Organization is a hot topic these days. There are so many experts out there and every one has their own organizing system. There is no shortage of methods and every method is just right and so simple. But you’ve tried them all and all you have left to show for it is more mess and less money. So how do you figure out which system will work for you?
Is there really a right way and a wrong way to get organized? I grew up in an organized home. My parents had a place for everything—and everything pretty much was always in its place. My father was an engineer; he was also a DIY guy. His workbench was precisely organized. He always knew right where to find everything. That also meant I always knew right where to find everything.
I am pretty sure that I got my love of containers from my mother. She had a container for everything. I reconnected with an old friend not too long on Facebook. One of the first things he told me was that he remembered how my mother had little bins—with labels on them—for all the crackers in the cupboard (it’s true). She was very organized—and she still is. A cross-country move after her retirement involved many color-coded and numbered boxes with corresponding inventory lists. My move at about the same time did involve neatly labeled boxes. No inventory lists, though. My excuse was that I still had three kids at home and a small zoo to organize. I thought I was doing well with the color-coded and labeled boxes.
When I got married and moved into a home of my own, I wanted it to be organized. My husband came from a different organizing philosophy, though, and it caused some degree on conflict in the beginning as we each had our own idea of what it meant to get organized.
And as we worked things out, we learned an important lesson:
Being organized can mean different things to different people.
So, in order to get organized and stay organized, here is what you need to do first:
You need to figure out what organized means to YOU.
It’s that simple. Or not. This isn’t about what the organizing expert of the week says is the sure fire method to control the clutter and liven up the laundry room. This is about learning what organized feels like and looks like to you.
Before you head off to store for your latest round of organizing supplies, take a time out and figure out why you want to get organized, what organized looks like and what an organized life feels like. Write it out if you need to. Visualize what it feels like to move through your organized home. What does it look like? How does your home feel? What is different (better) as a result of being organized? How is being organized improving your life?
Once you’ve answered these questions, then you can move forward with organization. Without these questions, you’re just going to drop another wad on bins, boxes and containers that will eventually become more clutter and frustration caused by a system that doesn’t work.
So, set all the organizing manuals aside, ditch the guilt because you haven’t been able to make it work. You are not an organizing failure. You will never be successful at living someone else’s life; you need to live your own. And part of living your own is to get organized in a way that works with who you are and how you live.
Now go figure out what organized looks like for you.