Friday, August 1, 2008

When Organizing Isn't Enough by Julie Morgenstern

When I was offered a copy of When Organizing Isn't Enough to review, my first thought was, "What??!! Organizing is not enough?? What about my visions of a zen-like existence in my perfectly categorized home? My dream of an uber-efficient schedule of chores, meals, and self-enrichment??" But, alas, there is no need to reject my revered organizing tomes--this self-help book goes into a deeper, different direction rather than chucking all aims at organization.

The book is geared towards people who are at a transition in their life, and advises them how to "SHED" the physical and mental vestiges of their "old" life, so that all of their energies can be devoted to their new life direction. This applies a bit to me right now as I will have my youngest in first grade, and for the first time in 14 years, will have substantial blocks of time on some days of the week during some months of the year (I have four kids going to four different schools, and they will be on three different tracks--one traditional, two on a regular year-round, and one on a crazy single track. Oh, the joys of my SoCal school district!) How do I decide what I will do with my time? Morgenstern encourages readers to pick a "theme" as a guide to navigating new territory (Covey's "mission statement" meets Ally McBeal's "theme song" is what my mind conjures up). I must confess that I have not come up with a theme yet, but I have been thinking a lot about it, and the author give many examples of possible themes (embracing my power, discovery, creating nurturing home, etc.)

Once you pick your theme, you move on the the SHED fase. I am a little wary of acronyms--worried that content is sacrificed or embelished for the sake of fitting into a clever abbreviation. But Morgenstern does a good job of making each letter of SHED valid. The bulk of the book is devoted to the process of SHEDding:

S-Separate the treasures--What is truly worth hanging on to?
H-Heave the trash--What's weighing you down?
E-Embrace your identity--Who are you without all your stuff?
D-Drive yourself forward--Which direction connnects you to your genuine self?

I have not yet done all of the exercises recommended--I've gotta pick that darn theme!--but I suspect that when I do, if nothing else, I will be more aware of what makes me tick, and what direction I want to take as my kids get older (other than in the direction of the lunatic asylum as the teenage years come upon me). And hopefully, whatever new roads I decide to take, that uber-organized home will be there to return to!

Here's a video of the author explaining the idea of the process of SHED, and how it has applied to her life:

1 comment:

  1. Boy, she really talks with her hands!!

    I (loosely) follow Flylady and she's all about getting rid of the clutter. But I don't think I'm gonna be doing gymnastics anytime soon!