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

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,273 Ratings  ·  229 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 outli
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. FrostEnough Already! by Peter WalshBuried in Treasures by David F. TolinClutter's Last Stand by Don Aslett
Best Organizing Resources
1st out of 67 books — 44 voters
Home Comforts by Cheryl MendelsonSink Reflections by Marla CilleyThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie KondōOrganizing from the Inside Out by Julie MorgensternThe House that Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark
Cleaning House
4th out of 57 books — 34 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 12, 2013 Leah rated it really liked it
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
Jun 04, 2011 Judith Grimmond rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 24, 2008 Margaret rated it really liked it
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
Apr 16, 2015 Melody rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I enjoy organizing, so there wasn't necessarily a ton of new info in this book for me, but it has a detailed practical approach that I appreciate. Two of her main suggestions have helped me a lot in the past: don't buy containers etc until you've spent some time figuring out what your needs are, and find a way to organize to match your habits rather than trying to change your habits to match how your things are organized. The book contained time estimates for each project, and specific informati ...more
Jul 04, 2010 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: healthyness
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!".
Jan 25, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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:
Jul 09, 2007 Denise rated it it was amazing
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.
Hester Rathbone
Apr 30, 2016 Hester Rathbone rated it really liked it
I've gotta say, I liked this book. It made mu understand some of the things with organization I've always struggled with. These days, I've been reorganizing the whole house top to bottom because I feel like I need everything to be organized enough for me to function when the baby comes. And two of the easiest lessons are the ones that I use the most - don't underestimate how long a project will take. I've been slowly reorganizing the bedroom, and it's taken hours. The old me would have expected ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Muffi rated it did not like it
Totally useless for someone like me, because this book 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 Or ...more
Oct 26, 2010 Joan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 01, 2013 Batgirl13 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2010 Kelsey rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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 really liked it
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
Vlady Peters
Oct 29, 2015 Vlady Peters rated it really liked it
There have been Ghost Whisperers and Horse Whisperers and here’s a book by a House Whisperer. I guess it had to happen. Right? Of course, right.

What is this House Whisperer trying to do? She’s trying to help you organise your home, your office and your life.

Even if you are an utterly disorganised person, if you want to make the effort, here’s a promise to bring order out of chaos. If you are like me, and largely organised, it can still help to streamline your life.

Take, for example, the subject
Jan 15, 2013 Tracy rated it really liked it
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!
Jan 02, 2010 Tanya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 07, 2016 Molly rated it liked it
This book has some decent strategies and tips for organization. I like how she encourages people to really reflect on their organization, and what pitfalls or barriers they might face. I also like that she encourages people to strategize and make a plan of action before starting. This is solid advice. I also like how she asks people to think about what is working and what's not working in each room. I also appreciate her advice for starting in rooms you are in a lot, instead of closets or baseme ...more
Nov 17, 2014 Maryalene rated it really liked it
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
Ed Mazurek
Jan 25, 2016 Ed Mazurek rated it really liked it
If I intend to organize again, I should remember to hold hands with the chapters in this book as I analyze, strategize, and execute.
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
Jan 12, 2014 Delia Turner rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, how-to
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.

Jul 15, 2015 Jeff rated it really liked it
This book offers a helpful strategy for organizing different spaces in your life, both at work and at home. The author outlines the strategy in the first parts of the book, then applies it to different types of spaces in the later parts. One thing that set this book apart from other organizing books I've read is the acknowledgement of the underlying reasons that people become and stay disorganized. (I would actually enjoy a whole book on that subject.) It also recognizes that there isn't necessa ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
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 it was ok
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
Nov 07, 2013 Adra rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Nov 03, 2012 The Cats Mother rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 liked it
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
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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?” 2 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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