If you’re a creative type like I am; chances are, you need this book. If you can figure out how to shock and awe your friends with a spectacular website, but can’t find your keys; chances are, you need this book. If you’re a free-spirit type who’s missing the anal side of your brain; chances are, you need this book.

To be honest, organization skills don’t come naturally to me. They’re largely a left-brain function, in polar opposition to the creative, right-brain way of thinking. If I’m at all organized today, it’s because I’ve been forcing myself to do it for twenty years.

Invaluable Benefits

Unfortunately for creative types, organization skills are essential to success. The amount of time, money, and energy saved by a well-organized life is invaluable; not to mention the psychological benefits that come with it.

Walking into an organized office in the morning and home at night gives me tremendous peace of mind. It helps to unbind the knots in my brain that have been holding back the free-flow of thought. This alone, to me, is the greatest reason to get organized.

A Different Book

Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern was different than I expected it to be. I think the best books are the ones that surprise me by teaching me to see something from a different perspective.

I guess I just sort of thought that I knew how to organize, but just didn’t like it. Along that line of thinking, I expected to really dislike an entire book about organizing. I didn’t feel like sitting there for hours and hours, getting lectured by someone in my head about what I should be doing.

A Different Perspective

Early in Morgenstern’s book, she explains that organizing didn’t come naturally for her either. Huh… that was interesting.

She explains that she didn’t get it until she started to look at it from a different perspective. Instead of seeing an organized space as something that looks clean, structured, and boring; she started to see it as something that serves you with functionality; making your life easier, more pleasing, and more enjoyable.

Ah-Ha Moments

There were a few nuggets in the book that really hit me. Once I read them, I wondered why I never figured them out before! The beauty of the book is in the simplicity.

Three-Level Diagnostic

She has what she calls a three-level diagnostic, which really covers most of what might be causing your organization problem. In her words:

Level 1: Technical Errors.

Simple, mechanical mistakes in your organizing system that can be easily fixed. Solving them is the equivalent of tightening a screw, changing a belt, or aligning the steering on a car. This is the first category of causes to review because all mess can be attributed to at least one technical error.

Level 2: External Realities.

Environmental realities beyond your control that limit how organized you can be. Recognizing them will save you from having unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Level 3: Psychological Obstacles.

Hidden, internal forces that make you gravitate toward disorganization, no matter how much you crave control. Unless you are aware of them, they can lead you to sabotage any system you set up. Through awareness, you can find a way to work around these issues and achieve organizing success.


One of the tips I slapped my head upon reading, is the idea of having a “home” for every object. For one reason or another, I never even considered this. The simple idea is that every object that you own is assigned a space where it comes to rest when it is not in use.


I found that one of my biggest problems in past organization systems was that I was not making it convenient for me. The new perspective on organization is coming up with a system that serves you functionally.

Therefore, it doesn’t help to neatly file away DVDs in a hard-to-open box two rooms away from the DVD player. The idea is to make them accessible in the space where they are functional.

Tons More

There are a ton of little tips like these to help take the stress out of your life as well as some really profound ideas. Her thoughts on psychological obstacles to organization are quite thought-provoking. Is it possible that you might be holding yourself back because of some sort of emotional baggage?

Bottom Line

This should just be one of those books that you’re given on the way out of the house at 18 years old. It applies to just about every person in every conceivable position in life. Not only are the ideas fresh and useful, she walks you through several real-life examples. Definitely get this book. (Then when you’re done, you can find a home for it!)

Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern