Sunday, October 4, 2015

Idiot's Guides - Organizing Your Life & Knitting (Book Review)

Lest you find the title of this series, Idiot's Guides, offensive, publisher Mike Sanders says these books are simply meant to help us in our ongoing quest for new knowledge. And that's always a good thing. "We find really smart people who are experts in their fields and then we roll up our sleeves and get to work, asking lots of questions and thinking long and hard about how best to pass along their knowledge to you in the easiest, most accessible way possible," says Sanders. In other words, you are most definitely not an idiot. But nobody knows everything.

I have plenty to learn, so I picked out these two fun titles from the DK's Idiot's Guides boutique - Idiot's Guides: Organizing Your Life and Idiot's Guides: Knitting. I'm always looking to better organize my home and our daily functioning and I'm always hoping I'll do more (or any) knitting!

Idiot's Guides: Organizing Your Life has tons of photos (many from bloggers and designers we know and love) of gorgeous rooms with many admirable organizing solutions. Although I don't expect to have every area of our home looking so beautiful and organized, I like to pick out simple, workable ideas from the inspiring rooms pictured.

Author Cyndy Aldred, an artist, DIYer and organizer, brings us "realistic, out-in-the-open organizing opportunities" because she believes we should focus on how we naturally put things away rather than tucking everything away out of sight in tidy organizational storage pieces. I know that I personally like things to be tidy but easily accessible, because otherwise my attempts to put things back
in place quickly fail as I toss papers into heaps and allow toiletries to pile up on the bathroom counter.

So as not to get overwhelmed and then discouraged, Aldred recommends focusing on your home's biggest problem area first. When searching for an organizational solution for that area, Aldred says to search through items you already own that could be repurposed as storage solutions. Areas covered in the book include everywhere from entryway to kitchen (with specific pages on areas like the pantry and baking cupboard) to the master bedroom closet. The craft closet (above) is outstanding!

The book is designed as a workbook to help us get each area of our homes in order (starting with that big problem area of course!). Each section starts with an intro to the area in question and provides points to consider when organizing that particular space. The photos then provide inspiration and there are notes on specific elements you could include to keep all your stuff tidy and in place.
Aldred also shares several of her favourite DIY projects throughout the book, like an easy and attractive coat wall that can help organize your family's coats and bags by a back door or mud room.

Even if you don't implement any of the ideas, to be honest this book is just a lot of fun to browse through. It's like a boatload of your fave organizing blog ideas in one handy portable source.

Buy Idiot's Guides: Organizing Your Life in Canada.

Buy Idiot's Guides: Organizing Your Life in the United States.

My attempts at knitting have been ill-fated, I admit. One beautiful knit shawl project gone severely awry and I pretty much gave up. What I like about Idiot's Guides: Knitting is it hits on all the knitting basics you could need, so I can pick up my needles again knowing I have a handy reference guide to answer all of my questions. I'm sure I'll still turn to YouTube once in a while when I get confused, but it's easier in my mind to keep a book close at hand for a needed refresher on casting on, purling or increasing and decreasing.

Idiot's Guides: Knitting is written by Canadian knitwear designer and graphic artist Megan Goodacre. This expert knitter tells us everything from how to pick yarn to how to "read" your knitting (this is a skill I need to master - recognizing whether an area was knitted or purled). She tells us how to sew on buttons, knit in the round and block. Best of all, there are more than 20 stylish projects for today's hip knitter, like a cabled headband, a lace bookmark and an infinity lace scarf.

Idiot's Guides: Knitting has me dreaming of curling up by the fire with a hot cup of tea and a couple of lovely knitting projects this winter.

Buy Idiot's Guides: Knitting in Canada.

Buy Idiot's Guides: Knitting in the United States.

Check out DK's Idiot's Guides boutique to see more helpful titles.

What do you want to learn more about?

*I was provided with books for review purposes. All opinions are authentic and my own. This post contains affiliate links.


  1. We have a few 'Idiots' guides in this house, but I'll need to hunt down the knitting one!

    1. I love to look at potential knitting patterns, don't you? :)

  2. I really love the knitting one, but I also love other diy books too.

    1. I agree, it's fun to think of the possibilities.

  3. Ooo I'd love to learn more about knitting! Photography is another hobby I want to pick up!

  4. I would love to become a better baker.

  5. I'd like to learn more about organizing my life

  6. I'd love an idiot guides to canning!

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