By Paris Love
Is there such a thing as OVER organized? You would think that since I am a professional organizer, I might answer no to that question. Instead, my answer is a resounding “yes!” I know, it seems strange for an organizer to say that. But in all my years of working with people to help them get rid of clutter and think order, I have run across some that need to think messy. There’s even a book co-authored by David H. Freedman entitled A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder – How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and on-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place
For instance, in the book, Freedman says that if one spouse is messy, it’s better to let them have their messy space than constantly criticize. A desk that is messy doesn’t necessarily mean lack of productivity either, according to Freedman, who says if the worker has stacks, it is as efficient as files. (OK, I might have to draw the line on stacks of papers on your desk.) But the point is that sometimes we can get a little over zealous in our organized life efforts.
Here are my top ten ways you will know if you are over-organized:
- When you move TODAY’s newspaper into the recycle bin BEFORE anyone has had a chance to read it.
- When your children aren’t allowed to have access to their toys and games and you are telling them it’s because you don’t want a mess.
- When you have a place for everything and everything in its place except you can’t find anything.
- When you take the time to code every piece of paper that goes into your file drawer – by color and number.
- When your house looks like something out of Metropolitan Home or House Beautiful every single minute of every single day.
- When you spend more time on organization schemas than you do on living your life.
- When you have to write down “tell my husband I love him” on your to do list.
- When you write down something on your to do list that you have already completed, just so you can cross it out.
- When you have a living room that no one EVER lives in and therefore could be classified as a museum.
- When you have lists that refer to other lists that refer to other lists.
You probably thought you’d never hear me say this, but there are some benefits to being messy sometimes. You can leave the house in a little disorder so you can have dinner with friends. It’s OK for the children’s toys to be scattered around the playroom for a few days. When you’re working on a project, you don’t have to put everything away each evening. And, yes, your bedroom can be a little cluttered while you are concentrating on a special event in your life. Sometimes we can even be and feel a little unfettered in our disorder. Sometimes it makes our home feel like we actually ‘live’ there.
And we can be messily organized. It’s true! If you leave things around the house or office, but they do have a place and you know where that place is, you are still in the organized club. It means you can take a few minutes when you are ready and put things back in their place. Or you can leave them out of their place and know they have a place – sometimes that is just the right thing to do.
Don’t get me wrong – I believe in organization and I make a living promoting it and helping others get there. But once in a while, you might come into my home and find a little clutter. It’s all good. It’s all OK.
Paris Love is a Productivity and Organizational Consultant specializing in helping overextended professionals strive for a better quality of life infused with meaningful work, wealth, good health and well being. Paris has written articles for NAPO News, Star Lee Magazine, Baldwin Parent, San Diego NAPO News, Organizing A to Z, BrownSkin Magazine, Online Organizing and Home Base Quarterly. You can catch Paris on A & E “Hoarders” where she helps a family in crisis. Her most recent book, Fifty Tips to Get You Organized in Ten Minutes or Less and Growing Pains, along with more information on her life’s work and business can be found at www.ParisLoveInstitute.com or by calling 770-722-2748.