Organization Myths Busted: Oversized ‘How to’ Organization Books

Organization Myths Busted: Oversized ‘How to’ Organization Books

One of my biggest pet peeves when I’m in a client’s home is when I spot a giant book on ‘How to Get Organized’ on their bookshelf. More often than not it’s gathering dust, having never been opened. I confiscate these immediately.

While my clients have the best of intentions, several hundred plus page books like Peter Walsh’s “How to Organize Just About Everything” are not effective for helping people get truly organized. Don’t get me wrong, I love Peter Walsh, but his 500+ page book (with only text, no visuals) even intimidates me – the woman who loves to organize other people stuff for eight hours at a time, every day of the week!

Peter Walsh's book - no visuals

Peter Walsh's book - graphs and text only

Many ‘how to’ books on organization are band-aides, just like the clear, plastic storage bin. Yes, they have helpful suggestions and you might take something away, but they often don’t teach you how to change the behavior, or how to understand why you’re doing it in the first place. It reminds me of the saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Furthermore, these books make it seem like there is only one solution for everyone. I’m here to tell you, as a professional, there is not one way that works for everyone. It’s crucial for my clients’ overall success that I find the methods and systems that work for each of them individually.

Organization books can be wonderful resources, if they are written by professionals, and are kept to the point. I love how Judith Kolberg’s books are non-threatening in size, and easy to read in one sitting. They are packed full of useful tips, visuals, and humor. Or Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” which is adorably small, but effective at getting people inspired to change their lives. If I took three of Kolberg’s books and Kondo’s book, and stacked them together, they would equal the same size as Walsh’s book!

'How to' Organization Books: Good vs. Bad

Moment of truth: do you own one of these overwhelming ‘how to’ books on organizing? If so, donate it to your library. Don’t be tricked into thinking that if you own the book, you’ll fix your organizational problems. Stick with smaller books written by professionals that keep to the point, and inspire real change.

What are some organization books that have changed your life for the better? Please share them in the comments below.


Lauren Mang
1 Comment
  • Moving From NYC
    Posted at 17:12h, 17 February Reply

    I will use this organizing then when I move to my new apartment in LA, Thanks a lot for sharing this!

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