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Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  3,362 ratings  ·  200 reviews
A completely revised and expanded edition of the New York Times bestselling guide to putting things in order

Getting organized is a skill that anyone can learn, and there's no better teacher than America's organizing queen, Julie Morgenstern, as hundreds of thousands of readers have learned. Drawing on her years of experience as a professional organizer, Morgenstern outlin
Paperback, Second Edition, 247 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1998)
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Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie MorgensternStuff by Randy O. FrostClutter's Last Stand by Don AslettEat That Frog! by Brian TracyEnough Already! by Peter Walsh
Best Organizing Resources
1st out of 64 books — 35 voters
Sink Reflections by Marla CilleyHome Comforts by Cheryl MendelsonThe House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns ClarkLife, Love and Vintage Housekeeping by Alison MayOrganizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
Cleaning House
5th out of 49 books — 21 voters

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Community Reviews

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Rating: 4 of 5

Something finally clicked for me while reading Organizing from the Inside Out. Over the last 10 years, after reading mountains of pages on organizing my life, this was the first author who helped me figure out where my once orderly and well-managed life went hinky.

Morgenstern advised to work with natural habits and tendencies instead of against them. For example, if I constantly have a pile of books beside my bed instead of the reading chair in the library, it's probably time to pu
Judith Grimmond
So, I guess I can call myself "done" reading this book. It is a multi-layered text, that eventually becomes a practical "manual" style book of organization, so I read the majority of the book in detail, and then skimmed the specific chapters, with the intent to go over them with a fine tooth comb each time I need said chapter. So far, I have 'implemented' the "bedroom" chapter. It took two days, but I re-organized the room, right down to the furniture to give the room a more organic and logical ...more
Quick review for a quick read. This was a very helpful productivity guide as far as an organizational guide is concerned. I would say Morgenstern did a fine job of breaking down some of the barriers and identifications for people who don't have an organizing system, and she addresses specific steps to tackle spaces and places in one's life where people can improve on this. She moves into specifics on how to tackle organizing certain spaces, from workspaces to rooms at home, but there's also a ni ...more
One of my favorite things about this book is that the author helps you to recognize that you already have organizational systems in place, then she helps you to reach the next level and beyond. She keeps things simple and logical, and encourages the reader to personalize their own systems. The author avoids denigrating or discouraging the reader, instead of presuming that they are doomed to a life-time of desperate struggle against some innate and entrenched personality flaws, she gives clear an ...more
Most organizing books make me feel excited about getting rid of stuff, and then stuck when I actually try to do it.

This book makes a point that it's not about just getting rid of things, it's about understanding what is important to you. Then you organize your spaces to support what you love to do and see. Then it's much easier to get rid of the extraneous stuff because it's easier to see why it's not important. This makes so much more sense to me than directions to "simplify!".
Not bad considering that this book is somewhat dated (written in the late 90s) and some of the technology has changed since then.

I like the premise of working with how you think and what has worked for you in your life. Not everyone can use the cookie-cutter approach that is given in so many of these organization books. There are practical tips on how to organize, what to throw out (the no-brainer lists), and systems that work well.

Supplies recommended when starting on these projects include:
Practical!!!!!! I would read a chapter and then act upon it. Just don't get anal about organization. The book is meant to enhance your life not rule your life.
Totally useless--requires readers to do all this tedious essay-writing about how you *feel* about your messes and why you want them clean. Then when the organizing advice finally DOES come along (not until page 68!), it is just the tired old, "clean, sort, put into containers" drill. Readers looking for truly motivating and fresh, innovative ideas for organizing their home, paperwork, and lived would do better to read Deniece Schofield's Confessions of an Organized Homemaker: The Secrets of Uncl ...more
I bought this book several years ago and have only recently actually read it from the beginning - instead of skipping to the specific chapters on organizing specific areas of the house. It offers some very helpful ideas that I'm going to use to keep my home and office work spaces from being referred to by others as 'black holes' and help me more easily retrieve the materials I need easily, yet live within the physical limitations of the space available.

