how do you live?

by Jervon Perkins

The Real Simple Method to Organizing Every Room and How to Keep it That Way, by The Editors of Real Simple, Oxmoor House, paperback, $27

The word organize energizes some people, but for most, it conjures dread-inducing thoughts of spaces in the home where clutter—forgotten, and not-so-forgotten—lurks. To the latter group, organize suggests “work” and huge challenges. And it’s a problem, say the authors of The Real Simple Method to Organizing Every Room, that we’ve turned the simple and positive idea of organization into a complicated, taxing chore.

Imagine a group of hyper-organized home design and lifestyle experts putting a proverbial hand on your shoulder and telling you to take a deep breath. With each room of a house presented as its own chapter, Real Simple covers ways in which organization can happen in virtually any length of time. For those who only have 15 minutes to spare, the authors suggest “hiding the big stuff” when conquering the closet. Then there are the bigger, more comprehensive weekend projects with long-term organization in mind, which might necessitate a trip to the hardware store to purchase shelving solutions or storage containers. The book also covers organizing areas where pets dwell, outdoor areas, and even inside the car.

Above: This neat-as-a-pin kitchen cabinet gains space from mugs hanging from hooks. With shelf risers, there’s no need to lift stacks of bowls to get to your plates.
Above: This neat-as-a-pin kitchen cabinet gains space from mugs hanging from hooks. With shelf risers, there’s no need to lift stacks of bowls to get to your plates.

Part of the process Real Simple also advocates is removing unneeded items—a step beyond the concept of decluttering. Readers will be pleased with helpful, easy-to-grasp ideas like Doubles Are Trouble and Have a Place for Nothing. The latter, in particular, invites the reader to leave an empty space in each room for future items.

Real Simple isn’t a one-time read that might get shelved afterward (and create its own unwanted clutter); it’s interactive and filled with checklists, pictures to help illustrate its points, and tips and reminders on how to keep things organized. That’s arguably the most appealing factor of the book: It conditions the reader to maintain their improved lifestyle.

Above: If your mud room is the catch-all space for coats, shoes, and backpacks, install racks and shelving to keep those things off the floor and easy to grab.

The Real Simple editors have built their brand on simplifying interior design solutions, and their newest book makes organization accessible to absolutely anyone. It reminds us that being organized isn’t that complex.

Excerpted from The REAL SIMPLE Method to Organizing Every Room by the Editors of REAL SIMPLE. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.