06 February 2009

Book Review: Living Organized by Sandra Felton

Last night I finished my first book of the new year, Living Organized, by Sandra Felton. Felton is the founder of Messies Anonymous (MA), and has written numerous books about the subject of overcoming clutter in our lives. I had read her book Neat Mom, Messy Kids, from the library (and I would love to own my own copy), and I've heard bits and pieces of her story. This book, Living Organized, deals a lot with the psychological issues that a Messie has to overcome, and has some great questions and exercises at the end of each chapter that would be useful to do with an accountability group or a partner. I'm tempted to join MA myself because I at least know I am a Messie, but I feel that at the moment my plate is too full. (However, this may be something I could start in my neck of the woods as a way to connect with more of my neighbors and moms from my kids' school.)

Reading this book made me realize that I'm not quite ready for this book, yet. Before I can begin to live organized, I need to gut my house and rid myself of a lot of stuff (Felton refers to this as the Mt. Vernon method of dealing with clutter, which I think is explained in the Messies Manuel--another book by Felton that I probably should read first).

Felton is honest, funny, and honest. Yes, I said it twice. It's nice to be able to laugh at our shortcomings, but to look hard at them and tackle them is even better. For example, she writes,
When my house was in a dither, I could hardly figure out where the problem was either. I thought I needed an interior decorator, but I didn't know what I would say to one. Messies' houses are unpleasant, but the problem is not with the decorations. Until the clutter that dams up the house is removed, beauty cannot flow in, no matter how many sofas you replace.
Having said this, there is another side to the story. When I finally began to clear away the clutter in my house and mind, I noticed a remarkable thing--my house really was ugly.
I'm right there. I can see myself in her. For example, my "style." I really don't know what my style is. I like to be practical. Pretty is nice, but froo-froo is not for me. And I have a lot of stuff that was given to me (or discovered on the curb!) that, collectively, does not exactly coordinate well. I could go on about this, but I don't want my readers to think that all I do is sit around and loathe myself all day. Finally, I'll share part of "The Messie Manifesto; A Messie Is a Person of Dignity."
A person of dignity
  • Does not keep a drawer full of hose with runs in them because sifting through them each day is demenaing. In addition, I deserve better.
  • Does not wear undies with loose elastic. Nobody will know, but the person of dignity will. That's why it's important.
  • Doesn't sleep on faded sheets even if they are still good.
  • Doesn't allow straggly hair.
And that's a good place for me to stop. Let's just say that I have a better understanding of myself after reading this book, and I laughed and Hmmm'd a lot while reading it. Perhaps you can relate. And perhaps you should read Living Organized as well.

(I got the book for free through PaperBack Swap. If you read a lot and you haven't heard of it, check it out.) If you have read a book recently, write a review on your blog and leave a comment here for others to read. If you have no blog but wish to share, leave your comment here anyway! Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. My library only carries the two: Messies Manual and the Organizing Manual. No "Living Organized" on the shelf...otherwise I'd share those end of the chapter exercises with you.

    I think my trouble is parting with stuff...just in case, some day I might want to use it...haha!