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Organize This! Practical Tips, Green Ideas, and Ruminations about your CRAP (Volume 1) Paperback – April 12, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Vali G. Heist, M.Ed. is a Certified Professional Organizer and Owner of The Clutter Crew in Mohnton, Pennsylvania. Vali lives with her husband Bob, two Jack Russells, Peanut and Fiona, and a cat named Scaredy. Her son Bobby lives in Brooklyn, New York with his rescued pit bill named Archer. Vali’s husband has been an unwilling guinea pig for her organizing strategies and has helped her understand the emotional side of stuff. Vali’s son has willingly grown up to be a thrower like his mom and follows the guideline of ‘buy something new, donate something old’. Vali’s pets have taught her not to value anything too much because tomorrow it might be chewed up or peed on. Vali started her business The Clutter Crew in 2005 while sitting on a New Jersey beach brainstorming with her sister. She continues to be humbled when her clients call her to assist them with organizing their homes and their lives. Vali sells her client’s belongings for them on eBay with her sister, Laurie Becker, who is an education specialist trained by eBay. They frequently offer classes on ‘How to Sell on eBay’. Vali is a Certified Trainer for the GO (get organized) System for businesses. The GO System teaches employees and business owners how to be more focused, productive, and organized in the workplace. The GO System has trainers across the country and in Asia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. As a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO), Vali is a member of the item writing team for the certification exam for professional organizers. The CPO is considered the gold standard for professional organizers and the mission of the Board of CPOs is to increase the professionalism of the organizing industry and to advance the credibility and ethical standards of the profession through credentialing. Vali’s extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education includes training, administration, project management, writing, institutional accreditation, and editorial production. Her bachelor’s degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master’s Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali is a popular guest speaker on anything to do with organizing home, work, or life. She continues to write a monthly column for the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pennsylvania called “Organize This!” and has a blog on OnlineOrganizing.com. She enjoys reading an eclectic variety of books while lounging on her screened-in porch with her barking dogs at her side.
Top customer reviews
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It would be easy to take a hectoring, self-righteous tone in a book like this, particularly considering the environmental and social consequences of our consumerist society. Heist doesn't sugarcoat the problem. In fact, she delivers some painful statistics, such as the fact that Americans constitute five percent of the world's population yet use 30 percent of its resources. Nonetheless, Heist's tone is kind, even compassionate.
As you might expect from this description, a great deal of the book's message is less about how to organize stuff than how to get rid of it and stop bringing ever more of it into your home. In that respect the book is a bit repetitive at times. There are only so many ways to say "get rid of stuff you don't need or want anymore." However, Heist does counsel readers about how to bring themselves around to letting go. She suggest that you give family heirlooms to children now rather than waiting until you die; she gently points out that giving away the furniture of dear, departed Grandmother does not mean you didn't love her; and she gives us all permission to dispose of gifts we received but do not care for.
Heist does eventually get down to the practical matters of organization--talk of storage boxes and peg boards and file folders. Some of the tips and suggestions seem a little obvious. Do I really need to be told that I should write the contents on the outside of storage containers? Or that I should break the task of organizing an entire house into small parts? Well, maybe. If you need to read this book at all you probably need to hear those tips, even if after reading them you suspect you could have figured it out yourself.
On the other hand, some of her suggestions, such as the counsel to "resist dumping" (in other words, to put things away as soon you get home with them) or to not postpone decision making (who among us hasn't stuffed things in a box to go through later, and then kept but never again opened the box?), are brilliant in their simplicity and, I suspect, their power to actually make a difference in the state of our living spaces. She also provides plenty of helpful resources: books, links, info about where to take charitable donations, where to recycle electronics, and so on.
In addition to chapters on organizing the kitchen, cleaning out the garage, and so on, Heist goes a bit further afield and includes chapters on organizing for travel, preparing for the birth of a baby (including how to keep track of doctors' appointments and the list of whom to call when the baby arrives), how to organize materials for filing taxes and applying to college, and even how to enjoy the holidays in a simpler, less frantic way.
If you are drowning in clutter, this book won't take you by the hand and solve the problem for you. What it will do is help you think through the mental obstacles and recognize the physical obstacles to reducing that clutter and making your life more peaceful. Despite the nuts-and-bolts information, this book is subtle and about far more than how to arrange your belongings in the most efficient manner. As Heist says, "The physical clutter that exists in our outer world is a reflection of our inner mental world . . . ." Heist wisely addresses the inner world before she begins tossing and sorting belongings.
Most recent customer reviews
I can think of serveral people this book would make a great gift for.