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!!

post signature

156 comments:

Pippi said...

Sounds like a great book! It's not available at my library yet, so I'll have to go order it!

D. said...

Sounds like a great book.

Anonymous said...

Laura,
Thanks for sharing the questions and comments with us. Once again I love your blog.
God Bless
Terry

mom2triplets04 said...

sounds like a great book. I'm always reading organizing books. I actually have "Getting things done" by David Allen out from the library which I will read next after my novel I'm reading. Adding this book to my list of books to read. Thanks for recommending it.

The Logans said...

I am going to request this book at our library tomorrow. Sounds like just what I need to get my butt in gear!

nightwolflayouts said...

Sounds like a great book. anything that can help with clutter is a good thing :)

magpie said...

Sounds good - and she has recipes!

Bitsy said...

This book sounds GREAT!!! I would love to win it. Thanks, Bitsy

Dawn said...

It sounds like a good book. Anything that can help me get organized is worth it.

Lisa @ Take90West said...

The getting organized I can do, it's the staying that I have the problem with!
Would love to read this book!
Thanks!

Mrs. F said...

Free book about something I actually need? Count me in!!!!!

April in CT said...

The book looks very inspirational and I'm definitely going to check it out!

imadramamama said...

You know I love me some organizing!! Especially free books!

Avlor said...

What an incredibly cool sounding book! (My library doesn't have it. Pout.) Putting it on my wishlist.

Joan said...

Sounds like an amazing book, specially like the fact its seems to cover every area i need help getting orgnaised with.

lynnae said...

Sounds like something I need! Count me in!

beingfrugal at gmail dot com

ChupieandJ'smama said...

You've sold me! Whether I win it or not, I'm getting this book. I've resigned myself to getting organized this year (well, that and losing weight).

Robin said...

I think this is a book for me.

Hope I win.

Megret said...

I'd love to devour this book's knowledge cover to cover, and then pass it along to my friends to read as well! Thanks! ( meg.wilson@gmail.com )

Michelle said...

I would love to have this! Thank you for the contest!

the4moyers said...

This sounds like a great read! I think I could really use this! :o)
Thanks for offering it!
~Tanya
the4moyers(at)msn(dot)com

Anonymous said...

April 15th, what a great day to hear some good news! ;) Thank you for being such a huge help to those of us who need it. I have really liked your round-ups. Please enter me in the drawing.

Michelle
savingmoney.info @ gmail.come

Crystal said...

Thanks for the review, looks like a good one to get for me :)

lori said...

You make is sound wonderful!! I think I'd love it so please consider this my entry!!
lori {at} thecowboyshack {dot} com

Marne said...

Wow, sounds like I really need this book!

marneclark@hotmail.com

Amiyrah said...

this book sounds awesome! I'm going to go to my library and see if they have it yet.

Kari said...

This book sounds great and something I totally need!

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

Sounds like a book that I need!! Please enter me!

Rachel said...

Wow! I would love to win this book...I'm really struggling in this area working to purge all the extra junk out of our house. Count me in!!!! webb (dot) rachel (at) gmail (dot) come

Mrs. H. said...

Thanks for the cool giveaway. With five kids, I need to get organized in a big way.

Courtney said...

Fixing to move into a new house and could really use this starting out.

amomspeaks at gmail dot com

Alicia said...

Thanks for the review!

The Boojes said...

Sounds great! Thanks!

Maria@losninosadams said...

Anything to get me going in our brand new house that is still in boxes !! I need some organization P L E A S E

THANK YOU !!
Maria
titasmija@gmail.com

canearl said...

Sounds great- if I don't win it I'll have to buy it :).

Tiffany said...

I'm reading blogs right now to advoid the huge mess--I NEED this!
dwalk55@comcast.net

Misti said...

I would love to have this book, and I sure could use it!

Jennifer said...

It sounds awesome and realistic about organization.
jenniesmith@gmail.com

awhitaker said...

I would love this book!!
awhitaker24@comcast.net

tAnYeTTa said...

Sounds just like what I need! Thank you!

tanyetta at hotmail

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Karen's books are wonderful. I haven't read this particular one but I did read another one awhile back. Her suggestions are do-able. You can also find more of her at Hearts at Home ministry. She leads a workshop at their conference that you can buy on cd.

Tracy said...

This book sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing. I'd love to win it! kalikei@gmail.com

Leanna said...

I hope to win this book, because I really need to read it.

BrendaS said...

I love all things organizational...bins, books, shelves, magazines...!!! I also have a messy daughter who I would like to train to be a tidy young lady. I'd love to read this book!

cornfreelady at yahoo dot ca

This Military Mama said...

ooooh! I really need this! Please let me win!

