Review: Clutter Rehab by Laura Wittman

Heather says:

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of I had the pleasure of meeting the site’s author, Laura Wittman, last October and let me tell you, she is just as lovely as person as one could hope. Recently her publisher Ulysses Press sent me a copy of Laura’s book, Clutter Rehab 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!ยน.
clutter rehab
It’s a a very quick read, ringing in just over a hundred pages and seems like it would be a great thinking-of-you type gift.

Caveat for Gentlemen looking for gift ideas!

As with many books on organization, housekeeping, and cooking -including my own- it is wise to consider how it might be received. What you may see as solving a problem could be interpreted as, you saying “You’re a slob, here’s how to fix it.” Context is KEY. This has been a public service message from Home-Ec 101. You’re welcome.

Then again, if you are living with a packrat and about to lose your mind, maybe you should just hand them the book. It’s cheaper than moving out, right?

What can you expect from this book?

Great tips like #34: Color-code the Kids

This tip is popular with large families, but it can certainly work no matter what your family size. Color-coding socks, cups, school supplies, towels, and toothbrushes helps reduce disagreements and uncertainty over what belongs to whom. This is a simple solution that packs an organizational punch.

I could be biased, I’ve used this tip for years with our kids. Although once they get a bit older you do sometimes have to hear, “Why does Marky always get the red one?” Well, you may not hear Marky, but you get the idea.

Many of the tips also include practical applications. Sure getting organized is a nice thought. If it weren’t hard work, everyone would be organized. Laura does a great job of sprinkling in encouragement and tips for breaking big organizational jobs into manageable tasks. I would recommend this book for those readers needing inspiration to dig out from under a pile of clutter.

Ulysses Press was also kind enough to offer a copy of Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It! for one of you lucky readers.

home organizing tips

Click the picture for more tips!

Entering is simple, just share your favorite organizing tip. Make sure you fill in the email field of the comment form so I can contact you.

Comments will close at 9pm Eastern on Sunday April 3, 2011 and the winner chosen by random drawing and will be announced on the Home Ec 101 Facebook Fan Page on Monday morning.

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  1. asyhre on April 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Lable and box. Box and lable.

  2. Cheryle on April 1, 2011 at 9:13 am

    When I try a new recipe ( that I've clipped from magazines & newspapers) & like it enough to make it again, I make a copy, put it in a plastic sleeve & put in a binder. No more loose little pieces of paper to go through to find what I want & the plastic sleeves can be wiped off if I spill the ingredients on them.

  3. Karen on March 31, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Everytime a new bill comes in the mail I write the due date on the outside envelope and clip the bill to the refrigerator. I pay bills every Tuesday, this keeps the task quick and simple without a bunch of bills piling up. By writing the due date on the envelope I never miss a due date.
    My recent post Feels Good to Purge

  4. Tina on March 31, 2011 at 7:50 am

    We use stackable, clear, storage boxes for toys, winter gear, craft items, etc with labels or pictures taped to the front. The kids know they must put one box back in order to get another one out. It doesn't work out that way every time but it does make cleaning up easier because you know where everything goes!

  5. Jen on March 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    The best way to stay organized is not to accumulate too much stuff. My biggest problem is that my husband is not really on board with this philosophy. So last January, I went through his closet and turned around the hangers on lots of his shirts/pants (the ones I was fairly confident he'd never wear again). Come December, I told him what I'd done – he had no idea. He had to face up to the fact that he had all these clothes he literally had not touched in a year's time. I got him to let go of most of it. I do the same with some of my clothes, but I've gotten pretty ruthless about paring down my wardrobe when necessary.

    I sure could use this book to help me out in the kids' toys department though!

  6. DeputHeadmistress on March 30, 2011 at 10:23 am

    My favorite organizing tip (possibly because I have an addiction to children's wooden puzzles): get an indelible marker and number each puzzle, then number the pieces on the back of each puzzle to match- the Charlie Brown puzzle is number 1, and I put a 1 on the back of all the pieces. The place setting puzzle is 2, and there is a 2 on the back of all the pieces. This does not take long, and when visiting imps dump all the puzzles out, it saves loads of time putting them away again.
    My recent post Thinking Outside the Bowl

  7. Annelise Sklar on March 30, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Wow, I need this book! But the one tip I have–I try to label leftovers containers with the date and contents using a dry erase marker. That way, if anything's questionable, I know what's old enough that no one will eat it.

