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.

pretty neat 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.

panorama of our dining room/den

a panorama of our dining room/den (sorry for the low quality pic!)

den wall

a closer picture of the “den wall,” where I wanted to focus most of my efforts

Here’s the same wall after the transformation:

den wall "after"

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

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  • Anonymous

    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!
    Bernice
    Find Your Balance ebook Launch!

  • RandomRecycling

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

  • Christina

    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.

  • Raven In A Blue Room

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

    Louis
    schnitzomage {at} gmail {dot} com

  • Raven In A Blue Room

    Google Friends Connect – following your blog publicly as Louis

    schnitzomage {at} gmail {dot} com

  • Raven In A Blue Room

    I tweeted your giveaway

    schnitzomage {at} gmail {dot} com

  • Mary Davis

    My bedroom/office is a disaster. I really need to tackle that room. Great job, Stacey!

  • Mary Davis
  • Andrea

    Oh, for sure it’s my garage that needs the most help!

  • Andrea

    Also, I subscribe to your RSS ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Twinchaser

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

  • amy

    Master Bedroom! Always a mess!!

  • amy

    Master Bedroom! Always a mess!!

  • Savannah B

    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!

  • Savannah B

    Lucky me, I already subscribe to your RSS feed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Savannah B

    AND I tweeted! So… I win!

  • Jessica Morgan

    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!

  • Jessica Morgan

    I totally follow you with GFC!

  • Jessica Morgan

    I subscribe to you with my Google reader.

  • Jessica Morgan

    I tweeted! And now, nap time is over and I must go “rescue” baby James ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • My bedroom needs the most help – it is the catch-all!
    siswins2 at gmail dot com

  • subscribed by email
    siswins2 at gmail dot com

  • following via GFC (SisWins)
    siswins2 at gmail dot com

  • Jennifer

    Looking good Stacey!

  • Jennifer

    You’re in my reader.

  • Georgetta

    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.