When talking about getting and being organized, I often hear people say things like, “I’m sure your house is perfect… if you came to my house you would be scared!” or “Someday I will get organized like everyone else.” There seems to be a general feeling out there that the “rest of the world” lives in houses that are perfectly organized. Perhaps it is the plethora of magazine spreads showing perfectly ordered (and color-coordinated) spaces that has perpetuated this illusion. Or maybe it is the fact that most people do a “quick tidy” before company comes over, so we think everyone else’s house is always perfectly neat.
But it is important to know that very few people’s homes look like the cover of a magazine. I’ve worked with a lot of clients, and I can honestly say that a bit of disorder is very common. Most people have some room for improvement on the organizational front. You are probably very normal!
Here is a brief list of common situations I encounter when helping clients.
You are normal if you have:
- A box or drawer full of cords that you have cannot identify
- Books you started, didn’t like, and quit reading
Stacks of back-issues of magazines that you haven’t gotten around to reading, but feel you shouldn’t get rid of until you have (“well…. I paid for them”)
Tools and supplies from a recent household project (perhaps incomplete?) piled up in a cobweb strewn box in the corner of the garage
Old cameras, computers and other electronics that you aren’t sure how to safely dispose of and/or have photos on that you don’t want to lose
Clothes stuffed into your closet that you are holding onto for when you lose a few pounds
A bulletin board that hasn’t been cleared off in years
A drawer full of make-up, much of which you either don’t use and/or is expired
Decorative items that you don’t really like, but which came from a close friend or family member and you feel too guilty to donate
A junk drawer crammed with a strange variety of stuff (like a hammer or goldfish crackers)
A box in the attic/basement/closet from your last move that you never unpacked
Boxes of paperwork that you are keeping because of a vague tax fear
Boxes/bags/bins/computer full of photos in no particular order
CDs, DVDs or VHS tapes that you haven’t listened to or watched in years
Kitchen appliances that you don’t use
Boxes of your child’s artwork & mementos that you are planning to put into a scrapbook… someday
Old cans of paint (some of which you can’t match to any space in your home)
Building materials left by the previous homeowner
An empty baby book for your child… who is now a teenager
Original boxes for computers, electronics, etc. that you are holding onto “just in case” you need to send them in for repair
A kitchen cabinet overflowing with mugs or sports bottles
Plastic storage containers that don’t have matching lids
Craft/hobby/activity supplies that you haven’t touched in years (and aren’t sure you ever want to again)
Instruction manuals for appliances or electronics that you no longer own/or which no longer work
Keys that you can’t match with a lock
A pile of shoes near your door
Puzzles or games that are missing pieces
A teenager whose bathroom and bedroom surfaces you can no longer see
A bin of nude dolls
A spouse who has a very different idea of “clean” than you do
Expired medication in your medicine cabinet
Mismatched bed linens
A garage that is so full your car won’t fit
* * * * *
Feeling better yet? The good news is, there are solutions for all of these situations. Order is always within reach, and help is available if you need it. In the meantime, stop berating yourself for not having the perfect looking space.
Can you identify with any items on this list? Do you have another to share?