It's About Time
Organization is not about looking good
Is being neat and organized overrated?" That's the question posed in the June issue of the Costco Connection.
"Yes," says David H. Freedman, author of "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder."
As justification, he gives the example of the accidental discovery of penicillin by scientist Alexander Fleming, who found a strange mold on one of the dishes in his messy, disorganized lab in London.
Freedman adds, "constant neatness and organization can take time away from doing important work, not to mention family, hobbies and relaxation."
Yes, that's true, but who is talking about "constant" neatness? I don't know anyone who is constantly neat.
Being a professional organizer, some people think that I am always neat, but I'm not. I try to neaten up the house once a week, and it gets into a state of normal disarray, but I don't mind, as I know that the weekly neaten-up time will come around soon enough. What's more important to me is that my home and office function well for me.
I admit, there are times when being organized might be overrated, as in the case of a local mother who painfully organized her children's Lego pieces by size and color. She was upset because her children didn't appreciate her efforts. That's definitely a case where being neat and organized was not necessary and a waste of time!
Among those who feel that being neat and organized is NOT overrated is Standolyn Robertson, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers. She notes, accurately so, that organization is about function, not appearance.
"At work, being organized is not about having a paper-free desk, but about being able to find what you need, when you need it," she said. "Organized people have systems in place so that they do not waste time constantly looking for lost items. As a result, they are more likely to be on time and are less likely to forget things."
Sharing her point of view is a former client of mine, a busy mother of three young children who was at wits' end because of a messy house, overflowing laundry baskets, $20 in overdue fines at the library and repeated visits to the supermarket because she would forget to buy necessary items.
And being organized is NOT overrated for me, as I recently found a misplaced Costco rebate check for $74 that appeared to be past the expiration date. I was kicking myself, as $74 is a lot of money to lose!
Thankfully, Costco said that this type of rebate didn't expire.
What areas don't function well for you?
Pick one that distresses you, organize it and enjoy the results.
Then pick another area.
See you in two weeks!
Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813, call 488-0288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org