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Thursday, November 3, 2011

book - Absolutely Organized

Absolutely Organized - A Mom's Guide to a No-Stress Schedule and Clutter-Free Home by Debbie Lillard

(image from Google)

This was an awesome book! I was pleased to see I do many of these things already (in an attempt to be slightly less overwhelmed with this parenting gig!) and excited to learn a few new things about managing everything in the house and that goes along with being a parent.

The author starts the book by saying on page 11, "In my experience as a professional organizer, I've noticed two things about the moms I've worked with: first, they need organizing help not because they are lazy, but because they are busy, and second, they are usually very hard on themselves. Let's face it, the job of a mother is multi-faceted."

A must-have, according to the author, is a planner or appointment book, as well as a calendar in the kitchen or some place visible in the home that has all family members' appointments on it. She suggested making to-do lists daily, marking items as things that must get done today, should get done today, or would be nice to get done today.

The book goes through every part of your life - your car, living room and kitchen, bathroom, kids' rooms, your purse, your office, etc. and how you can organize every part of those areas. It's a short, quick read, with pictures. I loved this book! I know it will help many moms out there who are just trying to keep things together. She gives real-life, simple, easy to change in your own life tips.

I liked one tip about managing your child's toys. If you have kids, you know toys pile up and are given so freely to your child. I would never tell people to stop giving our son a toy; I know how important it is for aunts and uncles and grandparents to spoil their little ones! I do the same with my niece and nephews! But managing those toys - especially in a small house like mine - is really important. The author suggests maintaining the toys at certain times of year such as before a birthday or Christmas when new gifts will be coming in. Go through and find what your children no longer use and donate to someone else. Or find things that your child already has three of the same items to give away.

Another tip the author gave was something to make our lives easier as a mom. You probably receive birthday invites in the mail all the time for your child. The author encourages you to have wrapping paper, gift bags, tape and cards at your house all the time. Have several of different types and colors. Keep them in a closet in the office if possible, but if not keep it all in a bin together some place. I have done this for years, and honestly it's one of the best organization tips. When it's time for a birthday party it is so easy for me to put things together because I already have the gift bags at home in the closet. I keep tons of blank cards on hand so I can just grab one and write it out, instead of having to rush to a store before a party and spend more money on one.

Lillard suggests the C.P.R. method for organizing your life and going through things you no longer need at home. C.P.R. stands for Categorize, Purge, Rearrange. She suggests starting room by room, making it more manageable. Don't try to organize your entire house or car or life all in one day or even a weekend. Just take a room at a time and empty all drawers, closets, bins, etc. and start getting rid of what you no longer need or what doesn't even belong in that particular room.

Another tip was to make your car be organized, too. Keep things in there that you know you'll need, like baby wipes and your cell phone charger or a snow scraper. To make your life easier you need to be organized, not perfect.

On page 186, Lillard wrote two important lists:
"Absolutes of Organizing
1. C.P.R. is the method: Categorize, Purge, Rearrange.
2. Keep purging simple with 'Yes' and 'No' piles.
3. Keep only what you use.
4. If you don't plan it, it won't happen.
5. Keep like things together.
6. Start with a good list.
7. Subtract before you add.
8. Finish one thing before you start another.
9. Organize from large to small.
10. Daily routines are a must."

She also wrote "What Every Mom Needs:
1. Daily planner
2. Family calendar
3. Stair basket
4. House Projects Plan book
5. Home office
6. Notebook - kept where you do your best thinking
7. Coupon caddy
8.Perpetual food list
9. Folder for children's activities and school information
10. A memory box for each family member"

An awesome book with great tips! I highly recommend it.

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