The last several years, my biggest organizational challenge has definitely been my schedule. When full-time care-taking of my husband’s parents was no longer part of my daily routine, I needed to make an adjustment in priority tasks and start again. I haven’t been 100% successful, even yet, with that transition. I’m never sure if it’s a lack of ability or the fact that I entered a new stage of life, just at the time that we lost the folks. Peri-menopause, that time of hot flashes, mood swings and apparently a loss of ability to organize thoughts and actions in the same way as before, had hit me full-force. The ducks-in-a-row person that I was and still have a strong desire to be, seems to lose a duck here and there, now. As a perfectionist, do-it-myself kind of person, that’s been a little distressing and I find myself backing up and “starting over” often, to try and get my organizational “mojo” back. So, when I had the chance to review a new book, Pretty Neat, by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, I was definitely curious to see what they had to teach on the subject of organization.
To say I was slightly taken aback by their twist on organization is a vast understatement. I’m what they refer to in their book as a “control freak”. I wonder how they expected us to respond to their suggestions? 🙂 My initial reaction was to read the first chapter and a half and stick the book on a pile of “things to do”. Everything they suggested put me off and seemed like a piece-meal, half-way attempt at doing everything. And then they had the moxie to say that it was okay to do things in that manner. Needless to say, that didn’t set well with me and I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about getting back to my review.
The next week, I ended up with a “bug” that put me out of commission for several days. During that time, I had plenty of time for reading and I was able to finish up Pretty Neat. By the end of the book, I understood what the authors were getting at and it made a lot more sense, though for me personally, I would definitely have to put a huge amount of effort into trying to feel satisfied and successful with these methods. That takes nothing from the book, it simply speaks to a deeply-rooted OCD need to finish everything “correctly”.
Rockmore and Welch take the pressure off getting organized by proposing that we all set our own standards of “correctness”. They teach that the comfortable level of organization for you, is what is correct for you and that all the stress comes from believing we have to meet someone else’s idea of organizational success. If you’re looking for a book filled with lists of organizational tips and techniques, then this book really isn’t what you’re looking for. But, if instead, the personal stories of women who have learned to accept the level of organization that makes them and their families comfortable without worrying about a specific set of “rules” about how to be organized, I believe you will find Pretty Neat to be freeing — and a real tension reliever.
I received a copy of Pretty Neat in order to read it and write this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. All views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.