“The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments: New King James version,” 1,763 pages.

“The Complete Works of Plato,” 1,808 pages.

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” 1,181 pages.

“The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions,” 702 pages.

“Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual,” 528 pages.

“Complete Guide to Sewing,” 432 pages.

“Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills,” 456 pages.

Some of the material we have for check-out at the Knox County Public Library we think you might be able to use completely within your routine check-out time, like movies, shorter works of fiction or picture books.

What about the opposite end of the spectrum, such as the above listed tomes? Some of these can be studied for years even to make a start, and others may need to be referred back to over time to make full use of the information.

Happily, even though we do not intend for you to keep these materials for a year or more, these library materials can still be helpful to you. There are at least two main ways. First, although the resource may cover a broad swath, perhaps your focus is more narrow. Instead of acquiring a book only to use one section, you can share the cost and the benefits with other residents of the county. The other way that checking a resource like this out from the library is that you can get a two-week sample of how owning this book might be helpful for you. This is a much more in depth preview of the book than you would usually have before buying it. In this spirit, here I will compare for you two household organization instructional books, which are both intended to be complete courses covered in about a year.

“Organize Now! A Week-by-week Guide to Simplify Your Space and Your Life!” by Jennifer Ford Berry includes 56 different subjects to organize, each of which is considered as a week. Berry says, "You can follow the book straight through or skip around to weeks that address the biggest problem areas in your life." Similarly, “One Year to an Organized Life: From Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good,” by Regina Leeds divides the year into 12 months and each month has four weeks of assignments. Although Leed assigns a topic to each month of the year and four subtopics to each month, this is just a suggested order. Leed instructs the reader to "begin with the current calendar month or a month with a project dear to your heart."

These books cover a lot of the same ground. For example, Berry spends one week on the bathrooms, but the linen closet and the medicine cabinet get their own weeks. Leed suggests April as the month for bathrooms: the first week's assignment includes journaling about negative narratives affecting your organizing that you repeat and the new thoughts with which you want to replace them, and the linen closet is included within the month. Berry assigns a week for photos, a week for memorabilia relating to young children, and a week for general memorabilia. Leed's focus for two weeks is photos and scrapbooks and a week for general memorabilia.

There are some differences to note. Berry's “Organize Now!” uses mostly checklists and bullet points whereas Leed's “One Year” employs a lot of anecdotes imbedded within it's mostly paragraph style, but with many lists still incorporated. Berry gives a large amount of background information about organizing in the introduction and then covers many of the topics that need specific help with their own weeks. Slightly differently, Leed intends to build organizational skills over the year so she incorporates journaling assignments and new habits to start each month while breaking up the general information such as time management or categorizing over the year.

Although both writers are inclusive, Berry's audience seems to be younger and more financially aspirational, while Leed's seems to be slightly older families and more financially established. Berry gives a week each to pregnancy and baby nursery tips. Her one week about travel includes a separate packing list for kids. Berry has a week of general garage tips, but it's not really aimed at a major dig-out of a large garage. Leed devotes four weeks to travel with in depth help about many types of travel situations. Leed has a complete working plan (spread over more than a week) for a two-car garage filled with so many things, but no cars.

Jennifer Ford Berry has separate weeks each for kitchen countertops, kitchen cupboards, pantry, refrigerator, and recipes, while Leed has two weeks specifically for kitchen organization. Other subjects covered more thoroughly by Berry are organizing your vehicle for safe, enjoyable use, organizing for pets, organizing entryways and mudrooms, and organizing tasks and tips for work related to yard and garden.

Regina Leed gives a detailed Thanksgiving plan making up four of her book's week of assignments. There are also four weeks of preparations for Christmas with a nod to other December holidays. It’s not that the holiday celebrations are so elaborate, but that Leed points out many of the general household things that will affect or be affected so that they can be dealt with too. Another area covered more thoroughly, Leed devotes a week to assigning and teaching chores to children and emphasizes the benefits for the child and the family, instead of mentioning just that children should have chores.

In addition to these excellent books, the Knox County Public Library has many other organizational books to consider for your next home organizing project.

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