Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And the winner is........

I'm pleased to announce the winner of the book The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized is:

BrendaS (cornfreelady)

Congratulations Brenda and Happy Organizing!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized plus a giveaway!

As you know organizing is a passion of mine so I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that up until I started my blog I had never read an organizing book. I had no idea so much organizational goodness existed. Now one of the perks I have is the opportunity to review some of this goodness for you. The book I'm discussing today is called The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Christian author, Karen Ehman.

I'm not even going to beat around the bush on this one. I LOVED this book! This is not a book that talks down to you and makes you feel completely inadequate for not being organized. Not. At. All. Reading this book is like chatting with a girlfriend as she lovingly and gently shows you how to efficiently take care of the "have tos" so you have more time for the "want tos" - unhurried time with your husband, your children, your friends, and your God.

Karen's step by step approach to organizing not only gives you practical guidance on how to de-clutter your "stuff" but more importantly your life including schedules, commitments, priorities and routines. Karen covers it all in this book, she even has a whole chapter devoted to taming the paper clutter and another whole chapter dedicated to menu planning which is so important.

Here is a complete list of the book's table of contents:
  1. Being Organized Means Being Prepared
  2. Finding Your Organizational Personality
  3. Kicking Out the Clutter
  4. Maximizing Efficiency in Every Room
  5. Combating Overcommitment
  6. Taking Control of the Clock
  7. Putting Paper in Its Place
  8. Menu Planning and Shopping Strategies
  9. Now You're Cookin'! (recipes, yay!)
  10. Maintaining Your Home's New Order
  11. Taking It Home, Making It Yours
I loved how she included a chapter on the maintenance part of organization. This is so crucial to any organizing success and I agree with Karen when she says "don't fall for the myth that once you organize your home, it will stay that way forever". Organizing is definitely an ongoing PROCESS that requires you to regularly re-evaluate and re-adjust your plan according to the season of the year or the season of your life.

I recently had the opportunity to ask Karen some questions that I'd like to share with you now. Karen's answers are in purple.


Your book is so great and such an encouragement to women. What made you want to write a book on organizing?

I was actually hesitant to write a book on organizing. The last thing women need is a "My home and life are perfect and here's how yours can be too!" book. Often organizational books actually make women feel discouraged because, if they aren't living the same style life as the author, the methods they tout won't work. So, I decided that if I was to write a book, it would be one that would take into account personalities, lifestyles and children. Then it would walk women through how to set the bar where they'd like and to come up with a plan of attack that works for them.

Your teenage daughter's words of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book. She seems very organized herself. You describe her as a formerly messy kid turned mostly tidy teenager. Can you explain how this transformation came to be?

Well, first I tried screaming, yelling, grounding, threats...all to no avail. She was a pre-teen girl with lots of "stuff", stuff she liked to display. Her room was off of our living room and I grew tired of the piles and junk. She grew tired of me nagging all of the time. And she felt that when I attacked her stuff, I was attacking who she was as a person. We came to a compromise and bought some cool baskets, and bins where she could stash her stuff. And, I also pulled a makeover on her room for her 13th birthday--totally retro and lime green and orange. It motivated her to want to keep it looking nice. Since then she has grown into a very tidy and organized girl!!

In the very first chapter you mention that being organized boils down to being prepared. Can you tell us why?

Life seldom happens the way we want it to. When we prepare in advance for what thing may occur, we can meet the challenges in a calm, collected way. Having a meal in the freezer for a friend who gets sick, taking a tote bag to the orthodontist's office filled with note cards, stamps and our address book so we can catch up on thank you notes, having you child's medical info handy for those ER visits etc.. I really think that being prepared is much more important than being neat!

In your book you encourage women to avoid getting overwhelmed in their organizational efforts by focusing on just ONE area for a few weeks or months. Only once they have formed new habits in that area and the skills have become part of their regular routine should they move on to tackle another area. I couldn't agree more with this and am wondering what one area you feel women should concentrate on first and why?

I say tackle your piles and de-junk your home first. It will motivate you and give you a sense of calm. Then you can tackle other areas such as managing your time, planning your meals, shopping, laundry routines, etc... When our surroundings are de-cluttered and in order, we can think clearer.

You can find Karen through Proverbs 31 Ministries as well as her blog. Her book is available for purchase through Amazon.

Thank you Karen for writing this amazing book as well as offering to give away a free copy to one of my readers. To enter simply leave a comment on this post (be sure to leave a valid email address) by Monday, April 14th at 11:59 pm pst and then I'll draw one random winner on April 15th.

Happy Organizing!!

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