Thomas Jefferson said that a good book enables you to get rid of half your library. I've been collecting books on storage for years, and before I was through reading this book, I had chucked most of them. This book sets a new standard, and it's mighty high. It's as much a book on organizing as it is on storage. The combination of the two topics in one book is perfect and has never been done as well.
The book is quite amazing in that she never mentions feng shui, but most of her advice could have come from a feng shui sage. "How we organize our possessions has profound implications on the amount of space at our disposal, on the degree of ease with which we carry out everyday tasks, and on the fundamental character of our homes." "But good organization does not mean adopting an alien discipline, nor does it require iron willpower; on the contrary, it enables us to live the way we want by insuring that our homes work best for us." She first tackles clutter and too many possessions: "hanging on to a load of clutter increases the chance that you will be unable to find what you want, when you want it, and will end up buying another in sheer desperation." Then each area of the home is covered individually: kitchens, living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, children's rooms, and workrooms. She explains the organizing basics for each area more eloquently than most writers on the subject. The writing is a true pleasure to read. I often tell my clients to make sure that at least a fruit bowl is on display in their kitchen. Here's what she has to say: "a kitchen with no ingredients on display can be a fairly soulless place, with all the charm of a research lab." Feng shui advises to keep the fridge away from the stove. Here's what she has to say: "Site the refrigerator away from the oven or stove; excess heat affects the efficiency with which the refrigerator operates." Perfect feng shui!
The book also has a vast amount of full-page, sumptuous photographs showing how storage and style go hand-in-hand. The book is an education and also a treat. Highly recommended.
SOMA Books, San Francisco, www.somabooks.com, 1997, 1-57959-001-2, 157 pages, color drawings and photographs, hardback, $27.00