Friday, January 20, 2012

‘Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space’ by Kathryn Bechen – Book Review

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Being that it is still January, it is still the New Year (in my opinion)! And one thing we love is to try to make things better in this fresh year! Kathryn Bechen, in her first book, ‘Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space,’ helps those of us who have a small space make the most of that space!

Here is the synopsis of this helpful book:

With a few tricks up your sleeve, small can be the new big! While we may admire the spacious rooms in large homes we see in magazines or on TV, let’s face it: most of us don’t live in rambling estates. Instead, we live in homes, apartments, or condos with small rooms and even smaller closets. But you can enjoy an organized, beauty-filled life no matter what the size of your space. In this practical book, you’ll learn how to

·         perform a room-by-room audit of your space to see if it’s functioning at its best
·         make the most of existing storage space and find clever ways to add more
·         find creative ways to arrange furnishings and accessories that maximize space and bring harmony and style to the home
·         live graciously in a small space with others (especially those who aren’t organized!)

Whether you’re an empty nester who’s downsizing, a newlywed setting up your first nest, or some who just needs some creative new ideas, you’ll love these strategies, tips, and solutions to maximize space and enhance your quality of life.

Here is the biography of the author:

Kathryn Bechen is an award-winning professional lifestyle writer whose articles have appeared in popular national newsstand magazines including Small Room Decorating, Cottage Style, Cottage and Cabins, Country Almanac, Country Victorian, and in regional magazines such as San Diego Style Weddings and Nebraska Wedding Day. Her work has also been published in numerous print newspapers and online.

Quoted repeatedly in the media for her organizing and decorating expertise, Kathryn holds a BA degree in English and Education and a Certificate in Interior Decorating. The lifestyle company she founded – Organized with Ease, Kathryn Bechen Designs, and - have served clients worldwide.

Kathryn has organized and decorated thirteen personal small space residences together with her husband, Steve, during their thirty-plus years of marriage, and they currently reside in their favorite small space ever: a 1,200-square-foot high-rise apartment in beautiful San Diego, California.

To sign up for Kathryn’s free lifestyle e-newsletter and to learn more about her books, e-books, blog, and media interviews, please visit her website at You can also locate Kathryn on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We just visited San Diego in December; I agree that it is one beautiful city and they have a great zoo!! I loved seeing the koalas (one of my favorite animals) and pandas!!

Here is Kathryn introducing her book:

My husband, Fred, and I live in a two-bedroom condominium. I have to admit that I occasionally wish we live in one of the larger homes that are occupied by some of our friends! Then I think about the upkeep that is involved, and I quickly realize that condo living is my preference. We don’t have children (aside from our two adorable Cocker Spaniels, Shelby and Sammy!), so the only reason why we’d need a bigger place is to have room for more stuff. And, believe me, I don’t need an excuse to get more stuff!.....
I especially enjoyed these chapters:

·         Chapter 4: Small Space Wisdom: Special Small Living Spaces
·         Chapter 8: Bathroom Bliss: Organizing Your Small Bathroom for a Spa-Like Experience
·         Chapter 9: Home Office Heaven: How to Organize Your Office for Success
·         Chapter 16: The Great, but Small, Outdoors: Organizing Patios and Terraces

I love this section of Kathryn’s ‘Letter to My Readers:’

I hope you’ll come to think of Small Space Organizing as your lifelong “small space bible” that you can reliably refer to time and time again as you progress through the stages of your life, moving from one home to another. I encourage you to read through it all in one sitting and then go back and refer to specific chapters as you need them. And (unlike your ol’ eight-grade English teacher!) I hope you’ll write in the margins and highlight favorite tips and passages that motivate, encourage, and inspire you along your journey. Take notes on whatever ideas will help you get organized. Get out your colored markers and have fun. Whatever it takes!
So come on, let’s get started! (pp. 13-14)

In the chapter on ‘Kitchen and Dining Delights,’ Mrs. Bechen made this important point about an issue that has plagued me since I’ve lived in a condo – how to entertain in a small space:

Always remember that it’s far more important to have a kind spirit of hospitality and friendship as the emphasis of your home, rather than neglect to invite others to visit you there just because you lack large rooms or expensive furnishings. A true home is really about the size of your heart, not about the size of your space. (p. 95)

Being that I have a home-based business now, I spend more time working at home than I used to. I liked this tip about our home office:

Now that you’ve set up your small home office space in a productive and comfortable way, once again it’s time to treat yourself! Art is a nice way to do so and will further personalize your space. Maybe you’d like to have family pictures on your office walls. You could have your crowning achievements framed and on display. Or perhaps a photo from your favorite family vacation to Fiji enlarged to poster size is more your style. Again, choose something for your walls that will be oh-so-you. (p. 123)

Kathryn closed out her book this way:

My sincere wish for you, my friend, is that you will embrace the fullness of your small space lifestyle, with all the blessings and freedoms it offers. And remember what William Morris once said: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” (p. 218)

If you want to get more organized, I would highly recommend that you pick up this book! Kathryn writes in an engaging and ‘homey’ way; I would love to meet her some day! Another suggestion to get organized is to take a peek at the products I sell as a Consultant with Thirty-One Gifts; we have some wonderful organizing totes, etc….! I am definitely more organized since I signed up in mid 2011!

You can order this book here.

Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This book was provided by Revell for review purposes. 


Kathryn said...

Thanks for reviewing my book and i hope it helps your blog readers!

Andrea Schultz said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kathryn! You're very welcome! My very organized husband, Fred, who is a quality manager at work, is grateful for a book like that for a slightly sloppy and disorganized person like me....!

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