Organize for A Fresh Start – Book Reviews

Sue’s book leaves no stone unturned, no question unanswered … Whether it’s stuff, time, perspective or plans, she presents clear, easy-to-follow suggestions and ideas that help the reader clarify what’s important and how to let go of the rest. … from a holistic standpoint, taking into account the emotional and relational factors that are so often at the core of our difficulties….”

Her work is based on the recognition that our lives are a series of stages or chapters, and that each new stage has its own requirements for a successful and fulfilling transition. It can often feel like an overwhelming challenge to manage such transitions deliberately and mindfully. Sue’s robust and encouraging approach to this challenge makes it possible to break down and eliminate even the most daunting-looking obstacles.

Kathryn May, MSW
Life Coach and Therapist

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Sue West brings a librarian style sensibility to organizing while offering advice that is easily accessible to everyone….the art of reorganizing to suit your values and to help you through life transitions…. She emphasizes that there is no right or wrong way to organize. …aims to overcome any fear individuals have about getting organized by encouraging small steps….She discusses organizing as an “ongoing process” and encourages communication among those who share living space to avoid unintentionally sabotaging any strides toward a more ordered household. … As an archives consultant who helps families create order for their personal papers, and as a former professional librarian, I recommend this book to anyone who bemoans lacking an innate sense of how to order their world.

It is also helpful for those who need a new perspective to help rethink their possessions and to re-examine their sense of self to step comfortably into the future. Ms. West’s book will walk you through the steps you need to create an organizational system that works for you and makes you feel in control.

Melissa Mannon
Archives and Cultural Heritage Consultant

In my early 60’s, I had just been laid off and wasn’t sure about what to do next. This helped me to think of the next chapter instead of only the last chapter of my life, that something was beginning and not just ending.I also made the connection between my space and stuff and what was going on, that making physical space for something new helped me to open up and allow the new things to come into my life. Most of all, it’s a mindset shift.

I loved the author’s story about the “rusty nail” she hangs her keys on. This approach of the rusty nail is a metaphor for how the author approaches organizing systems. Rather than begin an organizing book with “perfect” solutions, this book is about organizing in ways that are useful and practical in everyday life. If a rusty nail is what you have and will work for you, then that’s what you do.

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Let’s just say that this book was just what I needed. Nothing can do the work for you, but when I was faced with a mountain of overwhelming responsibilities, Organize for a Fresh Start gave me just enough help to stay sane. (Or, at the very least, somewhat sane.)

I found the book to be written in a very practical and encouraging style. As I was reading, I kept nodding and started to understand why some of my organizing systems no longer worked. I have added more obligations and projects to my life over the last two years, and never took a look to make sure the old set-up for my office still worked for me now. Also, now that my children are teenagers, we need a new system in place with them to keep track of sports, work, and social schedules. Sometimes I walk away from books like this feeling discouraged and guilty for not having been able to keep everything maintained. This time I could see why our system doesn`t work and have some plans on what could work. No guilt, just helpful ideas.

Source: The Self-Rescue Princess

This book is not just about organization, but it’s about getting a fresh start, beginning a new chapter, for example if you’re expecting a baby, or if you’re getting, or recently got divorced. I really appreciated this because I was divorced a couple years ago and I was starting over. This book is not only about removing physical clutter from your life, but emotional clutter as well. There are motivational exercises to help you organize, like filling in blanks, creating goals, visualization. There is no one fix for everyone regarding organization. It’s about finding out what works for you. I do like the organization tips in the book. The author goes from room to room giving practical advice. She’s a professional organizer herself and knows her stuff.

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I admit I have a few books on getting rid of stuff and organized and have made great progress. This book takes a different view that for me makes a lot of sense to me. She has you look at where you are in your life and what your need are going to be in the future. It is not just start in this drawer and count out this many socks kind of book.

All through this beautiful book are highlighted in blue little quotes that stick with you reminding you that there is no perfect way to do this it will be different for each person. She encourages you when you get burned out and just want to throw up your hands.

I love her no regrets question list on page 101. I have been in a pitching mode and gotten rid of things I so wish I still had. You will have a holding area for things you need time to see if it is right to let go or hold on to it. I like that she doesn’t boss you around she is gentle in her suggestions but very effective.

My office is the worst in the house and I am starting there with my boxes and positive attitude that where m life is right now it just makes no sense to be keeping about 50% of what sits there unused. She mentions and I have found one I have a donate box it is best to put it in the trunk right away out of site so I don’t go reconsider. There is a reconsider place and anything not 100% sure will go there for a time.

I highly recommend this even if you like I have started and are making progress with other books, this one adds new insights that are truly helpful.

Organize for a Fresh Start, Embrace Your Next Chapter in Life was just what I needed for now. Can you imagine suddenly having to organize and completely pack up the home of a deceased family member, while also having to weed through the contents of a large storage facility, while also moving out of your own apartment while moving into a new house — which also required that I accommodate the household belongings of yet another family member?

Can’t imagine it, eh? Well, neither could I, but I still had to do it. Let’s just say that this book was just what I needed. Nothing can do the work for you, but when I was faced with a mountain of overwhelming responsibilities, Organize for a Fresh Start gave me just enough help to stay sane. (Or, at the very least, somewhat sane.)

This is a well written book which is designed in a way that helps a person who is not organized become organized. I have gotten books before on organizing that, after I have read a few pages, have found there way into a stack of books never to be read again. I am using this book and I know where it is.

The book starts out with a premise that intrigues me. The premise is that organizational skills are tied to life changes. This is and was new to me. Most books on the subject just look at the organizational skills themselves rather than life circumstances involved causing the the need to organize and reorganize. Basically you either are organized or you are not.

The first chapter, “Live Your Life in Chapters”, talks about how organizing is an evolving process and representative of growth in our lives. It takes what for me is a chore and turns it into a positive affirmation of the growth I experience in life.

The book then looks at key factors to organization such as determining what to keep and what to throw out, where to store items, how to make efficient use of space in a room. It does this in the context of where a person is in his or her life and really helps a person to define what his or her needs are at the moment, knowing these will change over time.

The book also acknowledges that people reading it may not be organized and helps people like me get over my inability to be organized. It talks to me rather than lectures me.

The book has a great appendix with nine tools to help a person get and stay organized such as a room tour questionnaire which helps a person look at a room from a different perspective and a section on how long to keep records.

The best thing about this book is the layout. The book uses white and blue ink to make certain sections stand out. The type size is large enough to read without a problem and changes when important information is being used. The book is easy on the eye.

The designer did a great job. If this was done in black and white type with small text I would have resisted reading it. The author’s words combined with the book’s great layout makes me want to pick up this book.

This is a great book for people who have tried other books on how to organize but lost interest. This book has kept my interest and so far two rooms are better organized thanks to this book.

For those who are facing a new chapter in their life and need a gentle voice guiding them on the approach to moving forward. Many folks are just stuck and cannot move forward because they do not know where to start. This book will help, in baby steps, how to proceed with decluttering and organizing. I recommend this book for anyone who has never organized his/her environment and as Dr. Phil says, “needs a soft place to fall.”

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