My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: I’ll admit I personally did not care for this read very much. While I certainly don’t mind reading religiously themed works, I honestly thought this would be more of an organization/productivity guide, and it meandered more than not. I think there are far better guides on this particular subject matter than this. For a “clutter-free” guide, this felt aptly cluttered.
I don’t think I’ve been as disappointed with a lifestyle change/organizational book as this one, in quite some time. The cover and title of this book should be noted with a flashing green neon sign screaming “FALSE ADVERTISING.” (I actually created a shelf/tag on Goodreads as a result of reading this book.)
Here are a few things you need to know before reading. First, it’s more of an “attitude change” type book, rather than a direct yet general tip-for-tip, pointer reference book for getting more organized and clearing clutter around the home. It’s organized into sections, but those sections are a bit meandering and cluttered for the notes they seem to expand upon. It’s also limiting in that it prescribes a very specific way to be organized, and that’s not helpful to the multitude of reasons people have clutter.
Second, it assumes that the reader is female (because…what? Men don’t want to read books about organization? Tell that to my father or some of the men in my life, they would beg to differ. They are already super organized, but they look for different approaches to maintain that. Men also look for ways to be better organizers even if it’s not in “men’s magazines”. The book tries to address why they’re writing for a female audience, but I didn’t like the explanation – it’s pretty sexist/gender assuming.)
Third, it’s oriented more for the extremely disorganized person who can’t separate themselves from their clutter (a hoarder), so people who may not be at that level may not identify here. And finally, this book’s ideology is heavily noted with respect to Christian values, so if you are not deeply religious, or are not Christian, this may not be your cup of tea.
I’m not going to say that this book doesn’t have its heart in the right place in some areas, because it does touch upon constructive aspects of defeating the negative imaging that’s associated with disorganization on any level. Hoarding is both psychological as well as physical, and you can’t deal with one aspect of it without dealing with the other. Even in lesser stages, that’s also true – on the level of clutter being a mental and physical aspect to deal with. But there’s not a “one-size-fits-all” solution to a multidimensional problem. If you want to address the clutter, you have to see what plays into that clutter, and that can vary by different individuals. I’ll admit there’s a point of construction in this book’s “five day program”, but I think it could’ve been more adaptive to different levels of disorganization.
Addressing those who have cluttered lifestyles as “messies” doesn’t help the case either. A lot of this book feels like it’s written in language that’s meant to be lighthearted, but it comes across as fairly juvenile, unfortunately.
I think the ideology of working with a team isn’t a horrible idea for maintaining organization, especially if you’re sharing that responsibility with family. Or if you have a spouse who may be super organized and you’re…well, not, then taking on the task together in a team effort and learning in the process can be constructive. The way this book makes it out, however – you’ll have to somehow “recruit” a team to undertake some massive task – a la “Hoarders” or “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. That’s just not realistic. The thing about organization is that it can be a personal thing and you are the locus of control in being able to exert that. I did appreciate the affirmation that once a surface is clear, nothing else but appropriate/pertinent things should be in that space.
This book is more to the task of cheering the reader on in their efforts rather than being specific and direct with the advice. I’ll admit it didn’t really give me much to go on that other guides of its kind have given me. I would definitely recommend looking at other guides for organization that are more specific and less limiting than this.
Overall score: 1.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.