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If You Were Organized You’d Already Know January is Nat’l Organization Month!

January 6, 2011

bookshelf organized by color via Flickr

Who knew? I certainly didn’t. And here I thought I was so organized! But it’s true. According to an organization dedicated to professional organizers January is in fact the month to get organized! Naturally, with folks making or not making New Year’s resolutions, there’s bound to be some interest with getting organized! One of the things that fascinates me about the concept of “getting organized” is there is rarely much talk of what happens once all this getting organized occurs. Sure there is promise that life will be magical and bedazzling once all the papers are recycled and the books are neatly housed in tidy stacks in bookcases, but is that what happens? In my experience, I would say no. That’s not what happens. What happens is being “organized” in the neatly arranged, identical labeled boxes sort of way tends to be kind of anticlimactic at best or at worst you end up like reminding people of that creepy husband in Sleeping with the Enemy. And we can all agree being well organized didn’t make him a better human being. Besides “being organized” can just be another means of avoiding doing something else, usually something far more pressing.

On the subject of professional organizers I wrote as following:

Organization shows ask occupants to conceptualize the kind of person they’d like to be, rather than the person they are. This aspirational framing makes for dramatic reveals, featuring an array of attractive furnishing, storage and organization solutions, but how do those people actually live in those new spaces? Naturally, I advocate a different approach. Some people don’t find super clean homes inviting. Some people enjoy a bit of clutter. Some people love to clean; other people hate it. Universalizing the idea of “home” as a place that must be orderly and uber clean as though it’s the only way a person thrives in their living environment is pretty fatuous. I enjoy cleaning, but I don’t impose my standards on other people, nor do I think my level of home interaction is realistic for folks. Homes and decor needs to serve the people who live there currently and not the people they aspire to be. If your space becomes overwhelming, the last thing needed is some outsider’s intrusion into your life. For one thing, they aren’t YOU. In addition, they don’t LIVE there.

And once again some advice that has served me well on the subject of organization:

If you’re about to embark on a new decorating/organization project, in the middle of one, or feeling underwhelmed by a completed project – stop. Grab a pen and pad and start writing about the things in your space that frustrate you and things you feel obligated to change, but are unnecessary based on your existing lifestyle needs. Like a lot of things in life, sometimes it’s helpful to let go of the tail-chasing aspirations and obligations and embrace the realistic desires, whose simplicity and sexiness just might surprise you.

Another thought to consider: What’s the point of doing all this hardcore organizing – if it’s not your thing – when in just three months we’ll be asked to undo our hard work when it’s time for Spring Cleaning!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lani permalink
    January 10, 2011 12:05 pm

    My knee-jerk reaction to that bookcase in the photo at the top is OMG GORGEOUS! I love the way that book rainbow looks, it’s beautiful.

    …But, in applying the kind of thought process you describe, I know that I could never have my books like that. My brain wouldn’t be able to work with that kind of organization–I alphabetize my books by author in clumps by subject. I’m not as Dewey-Decimal precise as a library, but that’s basically how my mind works. If I ordered my books by color like the photo, I’d never be able to find anything and I would hate it. So I think I’ll admire that beautiful color scheme from afar.

  2. January 10, 2011 5:19 pm

    …But, in applying the kind of thought process you describe, I know that I could never have my books like that. My brain wouldn’t be able to work with that kind of organization–I alphabetize my books by author in clumps by subject

    @Lani – Ha. I am with you. I used to have my books arranged by color and while it was definitely eye catching it did tend to render the books unreadable. While I could find any book I wanted there was always a problem of the arrangement looking unbalanced if every book wasn’t exactly in its place. I like your idea of arranging by subject and author. That would be a system I’d be most likely to use if I didn’t hide my books in baskets. Ha, I arrange them by size in wicker baskets and for now that kind of does the job.

  3. Hsofia permalink
    January 10, 2011 5:40 pm

    One of the contradictory things about a lot of designing shows is they “decorate” with random stuff that seems like just more clutter to me. I am perpetually messy – Ray Bradbury’s desk on RB Theater was all sorts of awesome sauce for me. But I do need things to be picked up and I hate not knowing where things are.

    My problem is incoming papers, and I need to have everything out and open. Hence, my love of bulletin boards and bookshelves. If an organizer came in telling me to put things in lots of drawers and paper boxes I’d be worse off, not better. For me the solution is to declutter with great frequency.

    That bookshelf looks fabulous but I’d never find anything! I organize my books first by hard-cover vs softcover, then by subject and association. The other day Hubster was looking for our book on what makes marriages last and I knew exactly where it was because it made sense (to me) where it was – if was on the shelf with other books related to things we do together. An organizer could help me declutter but I’d hate it if they stored all my stuff for me.

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