Too Much Order | Giftie Etcetera: Too Much Order

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Too Much Order

I am in a lot of organizing groups, read daily blogs about planning and housekeeping, and check Pinterest for ideas for storing my crap in an orderly fashion. So you'd think that I would love color-coded, alphabetized rows of canned food (or CDs or apples or, based on the pictures that I get tagged in on Facebook, virtually any item).

I don't. In fact, I'm here to rant about people who organize that way.

For me, being organized is about aesthetics in the sense that I don't want to be overwhelmed with clutter. But I am not a decorator and never plan to be one. Being organized is about finding my stuff, quickly and efficiently. If that means alphabetizing, cool. But if not, no need to alphabetize.

I do like my closets divided by type of clothes and season, because if I am looking for a sweater, I don't want to dig through t-shirts.

I also put newly cleaned clothes in the front of the closet, so that things that I truly never wear naturally move to the back of the closet for donations later.

I put all gifts in the same big, decorative box in the corner of my bedroom (or a note in the box saying where the big gifts are hidden), so that I don't have to search all over for gifts when the birthday party rolls around.

But I read about moms simply having to organize Legos, and I get ragey. First, Legos are really about shapes. If you must organize by color, organize your gift bags or craft paper or something, anything, where color ACTUALLY matters to you. Second, Legos are your kids' toys. Let them organize it - or not. Third, who wants to play with a building toy if putting it away takes hours? Throw those suckers in a plastic, covered box and be done with it.

I read about putting spices in ABC order and it makes no sense to me (unless you are a chef with WAY TOO MANY spices...I actually understand in those cases). 90% of my cooking involves salt, pepper, Louisiana seasoning, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Those things go on a decorative tray on the kitchen counter. The tray allows me to keep them close when I cook and move them easily to wipe the counter under them. Everything else is just put neatly on the shelf, maybe vaguely divided into sweet (like cinnamon and nutmeg) and spicy (like mustard seed and cumin).

My shoes are not carefully lined up (except boots or very dressy shoes that need to maintain shape), but thrown in pairs in three decorative buckets on the floor of my closet. (I use the buckets for two purposes: to move the shoes for vacuuming and to limit the number of pairs naturally due to limited space.)

I would never fill my whole pantry with baskets labeled with pretty sticker labels. I just put cans with cans and cereal with cereal. But I do label the over-the-door sorter, as I cannot see what is in there and it contains smaller stuff, like condiments and jams.

The point is that you don't have to organize your kids' school projects (how will they learn?!?), your nail polishes, or your books. You can, and you should, if it makes you happy. But if you are running around the internet, begging someone to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help you figure out how to store Legos so the colors stay together, you don't need the colors together. You need a solution that will work easily and simply and save you time and angst, because if you just needed them "sorted by color," you would have already done it!

Come visit my Facebook group, Giftie Etcetera, where we talk and rational solutions to your organizing problems that won't stress you out, but will listen and respond to YOUR individual organizing and planning needs. It won't be pretty, necessarily, but it will work for you.



Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

Love this post. I've had to unfollow most organizing blogs for these reasons... It seems kind of creepy to be so obsessed with organizing everything to the endth degree. I tend to feel bad for the other family members.

Giftie Etcetera said...

Exactly. I meant this post with a bit of humor, but it's also true.

By the way, peeked at your quilt blog. They are BEAUTIFUL. I'm seeing a friend at a quilt show in Houston this weekend, so hopefully I'll see some great stuff there. (I don't sew. I just enjoy when others do.)

Anonymous said...

Oh how refreshing! I've had to back off as well because I tend to spend all my time reading about organizing, but doing very little of it. I had a friend who had her fridge highly organized. She had certain items assigned to certain shelves. Those shelves contained clear, lidded containers with labels as to the contents. It was a thing of beauty....Any way beyond my reach!

Anonymous said...

As far as the Lego thing, ever listen to the conversations the kids have as they shuffle through Legos looking for a certain pieces? No Mom's don't sort the Lego because you miss so much when you do.

Anna said...

Yes, I agree. Your organizing should make your life easier, not harder. I have alphabetized my spices before, but that's because I have SOOO many. I like to experiment with cooking, etc. I got tired of digging through all the spices. But no one else who uses my kitchen was keeping up with that plan. Now I group them by general categories of things I use together. (Mexican spices, italian spices, baking spices, etc.) Seems to be working.

Anonymous said...

I organized my linnen closet a year ago and its still organized. Thats because the system worked. Other places i organized fell back into disarray...those systems didnt work. Sometimes it was because they were too complex. A good simple system that can be maintained is what will last. Sometimes it takes more than one try to find it. Thanks for the reminder.

lyn said...

I am organised but I'll never be able to organise the way some do. As long as things are neat, clean and kept in a somewhat orderly fashion, I'm ok :-)