Organizing Book Review & Giveaway
About a month ago I received a request to review a book. The book that was sent to me was “Organizing For Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases” by Jane Stoller. I asked for a physical copy as I like to write notes and add little reference codes in the margins – what can I tell you, I’m old school and a kinesthetic learner: I need to see it, touch it and write it. It is also available as an e-book through Amazon. Read further for a way to win a book of your own.
About the Book and Author
The book is 129 pages total. It is written more in an autobiographical style rather than a teaching or “how-to” style. I found some of the pictures a little dark and hard to see. Most of the time that wasn’t a problem. If grammatical errors really bother you, this might not be the book for you. But if you can overlook that, the content is different enough that it makes a good read.
Ms. Stoller talks about herself and what has worked for her. She began organizing at age 6 and appears to be in her 30’s. She travels extensively, has moved countries numerous times, including a move from Canada to Europe. She also maintains a vacation home in the Bahamas. So she has extensive experience in challenging spaces and lifestyles.
What I Liked The Most
One thing I like is that Ms. Stoller never states that one way or another is the way you should organize a particular area or even that it’s the best way to organize that area. She talks about fitting organizing into your lifestyle. That is refreshing. Organizing “experts” who don’t take into account that we are all different, we see things differently, we use things differently, we value things differently, etc. and tell you that their way is THE best way (or only way) for some reason just raises my ire. So, this was refreshing.
The Organizing Method
I thought this book would be another how-to on organizing but instead Ms. Stoller was always bringing you back to thinking about why you have the stuff you have, does it make sense to keep it, and if it does, then let’s find a way to organize it so it is available when needed, but, if it’s not something you want seen, out-of-the-way in a way that makes sense.
The Science Behind Organization and Stress
I liked that Ms. Stoller spent time in the beginning explaining what clutter and disorganization does to our stress level, health, finances, and even our relationships. She explains how organization helps us focus. For a person with attention deficit bordering on Asperger’s, I would LOVE to have more focus. I know that when my house is uncluttered, organized and orderly I do have more peace, joy and focus.
As with most organizing books, the first thing that is tackled are the closets. Specifically, the clothes and accessories. Again, Ms. Stoller spends more time on things that others don’t. I like that she explains how to buy clothes that last and then how to care for them. Everything from how to store them so they last longer and look better to how to wash them. She even tells you where to buy her favorite hangers for the best price. I’ve never been to an IKEA store, and my city won’t have one for another 16 months or so, but I do plan to get her favorite hangers from an IKEA yet this summer when I travel to Minnesota. I priced them on Amazon and they were more than double the price for the same hangers.
In the Bathroom
The mountains of toiletries we seem to accumulate! I only wear a little blush and lipstick. Sometimes I do a quick brushing on of a bronzer. I don’t have nor do I understand all the products women use. Even so, I have favorites that have long since “expired” that I should just put in the trash. There were reminders that makeup does have an expiration date and can cause problems for our skin if kept too long. Thank you. I will trash that 15-year-old fuchsia colored blush that isn’t even opened yet. In my defense, I bought several of them when they were discontinuing the color that I loved so much. As I aged, though, my skin changed and powdered blush no longer looked good on me. So while the color is fantastic for my skin, I won’t use it because I don’t use powder any longer. It needs to go in the trash.
I liked her ideas on the bath towels. I’d never read those before. I don’t know that I’d change to all white towels, but maybe I’ll go that route if I ever need to buy towels again. Right now, I may be set for the sunset of my life.There were also good suggestions for buying and storing bed linens when you don’t have linen closets.
In the Kitchen
Ms. Stoller admits right off that she didn’t cook much so her kitchen organization wasn’t a high priority. But then she explains a discovery she made: when she organized her kitchen to BE a healthy cook, she actually started making her own meals. She explains how she moved things around to accomplish that and the thought process of planning to be skinny, so buying and making food to accomplish that goal of being thin and healthy. Now her kitchen is organized to accomplish that goal.
Even though I learned YEARS and YEARS ago to organize the kitchen in “centers” or grouping things that you use together, I realized that I didn’t take that a step further in my current TINY kitchen. Some things that I don’t use often (some baking items) are at waist level because I was grouping all my spices and add-ins together. Consequently, some bakeware that I do use often is so high I need to get a stool to get them down without breaking them. I think some reorganizing will be happening in my kitchen after reading this book.
This section also is where you’d find the recommendations for cleaning supplies.
Since Ms. Stoller travels extensively the section on organizing for travel is more detailed than either the bathroom (which includes makeup & linens) or the kitchen (which includes cleaning supplies). Being that she does have a LOT of practical experience in this area I learned new things from this section. Who better than an experienced globe-trotting traveler to tell you how to be best organized for travel?
I learned when I first married back in 1978 that my husband liked to come home on select Friday nights in the summer and say we were leaving for “up north” after supper, so I learned to have some things ready to go and a checklist in the partially stocked overnight bag so I never missed anything. Anytime an item we’d “never forget” was forgotten, it was added to the list. So, for the past nearly 40 years I’ve always kept a list. I tweak it as the years go by and there are things I don’t need for one trip or another, but it’s on the list to be crossed off if I don’t need it. I was glad to see that Ms. Stoller also advocated doing both those things, the list and the partially stocked toiletry bag. She went into enough detail without being boring that anyone who has never kept a ready toiletry bag or a list will now have a good idea how to proceed.
Ms. Stoller also touches on books and the storage room. Accommodations are much smaller in Europe than here in the States. Storage is an important part of living over there. Just looking at all the storage units in my area, I believe we can all take away some hints from this section.
What is Missing
There are a few areas that are missing for most the women who might pick up this book. Since Ms. Stoller is neither married nor a mother her book only addresses organizing from a single woman’s point of view. Don’t expect any mention of sharing a closet or organizing the kids toys, books or school treasures. The only mention of a husband is a statement about marital discord due to clutter. What I appreciate about that, though, is that Ms. Stoller doesn’t pretend to have the answers for those and doesn’t even address them. Just because these areas are not addressed, that shouldn’t dissuade you from getting the book.
Throughout the book I noted many books, apps and websites she referenced. I also looked up several products that she recommended (no wrinkle white blouse, for one). I will implement a number of the ideas she wrote about in her book. There was one app I may download and a couple of books that are now on my reading list. There are also websites I will view on a later date.
I was happy this wasn’t just another in a long list of decluttering or organizing books. And while this wasn’t all-encompassing, it was different. And while the grammatical errors were a little distracting and the book as a little slow for me, it helped you think about things in a different way and that made up for those slight detriments.
Does this book sound like something you want and need? Do you need a fresh perspective on organizing? Do you travel a lot and need ways to get that more organized? One lucky reader will win this book. Use the contact form below to tell me why you think this is the book for you. Hurry, though, as I will be choosing a name on Friday, June 16th, 2017 of one lucky winner. I will notify the winner on or about June 17th to get your address to send the book.
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