Hip Mama Crafts said...

Man... do I need this book. I am always ok with the GETTING organized part- it is the STAYING organized that I struggle with!
flymommyinrf@sbcglobal.net

April said...

I would really love that book cause I really need it!

Liz said...

I'd love to read this book.
-Liz
lizkump@yahoo.com

Ashley said...

Sounds like me! Would love to read this one. :)

alboston@juno.com

Anonymous said...

I love books!

I love contests!

I love being organized!
~kelly from: marcgrn@aol.com

michellenotdawn said...

What a blessing!
Thanks,
Michelle

Egl4031 said...

With three toddlers I would CERTAINLY love this book! I'll wait to see if I win before I order it! :-)


egl4031@earthlink.net

Angie said...

I could really use some organization help. This book sounds like it could be very helpful. Thanks for the opportunity.

JC said...

Sounds like the next best thing to hiring a professional organizer!
This book would certainly help feed my "addiction"!
krismissbaby@yahoo.com

Laura H said...

I cant wait to read it:)

Alicia said...

I totally get that feeling she mentioned that I can never be as organized as the person who already is organized! This sounds like a great book.

Amber (Bringing Good Home) said...

I'm totally in! It sounds like a really good book. Getting AND staying organized... both parts of the equation!

The Carter Family said...

Sounds like a great book!! A must have for us who LOVE to organize and have things organized. Count me in for the giveaway!!

Ashleigh

ashleigh.carter@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great organizing tips. I enjoy your blog. I would love to win this book to learn even more!

~mel

melhomsher@gmail.com

amanda said...

sounds like such a great book! i'd love to read it!
abh5e8@mizzou.edu

Jen said...

Pick Me!!
thebauerfamily@hotmail.com

Rose Atwater said...

Oooh - sounds great - just what I need!
rosalinamia@hotmail.com

Jenean said...

Ooooooo! Can't ever get enough of the organizing books! :)
bordeaux700@yahoo.com

April said...

I'd love to be entered!

Richelle said...

Oooo, count me in!

Blue said...

Great reveiw!

Melanie said...

If I win this book, I am going to give it to a friend of mine who struggles with her home. I think she would enjoy reading this. Great review! Thanks!

Julie said...

Looks like a great book!

juliebadoolie@sbcglobal.net

Mary said...

There's nothing like being organized. This book would be great for me!

NH Mom of 3 said...

Sounds like a book I should read!

petersonclan said...

I'd love a copy of this... thanks!

petersonclan@momys.com

Veggiemomof2 said...

OOO I want this book!

Jodi said...

This sounds like a great book - I'd love to read it. I'm working on decluttering now so any insights and references would be extremely helpful!
Thanks!

Toni said...

This book sounds great! I am trying to get organized around my new home so that our lives will be less stressful.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book..will have to see if my library has this. Good points stated.

kimben123@yahoo.com

Debbie Jordan Kravitz said...

I haven't heard of this one-gottat check it out!

Debbie

Cheri in OKC said...

This books sounds great - practical and real! Can't wait to get it.

Dana said...

sounds great. I'll have to check it out.

- Dana

Jennifer said...

I would love to be entered to win. I could certainly use a good book regarding organization. I have a hard time getting organized, and when I force myself to organize something, I am never able to maintain it.

jennie said...

Sounds like an all-in-one book for organizing. I can't wait to see it.

Angie said...

I actually have this book, but if I win, I would love to pass it along to one of my sisters. :) I haven't read mine yet, but am planning to do so this summer.

I have seen Karen speak at the national Hearts at Home Conference in 2007 and 2008, and picked up this book while I was there in March.

She's a great speaker to listen to! :) (Even if I did give her daughter a hard time for calling me ma'am one time. But, seriously -- who am I kidding -- I am 31 and have three kids -- I am no longer a "miss." LOL)

kdebause said...

Thank you for reviewing this book! I am desparate to get my house organized! I am looking forward to reading this book. I NEED HELP!
Karen

Julie and Ben said...

this sounds wonderful!!!

Melissa said...

I am always looking at ways to organize my permanently messy house. I did see this book the other day at a store I work in and wanted it. I try to get all of my books from the library first and they don't have it yet :( I can't wait to read it.

diXymiss said...

Sounds like a great book! Please count me in for a chance to win. ThanX

Anonymous said...

It does sound like a good book!
tcmcgarvey at hotmail dot com

Kel said...

This sounds like a terrific book!

Gracie said...

I really like organization books by folks with children, they seem to understand keeping a home with children so much better.

