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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At last! This is the "getting organized" book for all those of us who have tried many other books and methods only to eventually fall back into our old disorderly habits. This book goes beyond treating the symptoms and gets to the real heart of the matter. Dr. Paul speaks from personal experience as she helps her readers see clearly how chronic disorganization is ultimately a betrayal of our integrity, dignity and responsibility; how it drains our self-confidence and damages our most important relationships. With humor and compassion, she makes getting organized an exciting journey of self-discovery. This is the first book I've read on the topic that deeply energized and inspired me. I couldn't put it down! For the first time, I really felt understood by an author on this topic. I have already given this book as a gift to friends and colleagues. It's a brilliant one-of-a-kind effort that I keep close by wherever I go.
This book is unique in exposing the deeper "why's" of disorganization. With her seven-step model, Marilyn Paul offers an intensely practical and easy-to-follow roadmap to transforming chaos into order. She offers a means to live powerfully with ease and calm. The first step on the path is to define one's "compelling purpose for organizing" ; the secret to staying motivated while patiently reversing years of disorderly habits. Next, she helps the reader vividly imagine how life would be if you were living that purpose right now. Then "taking stock" not only diagnoses the physical symptoms of disorder but helps the reader uncover the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels that are key to lasting and comprehensive change. The next step on setting up a support system of colleagues, friends and family is a practical method to ensure on-going success. The heart of the book on organizing wisdom includes how to establish a disciplined "rhythm of organizing" as a new normal in one's life. The notion of "getting to ready" is worth the price of the book on its own. The step on "taking effective action" is chock full of specific ideas for mastering space, time and activities. Then, in the last step, Dr. Paul illustrates how combining spiritual practices such as meditation with organizational methods opens a door to deeper awareness and increased personal presence that leave us fully available for whatever life may offer. With all her ideas, Dr. Paul offers specific applications to such venues as home, office, and company or organization.
For those readers who are tempted to just skim the mother lode of tips and techniques in the book, I say "don't"! I recommend taking the time to follow the seven step path she lays out and complete the exercises throughout each step. I found her model to be deeply grounded in wisdom about the essential nature of human beings and her exercises had me in action with new habits that led me to new ways of thinking. This is a book that has had a major impact on my everyday life. Thank you, Marilyn Paul!
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
I ran across this when I used to work in a bookstore. You know who you are, all of you out there who never met a book they didn't like...that's me. As a result, I have a LOT of books and all the stuff that goes along with being a booklover---periodicals, notebooks full of my memoirs, you name it. I saw a PBS show on hoarders, those unlucky people mired in their possessions, unable to break the spell of "stuff", and it began to eat at me: could I be a hoarder of books? Well, further in, I decided I wasn't. (If you can't psychologize yourself, nobody can! Besides, what better rainy-day reading is better than the DSM?)

Anyway, I was hoping this wouldn't be one of the "file recipes under the blue tag, and do it all the time" breed of books, which I HATE. The preachy-sniffy-better-than-you organizational mavens out there, give getting your stuff in order a bad name! Kind of like the time management guy that says, "Well, leave on time to arrive on time." Makes me want to gnash my teeth and howl. I used to just look at all my stuff and decide getting it all in some kind of order was just too much for me, so I'd better go to the movies instead.

I made this author my BF immediately after learning she and I shared WAY too many quirks, even down to paying a professional organizer hard-earned bucks only to have them return the next week, and scowl at you for the clutter that came creeping back. Marilyn Paul is my TRIBE. She understands how it is. She gets it. Her invitation for you to examine why you make mess brought my motivations into clear focus. Her book really helped me to understand how I am benignly sabotaging my deep-down desire to live a less complicated life. Getting organized for me doesn't mean everything is off my desk or floor, and that's why her method can work for probably anybody who wants to give it a try. It's a flexible, free-flowing way of living your life that meshes with your personality and proclivities. Your sense of being in order is different from anyone else's and there is no one scheme of organizing that works for everybody. I like that.
Simply put, you and your stuff are at peace and in harmony. And you can give up the idea that your stuff is your enemy.

It's been about a year, now, and with a few relapses (it's a lifetime disorder, in that you must be vigilant lest it rear its ugly snout again) I'm constantly and pleasantly surprised at all the side benefits of getting my stuff straight. I get places on time, without all the drama and stomach-churning anxiety associated with missing appointments and deadlines. My bills and finances are in much better shape, not perfect, but we're getting there. It's a journey, understand? Even relationships, in that you quit disappointing people you don't mean to, are working more smoothly.

