Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Organizational Roadblocks Part One

I have some mental roadblocks to becoming organized. Allow me to share one with you and see if it sounds familiar to you.

First, I have organized people divided into two levels:

One - the uber-organized.  These people are so amazingly organized that they can write blogs about being organized. If you look to your right you'll see i heart organizing on my blog roll. Jen, the author of i heart organizing falls into this category. I heart i heart organizing but I have no illusions about the fact that her level of organization if purely inspirational for me as opposed to aspirational.  She is so very impressive! However my house will NEVER be that organized. It's one of those "doomed to failure" goals that I try not to have... Like ever weighing what I weighed in high-school again. Not happening and I need to just put the thought out of my head.

Two - the functionally organized. These people may not have everything in cute containers with matching labels but they:
  1. Know about their appointments BEFORE the courtesy reminder call.
  2. They can find important papers without first having a panic attack.
  3. The only time they have to call their spouses at work and ask "Do you know where the thus and such is?" is when their spouses moved the thus and such and didn't put it back.
  4. They can find matching shoes in the morning without having to look under all of the beds and couches.
  5. They have not had to replace their daughter's birth certificate... twice. (oh yes, it's true.)
Here's my problem, when I try to organize, I invariably try to be like the uber-organized as opposed to the functionally organized. That always turns out badly for me.

Allow me to illustrate the difference between uber and functional using Legos as an example.

The uber-organized person purchases a cute storage container for the Legos with multiple drawers. They then sort all of the Legos into the drawers by color or type and use their label-maker to label each drawer with the designated color. THEN they spend the time to train their children to put the Legos into the proper container.

The functionally organized person purchases one bin. They either write "Legos" on the bin or they place a few Legos into the bin to illustrate the purpose of the bin. They train their children to put the Legos into the bin by saying "Do you see the bin with the Legos in it? When you're done playing with them put them back in there." 

The disorganized, like myself, leave Legos scattered all around to make nighttime trips to the bathroom more interesting.

I know that I need to set my sights on functional as opposed to uber, for the sake of my sanity alone.

So when I say that I'm going to complete five organizing projects on my 40 X 40, I'm trying to remember to keep them on the functional side and limit them to the things that are causing me the most problems. For example, I have a 750 gigabyte external hard drive that is almost full. That is seven-hundred and fifty gigabytes of hard drive that is nearly full. How did it get that way? (you might ask.) Well, as I began to investigate it turns out that I have not one, not two, not three but FOUR COMPLETE COPIES OF OUR ITUNES LIBRARY on that hard drive. Here is a trivia question for you: How many back-up copies of your itunes library do you need on one external hard drive? If you said "only one" you'd be right. I have no idea how they got on there in the first place.

So, my friends who tend toward the disorganized, do you envision your home as uber-organized or are you aiming for functionally organized? 

I'll be back with more thoughts on this tomorrow. I'll bet you're excited. Oh yeah.


  1. I would NOT like to be uber-organized, houses and people like that makes me uncomfortable. I would like to be a little more organized, especially when it comes to important papers. And my clothes. And some other stuff. I quite like when I know where things go, but several boxes for Lego, sort them by colour??? NO! That is just uber-wrong! And a little mess is part of a home that is alive.

  2. Oh Heather. You always give me such a great laugh. THANK YOU. My husband, sadly, falls into the uber-organized category. He's a scientist, and in graduate school his nickname was Mr. Clean Genes. Nice, huh? It can be really, really helpful and really, really hard to live with. When he (very rarely) loses things, I secretly dance with glee. I can be functionally organized. But I can and need to be more so. Thanks for helping me define my goals.

  3. I'd love to be uberorganized, but I'm not. I tend to blame this on my super-unorganized husband who has trouble finding his own car keys and shoes, but frankly, I'm not sure I'd ever be able to obtain such a level of organization even on my own. Baby steps.

  4. hello heather, in my son's room, when we clean up the legos - it's to clear a path. we use his toy bin for them all. i tried the separate colors in separate container thing, but he likes them mixed up. i agree with you about functional - aim there. good luck!

  5. DEFINATELY Functional. Its hard to be uber when there's a team of 3 kids and hubby (seems like 10 men) working against me! I read that blog and wondered over the lego, do the kids have to pull it all apart at the end of playing in order to sort?? Not really spontaneous free play, Kinda takes the fun out of it. But then my house is a bit of a disaster zone most of the time, so this would definately not work for us, my kids would just laugh at me!


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