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Organizing Outside the Box: Conquer Clutter Using Your Natural Learning Style Paperback – September 14, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
There are no color photos in this book & very few in black-and-white. The length of the book is incredibly short. No before-and-after transformations are shown, either in writing or picture. No detailed case studies are discussed. Very, very little is written here by Hellen that hasn't already been written in previous magazine articles, books and online blogs about organizing- particularly when she goes beyond theory & attempts to put things into practice for us to follow. The only thing I can praise here is her very good explanation of visual vs. auditory vs. kinesthetic learners, and subsequently which organizing style they'll tend to favor, and what won't work. I'm an auditory person with a few visual leanings, though I knew this already going in. Though one has to keep in mind that just because they're a particular learning style, that doesn't necessarily translate into having one organizing style. For example, my mother and I are both strongly auditory learners, but she is a piler with her papers while I am most definitely a filer by nature. She's "out of sight, out of mind" with written material (if she doesn't have a paper out, she'll forget it completely). However, I find having papers all over the place immensely distracting and love my file cabinet. And not every person is even predominantly one learning/organizing type or the other, as most modern-day educators and social scientists will tell you. So while the author obviously knows how to work with different learning and personality types, keep in mind that this is not absolutely foolproof info she shares here. And the problem is that's about ALL this short book discussed.
No daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly charts of organizing projects or household chores to do were presented. A little bit was discussed about talking with family members and/or co-workers to achieve an environment organized for all. But again, theory was explained much better than practice. Most people don't have trouble finding an organizing system that they like, once they go shopping for it- but the difficulty comes in STICKING with that system! It takes a lot more work than finding the cute container or perfect day planner initially- organizing a business & home takes daily discipline, hard work & time management skills gone essentially undiscussed here. After six years of being absolutely dedicated to minimalism, organizating & simplicity, let me tell you- it is not always easy maintaining this lifestyle. Beyond explaining to you what style you are going to veer towards, and a surface glossover of how to start organizing, little was said about how to STAY organized day-to-day. There were a few broad suggestions, but it was nowhere near as comprehensive as say, The FlyLady's system. Again, I like & respect Hellen's work & overall message a lot. Her company, We Organize U, puts out a monthly email which is worth subscribing to for little tidbits of advice. I REALLY wanted to love this book, especially after reading the glowing reviews by other readers. But this book isn't one I can suggest to others myself unless you are just absolutely clueless as to what your beginning strategy should be, and don't know who you really are as a learner by nature.
So that I back up what I say with advice (and not just criticism), I will give you examples of what I suggest you read instead of or at least in addition to this book. For a superior book on organizing every single room, closet, cabinet & drawer of your house backwards, forwards & sideways, read Linda Koopersmith's "The Beverly Hills Organizer's Home Organizing Bible". For in-depth help on performing day-to-day chores, changing your mindset about housework & being organized read "Sink Reflections" by Maria Cilley, or check out her website (she is The FlyLady I spoke of). For help getting your house cleaned weekly in a thorough but quick manner, read "Speed Cleaning", by Jeff Campbell. For simplifying-your-life strategies, the aptly-named "Simplify Your Life" by Elaine St. James is an inspiring start. It is geared towards those ready to grip onto a minimalist lifestyle, so it won't appeal to everyone, just a heads up. Julie Morgenstern's book, "Organizing From the Inside Out", is a little bit more likeable than St. James', discusses a very important strategy to attack every ounce of clutter consistently in your life, and is a book which won't scare away pack rats with tough love. Morgenstern's even better book, "Time Management from the Inside Out", is a huge favorite of mine. Even if you consider yourself efficent & intelligent about how you conquer time, I still believe it is a must-read. Students should not be without it! Jennifer Ford Berry's book, "Organize Now! (Revised Edition)", wasn't one of my personal favorites- BUT it has the distinct advantage of tackling one problem area a week for one year in your life. So obviously it is a methodical way to go about getting organized, if a little scattered & incomplete in content. It's a "rah-rah" book that will also help those who are not born organized, feeling completely overwhelmed, and need a big but do-able overhaul all over their house. I am most definitely NOT born organized, and need all the help I can get. But I found little additional help here from Hellen.
Being organized is getting easier with each suggestion that I implement. Thank you Hellen for writing such an insightful book that has given me the ability to heal my organizational heartaches.
If you are done with organizing books that hide their real message in layers of illustrations, humor & hyperbole, this is the book for you. When the bottom line of clearing clutter FOR GOOD is your goal, this is your 'Bible'.
This is a great book and I think I read it as soon as I received it. Will be a handy resource for understanding my staff, colleagues, clients, and yes myself too.