Being well-enough organized does not mean you have all your possessions stored picture perfectly. It does mean you have a place for everything and everything is in its place . . . mostly. Well-enough organized means you are able to find what you need when you need it. It means all your spaces bring you pleasure and a sense of control. And it means no stressing about things you forgot to do.
From Perfect To Well-Enough
Once upon a time, I had the idea that I would become a professional organizer. I enjoyed turning a cluttered closet or room into a neatly organized space and this seemed like an interesting profession. So I bought a book on becoming a professional organizer from Maria Gracia at Get Organized Now and I became a devoted reader of her newsletters. I began working on the exercises in the book and drew up a business plan of sorts. I even purchased a truck with the idea that I could use it in my business to cart away discards when I helped clients organize their homes.
But as you can probably tell, I never did launch that professional organizing business. Somewhere along the path, I realized my visions of turning a messy, cluttered space into a picture from House Beautiful had a flaw. A picture perfect room or closet or garage was not worth the effort, nor necessarily even functional. I moved from the idea of being perfectly organized to being “well-enough organized” . . . clutter-free and able to find what you need when you need it.
What Does Being Well-Enough Organized Mean?
What does being well-enough organized look like? We know what it doesn’t look like. It isn’t having all the items in your pantry sorted and alphabetized. And it isn’t having all your books arranged on the shelves by color and size. It isn’t having your shoes lined up in neat boxes. Nor is it having all your stuff stored in matching, color-coded storage bins. Again, it may look nice but it isn’t necessarily functional.
Well-enough organized means you know what you have and you know where everything is. Every thing. It means you know when bills are due and you get them paid on time. It means no more missed appointments. Sometimes it means you don’t have to go out and buy a tool or an implement or household supplies because you can’t find the one you know you have . . . somewhere. It means “all your things have places” and every family member knows where that place is.
It means you put things back where they belong when you’ve finished using them. And it means buying fewer things of higher quality. Mostly it means what you need it to mean in order to experience these benefits.
Why Be Well-Enough Organized?
“Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.” ~ Cynthia Braun, CPO®
According to professional organizer Cynthia Braun, here are some of the benefits to becoming well-enough organized.
- Save time because you aren’t constantly searching for the things you need.
- Save money because you don’t have to buy items you know you have but can’t find when you need them.
- Gain peace of mind by knowing where things are.
- Reduce stress by eliminating missed deadlines and lost information.
- Gain storage space and you have room to store your belongings neatly.
- Have an attractive (not “perfect”) home.
What If You’re Not Well-Enough Organized?
Do you need to be better organized? Here are some questions to help you determine your level of being well-enough organized. [Kuiken]
- Can you find what you need when you need it?
- Do your spaces, closets, and rooms function for their purpose?
- Are you able to use each space as it is intended (table to eat, counter to work, etc.)?
- Do you get to places on time and prepared?
- Do you know where to put things and do they fit in their intended home?
- Does your car fit in the garage?
- Do you only have items in your closet, kitchen, and pantry that you actually use?
- Do you have simple systems or routines in place to accomplish daily tasks?
- After a busy week, can you get things back in order with minimal work?
- Does walking into your house cause your stress levels to rise?
- Do you avoid certain areas of your home by closing the door?
- What are the most important areas of your life for getting organized? Where would do you the most good?
How To Be Well-Enough Organized
How do you begin to become well-enough organized? I suggest you start with the area that will show the most improvement. You’ll get the biggest payoff, plus you’ll have your hardest task out of the way.
However, if you feel like your possessions and the clutter are out of control, that may feel like a daunting task. In that case, pick one small area – a shelf in a closet or in the garage, a cabinet drawer, a section of your desk top and begin there.
Here are the basics:
Take everything out of the space. Spend a few minutes thinking about how you want to use this space.
Sort the items into categories. As you do this, get rid of anything that is obviously trash. Also decide what to do with the things you no longer need, use, or love. DON’T put them back into your clean space.
Now decide what will live in this space. How will you store these things neatly?
Finally, find a home for the remaining items. This doesn’t necessarily mean your home so continue to purge items as appropriate. Put the items you will keep here back where they live.
(Find more about Excelerated Organization here.)
Are you well-enough organized? Or could some areas of your home and life use a touch up? Here is an assessment from Proper Place Organizing to help you determine your level of well-enough organization with suggestions if you need to polish some areas.
Be Well-Enough Organized – Reprise
Having the Perfectly Organized Home, Perfectly Organized Work Space, Perfectly Organized Children and Perfectly Organized Spouse is generally an imperfect dream — you’ll never get there and you’ll waste time, energy, and resources if that is your aim. Better to go for being well-enough organized in all areas.
How do you become well-enough organized? Start small, be consistent, automate your changes by turning them into habits. In fact, the same way you approach any improvement when you’re living an Excelerated Life™!
Excelerated Organization™ — being clutter-free and well-enough organized — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being and a life of meaning, purpose and service.
Braun, CPO®, Cynthia. “Benefits of being organized.” OrganizeYourLife.org. Cynthia Braun, CPO®, . Web. May 21, 2020.
Gracia, Maria. “Get Organized Now Home.” Get Organized Now, Get Organized Now! Web. May 20, 2020.
Kuiken, Michelle. “How To Feel Organized Enough For Your Lifestyle.” The Proper Place, Proper Place Organizing. Web. May 25, 2020.
The Organizing Excelerator