Share this article

print logo

A little bit of clutter never hurt anyone

Apparently January is National Get Organized month, so dubbed by NAPO, which for the unorganized, is the National Association of Professional Organizers.

NAPO must be very serious about this because whenever I turn on the TV or flip through a magazine, I am constantly reminded that I need to get organized now or my life possibly may be ruined, or at least I will be late for work.

I think the kind of organization the group preaches is a little over the top. It is a myth that you can truly get organized when you have children living in your house. It is an indisputable fact that with children comes clutter.

Your pediatrician should tell you when you come in for your infant's first visit: "Don't mind the clutter; it should start to ease around the time the child turns 18." Then, if your pediatrician is any good, she will tell you this is only a ballpark figure.

Another myth: Getting organized will save you money. For example, you wouldn't have to buy another pair of gloves if you could find the ones you already own. Are these savings calculated before or after you have purchased 16 plastic storage containers to store your "stuff" in? Not to mention that anything that goes in one of these bins at our house might as well be shipped to Siberia because it is never unearthed again.

Myth number 3: Being organized will save you time. OK, this is not a total falsehood. But, hey, life is short; the time it takes to get and stay organized is not.

And some things are better off not organized. Like crime for instance. That should never have been organized. Another is my refrigerator door, which to the untrained eye looks like a big mess of magnets and papers. Well actually, it looks that way to the trained eye, too, but the point is that these papers are my family's collection of various sports schedules, work notices, doctor's appointment reminders and school calendars, each with just enough showing that with one quick look, we are sufficiently reminded of all the activities that make up our lives.

If I were to remove these papers from that door, our family life would come to a screeching halt. I don't think there is any solution to this: I have seen our family crest, and it reads "Out of Sightus, Out of Mindus." The only activities that we attend are those that are posted on the fridge door.

Consider this scenario, which is not true but easily could be:

Me: "Honey, how was your meeting with the president?" My husband: "What meeting? Was that on the fridge?"

Yes, a mess can be a good thing. A little disorder has been known to lead to creative discoveries. Alexander Fleming would not have discovered penicillin if he hadn't forgotten to clean up that famous Petrie dish. Newton wouldn't have discovered gravity if he had picked the apples from the tree before sitting under it. I wouldn't have had time to share this insight with you if I had organized my kitchen cupboards today.

Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. I like chaos as much as the next guy, but I draw the line at taking more than 15 minutes to find my car keys. And when my daughter's Polly Pocket dolls have more living space in our family room than I do, it's time to serve the eviction notice. Polly's So Hip Cruise Ship will have to find a new place to dock, but I do promise not to store her away in a plastic storage bin.

There are no comments - be the first to comment