BOOK REVIEW: From Stressy & Messy to Organized & Optimized

“When my life is completely organized, my mind is also completely organized, and I am my best self!” -Bobby Jackson

Right in front of me is a rubric’s cube, Christmas bows, coffee cup, measuring tape, some Bandaids, and a whole lot of paper.

STACKS of paper. Some of it has my kids’ doodles on it, some is mail and there are also 3 lists.

teeth on desk
{my childrens’ teeth even ended up on my desk}

The three lists were from yesterday’s book advice.

Except yesterday my schedule and priorities abruptly changed half way through the first list when my daughters suddenly came home unannounced, so I had to switch gears and abandon that book. The girls and I finished what I had started, but we didn’t do it “by the book”, so I’ll have to review that book another day.

And by the way, you have no idea how much trash ends up at the bottom of a toy bin. Since their room is out of the way now, I want to do something for myself. I love when my desk is very organized but and hopefully these books be help me learn how to keep it that way. Yay!

Today I seem to be drawn to Bobby Jackson’s book “From Stressy & Messy to Organized & Optimized: How to Win the Never Ending Battle With Your Stuff”. So I’m going to knock out some organizing according to Bobby’s advice and tips about organizing!!! Hopefully this day will end with a great system in place to help keep my desk organized at all times!

{this is my desk at the beginning of the book…scroll to the bottom to see a picture of my desk after reading the book!}

At first, I didn’t really like Bobby Jackson because she says she has always been wired to be organized. And that right there tells me that Bobby Jackson and I have nothing in common & we cannot be friends.

She cannot possibly relate to my frazzled brain, so why should I listen to her?

Oh, I’m starting this task off on totally the wrong foot. Plus, she advises her readers to go online and take a 20 question assessment to find out what their prominent learning style is.

And I’m pretty sure I failed that test. Because I’m pretty much equally an audio/visual/tactile learner across the board, which is just so confusing.

But she does take a psychological approach to organizing, which apparently resonates with me. She uses words like meta-cognition and mindfulness. So I have kept reading.

My desk was squeaky clean a couple weeks ago…I don’t know what happened since then. But yesterday’s book told me there is a term for it other than “desk”.


Mostly it’s where paper goes to hang out. So I’m sitting here trying to figure out why my desk is a paper landing space instead of having some kind of “moving right along” system that advances it to where it ultimately needs to be.

Bobby Jackson says to develop a journal log or diary describing your experience with organization. So I figure I’ll just blurt it all out online and maybe we can learn together.

Bobby Jackson says to answer 3 questions:

  1. Why I have not been organized all along?
  2. What areas around my house do I want to focus on first?
  3. Why am I now seeking to organize?

Okay, so first things first since I’m sitting here at my desk, we’ll discuss the paper problem:

  • I’m usually in a hurry when I have paper in my hands, so I just place it in the most convenient location
  • It takes time to sort through mail, and my mail has no “official” home.
  • Kids like to draw things. And I hate throwing out their doodles.
  • Maybe I need to create a mail home and plan to go through it every 2 days? Let me see what the books say about mail and how to find a cozy home for it all. Surely they have official mail guidance.

I’m seeking to organize because I want to sit down at my desk to work and be happy, feel professional instead of just looking at everything that needs “action”.


  • Paper…we’ve already covered this, but all paper needs to keep moving towards its final destination in our house instead of landing on my desk
  • I want my children and husband to feel like they live in a magazine…a totally pinterest-worthy, ridiculously organized house. This probably involves training everyone -including myself- to place every single item back into its place. And in order to do this, every single item in our home needs to have its own home and return to its home when its not in use.
  • We need a functional laundry system so that everything keeps moving instead of getting stopped up. And I want the laundry system to also have some kind of fail proof sock matching system that makes all socks stay together instead of getting sucked into an alternate universe.
  • My closet needs help. I hate my closet. My bedroom was supposed to be my closet and the room I’m sitting in right now was supposed to be our master bedroom…but that never happened and I have accepted that. However, I haven’t gotten my closet organized in a functional way that has stuck. It’s not working for me and I really need that little tiny space to work.

And so now that the list is made, now what?

Bobby Jackson say to tackle ONE thing on the list. Obviously that’s going to be my paper problem.

She says to pour a glass of wine. Bahahahahaha! I don’t drink alcohol. See, I told you Bobby Jackson and I cannot be friends.

Chapter 7: Music and Creating a Playlist.

Finally, something Bobby Jackson and I can agree on! I have a “cleaning” playlist. Maybe there’s hope for us!

Chapter 9: Photo and Paper Overload

Paper! She mentioned paper!!!! I don’t have a problem with photos scattered around everywhere, so I am skipping to the paper portion that pertains to me. Her advice is…drumroll….

Scan papers into a pdf file and save them electronically. Print them if you need them again. That’s it. She’s offering a “go paperless” strategy as her only way to tackle paper.

But what about people like me who just printed out over 1,000 documents for business purposes? I need paper. And she’s telling me I can’t have paper. She’s not giving me a strategy for how to keep paper flowing until it reaches its final destination.

What am I supposed to do with a bunch of pdfs when I need to take them to a meeting. I’m not thrilled with this one size fits all approach to organizing. I’m not going to scan every single piece of mail that comes into my home.

Okay, obviously this chapter isn’t a good fit for me…let’s move along.

Chapter 14: A Desk You Can Be Proud Of:

Here is my chapter!!! Yes, I need a desk I can be proud of. Okay, so far she is telling me the three purposes of a desk. Check. Got it.

Okay, no office supplies are supposed to be laying around on the desk unless they’re actually in use. My office supplies stay fairly organized unless my children get something out and do not put it back.

And what a good thing, because I don’t see Bobby giving any “tips” about how to arrange office supplies. She just basically instructs not to have them on the desk. Hmmm…..

Um, Bobby, I don’t see anything helpful other than “remove all objects…” and advice saying to put everything away at the end of the night. Did I miss something?

Does Bobby have children? I don’t think Bobby has children.

Because if life was as easy as “put everything away at the end of the night”, then I wouldn’t have to read her book. I can’t believe that’s the system. Scan paper into pdf files and then put away everything at the end of the night.

“Putting away everything” isn’t simple for those of us who don’t have a natural talent for being tidy at all times. And throw in some kids…moms need REAL TIPS.

We need specific TIPS, Bobby!!

Chapter 15: Organize Away, with a Glass of Cabernet!

Forget desk organizing tips….you are really super duper in luck if you have a collection of wine!!!

Because Bobby has real details on wine organizing. She’s got techniques, tips and rules for wine. No, Bobby does NOT have kids. Or else she’d be telling me the highlighters don’t need to be mixed in with the markers because the kids will abuse the highlighters and run them dry.

It’s official…this book is not a good fit to tackle my desk organizing needs. There is no defined system other than scan paper to a pdf.

And I never figured out how to apply the results of my learning style assessment.

So if you’re looking for a strategy or specific tips or system to help get your workspace organized, this book is NOT a good one.

The day has ended with my desk still a mess. So I’m moving onto finding a different book that will help me with tackle my desk.

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