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Random Advice That Never Confronts Real Organizational Challenges
on March 8, 2008
If you were able to follow the dozens of random tips in this book, you would probably enjoy a more organized life. On the other hand, if you are able to follow the tips in this book, you probably already have a well-organized life. For example, the author suggests several solutions for dealing with children's artwork, including mailing special items to grandparents, "...What you've chosen ... should be sent on its way quickly. A personal note on the back or a signature makes it that much more special." The assumption here is that one has packing tape, mailing tubes, address labels and suitable note paper readily at hand and that one has a system for remembering to take packages to the post office when one is headed in that direction.
A more ludicrous suggestion involves the "paper exchange," which entails setting up a filing system on one's kitchen desk so that children can file their school announcements and permission slips each afternoon; a parent then reviews these papers in the evening, signs any necessary paperwork and returns the forms to the children's backpacks. I could expend several hundred words picking apart the unrealistic assumptions underlying this proposal; instead, Dear Reader, I leave it to your imagination to consider whether this program could be easily implemented in your household. If it could and you haven't thought of it yet, perhaps The Organized Life is for you.
To her credit, Ms Denton does include some suggestions that are useful to those of us whose dispositions make us susceptible to clutter. She devote several pages (p. 100, p. 150) to ideas for reducing clutter and analyzing whether an item really needs to be stored or could better be discarded. She warns of the perils of accumulating needless toiletries. She tells an inspiring anecdote about a man who maintains a clean basement by regularly removing anything he could replace for less than $5 because he recognizes that the benefits of a clean basement outweigh the risk that he might someday havie to spend a small sum on replacement items.
In short, Ms Denton's attractive little book with its brightly colored pages and easy-to-read typography makes a diverting browse for someone who enjoys domestic organizational tasks. It is unlikely to provide any transformative guidance to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free of their own wretched refuse and teeming to-do lists.