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Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise
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Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,003 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
Two sisters share the system of organising household chores that they created to make managing a home less time consuming and more efficient, in an updated handbook that explains how to reduce chaos and clutter and achieve organisation in the home.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1979)
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Dec 28, 2008 Denise rated it really liked it
I discovered there's actually a name for people like me. People who lose track of time, or have no concept of time to begin with. People with good intentions and great enthusiasm but little follow-through. People who chronically procrastinate, can be extremely organized in some ways but suck at housekeeping, and are never on time.

I used to think that name was "loser". Or "lazy bum", or "complete failure as a mother". Now I know better. I am a SHE, a Sidetracked Home Executive.

I found this book o
Apr 07, 2010 Jeanette rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-read-in
I am, apparently, the epitome of a Sidetracked Home Executive. I was going through an old box of books that should have been donated eons ago when I came across this book and spent the next hour reading it instead of taking said box of books to be donated.
This book is laughably out of date and somewhat complicated in its card system. But the more I read the more I recognized a bit of myself. I am easily distracted only it is not by soaps it is by the internet. "I am just going to pop on the com
Apr 16, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People struggling with their surroundings
After being a reader of the Flylady Flylady and hearing how this book changed her life and helped her out, I was amused several years later to find this book, well-worn and 1982 print among my mother's stack of books to get rid of. I decided it was worth the read.

This book outlines a filing card organizational system (ah the days before computers) to help the prepetually distracted keep on top of their housework and chores. It details ideas for how to categorize your chores (things that should b
This is a useful book if:

- You enjoy adding to your repertoire of a variety of organizational systems.
- If you enjoy setting up a variety of systems of organization.
- If you have a passion for index cards.
- If you have gotten off track in keeping up your home and you need a boost.
- If you want an excuse to go to the office supply store instead of straightening your home. ;-)

This book has helped me twice, both times to recover from housework burnout and get back to my cottage keeping roots.

Vicki Davis
May 18, 2012 Vicki Davis rated it liked it
Shelves: organizing
This is a good book, and inspired "Sink Reflections," which is, in my opinion, a better book for those struggling. I've found this a useful book and keep it on my bookshelf because it talks about habits. If you get into this method (which is a good one for stay at home Mom's) I recommend getting the Home Routines app or the Motivated Moms app for your mobile device to track everything. They recommend using Index cards in their system and it just isn't practical or necessary any more and I did us ...more
Mar 26, 2008 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the neatness challenged, or anyone who wants more time and less housework.
Recommended to Stacey by: talk radio I think.
I picked up this book awhile ago because I'm neatness challenged. I read it through and was very entertained by these two "local girls make good," but didn't really do anything with the information.

About two months ago I realized that I was not willing to live with all of the clutter anymore, so I started with this book. I haven't implemented the card system that they show in the book, but have used their method of decluttering.

Fully 1/2 of everything in my house is 100% unnecessary, and has t
Oct 08, 2007 Julia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people that like systems and are overwhelmed by managing their house
Shelves: owned
I read my mother-in-law's copy of this book long ago and was intrigued by the elaborate index card system they describe for staying on top of the housework. Although I never got around to actually implementing it then, now with a growing family, meals to be made, dog to be walked and still two full-time jobs, it's time to establish a System. Plus, I LOVE systems!

