The Art of Creating Order – a Book Review

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Do you associate organizing your space with a tedious, never-ending to-do?
Do words like declutter and minimize come to mind?
Do those words make you sigh?

It’s all right to admit it, dear one, go ahead, be honest. Allow yourself – maybe for the first time? – to realize that you not just adore your collections, your memories and little and big treasures but that you need them around you.
They connect you to your values, to your pleasures and passions.
They ground you.
They bring a smile and fond memories.
They spark your creativity and fuel your muse.
They make you come alive.
At least, that was and is my experience and I am so glad I discovered this about myself.

For years I thought being organized meant having an absolute minimum of stuff, the bear necessities if you will. So I forced myself to declutter, to let go, to separate myself from my memories, the things I had so lovingly collected, unearthed at a flea market or bought back from a vacation.

Because those things were often stored away in a box or hidden in a cupboard or drawer, I fell prey to the belief that I had outgrown them, that it was time to let them go. After all that’s what all the declutter experts advice you to do, right? And sometimes that did prove true.

But oftentimes it didn’t feel good! Yes, decluttering did NOT lighten the load, it did not bring in ease and lightness. It brought regret and remorse. I still miss some of the things I let go off up to this day. So I redefined clutter for myself.

For me decluttering is no longer about minimizing and ridding myself of as much stuff as possible, in an effort to prove to myself that I can be without all the material stuff. 

Decluttering is about creating space for the things that matter, giving them the space they require to fulfill their purpose.

I’ve come to realize that we need to differentiate between stuff we have accumulated that does not enhance our lives and brings our personality to sparkle and the things we truly love.

Can you imagine my joy and delight when I came across the book I am going to talk about in a second? I had to have it, and I couldn’t wait for it to arrive in the mail.
This book is food for my soul, a delight for my eyes. It puts a smile in my heart and makes me eager to pull my treasures out into the light.

This book is a visual invitation. Just looking at the cover delights my muse and inner child.

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Remember those times when as a little girl you would love to rummage through your mothers or nanas drawers and boxes filled with colorful threads, ribbons and buttons of all shapes and sizes? My mother has always been a collector, and she never threw anything out. It might come in handy one of these day was her mantra. So her sewing room was bursting at the seams with old dressers and shelves filled with all kinds of treasures. Well, this book cover reminds that little girl of those treasure hunts and gets her all excited to turn the page and discover the mysteries within.

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It is a beautifully designed book with a layout that allows for vibrant image collages and text blocks set off in a typewriter style and easy to read sleek font.

I love the vintage look and feel of the matte paper, and I just adore taking a sniff of paper every once in a while. Yes, it smells that good.

It’s a hardcover book, with a linen spine and just picking it up provides a delightful haptic experience with the different layers and the stenciled high raised print.
It contains wise words and statements such as:

“The Room: size is the least important consideration in regards to your creative space. You can create whatever you can imagine regardless of where you are.”

“Nothing should ever be ordinary!”

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Showing retail display tricks like stacking multiple coffee tables to create fabulous shelves. Talking about shelves, they are a big topic in this book. So, if you have been frustrated about your boring shelving situation you will be on fire after discovering the many ideas featured. No more excuses for boring storage areas!

Featured creative, Sania Pell states. “I have a rule that I apply throughout my home and workspace: if I think something is beautiful and practical it can stay out on display. If it is not, then I relegate it to a storage box, drawer or cupboard so it’s out of sight. Surrounding myself with interesting items is inspiring and reminds me of the materials and tools I have to work with. ….. I keep these on display in front of my work desk; they give me joy to look at and are used on a daily basis”

I could not agree more! What’s the use of having little or big treasures locked away?

Weren’t they made to be visible in the first place? Aren’t they supposed to spread joy and inspiration?

Well, how can we get infused by the pleasure bug if we can’t feast our eyes on our treasures?

And what on earth are we saving them for? This is such a dusty, outdated (bad) habit we often still unconsciously practice. Or is it just me? Well, you now officially have permission to use your best and most precious stuff in your everyday. The purpose of a product lies in its use. How sad, if lovely things never get a chance to call forth a smile and make us feel good for owning it.

“For me, something is not worth having if it cannot be seen, touched and admired”. Exactly!

For Leigh Standley it’s all about arranging the chaos. “I like a bit of organized mess, and I like to be able to see everything. So, for me it is about open shelving, small containers, glass front cabinets, bins, boxes and jars. I can still see what I have, it just doesn’t overwhelm me when I walk in the room. Everything has a beautiful little place.”

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The images in this book are gorgeous and a huge inspiration for my own space. I love the moody look with the muted colors. It’s a real pleasure to gain glimpses into the working spaces of 50 plus creatives and read about their values and whys for setting up their workspaces in the way they do.

The author Jo Packham – publisher of Somerset Studio – has sprinkled many great tips throughout the book which is structured into 7 main chapters with names like “The Cabinet”, “The Room” and “The Shelf”.

The mission of this wonderful book is stated on the back cover:

“Being ORGANIZED. What does it mean, really? To each of us, it’s a very personal system that allows us to find what we need when we need it in our most creative of spaces. But after working with the women and men featured on the pages of this book, what I now understand is that no matter how very differently each of us organize, the number one priority is that it must be within our aesthetic sense of what is inspiring. Our space filled with supplies, tools, our own handmade pieces of art, and our collections must all be arranged not only for the ease of work and discovery, but for those moments of quiet or self-doubt when we retreat to our spaces to do whatever it is that we love to do most. For some, it is jewelry making, or painting, or knitting, or mosaics, or even writing, but it is always about color, and perfect placement and the beauty of those items that inspire us most.”

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Jo Packham, thank you for putting together a beautiful resource of inspiration, something I will come back to again and again.

Are you ready for your own copy?

Well, you can find it here: (and yes, I will get a small commission if you order through the provided links, so thank you, Dear.)

Amazon.com / Amazon.co.ukAmazon.de

This book review is NOT a sponsored post. I bought this book myself, and would do so again, and all opinions are my own.

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