I bought this mostly to try to figure out a better system for my accounts and paperwork. It turned out to be surprisingly useful for other aspects of organising our tiny house. I'm normally quite organised and tidy by nature, but I had let some things (sewing supplies, university papers from a decade ago) get out of control, and getting some hints on how to let go of sentimental items has been really useful. My partner started listening with me, and he's decided to also examine what he's held onto, particularly the reams of design-school and life drawing sketches.
Not everything in it is relevant to us, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well it works as an audio book and how good the information is.
I definitely think this works better as an audio book than a print book. I think in print I would have given up after the first chapter or so, but as an audio book you have your hands free so you can listen while you do the housework, or doing hobbies.
Andrew J Mellen has a nicely modulated voice that is very easy to listen to, and while some of the anecdotes are maybe unnecessary to the book, when they're read aloud they drop back into a less irritating space.
I have definitely embraced the basic "everything in it's home, and like with like" model, particularly for our arts and crafts cabinet and our accounts. It's made dealing with receipts and invoices a bit more clearly organised. They were previously grouped, but they are now in a very clear filing system that allows me to decant receipts accumulated during the week into a specific box that will then be dealt with first thing on Saturday morning.
I had previously just been getting annoyed with myself for not filing receipts immediately, but now there is a system.
Sure. It serves more as a reference guide than a "read through once". The advice on organizing your file system was very good. I feel like I've finally got a handle on my personal files.
Good, simple, sound, logical advice.
Clearly the author has had some emotional and panicky clients, because he spent a large portion of the book telling the reader to take a deep breath, don't panic, etc. Just a little too much cheerleading for my tastes, but if you ignore that, the information contained within is good.
I must disagree with the other (good) reviews; I didn't care for this and I'm surprised others found it so helpful. I wanted to like it, but I just didn't. I should preface this with the disclaimer/admission that I didn't finish this book; I only got through the first half or so. Normally I would always finish a book out of fairness before reviewing it, but the reason I stopped listening is the very point: I was starting to feel like the author was mocking, or belittling me. His tone and messages were actually quite condescending. "Take a deep breath.... don't panic...." etc. In the beginning I thought "I get it, down to earth sarcasm, like a friend might do, ha ha" and continued to listen. But it became increasingly annoying, more like "that" friend; the one who seems friendly but then very subtly belittles you and later you wonder why you hang out with him at all.
Yes, he makes it very clear what to do, in easy steps. But he spells it out so simplistically, that I started wondering if he thinks disorganized people are all imbeciles. "Put your keys in a bowl by the door... go ahead, do it now....right now. Was that so bad??". Which leads me to my next complaint: There's nothing in this book that I haven't read before. I suppose books on this topic can only vary so much, but I found the instruction very predictable and I'm not sure he had any ideas I couldn't figure out myself or haven't read elsewhere: Keep similar things together, don't have office supplies in the kitchen where you cook, etc. No kidding. If you need instructions THAT simplistic, then perhaps you would appreciate this book more than I did.
I also found it annoying that I was instructed to put the book down and go do the instructed things before continuing with the next chapter, almost as if I couldn't be trusted. And he repeats himself WAY too much, the book could be easily half the length if he didn't feel the need to repeat himself so many times. A very long portion of the beginning was telling me what the book would tell me.... just get to it for God's sake! Interesting that the description states "foolproof instructions"; because he really does talk in a way that suggests I am a fool who needs small words and constant repeating. He seems to think that because I'm disorganized I must suffer from an extreme anxiety disorder. I don't need to be "talked down" on why not to panic about what type of bowl to toss my keys into. I get it. Put them in a bowl. Next? I ended up ditching the book before he either outright called me a moron, or started baby-talk: "Can you put like things with like things?? Can you?? Be a big girl now..." I don't need to pay money (too much money to boot) to be talked down to.
I usually try to balance my reviews with both good and bad, but I honestly have little good to say about this book, other than he puts things very simply. So if you need to be told the obvious, like keep your keys by the door and don't have so many magazines, this book is for you. I should have been warned just by the sample, where he describes us listeners as "clumsy, unfocused and slightly desperate". REALLY?
Pleasant surprises are at times life-changing. Stumbling across something that you easily could have missed, ending up transforming your life.
My expectations were low when I purchased this book. Hoping for some inspiration to get started with "unstuffing" my house, I instead got the mind-set of a super-achiever; following-through, according a plan, in a systematic way.