The steps that I skipped before were the 'a
This book was very useful for me. I read several organizational books this spring and this one was by far the best. Rather than falling back on cliches about unorganized people, Morgenstern cites several fresh psychological obstacles to clearing clutter. (I discovered I was a "Conquistador of Clutter".) The book is set up in several sections. The first section helps you understand the underlying causes of clutter/messiness. The second gives you the tools you need to plan how you will clear out y ...more
To be fair, I did not read this book word for word; I ended up just leafing through it after the first section. I felt it was geared more towards organizing businesses than homes. Also, when it comes to home organization, you have to find the right fit for you. This just wasn't it for me. I think all that this book could have offered me I had already gotten out of reading House Works by Cynthia Townsend Ewer.

This book did open my eyes to one thing, however. I don't think organization is necessar
Janet Barclay
Jan 29, 2011 Janet Barclay rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: professional organizers or anyone wanting to get organized.
I read this book when I was getting started as a professional organizer.

One of the things I like about it is that it suggests various ways of organizing each area in the home. This can be very helpful when working with clients with different personalities and lifestyles than your own. It also includes time estimates for various organizing projects. Although this will naturally vary depending on the situation, it’s a useful guideline when you’re quoting on a job, especially when you’re new and h
This is a great book if you are trying to organize spaces. I loved it because it doesn't try to create new habits for you in order to get organized, but creates systems based on how you already do things. For me, it allowed me to determine why certain areas in my home get cluttered and established a system for every activity in a given space. It was also "fun" to rearrange things to cut down on time in the kitchen, closet area, etc. Great book!
This book changed the way I live. I try to re-read sections to brush-up and learn what I didn't the first time. Julie goes through the house room by room, and teaches you HOW to organize. This book is all about implementing system that will work for you, and how to figure out what will work for you. A must read for people that struggle with the day to day of keeping it straightened.
Possibly one of the best organization books I've read (and I've read a lot!).

I've seen some reviews that were critical of the book, saying it involved too much writing and not enough decluttering. But I think that's why Morgenstern's method will stick. It is based upon finding the system you need, not the system an organizational guru thinks you need. I borrowed the book from the library, but this was one was good enough to buy.

That said, a lot of this book is dated. I skipped over the whole tec
A useful book, she has a good way of thinking your way out of the horders hell you may have gotten yourself into. However I found her later book "SHED" more useful for my personal situation.
Delia Turner
A sensible and thorough guide to tackling organization, which I re-read recently. It gives an overview of a strategy based on deciding what's important to you, and then organizing your spaces and your time to suit. The guide is a wee bit dated, because some technology has outpaced her suggestions since the last revision in 2004. PDAs have been replaced with smartphones, for instance, and few people use Rolodexes. It's a solid reference, though, and I found good tips in every section.

My goal is to become a Professional Organizer. When I am hired to help someone with their organizing goals, Julie Morgenstern's "fool-proof" system is the one I use. Why, out of all the advice and how-to methods out there? Because her's works; it really works! I can't know before hand what I am doing to walk into, but with Julie's secrets, I can guarantee the job will get done and to my customer's satisfaction- that is the bottom line, and that is saying a A LOT.
The book itself is the updated ve
Oct 06, 2010 Jared rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern is one of those books packed with useful information on how to organize every aspect of your life. I do have to admit that I did not read the book in its entirety. In fact, I barely even read half of the book. Why you may ask? Because Ms Morgenstern offers some great suggestions on how to get organized in every room in your house in great detail for more than 2/3 of this book. The rest of the book is about evaluating yourself which Ms Morgenste ...more
Due to the fact that I was never trained on how to sort my belongings, I simply throughout the years implemented a system to my best ability that semi works. Julie Morgenstern in her audio book stated the following which hit directly home with me, "You can not tell if an individual is organized from the appearance of a room. The only way to ever know is to either observe a person's closet or their drawer spaces." Wild...was she ever right. Reading this book made me realize that I am individual w ...more
Jun 20, 2008 Loren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: overwhelmed and disorganized people
Recommended to Loren by: Oprah magazine!
I love this book! It introduces a kind and forgiving method of evaluating the "why" of your lack of organization, and then helps one sort out the "how" of getting it all together. She gives lots of examples and stories and anagrams, and breaks things into manageable pieces. Ms. Morgenstern never scolds one for having "too much crap,' she just helps you look at what you are keeping and why, and then you can see the logic or lack of logic in your choices and go from there. She doesn't have any str ...more
The Cats Mother
I ordered this online having read a review on here and thinking it might help me with my hoarding tendencies.
It is divided into sections, the first part is about the psychological aspects, and soon made me realise that I'm actually not disorganised, I just have a lot of stuff. There were insights which helped me understand why certain family and friends do what they do which was helpful. Then she breaks it down into specific areas. In my initial enthusiasm I thought I would read each chapter the
The first half of this book was the usual information on overcoming your obstacles about holding onto too much stuff. Nothing earthshattering or new there. The second half of the book was more in depth ideas on how to declutter different rooms or aspects of your life. This was the best part of the book and I enjoyed how the author included things that I haven’t seen in organization books before like packing for a trip. She also did a fantastic job about making the book applicable for everyone by ...more
Jan 21, 2013 LA rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: amazon
I think that perhaps I've gone further down the road toward decluttering than many people have. This book throws a LOT of ideas out there and calls them "micro-actions". Many of them are huge actions, actually. Like going car-free. She also seems to assume that her audience are all extroverts. "Go knock on your neighbour's door with a plate of cookies."

