Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review: Pretty Neat by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch

The buttoned-up way to get organized
and let go of perfection
By: Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch
Published:  October 26, 2010

About the book:

Negative self-image. Fantasy-induced overspending. Marital tension. A new kind of airbrushed concoction is wreaking havoc on homes and psyches, and Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore have a name for it: org porn. It’s in magazines, coffee table books, advertisements, and TV shows, promoting a perfect — and entirely imaginary — world in which everything is always pristine, serene, and flawlessly organized. Pretty Neat is a handbook that embraces the chaotic reality that lies beneath org porn’s glossy veneer, offering pithy anecdotes and candid advice from experts and real women alike on tackling organizational inertia. Most importantly, Pretty Neat insists that women need to stop holding themselves to impossibly high standards, and focus instead on defining their own, realistic organizational goals.

I received an autographed copy of the book from author Sarah Welch and was tickled to find out she is also from Iowa.  I love to organize and I regularly read lots of blogs and websites all about staying organized.  But, I think this book is by far, the best I have read on the subject.  I have read this book over several months because I really wanted to soak everything in and focus on the tips in the book.  PRETTY NEAT isn't unrealistic in its expectations of women.  It expects us to not do everything suggested, it does ask us to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on organizing gadgets, and it gives us real tips from other women just like us.   I guarantee there will be a woman featured in the book that you will say, "Hey, that's me!"  I think I learned the most from their interviews with women throughout the book.  Those real-life examples of what works and what doesn't gave me some excellent ideas to put into place in my home.  For example, I now have a notebook on my counter at all times.  It is a small spiral-bound notebook, not the school notebook size.  I divide the page into two sections listing To Do Now and To Do Soon.  Then I also have a small section for my future blog topics or reviews I need to post.  As I have something that needs to be done, it gets put on the list.  Then I work from that list and as it gets done, I move to the next page and start a new list.  It has helped me stay focused on what needs to be done without clogging up my calendar pages.  I keep my calendar and notebook side by side so I can cross-reference when needed.  There were many, many more ideas that were helpful from the book as well.  You can take a tip and adapt it to work for you.  The book also focuses on being organized at your job.  Maybe your home is organized but your office is a mess.  This book will help you there too.  I literally had 20 pages marked to go back to.

I had several quotes from the book that were helpful to me as well.

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." Stephen Covey

"Never tell people how to do things.  Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."   George S Patton

"Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes to quickly and not saying no soon enough."  Josh Billings

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.  It was extremely helpful for me and is something I will keep handy and refer to often.  If you want to learn more about Alicia and Sarah, check out their website  There they regularly post tips for staying organized as well as sell products to keep you organized.

I received a copy of the book for review but was not compensated in any other way.  This review is my honest opinion.  I wouldn't review anything that wouldn't benefit myself or my family.  Thanks to Sarah for sending me an autographed copy of this book.

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