How to Get Organized When You Don't Have the Time by Stephanie Culp (Writer's Digest Books: paperback, $9.95).
Stephanie Culp has taken on an intrinsically dreary subject--orderly closets, tidy files, a place for everything and everything in its place--and makes it all seem exciting, even enticing.
Her advice derives from running her own business, the Organization, which, Culp maintains, has successfully brought order from chaos into the lives of busy, creative people (actors, publicists, decorators, therapists). They've been defeated, as we all have on occasion, by the sheer complexity of Modern Times.
Culp believes that organized people suffer less stress, are more creative, manage to control their destiny and find increased time for pleasurable activities. Her equation--time equals money equals life itself--underscores the true cost of parking tickets gone astray, missed appointments and miscellaneous procrastinations.
"Ten Golden Rules" covers both the predictable prioritizing of things to do, budgeting time and setting and meeting deadlines, and the less obvious injunction: hire professional help when things become \o7 de trop\f7 (too much).
Separate chapters describe organizational methods for every room in the house, including some mighty ruthless ways to clean up Fibber McGee closets, the garage and car. If, at your house, the postman always seem to ring at least twice, and you're having trouble finding wheat in the chaff of the daily mall, "Papernoia" has some masterful suggestions, as well as advice on setting up an effective filing system and ways to handle bills. (Pay them once a month in one fell swoop.)
Alas, Culp belongs to the clean-sweep school. If you haven't worn it, used it, read it, looked at it in recent personal history, it should get the old heave-ho. The Goodwill truck must come often to her house. She doesn't care for last summer's Mason jars, family photos, yellowing banner-headline newspapers, a husband's World War II pilot wings still badged to his 1st-lieutenant jacket or even that paid-for incisor lurking in the tooth fairy's memento box. Still, her amusingly written guide should help start leveling anyone's Himalaya into a manageable hill.