Off The Shelf: 4 Books for Getting a Handle on Life

 I’m one of those people who get sucked into buying a slew of new “Makeover My Life” type books every January.  In fact, I start dreaming about the prospect of purging and replacing before I’m done wrapping presents in December.  Bookstores are happy to oblige my obsession…you can’t escape the displays of resolution centric reading materials as soon as you walk in.  So here I go again, looking for inspiration to get my life in shape.  I happen to think these offerings are pretty tempting….

I already own “It’s All Too Much” by Peter Walsh, but I’m a sucker for anything that has the word “workbook” in the title.  I imagine filling out a ton of forms where I plumb the depths of my psyche and come out on the other end with coordinated desk accessories.  And, I happen to love Peter Walsh’s writing style.  He’s funny and sounds like a normal person rather than an overachieving, index tab wheeling, cheerleader.  Another bonus is that his core principle is pretty much the same as ours: Own What You Love (and stop buying the other junk) and you’ll find your organizing dilemmas are cut in half.   

Aaaah, Time, you elusive little bugger.  Karen June and I are truly loving everything about running Little Yellow Couch.  We get swept up in a project and find we haven’t showered, we’re having cereal for dinner (again) and our kids are wearing “double clean socks,” which is what we’re calling dirties that we’ve turned inside out.  But it’s not only the oft-repeated “life balance” issues we want to get better at, it’s that we don’t even seem to have enough time for everything we want to do within Little Yellow Couch.   I’ll be looking to Julie Morgenstern for help with this using her signature approach, which is that no system works unless it’s personalized to fit your own natural tendencies.  She’s a guru in her field and I’m counting on her to help me see the errors of my time-wasting ways.  

 I wanted to include one book in this list that was for the anti-organizing reader. Lee Silber is using the term “creative” to broadly describe the person who gets a little bored with traditional systems.  Silber’s approach is right up my alley: I can’t even begin to think about getting organized until I go buy that 48-pack of Sharpies in every color ever invented, design my own labels and then spend 5 hours making them line up on my printer, and scouring antiques shops for interesting tea cups to hold odds and ends on my dresser.  Even though I already own 21 of them that I’m not using.  (But I love them, so it’s ok to keep them.  See review of book #1).  Karen June and I are cut from the same cloth on pretty much everything and she agrees that no organizing system could possibly work for us unless it was pretty. 

Because I love Peter Walsh so much, he gets to be on this list twice.  (I’m sure he’ll include this achievement in his annual holiday letter next year).  And what would a list of resolution-type books be without one on dieting?  I’m psyched to read this one because I like the idea of learning how to organize my refrigerator rather than actually dieting.  No, really, I think figuring out how to manage my time and my food supply so that I do eat healthier is a great strategy and I’m sure Mr. Walsh will be the perfect guide on this alternative way of approaching my weaknesses.  (Anything in the “bacon,” “coconut cream cake,” or “butter” foodgroups, in case you’re wondering).


So, happy reading to you all and good luck!  (And please write to us about any life improvement books that you’ve found to be actually helpful)!

xoxo, Zandra