Easy to understand, humorous, and a quick read (all necessary to us moms - gotta keep our attention because STOP HARASSING THE CAT, SCOTT!, we juggle many things), Barbara managed to convince me that 1.) I was capable of an organized home and 2.) she was the lady to help me do it. She works from a four-step method of purge, design, organize, and maintain. Not exactly ground-breaking, as we have all watched enough episodes of "Hoarders" to know the drill, but when it's spelled out in black and white, it suddenly seems more attainable. She also offers mantras that again, I kinda knew, but seeing it in print brought it home. Do your least appealing task first. Focus on what you can change.
Go digital. Buy hangers all of the same color. Basic, smart, sound advice.
What's really special about this book, however, is that she breaks down organization for every room in the house. Every. Single. Room. To me, a Type-A person who appreciates attention to detail, this was a dream. What exactly am I supposed to do with products in the bathroom that just clutter the counters? Why does my desk look like a burial mound for receipts, junk mail, and bills? Regardless of what your "hot spot" area is - living room, laundry room, home office, or giant closet under the stairs currently housing 3,000 construction vehicles and six tubes of dried finger paint - Barbara provides step-by-step direction that is both practical and effective. She even includes an entire chapter on how to organize your baby's nursery or how to design the nursery to maximize efficiency and space. Definitely a must-read for all new moms or moms-to-be.
Ever the researcher, I decided to take a chapter of her book and apply to it. The closet redesign was successful and I used a million of her ideas (don't store things on the floor. Buy containers that match or compliment each other. Group like objects together [i.e. lunch supplies]), but that was a big project that involved paint, contractors and major supplies, and was not necessarily applicable or practical to the mom who just wants to feel more organized without breaking out the ruler and graph paper or checkbook. My target? The junk drawer by the computer doesn't even open anymore. While I don't lose sleep over it at night, it bugs me. Does it affect my mental health? Not really. But it's a waste of space and lord knows what is living in there. And it bugs me. Have I mentioned that it's very existence bugs me?
It bugs me.
So using her four-step system, I cleaned and sorted the drawer within 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES! This drawer has been a disaster for over a year, and a mere twenty minutes later, I can finally cross this one off of my to-do list. I purged out-of-date coupons, McDonald Monopoly game pieces, crumpled paper, used up Chapstick, random string and more random string. (why do we own so much string?) I didn't need to design the space as there was not much room, though space dividers probably could have been useful (and decorative). After sorting everything into piles, I put the warranty manual to the slow cooker in my pile of cookbooks, took all of Scotty's stuff upstairs, and made a little baggie of screws, keys, 3M wall hanging supplies. Then I put the correct items back in the drawer and organized them. Who knew we had two bottles cleaning spray for iProducts? And my label maker! He's back! Hooray! I had been looking for that little guy for months now. I wrapped up some cords and placed them back in the drawer, and viola! Project done. In twenty simple minutes.
Now I just need to maintain it.
Happy organizing, folks!
"Secrets of an Organized Mom" officially launches tomorrow, February 26, and is available in all major book stores, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon. An ebook version is also available on iTunes and Barnes & Noble. You can find more information, as well as a full list of retailers, at www.SecretsofanOrganizedMom.com. Big thanks to Julie at Hopscotch Communications for putting this on my radar!