Get Organized With PRETTY NEAT! {And A Giveaway}

by Kathy Sykes on March 8, 2011 · 5 comments

Pretty Neat: The Buttoned-Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection

This week I was asked to read and review the book Pretty Neat (the buttoned-up way to get organized and let go of perfection) by Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch.
First off, I really related to the book’s title because I struggle with the difference between working really hard to do things “right” vs. coming off as being a perfectionist. I keep a purse calendar, a wall calendar, and notes/reminders electronically to keep up with my busy family’s schedule. I’m pretty good with this but if someone else “falls off the bandwagon”, then that can throw a monkey wrench into my whole day, week, or life. Is it that important to have everything perfectly planned? According to the authors of Pretty Neat, it is okay to be yourself. A quote from the book that makes “perfect” sense is from Anna Quindlen “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself”. AMEN!
This book is an easy read, offers real-life stories, humor, and advice about organizing your LIFE and the SPACE you live/work in.
The key points that stood out for me and that had me re-evaluating the way I do things on a daily basis are:
1. Make my life easier by embracing shortcuts to achieve success and ask myself the questions–Do I waste energy worrying about things that might not get done? {yes} AND Why is it important to get this done?
2. One day I will have my AHA moment when I can let go of trying to be perfect and let people see my chaos. This is the day I am looking forward to 🙂
3. I should develop my own meaning of organized for my life and family. Don’t hold myself to anyone else’s expectations
4. The goal of the 1st chapter was to “enable me to do a better job of managing the things I LOVE to do, not do more organizing”. LOVE THIS!
5.  Make sure that I put “myself” on my priorities list.
6.  Eliminate excuses. This point hit me really hard because I know that excuses stagnant any progression in your life.  They state in the book that “when we make an excuse and repeat it often enough, it becomes a belief. The belief then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I truly believe this to be true.
7. Having a “routine” is an effective way to maintain organization. Now, this is the one thing that I do well (to my husband’s chagrin). The books says it well….”routines enable you to do things while on autopilot”. This works well for me. Also finding a buddy that keeps you accountable is another bit of advice that I already incorporate in my life.
8.  When managing the family’s schedule, one size does not fit all. Meaning that what I think is a good plan, may not work for others in the family. What the book suggests and what I use is a “schedule station” (whether it’s real or virtual). My family uses Sandra Boynton’s Mom calendar which has spaces for everyone in the family’s activities.
9. If my work or family space contains clutter, there are three steps that can help eliminate it….(1) have a Routine of getting rid of things (2) have Rules for what to keep and what to trash (3) have Regard for what others my think is clutter (4) if it is hard to get rid of things immediately, create a Review box and go through later
10. Managing children’s stuff (toys, arts/crafts, etc) by making sure everything has a place, get kids involved in clean-up, and keep items in circulation
I couldn’t keep my list to a “NEAT” and “PERFECT” ten items (and I am stressing over that), but I need to add two other things:
11. With the use of technology and social media, find ways to tame my inboxes. What I do and what they suggest is to have a regular check-in routine for email and limit your time on social media because it can be a huge time suck.
12.  Utilize ways (build around basics, turn on my crock pot, keep a running grocery list, prep staples in advance) that enable me to prepare healthy meals on a regular basis…ARRRGGGGHHH!!!! This is my nemesis and requires practice, practice, practice.
Now the above 12 items were just the ones that really related to me but the book has a plethora of other issues and ideas that can assist you in organizing your life.
Thus, in order for you to get a chance to read it all, I am GIVING AWAY a copy of the book to one of my readers who leaves a comment about how they plan, organize and make healthy dinners for themselves and/or their families each week (and that is cost-effective) with your busy schedules. I really need your ideas. Deadline for all comments will be March 21st at 11:59pm and a winner will be chosen at random. There is something else….if you are chosen as the winner from “my” blog, you will also be entered to win a $200.00 giftcard (same as cash) plus a selection of Buttoned Up products ($50.00 value) from a random drawing of winners of all the blogs participating in this campaign.
Good Luck Getting Organized!!!
**Disclosure: I will also be entered to win a gift card plus Buttoned Up products from a random selection of all bloggers participating in this campaign***
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet Barclay March 12, 2011 at 1:03 pm

My husband and I sit down together once a week and plan our dinners for the following week. We write the menu plans on a wall calendar that hangs in the kitchen.

We start by looking at what we have on hand and what’s on special at our preferred store. There are a few “standard” meals we have all the time, but I like to pick out at least one new healthy recipe to try every week.

Once the list is made, we do our shopping and because we’re so organized, we’re usually out and back in under an hour!


Kristin Lindstrom March 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

I have three rules for dinner during the week 1. no fast food 2. at least one veggie 3. we sit together as a family. After that, I focus on the busy nights. With two kids, activities and work, I don’t pressure myself to cook a major dinner. On a busy night I’ll plan a very easy dinner that needs little no no prep time. Trader Joes meatballs in the slow cooker w/ sauce, a veggie and bread. Rotisserie chicken without the skin, chopped veggies and rolled in a wrap.


Anna Palmer March 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm

We make sure to cook one or two large batch dinners a week to have leftovers for lunches, etc.

A weekly plan is important- we put ours together at our family meeting. When the kids help choose there is slightly less grumbling at dinner time.

Also- it is incredibly important for us to have a place in the house where the kids are NOT expected to clean up. For us it is both their playroom and bedroom. Thus when we see things hanging around in common space instead of giving a direction/nagging we ask “would you like to leave this laying out? If so you are welcome to set it up in the playroom.” This has them trained pretty well now.


Tia March 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I invested in a crock pot, and have learned to start planning out my meals.


JoeyfromSC March 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I use a crockpot too Tia! lol

I love my slowcooker..It’s a quick and easy way to prepare great meals with few ingredients…You can put all of the items in the pot in the morning, go away to work, (I usually do it on the lowest setting) and then when you come home, the house has such a great aroma and it’s dinnertime! lol

I also save $ by using coupons in conjunction with store deals from their flyers and/or the store discount cards..Alot of money can be saved if you really plan! I am brand flexible too on most items.

I also like to cook meals that can do double duty such as a roasted chicken..I take the leftovers and make chicken salad for lunches the next day! Yum!

Thank you for the chance to win!!



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