791 of 804 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2000
If you aren't really fed up with the clutter in your house, or aren't really tired of buying things over and over again because you've lost the item 2 or 3 times in your own house, or don't mind being late to everything. Then don't buy this book. I got fed up. And the book worked a life changing miracle for me. However, I was so pleased with the changes, I told my mom to read it. Because, I just knew it would just make her life so much better. But organizing her home isn't a priority for her. So therefore she read it and it didn't appeal to her one bit. So if you say, "I want an organized home, but I want it to take 15 minutes." Then this book is no good for you. And you must go on with the way things are. If you say, "I have had it, I am ready to light a match to my house and just start over." Then quick read this book. I actually enjoyed the process of organizing my home. And now when I go into ANY room or closet, I just want to sit and stare at all the neatly deliberatly placed items. Everything has a home. Picking up in the evenings takes no time at all and with absolutely no effort. Before I read this book, I never wanted to go in my bedroom. It was impossible to rest in that room, because the piles of clutter was so overwhelming. Now I can finally use the bedroom for what it was intended: rest and relaxation.
252 of 259 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2000
I bought this book in desperation & have been using it over the past 2 months, going slowly room by room (started with my garage, which took me 5 days!). It is such a joy to open a cupboard or a drawer and find exactly what I need exactly where it should be. And I'm a star at Goodwill now that the closets are cleared out- boxes & boxes of "stuff" is gone and it feels wonderful! This approach works so much better than the myriad other "systems" I've used in the past to get organized. I now have time for myself and my life without frustrating searches for anything.
303 of 314 people found the following review helpful
This currently popular 262 page softbound volume really can help ANYONE become better organized for a better life. This was recommended to me by a friend, but I was doubtful that it could help. The other books I read on this subject didn't do the job for me. I was pleasantly surprised that by followingMs. Morgenstern's recommendations I really am able to put some organization into the clutter that I've learned to live with. She explains systems to use, without the need for all of the store bought gadgets I've tried in the past. By following her simple steps you really CAN get your stuff in order and become more productive with better use of your time. Her Three Step System is useful at home or work, and can be used by anyone, regardless of their level of clutter. The time frames that she presents helps you get started and motivated to carry the tips on to completion. You'll learn why you feel disorganized and why now is the time to act to aleviate it once and for all. It's probably not your fault that you've always been disorganized. All you really need is the expert advice offered in this book to get you onto a better more organized work and home life. Her simple philosophy is SPACE. Mainly sort, purge, assign a home, containerize, equalize. No magic or gimicks, just sound, tried and tested advice. Well worth reading.
177 of 181 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 1999
I bought this book about two months ago, and decided to wait on giving it a review, to see if the ideas in the book would work for me over time. I had lived in extreme clutter my whole life -- with paper, books, clean clothes, dirty clothes, old pizza boxes, empty soda cans, you name it -- all over the floor, all over the tables, all over the furniture, all the time. It was so messy that I was embarrassed to invite anyone over for quite some time, and I was convinced it was impossible for me to clean everything up, let alone prevent myself from creating further clutter.
But after reading this book, I got the motivation to get organized, and (finally) learned how to get organized in a way that works for me. And two months later, I'm still organized! I don't have to take time to clean up my messes because I simply don't create them anymore. I have more space now than I know what to do with. And I really don't do things much differently than I used to -- that's the most surprising part of all.
I recommend this book about as highly as I've ever recommended anything. It may sound cliche, but if it can work for me, trust me, it can work for ANYONE!
87 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2000
Morgenstern has a different approach than most authors who write books about getting organized. She divides the book into four sections: Laying the Foundation, Secrets of a Professional Organizer, Applying what You've Learned, and Tackling Time & Technology. Sounds ordinary, but the first section is priceless. And, throughout the book she includes textboxes of "insiders tips" and "avoiding common pitfalls."
Many of us try hard to be organized and end up cluttering our house with organizing books, baskets, filing cabinets, and other gadgets. We get our house almost organized, yet find there's one room or task we just can't do. Are we sabotaging ourselves?
Yes, according to Morgenstern. She quotes, "You can't fix it till you know what's broken" and explains that until you know why you stray toward disorganization, you will never master it. Psychological obstacles are one of three factors in clutter, according to Morgenstern (the other two are errors in your "organizing system" and external realities. But she deals with the psychological aspect in a brisk, energizing chapter that actually motivates you.
Her actual organizational tips revolve around three essential steps: 1. Analyze (evaluate your current situation and what's not working.) 2. Strategize (Create plan and realistic estimate of how long it will take.) 3. Attack (Dive into the work.)
