Organizing From the Inside Out–a book review

I have decided that after helping people organize their homes, offices, basements, garages, and sheds for the past ten years, it might be a good idea to really study a book about organizing. I have tried to read one book, but got bored and did not finish it.

I spent a number hours reading and skimming through the book, ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Julie Morgenstern. I was happy to see that her approach is in total harmony with how I work with people. I also learned some tips that I think will help me be even more effective.

In fact, I have decided once and for all that I don’t really know much compared to how much knowledge there is out there. Therefore I am open to having at least one revelation a day that will change my life. And I open to 100 or more revelations that will help make my life and others lives better!

I liked a little test she has to help a person introspect about the reasons that they are disorganized. I appreciated a needs assessment questions and plan on incorporating that with my clients.

I very much appreciated the “kindergarten” approach to organizing, which I naturally gravitate towards. It goes like this:

1. Room is divided into activity centers

2. It is easy to focus on one activity at a time.

3. Items are stored at the point of use.

4. It is fun to put things away-everything has a home.

5. Visual menu of everything that is important.

She calls it the kindergarten model because if you walk into any kindergarten classroom in the world the above ideas are incorporated.

One of the revelations I got from Julie was something that I naturally did, but now I can put a name on–creating zones for different activities. That means dividing up a room according to various activities, and then having all the things necessary for that activity in the same area for easy access and easy putting away.

For example, a kitchen can be divided up into food preparation, dish washing/clean up, actual cooking, food storage, dish/utensil/pots and pans storage.  That has always been my strength–putting like with like whether it is storage or an activity. But to have a name to put to it–well, that is a revelation!

I felt very encouraged to read that Julie recommends decluttering the obvious external areas so that the space can feel better.  Such things as action items;things that have a home and can easily be put away; trash; give away; find a home; recycle; low priority and high priority undecided can be easily boxed up and even stacked up temporarily somewhere. This way, there is instant gratification. Okay, I added the part about stack up the boxes temporarily–she recommends putting things away right away. I find that it is rather hard to deal with all the stuff after a major purging which can take hours.

I loved the chapter on organizing for mobility. How to organize your car for a business trip, or organize for a plane trip were very informative. Lately, since my car has been out of commission, I have been organizing for on foot! Now that is a new category that I would like to tackle. I just found a fantastic purple bag with numerous pockets including a place for pens and pencils, and I am jazzed! I will be writing more about just organizing a purse and back pack.

I also really enjoyed all the checklists which are included in each chapter. I plan on copying them and putting them in one place as a memory trigger for my clients.

I plan on going back on studying each chapter in depth so I can totally absorb the ideas. I did a lot of skimming because I wanted to get an overview and see if any ideas jumped out at me.

I am in the process of re-organizing our family’s very small home. Many of the ideas will help me to be even more effective. I feel inspired and motivated.

I highly recommend THIS BOOK to anyone who wants to get organized. Whether you hire a professional organizer, get friends to help, find ways to get your family involved, or do the job on your own, this will be a great road map to help you be effective and focused.


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