She also mentions things that I've had bad experiences with, such as "share and borrow stuff". In my experience those relationships are often ma
Assign a home

Another acronym but this lady's on to something. I like her approach and sensibility. Be prepared to do some self-assessment BEFORE you tackle a project or buy any new-fangled storage system.
This is a solution and, better than that, a PREVENTION approach. By going through a series of target questions, you can determine what your tendencies are and why. So you restructure yourself (YES, this IS possible, the author assures us.)Then, when you start
After the holidays are over and the new year comes around, I almost always get the organizing bug. I start to think of all the projects I want to do over the new year and have this urge to reevaluate and find ways to be more efficient, more organized, more productive. For those of you who have similar tendencies, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

A few years back, a friend gave me Julie Morgenstern's Organizing from the Inside Out, and it really changed the way I think about organizing.
Fraser Sherman
Morgenstern's basic principles are a)group similarly themed things together (bills, work stuff, party stuff, kitchen stuff, school stuff) and to follow a system of Sort, Purge, Assign, Containerize and Equalize for a given section. And to take lots of time and not try to organize the whole house overnight. Surprisingly, reading this book I realized we're in pretty good shape for most of the house, though there are some tweaks I've already started putting in place.
Mar 24, 2008 Danielle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who feels the least bit disorganized
I read this shortly out of college, and wished I read it years before. I normally am not into self-help books, but this one changed how I approach my living space PROFOUNDLY. The author goes, step-by-step, room-by-room, how to organize in a way that leads to increased peace of mind and productivity for each person, as an individual. It's not about imposing someone else's way of putting things away, but how to find your own way to make your life better.

Directly after reading the book I didn't ma
Rashelle Isip
I'm a big fan of organizing according to your own personality and tastes. While I wasn't in need of organizing assistance, it was nice to read someone else's "holistic" approach towards organization; that is, getting rid of what you no longer/want need, and then figuring out how to store what's left. I appreciated Julie Morgenstern's clear and practical approach.
There were some helpful ideas in this book, including identifying your personal styles/habits that lead to disorganization (mine is constantly getting distracted mid-task to do something else and then having multiple half-finished tasks laying about...) Also, I liked reading about "what's working" and "what's not working" from real-life interviews. For example, irons her clothes before putting them in her closet, so that if they are hanging in there, she knows they are ready-to-go. Never thought ...more
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Julie Morgenstern, dubbed the “queen of putting people’s lives in order” by USA Today, is an organizing and time management expert, business productivity consultant, and speaker. A New York Times bestselling author, Julie's five books are timeless reference guides that are insightful, reader-friendly and jam packed with innovative strategies. Each volume features techniques and observations culled ...more
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“If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” 3 likes
“Successful organizing forces you to look at the big picture, not one small section of the frame, so that the system you design will be complete.” 0 likes
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