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Book Review: Organize Now! A Week-by-Week Guide by Jennifer Ford Berry

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No matter what facet of your life it is that is overwhelmed with clutter — your home, your work, or your schedule — Jennifer Ford Berry has a plan to help you tackle it. Written to appeal to the individual who loves checking tasks off a list, each of the three books in the author’s Organize Now! series is arranged in the same manner. Weekly topics are presented with goals, tips, and a schedule of how to maintain the system once it’s in place, all held together in spiral-bound, durable books that are built for repeated reference.

Organize Now! A Week-by-Week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life (2010,  Betterway Home) opens with a short introduction that is designed to get you revved up to organize. Its bulleted lists demonstrate the hidden costs of clutter, provide suggestions for how work through the emotional side of getting rid of our material possessions, and catalog the various options of what to do with all this stuff once it’s purged from your home. What follows is a breakdown of 56 areas of your home and life into week-by-week de-cluttering tasks and goals. This format is a convenient way to make this whole-life overhaul manageable and provides opportunities to focus on areas that might otherwise be neglected or forgotten. Although there are some weeks that won’t apply to everyone (“organize your move”) and some will, realistically, take more that a week to complete (“organize your pregnancy”), on balance the broad range of suggestions means there is still a wealth of information to keep anyone busy.

Once your home is in order, Ford Berry has suggestions for your work as well in Organize Now! Your Money, Business & Career (2011 Betterway Home). This volume follows the same format as her first book, but more attention is paid to organizing systems (paying bills, use of social media, etc.) than to physical spaces, although those do get some attention too. The suggestions here walk a line between being general enough to be applicable to a broad range of careers, while still being specific enough to be of use. Much like the first book, the sheer volume of suggestions make up for any topics that don’t apply to your personal work situation. Organizing your career goals, your resume, as well as your bill-paying system are included.

If you found the first two books to be a good fit with your organizational goals, the Organize Now! 12 Month Home & Activity Planner (2011, Betterway Home) would seamlessly flow right into your newly organized life. The perpetual calendar allows you to begin using it immediately and with 4 days to each 2-page spread there is ample room to write notes, activities, and to-do lists for each day. The beginning of each month offers a suggested organizational task to focus on with space to sort out that month’s goals. The headline of each page features the “best of” Ford Berry’s tips from the first two books. It might be a bit chunky to take on-the-go, but the spiral binding makes it perfect to leave open on the desk as a reminder of the day’s tasks.

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