I don't review a lot of books here but with the April issue of Real Simple being so focused on cleaning and organization, I can't resist telling you about Secrets of Simplicity by author and organization expert Mary Carlomagno of Order, a company that specializes in clutter control. Aside from the great writing, this book is beautifully illustrated by Andrea Cobb.
What I love about this book:
* Price! It's $19.95 but you can get it for as low as $14 on both the Chronicle Books website and at Amazon. That's a great deal.
* It's spiral bound. Love this feature because it's super easy to work with – you can easily fold back sections and write and read your little heart out.
* Gorgeous illustrations. I am very visual so the fun illustrations by Andrea Cobb with bright colors made me open the book immediately and the cheery theme encouraged me along. It made organizing and the topic of simplicity, which can sometimes feel overwhelming, come across as a lighter load and fun — like you want to be a part of this!
* Easy to follow. Each section flows into the next so you don't find yourself confused or lost at any time.
* Straight forward but casual. Not a lot of fluff. Not wordy. Some books are super chipper and use this 'chick lit' speak while others can be very intimidating and even feel like you, as the reader, are being talked down to. Some books need 10 paragraphs in order to say what they could have said in a single sentence. This author does a great job at keeping her words free of emotion, fluff, padding, etc. As a result, you read the words and listen to what she is saying, take it to heart, want to actually apply it, and throughout the process you don't once feel that she thinks she is better than you.
* Lots of great quotes. I love quotes but the ones selected by the author fit the topics discussed in each section very, very well. I also liked how she tied in quotes from industry professionals in addition to playwrights, prophets, leaders, it was such a fun mix of opinions which made the book feel even more inviting.
* Very interactive with space to write. This is another absolute favorite feature of mine that I found tremendously helpful, especially since the author asks so many great questions. You can work out your answers right there in the book. My copy doubled as a bit of a journal. I found myself writing in the columns in addition to the lined spaces! I guess you can say I really got into it.
* And of course, the tips were all really good, easy to understand and apply, and nothing felt too big or scary to take on thanks to the many quotes, illustrations, questions, facts, etc. presented throughout the book.
I have to conclude by saying that I've never read a book on organization and simple living from cover-to-cover in my life — ever. That alone is why even I am shocked to be sitting her this morning writing this review! I'm eager to get started on lots of organization projects now thanks to this book. Bravo to the author, Ms. Carlomagno, great work!
(image from chronicle books)