Let’s face it, there are far too many decorating how-to books that blithely advise you to knock out a wall, install a skylight, re-upholster every scrap of soft furniture in pale oyster raw silk, oh, and re-wire the whole place to get the mood lighting just so.

Which is why I fell all over Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan’s refreshingly practical Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure when it came out last spring.

From not enough space and too many things to not knowing what color to paint the living room walls, many of us struggle with our homes. Now Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, frequent makeover expert on HGTV’s Mission: Organization and Small Spaces, Big Style, shares the do-it-yourself strategies that have enabled his clients and fans to transform their apartments into well-organized, beautiful places that suit their style and budget.

I read it cover to cover as soon as it arrived in the mail, then had a fabulous soul-restoring weekend of chucking out my excess crap and dragging furniture around.

And the result was an improvement in the place, to be sure. See, organization is not my strong point. I somehow inherited my parents’ packrat tendencies, plus I’ve got the attention span of a sighthound or a 10-year-old with ADHD. Not a good combination!

Gillingham-Ryan showed me the error of my ways and led me laughing toward the light. Not that the book was chock-a-block with earth-movingly novel ideas, but that it made it all seem so, so, so do-able! It’s all about loosing the burden of clutter and stepping up the style, working basically with what you already own. No big strain on the bank account.

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But here’s the poignant irony:

You know how some people collect penguin figurines and NASCAR memorabilia, some people are addicted to magazine subscriptions, and others never seem to get past a dorm-deco style that relies on the ad hoc distribution of semi-soiled laundry?

My own addiction is books — books, books, and more books!

And right on the heels of that fabulous therapeutic Home Cure weekend, I received a whole avalanche of review copies from two of my all-time favorite DIY book publishers.

Somehow, Apartment Therapy subsided to the bottom of the great stack on my office floor as I plunged into a lush new gardening encyclopedia. (Bear in mind, this was in the springtime!)

So much for good intentions.

But now the weather is colder, the days are shorter, the garden has gone into hiberation, and the holiday entertaining madness will very soon be upon us. Time to turn attention back to the state of the home. So, my thanks to decor8 for the timely reminder to root around in the book pile and start over.

The latest round of the Home Cure has already hit Week 7 so I’m a little behind the chance to profit from AT’s virtual support group, but better late than never… right?

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