  8. Sandee Hill on March 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I recently bought a basket for each member of my family that sits on the stairs. Instead of making a pile of everyone's stuff that gets recluttered by the time they're around, I toss it in the basket. When it starts getting full, I tell them to empty their baskets, and it actually gets put away!

  9. Angela on March 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I like dealing with the mail as soon as it comes in to avoid piles piling up all over the living room and office. It happens FAR too easily.
    My recent post Mail-Order Baby Chicks Arrive at the Ranch

  10. Princess Leia on March 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    My best/only organizing tip is to not bring the clutter home in the first place. My mom has tons of junk (quite possibly literally) that she's bought at Dollar and Thrift stores. She's always talking about how she and my sis-in-law LOVE hitting up the thrift stores almost like she's hinting that she and I should go. My response is usually that when I go to stores like that, I have a tendency to buy things. So I just don't go. Saves money and organizing because I don't have the stuff in the first place.
    My recent post Shoeboxes!

  11. Princess Leia on March 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    My best/only organizing tip is to not bring the clutter home in the first place. My mom has tons of junk (quite possibly literally) that she's bought at Dollar and Thrift stores. She's always talking about how she and my sis-in-law LOVE hitting up the thrift stores almost like she's hinting that she and I should go. My response is usually that when I go to stores like that, I have a tendency to buy things. So I just don't go. Saves money and organizing because I don't have the stuff in the first place.
    My recent post Shoeboxes!

  12. Cathy on March 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Only keep things I love (I refuse to dust anything I don’t love!), pay bills on line, and drop unwanted junk mail (is there any other kind?) immediatley into recycle bin; contact companies, ask them to stop sending paper catalogs.

  13. Amy P on March 29, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I try to make sure that everything has a place where it belongs–if there's not a home for it, either it has to go or something else does to make space–and that the place is sensible. If things are stored in a place that is not near where it is likely to be used, either I'll put off using it or it will never get put away.

  14. Gigi on March 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Two people already said, "Labels", but my particular label tip is to keep a Sharpie and a roll of masking tape in the kitchen drawer so that you have quick cheap labels ready to go at any time!
    My recent post Updated Almond Power Bars

  15. Joyce on March 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Color coding of towels, cups, etc. also means you know just who to nag about towels not hung up, cups left around, and other such.

  16. Kelly G. on March 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I wish I had an organizing tip, but I am so in need of organization this book seems right up my alley!!! I think in my case it's to not get overwhelmed, make a list and check things off as you complete them ๐Ÿ™‚

    My recent post 3-14-2011

  17. @idahojill on March 29, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I have a chest freezer & things get lost in the bottom…and if I know something is down there, everything else has to come out. I end up throwing things, getting frustrated, etc. So, this weekend I figured out that if I put like products in grocery bags (veggies in one, ground beef in another, etc) I can pull the entire bag out instead of individual pieces out. It seems really silly, but I was so excited about my silly revelation that I called my husband after I did it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, I'm a dork, and yes, I'm ok with it.

  18. Karen on March 29, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Use labels. Get rid of things you don't need or use so you have more room for what you use and need. Do projects in small amounts of time and focus so you don't get overwhelmed.

  19. Nicki Jacoby on March 29, 2011 at 9:53 am

    The best thing I know of in organizing is to stop reading about it & actually start. Not wait for "the right time" but start somewhere & pick up where you left off next time you do it. It could be from the left of the door around the room to the door again, but decide & do for a little bit, then do some more right next to it the next time.

    –says the woman who reads all her organizing online tips in a room with piles of stuff to deal with. sigh.
    My recent post Bronchial Epithelial Cells ooak aceo

  20. jennifer on March 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Keep all the kids stuff for school in one central location!

  21. Alecia on March 29, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I have a calendar in Outlook that I put everything in – birthdays, activities, the week's menu, bills due, etc. I print out a new one every Sunday and post it on the refrigerator so that everyone can see what's going on this week.

