Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: 5 Days to a Clutter-Free House by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims

About the authors:
Sandra Felton, The Organizer Lady, is a pioneer in the field of organizing. She is the founder and president of Messies Anonymous and the author of many books including Organizing Magic. Sandra lives in Florida.
Marsha Sims is a national speaker who has taught seminars on time management and organization, managing the front desk, and projects and priorities. She has been a professional organizer for fifteen years as the founder and president of her Miami-based company, Sort-It-Out, Inc.

My Review: I admit I'm quite organizationally challenged! My kids are getting older (my youngest is 11) and pretty soon I'll run out of excuses for my disorganized home :). Undoubtedly, the title of this book piqued my curiosity. Does it take only 5 days to get one's house to become clutter-free? Surely, they haven't seen my house :)! My family and I have been in this current house for almost 5 years and we still haven't unpacked all the boxes yet :)! However, that could be viewed as a blessing in disguise (less things to organize and put away...they're already in boxes).

This book is divided into 2 sections: Section One--Getting It Under Control and Section Two--Keep the Good Life Going. The authors introduce the Mount Rushmore Method and employ the box system. The "rush" refers to the speedy 5 days of clearing up the clutter and the "more" refers to a team (more than 1 person). They also suggest setting a specific, tangible goal and a deadline. Another important factor is having a game plan which includes deciding in advance where to store boxes, labeling boxes, and using the body as a guide for each day's decluttering tasks (by focusing on different parts/levels of the home from the ground up). This is an interesting concept that helps break down that "overwhelming" dread of decluttering into a bite-sized, doable mission. The key is teamwork (many hands make light work). You're to invite people to come help you organize for 5 days and then celebrate the result with a party on the 6th day. I think the idea is great but I don't think it will work well for everyone. Some people (such as perfectionists) would have a hard time :). Or those who really value their privacy. The book does mention that the plan can be accomplished even by someone working alone but it just takes longer. There are many useful, practical ideas & tips in this book such as 6 steps to an organized life, steps to make the boxes disappear, rules of storage, ten-minute tidy checklist, etc. I enjoy learning strategies from real-life stories and gleaning from their experiences what works and what doesn't.

Once your home becomes clutter-free, how do you make sure it is kept that way? Session Two addresses this concern. It covers how to manage ourselves, our house, our family, and our time. The authors present clutter-buster habits to cultivate, house clutter-busters, family clutter-busters, time clutter-busters, tips for getting rid of stuff, and top ten tips for de-cluttering and staying de-cluttered. Lots of helpful resources are additionally included in the appendix. If you are discouraged by the disarray of your home, check this book out! I've been motivated and encouraged by it and I hope to put what I learned into action soon. Clutter begone! A clean and organized home is a restful and inviting home. I'm visualizing it right now :). Now what I need just do it!

"Done is better than perfect." (p. 37)

"The book is designed to accomplish one end--at the end of the week, all surfaces of your house, from top to bottom, will be clear. And they'll stay that way." (p. 63)

"Maintenance is doing the same right things over and over again consistently, without undue thought or delay." (p. 133)

"Change is possible, but only if you daily makes the decision to do it." (p. 136)

~ I received a free copy of this book via the Book Club Network, Inc. in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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