Book Review: The Complete Guide to Getting…. *Winner announced*

Title:  The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized
Subtitle: *Manage Your Time *Eliminate Clutter and Experience Order *Keep Your Family First
Author: Karen Ehman
Publisher’s Synopsis: The key to good organization is not a one–size–fits–all method. It is a unique plan that considers personality type, lifestyle, income level, and family schedule. Author and speaker, Karen Ehman believes that with her simple step by step process moms can recognize their own personal style of managing their households successfully and develop a unique plan that gives them the freedom to:

  • manage their time wisely
  • de–clutter and organize their homes
  • plan menus, shop more efficiently, and become more comfortable and creative in the kitchen
  • get children involved in pursuing an ordered life and home
  • avoid the trap of overcommitment
  • use practical tools to assist in organization

Getting and staying organized means more time for the important things in family life—concentrating on cultivating a close, personal relationship with the Creator, drawing His word into every aspect of living, and ultimately tying their children’s heartstrings to God.

Every December (that I remember anyway), I go over to and sign up for their SantaThing.  This is just a fun gift exchange thing that involves books.   This year, they used and due to snowy conditions, the big pond, extra screening in the US thanks to an irritating little pipsqueak of a terrorist, and US weather, I didn’t get mine until almost February!  (or was it after?  I don’t remember.  It’s a blur.)  This was one of the books I received (along with Stephen King’s On Writing and a Kathy Herman novel that, unfortunately, I own).

Ok, now I’ve read more organization books than anyone should be allowed to read.  Let’s face it, most of them say the same things.  Get rid of clutter, put like things together, and put it back when you’re done with it.  My favorite advice I’ve ever read was, “If you have to choose between easy to get out or easy to put away, always choose easy to put away.”  YES!  So, I wasn’t sure what I’d find with this book.

First, the book is a casual fun read.  There aren’t a lot of lofty ideals that people with real lives couldn’t make work.  She has worksheets to help work through the ideas she presents.  She’s honest.  The book isn’t going to do the work for you, and she doesn’t pretend that it will.  A fun addition are the little notes from her daughter about helping kids organize and getting the kid’s perspective on it all.

There are room by room lists of things to consider when organizing, and even little blurbs by others giving little hints of what works for them in certain areas.  I enjoyed the personal anecdotes and related stories throughout the book.  It is always fun to get a glimpse of life in someone else’s family.

She moved from room by room organization to things like commitments, time wasters, conquering paper, and the always obnoxious meal planning and shopping.  And of course, she ends with a chapter on how to maintain now that your home is in order again.

Did I like it?  Sure!  I love books on organization.  Was there anything in there that I’ve never heard of?  Not really.  However, the relaxed way she writes, the encouragement she gives to “get in there and get it done,” and the way the book is laid out as a step-by-step process makes it a great choice if you’re ready to tackle your home.  Frankly, I think Kaye from my Confessions of a Decluttering Junkie needed this book.  She could have followed step-by-step, saved a lot of money, and she might have learned a lesson or three about not exasperating your family in the process.  My biggest recommendation for this book would be for people who know they need to do it but feel overwhelmed with where to start.  This book will walk you, without shoving you head first, through the steps to getting your home back under control.

So, as proof that I do learn from all these crazy books I read, I’m going to pass this book onto a reader.  Just post a comment and let me know what area in your home makes you most desperate for change. Congratulations, Vanessa!

14 thoughts on “Book Review: The Complete Guide to Getting…. *Winner announced*

  1. Hmm…other than the whole thing? 😀 It would have to be a toss-up between our dining room (which is actually combination school room, craft/sewing/scrapbook room, and dining room) and the laundry (which isn’t a room…but a washer in the kitchen, a dryer on the back porch, no good place to fold laundry…oh, and no closets in which to store it once it’s folded. ;-)). I’m working on both right now, but I spend a lot of time wanting to throw up my hands and go hide in one of our non-existent closets with chocolate. 🙂

  2. For me the small size of the house is my organization nightmare. It probably is not really that small, it just feels that way. I need to find more horizontal storage I think.


  3. My bedroom: I’m tired of everything getting dumped in there. A close second is the kitchen counter by the door for the same reason.

  4. Right now I am having a hard time figuring out where to put my sewing machine(s). 3 to be exact… and my Stampin’ Up! stuff. I have no idea where to put it all.

  5. My whole house. Right now I am trying to declutter my house to make life easier. I hold on to everything……..and now some of it has to go.

  6. Quote: “My biggest recommendation for this book would be for people who know they need to do it but feel overwhelmed with where to start. This book will walk you, without shoving you head first, through the steps to getting your home back under control.”

    This would be me. I tend to get overwhelmed and do nothing. Being the daughter of two pack rats, the granddaughter of a pack rat, the wife of a pack rat (who was the son/grandson of pack rats), I’ve got the pack rat part down pat, just not the organizing/decluttering part.

  7. My office has always been a struggle.
    Since assisting my parent’s as their POA, I’m faced with their paperwork & my husband’s business, as well as my own, in addition to household paperwork.

    Need to get the paper dragon under control.

    The rest of the house could use some help right now, too!

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