If you’ve read a couple of my posts, you’ll know that I love being organized. The act of decluttering and sorting gives me a sense of control and I immediately feel like I’ve accomplished something. Every morning when I get my socks from the dedicated drawer, divided up by types (black for business, colored for the weekends, tights and invisible slip-ons for heels), I get a little twinge of gratitude to myself that I don’t need to waste time rummaging around.
We all have personality defaults that we tend to lean into because that’s where our comfort zone is, but growth happens at the edges. Life is a balance, and I’ve been thinking about whether it’s possible to be too organized.
Being organized doesn’t mean perfection
I recently wrote a post about ideals that I was trying to hold lightly, and perfectionism was on of them. It’s easy to look at the end result of a good tidy up and want to keep that cupboard Instagram worthy. But organized shelves should support an easy life, rather than life being all about keeping your shelves organized.
It’s about finding a level of organization that you can easily sustain, but that you get more out of than you put in. I aim for the low hanging fruit first, that deliver the most bang for buck (see my post on ‘optimal’ areas of the home to keep organized). I don’t worry about having the whole house in order, and treat it more like spinning plates – giving areas little touches now and again to keep things going.
I’ve found taking decluttering slowly, letting life happen and then coming back to a space a couple of times is the best way to find the right fit of minimalism. Sometimes you end up throwing additional things out, sometimes you commit to using them. And you can keep tweaking your living space to make continuous improvements in terms of where you put things.
You need to be able to put down your ‘to-do’ lists
I use a great Trello system to keep track of all the things I need to do, should do and want to do. I use a Kanban style set-up with the ‘Getting Things Done’ system to ensure everything is captured somewhere, and make decisions on whether it’s things I want to make a priority or just do ‘someday’.
I love this because I can get everything out of my head and it stops me feeling overwhelmed. I never have that funny feeling that I’m forgetting something because anything that pops into my head goes onto a list somewhere. And I do actually get around to doing the things that I would otherwise just perpetually postpone.
The down side to this is that it’s difficult to put aside the to-do list. A bit like the addition to scrolling social media or reading articles, I often find myself mindlessly checking my Trello app or page. Instead of triggering motivation to achieve something, this sometimes just triggers overwhelm and guilt about all the things I need to get done. Instead of living in the present, I can become a bit addicted to checking things off a never-ending list.
To try and combat this, I close down the app and only check it when I have the energy and time to actually do something. I also regularly declutter my lists, moving things from the immediate list to ‘someday’ or ‘maybe’ and deleting things that I’ve lost interest in.
You need to give others an opportunity to plan
Being the most organized person in your family/workplace/friendship circle can mean that you’re often the person that leads on planning. It’s good to be mindful that just because you’re the first person to start getting organized doesn’t mean that you have the best idea. Don’t get carried away with a plan or system. Make sure you bring people along the journey with you and communicate your ideas early on. Don’t wait to reveal a finalized project, when people feel like they don’t have a choice but to agree with you.
Involving others in planning and organization also means that you don’t get dumped with chores by default. Share the load by allowing others to provide input, which gives everyone more buy-in. For example, sharing decisions about how the kitchen gets arranged, makes everyone in the house more inclined to keep it tidy.
Are you an over-organizer? Have you seen any negative effects and how have you overcome them?