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  3. Introduction

If you've picked up this book, you're probably itching to get organized. Maybe your house is in pretty good shape, but the garage and attic are completely out of control. Or perhaps your home is so chaotic that you have to dig a trail through the clutter to get from your front door to your kitchen. Whatever your situation is, this book can help you as you take small, concrete steps toward your goals.

The struggle for order is always against the backdrop of the rush to get the kids to school on time, pay the bills, manage challenges at work and at home, and get the oil changed. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail.” Sometimes you might feel so busy just managing the details of life that domestic goals — such as clearing out your garage so you can park there this winter — can go ignored for months (or years) at a time.

This book is for all of us who struggle to balance all those details, yet stubbornly persist in our desire for an orderly home. The tips in this book are intended for those who have just a few minutes a day (and perhaps a few hours a day over the weekend) to organize. As you work through the chapters in this book, take the advice that will work for your own situation, and leave the rest. Feel free to skip around and read the chapters that intrigue you or are most directly related to your current organizational challenges. You can keep the book for reference as new challenges present themselves over the years.

The most important thing is that you find an approach that works for you. Perhaps you've purchased organizational books in the past, latched on to a particular method with enthusiasm, and wrestled your home (and life) into order, only to have the mess return a few months later. This book will help you develop a customized approach to your own unique, internalized organizational challenges. If you can develop an approach that fits your personality and circumstance, you're far more likely to be able to achieve long-term success.

This book explores some of the psychological blocks on the path to organization, and it also offers a huge variety of organizational tips and strategies. Room by room, you'll have an opportunity to explore ways to sort, purge, and organize your belongings. But this book isn't just about organizing — it is also about creating a home that you'll love to come back to.

Organizing is a significant piece of the equation, but it is not everything. It is equally important to develop cleaning strategies that are efficient, realistic, and — in some cases — fun. If you've attempted in the past to bring order to your home, then you're well aware of the other hidden struggle behind the chaos — life with other people. This book will also offer practical tools for navigating the emotional landmines that are often hidden in those thickets of clutter.

Homes are not unlike living beings — they need to breathe, they need to be nurtured and loved, and they have a profound relationship with the emotional, spiritual, and financial dimensions of life. As you come to better understand the obstacles that are holding you back, as well as the opportunities that await you, you'll be better able to chart a course through the clutter and to find ways to bring about long-term change.

Although organizing is never effortless, it doesn't have to be a chore. As you tackle the chaos in your home one drawer at a time, you'll find that the work has its own rewards. It often feels so good to sort and purge that, over time, you might get hooked on the process. The joy you find in this work, as well as your increasing ability to experience the beauty of your home, will help you to persist in your efforts and to create a place that you'll love coming home to day after day.

  1. Home
  2. Home Organizing
  3. Introduction
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