Book review: Organizing From the Inside Out

One of the most important points in Organizing from the Inside Out is that being organized is not the same thing as being neat.  If you want your house to look neat, you can shove everything under the bed and in the closets.  Being organized means knowing where everything is and having it conveniently located to where you need it.  Julie Morgenstern divides the process of getting organized into a few important steps:

  1. Sort.  Before you start throwing things away, figure out what all ended up in that drawer or closet.  Put it in piles and put labels on the piles. This will help you figure out how to make a home for everything and/or how to make sure it doesn’t end up there again.  If you just throw all the trash away, that closet will most likely collect trash again.
  2. Purge.  Now you can throw away all that junk.
  3. Attack.  This is the figure out where it’s all going to go.  Think where it will be most helpful and easiest to keep organized.  If all your books end up by the sofa, don’t put them away in the office upstairs.  Put a basket or a bookshelf next to the sofa.
  4. Containerize.  Measure everything, figure out what kind of containers would work best and then go buy them.  Not before!  Put nice labels on everything so the whole family knows what goes where.
  5. Equalize.  Spend five minutes every day putting things back in their place.

She makes a good point that people that like to organize usually end up in one of two categories:

  • Those that like to purge.  (This would be me.  Learned from my mom.)
  • Those that like to containerize.  I know lots of these – they like to buy containers and shelves and things.  More gadgets to hold the junk says the purger.

Skip the chapter on technology.   She is obviously not a heavy computer or gadget user.