January 31, 2013

Organizing Book Review: Weekend Makeover: Take Your Home from Messy to Magnificent in Only 48 Hours!

Posted in Weekend Makeover at 5:17 pm by otherdeb

I recently posted a book review of Weekend Makeover: Take Your Home from Messy to Magnificent in Only 48 Hours!, by Don Aslett, on Goodreads.

I was really impressed by the fact that Mr. Aslett doesn’t take the approach that many others do, which is if you buy more things to hold things, and come up with elaborate systems to manage your things, you will be better off. Rather, Mr. Aslett takes the tack that if it doesn’t currently bring value or pleasure to your life, you should get rid of it.

Now I grok that this is not always easy, and that we have tons of excuses for keeping our stuff, whether we need it or not. I am happy to say, however, that following his advice has helped me de-junk a lot of stuff over the past eight weeks or so. I now have a spacious, airy front room, that I enjoy sitting in. I can see floor in several spots in my bedroom that were buried for the last eight years.

I still have far too much stuff, and I am working on getting rid of it. Books are going out, through giving them away to friends, eBay, or Bookmooch, and I am looking forward to not having any of the books I have read, but will not reread, hanging over my head. I am also not planning to buy a lot of books going forward; rather, I will be reading the ones I own that I haven’t read, then getting rid of them unless they are relevant to my work as either a writer, knitter, or jewelry maker, or are cookbooks that I will use as we eat more of our meals at home. New books I want to read but will not want to keep will be borrowed from the library. I look forward to getting rid of records that I already have on CD, old electronics, and all the other crap that has been clogging up my life for years.

Yarnwise, I will work my way through my stash, only buying yarn if it is for a project that requires more yarn in one color than I have in my stash. I will be able to give clients a break on commissions if they choose a yarn from my stash, and I will be able to use up a lot of my stash developing designs that I can then sell.

I think that Mr. Aslett’s book has me more fired up to do what I want to/need to than any of the other books on the subject I’ve read, and I look forward to reading his other books.

As far as progress goes, the bottom of the closet has been divested of boxes, and the books from those boxes are now on shelves. The blue storage bins that were in the front of the living room are now in the closet, along with the coats (all on hangers), and the vacuum I was given when in the asthma study (and the vacuum is getting used regularly). The top shelf of the closet needs to be cleaned out, but that can wait until after the housefilk on February 10th. For the moment, the gloves, scarves, and hats are all in a shopping bag. My plan is that once the top shelf is cleaned up, I will get two clear, covered bins — one for Sue’s hats, scarves & gloves and one for mine.

What book(s) inspire you in your organizing process?  What point in that process are you at? Are you getting more fired up the more space you find, or are you running out of steam?



  1. I’ve made some drastic changes in how we read books since, well, the oldest kid arrived about 7.5 years ago. Before that, with more disposable income, I would buy whatever books caught my eye.

    Now, with the exception of 3 or 4 authors, I get books from the library first, or a sample to check out on my e-reader, if I’m considering an e-book. The library checkouts are treated as a “sample” – if, once I read it, I’m sure I’ll read it again, it gets marked as “buy this later”. This is especially true of cookbooks, as I’ve got enough that there is an auxiliary cookbook shelf in the library downstairs, and a main (daily use) shelf upstairs. I need to stick to ones I actually use the recipes from! And since my “books read” list last year was around 160 books, budget is a pretty big concern!

    For the authors under the exception: one gets purchased in print edition when a new books hits the shelf (I aim for first week). Note I proofread for this author, so I’ve already read a goodly chunk of the output, generally several times over, before it hits print. The other authors I generally buy in electronic format, if the price is competitive with the print price. It’s easier to tote around and takes up less space 🙂

    Now there’s tackling our library, and finally getting it sorted so that we can actually, you know, find the books we want to read again, and thin out the ones we aren’t going to keep, for whatever reason.

    • otherdeb said,

      Sounds like a great plan, Melissa!

      Sigh. I dread organizing the books. Between my roommate, who is a retired librarian, and myself, we have five bookcases in the living room, the cookbook case in the hall between the living room and the kitchen, and a bookcase in my roommate’s room — all overflowing.

      As I see it, the first thing is to get rid of the books I’ve read, but will not be reading again. Then I can start working my way through the books that have not been read. This is all complicated, of course, by the roommate’s reluctance to rid herself of any books — even ones she has not touched in decades. It *WILL* get done, however, because I want to be able to find books when I look for them.

      It’s not that I wouldn’t prefer to sell the ones we aren’t keeping. Money is always useful. But the used booksellers around here (at least the ones we can reach with public transit) are increasingly picky about what they will take, and the roomie has not done much to keep her books in good repair. Not that all of mine are in pristine condition, but I am not so attached to selling them. I would just as soon put them in a big box labeled “Take Me” or somesuch, haul the box to the park, and leave it, but the roomie gets hives when I suggest that.

      Instead, I am listing most of the books I don’t want on Bookmooch, and getting rid of them that way. Yeah, it costs me envelopes and postage, but it means that the roomie knows they are going to places they are wanted, which clams her down.

      I also do have a freebie box set up in the living room, and a second box (overflow). The books in the freebie box itself are listed on Bookmooch, but I can remove them if someone wants one or more. The overflow box has not been listed on Bookmooch yet, so if anyone wants something from that box, they can just take it.

      I have also been bringing books that I think might interest people to the third Saturday fannish thing in upstate Manhattan, where they seem to get snapped up pretty quickly.

      When I can get my friend, C, over, she lists books on eBay for me, with the deal being that we split any money made from them, and if they don’t sell, she can put them on Bookmooch as hers and get the pints for them. I can deal with this because it gets them out of my house. (She can also take any of them to keep for herself; once they are out of the house, I’m happy.)

      What’s boggling the roomie a bit is that I’m getting rid of books by my favorite authors, as well as the other books (with maybe two exceptions). The truth is, though, that if I’ve read them already, and I’m not going to read them again, I really don’t need to keep them.

      And, divesting myself of stuff I no longer need feels so damned good. I’m getting addicted to feeling lighter, and knowing that the things I end up keeping will be the things that have real meaning for me.

  2. Janet Wilson said,

    I am temporarily out of steam, but have spent the day organizing changes in preparations for my trip tomorrow, which will now be made by bus instead of car. I feel somewhat relieved that I can do this without just running around in confused circles. I don’t for one moment believe that much could be done with my place in 48 hours, but am going to think about ways to profit from your good example and see if something could be managed in, let’s say, the rest of the winter… I may not get far with the books, though. There are very few I can be sure I won’t want to read again. I re-read a lot!

    • otherdeb said,

      First of all, Janet, enjoy your trip!

      I didn’t believe I could dig this place out in months, but working hard at it for a couple of afternoons made so much of a difference that friends didn’t recognize it, and my Landlady almost fainted from the shock.

      That said, we all progress at our own pace, because we are all in different situations.

      Re the books, I used to tell myself that I would want to reread many of them but the reality is that they were just sitting on the shelves for years (decades in some cases) collecting dust. There are some that I will keep, because I know I will reread them — Lawrence Block’s excellent books come to mind — but I find that, as I get older (and I am speaking only for myself here; I make no pretension of speaking for anyone else), I just don’t have room or time to amass huge quantities of stuff that I am not using. There are so many books I haven’t read yet that I want to, and I am using the library to deal with those.

      Anyway, once again, have a great trip! I look forward to your thought-provoking comments when you get back!

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