I often find that the winter season allows me to think more clearly as I spend a greater deal of time cozy and indoors. Throughout this winter, I’ve begun to think a lot about how being organized means different things to different people. And your definition of your organization needs also ebbs and flows throughout your life as your values and lifestyle changes. One constant for many people when talking about getting their surroundings or life organized is that it sometimes may be confusing, overwhelming and even seem to be an insurmountable task. And in the same vein, people sometimes over romanticize organization and think getting organized will solve every problem in their life. Today I’d like to demystify organization by discussing some organization myths paired with an improved approach to each of these beliefs.
Myth: Organizing needs to be a one time, all-encompassing sweep of your home
Improved Approach: Try tackling a few small projects and give yourself a time limit of 1-2 hours to complete each. Try not to get discouraged even if the small projects seem overwhelming at first. If you allow yourself to sit with the emotions that may bubble up, you’ll see they’ll just as quickly be replaced with confidence as you complete each small project. Just tackle one room at a time and don’t worry yourself about getting your entire home and or life organized in one day.
Myth: You need to get rid of everything that you don’t absolutely love and or use every single day
Improved Approach: While only keeping things that you love and really do use regularly is a great idea, we all have to be realistic and know that we cannot purge all our possessions and live as off the grid minimalists. Maeve’s Method founder, Maeve Richmond, gives this great advice to easily pare down your items, “Take inventory first to get a sense of volume. Knowing what you have is the key to making an efficient system.”
Organization & Personality Types
Myth: You need to be rigid, type A and uncompromising to be organized
Improved Approach: Professional organizer Fay Wolf has the following great quote about getting organized, “The point of being organized is not to be perfect or rigid. It’s just to make your specific life easier and to have a better flow in your days.” Every inch of your home does not need to be Instagram or Pinterest worthy. It just needs to allow you and your family to easily function in the space and have what you need most readily accessible to you.
Myth: You are selfish if you donate gifts or unused items
Improved Approach: Professional organizer Mari Kondo has stated that the true purpose of a gift is for both the giver and receiver to feel good about the gift. If you don’t particularly love a gift, it already served it’s purpose of making the giver feel selfless. An item you’re just meh over could turn out to be someone’s else’s favorite shirt for example – it might be easier to part with the item if you think in these terms.
Organization as a Learned Skill
Myth: If you are not born organized, you will never be able to become organized
Improved Approach: As a teenager, I struggled with disorganization and my bedroom was a typical disaster area. Over the years, I worked on adapting my organizational systems to my environment. The older I have become, the more I crave order to simplify my life. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, anyone can make the positive change to become organized.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Myth: Once you get organized, you will be organized for life
Improved Approach: As with all positive changes, you need to maintain and continuously hone your organizational skills. Just as your life and values change, the way you organize your home and life may likely need to be adapted to the ebb and flow of your life. Try revisiting your organizational systems as you see fit to ensure they still work for your current lifestyle.
Do you have an improved way to rethink or approach these organizational beliefs that may be holding you back?
Photo Credits: Tim Gouw, Jeff Sheldon, Anne Spratt, Natalie B, Philipp Berndt, Ed Gregory