How many times have you heard people say, “I need to get organized”? But what do they mean by that? How do they measure, “organized?” As a professional organizer, I think about this a lot. To me, organized means being able to put my hands on what I need when I need it. As long as I know where things are and can find them easily (and that includes finding appointments in my calendar), I feel organized and in control. Even if something’s in a stack, as long as I can grab it swiftly, that’s organized. So for me, organized doesn’t mean that everything is put away and that all surfaces are clear. And in fact, neat spaces aren’t necessarily organized.
You might not agree. I’ve had clients who feel out of control if they have a stack or two on their desk they can’t seem to get rid of. That’s okay—I’m happy to help them figure out how to get rid of those stacks.
I’ve come to the conclusion that “organized” is a state of mind. It’s great to feel organized. I think people who feel organized are happier, with less stress and higher self esteem. Is there such a thing as too organized? No, as long as the level of organization of the individual feels right to them. I’m pretty casual, so sometimes I feel uncomfortable around or overly controlled by a Type A super-organized person. But as long as they’re happy (and they’re not making the people they live with crazy), that’s okay.
The bottom line is that “being organized” is an individual thing. I shouldn’t impose my standards of organization on anyone (which can be a challenge in my line of work). Likewise, you shouldn’t judge me because an occasional stack of paper languishes on my desk and it doesn’t bother me. Perfectionism can be the enemy of the organized person. I encourage my clients to be “organized enough.” If it’s desirable and achievable for you to have a house that would make Martha Stewart proud, go for it. But if not, don’t beat yourself up. Strive to find the level of organization that makes you feel comfortable and in control, then work to maintain it.
What’s your definition of organized?