Little Stories About My Mom the Most Organized Person in the World
In Happily Organized, I introduce you to my mother, Marian Julia Lovallo Arbusto. She is quirky, funny, and incredibly organized. I’ll tell you little stories about her everyday organizing ways. My goal is for you to learn how to get organized through storytelling. There are lots of step-by- step, how-to organizing books to choose from. While they are certainly valuable, this book of genuine, personal stories offers another avenue to learn about organizing, a way that is more natural and easy to read. I’d love for you to join me as I relive sweet memories of being raised by the most organized person in the world.
Susan Lovallo, Professional Organizer
Read a Sample From the Book
• Parents and two kids move from the third floor to the two-bedroom, second-floor apartment;
• Aunt, husband, and baby move from the basement apartment to the larger one-bedroom, third-floor apartment;
• Great-grandmother Mamadon moves into the basement apartment.
My Nana’s apartment was the prettiest. She changed all her curtains and bedspreads at the beginning of every season. She loved knickknacks and decorations and placed them on bookshelves, end tables, on a tray on top of the washing machine, on the radiator covers and the console TV. The furniture was color-coordinated with the carpeting. She had handmade, solid-wood end and coffee tables that Granddad had carved from tree trunks in his workshop in the basement.
Every wall had an interesting picture to look at and savor. I loved her home the best because it was bright, sunny, and beautiful every day. But if you opened a closet door, something was likely to fall on your head. If you dared to open a drawer, you had to push the contents down with one hand while inching it shut with the other to get it closed. My Nana loved stuff, and she had lots of it. If it was not visible, meaning it was in a closet, pantry, drawer, or cabinet, she did not give it much attention. She liked to spend time on what she could see.
Our apartment was very plain. With three small children, my mother did not put out knickknacks or a lot of decorations. We had all the necessities but not many extras. But everything, inside and out, was organized, down to the extra shoelaces. Not one item in our apartment—two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, one bath, and one pantry—escaped her organizing eye. Things were rarely lost or out of place. She would not allow it.
On the other hand, my aunt on the third floor seemingly didn’t spend much time organizing. With three small boys, her apartment was filled with metal toy trucks, plastic army men, Legos, games, and puzzles with missing pieces. Clothes (clean, dirty, and everything in between) could also be found on the floor in every room of the small, one-bedroom apartment. I liked to go upstairs to play with my cousins because we did not have to put our toys away when we were finished playing.
My great-grandmother’s small, one-bedroom apartment in the basement reminded me of a shrine. Nothing ever changed down there. It was a bit dark and a little cool. The furniture, curtains, bedspread, doilies on the arms of the couch, and knickknacks were placed where she wanted them when she first moved in, and that was where they stayed. Hers was the only quiet apartment in the house. With six kids and seven adults living in the big, pink, Bazooka Bubble Gum house, we were like a little village. The rest of the house had plenty of action on any given day, but Mamadon’s apartment was like a sanctuary.
Growing up this way, with four women and four different apartments to spend time in each day, gave me the wonderful experience of witnessing how four different women ran their households. There were elements of each home that I loved: Nana’s was beautiful, Mom’s orderly, my aunt’s relaxed, and Mamadon’s calming. And how did my own home turn out? It is organized like my mother’s and pretty like my Nana’s. Notice I said organized like my mother’s and not as organized as my mother’s, because really, that would be nearly impossible. She was the most organized person in the world.
Testimonials and Reviews
A quick and delightful read that brings back memories of a simpler time, this book will touch your heart. And if you’ve ever wished for a more organized life, it will make you believe that it’s still possible even if you weren’t born with the organizing gene.
Donna Smallin Kuper, author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness. www.unclutter.com
Through heart-warming true stories, Susan Lovallo’s life as a child with Marian Lovallo Arbusto, the “most organized person” in the world, shows us hidden gems of practical life skills. Set in the 1950s, it is a modern tale for our times, reminding us how much our society has changed, and how our household belongings have accumulated. That alone may inspire you to hit pause and de-clutter.
But Happy Organized is an utterly charming trip down memory lane as well. In this delightful memoir that takes us back to a simpler time, Marian gifts all of us with her inspirational wisdom: More memories. Less stuff. Less stress.
From the Forward by Lisa Lelas, Lifestyle Coach, speaker and bestselling author
This touching and beautiful collection of stories about a natural organizer stresses that organizing is a learned skill. There is hope for us all in the pages of this book!
Janet Nazzaro, Client
Happily Organized shows us how routines are transformed into rituals and that organization/neatness leads to simplicity in life. Marian reminds us to take pride in our work, whether it be outside or inside the home. I love her monthly to do lists!
Susan M. Corvo, Susan Corvo Redesign, LLC, Professional Home Redesign and Staging, www.susancorvo.com
What a new and refreshing way of approaching the topic of organizing! When I first met you, you taught me the concept of de-cluttering, filling me with enthusiasm. My passion for that endeavor is now renewed by reading Happily Organized—no “shoulds” or “nevers” –just a warm and gentle narrative that is a treasure to read and own.
Marty Gilbert, Client and Writer
Happily Organized is an engaging, sentimental journey filled with wonderful anecdotes about how one person’s daily habits can influence others, and leave a lasting and positive impression on the benefit of living a more organized life.
While there are numerous tips for organization offered in this book, the true value comes from appreciating the people who touch our hearts along life’s journey.
Rennie Solomito, Realtor, www.rennie1realtor.com