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A Mom's Guide to Home Organization: Simple Solutions to Control Clutter, Schedules and Stress Paperback – December 20, 2012
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About the Author
Debbie Lillard is a mother of three children and has been a professional organizer since 2003. She has appeared on several episodes of HGTV’s Mission: Organization and on national talk radio shows and has been quoted as an organizational expert in national magazines including Real Simple.
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What I liked about A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization:
This book contains some practical ideas that are simple to implement but would really work. I liked the left to right rule quite a bit. The idea is: you put everything you are working with on your left (such as recipe ingredients) and move them to the right as you are done using them. That way when you get interrupted, you will know where you left off. Other tips are to have a family calendar where you can write everything down so you can track events, budget, etc. and to have activity charts where you can see what is going on at a glance.
This book contains so many lists and I love lists! Such a practical and visual way to organize your needs and plans. I like the simple suggestions to just pay attention to your usual routine and see what you’re using on a regular basis – ensure those items are included on your travel packing list. The suggestions are common sense and straight forward, so are easy to implement and say “oh yea, why didn’t I think of that?”
I also liked the list of chores that kids can do by age, to help them get involved and help with taking care of the household. The stair basket is an idea I’ve been hearing about a lot, and I’m planning on implementing one. I think I’ll decorate another large diaper box or shipment box like I did the DIY toy box to use as the stair basket.
The part on organization is what interested me the most. I liked her CPR approach (Categorize, Purge, and Rearrange). I really struggle with “purge what you don’t need”. I have the “what if” syndrome, and also the “this is too much effort” syndrome. I like to hide things in closets and bins, but purging isn’t easy for me. That is definitely a personal goal I need to work on. I like her lists of “Absolutes of Organizing” because everything on that list makes a lot of sense.
There is a really good chapter on paper, and how long to keep each type of file. I’m usually pretty good at filing things in proper folders in the cabinets, but I don’t go through and purge them. I’ve only done that once – when we moved – because I didn’t want to move that much paper. I did switch every bill I could to electronic “paperless” statements so that I wouldn’t have to deal with filing and keeping more paper, and the bills are automatically debited as well. Less to keep up with is very helpful.
I liked how each section ends with a list of the important points that chapter made. It helps serve as a reminder after reading and are very useful for later review.
What I did not like or agree with in A Mom’s Guide to Home Organization:
This book is clearly intended for stay at home Moms. The schedule for cleaning the house definitely doesn’t work when you are coming home after 7 PM every day. The “solution” for working moms? Hire a cleaner. That is not advice that would convince me to buy a book on organization. I would instead rather see a modified schedule for working moms to tackle on weekends.
I also was not a fan of the new baby section. This book assumes a new baby should be sleeping through the night (from 11 PM to 6 AM) without nightly feeds at 8 weeks. That is terrible advice for breastfeeding mothers and I really don’t think this book should even be giving this kind of medical advice.
I also read "Secrets of an Organized Mom" (Barbara Reich) and found that it was too focused on the mechanical details of organizing clutter. I find that organization is as much mental as it is physical. For real change to occur, it's not just a shelf or some baskets that will fix it! And while some organizing books are a little too philosophical (or even spiritual) about stuff, Lillard's book struck the perfect balance in my opinion.
Most importantly, the book motivated me and inspired me to make small changes that already have translated into more productive and peaceful days! Love it!