Great Expectations

Organizing a home or office is a very attainable goal but is often approached with unrealistic expectations. Some people think that with a small block of time, a little bit of work and a few new containers, their space can become “perfect”, just like the spaces on television that are organized in 30 minutes. But how much time does it really take, what does the process actually involve, and what outcomes are possible?

Time – One of the biggest misconceptions is that a room can be transformed into an organized area in a matter of minutes. Most rooms or offices do not become disorganized overnight but rather over months or years, so it will require hours or days to work through the contents of a space and restore its order. People are tempted to try and organize a whole space at one time but often find themselves overwhelmed. They jump in and quickly tire, becoming discouraged when what they see seems to be more chaotic than when they started. Organizing takes time. Instead of tackling a large project, break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Rather than attempting to organize a whole room, work on a single corner, cabinet, or side.

Process – Another misunderstanding is that just by rearranging things, one can make everything look great and function well. However, organizing involves both rearranging and reassessing. You must evaluate the importance of each item compared to goal of that space and this requires a lot of decision making. Is a particular item needed in that area, or even needed at all? Does it still serve the purpose intended or is it time to find it a new home? How often is each item used and where is it used? The pace at which you make these decisions will influence how long the process of organizing will take. Sometimes organizing can be more of a mentally tiring task than a physically tiring one. Keep in mind that this thought process has to be done before the new setup can even be conceived or containers considered.

Outcome – People are also often mistaken when they view organization as an end point. While organizing creates a place for everything, it is still your responsibility to make sure that everything gets back to its proper place at the end of the day. It is also your responsibility to take time to evaluate if the new organizing solutions you set up fit your specific needs. Ask yourself questions like: Why doesn’t a certain item get put away each time? Is it stored in an inconvenient place either too far away or behind cabinet doors? Be aware that even though it may look organized, it may not be organized to fit your use and needs. Organizing is an ongoing process. Just as our lives and schedules continually change, the way we organize our homes and offices will also need to be reevaluated and changed.

As you get ready to organize your space, set realistic goals and expectations knowing that it will take time, require a lot of thought, and should be designed to meet your own needs. Once you can approach organizing with the right perspectives, you will find that it will make the job much easier and enjoyable.      © Beth Giles

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