This updated version is great too. They discuss upgrading to a computer system over index cards and clarify the potential pitfalls with
Feb 26, 2011 Molly rated it it was amazing
I really like this book. The authors were very entertaining and I could relate to them well. We'll see how their system works out for me. I'm starting it in March. Overall it had really good suggestions and ideas of how to declutter and organize your life. I especailly liked that it was written by someone who has been in my place and knows how I feel, rather then someone who is "born" organized. :)
Jun 25, 2014 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Funniest self-help book ever--just reading their story is a hoot! Some great ideas, but even better laughs!
Oct 02, 2008 Genevieve rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone struggling to keep a clean house
This book is so funny and full of good ideas. You don't have to follow their system to get something out of this book. I got lots of practical ideas and lots of laughs from reading it.
Anna G.
May 16, 2017 Anna G. rated it really liked it
i think this is a great book...i am a naturally "sidetracked" or basically a very messy unorganized person and this system has actually been working for me...weird because I've tried different techniques before but never stuck with any of them for long...i have been using their system for more than a month now consistently and I still like it and still want to continue...also my husband is enjoying a clean home haha =)
the only thing I disliked about the book was how in the final chapter one of t
Anna Brown
May 24, 2017 Anna Brown rated it it was amazing
the system explained in the book is fantastic but the organization of the book is terrible. still five stars because it helped me so much.
Oct 26, 2016 Stefani rated it liked it
A quick and humorous read, but I agree that the card system seems cumbersome. I've tried making schedules before, but it's the looking at and following through with that cause me trouble. I mean, I can't even keep a personal calendar/planner for more than a few days because I forget to look at the darn thing! (The only calendar I use is a giant desk pad calendar that is hung on the wall despite what is probably a lovely calendar app/program on my electronic devices.) Also, my house isn't a compl ...more
Jul 19, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
This book was a recommendation from Larisa's about 2 years ago! I need someone to do this with. I don't think I am a pig-penish kind of girl by nature but with three young children in a two-story house it is hard to know where to begin. Add morning sickness to that equation and I am getting my bootie kicked! Dishes and laundry have to be done regularly to survive but there are many jobs that we look at from across the room and wonder when we'll have time to get to those. This is a great book for ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Nat rated it really liked it
Shelves: home
This is a well-written, funny, albeit dated book that made me feel immediately more motivated and competent regardless of whether or not their system works. The fairly anal system that they ultimately prescribe isn't the only part of it that is motivating (although the system can be discouraging in its complexity of getting it all set up, too). The tone is encouraging and helps remind you why you want to be on top of things in the first place. I also appreciate that it's much more realistic abou ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-christina
This book, originally written in 1977, is one of the first of its kind to help housewives develop a cleaning system. It's written as a humorous story told by two previously very messy sisters who challenged each other to get their act together at home and came up with a very simple and doable "card system" for housecleaning routines. In the years since their original meetings, they have written books and taught this method to thousands. This was a fun quick read and it reminds me a bit of the Fl ...more
Susan B
Jun 04, 2012 Susan B rated it really liked it
I love this book. It's a little outdated, but it's still good stuff.

The stories are funny and relatable. These are real women struggling with real issues. The solutions are practical. As low tech and silly as they sound, index cards really do work as a task management system. Most importantly, their book inspires me to put the book down and go DO SOMETHING. Each step is really simple and easily accomplished... even on a shoe string budget. But they add up to something pretty powerful.

