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

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  5,845 ratings  ·  300 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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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Mar 12, 2013 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
Apr 04, 2011 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
Apr 16, 2015 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
Judith Grimmond
May 14, 2011 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
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I gave five Stars because this book gave me information I’ve never read or thought of before! A couple of GREAT tips!
Feb 23, 2008 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
Jul 04, 2010 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!".
Jul 09, 2007 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. ...more
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. ...more
Lisa Lewis
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this book on the recommendation of blogger, with the goal of getting inspired to organize my office at work. I am actually a fairly organized person, but a job change has led me to need new systems for keeping organized at work.

Morgenstern has a great philosophy and process for people to use to become organized and I basically got what I needed from this book in the first few chapters. I skimmed the rest to see if she had any major insights to offer, and I found lots of information that w
Lisa Woodruff
In May 2020, the Organize 365 book reviews will focus on estate planning and home organizing. This week I review Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern.

This is the oldest organizing book I have in my personal library. Julie came out with this book back in 1998, but her principles stand the test of time. I read this book a few years before we adopted our two children, but I still remember Julie’s story of becoming a mom and feeling so disorganized.

She applied her professional organi
Pat Camalliere
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
It stands to reason that I wanted to improve organization that has been challenging me. I hoped this book would do it for me. Sorry to say, I’m already doing just about everything Julie suggests, with the exception of the purging parts. I seem to be rather hopeless when it comes to parting with things I clearly don’t need, and, as she points out, unless I can do this I’m not going to get too far. So once again, it’s on me! However, for those who have no idea how to go about organizing their live ...more
Jan 04, 2014 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:
Oct 24, 2010 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
Feb 20, 2013 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
Hester Rathbone
Feb 17, 2016 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
Feb 10, 2010 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
Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am TOTALLY loving this book!!! AND I adore Julie Morgenstern. She makes absolute sense and her voice is fabulous! Not done, yet but getting there!

I ordered this book at the library and somehow I got a CD version. At first I was disappointed, I like "seeing" help books, feel like that helps me take notes. But I have loved hearing the author, Julie Morgenstern, read this aloud. She has a lovely voice and is very sharp and clear and you get to hear where she is coming from, in her voice.

I really
Janet Barclay
Jan 29, 2011 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
Daniel Taylor
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hoarders, anyone with clutter
The first thing I love about this book is that it gets you to identify why and how you use the spaces in your life before it gives tips on how to fix your problems.

For me, I care full-time for my 85-year-old Grandma with dementia who picks things up and puts them down and forgets where she put them straight away. She's been hoarding for 50 years. It takes time to train her to use new systems. The litmus test of the ideas in this book will be creating a space that works for me and Grandma as I or
Jan 15, 2013 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! ...more
Jan 02, 2010 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. ...more
Ed Mazurek
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: learning
If I intend to organize again, I should remember to hold hands with the chapters in this book as I analyze, strategize, and execute.
Daisy Dandelion
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my second time reading this book. I love it. It's practical. Easy to apply to real life. Changed my life actually. ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book sat on my shelf for years, then one day when I was trying to parse through the books I own (as I do twice a year or so), I finally decided to read it or throw it out. I am so glad I didn’t throw it out.

It’s obviously dated and written for a certain kind of person (middle/upper class and business people) but the premises can apply to almost anyone. As someone who has tried Marie Kondo and found some valuable perspectives but always gotten entirely overwhelmed when attempting to carry it
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Julie Morgenstern has written the bible of organizing. If you need help or love honing your systems, this is your reference book!

Morgenstern begins her organizing manual with her own history as a disorganized youth and how she discovered her patented techniques for organizing any space with her special "Analyze, Strategize, Attack" process. The majority of the book is full of space-by-space chapters where she puts her detailed process into action, giving suggestions and recommendations for every
Paul Bard
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a text book on organising, and, as such, should be dipped into as required. But familiarity with the contents is, I suggest, a game changer.

Morgenstern’s genius is guiding you first through the inner game of order and conscientiousness, before working on practical skill development.

Page 39 features simple inventory questions which allow you to introspect on the question of order.

Page 42 features helpful prompts which encourage you to write on order simply and productively.

Page 50 reveal
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was on board at the beginning, particularly with Chapter 2 "What's Holding You Back?" and Chapter 4 "Analyze: Taking Stock." Some good insights into how to think about clutter and organizing. If I had stopped after Section 2, I'd rate this book much higher.

But in Sections 3 & 4 with details about different settings, I lost all motivation. I liked the real-life examples of what worked well, but after that I pretty much tuned out on every chapter. Why? I think it's the overload of specific detai
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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?” 4 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.” 1 likes
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