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The steady path to relative neatness, one pile at a time

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'Organized Enough' by Amanda Sullivan
'Organized Enough' by Amanda Sullivan

You know exactly where Monday’s report is.

That, of course, doesn’t mean anybody else could find it. You put that report in a safe place in your office, which is organized to work for you. But is it really organized, or is it just a mess?

Admit it: it’s probably the latter and nobody’s perfect, but with “Organized Enough” by Amanda Sullivan, you might find a perfect solution.

You promised yourself on Jan. 1 that you’d keep your office clean and your desk clear. Same with your home: who needs 10 blue sweaters or eight pairs of black shoes, anyhow?

First of the year, you were going to become a neatnik.

But of course, that’s “not sustainable,” Sullivan says. You set yourself up for perfection (and therefore, failure), when you should strive instead for “organized enough.”


The first step, Sullivan says, is to “go with the FLOW.”

Forgive yourself for the things you impulsively bought or wasted money on. Understand that you can “Let stuff go,” starting with one small corner and 10 minutes’ time.

Throw things into the trash, donate other items, pay attention to unnecessary duplicates within a given category, and keep working; it might actually feel good.

Then Organize what’s left and set up a time to keep Weeding on a regular basis.

Working on FLOW may inspire you, but don’t “move too fast.” You want to make good decisions, not hasty ones, which could backfire.

Remember that storage containers are not your friends, but someone with fresh eyes is, so invite over a trusted pal to help you see things anew.


Once you’ve let go of your fears (Will I have enough? Will I run out? Will it go up in price?) and your paper pile, it’s time to set good habits – starting with inventory.

What’s in your supply room? You’ll never overbuy, if you know.

Make time to organize, even if it’s just a minute; and always make “a last sweep” before lights-out, so you don’t start the day with a mess.


Limit new purchases, “buy less but better,” and remember that nobody’s ever perfect.

“What we want,” Sullivan says, “is joy … and to know where we put the car keys – and those things, my friends, are within your grasp.”

So you say you don’t remember the color of the top of your desk. The corners of your workspace are piled with boxes.

Get a pen – there’s one somewhere in that mess – and write down “Organized Enough.”


Chances are, you’ve been down this very unkempt road before, and you might ask what makes this book different from several thousand others on the subject.

This: author Amanda Sullivan isn’t proposing that you keep everything 100 percent shipshape. She only aims to help the ship stay afloat with fewer items in the cargo hold and an unobstructed captain’s chair.

That means no guilt, no pressure, use the advice that’s applicable, discard what’s not, no problems. And if that’s what it takes, then this book is what you need.

“Organized Enough” might just work for you.

Terri Schlichenmeyer of Wisconsin writes reviews of business books. Reading since she was 3, she owns 13,000 books and can be reached at bookwormsez@yahoo.com.


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