Elaine L. said...

help me... help me... (imagine the fly body with the man head in the original The Fly pleading for help) I need the book!

Babsi said...

Hi! So funny, I just left a post on my blog about commiting myself to become more organized! This book would sure come in handy!
Thanks for your blog,
Babsi
babsij@sbcglobal.net

www.gigglepeas.blogspot.com

L & D said...

I keep reading and reading about getting organized, but nothing happens! Maybe this will be the book that gets me off of my duff and on the way to being organized. Please help!

Janelle said...

Looks like a great book! I hope I win.

Lisa said...

This book looks fabulous! I love books like this also! Thanks.

Andie said...

This sounds like a book I NEED to read...but one that I will enjoy and will help me and my family. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. It would be GREAT to win this! :o)

Blessings-Andie

Sydney said...

Sounds great! Maybe this book could help me transform my home!

Beth said...

Looks like a great book! Thanks for the chance to win!

Debbie said...

This book sounds great! I'd love to read it!

HopewellMomSchool said...

Looks great!

Dark Dreamer 8 said...

Sounds like a fantastic book!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book.

Patty
macybelle1@aol.com

KMR said...

Sounds like the help I need! Thanks for the review! Kim liontree@gvtc.com

Jim and Jaena said...

I'm putting it on my "Hope To Buy" list if I don't win it. :)

Chappyswife said...

There's an organizing book that won't make me feel inadequate because I am NOT organized? Wow. This does sound like a good book, Laura.

Kelly said...

That sounds like an awesome book! I would love to read it.

family circus said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. I need to read it now as I am trying to get things better organized in my small home before the birth of Baby Girl Number 3 in June.

Beautiful Stranger said...

Wow, I was already hooked from the beginning but I was absolutely SOLD when she gave the tip about having a tote bag ready to do your letter-writing in the orthodontist's office... what a great idea! I can't wait to read this!!

Laura said...

Hello!
This was a nice starter interview to give us a feel for the author's style and the book, thanks, it sounds great! thanks for making us aware of great products!
Laura
Lauraleighanderson@hotmail.com

Jessica said...

Wow! This is exactly what I need right now!
Thanks for this contest!

Jessica
jessabeth7@aol.com

Heather & Reese said...

I'd LOVE to have this book. I need help and inspiration.

Blessings,

Reese

ginger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ginger said...

This book sounds wonderful. I love her advice to declutter first... I have started this, but it is such a huge process... I feel like the kids keep bringing stuff in as I get rid of stuff!

wifeoferp (at) yahoo (dot) com

Christy said...

I Need Help! And this might be it.

Family O'Foxes said...

I had just seen this book last week on Proverbs 31 website. Hmmm...wonder if that is a sign I need this book ... LOL!!
Thanks for your review!
~Amy

Kim said...

This book isnt available in australia so I am going to have to keep an eye out as it looks fabulous.

Keep up the great work with the website. I have been a lurker for about 8 months and am just loving it.

Kim

loitering said...

Sounds like exactly what I need! I really appreciate your reviews.

Shann-n said...

Okay, don't take this the wrong why but.... I LOVE YOU :)
You are my organizing soul mate LOL
I will have to check this book out!
Shannon

Davis family said...

sounds like a great book. just the kind of thing I need.

andi davis
andidavis7@msn.com

Bobbie said...

Sounds great. I love organizing books!

Sandra said...

I never win anything but what the heck, I really want this book LOL

Count me in.

Hugs,
Sandra

Anonymous said...

i would love this book!

kathryn

dnkfunk@bellsouth.net

Robyn said...

I cannot tell you how much I need this book. :)

dallasrobyn@gmail.com

Kevin & Misti said...

Thanks for the review. I'll add this to my "must read" list.

--Misti

Sweetpeas said...

Sounds like a book I NEED!

Bella said...

I started organizing...but...I got stuck. The book sounds like it could help me get back on track.

Mama Kat said...

I would love this book! We're moving next month and I hope to keep my new home much better organized since it is smaller!

Heather said...

Pick me, pick me, pick me!
heatherleighlee@hotmail.com

Cheri said...

As I'm sorting/packing things for our move from Italy back to the US, I'm realizing I'm not nearly as organized and in control as I thought I was and pretend to be!

This book would be a perfect read BEFORE we move into a house on the other end!

CelticBuffy said...

Sounds like a book I definitely need to read. We're preparing to move in a couple of months and we still haven't recovered from moving a year ago! If I don't win I'm WILL be buying this book on April 16th.

Anonymous said...