By starting with the small stuff you can't delude yourself that you're living according to your theoretically high standards when you aren't. Getting organized and disciplined creates ripples on the water, affecting bigger areas in your life.
I've always been quite an organized person, this book was still extremely helpful with great advice on how to approach overloaded kitchen cabinets, counter tops and wardrobes.
Paradoxically though, this is one of the most potent self-help books there are. It's behavioral therapy at its best, with clearly visible feedback.
I purchased this audiobook knowing it wasn't all going to be relevant to me. I consider myself a pretty organized person, but wanted some tips to make me an organized superman.
It didn't get me much closer. The book is 10% psychology and 90% practical instructions. There were a couple of good tips in the psychology part for me, like his suggestions for getting over the idea that something might be worth something and self-defeating sentimental feelings.
The most cluttered part of my life is probably on my computer and the chapter in this book on organizing your computer was disappointing and at times bizarre.
He just talked about putting things in folders etc, nothing we don't all try to do anyway. At one point he explained in detail how to resize a window on your screen. He then seemingly went completely off track and explained what social networking and instant messaging are and why everyone should use them.
His style is frank. I would call it condescending, but I can see from other reviews that a lot of people appreciated this style. I guess if your in dire circumstance with clutter then it might be just what you need, but if your not, then probably give this a miss.
This great book is in a category all it's own. It's a "How to" book to get your life in order (in terms of efficiency) so you have more time to read more books, work, or get to all those other projects/priorities you have been waiting to accomplish your whole life. I now feel organized and at peace with my time management - thank you!
I was able to listen to this book over a couple of weeks while doing housework. Following the ideas in this book has cut my housework down to consuming only a fraction of my time - from 20 disorganized hours cleaning house per week down to 6-7 productive hours each week buying me more time to do the things I want to do. I'm already an organized person in some areas of my life, but the book reminded me to become organized in what I thought were unimportant areas and it feels great!
Just good clear instructions for every area. I like how he tells you everything you will need to gather before you even start the tasks. I always think the job is bigger than it really is. And his list of things I need to get started prove to me that the job is not what I have dreaded in my mind. It is catchy, once you start your momentum takes over and it is fun!
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
As I write this review, I have eight bankers' boxes of Christmas ornaments, decorations and lights sitting near my door. I've labeled each box on all four sides, so I will be able to open tree lights first. The boxes will go to overhead storage in my garage, away from the risk of flooding from a heavy storm, or damage from too-high temperatures. I didn’t run out to Target or Walmart and buy expensive Christmas red and green storage containers and try to jam my treasures into them. I used what worked.
This is the first year that I've been confident that next year, getting decorations will take a few minutes, not a few hours. The year is looking up already.
I actually purchased this Audible book back in July, and I've listened all of it at least once, and to some parts several times. I go back to it so often, it's the only Audible book I haven't removed from my iPhone. Every once and a while, I need motivation or ideas, and so I listen to an especially helpful part.
I've only misplaced my keys twice since I listened to this book, and I haven't done that since I found the right place to keep them. The right place wasn’t a special key fob or an out of the way place the author demanded. It’s a place that I thought of myself, and I use automatically now.
Since the beginning of the school year, my children have known where their school supplies were. It turned out I had so many stashed all over the place, I didn’t have to buy anymore – and we donated some to my daughter’s school.
This isn’t a book for someone with a compulsion that makes them a candidate for A&E’s Hoarders. Mellen purposely avoids delving into pop psychology analysis of organization and messiness, which makes it guilt free. My house gets messy because I’m busy and I didn’t know how to organize, not because I collect swizzle sticks or can’t get rid of old makeup.
Definitely a good start to the New Year – or even mid-year, like I did.
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A systematic process for decluttering
He is certainly passionate. Better than most authors narrating their own books.
His systems and processes
Totally worth the listen. I know using his approach will help me.
Enjoy history, self help, novels, not a sequel follower.
practical, take the emotion out of it, advice on what you keep and what you let go.
The most interesting aspect is the emotional connections we have to 'THINGS" we may not want, need, or care about but we keep housing, storing, and someday, someday, we will use for this or that, that never really happens.
Have applied a lot of it, such as the simple one of having a place for things as soon as you walk in door and going through closets and ridding myself of things I have not used in years. The most difficult thing was donating my mothers hutch that she wanted for so long and was so proud to have gotten. It's OK, I still have all the wonderful memories.
Recommended to friend - he likes to fold his towels like that now.