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Martha Stewart says get your stuff together — beautifully

Marni Jameson: Martha Stewart's organizing issue takes organizing to the next level.
Published: February 13, 2012

Questions: If the problem with getting organized is not having enough time, why are there so many books on organizing? If people don't have the time to clean up their act and get their stuff together, how on earth do they have the time to read a book about it?

Reading a book on organizing is like reading a book on exercising. Unless you're reading on the treadmill, you're missing the point.

Whenever I see an organizing or exercise book, I think of a book my mom had on her nightstand when I was a girl. “Pray Your Weight Away.” Now I admit I could use a little more faith, but prayer for pounds?

Come on! We all know how to get our homes and bodies in shape.

That's what I liked about a new magazine I stumbled upon this week, “The Best of Martha Stewart Living Organizing.” It assumes you already know how to get organized and that you should. The special issue wastes little time and space (two pages) reviewing organizing basics, which I can cover here even faster:

Sort stuff. Purge what you don't want or need or has expired. (Ahem, those frozen three-year-old tuna steaks from your neighbor's deep sea adventure?)

Put like with like. (No spoons with screwdrivers).

Store stuff where you use it. (Mustard out of the medicine chest.)

Arrange by size and shape.

Get containers, shelves and bins as needed to fit edited stuff.

Have a place for everything. Keep it there.

There. Done, in 50 words, minus my asides.

After that came the inspiring part. Martha Stewart's organizing issue (on newsstands now) takes organizing to the next level. (I know, you're shocked! This from a woman who grows and dries her own lavender to make sachets. But stay with me.)

What the publication illustrates so well is this: It's one thing to be neat and organized, and quite another to be beautifully so. Stewart's team has kicked organizing up a notch, so much that even those who work for Stewart found ways to improve.

Kevin Sharkey, executive editorial director of decorating at Martha Stewart Living, whose home is featured in the issue — so he really is living the dream — said working on the issue got him revisit an area in his home that needed better-looking organization.

“My cleaning supplies needed spiffing,” he confided.

“Cleaning is tough enough, but if you can't find the Comet, you might just bag the idea altogether,” I say, trying to relate, though it's difficult, considering this was his biggest organizing problem.

“First, I made sure I had everything I wanted available,” he said. “Then I decanted the supplies into bins, and labeled the bins.”

“Good thinking,” I said. “I mean, you wouldn't want to confuse the Clorox with the vodka.”

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