It feels well and truly good. I can stop living as though I'm under the gun and in the crosshairs. I guess it was the feeling of being constantly under siege and out of control, that drove me to understand what was going on with me. Nobody is making these messes but me, and nobody is going to clean it up if I don't. And if I want to live in nice clutter-free surroundings that will make my life easier, then I need to do what that takes. Tiny little realization, huge results. It's wonderful being able to put your hands right on something you need in a hurry, rather than spend sweaty-palmed, gut-wrenching minutes or hours plowing through all your crap to find whatever it is, without even knowing whether you will EVER find it...and what to do if you can't. That is one of the worst parts to have to live with. Did you just stop looking too soon, or is it really in that pile on the closet floor? Come to think of it, did I pay the light bill this month yet? What did I do with it? Nothing feels worse than not being able to return something because you lost the receipt somewhere in your house. Not being able to prove you own something when it needs repair. A waste of money, your time, and your life!

It's a wonderful feeling to be free of that high-key panic all the time. It is. Heavenly choruses from the golden clouds will be yours to enjoy when you put Paul's methods to work for you. The feeling of easy accomplishment is reinforced every time you realize how much more harmonious and peaceful life has become since you learned to quit making messes everywhere you are.

Give this book a try. It gives you a new approach to gaining control over your possessions, your time, your relationships, and without exaggerating (who, me?) lots of disparate pieces of your life. Look forward to the change and watching your life knit back together again.
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59 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Paul sets out what looks like a good system for slowly organizing your life, one area at a time. However, in reading this book, I discovered that I currently lack enough motivation to get so organized. Paul's system requires that you make organization a major priority in your life, at least for the period of time when you are training yourself to be organized. If you are not ready to devote significant time and effort to becoming organized, I don't think this book will help.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2005
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have been frustrated for decades by my messy desk. I tried numerous recommended tactics to manage it, but none worked---until this book! I have finally conquered the monster by following the wise and supportive guidance given by the author. I have purchased copies of this book for many friends and they love it too. I cannot recommend it highly enough for those who feel disorganized around time, space or "stuff". It's great to finally be able to use my desk as I have always wanted to. My desk is at last a source of pleasure instead of a pain--which is handy since I work at it so many hours every day! This approach really works!!! I am extremely grateful to this author and recommend the book most highly.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I would call this the thinking person's guide to getting organized. I was delighted by the intelligence and breadth of this approach. And, I am actually reading the book. I often buy self-help books, and then I don't read them. I am reading this every day and it is changing my life. I find good sense and inspiration on every page. I highly recommend it.
Five stars!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2004
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book goes way beyond just 'getting organized' and helps you get insight into how your mind works. I hit my first revelation before the author had even introduced her first exercise, and they just kept coming. There are several elements to this book I never expected in a book on organization, including effective time management and spirituality.

I bought my copy in a used bookstore, but this book is so good I'm ordering copies for my friends, family, coworkers, minister...
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
What a fabulous book! I have read many books on how to get organized. Each time I would follow (or at least try to follow)the steps that were supposed to clear up the clutter in my life. Shortly thereafter, however, the clutter would return. This is the first book on organizing that really helped me understand what the root causes of disorganization are, rather than focusing solely on the symptom of clutter. Using the tools and messages of this book I have started to change my habits and am now getting more satisfying and lasting results. Marilyn Paul has a wonderful writing style that is easy to read, and almost soothing. Her tone is non-judgemental and empathetic. She has a true understanding of the organizational issues many of us face. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants less clutter of any kind in their life.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is a roadmap for getting out of the woods and finding your life again. Practical, funny, and written from the heart, Marilyn Paul writes right to the reader. She understands the problems the reader faces, because she's lived most of them herself. This book is not written as a guru teaching a student, but as a friend coaching a friend and helping them uncover their true potential under the piles of stuff!
Read it, follow the tips and actions, and you will see an improvement in your life. P.S. More fun and energy, too!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Drawing on the four areas of development (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual), the author focuses on WHY people are unorganized. The book is not as focused on practical steps to become organized, but does give an excellent overview on the path towards understanding. If you want a more specific, skills-based approach, this isn't the book for you. On the other hand, if you want to learn why you're not organized (in ANY area of your life, not just housework!), then this is a good tool.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
The author knew all of my weaknesses in organizing my life and she had all the answers on how to correct them.This book will save me two hours a day for the rest of my life.You really feel like you accomplished something after you start practicing these techniques.
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