Hi sounds like a good book. I would love to win it to give me fresh ideas on organizing and motivate me again.
thanks Diane
dimoe@writeme.com

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great book! I just ordered a few organizing books on Amazon and I will have to add this one to my wish list :)
Thanks!
Nicole
ncoyle38@yahoo.com

Angelique said...

Sounds very inspiring and like something I could REALLY use! I will have to check it out!

Thank you- Maybe I will even win! :O)

mholgate said...

You can never have too many books on organizing! What a great contest! I'll add this book to my reading list.

Amanda said...

sounds like a book that i need! thanks for sharing!

GlennsinTX said...

What a great book -- sounds like a must-read (and a must-apply, too!). Thanks for the review!

Debby said...

Sounds like this definitely needs to be on my to-read/TO DO list for this summer. I am a 44 y/o full-time college student, half way to my B.S. Mathematics degree..and taking this summer off to organize/declutter to help me keep my sanity through the rest of this journey! Looking for all the help I can get!

Nancy said...

Sounds like a great book! I am new to your blog, but there's so much info...can't wait to dig in! Oh yeah, and I can't wait to read this book!

bigbinder said...

Laura, I came for the Menu Plan and I stayed for the great info on your blog! This looks like a great book, and if you recommend it I know it is good.

bigbinderblog@gmail.com

Meegan said...

I love all your recommendations, and this is definitely a book I want to get, especially after hearing about it here. Crossing my fingers that I might win!

Jennifer said...

OH!
I've gotta have this book!

Gretchen said...

Oh, Gee, if I don't win this one, I'm just going to have to buy it. It sounds that great. Thanks for the review and the opportunity, Laura.

Nerdy said...

I cant NOT wait to get this book! Thank you for the review and information!

ndirishlover@gmail.com

kpmattingly said...

Sounds like a book I could really use!! Thanks for the offer.

Christy @ Multitasking Mama said...

I'd love, love, love to win this book! But if not, I may just buy it myself. Right now I am looking for organizational solutions. Our home didn't have any when we moved in and slowly we are putting some in (shelving where we can, etc) but I need some creative ideas to really make it work and this book sounds like it is just the thing!

I jotted a quick post to send others this way for this great opp. Thanks for doing this!!

http://multitaskingmama.wordpress.com/2008/04/13/win-the-complete-guide-to-getting-and-staying-organized/

Christy @ Multitasking Mama

Lori said...

This sounds like a GREAT book! Can't wait to read it!
Lori
enjoytheprocess.blogspot.com

Shirley said...

This book sounds GREAT! I just stumbled upon your blog from one of my favorite "nutritional" blogs. I've been reading so many books on gardening and hobby farming yet with a move looming in our near future I think this book will be my next investment! I've been super flinging but am very concerned about keeping life simple as we head into our first year of homeschooling 5 children between the ages of 5 & 11 (one of them is Autistic. Thank you for taking the time to share your tips, reviews, and wisdom!
God Bless!
Shirley
Mom of 6

Jennifer V said...

Well please enter me in this draw. I've a 15 month old, and another on the way. I am trying to get organized and have just ordered my first planner. This sounds like something I could benefit from reading :)
(as could we all I am sure!)
Jennifer
jennifer.vanderploeg@gmail.com

Helene said...

Sounds like a great book. I'll like to be enter in the draw. I have 3 kids and sometimes it's nice to be really organized and find inspiration from your blog and books.

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to be organized and this book sounds like it would be a great beginning!! Thanks for the opportunity--enjoy all your helpful suggestions!!
Jane
guileys at bellsouth dot net

topaztook said...

Please enter me, I'd love to win!

Micah and Katie said...

Getting organized is something I hadn't really taken much pride in until I met a wonderful mom who recommended your site. Now I am being a junkie and getting everything organized. I enjoyed your post and would like to learn more on the subject. Thanks for even giving us the chance to win this great book

surrendered2theking said...

This book sounds awesome! I hope I win :-)

Amy
surrendered2theking@gmail.com

LaDonna Harris said...

Wow! That book sounds great! What a great addition to any library.

newcreationart said...

Oh, count me in for a chance to win this one!

jskell911 said...

I am an organizational failure. Well, ok, not a complete failure. I always try to implement new methods, but nothing works for me. I wonder if this book addresses people like me who try and love the idea, but have such a hard time making any of it stick!

Anonymous said...

This book sounds great! I am a new mom and could definitely use some help in home-organizing! I have already appreciate all the helpful tips on your blog.

~mel
melhomsher@gmail.com

Ter said...

looks like a great book!

withanangelonmyshoulder@gmail.com