Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays ~ Book Review: I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer

I'm a pretty organized person.



I used to be.


Before having a baby. And then another one. And another one. And then moving when the last one was three weeks old.

(Sidebar: I do NOT recommend moving with a newborn. Avoid at all costs).

I miss my old organized self. I miss knowing where everything is.

I had to find my little boy's social security card this week. I won't bore you with the details of the search. Suffice it to say it was long.

Very long.

And it's that kind of thing that irks me most. Wasting time and energy because I can't find something. Or wasting money and resources because I buy something...I ALREADY OWN! Of course, I find the duplicate object a week or so after I've used the new one and can't return it.

So when I had an opportunity to review a new book, I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer, I was all over it.

I Used to be So Organized has chapters on organizing your closets, your kitchen and your toys your kid's toys. There's a great chapter on meal planning and quite a bit of time devoted to managing the technology that enhances our lives and distracts our minds.

If you need detailed instructions to help you tackle your bulging pantry, there's no shame in that. And I Used to be So Organized will take you through it one shelf at a time.

But to be honest, I don't need step-by-step instructions on how to tackle organizing an overflowing linen closet. I'm naturally gifted in that area. (Some might say I'm naturally annoying in that area, but let's not quibble over semantics). I know how to do it. I even - don't shoot me - enjoy it.

Turns out, I'm what Glynnis calls "Situationally Disorganized." My "situation" (new baby, new house) has led to a state of disorder that is driving me crazy. As she puts it, "When I find myself in a place of situational disorganization, I'm usually frustrated. I'm not frustrated with anyone in particular, except myself for not being able to pull it together."

At this point, I was pretty sure she'd bugged my house.

She goes on. "That's when I need to apply God's grace to myself."

That line may be the best piece of advice in the whole book.

And that is what I loved about I Used to Be So Organized. While it's full of organization tips, good for both the situationally and the chronically disorganized, Glynnis Whitwer bases everything on a solid Biblical foundation.

My highlighter got a workout on the chapters about setting reasonable expectations and establishing priorities. There were many "a-ha" moments, but these words had the most impact on me at this time in my life.

"I wish someone had told me that God would not forget me, that I was right where he wanted me and that I should relax, accept my new normal, and see the opportunities he had placed in front of me."

I Used to Be So Organized isn't just about cleaning out from under your bed and there's no call to keep your home in a perpetual state of "photo-shoot readiness." It's about organizing your life. Not so you can check something else off your to-do list, but so you can fulfill the calling God has laid on your heart.