Given my job as a professional organizer, it won’t surprise you to know that I love all things organizing. The process brings me joy and the results make me feel peaceful. Nonetheless, I think it is helpful to point out that getting organized is not really an end unto itself. Instead, the organization of time, space and belongings is simply a process that helps us live in a desired manner. An ordered life is much like a railing: the secure structure we hold onto as we take our daily steps.
Railings, like most constructed edifices, come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some are simple and functional, while others are decorative. Some are grand while others are humble. Some are finely polished while others are roughly hewn. Regardless of style, railings serve purposes that are similar to those provided by an organized system for living. Let’s consider a few:
Railings Provide Reliability
Life can be rough, and much of the time we cannot clearly see where our steps are leading. Any given day may require that we tread into unknown places where the going is slippery. When the footfall is uncertain, railings provide a sense of security. As long as they are maintained, railings are reliable and stable objects onto which we can grasp and rely. In the United States, building code typically specifies that railings stand between 34 and 38 inches high. As a result, we instinctively know where to reach with our hand. Even in dim lighting, we can locate the railing.
An organized lifestyle can serve much the same purpose. By having possessions in predictable locations and tasks slotted into habitual times of day, we experience a sense of peace and security. We may not be able to predict exactly what the day will bring, but we maximize our efficiency by establishing an element of expectedness to our resources.
Railings Avert Falls
Have you ever stepped on a broken step or caught your foot on the edge of a riser? It is frightening to feel your foot give way! More than once I have been thankful for a nearby railing that has steadied me and kept me from falling.
Being organized can similarly “save the day.” The ability to produce a needed document, locate an important key, access a crucial contact number, prove a critical payment, find a necessary supply, etc. can mean the difference between a crisis and a victory. When a crisis occurs, the knowledge that we have sufficient time and resources to address it calms us down while we work toward resolution.
Railings Ease Climbing
Have you ever had to climb the stairs to the top of a tall building? Those last few steps can be challenging. Last year, I got the chance to ascend the steps of the Miguelete Tower in Valencia, Spain. By the time I got to the top, my quadriceps were burning! When energy flags, it is common to reach out and pull on a nearby railing to help get us to the finish line. By engaging our arms, we utilize more of our body, alleviating a bit of the pressure on our legs.
An ordered space and clear set of priorities can do the same. When the going gets tough, it helps to have access to as many assets as possible. We may need cloud back-up if our computer crashes. We may need 15 minutes of white space in our schedule to deliver a forgotten supply to our child’s school. We may need a spare outfit for a baby who has had a blowout in the car seat. Whatever the need may be, we will react more resiliently if we have taken the time to organize all of the tools that we have in our arsenal.
Railings Add Beauty
While railings are primarily functional, they can also be beautiful. Some have intricate patterns tucked into their bannister and spindles. Others are twisted in breathtaking spirals. Some are draped with cascading flowers. Still others are decorated with fanciful sculptures. When life requires that we take the stairs, railings provide a visual distraction that makes our journey more pleasant.
The same can be said for a well-ordered space. Maybe you love bright colors and want to “organize by the rainbow.” Or maybe you like the simple elegance of clear surfaces and minimalism. Order is inherently appealing to the eye. When our space is appealing, with sufficient space to accomplish needed tasks, we will enjoy living and working there.
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Have you ever noticed a unique railing? Can you think of a time when you depended on one?