Not everyone loves organizing. We’re not all planners or neat freaks. (Selfishly, I am sort of glad about that or I wouldn’t work as much). Every household encounters some obstacles to organization. But getting organized is an investment of time and energy that pays off in every facet of life, which is why it is so worth it.
Not everyone loves organizing. We’re not all planners or neat freaks. Selfishly, as a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, I am sort of glad about that, or I wouldn’t work as much.
Every household encounters some obstacles to organization. But getting organized is an investment of time and energy that pays off in every facet of life, which is why it is so worth it.
No one really likes to perform routine tasks. But when we postpone today’s tasks until tomorrow, it creates double the work. But most of us wait until the work, such as laundry, piles up. So very often, disorganization is the result of procrastination, or putting things off until a later date.
Procrastination is really just a matter of postponing decisions. For example, when you come across paperwork you aren’t sure what to do with, it lands on your desk or on the counter. Then, when you need to clear off space on your desk or the counter, you move it. And it becomes an ongoing shifting with nothing being dealt with.
Have you ever gone from one room to another, doing a little bit in a lot of rooms instead of a lot in one room? It’s the “butterfly effect,” flitting about and doing too many things but finishing nothing.
Some clients say they don’t have time to get organized when, in reality, they just didn’t make it a priority. Is the priority having a clean, organized home, or having a lot of stuff? Being organized actually allows things to run more smoothly, and you to do less work on an ongoing, long-term basis.
“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.” -- A.A. Milne (1882-1956), English author
Some say it takes doing something 21 times before it becomes a habit. If you’re used to clutter, then it may be harder to get organized. So, start with baby steps to retrain yourself and others to make organization a habit instead of an idea to strive for … someday.
Being in a household with different personality types (neat freaks, slobs, etc.) makes it harder but not impossible to maintain order. Everyone’s got something they’d like to get organized, so capitalize on everyone’s individual strengths. To be organized means being that way no matter what, no matter who lives in your house –– even young children.
Lastly, there are some common mistakes people make that lead to disorganization and clutter.
Putting something somewhere temporarily or not having a place for things leads to clutter. Solve this by making a place for everything and storing similar items in one place.
Another problem is letting things spread and multiply. When items have no boundaries, they have a tendency to wander. Divide up big spaces; put loose items in small containers or sectioned organizers; and make groupings obvious.
Piling papers on surfaces can cause disorganization. Try vertical sorters and files. Have a system for incoming paper/mail and for filing. Keep information on your computer. Use online banking and avoid clutter magnets like bulletin boards. And be sure to sort, purge and measure before you shop for organizing products.
Keeping all this in mind can help you reap the benefits of an organized life.
Patty McPherson is the owner of Orderly Manor in Plymouth, Mass., a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, a member of the Mid-Cape Task Force on Hoarding, and a consultant for the Clever Container Co. She can be reached at 774-269-6519, patty@OrderlyManor.com and www.orderlymanor.com.