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The Beverly Hills Organizer's Home Organizing Bible: A Pro's Answers to Your Organizing Prayers Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2005
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I've read a lot of organizing/housework/simplifying books over the years (my review history here on Amazon proves that!) It's a bit of an obsession of mine. I've watched all the organizing shows on TV out there. While not a complete cheapskate, I love stretching a dollar & I despise waste. I've gone out of my way to de-paper my home as much as possible, put everything in electronic (as opposed to real space) storage as possible, and I'm not overwhelmed w/ lots of furniture, clothes, shoes, etc. I'm relatively minimalist, especially by modern female standards. I own three pairs of shoes, for example- all right, and one pair of winter boots! So I really argued w/ myself about buying this book. After all, I was "already organized", and most people consider me to be of the rather "Type A" approach regarding my home (which isn't always a plus). So I wasn't sure if I needed the book at all. But I DID get a lot out of this book, hence, why I think I should give it a review (& maybe even a little defense).
Some books are great at telling you how to simplify your life & purge your crap. Some are great at teaching you how to sort it out, donate some, give away some & keep some of it. Some are great at teaching the building of habits, like doing the dishes every night. Some are great at teaching us what our organizing/learning style is (visual, audio, etc.) Some are great at teaching how to clean a house weekly, monthly, quarterly & yearly. Some discuss technology organization & maintenance well. However, I've never found the one book that is "the bible" of organizing, decorating & housework, and this is not that bible, either. BUT I have to give it kudos, because it was FINALLY the book that helped me get what I DO have left in my life properly stored in a really lovely, liveable way. THAT was where I was struggling. I couldn't figure out why some areas just caused me perpetual headaches, since I don't live in an itty-bitty home, even my wooden drawers throughout the home aren't messy (I even have some that are entirely empty), my closets weren't in shambles, etc. I live in a modern home, and have enough storage. But I was so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of all the options sold these days by a variety of companies, to get one organized, that I'd minimized my permanent solutions too much, out of fear that I'd buy the wrong thing. But the author manages to spells out, room-by-room, space-by-space, product-by-product, just how to organize every drawer, shelf, closet & room in the home. She even breaks it down by type of closet, and I mean down to how the original design (depending on the decade built) will determine what you can do with the space. I was REALLY impressed by that. She did a terrific job of balancing photographic visuals with written instructions in the book, and action items are alternated with things one should just think on.
Some areas- attic, garage, basement- weren't applicable to my apartment-based lifestyle. Yet there were some areas that I THOUGHT I was already organized in, but once I read, looked & measured, I realized I really wasn't. Hence, my headaches. This included my coat closet (not a total disaster before, but the floor definitely was being overused, and the items other than coats weren't easily accessible), my own bedroom closet (I wasn't storing shoes or linens very well, and again, I had more on the floor than I should have), my home office closet (same problems- now that I'm writing this, I see my pattern!) & my living room was my real Achilles heel. I'm quite tidy- my housemate, however, is not. I had sort of put my blinders on & said "their clutter is theirs, and I'm not trying to organize it anymore", in order not to drive myself bonkers. But, frankly, it was a continual eyesore, there ARE storage solutions for my messy mate (a remote control caddy, end tables w/ plenty of shelves for reading material, and even more helped solve long-term issues simply), and their pile WAS still irritating me, underneath it all. It also made it harder for me to clean that room, so I often just dusted or vacuumed around the clutter, instead of unearthing the table/chair/etc. underneath to deep-clean. Whenever I attempted to de-clutter, file, and store my housemate's stuff before, it ended up looking like a tornado hit again in no time. But that really wasn't their fault- the living room just wasn't set up properly for their storage needs, and they truly never were taught any organizational skills. Linda made me face that little fire in my home, and though I'm putting out some $ to furnish areas where those items can now be stored (they aren't items that can be thrown out), it is working out, and it's all staying worked out. Because my housemate doesn't share my neat-freak ways, and is a piler, not a filer, I'd truly given up on ever permanently organizing their stuff. Thank you, Linda, for showing me what products work for this type of person. Now, my housemate can still find their stuff (their chief complaint when I de-cluttered them before was that I made their things un-findable), but it's orderly enough now to please even me. As this clutter catastrophe has been the source of some very heated battles on the homefront in the past, I'm really glad I read this book, for this aspect alone.
