Thursday, February 2, 2012

January's "Booking It" Book Review: Organized Simplicity

I mentioned earlier this year that I would be participating, to a limited extent, in Life as Mom's "Booking It", an online book club, as a way to:

(1) make a concerted effort to read a selection of books I need or have wanted to read and

(2) recommend (or not) books to others. I love to read and am ALWAYS looking for new, highly recommended books.

{For my 2012 reading list, click here.}

January's pick for me was Tsh Oxenreider's Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional LivingTsh's blog, Simple Mom, is a personal favorite for encouraging simple living.  I originally chose this book because I have felt like our house was caving in from all the "stuff" and really wanted to declutter but didn't know where or how to start.  I must say that as I read Organized Simplicity and began to put into practice some of Tsh's ideas our house slowly morphed from what I would call a demilitarized zone to more like the sanctuary I have longed for.

"Simple living is about living your life with a purpose that aligns with your values.  It's about enjoying the things you love and care about and not about stressing over the things that don't matter.  It's fulfilling; it brings peace; it drips with contentment.  Living simply is about being who you were made to be."

The book is divided into two parts: (1) "Living Simply in the Real World," which offers several helpful tools for simple living including making a family purpose statement, creating a home management notebook, and countless tips for time and money management; and (2) "Ten Days to a Simpler More Organized Home," which breaks down the decluttering, cleaning, and organizing process room-by-room beginning with an understanding of the unique purpose for that room and including a list of tools you'll need, exceptionally helpful hints, and a "simple" method that will make the process more palatable.

"Simplifying your life is meant to make things better, not worse.  It’s about choices—about saying no to the things in your life that aren’t the best so that you are free and available to say yes to those things you truly want.”

The last section of the book--the Appendices--include recipes for homemade cleaning products and toiletries; inventory templates for food and clothing; home management templates like Tsh's Daily Docket, cleaning checklist, and monthly zero-based budget worksheet; and the pros and cons of specific choices for a simpler life (e.g. whether or not to garden, cloth diaper, clip coupons, and such).

"Simple living is a state of mind.  It’s a choice not to let the consumer-driven culture dictate how you live, what you invest in, and how you spend your valuable resources.  And this choice of worldview should emanate in every facet of your life, including your wallet."

I must admit that I don't normally buy books (yeah, I'm cheap), but because I couldn't seem to get the book at the library, I splurged and am SO glad that I did.  Organized Simplicity is one I have already returned to several times since reading it. It's chock full of sage advice and excellent resources for the homemaker looking to simplify her home and life.  I have especially enjoyed trying out the homemade all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner--both of which work well without all the harmful chemicals--and look forward to trying out the hair cleanser and clarifier.

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
                                                        --William Morris

Needless to say, I would highly recommend Organized Simplicity to anyone looking to make life just a little bit simpler but in need of a good starting point. Now I'm going to enjoy a nice cup of tea, lie down, and relax in my decluttered, (somewhat) clean, and (fairly) organized home.  

Have you read Organized Simplicity?  If so, what are your thoughts?  

If you're "Booking It" with me, what did you read this month?  Would you recommend it?

Blessings to you!


**Check out my book review for Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games here.

**Stay tuned!  This month I am reading Timothy Keller's The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God just in time for Valentine's Day!  I invite you to read too and share your thoughts with me!

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