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Getting organized for the New Year…

January 1, 2011

I always thought I was “organized.” My photos are in albums. My books are shelved. I have a system for keeping track of tax deductions so that doing my taxes is a snap. I never go grocery shopping without my list or my cloth grocery bags.

I thought I was organized because I spend a lot of time organizing my things. My closets, drawers, purse, shelves–get messy and I straighten them up. They get messy again and I organize again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

After reading Snoop: What your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling, I realize I’ve been deluding myself. I’m actually disorganized. A truly organized person wouldn’t need organize and reorganize his or her stuff because the stuff would never get messy to begin with.

While some of my cabinets are perfectly organized, others are catchalls. An organized person wouldn’t tolerate this hodgepodge.

Since I finished the book, I’ve identified my root problem as impatience. It’s not that I don’t know how to organize things or that I have too much stuff, I’m just too impatient to put things back where they belong immediately. Although I rarely lose things, I did lose my driver’s license once. I found it a year and a half later—in the dryer vent (not the lint trap, but the vent to the outside of the house)! I had obviously written a check at a store and put the license in my pocket because it was seconds quicker than putting it back in my wallet and I didn’t want to hold up the line. Although the license was the only “card” I’d ever lost, I can’t recall the number of times I’ve had to go through the laundry looking for the ATM or credit card I’d slipped into my pocket.

That stops now. My New Year’s resolution is to stop being so impatient and get organized.

I have a strategy. I am going to:

  • Take the time to put things away. I’ve already started doing this and I like the results so far. I know where everything is.
  • Start with individual drawers/closets etc. that are problem areas and tackle them one-by-one.
  • Evaluate my organizational systems. I’ve discovered already that sometimes the system doesn’t work. A case in point: my bathroom drawer. I used to have a tray to keep it neat, but things never seemed to return to their proper compartment. The problem was that some of the compartments were too small to be functional. I eliminated the tray and replaced it with some plastic baskets and voila! The drawer has stayed organized for several weeks now.

Despite my history of disorganization, I am disciplined (at least Snoop didn’t reveal that I’m not), so I think I have an excellent chance of achieving this.

So, how about you? What is your New Year’s resolution?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2011 4:14 pm

    Hi Cara,

    Lovely blog, and very interesting New Year’s post. I kept nodding my head, you sound so much like me, except that you sound more organized!

    I lost my ATM this month, and it’s such a pain, and I felt like such a doofus for losing it.

    It’s been an ongoing problem, but now that I’ve asked Sir to help me deal with it, I’m doing much better. Just yesterday I started to put my ATM card in my pocket after using it, but I thought, “What would he say?” And I put my card away properly.

    Happy New Year!


  2. January 1, 2011 7:53 pm

    Hi Cara,
    I found you because you found us over at HealthyWriter.

    Your post is wonderful and inspiring but I’m in so much trouble! I already felt like a sloth when I read your into but when I got to paragraph 3 depression set in. 😉

    Seriously, each year I promise myself to be organized. I’m getting *better* but I’m not very good at it. I’m going to try tackling one drawer or shelf a day and see if I can make some progress. I haven’t ever really lost anything important but I waste far too much time looking for things because I can’t remember where I left them.
    Good luck to you in 2011!

    • January 1, 2011 9:07 pm

      Hi Mary! Thanks for dropping by. One thing I have noticed is that just by focusing on one or two things, they can become habit, and then I move on to something else.

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