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Organizing From the Inside Out Paperback – September 15, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 356 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's about time! Julie Morgenstern has written an organizing book that covers a new way of looking at the task of organizing effectively without labeling or blaming the person behind the lack of organization. Rather, she says, people who don't organize just never learned how to organize, through no fault of their own--after all, it's not a skill that's taught in school. That said, she gets down to work helping you figure out an organizing system that will really work for you, not a system based on cookie-cutter filing concepts or special storage units.

Morgenstern's "from the inside out" system begins by laying out the possible reasons for a failure of organization: technical errors (like having a complex organizing system that breaks down), external realities (like not enough space for your belongings), and psychological obstacles (like fear of failure--or success). Then, her Analyze and Strategize steps help create a plan of action based on your needs and goals, and the brief chapter called "Attack: Getting the Job Done" offers basic ideas for making space. The largest section of the book, "Applying What You've Learned," addresses the specifics of organizing workspaces, home offices, living spaces, and storage areas. Each section has a "How Long Will It Take?" box that gives a realistic time estimate, and Morgenstern's "Julie's No-Brainer Toss List" for each area gives the permission and encouragement that most of us have been waiting for to get rid of things we'll never use again. The section at the end, "Tackling Time and Technology," is worth its weight in DayTimers and PalmPilots. Whatever your organizing issues are, you're not a hopeless case, and you don't need special equipment--just a little understanding of the problem and a willingness to plan before diving in.

From Publishers Weekly

Anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by clutter and chaos will welcome this clear, easy-to-follow guide to organizing a room, home or officeAa companion to Morgenstern's bestselling paperback (Owl, 1998). Professional organizer Morgenstern warmly reassures listeners that organizing is a skill that can be learned and that any mess can be tamed. Most people make the mistake of simply diving in, which Morgenstern compares to driving cross-country without a map. Her strategy: first figure out your goals and how your space can best help you achieve them; determine what obstacles are holding you back (e.g., a subconscious psychological need to hang on to clutter); divide the space into "zones" of activity (a kitchen contains a cooking zone, a dish-washing zone, etc.); and organize the space so that all the supplies for each activity are stored in the appropriate zone. The tape offers quizzes to help listeners define their obstacles, and, as one would expect, the quizzes are well organized and audio friendly. Even better, listeners can grasp the author's solutions immediatelyAwithout having to refer back and forth to different parts of the tape or use a pencil and paper (problems often encountered with audio self-help books). Morgenstern's sense of humor and colorful examples of real-life client case studies make this tape as entertaining as it is helpful. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1 edition (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805056491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805056495
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (356 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,856,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you aren't really fed up with the clutter in your house, or aren't really tired of buying things over and over again because you've lost the item 2 or 3 times in your own house, or don't mind being late to everything. Then don't buy this book. I got fed up. And the book worked a life changing miracle for me. However, I was so pleased with the changes, I told my mom to read it. Because, I just knew it would just make her life so much better. But organizing her home isn't a priority for her. So therefore she read it and it didn't appeal to her one bit. So if you say, "I want an organized home, but I want it to take 15 minutes." Then this book is no good for you. And you must go on with the way things are. If you say, "I have had it, I am ready to light a match to my house and just start over." Then quick read this book. I actually enjoyed the process of organizing my home. And now when I go into ANY room or closet, I just want to sit and stare at all the neatly deliberatly placed items. Everything has a home. Picking up in the evenings takes no time at all and with absolutely no effort. Before I read this book, I never wanted to go in my bedroom. It was impossible to rest in that room, because the piles of clutter was so overwhelming. Now I can finally use the bedroom for what it was intended: rest and relaxation.
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By A Customer on February 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book in desperation & have been using it over the past 2 months, going slowly room by room (started with my garage, which took me 5 days!). It is such a joy to open a cupboard or a drawer and find exactly what I need exactly where it should be. And I'm a star at Goodwill now that the closets are cleared out- boxes & boxes of "stuff" is gone and it feels wonderful! This approach works so much better than the myriad other "systems" I've used in the past to get organized. I now have time for myself and my life without frustrating searches for anything.
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Format: Paperback
This currently popular 262 page softbound volume really can help ANYONE become better organized for a better life. This was recommended to me by a friend, but I was doubtful that it could help. The other books I read on this subject didn't do the job for me. I was pleasantly surprised that by followingMs. Morgenstern's recommendations I really am able to put some organization into the clutter that I've learned to live with. She explains systems to use, without the need for all of the store bought gadgets I've tried in the past. By following her simple steps you really CAN get your stuff in order and become more productive with better use of your time. Her Three Step System is useful at home or work, and can be used by anyone, regardless of their level of clutter. The time frames that she presents helps you get started and motivated to carry the tips on to completion. You'll learn why you feel disorganized and why now is the time to act to aleviate it once and for all. It's probably not your fault that you've always been disorganized. All you really need is the expert advice offered in this book to get you onto a better more organized work and home life. Her simple philosophy is SPACE. Mainly sort, purge, assign a home, containerize, equalize. No magic or gimicks, just sound, tried and tested advice. Well worth reading.
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By A Customer on August 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I bought this book about two months ago, and decided to wait on giving it a review, to see if the ideas in the book would work for me over time. I had lived in extreme clutter my whole life -- with paper, books, clean clothes, dirty clothes, old pizza boxes, empty soda cans, you name it -- all over the floor, all over the tables, all over the furniture, all the time. It was so messy that I was embarrassed to invite anyone over for quite some time, and I was convinced it was impossible for me to clean everything up, let alone prevent myself from creating further clutter.
But after reading this book, I got the motivation to get organized, and (finally) learned how to get organized in a way that works for me. And two months later, I'm still organized! I don't have to take time to clean up my messes because I simply don't create them anymore. I have more space now than I know what to do with. And I really don't do things much differently than I used to -- that's the most surprising part of all.
I recommend this book about as highly as I've ever recommended anything. It may sound cliche, but if it can work for me, trust me, it can work for ANYONE!
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Format: Paperback
Morgenstern has a different approach than most authors who write books about getting organized. She divides the book into four sections: Laying the Foundation, Secrets of a Professional Organizer, Applying what You've Learned, and Tackling Time & Technology. Sounds ordinary, but the first section is priceless. And, throughout the book she includes textboxes of "insiders tips" and "avoiding common pitfalls."
Many of us try hard to be organized and end up cluttering our house with organizing books, baskets, filing cabinets, and other gadgets. We get our house almost organized, yet find there's one room or task we just can't do. Are we sabotaging ourselves?
Yes, according to Morgenstern. She quotes, "You can't fix it till you know what's broken" and explains that until you know why you stray toward disorganization, you will never master it. Psychological obstacles are one of three factors in clutter, according to Morgenstern (the other two are errors in your "organizing system" and external realities. But she deals with the psychological aspect in a brisk, energizing chapter that actually motivates you.
Her actual organizational tips revolve around three essential steps: 1. Analyze (evaluate your current situation and what's not working.) 2. Strategize (Create plan and realistic estimate of how long it will take.) 3. Attack (Dive into the work.)
The Analyze and Strategize sections are actually very useful and are easy to tackle. You will need a notebook, and will go from room to room answering 5 questions: What's working? What's not working? What items are most essential to you? Why do you want to get organized? (i.e.
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