Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Clutter and My "Philosophy" of Organization

As the name of this blog implies, I tend to focus on Genealogy, but just now I am concerned with organization throughout the entire household. In the first weeks of 2016, I have found discussions of organization outside the genealogy community as well as within it, so I will be doing some immediate blogs on household organization with occasional followups as I work my way throughout our house.

Clutter — What IS Clutter?

"A place for everything and everything in its place"; this New England saying provides a definition of clutter — because clutter is a mess of things that A) have no place or B) are never kept in their places.

Therefore, to remove clutter you need to find a place for everything AND you also need to discover why things don't get returned to their places. This statement is the essential base of my "Philosophy" of Organization — the background to all my thoughts, plans, and achievements in organization.

There was an important difference between organization and neatness. While neatness is admirable it isn't always possible nor desirable. The picture above is (in my opinion) a picture of organization, not a picture of clutter. It is NOT neat, but it is organized and it has stayed organized for 2-1/2 weeks.

I'm 88 years old — my husband is 71 (yes I robbed the cradle); when people reach those ages, they require lots of medicine. This picture shows the extension leaf of our dining table. It shows the toaster; a tray of medical supples arranged as hers, ours, and his; other medical supples; plus our snacks, hers and his. "Hers" are near my side of the table and "His" (closest in this photo) are near my husband's side. All of these items are frequently reached for; from daily to weekly use. If the storage place were less accessible, the items would not be returned to their places. In fact, that is why most of the items are in this spot. I added the medicine containers we use to load our "daily dosages," a weekly job that kept needing to be cleaned up after. Every item in this picture is used and is promptly returned its place.

As an added bonus, the tray and the remaining items may be quickly moved to temporary storage whenever the entire table is required for serving company, then returned to the table when we return to our daily living patterns.

I've given the background.  In a day or so, I will introduce you to the five tenets of this 'philosophy of organization."