Book Review: Pretty Neat: Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection, by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch

I’ve already shared the disaster and embarrassment known as our Family Junk Pile – ย it’s no wonder then that I jumped on the chance to review Pretty Neat: the buttoned-up way to get organized & let go of perfection, by Alicia Rockmore & Sarah Welch.

Rockmore and Welch are the creators of buttoned up, a site who’s mission is “to give women the tools they need to live an organized life not a life of organization.” With Pretty Neat, the authors extend the work of their site and offer readers concrete ways to tame the physical and mental clutter that seems to junk up so many of our lives.

They start by having readers identify a few things:

  • where do your organizational ideals come from? are they realistic for you?
  • what are your real priorities? and what can you let go of?
  • what are your goals? and how will you measure success?

I appreciate being asked to contemplate these things, because in working through each point, I realized some things about myself. While I do have areas of my home that need to be physically organized, it’s really things like financial organization and meal planning that remain bigger priorities and need my attention.

The authors tackle a different organizational challenge with each chapter, and offer real help for readers to evaluate, plan, and achieve success in each area. From maximizing the use of to-do lists, efficiently coordinating family schedules, or finding strategies for controlling household clutter, Pretty Neat addresses the most basic and universal of challenges to attaining “an organized life.”

While reading this book, I was inspired to look at my environment and find ways I could both organize and aesthetically improve certain rooms in my house. As the authors suggest with big projects, I’ve been taking baby steps, have tried to let go of a “perfect” ideal and instead see the value in what works for me, and I’ve tried to regard the more stressful tasks with objective eyes and in doing so have dropped my defenses a bit.

The first room on my list has been our dining room -slash- den. It’s such a large room that it can be used well for dual purposes, but it’s also become a place to just dump paperwork and let things collect. And I never noticed until taking this picture how stark the room looks with bare walls.

a panorama of our dining room/den (sorry for the low quality pic!) a closer picture of the “den wall,” where I wanted to focus most of my efforts

Here’s the same wall after the transformation:

All I did was buy a $15 bookshelf and use different baskets and letter trays I already had around the house to start organizing some of the paperwork. I brought a lamp out to create a warmer atmosphere, threw away things that had been gathering for months, and found proper “homes” for a number of other items. The walls still need to be finished off, but I’m getting there. The point is, I STARTED! I started a project that has been bugging me for the three years we’ve lived in this house! I’m very proud of myself, and I appreciate the encouragement and advice from Pretty Neat that helped me get it going.

*Disclosure: As part of my participation with Global Influence, I was sent a copy of Pretty Neat in order to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation for this post, although my participation does put me in the running to winย a $100 gift card (same as cash) plus a selection of Buttoned Up products (ARV: $50). The value this book has already brought to my life and daily routines is greater than any gift card, though!

*original post included a giveaway of the book




  1. RandomRecycling says:

    I think it’s my kitchen that could use some attention. There are too many things packed into each cabinet

  2. Christina says:

    It’s bad enough around there that there are multiple rooms that need an overhaul, but I think I’d like to start with the boys’ room. since it needs both tidying and a new look.

  3. Raven In A Blue Room says:

    the kids room could definitely benefit from a makeover
    Thank you for hosting this giveaway

    schnitzomage {at} gmail {dot} com

  4. Raven In A Blue Room says:

    Google Friends Connect – following your blog publicly as Louis

    schnitzomage {at} gmail {dot} com

  5. Anonymous says:

    I love what you did with the space. It is not a huge drastic overhaul, but you obviously cleared out some stuff and gave yourself some room to breathe!
    My space would be either my kitchen office, or my living room!
    Find Your Balance ebook Launch!

  6. Twinchaser says:

    I could REALLY use some help in my spare room closet! My husband is afraid to open the closet door! ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. Savannah B says:

    Ooh, I *need* this book in my life. My “office” is in my bedroom. It is the default landing place for every paper, book pen, picture frame, used Kleenex, etc etc etc in the house. And it is overwhelming!

  8. Jessica Morgan says:

    I like the way your wall looks above your desk now! The room that could use organization in my house is the garage (does that count as “in the house”?) It’s so cluttered with boxes and rubbermaid totes, scraps of wood and tools – it’s a mess!

  9. Georgetta says:

    Hi Stacey,

    I have been seriously decluttering for the past 2 years. Yet my guest room/craft room defies my organizational efforts. I still cannot achieve a “peaceful” look.
    All ideas are so appreciated.

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