When I received an email from the Global Influence Network letting me know that I was one of the lucky bloggers selected to review Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection by Alice Rockmore and Sarah Welch, I did my little dance of joy. I love reading articles and books on organization, but I rarely manage to put any of the tips into practice. I truly want to be organized, I want everything to be in some semblance of a proper place, I want to not have to search for three years for the combination to my safe (which luckily was stuck open instead of closed) before finally resorting to amateur safe-cracking methods.
I get these grand ideas in my head after reading what Rockwell and Welch refer to as “org porn.” I even go so far as to buy fancy folder systems, cutesy little baskets and tabbed folders. However, like everything else I buy with the intention of getting organized, they just sit empty. Worse, they give me one more spot to toss things. My current biggest challenge is the area around my desk, not so much because it’s the most disorganized (believe me, there are far more disorganized areas in my house!), but because it’s where all the most important stuff is located. This is what it my desk drawer looked like before:
I finally discovered my main problem- magazine images of organized homes with their decorative boxes, bins and folders all stacked and labeled, color-coded and filed to perfection left me feeling inadequate. If I couldn’t achieve that level of perfection, then why bother at all? Org porn has the same effect on my self-organizational-image that the cover model on fashion magazines has on my self-body-image. But just like I’m never going to be a size 2, I’m also never going to be one of those people who has a color-coded perfect house., and Pretty Neat tells me that’s okay. In fact, I found that my organizational skills in certain areas of my life are already totally adequate, but I let the pressures of someone else’s ideal system tell me they weren’t.
The first 95 pages of the 167-page Pretty Neat book (not including the index) teach you how to re-think your approach to organizing. Rockmore and Welch outline the key issues, such as learning to say no and mastering the art of delegating, in easy to digest chapters, each ending with a summation of the key points. The rest of the book addresses the most common obstacles to organizations- clutter, towers of paperwork and mail, toys, the electronic frontier and mealtime. I loved that the book featured numerous organization tips and tricks from real people. “Pretty Neat” provides information that I can actually see myself using now, rather than just pretending I’m going to use someday. In fact, in less than five minutes of work, I tackled the messy drawer next to my computer. It may not be magazine-cover perfect, but I think it qualifies as Pretty Neat!
In addition to reading the book, I also recommend checking out their website, Buttoned Up. It too is filled with tips, tricks and handy products to make organizing less of a chore and more of a fun way of life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”