For nearly as long as I've been a homemaker, author Sandra Felton has been a household name for those seeking to transition from "messie" to organized. Smart Organizing: Simple Strategies For Bringing Order To Your Home is a broad-sweep book on the topic.
The first half describes the bare bones way of keeping house. "No one needs to be 100 percent organized or even 80 percent organized," Felton wrote. "Just find the significant 20 percent that will accomplish what you want and do it."
The first step is to go through the house and apply the three C's: consolidate, containerize, and condense. From her description, Felton has more stuff in her closet than I do, but it is all organized and labeled.
Step two is maintenance. While some people do a continual pick-up throughout the day, others prefer an intensive 15 to 30 minute marathon each morning and evening.
The second half of Smart Organizing offers some practical tools regarding closets, basements, garages, the laundry (lovingly christened Mt. Neverest at my house), food, and the car. Chapters end with Decision Time, a commitment to implement the top 20 percent from that chapter. A resource section lists helpful books, websites, and catalogs.
Chapter Nine, titled The Fam Friend or Foe, explores the importance of children helping. They will be adults who need to know how to cook, clean, and do laundry. The mother is the mom, not the maid. Face it, if any of us thought our future involved having the sole responsibility for daily cleaning, laundry, and care of multiple children, a 2400 square foot home, numerous extracurricular activities, and homework, I doubt many of us would sign up. "The family team ought to work together to win," Felton wrote. "Winning is defined by having a house that looks good and works well with minimal effort (the Bare Bones Way) on the part of everyone."
This chapter also addresses our common disease of being overcommitted to "good" things. "The family van becomes a moving but inadequate family room," Felton pointed out. "Time, which in the past was spent face-to-face in personal contact, is now spent hip to hip, facing forward in the car, at games, or at other activities."
Smart Organizing includes tips from cleaning experts, including sage advice from a woman named Susie, "I'm a sadder but wiser mom of grown children. I never realized my own value until my children's childhoods were over. They missed out on so many experiences because I was always trying to get mastery of the house by myself. I would have been so much better off getting over the shame and getting assistance with housecleaning, so my kids could have the best part of me."
The chapter titled, We are Drowning in Paper was the most helpful for me. I'm also using Brain Drain, the practice of listing everything burdening my mind. Then, each item is scheduled. For instance, painting my front steps is put on the calendar for spring, and decluttering my bookshelves is slated for the week prior to the used book sale.
While there are many books on the topic of organizing, and organizing the home in particular, Smart Organizing is a general book in this category. This is not a book for the person looking for serious surgery in this area of their life. PeggySue Wells, Christian Book Previews.com