Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Organizing Mistakes (Part Three: Once and Done Mentality)

This post continues a series on mindsets and marketing ploys that sabotage attempts at real organization. Missed the first or second post?

If you’ve glanced through magazines, read articles, or even paged through books on the subject, it seems that most people find “getting organized” to be a project: buy the bins, throw out/donate a bunch of things, then arrange them in a cute way, and voila! You’re done.

I heartily disagree.

Home or office organization is an ongoing task. It’s not only about achieving an uncluttered, rational filing system for your belongings and paperwork. Organization truly lies in a system that can be perpetuated with minimal effort. 

(Is this too much common sense for ya?) 

Let’s use cleaning floors as a parallel. Perhaps you move into a new home where the floors were sorely neglected. It’s a project to either replace the floor covering or get the grime off, but it’s possible. Your end result is a clean floor. Great. 

But, steps are needed to continue to keep the floor clean. It won’t magically repel dirt going forward. You must take steps to prevent it becoming soiled (say, taking off shoes at the door) and regularly sweeping or mopping. You might find that in the winter, you need to put out an extra rug to catch gravel. In the summer, you may have to put a mat outside to keep grass clippings at bay.

Similarly, with organizing, you will probably have to adapt and flex your system as you find new needs or challenges that need to be addressed. 

The good news is that by maintaining your system, you’ll never have to make organizing a project again. And just like cleaning, if things fall a little behind, it won’t be that hard to catch up. We all get sick, have intensely busy times, and get off routine for a variety of reasons, so it’s more important to maintain a reasonable level of organization than ditch the idea because you haven’t achieved organizational nirvana.

And this is one of the times that I’ve fallen behind. In fact, I’m writing this post instead of picking up my living room, which looks like this:

And my kitchen counter, which looks like this:


In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and to continue my goal of making my home an enjoyable place to be, you better believe I’m going to be caught up before tomorrow evening. 

How have you been viewing organization? As a project or ongoing task?

Additional Resources: Cleaning Chart, Nightly Routine

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