Friday, August 5, 2011

More Clutter Control Help at the Library

There is a Guide to Organizing Your Life by Donald Laskowski that is included in the colorful, easy-to-use Dorling Kindersley (DK) K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Series. I am a big fan of books published by DK for both kids and adults. They seem to have their finger on the pulse of people in the 21st Century by including illustrative color photographs to break up long paragraphs of text. We are all used to getting our information in short “bites” and crawls. In order to mimic the methods we are familiar with, DK breaks up pages of text with tips and related information in call out boxes including trivia, definitions, Internet links and visual examples of any written forms or lists they are suggesting as a solution. There are also graphic “characters” used to interject “Very Important Points” and ideas that are “Getting Technical” to remind you to pay particular attention. They also call out “Complete No-Nos” and the “Inside Scoop.” However, the topic of “Organizing Your Life” may be more complex than even DK can make palatable to swallow. They have a “magic formula” to help you “change your life” and it is only 20 steps!

The book is divided into four color-coded sections – Section One is an introduction to the concepts of prioritization - “balance and control” in your life. Section Two deals with crises management and procrastination. Part Three gives more detail about the how-to of the organizing tasks of maximizing your time, keeping your work area clear to maximize your productivity and using tools to achieve your goals. The fourth section is all about controlling or managing your time to avoid interruptions and more tools to create systems which you can work within to maintain your new organized life. A lot of the information is geared toward conquering this process at work, and the transfer of these skills to your perhaps more complicated home life is described toward the end. The Table of Contents for this book is 12 pages long and there is an Appendix and an Index, so you could easily work through the book in a way that may make more sense to you. Even just a skim through can be useful to absorb some useful tips and insights. I am sorry that a newer version of this book has not yet been published. The one that I looked at has a copyright date if 2001, so very few electronic tools are discussed. There is a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Organizing Your Life (5th Edition) that was published in 2010 that most likely would cover newer technologies but only the Kennedy Branch of the Piscataway Library owns a copy. You can place a hold on that copy and request to pick it up at the South Brunswick Public Library.

Although the list of self-help books on our “favorite” topic of Clutter Control is long, this is a slightly different approach than many I have seen and may be the one that will “speak” to you. Books on organizing and clutter control can be found in several sections of a Dewey Decimal sorted library. All are found in the 600s which is the section for Technology and Applied Sciences. There are basic overview books in 640, the Home Economics and Family Living section, books in 648 which is the housekeeping section where the how-to books on storage solutions and clutter control are found and there are books like this one that can be found at 646.7 which is the number for life-style management issues. If you just want to browse to see what kind of help is available, it is worth looking in all three sections in both the regular stacks and in the new book section.

Hope you are all having a clutter-free summer!

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