  22. Mary on March 29, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Labels, labels, labels…. love them!

  23. Sara on March 29, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Another person already said this, but I could not remember anything without my white board calendar on my fridge.

  24. C Co on March 29, 2011 at 5:59 am

    The tip I have embraced lately is to go back through my closets looking for things I can give away or throw away. Making space for better visibility and access to the things I use. But, really, I came here to get tips, not to hand them out. Thanks for your site.

    • CaliPunkie on April 12, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      This is somewhere else on the site too but I stole this recommendation: keep a box or bag in the bottom of your closet. Every time you try something on and realize it doesn’t fit or you just don’t like it anymore drop it in the box. I love it because I feel like I get rewarded for donating stuff (as in I don’t have to hang it back up).

  25. Melanna on March 28, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    ugg, after 4 years of living in our house and reorganizing the shelf in my bedroom closet over and over again i finally realized something: If a space doesn't stay organized its for one of two reasons. Either you have too much stuff in the space (for me this is usually 90% of the problem) or the current system that you keep using (and failing at) isn't working so its time to try a fresh approach. Once I purged stuff from the closet it has stayed organized because it's not too much WORK to put things where they belong. Huh. Who would have thought?? ๐Ÿ™‚
    My recent post Rrrroll Up The Rim to Win!

  26. Shazia Ali on March 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I scan everything from magazine clippings to prescriptions… everything I would ever want or need to reference is neatly stored in my computer and no stacks of papers lost in drawers. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is great esp with recipes, directions, and receipts. Its those things that you'd never know if you would need it, and if you put it away for a rainy day, come rainy day you can never find where you put it.

  27. Heidi@CarolinaDreamz on March 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I loved color coding my kids. IT worked until one went off to college. Now Blue is not her color. Red/Yellow/Blue worked for me, though.. for everything. Even bath towels. I always knew who to call when it was on the floor. My favorite tip for organizing is to have a place for everything so everyone knows where something goes. Not practiced in my house.. but still my favorite tip.
    My recent post Welcome Spring!

  28. GinnySkal on March 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Whenever I have an organizing project that I'm not keen to tackle, I set a timer and "compete" with myself to see how much I can get done in 5 or 10 minute intervals. Usually I'm so impressed with my progress when the timer goes off that I'll set it again and see how much more I can accomplish. This timer trick also works on a full inbox. See how many emails you can file and/or respond to in 5 minutes, you might be surprised.
    My recent post What to do in the Triangle this weekend

  29. kristy ot on March 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    My favorite organizational tip is to have a "landing strip" – a place near the front door for shoes, keys, wallet, mail, etc. I hardly ever lose my keys these days!

  30. Shari on March 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Oh, and I was so excited about the book I forgot to share a tip!! My biggest organizational tip would be to convert any paperwork possible (bank and credit card statements, financial paperwork, etc.) over to online delivery. Save them all in separate directories and you'll greatly reduce the amount of paperwork crossing your desk – and you'll be green while you're doing it.

  31. Shari on March 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Speaking of books, I just wanted to let you know that I downloaded your book from B&N this weekend and read the entire thing! I would definitely recommend it to anyone! Your experience clearly shines through in your writing and really inspired me to make some changes in the way we run our household.

  32. julianne on March 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Organizing tip, eh? Hm, how about… Finish the job! Don't let yourself get sidetracked or your house will look like mine. When organizing one area, I'll find something that goes in another room, so I'll take it to the other room, then see something in that room that needs organizing and start doing that then take a thing from that mess to another room, and so on. So I end up in the middle of many organizing projects and finishing none and then losing my mind in the clutter. The problem with this tip is that I do not seem to be able to follow it, so maybe this book will have some tips on how not to sidetrack oneself…

  33. Melinda on March 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    A white board. I would be lost without the white board on my fridge.

  34. Steven Berry on March 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    We got a bunch of XO brand vaccume containers that are also transparent, we keep cereal in em to keep em fresh and displayed and reachable by our 8 year old, by having them out it saves cupboard space

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