The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Clutter Rehab: A Book Report by Iris Beard

So my very own copy of Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It! by Laura Wittmann arrived in the mail yesterday and I curled up on my couch and read that cute little book cover to cover!

And man oh man have I been doing it all wrong for 41 years.

On the VERY FIRST PAGE, in the very VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH, Laura says:

Let me start right off by admitting my little secret: I’m an organization addict. Yes, it’s true! But this doesn’t mean I have all my soup cans lined up in pretty little rows with their labels facing out, my spices alphabetized, or perfectly color-coordinated bins and baskets. My sheets aren’t folded and stacked pristinely, and I don’t make my kids sort their Legos by color!


Uh… I totally just spent a week of my life sorting Legos and then spent over $100 on a Swedish-engineered storage masterpiece. Seriously. The handle on my 3 year old pleather Target purse is broken and shedding little vinyl dingleberries everywhere I go, but I spent $100 on a fancy toy box? What is wrong with me?

What would Laura have done?

Oh, here it is, Tip #15: Organizing doesn’t have to be expensive–make do.

Damn it.

Wanna know what else I’m doing wrong?


What I used to think were oh-so-clever labeled and color coded laundry sorting bins.

Yes, Laura says “Stop sorting your laundry” (tip # 86). She just puts a basket in each of her three kids’ closets and when the basket is full, the whole load goes right in the washer. Brilliant!!! She does have a few other laundry tips on that page to keep the colors from running, but I don’t want to give the milk away for free, if you know what I mean. You’ll just have to get her book if you really want to know (and you do, believe me!). But truly, she said this tip was LIFE CHANGING for her. And can you imagine how much easier it would be to put clothes away, or even have the kids do it, if the whole basket was filled with just one kid’s stuff? I’m going to rip those fancy shmancy labels right off and stick one hamper in each kid’s closet… pronto. And you know what else… I’m going to take it to the next level and teach my 11 year old Nature Boy to just do his own damn laundry. Of course I’ll have to clean out the laundry room first since I’m the only one in this house who knows where the detergent is and the difference between a Tide To Go Stick and a Clorox Bleach Pen. Stupid men. But anyway… I’ll just add it to my list… as soon as I find it. Not kidding.

There is ONE thing I’ve been doing right that I think might make my organizing guru proud… Tip # 78: Designate a charging station. I created this little custom space saving charging station all by myself a few weeks ago. Laura is all about re-purposing items for creative storage solutions and utilizing valuable “real estate” efficiently. I think this one is a winner! How about you?

My custom cat litter box and charging station. Super!


Okay seriously. Get this book. Totally worth it. I pretty much own every organizing book ever written, and this one, by far, is the most practical and user friendly one in my collection. I’ve tried Feng Shui, I’ve tried Fly Lady, I’ve tried Peter Walsh, I’ve even tried books written especially for people with A.D.D. I’m also a subscriber to the Organizer Lady daily Yahoo group newsletter. None of them compare to Clutter Rehab or Laura’s blog, I’m an Organizing Junkie, in my humble opinion.

Well… get to it. Your house is not going to organize itself, you know.

with love and optimism,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

16 comments on “Clutter Rehab: A Book Report by Iris Beard

  1. MamaCloud
    February 11, 2011

    Was just thinking the same about separating the boys laundry…because Pip’s fills up at about double the speed of Scout’s anyways…and you just let me know how that Nature Boy does with the laundry duty…Think I might make that a new inherited responsibility for my soon to be middle schooler!!! Thanks for the review…Just out of curiosity does she tell you how to organize your overflowing “organizing books” collection!!! Please do let us know if there are any life changing habits you discover in the weeks to come…

  2. merrilymarylee
    February 11, 2011

    Oh for goodness sakes, no secret. . . just buy those boxes of Color Guard, or whatever those little sheets are that you throw in the washer when you’re mixing colors. They’re little miracle workers. I wouldn’t try it with a white lace tablecloth and a new raspberry towel, but generally, it works like a charm. It’s been a long time since Husband had pink underwear.

  3. Tamarah
    February 11, 2011

    You are too funny. Love reading your posts. I’ve been washing my kids clothes without sorting first for years now and I’ve never had a problem with colors running together. The t-shirts and socks don’t stay stark white, but that doesn’t bother me. I do separate mine and the hubs clothes.

  4. Lisa
    February 12, 2011

    I don’t sort my colours either. I just add a little vinegar and it does the trick. Great post!!

  5. Hagatha
    February 12, 2011

    Should we go to the Coach outlet? Brilliant idea to separate the clothes by kids – and have the older ones do it! Wish I had thought of that years ago. Another side benefit is that they will undoubtedly (hopefully) be forced by accident to learn to turn the socks right side out before washing in order to avoid that drudge when folding and putting away! Do you have any idea how may socks I’ve turned rightside out in a lifetime??

    • The Bearded Iris
      February 12, 2011

      Ha! Probably not nearly as many Legos as you’ve picked up in your lifetime!

      You know me… a really good purse is so out of my comfort zone. The day after I bought this pleather Target one, I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant and the waitress dropped an entire bowl of Hot and Sour soup onto it. I was SO glad it was just a $30 purse and not a $300 one. Plus I got a free meal. So there’s that. But if you ever want to give me one of your hand-me-downs, I won’t say no. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Colleen P.
    February 12, 2011

    Last year, when the pre-nager (who is now an “OFFICIAL” teen), one morning demanded “MOM! LAUNDRY!” I told him that this was as special day in a young mans life, the day that he learns to do his own laundry!

    Believe me, it was a life changing experience! I have helped him out a couple of times but for the most part, it’s all on him, and it’s GLORIOUS!!! Wish I’d done it when he was 8! LOL!

    Best part of all-he has discovered that washing socks with towels makes for the Cleanest Socks in the Known Universe. Try it, it’s true! He washes his blue towels with his white socks and his socks are pristine.

    • The Bearded Iris
      February 12, 2011

      That is a great tip, Colleen! I wonder why that is? Maybe because the towels are so rough? I am definitely going to try that. Thanks!

  7. allysgrandma
    February 12, 2011

    Stupid men, ouch! Maybe you could label one whites only or something.

  8. xena b.
    February 13, 2011

    Can i just say that I look forward to reading/LOL your posts? You are one funny chica!

    • The Bearded Iris
      February 13, 2011

      Why, thank you! Glad to have you here!

  9. heytheredearheart
    February 15, 2011

    Darn. I wish I could hide forever behind all the “organization” clutter I purchased that’s just stacked and ready for use in the basement. It’s the “go to it” part that always slows my pace. (:

  10. MonicaB
    February 16, 2011

    I almost fell off my chair when you said not to sort laundry. Isn’t that a cardinal sin? I don’t know if I could do laundry without sorting it. We have a three part hamper in each bathroom so that the clothes are sorted. But I do like the idea of the ease of putting clothes away when they belong to just one person. I really need to get that book to see what her tips are on washing different colors.

    Great post!

    • The Bearded Iris
      February 16, 2011

      The book is great! Can’t recommend it enough. I’ve been not sorting for a week now and it is working! Give it a shot! Thanks for stopping by again, Monica.

  11. Pingback: Laundry Room Highs and Lows | The Bearded Iris

  12. Laura
    March 19, 2011

    LOL…you totally crack me up girl! I don’t know how I missed this but I just wanted to say thank you so much for your kind words. You made my day!

    PS: Love the charging system 🙂

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