disorganized or too much stuff?

Mason Jar Monday - organization projectI’ve fallen off the planet for the past week or so due to my new addiction to Pinterest. Seeing all my fields of interest converge visually on pinboards has given me a better perception of my work and life. The downside to it all is the accumulated information on how to better organize and clean up my life. One more thing to feel guilty about as I look at my cluttered desk space even though I know I’m being tremendously productive.

Part of me really loathes these DIY organizational tip sites. It’s the same part of me that grew up with a hoarding parent. There seems to be a real misperception among hoarders, at least my HP, that the problem is not, “I have too much stuff.” The problem for them is, “I am too disorganized.”

I love organization. I love filing, I love sorting, I love to know where everything is. But my organizational systems become so complex that it gets difficult to put anything away. And when I do put things away in the most logical place ever, I often can’t find them again. If it’s out on my desk, I know exactly where it is.

Sound familiar? It’s the same excuse used by hoarders everywhere: “I need to go through my stuff and put it away.” “I don’t have time to go through my stuff…” and so on, while the piles just grow bigger. More moves in, nothing moves out.

All of this advice about better organizing your closet, small bathroom, or tiny kitchen cabinets, require additional purchases and new projects that the hoarder in us already can’t find time to pursue. So tempting though to think, “If I just put new shelves up in the garage, then I could put x, y, and z away where they belong.”

No, the real chore is not organization. It is simply getting rid of things we don’t use. Even better, stop buying those things in the first place. It takes time and dedication to constantly purge, but it’s infinitely better than finding a new space in an already crammed home.

(You can follow me on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/amylya/.)

3 responses to “disorganized or too much stuff?

  1. I can so relate to this post. My mother was what I call a near-hoarder: she hoarded, but not nearly as bad as you see on TV. She completely had that mindset of “The problem is my ability to organize, not the fact that I keep bringing stuff in here”.

    That said, a lot of the time, organization was a problem, too. I helped her organize many things (alas, they didn’t stay organized). It wasn’t until she died and I went through the house that I realized exactly how bad her organizational abilities were. I suspect that, if things were really organized, she’d’ve had to confront the things she should have gotten rid of a long time ago.

  2. Omg! That is word for word me to a T…..it’s scary…ever since my baby boy passed away, one year ago, it has taken over my life…. and my poor girls and hubby are suffering because of it….I am constantly on an organization d.i.y. Rampage that never gets anywhere…:( trying to make sense and organize what has become a chaotic disordered world is impossible for me…. Thank you so much for sharing

    • Pch – I’m so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine going through such a traumatic time and it’s completely understandable to cling to home to make sense of the ensuing chaos. There are several hoarding blogs (see my blogroll) that might be helpful for you as you work through things. Mostly you’ll see the impact hoarding has on the family from these sites. I’ve noticed in my own life that each time my world gets turned upside down I start churning my own clutter sort of aimlessly trying to make sense of the disaster that’s visible. I hope you can take time to understand the process and find a support network to work through it.

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