Organization: Expanding the Definition
When I tell people I write organization articles, I usually get one of three responses. They want to know if my home looks like the photos that accompany some of my articles. They wonder how I can be so organized with five children. They point out how they don’t need to be so organized because they prefer to be spontaneous. I always give the same answers: no; some days are more challenging than others; and, you’re probably more organized than you think.
Being organized is often confused with being neat and clean. I know plenty of people with very neat and clean houses who are disorganized. I also know some organized people with messy houses. Although “neat and clean” is not synonymous with “organized” they often walk hand-in-hand. Keeping your house in order will become much easier as you conquer individual organizational challenges.
Feeling in Control
When you feel you’re not in control you may experience confusion and fear. If you have three appointments in one day, lack of organization may cause you to confuse them and wonder where you are supposed to be at what time. Lack of organization may allow short-term setbacks to disrupt your long-term goals and cause a sense of fear about what the future holds. Lack of organization may cause you to be consistently late or sloppy. People may lose trust in you, or respect for you.
Being aware of what’s expected to happen will help keep you in control of your life. If you set long-term goals, you’ll find there is more than one way to reach them. Small setbacks will be challenging, but not devastating, thanks to a little bit of organizing.
Will your toddler break some of your many knick-knacks? Will you have space in the family room for a new bumper pool table? As the mail piles up on your desk, will you find the electric bill and pay it on time? Fewer possessions equal less clutter. Less clutter equals less distraction. Less distractions equal more focus – more focus on important things, like family members.
Be disciplined in what you keep and what you get rid of. Do you really need all the back issues of your favorite magazine? Consider tearing out the articles you want to keep and placing them in a scrapbook. Take time to find a permanent home for everything in your house, and weed out the items you don’t really need. As you gain more room you’ll feel less crowded and confined, and less stressed.
As you set up your next dental appointment, you keep thinking the date seems familiar. Is it just someone’s birthday, or do you already have something planned for that day? Each time you set up an e-mail account, or register at a web site, you need to choose a password, and sometimes a user ID. Will you remember which password goes with which site?
Although it would be easier to have all your ID’s and passwords the same, this is not wise. Developing a system to track ID’s and passwords (as well as birthdays, addresses and an assortment of other paper-related items) will make it easier for your memory to function.
When you implement a filing system, an address book or a time management tool, you will not automatically become strict and rigid. Flexibility and adaptability are key components to being organized. Balance is important. Take control of your life, be wise with your material possessions, and remember to stay open to change.
Over the next few months I’ll be exploring some of the issues mentioned above, as well as various other areas of the home. I’ll offer my own ideas on how to streamline them, and I welcome yours as well. I’ll also introduce you to professional organizers and tell you about new products, books and software that are available to assist you. If you have a suggestion or tip you’d like to share, leave a comment below! If it works for you, it will probably work for someone else, too!