The Well-Ordered Home: Simple Techniques for Creating Serene and Inviting Space Paperback – Mar 10 2003
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About the Author
Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, is a psychologist and family therapist who previously worked as a house cleaner and professional home organizer. She is the author of The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood and Postpartum Depression and is an Affiliate Research Associate at the University of New Hampshire.
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that she has cleaned homes for money while in school and that she faced firsthand the downside of being disorganized after her second child was born. So she's been there done that and knows what works. I appreciate her honesty, or the whole 'been there done that' attitude.
Her 4 key principles for household organization are Start where you are and don't make change a prerequisite for organization. Start where you are and work with the strengths you have. Have what you need. As a culture, we are inundated with stuff. Yet often we don't have what we need to work well. Use Active Storage. Active storage she notes means keeping things you use frequently in accessible areas. And Get Rid of Clutter. Because clutter she notes creates stress and make every job more difficult.
She lays out some helpful and workable suggestions in Part 2 titled Organization Begins in Your Mind where she shows traps to avoid like Perfectionism. Because as she notes perfectionists put things off until they can do them 'perfectly,' but also perfect doesn't exist so things never get done. The All Or Nothing Thinking where one thinks that if they cannot do everything NOW then they wont even start. Or Feeling that domestic work is not worth our time, because its deemed beneath smart people. When in fact a smart person will see the value in being organized and how it brings order and more free time to our lives.
Chapters 13, 14 deal very well with having the simplest yet best cleaning tools for cleaning home and laundry. Chapter 15 and 16 deal with an efficient but rightly stocked kitchen and pantry. To some her advise will seem to common sense, but having watched my share of friends kitchens and television shows dedicated to getting organized I know that common sense is a lost art to many, and being reminded to only have a few knives that one uses for the right task, and dumping the rest is sage advise.
Personally I was surprised and pleased to see Chapter 19 Order to Go where she notes for women 'Women carry around a lot of junk and often end up with a purse the size of a battleship.' Few if ANY books on decluttering or getting organzied ever deal with the #1 (in my opinion) problem for women which is their purse.
Personally I have a small, very small purse that is more like a passport purse since it can carry my money, credit card, cell phone. Its my belief that when we allow ourselves to get trapped in a big purse that we send a message to our family members that they need not plan better, since Mom will probably have what they need. You can keep as the author notes, items like a first aid kit, Power Bars, tablet and pen etc in the car when you need them. No need to carry a mini home with you.
The book is choked full of valuable information, and as someone who owns dozens of books on downsizing, decluttering, simple living, I am picky about recommending books on the subject since the last need someone needs who is wanting to declutter is useless books on the subject.
"Handle paper as it comes in" is something you can read at free websites on home-organization. Ditto for "keep a nice box or bin in each room to stash toys in at the end of the day."
But you'll have to read through various chapters to put that together: the author is continually bringing up a topic (e.g., closet organization) then promising "I'll go into that more in Chapter X." Well, guess what: each 'chapter' is only 2 pages long. How much organizational advice do you REALLY think you're going to get in 2 pages?
This book does not recommend any particular system, does not discuss advantages or disadvantages of the varying home-organization products out there, and doesn't even suggest routines or schedules you can adopt for your day.
What it does do is dispense saccharin, simplistic advice -- spend 15 minutes per day sorting through clutter and discard what's broken beyond repair; what's outdated; what you don't love, use or need; do a little bit every day; keep supplies where you need them; replenish supplies as they're depleted; and don't set your expectations unrealistically high.
There, I saved you money. I wish I'd saved my own, and also wish that the hour I spent reading this slim, trite book had been spent organizing my kitchen cupboards (yet another thing this book does not tell you how to do).
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