Top critical review
Pretty but not terribly practical.
January 24, 2020
I love Martha. I have been following her since the '90s. As someone who is perpetually organizationally-challenged, I was hoping Martha would provide me with the tools to achieve success. I think it will inspire me but will need to search for a more in-depth manual.
This book is a great example of what Martha does best. The book is glossy and visually stunning. It also covers WAY too many topics: a detailed (and quite insane) calendar of tasks for each day of the year, sections on organizing different rooms, children, pets, health, cooking, laundry, home office, gardening and entertainment. It's basically every possible facet of your life in 288 pages. That doesn't allow much detail for any one thing. It feels like a great inspiration to get started on something, get some ideas working, but then I'll need to look elsewhere for anything more. For example, a huge issue for me is PAPER. I mean, it's everywhere. She devotes TWO PAGES TOTAL to "Document-Retention" and "Filing System." That's it. The chart of what to keep and how long is great; the section on filing seems like an overview for someone who is just tweaking their current system, not an instruction on how to set it up or what it might look like. That is the basic premise for everything: here's a few pages to get you started. I would have preferred fewer different sections (don't need entertaining, gardening or cooking in an organizing book, those already have their own books) and more "meat."
Martha doesn't forget an item, though. The book is a handy reference for all kinds of things and especially with regard to home tasks, she gives me an idea of when I should be regrouting the bathroom or mulching the lawn. She breaks things down in minute detail so a task is never forgotten, but then just sort of leaves you there, overwhelmed.
Some other thoughts:
* Minimalism is the name of the game. Things can have a place if you don't have a metric ton of toilet paper and food containers. Less is more in her world, and it is inspiring to think that I can pare down the kitchen utensils and learn to work with what I can neatly store in the drawer. I mean, I've got three soup ladles; I really only need one.
* The photos are glorious but no kids or pets must go anywhere near those spaces. Most people have more detritus of living than was evident in the entire book. Just look at the photos of the kid areas. I had to laugh.
>>Side note for designers: NO ONE organizes their books by COLOR. No. One.
* I am a SAHM and would need a team to help me complete the tasks of living this life. Most people do not want to devote that many hours of their lives just so their spaces look like a magazine photo spread. It's not realistic for basically anyone but Martha. And her team.
I'm happy enough to keep the book. There are some worthwhile ideas and it will serve as a reference, as well as inspiration. It won't be the only book I need to change my home, though. Maybe I just need a maid.....