socks? Get rid of all the old ones with holes. A new toy for junior? Donate an old one that he doesn’t play with any longer. Assuming you already own enough (or too many) things, you can stay on top of clutter by disposing of the old when you bring home the new.
  • Have a place for donations. And visit the thrift store often to drop them off. Things sitting around the house waiting to be donated have a way of never actually getting donated.
  • Label things. It keeps you accountable for your own organizing. If there’s a basket on the counter with no label, it’ll soon hold keys, buttons, or legos. If it’s labeled ‘mail’, there’s a good chance that it’ll actually contain mail.
  • Have less stuff than you have room for. A great sale at the grocery store shouldn’t throw your pantry into disarray. But, I’ll admit, this one is a toughie.

I’ll leave you now, armed with these great organizing books and ready for the simple life, because I have a hot date with my pantry.

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

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