About The 21 Essays

The 21 Essays that are presented here are grounded in real-life experience. I began using the Sidetracked Home Executives card file method in 1981, and it helped me manage home, career, children and marriage. Every tip and pointer I'll share is one that was earned the hard way: by living it.

But the Essays themselves are a product of the Internet--and they go way, way back. Between 1991 and 1995, I shared my experiences with Pam Young and Peggy Jones' Sidetracked Home Executives™ card file system with a group of online friends.

It was a heady time! Back then, there was no Web; we met online at different online services. We had text-based access, not friendly graphics. More important, we women were less than 10% of the online population.

But somehow, we found each other--and found a common interest in what we called "Get O". Short for "get organized, Get O was something we all needed--we were busy, time-pressed multi-tasking women, wives, mothers, workers and artists. Whatever our home circumstances, we all treasured the connections we made in this new and exciting online world.

The essays that follow were written as part of an informal online column about the S.H.E.™ system. Written under my online name, "CEO" (short for Cynthia Ewer, Organized), my "S.H.E.s Online" column moved from Prodigy to GEnie to Delphi over the years, but was always eagerly anticipated by our group of Get O friends.

By 1995, the World Wide Web had begun to be available to more and more families. I signed on as Home Organization Editor with an early woman's portal on the Web--but what to do with all the Essays? Many online friends had heard of them, and I wanted to share.

That's how "21 Days to S.H.E." was born. For the next five years, I sent a carefully selected number of columns, chosen to help readers learn to use the S.H.E.™ method, in a 21-day mail loop. Over the years, the list included more than 250,000 e-mail addresses--all friends who wanted to use this method to get organized at home.

With founding of my own Web site in 1998--OrganizedHome.Com--I began to phase out e-mail delivery of 21 Days to S.H.E. In 2000, I opened this site on the Web as home to the 21 Essays. Numerous mailing lists and Yahoo! groups used these resources to help their members learn the system and get organized.

Now, in 2008, I'm the hard-working owner of a thriving site network offering web sites devoted to organized scrapbooking, Christmas organizing, and getting organized at home--but my little S.H.E.™ site has continued to quietly offer the Essays written so many years before.

Rereading them today, I was taken back to an earlier self. That younger woman was a new bride of a young doctor, a home schooling mother, a civic volunteer--and only Pam Young and Peggy Jones' teachings kept her upright, on time and organized at home.

Today's CEO? Because of the success of OrganizedHome.Com, my life is very different. I'm a print author (Houseworks: Cut The Clutter, Speed Your Cleaning and Calm The Chaos), webmaster and media expert--but only the strong foundation forged by my years as a S.H.E. enabled me to grow into the life I lead today.

That's why I'm proud to share these Essays with you and your family today. This method worked for me; are you ready to get organized and find a new life?

The Essays that follow were designed to be read, one a day, for 21 days. In that time, readers would be introduced to the S.H.E.™ system, set up their first cardfile, and begin taking baby steps toward an organized, clutter-free life.

Ready? It's never too late to get organized at home!

--Cynthia Townley Ewer