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327 of 328 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2003
I have purchased several books about organizing and getting rid of clutter, and they have all had some good suggestions. However, I never managed to apply the principles in anything except a half-hearted and short-term manner. Thus, I ended up with spaces that had been partially cleared and organized, only to revert to their former clutter and chaos after a few months.
This was no one's fault but my own, of course, but with Smallin's book, it didn't happen that way. She is able to present information and ideas that make sense, but she manages to do it in a way that builds your motivation to actually try it and to stick with it. I guess the best way of putting it is that I never felt overwhelmed, even when things looked very chaotic (as they always do at some point in a re-organization project).
The book is extremely well-suited to reading short sections that will allow you to get started right away. Then, if you need a break from the work itself, or need more suggestions, you can go back to it. Smallin also includes multiple suggestions from other professional organizers, which is very helpful because it gives you more options.
I'm almost finished with a two-week de-cluttering and organization project. In the past, I never could have gone that long without giving up and throwing it all back where it came from. But this time, I kept going back to Smallin's book, and she helped keep me on track. I was even able to use suggestions from books I had read before, such as not buying new storage cases until you have actually done the organizing and know what you need to store.
A major re-organization project is something like a weight-loss regime. You can try to do it the fast and easy way, but it won't last. Or, you can do it slowly and patiently, refining and modifying your plan as you see how it evolves. That's my goal, and with Smallin's book as my guide, I'm confident that it will be possible.
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263 of 265 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2003
Sometimes the problem with clutter and disorganization isn't simply to buy storage and other items at an office supplies store. You could do that endlessly, and end up with lots of RUBBERMAID and STERILITE containers piled up in your garage or closet, and still not make any progress on stopping bad habits that lead to clutter. Smallin touches upon various areas of one's life that all lead to disorganization. In my case, and one that a friend related to for herself, Smallin hit the mark by stating that perfectionists can be the messiest because they keep waiting for the perfect organization plan; it's not that they like the mess, but they don't get started because they haven't come up with the ultimate strategy.
The book is laid out like a magazine and has lots of side-bars to keep you interested. Unlike many self-help books, Smallin isn't selling herself and claiming to make up her own new science. She quotes various other organizing experts in those sidebars, and provides a pretty extensive set of references and links that the reader can follow up with to continue their newly organized ways.
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137 of 137 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book in an attempt to bring some semblance of order into my very messy studio apartment. The author has obviously spent a large amount of time researching her book, with a major theme around decluttering.
With this book's help, I have gotten rid of clothes that no longer fit or were unwearable (what was I thinking?), that third set of dishes I was keeping just incase (I had to feed an army? c'mon), and several beauty products I no longer used.
But perhaps the best thing I've gotten from this book was going through my book case and selling old books I never read or only read once right here on amazon.com. I spent $12 on this book roughly, and so far I've made $80 net on stuff that only gathered dust.
I love this book so much, I don't think it'll have a chance to gather dust.
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92 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2002
This book is written for real people - those of us on the go who want to organize using the (usually limited) space and accessories readily available in our homes. Donna Smallin offers practical solutions for corraling clutter and organizing everything from decor, gadgets, clothes, linens, papers and toys on a room-by-room basis. No need to purchase expensive closet organizers or remodel your home for the sake of storage - this book offers tips on making room for everyday items in places that already exist. The author is a big proponent - as am I - of getting rid of useless junk, so packrats beware! The book is written clearly and concisely, with well-organized (of course!) paragraphs, sidebars and chapters that make it easy to find the information you're looking for quickly. A perfect book for anyone wishing they were more organized but don't know where to start.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2005
this book offers a lot of sound advice and cost saving/ time saving tips. i like it because you don't have to do all of your organization at once-- you can do it at your own pace. she covers a lot of topics-- memorabilia, finance, travel, kitchen, bedroom, etc. it's a great reference and good to read.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2002
I was so pleased and thrilled to have read this book. The author covers more topics than I have ever seen in a book on this topic. It is well-written, easy to read and simple to follow. The tips are so practical and there is more than one solution provided for each issue. This is so helpful because the readers now have choices about which solution will fit them best.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to supplement their organizing knowlege, get started getting organized, or improve their current level of organization.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2005
Seduced by the attractive cover and positive reviews, I bought this book. Don't fall into the same trap! The intro chapter was somewhat useful, but the rest of it was thin and seemed like nothing more than a compendium of tips compiled from the likes of Real Simple. At the same time I purchased this, I also bought The Organizing Sourcebook, which I recommend without hestitation.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2004
What a book! It shows you so many way to get things in order. She makes you feel like it is so easy to be organized. It won't make you feel like it this huge job that needs to get done. The one statement from the book was, to have boxes set around you (labeled)and just sort the things you want to keep, and get rid the rest. Its such an easy thing to do.But when you need to get organized you just forget. Some of the organizing tips that didn't pretane to me. I just passed it on to my girls friends. Such as traveling with infants.

Any sorting job you may have from small to big, this is the book. The office section was one part that I read 3 times because it was filled with so many good ideas. I just had to read it again. The section on cleaning solutions was great also, I am always buying either too much or to little. This book helps you to define everything. I give the writer a 6 for this book, but the scoring doesn't go that high. Since this book was so good. I bought another one and bought all of her other books. Can't wait for the shippment!!!! Super Job
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This shows the importance of finding self-help books that suit your personal needs. Someone who lives alone in an apartment will have different problems from someone who lives in a McMansion with five kids and three dogs. I'm always on the lookout for organizing and decluttering books and my place is always a mess. Fighting clutter is a never ending battle. However, while this may be a great book for some people, it wasn't tailored to what I needed. I feel overwhelmed by it. I don't need to know how to pack for a vacation or organize a move, for example. I'm good at those things. I don't need to know how to run a garage sale (not in this area). I don't need to know how to invest or pay bills or buy things on sale. What I need to do is keep the clutter at home under control without spending a fortune doing it. The book does have some good parts, but I'd say about 50% was useful to me. This doesn't mean I think the author did a poor job or that this book won't be a valuable resource to the next person. I did get it on sale, but I'll warn you that these books need to be carefully selected.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2006
I really like this book. I keep it in my home office as a reference. I love the way it's organized by room and topic. This book contains great time saving ideas and quick do-it-yourself projects to save money on organizing systems.

My favorite is creating a magazine/ catalog box out of a cereal box. I have been able to turn my ugly stacks of magazines and mail-order catalogs into a visually pleasant shelf in my home office.
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