The Analyze and Strategize sections are actually very useful and are easy to tackle. You will need a notebook, and will go from room to room answering 5 questions: What's working? What's not working? What items are most essential to you? Why do you want to get organized? (i.e., in the kitchen the answer might be - stop wasting money on duplicate purchases), and What's causing the problem. She advocates creating zones in each room. Again, a kitchen example might be: food prep zone (counter space between sink/fridge), daily cooking zone (build around oven and cooktop), daily dishes zone, food serving zone, and food storage zone. You'll learn to store items for each zone near that zone. No sense keeping dishes in cabinets near the food prep zone and corningware near the dishwasher zone.
Once you get a solid grasp on the three steps, you can take your notebook through the house and quickly identify what needs to be done, room by room.
While this isn't a "organize your house in one hour" kind of book, it also doesn't bog you down. The essentials are basic and what I've listed above, and they help you get the prep work out of the way while setting a solid foundation for you to tackle the clutter.
You will see a real transformation of your house - or of whatever rooms you attack. It's not just a matter of "cleaning" them. You will turn them into efficient workcenters.
110 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2000
I'd like to start off saying that this book is very practical and makes a lot of sense. It makes me keep saying to myself "Now why didn't I think of that?". After using the plan for a while, I have found that my thinking is more hopeful and logical.
Be prepared to work and give yourself plenty of time. One of the statements in the book says it can take up to 12 hours to sort each item in a room (and that's only one room). And that's only one part of the process! This is true but that's a lot of tedious work. Pace yourself and set realistic goals to finish. I've only done one room so far. Keep in mind also to budget if you have to buy containers for each room you tackle.
I've only done one room and I can see that it will take a while to get through the whole house. I'm now starting my second room. The first room is a real motivator because I thought it was hopeless.
It's a great book and lots of luck. I think it's worth the effort.
184 of 193 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 1999
Why didn't anyone think of this before? It seems so obvious. Organization is not something grafted onto your life from the outside--it's a personal issue. If you want to get organized, look to yourself--your needs, your habits, what works (or doesn't work) for you. Once you've dealt with those issues, build a strategy that fits your needs and personal style. Julie's book is a user-friendly, quick and easy read--she guides you step-by-step with the grace and good humor of a friend who understands and is there to help. Parts I and II are essential reading and set the foundation; in Part III you read only what applies to your situation. Simple! Throughout there are hundreds of excellent tips--and they actually work! One of the great things about the book is this: not only did I get organized but in the process discovered a lot about myself and, surprisingly, the strategy for organizing my office became available to me as a resource in all areas of my life! Ignore the internet graffiti from "readers" from Maine and Colorado--these schlemiels didn't even read the book! For those who take their needs seriously, get this book. It's a gift. Thanks Julie.
108 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2000
This is the first organizing book that actually took me to the underlying reasons that I was disorganized and allowed me to create the INNER changes necessary to affect outer changes. (For more on structure and change, read Robert Fritz' Path of Least Resistance--excellent!) This book is far beyond the other organizing books out there. My only critique is the somewhat dense layout of this book makes it kind of difficult to just sit down and read...perhaps a re-design of the book in a more visually and informationally assimalable format would make it a more pleasant and easier read. But overall, a great book that will help you reclaim your life.
72 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2000
Like many of us, I have lived for years by the motto "A Neat Desk Is The Sign Of An Empty Mind." I was proud of my mess, darn it! It showed that I had something going on in my life. And as for my home? Well, it was _lived in_.
The truth is that I was scared. Bringing order to my life and environment seemed like a daunting task. I had no _plan_ for getting organized. If you're disorganized to begin with, how the heck are you supposed to get organized enough to organize yourself?
Julie Morgenstern may not help you structure a fortune 500 company, but she sure will help you find the blueprints you need to get your act together. Organizing From The Inside Out helped me understand:
1. What my problems were
2. What could be done to address each one of them
3. How to take everything I'd learned and turn it into a strategy.
Am I 100% neat and orderly today? No. I think that takes a particular personality type. But if, like me, you've always been "the messy one", I think this book will really help you find the cleanliness (hey, it's next to godliness!) that you've been after.
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2003
This joint effort between organization guru Julie Morgenstern and her daughter, Jessi, is really a valuable read for teens. So many teenage boys and girls feel like their life is out of control and for many of them this manifests itself in the feeling that they can't find things, they don't have enough time in the day, that "stuff" is taking over. "Organizing from the Inside Out for Teenagers" accomplishes what the adult version does - it takes you through steps in order to evaluate what's important in your life and then helps you develop a system that works for you (giving you some non-binding advice about what has often worked for other people).
I think my only criticism of this book is that it really assumes that readers come from comfortable economic backgrounds where parents with ready cash can go out and buy containers or certain items to help teens organize themselves. While I'm sure any parent with the money will cheerfully buy anything their teen feels will help organize them, many young men and women do not have the financial means to accomplish these goals and will have to stick to the less expensive suggestions. Overall though, an excellent book that will have positive impact in multiple areas of your life should you implement the suggestions and get control over your stuff rather than it having control over you.