Society views an organized person as one who is successful or at least has their act together. We tend to think of messy people as lazy or slobs or even ill. I watched for the first time a show on hoarders and I do have to admit that there were some scary things depicted in that show. One person had so much stuff including old food that there were rats running around her whole house. This causes undue stress, anxiety, and frustration.
I agree that hoarding is an extreme but the truth is that people who are a bit disorganized actually can be very creative and imaginative. So is there some balance one can aspire to that makes them successful without being ultra organized? According to a 2010 study that is highlighted in a Huffington Post article, 80% of people polled said being organized helped their work performance. But what does that truly mean? Does every paper have to be lined up in folders on a desk or does it mean that there is “some” orderliness to their piles?
We may never know the answers to those questions, but for me when I know where everything is, I feel I have control over my life. I hate losing things even for a minute, so I try very hard to take a few minutes and put things where they belong even if that means throwing the item away. My famous line with my children is “find it a home!” If not, I may take it and I find it a home which they may not appreciate. I also like to make lists so that I can stay on track when there is a lot to do.
To be “reasonably” organized you may need some help. I have listened to presentations of professional organizers and I always learn something new. As an example, I keep all my computer passwords and logins in an address book. I know there are apps that can help with this but I find it easier to just turn to the page I need. I also learned that I do not have to have everything horizontal on my desk. I got a vertical magnetic spice holder that stands by itself and holds paperclips, thumbtacks, staples, etc. and only takes up two inches on my desk.
With three children, keeping all their paperwork, school notices, etc. in order can be a challenge. I assigned each one a color and we still use these colors now that they are teenagers, not only for folders but laundry baskets, toothbrushes, lunch boxes, and tote bags.
Regardless of how you define your organizational capability, stay clear of perfectionism. No one is going to notice if one book on the shelf is not lined up perfectly. Disorganization as I said before can cause anxiety but so can perfectionism – it will never be just right and you waste valuable time trying to keep things perfect. Instead have the adage “it is good enough”. Your goal is to find things when you need them and feel good about yourself and your environment. It is not a contest on who has the neatest desk or home.