My kitchen was decently arranged before, but Linda's tips of little refinements, and her vast knowledge of organizing products (like what you can find at The Container Store) really clued me in on how to maximize the space even better. I'm not changing WHERE I'm storing items, in this case, but HOW they're be stored. I got some inches & even whole feet back in my pantry & cabinet shelves, and since I don't have a ton of space, I'm grateful for that. Ex.- I bought a kitchen-wrap organzier for my pantry (no more of them falling over, my towers of six or seven wraps crashing down) & a bakeware rack for my sheet pans (simple, yes; thought of before, no). She really makes me think about using wall & door space properly for storage, too. I had my saint of a handyman lower my laundry room shelving by 10", and this made a gigantic difference in ease of use for me & my housemate- before, they were way too high to use or clean easily. I only wish I'd thought to ask him about this years ago! This sounds really simplistic on paper, but if you read the book you'll be amazed at how "basic" information ends up transforming your home in the most astonishing & unheard-of ways. I now realize that even if I owned double what I do now, I could still make it fit neatly, if absolutely necessary. This is an important life skill to learn, and I'm really proud to have nailed it.
The other big-deal thing that I learned from her is how to properly fold items & put them on shelves or in drawers so that they not only look neater & can find them more easily, but so that I can fit more in the alloted space. And now items aren't falling down on me from closet shelves. For example, in my mother's linen closet, I refolded all of the linens "the Linda way". For once, everything fit in beautifully (my mother has a lot of linens, especially towels & washcloths). I also sorted by category & designated items to specific spots on specific shelves for good. Every time they come out of the dryer to get put away, they always get put back in the same spot. What a blessing that is! Not only that, but I realized that she had way too many old towels kept around (to mop up larger household spills, throw over hot leather car seats in summer, to put in the cat carrier to make it more comfy for kitty, etc.) Before re-folding & assigning these items their own space, I had no idea that she had too much of this one category. With Linda's system, you can see at a glance EXACTLY how much of any type of item you have. It also makes it easier to keep like-with-like items together (washcloths, sheet sets, socks, et al.)
The one drawback to this approach is that it often takes $ to execute properly. Now, one can do this on the cheap- by making sure you've REALLY de-cluttered down to what you absolutely need to store, followed her instructions for first putting things away more neatly, measuring carefully so that you aren't buying anything that won't fit or work for what you'll be storing (and where it'll be), using what you already have first- maybe just in a different way- and buying stuff that's needed only when it goes on sale or clearance. If one budgets their storage purchases, prioritizing by room, person, shelf, etc., which area is most important to organize first, that helps. One also has to realize that organizing is a lifelong journey, just like working out or paying bills. But for those who are really on a simplicity quest- and are determined not to buy new things, including storage "gadgets"- they will probably be turned off by this book. If you aren't handy with a cordless drill, this book may seem intimidating, too. I personally suck at using power tools, but I'm determined to learn & work with what I can, when I can. And she says she's the "Beverly Hills Organizer"...well, expect then that she approaches things with cost not being much of a factor to getting your house in order. She also assumes that you have a basic knowledge of drilling, leveling, building- and well, as a woman who doesn't know one wrench from another, I can definitely say I don't have the expertise she expects! However, while her way is not the ONLY way, it is an attractive way, and it's kind of a fun approach (if time-consuming). If you have money, time & patience to put into it, I can say that it does work. Hope this helps!
That is so me. I never know where I put anything. This book has showed me where I have been going wrong all my life. So many times you ask yourself when cleaning "where do I begin?" This book tackles organization room by room. Giving you step by step directions to get everything in order.
I like this book more than a lot of other books because it is short on all of that motivational mumbo jumbo. You get right to work with this book. I have already begun doing my daughters drawers. Before I could never understand why clothes could never fit in the drawer and were hanging out. I just figured I wasn't organized as I should be or something. Without even completing all of the steps I can see that all of our stuff will fit now. I haven't even considered purging any of our stuff yet and I am already getting nearly twice as much space in her drawers as before. I am really excited right now, I cannot wait to be able to get all of my "tools"(as she calls them) and complete some of these projects.
People should learn this when growing up. I wish my mother had taught me many of these tips and tricks. I will teach this to my daughter. The way we have been taught as kids is obviously not working anymore. We have much more stuff now.
I've also used this as a guide to organizing my disaster supplies. I think organizing is one of the most important aspects of getting prepared for a disaster and I am so glad I have this book to help me.
Author of How to Get Prepared for a Disaster in 7 Days: The Beginners Guide to Complete Disaster Preparedness and Survival