The ideas i
Mar 12, 2009 Nina rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who needs a schedule of house tasks
Recommended to Nina by: Kathleen
I read both because I got the older version before I got the newer one, not much different. Those of you who know me well, know that I have always struggled to stay organized. I have an organized mess, easy for me to find most things not so easy on the eyes and spirit. This is a great book. Glad to know that I am not the only one who gets sidetracked. I do alot during the day but because I get distracted I have very little to show for my work. I have not implemented the system because I have cho ...more
Jun 21, 2010 Jennasmeeks rated it it was amazing
I might actually be organized in a couple of months! Which is an enormous feat for any of you who have ever seen my desk and/or bedroom. This is really an amazing and motivating book! It's great because they start off the book telling you about just how bad they were before they got organized. They really bring you into their world. I felt like I was going through the transformation to order with them and so I really do feel like this is something that I can do to keep the house clean and order ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Sharon rated it it was amazing
This is great and definitely one I am going to be keeping and using for years to come. Very simple and straightforward, easy to understand and begin using right away. They speak plain simple English and get right to the point without making anyone feel like a failure or feel worthless. Lots of people have lack of organization and that doesn't make them less of a person they just need some simple advice and a workable plan to change. It only takes 21 days for a specific action to become a habit s ...more
Jan 20, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
It's probably not fair for me to rate this book, because I didn't finish it. I decided my time would be better spent elsewhere. In the beginning I found it somewhat entertaining and humorous. It is incredibly dated, which was amusing to a certain extent, but it also was a turn-off for me because it does NOT fit my lifestyle at all. Once I got to the chapter about the whole filing system, I gave up. It seemed way too complicated for me (and I could see myself spending hours trying to perfect my s ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Lia rated it liked it
Even though the prose and info is dated (like from the seventies), this is a funny read and a useful book. A lot of the writing is just filler material -- the only important part is a chapter that tells you how to organize a file box system of notecards for cleaning your house. I've set up the system, and with a few modifications of my own, am using it successfully. It's a brand new idea for me, and it's really keeping me organized! I'm glad to have read this book. Maybe I'll update this review ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Jul 22, 2012 Jo Oehrlein rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Their premise is that most books on organization are written by the Born Organized. These sisters admit they were slobs – they had good intentions, but it never worked out quite like they thought it should. Their organization method is based around tasks, with each task listed on a 3x5” card and identified as daily, every-other-day, weekly, every-other-week, monthly, or seasonal. The card deck is kept organized with dividers that show you the current day’s cards. Finish your cards and you’re don ...more
Sunshine Moore
Dec 03, 2012 Sunshine Moore rated it liked it
I listened to this on audio. Very funny and quite motivational. However, I ended up buying a paper copy for the appendix, which has all the lists of things to do. They refer to it in the audio - that's a little frustrating. Oh well, overall, there are some good tips in there - a card file will not work for me though, as I seem to obsess on the cards and their order. I do use an electronic to-do list that serves about the same purpose. And if nothing else, it proves that there is HOPE for me!
Oct 06, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-books, self-help
This gave me some good ideas and some motivation to develop a plan for getting my housework done a bit more efficiently (or done at all). I had no desire to make index cards for everything, so I am using my Google calendar and various to-do lists to stay organized. This is written more for stay-at-home moms, so some of the ideas are not really feasible if you work outside of the home 40 hours a week, but there is still useful information here, and it is humorous and well-written. I highly recomm ...more
Aug 13, 2010 Gina rated it did not like it
I don't know why I keep reading these types of books since I never find anything of value in them. Aside from some "deep cleaning" issues, my home is not a mess and I am not a "slob". I simply would not be able to function if I did not get dressed everyday, or left kitchen drawers or cabinets open, or did not make the bed. Perhaps I shall write myself one index card that says "DO NOT read any more of these books!". (With sincere apologies to my friends who are having great success with this syst ...more
Katieb (MundieMoms)
Aug 31, 2008 Katieb (MundieMoms) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a great book and one my mother read when I was growing up. She used the methods mentioned in here and when I asked for advice, she told me to read it. It's a great book. I know their ideas/methods work, as I grew up w/ them. My mother raised 5 of us, plus had an inhome day care and our house was always clean and in order! I'm looking forward to starting this method to bring more order to my house.
Sep 26, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: homemaking
I get the impression that this book was one of the first available for helping homemakers get control of their lives, but it's rather hilarious now. First of all: I am not setting up a massive system of index cards with which to run my family. Second of all: this edition mentions that computers may become helpful at running our homes and here is some software that might help. It's a bit dated, is what I'm saying.
Nov 18, 2012 Deyara rated it really liked it
Quite cumbersome to set up but was helpful in working out when to schedule things. Sink Reflections is based on this system, and really I need an in-between model - Sink Reflections lets me ignore the jobs I dont like as long as I do my 15 mins, SHE gets them all but is too high-maintenance - I dont have time to shuffle cards before and after work. This book was helpful though, so would recommend it as an adjunct to your preferred system.
Nov 08, 2014 Nichole rated it really liked it
Interesting.... I learned so much about myself from reading this book and that's what made it comical for me :) I probably would have rated the book only 3 stars based on overall content but I picked up too many gems about my sidetracked nature post-kids for me to rate it as such.
Strange the abundant review responses about the book being outdated - of course, it was first published in 1979.
Anyway, enough sidetracking, time to get to work!
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YNAB Book Club: The SHE Homekeeping System 2 32 Sep 14, 2014 12:54PM  
  • Confessions of an Organized Homemaker: The Secrets of Uncluttering Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life
  • Sink Reflections
  • Clutter's Last Stand: It's Time to de-Junk Your Life!
  • Organizing Plain & Simple: A Ready Reference Guide with Hundreds of Solutions to Your Everyday Clutter Challenges
  • The Messies Manual: The Procrastinator's Guide to Good Housekeeping
  • When Do Fish Sleep? : An Imponderables' Book
  • Home Comforts : The Art and Science of Keeping House
  • Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table
  • The Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle
  • Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home and Life
  • Organize Yourself!
  • One Year to an Organized Work Life: From Your Desk to Your Deadlines, the Week-by-Week Guide to Eliminating Office Stress for Good
  • Home-Making
  • When Organizing Isn't Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life
  • How to Organize (Just About) Everything: More Than 500 Step-by-Step Instructions for Everything from Organizing Your Closets to Planning a Wedding to Creating a Flawless Filing System
  • Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean
  • Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods Earth Plaster * Straw Bale * Cordwood * Cob * Living Roofs
  • Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want

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